Book Reviews

Reading List for March, 2022

Due to our transition from the US to Brazil and everything that involves, March is the first month I have been able to post book reviews.

Beyond Order, Twelve More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

One could see “Beyond Order, Twelve More Rules for Life” as simply a continuation of Jordan Peterson’s first book, “Twelve Rules for Life”, and there is a sense where that is true. But here is a case where reading the author’s preface is important, for it is there that the reader discovers that Peterson wrote this book while undergoing some of the most harrowing tribulations a human being could experience (his wife’s cancer, his own fight to break a dependence on pain killers, etc). This background makes “Beyond Order” at the same time a powerful and tragic book.

It is powerful because when he talks about overcoming the difficulty and chaos of life, the reader knows that he is speaking from experiences that were happening to him right then. It provides a depth to what could otherwise be considered just another self-help book.

And yet it is tragic because these trials did not lead him to Christ, even though Peterson has extensive biblical knowledge. The answers are right in front of his face, and he as of yet refuses to see them.

The Missionary Theologian by E.D. Burns

“The Missionary Theologian” by E.D. Burns is a book that grew on me the farther into it I read. Part of my initial lukewarm impression was due to a section, near the beginning, on short-term missions trips. Burns’ rather jaded view of them does not reflect my own in the least.

Once I got over that hurdle, however, I found myself devouring what he had to say. He gives a master-class in basing missions work on a solid theological foundation, rather than on cheap emotion. He has not fallen prey to the increasingly popular notion that we should be happy about the Charismatic inroads because “look at all the good things they are doing for missions.” If missions is not grounded in Sola Scriptura, is it really missions? Burns (and I) would respond in the emphatic negative.

The book ends with on a crescendo, with a short biography of my hero Adoniram Judson, emphasizing how his theology permeated his missionary method. And if you read the book and are tempted to skip the appendices…don’t. The letter from Judson and the Spurgeon message are too good to miss.

When I finished this book I knew it would go on my list of books every prospective missionary, every missions-minded pastor, every missions committee member should read. Just…after you read what he says about short term missions trips, come talk to me.

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

I’m up through book five now in Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series. “The Fires of Heaven” lives up to the standard set by the previous books in almost every way. I say “almost” because there are a few scenes in the book which venture into the sensual more than I cared for. Other than that, the story-line was intense and moved rather quickly, even compared to some of the previous books.

Truth be told, though, I am reading these books as a filler until Brandon Sanderson’s next “Cosmere” book comes out in November.


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