Book Reviews

 

Book review for Preach Magazine

Book: Amazed by Jesus

Author: Simon Ponsonby

 

Simon is a great storyteller, and he weaves contemporary and arresting stories into the biblical narrative that brings the gospel to life. This book is amazing because it manages to haul history in the very present in the person of Jesus and never wavers.  Jesus is the answer, Jesus is everything, Jesus makes life transforming difference - just read on…

I recommend this book for people searching, and new to the Christian faith.  Give them a bible as a priority but give them this book as a gift too in case they get stuck as we all do in parts. Think of it as a companion for the new testament.  

I recommend this book to preachers too - it is packed with illustrations for sermons using everyday language. In this sense it can be used as a reference book.   I particularly liked the chapter at the very end - ‘He is coming back.  Why don’t we preach on judgment much these days?   Maybe you do - but I was challenged to do it more and this book will help me do this in a world where the focus is on me me me and not being accountable to anyone.

The chapters are short, and the book is clearly laid out so you can find you way around.  Commentaries can be dry and too detailed.  Testimonies are great but sometimes not rooted in scripture - this book offers a refreshing mix of both gospel narrative, testimony and theological reflection.  I am pleased to have a copy, will recommend it to the preaching team here and will order a couple copies more as gifts for those who do not yet know Jesus because I think it will help them.

 

Jane Mitchell

Feb 2021

 

 

 

August 2020

Book Review:  Elaine Storkey

 

Title:   Women in a Patriarchal World

 

This book highlights the strength of women, used by God in the overarching biblical narrative that so often it is missed or hidden. 

 

I relished reading about the lives of women in a patriarchal world because it helped bring alive their contribution and place in the bible.   Some of the characters were new to me so this improved my basic understanding of the bible that was really helpful.    Some stories were very familiar, but the way Elaine Storkey writes drew me into the moment and the context in a new way that revealed a richer understanding of the text. 

 

I felt a sense of relief and justice that the stories of these women in a sense were having a light shined upon them.  Readers seeking to extend their biblical knowledge, investigate the role of women in society or be informed about how God has used women for his divine purpose will be interested in reading this book. 

 

A great strength is that the book is set out in twenty-five short chapters so can be dipped into, referred to, or read sequentially.  It is a useful reference book that can be used alongside commentaries for extra information when preaching.  The book is written in a storytelling style so is easily readable by everyone – it is not a technical book with long words.  Each chapter offers a “Facing our Challenges Today” so offers a way to think through how the women’s stories impact our lives today.  Each chapter also has a couple of starter questions that so the format is readymade for small group or individual studies. 

 

Overall, I found the book an encouragement in my own life as a full time ordained female minister.  I am so grateful for those who have gone before me and for the contribution of men and women over many years to highlight women in a patriarchal world.  I continue to give thanks.  This book is a significant, albeit small part of this overall shared journey.  

 

Revd Jane Mitchell

August 2020

 

 

 

 

Five Events that Made Christianity   John Pritchard

 

I liked the way this book was clearly written in everyday language that is non- threatening and easily readable.  As someone who yearns to share my faith I always want to improve how I do this and this book gave me some clarity and tools to do this.  

 

Personally it helped me to strengthen the connections between the five key events of Christianity that we so often disconnect in deeper individual studies and reflections.  I found the chapter on The Ascension a starting point but still have lots of questions so will seek to do some deeper study around that event. 

 

Despite the readable form I can imagine that some new to Christianity would still find some of the terms and language inaccessible.  However, the joy of how the book is written as part narrative, offers the reader a wonderful chance to take a personal journey of discovery into the heart of a loving God and how he has expressed his love for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus and sending the Holy Spirit. 

 

I would recommend this book to someone who is new to Christianity seeking spiritual insight because it gives plain facts in a readable form.   The book is equally helpful for a mature Christian who would find it liberating to focus in prayer on the five key events that changed history and it will undoubtedly help quip them in sharing their faith with others. 

 

Jane Mitchell

March 2020