Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

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General News

September 01, 2005

I know some people have wondered why I’ve had nothing to say about Hurricane Katrina. Fact is that I simply don’t know what to say. I’ve spent hours and hours watching CNN just trying to make sense of it all. It is just an incredible catastrophe that seems so out-of-place here in the industrialized world. Isn’t this sort of thing supposed to happen in parts of the world most of us will never see?

Here are a few interesting Katrina-related links:

A satellite photograph of Katrina taken as it hit the coast. Take a look and be amazed at the power of God.

Eddie Exposito, co-pastor of Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Slidell, has begun a blog to tell of his experiences. You can catch up with him here. James White has begun collecting money for Eddie and his family.

Don Elbourne, pastor of a church in New Orleans, has updated his blog. He and his family are safe, but probably homeless. You can donate money to help the Elbourne family.

Even if you cannot help these families financially, please remember them in your prayers as they face months or even years of trying to rebuild their lives.

August 25, 2005

Thanks to all who participated in this month’s giveaway.

Before I reveal the names of the winners, I’d like to once again thank Monergismbooks.com for their ongoing support. At your request Monergism Books has deeply discounted several titles for everyone who wants them. They have been selected for their overall excellence in theology, scholarship and devotional richness. Visit the site to read about these amazing deals.

Monergism Books

I will announce the next giveaway sometime next month. The details are not fully in place yet, but it will once again feature an autographed copy of a great book and, in all likelihood, another great item.

And now, without any further ado, I will announce the winners of this month’s prize. As always, they were chosen by a random drawing of all the participants. They are:

Dave Lesinski
Tricia Noble

Congratulations to Dave and Tricia. I have contacted each of you seperately and the prizes will be shipped as soon as I receive your information.

As for everyone else, thank you for your participation. Hang in there until next month when I will send information about the next giveaway.

August 25, 2005

“The Christianity that attracts young people is the Christianity of earthly benefits, not the Christianity of an inheritance in heaven. Speak to many young people about our inheritance in heaven, and you’ll get blank stares. They certainly won’t dive into a mosh pit to express their delight with the prospect of Christ in heaven.

It’s a Christianity more enamored with a good time on road trips and summer missions and great youth meetings filled with entertaining presentations of the same message being spoken in the main sanctuary than with a one-way ticket to eternity.

It’s a Christianity that likes to grind to Christian music and wear Christian labels and repent for yesterday’s wrongs rather than meditate on the ecstasy to come.

It’s a Christianity that rolls at the altar at the beginning of the service and then rolls a joint at the end. A Christianity totally an unapologetically enamored with the foretaste of glory but with only a passing thought of glory itself.

And in the end, it is a Christianity that culminates in disillusionment, lethargy, boredom, and unbelief. One thing young people can sniff out is hypocrisy, and the same religion that once drew them often sends them packing. At some point they see that Christians really aren’t that much happier that anyone else. For all the talk, their walk is the same as those who don’t have the talk.

The adults nod their heads at my characterization of the younger generation, thinking it may be the best point I’ve made thus far, but in reality the adults are like the youth.

Or more accurately, the youth are like the adults.”

(Ted Dekker, The Slumber of Christianity, page 73)

Now there is some food for thought.

August 23, 2005

I just received an email saying that John MacArthur will be on Larry King Live tonight (9 EST) talking about Creationism. Other panelists will apparently be:

  • Prof. Barbara Forest, Southern Louisiana University, author of Wedge of Intelligent Design
  • Senator Sam Brownback, conservative (Kansas)
  • Congressman Chris Shea (R)
  • Depok Chopra (lunatic)

While CNN’s site does not confirm this information, I’m guessing it is true. After all, it seems like a strange topic for a spoof email.

August 20, 2005

Is that all I get?

The Thirst Theologian rates my blog a B+. While that is a better grade than I got through most of my years of education, it does beg the question of what it would take to see that improve to A (or even A-). Incidentally, that is a question that rarely troubled me when I was in school.

August 19, 2005

I try to review every book I read. But sometimes I read a book that I feel does not merit a review, or I read half of a book before giving up on it. Today I’ll present a wrap-up of books that either I have read and not reviewed, or that I have tossed aside when only partially complete.

I sometimes feel guilty about not finishing books, yet with a reading list as extensive as the one I have, I suppose I can afford to be at least a little bit picky. At this very moment I have between fifty and fifty-five books stacked on my “to-read” shelf. They are an eclectic mixture of books that look good (Jonathan Edwards by Iain Murray) and others that look really bad (Invitation to Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton). Just for fun, I’ve included a photo (scroll down) that shows the bookshelf that sits behind my desk. The photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, but shows the volume of books I am dealing with here. The top shelf is the “to-read” pile. The discerning reader will notice that the bookshelf is actually a CD rack which I drafted into service when I ran out of space on my existing bookshelves. He may also wish to laugh at the collection of cassettes directly beside this shelf.

What follows is my list of unfinished and unreviewed books.

Islam: What Every Christian Should Know by Bassam Chedid.
Amount Read: 140 pages (50%)

I gave up on this book when I was almost halfway through. The book is an attempt to teach Christians who are ignorant about Islam the fundamentals of the religion. Unfortunately I found it just did not succeed. The book was written in a question and answer format that seemed completely illogical. For example, the first three questions in the first chapter are “Who is an Arab?,” “What religious life was there in Arabia before Islam?,” and “Where did the confusion in Islam about the Trinity come from?” I don’t see the flow from the first two questions to the third. Questions were often asked and answered before the underlying concepts were introduced. Eventually my frustration grew as I realized I was learning very little for all the work of plowing through it. I put it aside.

Why Does Being a Christian Have to be So Hard? by Peter Golding
Amount Read: 68 pages (50%)

This book is a series of sermons on Hebrews 12:1-13. While the sermons were quite well-done, I just did not enjoy reading the book. Because I received it on the same day as forty other books I decided to put it aside and move on to others.

Overcoming the World by Joel Beeke.
Amount Read: 28 pages (15%)

This was a book I thought I would enjoy. It is a book on worldliness, and that is a topic that interests me. Yet in the first couple of chapters Beeke condemns birth control, rock music, drama, dance, film, and so on. I would be far more interested in a book that dealt with wordliness a bit more in the abstract, rather than in a way that simply condemns whatever the author does not approve of. He seemed awfully cranky.

Beyond the Shadowlands: C.S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell by Wayne Martindale
Amount Read: 108 pages (45%)

Beyond the Shadowlands is very well-written and even quite interesting. However, it assumes a lot of knowledge of the fictional writings of C.S. Lewis, and this is knowledge I simply do not have. While I enjoyed what I read, I grew frustrated by the constant references to characters and circumstances that meant nothing to me. It is a book I will return to when I have read more of Lewis’ fictional works. If you have read many or most of Lewis’ books this is a book you may want to pick up.

Carrying the Flag by Gordon Rhea
Amount Read: 100%

My father gave me this book when we were at the cottage a couple of weeks ago. It is an excellent account of the military career of Charles Whilden, whom the author suggests is one of the Confederacy’s most unlikely heroes. Whilden lived a life noteworthy for a series of near misses. It seems that he failed at everything he attempted. When he enlisted in the Confederate army he was old, bald and epileptic. Yet he played a pivotal and overlooked role in a great battle. It was a fun read and one I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in Civil War history.

The Great Omission by Trevor Harris
Amount Read: 100%

This is the only Christian book I have completed this year that I chose not to review. I realized after I completed it that I had no idea what it was about or what the author was trying to tell me. Rather than express such negativity in a review I thought I’d just let it go.

Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
Amount Read: 100%

This is an excellent book that I read for the second time earlier this year. The HBO mini-series is also very good. This is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the Second World War.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is the poor, overburdened CD rack / bookshelf.

To Read

August 19, 2005

I am trying to piece together a project involving teen bloggers. A glance at my RSS Reader shows that I regularly read only one blog written by a teenager, so I am a bit clueless here. If you are a teen and would like to learn more please feel free to contact me. Similarly, if you know of a teen who blogs and may be interested in participating, please let me know or have that person get in touch with me.

I believe I will try to work with only Christian bloggers at the moment. I would prefer teens who write substantive posts that go beyond, “Oh my gosh I, like, so hate my mom!”

August 18, 2005

A weekly update

I did the weekly update over at Diet of Bookworms today. If you’re looking for a second (or third, or fourth, or ninth) opinion on Praying Backwards you’ll be able to find it there. I must have added 20 or 30 new reviews, several of which were for that particular title.