Reviews: Two books on Ruth and Esther
Posted 31 Jul 2020
Carl Chambers and Christopher Henderson review two recent books on Ruth and Esther
RUTH & ESTHER: There is a Redeemer and Sudden Reversals
This is an excellent little book which is well worth a read by anyone with a hunger to know God’s word better. Esther may not mention God in any verse, but each chapter of David Strain’s book not only expounds the text, but also points to Christ in a heart-warming way. He is similarly faithful in opening up Ruth.
The ‘Focus on the Bible’ Series aims to be ‘Readable, Reliable, Relevant’. David Strain’s treatment of Ruth and Esther score highly on each account. The divisions of the text, and thus chapters of the book, are appropriately done, with Ruth broken into six chapters and Esther, nine. In each chapter, Strain expounds the text carefully and movingly. You can tell that this has been worked on by someone who is diligent with the text and the particular nuances that each book brings, just as much as you can hear the preacher’s voice and tone as he opens up God’s word. It was particularly pleasing to see each chapter lead us to fulfilment in Jesus in a real and relevant way: obviously essential but sadly not always included in Old Testament commentaries (or sermons?).
Response to a blogpost about Stephen Sizer
Posted by Lee Gatiss, 28 Jul 2020
Lee Gatiss responds to the mention of Church Society in a recent blogpost about Stephen Sizer
Racial harassment and abuse are offensive to God who made each one of us in his image, and to our Lord Jesus in whom (by grace alone through faith alone) “there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:11).
Church Society has been mentioned in a blogpost concerning the Revd Stephen Sizer against whom various accusations of antisemitic racism have been levelled. Dr Sizer wrote two articles for Churchman published in 1999 and 2001, not singled out for any criticism as such, though as always pointed out in the journal, “the views expressed by authors of articles or reviews do not necessarily represent those of Church Society.” Since we publish a large range of material from diverse sources, clearly we do not endorse all the views of all our contributors, and it has never been necessary to be a member of Church Society (or even an Anglican) to contribute. Stephen Sizer was elected to be a member of Church Society Council in the late 1990s (until 1999). He left the Society for some time, but became a member again briefly as part of the merger with Reform in 2018. He is no longer a member.
We were sent an earlier draft of the blogpost about Mr Sizer, which was considered at our last Council meeting. The Council noted that a proper legal due process seemed to have been followed with regards to him. They were pleased to see that the Board of Deputies of British Jews had agreed its complaint about Dr Sizer’s behaviour was resolved (according to the agreed statement). A further investigation seems to have been undertaken after this too, under the Church of England’s clergy discipline procedure, according to reports. The Council did not consider it to be their place to re-investigate or second guess that complex and time-consuming official process. Ministers are accountable to their bishops.
It was publicly reported that the Bishop of Guildford concluded:
Review: Spurgeon on the Christian Life: Alive in Christ
Posted by Ben Sear, 24 Jul 2020
Ben Sear reviews Mike Reeves's introduction to Charles Spurgeon's teaching on the Christian life.
Michael Reeves has gifted us an excellent addition to the “Theologians on the Christian Life” series, which is clearly written and a joy to read. Reeves does a good job of letting Spurgeon do much of the talking, which he tells us is exactly what he set out to do. The book is, therefore, full of wonderful Spurgeon stories and quotations. The chapter themes provide us with a clear presentation of Spurgeon’s theology and ministry priorities, but also his character and desire to enjoy his God-given life. I think, if anything, it was “meeting” the person of Spurgeon in this book that was the most encouraging part.
In the opening chapter we meet a man whose theology shaped his life, which led to living life “full-on.” He was a kind man, a fun man, someone who lived in the knowledge of his Heavenly Father’s care and sought to enjoy and learn as much about this God-given world as he could. He believed that cheerfulness wins souls. The later chapters remind us that Spurgeon’s life certainly wasn’t free from suffering. He was a man who wrestled with depression and physical pain, but we are given an insight into how he found comfort in Christ and spoke comfort into the lives of others.