17 January 2010

Book Recommendations

I'm not one to write book reviews, and that's not what I intend to do here. (If you are interested in some great, chapter-by-chapter reviews, visit The Red Pen). But when I read a great book I have to recommend it and the following two books are no exception. I began this year with these two books and cannot praise them highly enough. They are both well worth your time!

Trapped in Hitler's Hell is the story of Holocaust survivor Anita Dittman. Written with Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries this is the true story of Anita Dittman as a young girl, and a Messianic Jew, who was literally trapped in the hell that Hitler created. Warning: You will not be able to put this book down! I certainly couldn't! This book is filled with story after unbelievable story of Dittman's life during the Holocaust. But what is so amazing-and so awesome-is that every turn of Dittman's life shows a magnificent revelation and illustration of the sovereignty and the love of God. Our God surely does take care of His children and this book reveals that in a most incredible way!

A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen is quite a bit different than the book above! This book examines the infiltration of ancient mystical practices into Christianity. Not a brand new book, the second edition was printed in 2006 and yet, sadly, the truths in this book seem even more evident today than they were four years ago! An excellent companion to this book is Yungen's For Many Shall Come in My Name which examines, similarly, the growth of the New Age movement in Christianity. If you are someone who hears "mystical" and thinks of wizards and warlocks or who hears "New Age" and thinks of strange music and kids dressed in "goth" then you need to read these books and get yourself educated! Ancient mysticism has crept into Christianity through such leaders as Rick Warren, Beth Moore, and Chuck Swindoll. The entire Emergent Church movement was built around these New Age (although not so "new") ideas. Many oft-promoted and highly acclaimed "Christian" books are actually promoting the ancient mystical practice of contemplative prayer and meditation, something that is neither Christian nor Biblical! You'd be hard-pressed to find a pastor who doesn't have works by Richard Foster or Henri Nouwen sitting on his bookshelf and yet these authors teach these dangerous practices! Foster's Streams of Living Water or The Celebration of Discipline are often recommended to the lay person as good reading for "spiritual formation" and to help one "get closer to God." Ray Yungen has done an excellent job of defining and providing explanation of his subjects. He writes in such a way that, though you are reading and digesting so much content, you never feel as though you are reading a textbook! Yungen's writing style is incredibly reader-friendly and intriguing. Be prepared, because I don't think you'll be able to put this book down either!

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