The Book Corner
Hand Me Another Brick. By Charles R. Swindoll. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1978, 207 pp. Paper, $3.95.
The theme of this book is leadership, how to develop it and how to use it. The plot is a detailed commentary on the book of Nehemiah and how this great man of God led hundreds of people to rebuild the broken-down walls of Jerusalem. The many and varied problems involved called for leadership of the highest calibre and this is what Nehemiah provided. He was a man of integrity and godliness, and his example in handling difficult people and situations is an inspiration for leaders in every day and age. Nehemiah had an active and keen mind and discovered ability in others as he led the people and delegated work to them.
Swindoll alternates between the performance of Nehemiah as a leader and modern day applications of the principles of leadership in Nehemiah’s life, such as motivation, use of money, how to handle promotion, the cause and cure of discouragement, etc. There is a crying need for leaders in today’s world, and Christians who are aspiring to occupy places of leadership may well devote some time to a serious study of this book. Keeping the Bible alongside when you read it will give you new insights into the life of Nehemiah, as well as other Biblical leaders who relied upon God to show them the way to handle problems. The problems are much the same today. Only the materials and scenery are different; human nature hasn’t changed.
—Arthur F. Wilder
The World’s Religions. Edited by Sir Norman Anderson. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1982, 244 pp. Paper, $4.95.
This volume, first published in 1950, has recently (1982) been reprinted in a revised and enlarged edition that is most welcome. This is primarily an information book, each chapter being devoted to the history and teachings of one of the world’s major non-Christian religions. Included are chapters on Religions of Pre-literary Societies, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, and Confucianism.
While no critique from a Christian perspective is done by the individual authors, a final 10 page chapter by the editor does provide a general and introductory discussion. This material is developed at much greater length in J.N.D. Anderson’s, Christianity and Comparative Religion (published in 1974 by Inter-Varsity Press but now unfortunately out of print), which makes an excellent companion to the present volume.
The great value of this kind of book is that it provides for the thoughtful believer much insight into the uniqueness and profundity of the Christian faith. The Biblical view of reality is radically different from that of the pagan religions, and a much fuller appreciation for Biblical truth in general and the gospel of Christ in particular can be gained through attaining some knowledge of what Paul calls “the elements of the world” (Gal. 4:3, 9; Col. 2:8, 20).
This volume is much cheaper than the encyclopedia/handbook type books on world religions that have been published recently, and there are some advantages to a format where everything on one religion appears together in a single article or chapter.
—Stan F. Vaninger
A Guide to Cults and New Religions. By Ronald Enroth and others. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1983, 215 pp. Paper, $5.95.
“Jesus Christ is not God, never was and never will be” (Victor Paul Wierville). “I declare that you are not sinners, that no one is a sinner” (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh). “By taking this holy wine you will be instantly changed into descendants of God” (Rev. Sun Myung Moon). “It is not possible to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven except through the teachings of ECKANKAR” (Paul Twitchell). “I don’t think Christ ever suffered … It’s a pity that Christ is talked of in terms of suffering” (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). “In actuality, each of us, as the sole creator of our universe, is a God” (est trainer). “Human eyes will not see him at his second coming, neither will he come in a fleshly body” (Watchtower publication).
For several years InterVarsity press has been producing an excellent series of small booklets on various cult groups and new religions. A number of these shorter works have now been revised and compiled to form the present volume.
The first chapter, entitled “What Is A Cult?” by Ronald Enroth, discusses the general features which characterize such groups and serves as an excellent introduction to the chapters that deal with specific cults. The last chapter, entitled “Evaluating Cults and New Religions” by LaVonne Neff, briefly looks at the general position of cults regarding the most basic Christian doctrines and also the proper attitude Christians should have towards these groups.
The bulk of the book consists of individual chapters on The Baha’i Faith, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Eckankar, est, Hare Krishna, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Transcendental Meditation, The Unification Church (Moonies), and The Way. Authors include Mark Albrecht, Brooks Alexander, David Haddon, John Weldon, and J. Isamu Yamamoto, all experts in the field.
—Stan F. Vaninger