The Book Corner
When Christians Clash. By Horace L. Fenton, Jr. Downers Grove, II: InterVarsity Press, 1982. 158pp. N.p.
Family fights and feuds can be ugly and long lasting. God’s family, sad to say, has had its share of feuds.
Horace Fenton writes from over fifty years’ experience as a Christian. For many of these years he served as a missionary in Central America. He writes with compassion and with the wisdom of much experience.
There are many practical suggestions which may prove helpful in resolving disputes or at least in helping adversaries to part peaceably. Mr. Fenton realizes that at times doctrinal difference will prevent Christians from working closely together. But he pleads for all to have a spirit of reconciliation.
“The cost may be high—including death to our pride and to some of our long-cherished viewpoints, which we may easily mistake for God-given convictions. But with a sovereign God, all things are possible—even the miracle of reconciliation” (p. 158).
—Donald L. Norbie
How to Counsel from Scripture. By Martin and Deidre Bobgan. Chicago, II: Moody Press, 1985. 224 pp. N.p.
Counseling is in and preaching is out in the thinking of many. Some preachers have given up the pulpit to become certified counselors. There is an air of mystery about counseling in the thinking of many. One should have an advanced degree in psychology before presuming to advise or counsel lay people.
The Bobgans say, “Nonsense! Every Christian has the best handbook on counseling ever written, the Bible.” In a very convincing manner they build their argument so that Christians will not feel intimidated by psychological degrees and theories.
Only about five percent of people who need counseling suffer from some organic disorder. The majority need advice about problems of living (p. 4).
“The high divorce, suicide and burn-out rate among psychotherapists indicate the fragmentation that underlies many of their personal lives and professional practices, and yet people look to them for wisdom in how to live happily and successfully” (p. 7).
A hurried professional counselor giving fifty minutes of time each week cannot see the healing accomplished that a Christian community can that embraces the person in a loving relationship.
“The Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit are sufficient to transform the problems of living and can do so with no help from psychological theories or techniques” (p. 8).
“God’s love is the primary motivation for growth and change” (p. 115). A primary goal then is to get people to appreciate God’s love and grace. This will move them to live unselfishly and in accord with Scripture. The world encourages love of self; Scripture urges love of God (p. 126).
A loving community of believers led by wise, experienced leaders can be a healing environment for troubled souls. The Bobgans’ book will encourage your assembly to have such a healing ministry.
—Donald L. Norbie
New Testament Exposition: From Text to Sermon. By Walter L. Liefeld. Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 180 pp. Cloth, N.p.
Dr. Walter Liefeld is Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is a well known Bible expositor and teacher. In this book he deals with the elements of expository preaching and of Biblical exposition in an analytical manner. He treats the subject under three general headings: characteristics of expository preaching, preparation of the text and outlines, and application of the text to the listener. The expository preacher or writer will find many practical helps in preparing New Testament sermons or manuscripts, especially in the field of so-called difficult texts. It is not a book which will appeal to the casual or superficial reader but certainly deserves a place in the library of the serious Bible student and preacher.
There are many notes and references to other writers on the subject and three helpful indexes by authors, subjects, and Scriptural references.
—Arthur F. Wilder