Reviews: April 2013

Daniel Zacharias, The Singing Grammarian

I am becoming a connoisseur of Macnair’s textbook, having had the recent pleasure of teaching all the chapters I never totally understood first time round.  But this video/audio resource from Zacharias is a completely new concept for me – singing Koine grammar songs!  I wasn’t sure what to make of it from the beginning, perhaps mostly because it put me in mind of learning a foreign language in primary school – whilst it is one thing to sing along at the age of ten, could I imagine getting a class of first year theology students to do the same thing?

In short, the answer had to be no!  I’m sorry because I recognise how much work has gone into the production of this resource and I also know the value of this approach to language learning.  But I couldn’t keep a straight face singing along (sadly, songs such as Frere Jacques will never be the same again for me!) and so I cannot conceive of taking this resource into a classroom.  That said, it’s still not a bad tool for students to use alone should they so choose.  After all, anything which helps to nail the intricacies of grammatical endings has to be worth exploring!  For that reason, I am recommending this resource but with the caveats mentioned.  (And if you hear me singing strange words to Frere Jacques sometime, do just give me the benefit of the doubt and ask me no questions!)

I received a free copy of this resource from Kregel Publications in return for a fair review.

Craig Groeschel, Altar Ego

Though the world tells us to seek fame, accomplishments and success…though those around us label us as father, mother, husband, wife…though we ourselves count our identity as empty, depressed, or angry…these labels are not all there is to say.  You are not, in fact, who you think you are.  So says Groeschel in this, his latest book.  You are not who you think you are; rather you are who God says you are and, until you can lay your own understanding of who you are on the altar, you won’t become that person.

This book was quite well-written and relatively engaging.  For me, the most memorable part of the book was about boldness in prayer: whilst I didn’t find that the book said anything new, I did find that it teaches truth in a simple, clear and arresting way and therefore I would be tempted to recommend it to newer Christians.

I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in return for a fair review.

Betty Malz, Angels By My Side

Betty Malz suffered a ruptured appendix and was eventually declared dead.  Yet some minutes later, she came back to life with a whole new interest in angels, having had some kind of angelic encounters in those few minutes.  As the years passed after this time, Malz seemed everywhere to meet others who were keen to talk about their own experiences of angels and this is the record of those stories which she was told.

You may react like me to such books, assuming that they are influenced by the New Age and divorced from the gospel of Jesus.  But Malz’s book is refreshing in that she is clear that Jesus was at the centre of her death experience and that angels are sent to do his work. The stories she tells are captivating and reminded me of the word in Hebrews which encourages believers to offer hospitality knowing that they may thereby entertain angels unawares – this was a book which reminded me that, according to Scripture, angels are real and active today.  In such a rationalistic age, such a reminder can only be a good thing.

I received a galley copy of this e-book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

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