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Book Notes

Written by Chris Van Doodewaard
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Where do I draw the line?
Author: Michael P. Farris; published by Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55438, 1992
A steamroller of secularism is grinding at Christians in North America. Our churches, our schools, our children, our nation are under constant pressure to conform to unbiblical standards. What do you do when your boss wants you to attend a new age seminar What are your rights when your teener is required to view explicit materials in class? Are we being pushed to the limit? Do parents have rights? Does religious freedom still exist? Farris, (USA) Christian. lawyer, states, "I've spent the majority of my legal career in court litigating against public school officials. I have spent more than a decade defending home schools, Christian Schools, and Christian parents in conflict with public education."

On the political front his perceptions are worth noting: "Christian conservatives have been used and manipulated by other conservatives who wanted our help to put their kind of people into important office. We may yet learn from hard lessons like these: We need to demand more firm our political leaders as a condition of our support.

We should think about his proposed steps of action to protect our church: Every church should have a written employment policy. If you put the requirement that all staff members are expected to assist in spiritual counseling (every Christian is to be a witness!) and share the plan of salvation, in their job description, for all staff members, your church will be in a much better position to defend a potential employment discrimination suit. Your employment policy should make clear that any person may be immediately terminated if they begin a pattern of living that evidences a rejection of the spiritual principles of the church.

The chapter on homosexuality and gay rights laws and how we are to react, is necessary reading for everyone. On divorce he states: "In many churches divorce is readily accepted as a way of life. If we want families to remain intact, let's be sure that the life messages we hear in our churches promote fidelity." Farris also devotes a chapter to "The Global Battle for Religious Freedom." This book, written in an American context has much meaningful information applicable to the spiritual battle raging around us. We live in perilous times and should be thoughtful and prepared for developments which appear to be imminent and read.

Beyond Promises, a Biblical challenge to promise keepers.
Authors: David Hagopian & Douglas Wilson; published by Canon Press, Moscow, Idaho, USA, 1996.
This interesting book discusses a contemporary movement from a Biblical perspective. Bringing an objective approach, Beyond Promises recognizes. the good in Promise Keepers, a movement attempting to restore the biblical position of the male's responsibility as leader of his wife and head of his household. Yet, the book also provides a profoundly sobering view of the movement If you have read the Promise Keeper books or attended rallies but suspected something wasn't quite right and were not quite able to put your finger on the problem, this book is for you. The author states on page 38, "One need not listen to Promise Keepers speakers long, or read what some in the movement have written, before realizing that the 'gospel' Paul repeatedly speaks of gets very little, if any, air time." "The 'gospel' proclaimed by some Promise Keepers spokesmen is, with a few notable exceptions, nothing short of moralism, pure and simple. To be saved, we are told what we must do."

This book also expresses what the movement must do to have the positive impact many expect it to have. The authors present a solidly Reformed view of salvation and works. Page 227 states "The grace found in Jesus Christ does not mix with anything else." The ground of our salvation is the person and work of Christ alone. The central doctrine of the Bible is the truth that we are saved by grace. The doctrine of justification by faith alone was the controversy that shook the church at the time of Martin Luther. We see that the Promise Keepers movement has capitulated to the influence of Roman Catholicism on this essential Reformed doctrine at its last conference in 1991. This book is well written and a must read for all those who have an interest in current events or in the movement itself. It should also be in our church libraries as a resource on a movement which is gaining influence in the evangelical community around us.

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