Crossing the Deep by Kelly Martin

Crossing the Deep by Kelly Martin is the dramatic story of a teen girl, Rachel, who traveled with her church’s youth group to the Smokey Mountains for a hiking adventure only to find herself lost and injured within the mountainous terrain. Not only is she hurt, unable to find her way out, she is stuck with a relative stranger, Asher, who reluctantly went along with the youth trip only to escape his abusive home environment.

While Rachel reads her Bible for comfort, praying continuously and trusting that God will bring them to safety, she is met by constant criticism from Asher, who believes “God” is nowhere to be found and couldn’t care less about their plight. Will Rachel ever be able to reach Asher with the truth? Will they ever find their way out of the mountain? Will they even survive as the weather turns sour?

Crossing the Deep is a Christian young adult fiction novel. Typically I do not read fiction books, but I decided to pick this one up because the author is a fellow writer and friend of mine. I have to admit, despite my trepidation, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I found that I could not put it down–I started it late one night and finished it the next morning. I haven’t read a fiction novel that kept my interest so fully since “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers.

If you enjoy fiction (and even if fiction isn’t really you’re thing) you’ll be entertained by this young adult novel. I would certainly recommend it for any lover of a good action/adventure story.

Crossing the Deep was published by Astraea Press on October 8, 2012, and is available for the ridiculously low price of $2.99. It’s too good of a deal to pass up and I hope you’ll take the opportunity to show some love and support to a great writer (and friend) who worked tirelessly to bring the world a wonderfully inspirational—and exciting–tale.

(I purchased this book on my own accord and was not required to give a positive review. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not coerced in any way.)

Kelly Martin is a southern girl who lives with her husband and three rowdy, angelic daughters. By day, she is a teacher. By night, she is a crazy-haired, multi-tasker who writes with a two year old standing on her shoulder while watching PBS Kids. You can find her at any of her two blogs: Kelly Martin’s Stories (author blog) and Encourage 365 (daily devotional blog).
Kelly loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep.

Crossing the Deep Purchase options:

Amazon

Barnes and Nobles

Astraea Press

The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack

The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack is the true story of three Mexican fishermen lost at sea for more than nine months. The fishermen were believed to be dead, but in a shocking turn of events, a Chinese fishing crew happened upon them near the coast of Australia, where they had drifted more than 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

Woven within this amazing story of survival is another “survivor” tale. The story of Joe Kissack, successful TV media mogul, tells of a man so wrapped up in his own success and wealth he finds himself lost in his own personal sea of misery. Enveloped in addiction and depression, Joe finally hit rock bottom. It was there that he found salvation and recovery in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Fourth Fisherman is a compelling tale of an incredible, almost unbelievable, story of survival and hope. Not just for the fisherman, but for Joe—the “fourth” fisherman. Eventually Joe and the fishermen meet face to face where their stories finally converge. Joe fights for several years to make sure the fishermen’s story of faith is appropriately represented in the media. He finds, however, that the majority of Hollywood is only interested in the gruesome, and often completely inaccurate, details of the fishermen’s story. A story—the true story—of faith which led these men to persevere is nowhere on the media’s radar.

This in an amazing book, and truthfully once I started it I could not put it down. Not only is the tale of survival amazing, but also how God worked out the intricate details to allow the lives of Joe and the fishermen to cross, enabling the story of their faith and perseverance to be told. This book reads a lot like a novel and there is not one dull moment to be found in its pages. Joe is honest about his struggles too, which I especially appreciated. I can’t think of a single person who would not be blessed and encouraged through the reading of this story.

The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack was published by Waterbrook Press in March 2012 and is currently available for purchase.

(I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.)

When Life’s a Herd of Chaos by Rachel Quinley

When Life’s a Herd of Chaos by Rachel Quinley has to be one of the most unique devotionals I have ever read. I absolutely love it. I think I’ve read so many devotionals over the years I’ve become jaded. After all, how many times have lovely sentiments been written with a verse tacked on and a prayer thrown in? Don’t get me wrong, I love devotionals, obviously, because I write them as well. But sometimes they all run together in an ooze of inspiration that never really does what it’s intended to do: awaken spiritual growth.

Such is not the case in When Life’s a Herd of Chaos. This devotional is not only different than anything you’ll probably read (as far as devotionals go); it is also riddled with humor. Rachel has so much charisma as she retells her personal experiences and challenges the reader to examine their hearts. I really cannot praise this book enough. As typical for a devotional, each inspiration has a verse and prayer included, but even the format behind that is much different than one might expect. The illustrations are marvelous and unexpected. I found myself laughing and being convicted in the time span it took to read the short writings—about two minutes or so. The following are some examples of chapter titles to whet your appetite:

Who Gives a Care?

Feel Like a Reject?

In a Jam and Can’t Get Out

A Quarter-Back Christian

Don’t Explode—Go Slow! When you’re ready to wrap a golf club around a tree because you missed a shot, step back, lay the club down, and if necessary, pick up your bag and go home. That’s better than ruining your golf club—and Christian reputation.” (pp.21-22)

The above quote is one of many humorous illustrations making important—convicting—points of truth. I love this devotional, I refer to it over and over again, and I strongly urge you to pick up a copy for yourself. Rachel Quinley sent a copy to me personally, and she assures me she will do the same for anyone else interested. You can contact her at rachelquinley@att.net for pricing and shipping information. You can also read more from “When Life’s a Herd” as well as other inspiring devotionals on her blog: Rachel’s Knee Mail.

(I received this book from Rachel Quinley in exchange for my honest review. I was not paid to give a good review, and every opinion here is strictly my own.)

Rachel Quinley is an experienced writer and speaker, having traveled throughout the United Staes, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands, sharing devotions at Christian seminars and conferences. She is also a published writer for magazines and leadership manuals. Rachel and her husband, Ernest, live in Mobile, Al.

Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo

Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo could be aptly described as the Red Letter Revolution Movement’s manifesto of sorts. The text is written out as a dialogue between Tony and Shane, explaining their views/beliefs regarding a wide assortment of topics from racism, abortion, church history, liturgy, and much more. All of these tied in to what they call the “Red Letter Movement”–a group of self-described radicals who believe the keys to living are found solely within the red letters of Christ found in the Gospels.

I was initially interested in the book based solely on the title. What Christian doesn’t want to live out the “red letters” of Jesus? An unbelieving world would likely view a sold-out Christian as being radical, so that term alone didn’t resonate negatively with me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get far into the text before disappointment set in. While I didn’t mind the dialogue-type format, I did mind the modern slant and somewhat “new-age” overtones sprinkled throughout the text. I was also quite disappointed in the lack of Scriptural evidence used to back up any of the author’s opinions. Perhaps I was to simply trust their words as truth.

Not wanting to make a rash judgment, though, I stuck with the book as long as possible, but in the end I could not finish it. Certainly my opinion is not a reflection of the authors’ character, as I believe their faith to be wholly genuine and heartfelt. I have no doubt they mean what they say, and live what they believe in an active way.

Most Christians would agree that no one is a judge of the heart except God. It is very possible that there are genuine believers amongst all faiths. What I don’t ascribe to, however, is the need to adopt the practices of various faiths which differ from my own. In the chapter “Dialogue on Liturgy”, Shane talks extensively about reciting certain prayers along with the benefits of using prayer beads. His suggestions, though well-intentioned, set off alarm bells for me. His argument is mostly based on the “works” of many catholic saints and nuns—their works being an outward display of a genuine love for Christ. I have nothing against Catholics, Mormons, Methodists, or anyone else. But I cannot agree with being good (as in doing good deeds) as a sole evidence of genuine faith. A lot of people do great things in the world, but they do not really know Christ. I believe that type of thinking is dangerously erroneous. Tony goes on to say,

“Spiritual disciplines, which include liturgical practices, are requirements for those who are committed to living out the red letters of the Bible. Such disciplines keep us focused on Christ and facilitate our surrendering to an infilling of Christ’s spirit.” (pg.40)

The last thing I need is more practices and procedures to prove to the world I am who I say I am (Christian). Should I cross myself before I pray as well? Will that give me more of the Holy Spirit? I’m sorry, but I do not need beads, books, or regulatory prayers to ensure I am communicating appropriately with Jesus. This is not a judgment against those who do use these things—it’s just not for me. Furthermore, I have no knowledge of such disciplines being a requirement for the filling of the Holy Spirit, and don’t appreciate the implication that I cannot be a “red letter” Christian or filled with the Spirit unless I adopt such practices.

Overall the tone of this book comes across (to me) as very worldly, new aged, and mystical. I would not recommend this book to anyone, unfortunately. My suggestion for someone wanting to live out the life and words of Jesus is to study the Bible—all of it. Not just the red letters, but the black letters of the Old and New Testaments. Surrendering to Christ is the real beginning to reflecting His character. If one wants to study beyond the Bible, I would encourage that person to seek doctrinally sound material and to weigh any books/study guides against the authority and accuracy of Scripture.

Red Letter Revolution is published by Thomas Nelson and available for purchase on Tuesday, October 9, 2012.

**I received Red Letter Revolution from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive opinion–and all of the sentiments written here are strictly my own.**

Positive Life Principles for Women by Karol Ladd

Karol Ladd, bestselling author of over 25 books, will be releasing her latest work, Positive Life Principles for Women, in February 2013. Positive Life Principles for Women is short, sweet, and easy to read, but by no means is shallow. Quite the contrary, actually, this book is full of convicting spiritual truth. If you have lived a less-than-perfect life wondering how or what God could possibly do with your spiritual ugliness, then you will find great encouragement in this book.

Positive Life Principles is unique in many ways. Each chapter includes a section titled: Powerful Truth, Plan of Action, Pay it Forward, Place it in Your Heart, and Discussion Starters.  Powerful Truth is just that, a powerful one sentence take-away from the text covered. Plan of Action outlines several easy steps to put what the reader learns into visible action. Pay It Forward describes simple suggestions to reach out and touch someone else’s life and get the focus off of self. Place it in Your Heart provides a suggested verse for memorization, to further aid the reader in internalizing and living out spiritual truths. Discussion Starters includes a few thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter perfect for group study or even individual use.

Within the text, Ladd addresses several key issues in many women’s lives; negative thinking, dealing with fear, being flexible, being an encourager (versus a discourager), and much more. Overall this book far exceeded my expectations. I have read many books addressing these issues, but Ladd approaches them in a new, creative way. My eyes were opened to personal areas of needed spiritual improvement, without making me feel like a reject or a failure. In fact, the only negative thing I can say about it is that it wasn’t long enough (the book is only 120 pages).

If you’re a Christian woman (perfect or not), or if you know one, this book is a must read. I have no doubt it will be used in many churches as a group study once it is released.

You can read more about Karol Ladd, her books and her ministry, at http://www.Positive LifePrinciples.com. Her newest book, Positive Life Principles for Women will be released on February 1, 2013.

(I received Positive Life Principles for Women by Karol Ladd from Harvest House Publishers for review purposes only. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.)

Promises of Hope for Difficult Times by Jane Kirkpatrick

Jane Kirkpatrick is a New York Times bestselling author having written nineteen novels and four non-fiction titles. In her latest book, Promises of Hope for Difficult Times, Jane Kirkpatrick draws on her experience as a mental health care professional and personal caregiver to offer 140 inspiring devotions for the weary heart seeking restful encouragement.

Promises of Hope offers a variety of pleasant devotions clearly inspired by the author’s personal experiences with death, illness, life changes, and aging.  Each devotion is short and sweet, with a verse included for reflection. Off the top of my head I could think of several people in my life who may enjoy such a devotional.

On the downside, I had a difficult time applying the concepts to my own life, as a woman not yet thirty. Most of the author’s experiences are written, it seems, for the person approaching the later years of life. I certainly believe any middle-aged woman or older could relate well and appreciate the devotions. Despite the generational gap, I found a few spiritual takeaways applicable to my own place in life and would definitely recommend this devotional to family and friends experiencing the specific challenges addressed in this book.

“How we carry our load makes such a difference in how long we can endure the burden…Allowing others to see our burden is not a sign of weakness but of courage.” (pg. 138)

Promises of Hope for Difficult Times by Jane Kirkpatrick will be available for purchase on February 1, 2013. You can learn more about Jane’s ministry by visiting her website at http://www.jkbooks.com/

**I received Promises of Hope for Difficult Times by Jane Kirkpatrick from NetGalley for review purposes only. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.**

1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ by Jonathan Falwell

Jonathan Falwell, vice chancellor for spiritual affairs at Liberty University and senior pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church, has written a detailed account of the life of Jesus during His earthly ministry in 1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ. Falwell does an extraordinary job chronicling the life of Jesus in an interesting, thought-provoking way. But this book isn’t just a list of activities; it delves the depths of Christ’s motivations, feelings, and experiences walking this earth in human flesh. The reader is not only informed, but challenged to apply spiritual truths to their own lives—to adopt the mission of Christ as their own.

“Jesus did not promise us a life free of trouble. He is called the God of all comfort—and if there were no troubles, He would not need to be called by this name. Jesus does not promise freedom from all problems, but He does promise that we will never face situations alone.” –1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ by Jonathan Falwell (pp. 9-10)

1000 Days addresses not only the ministry of Christ but the impact His ministry has for every person claiming to be a Christ-follower, both past and present. The text carefully walks through Jesus’ mission along with His expectations of those who follow Him. I particularly appreciated chapter four which walks through the first several verses of the Sermon on the Mount. He answers some important questions regarding this passage like what do the “beatitudes” really mean for you and me, and how did Jesus display them in His life? This chapter alone merits the purchase of this book and is something I will be referring to many times over.

Falwell also addresses the subjects of hypocrisy among believers, the doctrine of hell, dealing with temptation, authentic worship, pure motives, and what it really means to be a “Christian”.

“What does He mean that apart from Him we can do nothing? Jesus was not talking about what you and I can accomplish on a daily basis, what tasks to perform, what skills we can exercise, or how fast we can tick off our to-do lists, He was saying that we will accomplish nothing of eternal value unless what we do is based on the resources God gives. Without the life of Jesus flowing through us, our accomplishments don’t amount to a hill of beans.” (pg. 150)

Overall it is a phenomenal read and I highly recommend it. 1000 Days left me encouraged, motivated, inspired, and challenged to know and reflect the life of Christ more. Questions are also included at the end of each chapter for personal or small group study.

(I received 1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ by Jonathan Falwell from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and every opinion expressed here is my own.)

To purchase 1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ Click HERE.

No Way Out But Through by Graham Aitchison

Mental illness, spiritual warfare, addiction, bullying, rage, hopelessness, physical sickness, abuse, emotional torture–Graham Aitchison divulges the deepest secrets of his life’s journey with startling transparency in No Way Out But Through.

Anyone who has experienced the pain of the above mentioned issues will find themselves nodding in agreement as they read Graham’s story. The text is refreshingly real—as if you are sitting in a living room listening to the author tell you his story first-hand. It’s rare that a book is written from the view of “sharing” rather than “preaching”. Along with the “realness” of the authors journey is a manuscript packed with spiritual truth.

I found this to be a fascinating read once I got into the meat of the story. So much of Graham’s life reflects my own struggles with mental illness. Often the journey through mental/emotional sickness leads one into isolation, misunderstanding, and intense loneliness, but knowing others have suffered as you have brings great comfort. Even for the reader who has not experienced such things, there is much to learn from No Way Out But Through. Graham’s book provides a resource for the confused family members and frustrated friends of those who do deal with these issues. All around it’s a book many people could benefit from.

What I found most interesting was Graham’s discussion of Christianity and mental illness. No doubt this is a subject of much debate in the Church today leaving the mentally distressed guilt-ridden and most everyone else critical of such “mental” experiences.

“Throughout everything I was learning to break through, there was one essential factor to the whole process that I became more and more aware of over time – the great love and endless patience that God has for people, especially those who struggle with any form of mental illness.”

Graham acknowledges the spiritual warfare at play within his mind as well as how God brought him through overwhelming, debilitating darkness. Much of his journey to healing started with honesty within himself and before God. Many of the points he makes throughout the book remind me of what I learned in the 12-step programs I’ve been through. I especially appreciated his conversation regarding change within the heart rather than change in one’s circumstances.

“Change for the better starts from within, and will then eventually be followed by external change – not the other way around. We will never solve our own problems through trying to blame others for what are actually our own responsibilities, nor will we solve our problems through continued disregard of our own emotions and hearts, and through listening to an increasingly shallow and self-serving society.”

“Modern society in many ways tells people to look for peace and happiness in external circumstances, hence the abundance of consumerism. Christ’s way of thinking, which He passes on to those who follow him, encourages the individual to seek out true, lasting peace and understanding through looking honestly into the mirror and journeying with God through the parts of themselves they would rather avoid.”

Admittedly not everyone will relate to Graham’s story, but plenty of people will relate or know someone who can.  If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the mind of someone suffering with mental illness such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, severe anxiety, anger, or bullying, then you will learn much from Graham’s story. No Way Out But Through reads like a journal–raw and real.

“God’s way of thinking is a total contradiction to the world’s way of thinking. The world’s way of thinking encourages dishonesty, shallowness, irresponsibility and pride. God’s way of thinking encourages honesty, depth, personal responsibility and humility.”

Thankfully, this is exactly what Graham has done—spoken with depth, honesty, responsibility and humility.

For a limited time you can purchase Graham Aithchison’s book, No Way Out But Through from Amazon.com for only $2.99. Click HERE to buy the book now.

(I purchased this book with my own money and did not receive it in exchange for a good review. The opinions expressed here were my own.)

 

Living Close to God…by Gene Edwards

Living Close to God (When You’re Not Good At It) by Gene Edwards was written for the spiritually handicapped. Edwards describes the “spiritually handicapped” as those who struggle with intimacy in their fellowship with God, who falls asleep during prayer, who has a difficult time focusing during prayer, or someone who lacks the “spirituality” displayed in other Christians.

The chapters are short and the text is easy to read and understand—even a new believer would be able to grasp the exercises suggested. Edwards explains how learning to fellowship with God need not be limited to rigid devotional times, or lengthy eloquent prayers. One doesn’t need a college degree, a high-school diploma, or even be able to read. Edwards makes some intriguing points concerning the education level of most of Jesus’ followers in the Bible, notably that they were 98 percent illiterate.

Living Close To God makes several suggestions to aid the “spiritually inept” in their journey to experience Jesus and hear His voice. Consistent throughout the book was the importance of slowing down–slowing way down–and speaking words of praise to Jesus. Edwards also talks at length about repeating portions of specific Scriptures out loud to God, along with proclaiming one’s love for God, rather than focusing on prayers of request or personal need.  The author makes several useful suggestions that may help the reader “remember” to focus on the Lord for at least a few seconds every day.

I believe a new Christian would benefit most from this book, or perhaps someone who finds it easy to read/study things about God, but hasn’t developed an intimate relationship with Him. The person who seems to be too busy to slow down or the person raised in a legalistic environment who focused solely on “doing” may also find the tips in Living Close To God helpful.

The only problems I had with this book were of feeling pity for the author and the constant redundancy of the text. He stated many times how he had never been told how to experience Jesus on an intimate level while repeating the same “techniques” to aid in intimacy over and over again. I found it difficult to accept that he had never heard about praying Scripture before. Edwards also talked about the church not coming together to experience the presence of Jesus in this way, and I had to disagree with that. I’ve been to many churches that pray Scripture, encourage slowing down, being still, and listening to God.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone I know mainly because my Christian friends already adopt the tips he suggested. As I mentioned before, however, it may be perfect for a new Christian or one who, like the author, has never been shown how to rest in God’s presence, listen to His voice, and spend time praising Him through word and song.

(I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group and was not required to give a good review.)

Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free by Tullian Tchividjian

No one is exempt from suffering, whether physically, emotionally, or relationally. It matters not if a person is a Christian—everyone experiences suffering to some degree. No doubt suffering has been written about, studied, debated, and discussed for generations. Over time one may begin to wonder if there can possibly be anything new to say about it.  But Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free by Tullian Tchividjian does exactly that. This may be one of the most important books a Christian could read in today’s publishing market. My view on suffering was challenged throughout this book, and by the end of it, I found myself deeply affected in a spiritually transforming way.

Glorious Ruin discusses at length two key issues: The Theology of Glory and the Theology of the Cross. Throughout the text Tchividjian explains the origins of both, as well as key differences between the two.

Glorious Ruin is brimming with powerful truth which provokes pause and careful contemplation in the reader. With brutal honesty, the belief system of the majority of modern Christians is challenged to go well beyond what is generally understood about suffering. Tchividjian also challenges the ideologies permeating from the Prosperity Gospel, Scientism, and Nihilism as well as skillfully working through the New Age “self-transformation” movement. He exposes the fallacy of Karma, and how most every Christian is tainted with the idea that “what goes around comes around”–whether they realize it or not.

“We communicate that God exists for our benefit, happiness, self-fulfillment, and personal transformation. Those aren’t necessarily bad things, and God isn’t necessarily opposed to them, but God in Christ cannot be reduced to a means to our selfish ends. He is the end Himself!” (pg. 47)

Christ cannot be reduced to a means to our selfish ends. He is the end Himself! <<<< Click to Tweet!

A tremendous amount of detail goes into studying the effects of moralizing and minimalizing suffering, namely within the Church community. We may think we are not guilty of such attitudes, but this book challenges thinking and promotes deep introspection on such issues. If we’re honest, we’ll admit we are at least tempted to rationalize suffering, or explain it, using the word of God. We tend to, at least subconsciously, feel the need to defend God’s allowance of certain tragedies. Glorious Ruin is not another book to offer reasons why a person suffers, it simply points to the Gospel repeatedly as not needing a defense or an explanation.

“The Gospel is not ultimately a defense from pain and suffering; rather, it is the message of God’s rescue through pain.” (pg. 38)

Unlike many Christian resources currently available, it’s clear Glorious Ruin was not written to promote a certain doctrine or theology, but focuses solely on the Gospel as it is written in the Bible, especially through the life and words of Jesus.

“What God pressed deeply into me is that there is no true, lasting hope outside of Him. Specifically, there is no true, lasting hope outside of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I’m not talking about an explanation of what happened on Calvary—I’m talking about Calvary itself.” (pg. 150)

Perhaps one of the most poignant messages of the entire book deals with our inherent need to have things explained. Our natural tendencies are predisposed to asking the Why and How of our circumstances. The following quote hit home for me, personally.

“Explanations…are a substitute for trust, a red herring at best. God is interested in something much more powerful than anything information could ever produce. He is interested in faith.” (pg. 152)

I like to keep my personal “opinions” out of book reviews, keeping to the factual content of the book and letting the reader decide if its right for them, but this case proved impossible for me. I cannot withhold the deep impact this book had on my life and how the truth it contains applies to every living soul on the planet. If you think you know everything about suffering already, I plead with you to read this book. If you live a comfortable life, relatively free of what you consider suffering, I plead with you to read this book anyways—if not for yourself, for the people who walk in to your life who have suffered in ways you may not be able to relate to.

One thing you will not find in Glorious Ruin is an attempt to trivialize pain, or compare one person’s experience to another. Tchividjian rightly acknowledges that we all suffer in unique ways and God has a plan to set us free through that suffering, no matter what its form. Simply put, Glorious Ruin is a must-read Christian resource.

Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free by Tullian Tchividjian is published through David C. Cook and is scheduled to be released on October 1, 2012.

(I received this book for review purposes only and was not required to give a positive review.)

Tullian Tchividjian is the Senior Pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He is also the grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham. Tchividjian is a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and has authored many books including Jesus + Nothing = Everything.