Book Giveaway – How I Changed My Mind About Evolution

This week I’m giving a way a free copy of Intervarsity Press and Biologos’ joint effort How I Changed My Mind About Evolution.

how-i-changed-my-mind-about-evolution

So who should read this book? I think there are several people who need to read it:

  1. People who don’t believe that evolution and Christianity can be compatible. I recommend this to them, not because they should read this and “believe.” Rather It would be helpful for them to see that genuine Jesus loving Christians can hold to evolutionary theory (whether or not they are correct).
  2. Those who feel the tension in holding their belief in evolutionary theory and robust evangelical faith. Such people need exemplars who can show the way forward in how to hold both views together.
  3. People who’s “last objection” to becoming a Christian is that they need to check their rational-scientific mind at the door when coming to faith in Christ.

So if you fall into any of those categories I would love to give you a copy of the book. To win a copy of the book all you need to do is one of the following:

  • Tweet out the link to this blog post or the review and mention @Cwoznicki
  • Retweet my tweet about the giveaway
  • Like this post
  • Comment below on how this book would benefit you

I will be selecting one winner soon. Good luck!

Note: You need to live within the US to be eligible to win a copy of this book.

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How I Changed My Mind About Evolution

No, this is not a blog about how I changed my mind about evolution, however it is a blog about a book containing essays from many well known and well respected evangelicals about how they changed their mind about evolution.

This book, edited by Kathryn Applegate and J.B. Stump contains a numerous amount of essays from some significant names like:

  • James K.A. Smith
  • Scot McKnight
  • Ken Fong
  • Tremper Longman III
  • Francis Collins
  • Oliver Crisp
  • John Ortberg
  • N.T. Wright
  • Richard Mouw

Any book with a collection of new essays from authors like those – on any subject would already be incredibly fascinating, let alone on such a contentious subject among evangelicals, like evolution.

Most of the essays in this book are extremely personal, they recount the stories of the contributors’ journey toward accepting evolution as a viable Christian belief about creation. Many of the stories are quite typical, which some readers will find encouraging.how-i-changed-my-mind-about-evolution The story typically goes something like this: 1)I was taught evolution was a godless, anti-Christian theory. 2) I became very interested in “creation science” in order to defend Christianity. 3) I actually began to learn about science and evolution. 4) I was able to reconcile my faith and this belief. 5)Conclusion: evolution, contrary to what I was taught early on, is not a threat to the faith.

One essay in particular, that I found helpful (no surprise here) in understanding the logic behind most of these “evolutions” in belief about creation, was Oliver Crisp’s essay. In his essay he outlines three principles which have helped him reflect upon how faith connects to evolution. The first is that notion of faith seeking understanding. From a position of faith we are committed to understanding our faith. The second is that all truth is God’s truth. Because God is the creator, not truth will actually be a threat to who God is, so we shouldn’t be afraid to seek truth ruthlessly.  Also, this means that in principle our understanding of Scripture and since are compatible, even though we may not yet see how they are compatible. The third is that God is mysterious. Who can fathom God’s ways in providence and creation. He can create in any way he deems necessary.

So who should pick up this book? I think there are several people who need to read it. First, I think that people who don’t believe that evolution and Christianity can be compatible. I recommend this to them, not because they should read this and “believe.” Rather It would be helpful for them to see that genuine Jesus loving Christians can hold to evolutionary theory (whether or not they are correct). Second, those who feel tension in holding their belief in evolutionary theory and robust evangelical faith. Such people need exemplars who can show the way forward in how to hold both views together.  Finally, people who’s “last objection” to becoming a Christian is that they need to check their rational-scientific mind at the door when coming to faith in Christ. As Oliver Crisp’s essay so clearly articulates, all truth is God’s truth. If our faith is true, and evolutionary theory is true, then this poses no threat to God whatsoever.

Book Giveaway

Book Giveaway: I would love to give out a copy of this book to whoever believes it would be helpful to their faith. In order to be eligible to win a copy of this book you can do one of several things (each will constitute one entry).

  1. Tweet out this blog post and mention @cwoznicki
  2. Like this post.
  3. Comment below on how this book would benefit you and your faith.

I will choose one winner very soon. The winner must live within the US in order to be eligible to receive the book.

(Note: I received this book from IVP in exchange for an impartial review)

Pentecostal Outpourings: Revival and the Reformed Tradition

Pentecostal Outpourings! That definitely doesn’t sound like the title of a book which has a major emphasis on the puritans in the reformed tradition. Nevertheless, it’s a term that’s quite appropriate for describing a number of revivals in the Reformed Tradition during the 18th and 19th centuries. After all, what exactly happened at Pentecost? Well what happened was that God the Father poured out his Holy Spirit onto the church. That’s not something that only Pentecostals, charismatics, or continuationists believe. And its not something that’s exclusive for people of those theological persuasions to seek out. Whether it’s the reformed churches of the “old world”, i.e. Welsh Calvinistic Methodistpentecostal__69435-1446558671-1280-1280s, Irish Baptists, Calvinistic English Baptists, Scottish Presbyterians or the reformed churches of the “new world”, i.e. Baptists, Presbyterians or Dutch Reformed – there is a long history of seeking out revival and more importantly seeking out a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon His people.  This book – Pentecostal Outpourings: Revival and the Reformed Tradition – traces the history of precisely those things….

The book, edited by Robert Smart, Michael Haykin, and Ian Clary is divided into two parts: 1)Revival in the British Isles and 2)Revival in America. The first part covers revivals among Welsh Calvinists, Irish Dissenters, Calvinistic Baptists, and Scottish Presbyterians. Most people familiar with this sort of literature will be familiar with revival among the latter two groups, but as evidenced in these chapters there is much to be learned about revival in the first two groups. Also, and sadly, the former groups haven’t really carried that revival tradition into modern day ministry. The second part covers revival in America. Much of this consists of recounting what happened during the 1st great awakening among various groups including: Presbyterians, Baptists, Congregationalists, and the Dutch Reformed. Again, many will be familiar with the happenings of revival among the first three groups, but revival among the Dutch Reformed will be new territory for many readers.

 

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A picture of Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen – one of the Dutch Reformed Pastors who played a major role in the 1st Great Awakening.

Out of these chapters, (as I hinted at in my twitter feed – @Cwoznicki ) the chapter on revival among the Dutch Reformed was my favorite. Apart from the readability and depth of research of this chapter, I stepped away from it very encouraged and hopeful. The Dutch Reformed revival shows us that there isn’t a split between sound doctrine and revival, that revival can flourish in established churches, and that revival can open up fellowship among peoples of different theological traditions as well as ethnic backgrounds. The Dutch reformed churches not only received African-Americans into their membership, but they even permitted Native Americans to preach from their pulpits. That was truly surprising to me! But above all, what I drew from this chapter was a better picture of the Dutch Reformed ethos. Reading the words of these pastors, I felt as though they were speaking my heart. Let me list a few things that they stressed (231-233):

1)Orthodox Biblical Doctrine + Vital Piety

2)Experience that overflows from the heart in practical obedience.

3)Word and Spirit

4)An emphasis on Evangelism and Discipleship

5)Holiness in the ministry

Reading about our forefathers in the faith has encouraged me to pray for and seek revival along these lines. Revival, contrary to common opinion, is in fact possible among the Reformed churches. In fact, “Reformed ministers have exercised a central role in the major revivals since the Reformation.” (254) I hope that this book will encourage those like me who find themselves within the tradition to lead the efforts in seeking and promoting revival throughout the entire world, not just in our own churches but in all the churches who call upon Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior.

The Happy Christian

Of the writing of self-help books there is no end.

I think the author of Ecclesiastes wrote that or someone else. I don’t really remember… I’m kidding. But really though – whoever is publishing these self-help books is making bank! The formula is pretty easy – you tell the reader that if they follow a few simple steps they will be on track for a better, more fulfilling, happier life. Books like that kind of make me want to gag! So when I saw David’ Murray’s new book The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be A Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World, I was shocked! Really Dr. Murray! Don’t The Happy Christiantell me you have succumbed to the self-help market too! Well – I read the book and I was pleasantly surprised (and definitely relieved)! The title sort of sounds like a self-help book but its not!

In The Happy Christian Murray makes the revolutionary claim that Christians should be the most joyful people on earth. Who would have thought! I mean it seems pretty obvious right? But most Christians don’t actually live joyfully like that. Here is what Murray has to say about Christian happiness:

Christian happiness is so large, so multi-layered, so multidimensional, that its virtually impossible to define in one sentence. But let me try: Christian happiness is a God, centered, God glorying, God given sense of God’s love that is produced by right relationship to God in Christ and that produces loving service of God and others. (xix)

Murray certainly isn’t repacking a health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. Nor is he advocating for the power of positive thinking – he is returning to the core conviction that Christians should be the most joyful and happy people on earth simply because we know God.

Murray begins with three very simple things we need to get right if we are going to be happy:

Facts + Thoughts + Feelings

Prioritize the facts – what is actually true? Interpret the facts! Use the facts do dictate your thoughts and feelings. If every believer simply did this they would live much happier lives.

After establishing this basic foundation Murray walks through several areas where we can begin to find joy in our lives…

Find joy in your salvation

Find joy in community

Find joy in common grace

Find joy in praise

Find joy in serving

Find joy in work

Find joy in diversity

As Christians we have many reasons to be joyful!

Sidenote: My favorite part of the book was the chapter on diversity. Murray is brutally honest and transparent with his own failings and sin when it comes to pursuing diversity. He explains how God challenged him in this area and how he came to repentance. Then he paints a beautiful picture of how God intended his bride to be a diverse body representing people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

Who is book for? Really is for anybody who wants to experience more joy of the Lord in their lives. If that’s you – and you are ready to shed the negativity in your life and exchanged it for the positive power of the gospel then pick up this book when its release in a few weeks.

Until then… I have a copy of the book to give away!

Book Giveaway

To get a free copy do one of the following things and you will be entered to win a copy:

  • Comment below regarding why you want to read this book or how you have recently experienced joy in the Lord.
  • Like this blog post.
  • Re-blog this blog.
  • Like my post on Facebook and/or tell me why you want a copy of the book.
  • Follow me on twitter – @CWoznicki – and tell me why you want this book.

Good luck!

Note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an impartial review.