Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Blessing of Books

I attended Bible College as a young married man.There I found myself and people saw in me a potential student. There, Dean Linn pointed us to the words of Ecclesiastes 12:12 (cf. Eccl. 12:12 NASV). As the Wiseman of Old suggested, there is no end of the writing of books, and for that we are fortunate.

Professors of the stature of Gray, Linn, Caldwell, and Monroe inspired in me a love for books that motivates me to this very day. So, it will be no surprise to you that I do not believe in relegating “newer” books to the archive just because they’ve been around the block a time or two. Amid the new arrivals, here are two worthy of another mention.

1. God Almighty! His Word For Christians, Jews, and Moslems, (self published).Lester Fleenor, longtime Church of God minister-missionary, builds on the truth that “Allah” was the original name that Arabic speaking Jews and Christians used for the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and yes…Jesus (p2).

Fleenor, a pen name, notes further similarities of testimony between “there is no god but Allah” and declarations in Deuteronomy 4:35 and Isaiah 43:10 (p4). The Deuteronomic code states simply “the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.”

Acknowledging that “Allah is the Arabic word for the English word “God,” Fleenor argues that “Allah is not the Muslim God per se. (p8). Quoting Operation World, Fleenor notes that “Saudi Arabia once had a large Christian population,” until “expelled when Islam gained control 1,300 years ago” (p6). I understand him to be saying the real meaning of “Allah” is found in the older, more original (even Christian), meaning of the word than the way contemporary Muslims now use it.

Middleast Christians live comfortably with the use of the word Allah. Differences come when expressing varying “concepts” of Allah. The orthodox Christian view of Allah (God) is expressed through Christ as peace and love. Fleenor questions how anyone can confine this omnipotent God to the limitations of the Muslim sword and Jewish ritual.

Anyone--Christians included--that consider themselves “Christian” but live a life of “materialism, selfishness, and immorality, are believing, living, and promoting a wrong concept of God, for themselves and to others” (p12). That makes it a profanity.

God Almighty is worth your time, money ($15), and thought. Read it to better understand how to converse with your Muslim neighbor about faith. Read it devotionally and enrich your personal walk with God. It can be obtained from the author, at Warner Press, from Reformation Publishers (1-800-765-2464), and probably from

2. The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy, By Daniel Maguire

Maguire argues for a “politics of peacemaking” as an option between pacifism and just-war approaches to conflict.Much of this provocative book examines the strengths and weaknesses of the just-war tradition. It uses recent wars to illustrate how the fervor and momentum of war over-rides the intended restraints of just war criteria. He pleads for pre-emptive justice rather than pre-emptive violence (emphasis added).

This book richly echoes John Howard Yoder’s equally penetrating classic, When War is Unjust: Being Honest in Just-War Thinking.

With the escalation of the Afghan war, volumes like Maguire become even more important, especially when one realizes America is now in its tenth year of Afghan involvement in a war the Afghans have been involved in since 1980 (shades of the thirty years war of Luther‘s day).

Warner’s World,

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