Books I’ve Read Recently


I had enjoyed reading the first two Joel Rosenberg books, The Last Jihad, and The Last Days when they came out years ago.   His next 3 books were also highly recommended but I didn’t find them on the used market and had not read them.  Last month when we were in Florida I saw all 5 books in Gus’s bookcase and was delighted when he allowed me to borrow them.

I started reading the first one last week when I visited Jenni and Charlie in Bloomington, Indiana.  In the midst of meals, laundry, cleaning, emailing, biking, shopping, and book editing I finished the last one, Dead Heat, this morning.   The books kept my interest, challenged my thinking, brought tears to my eyes more than once, and left me feeling drained yet hopeful.  I HAD to put a book down occasionally but I COULD have read and read and read.  They are very exciting, interesting, and challenging.

The books were fun reads.   I recognized ideas other authors like C. S. Lewis (Lord, lunatic or liar) and Angela Hunt (The Immortal) had explored.  The gospel explanations were clear and realistic.  The main characters of all 5 stories, Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy, were a tad bit unbelievable but then I live in a van sometimes and wealthy Wall Street whiz kids and beautiful, intelligent CIA operatives are not people I meet in Walmart parking lots!!!  $800 dinners at the top of the restaurant in Gilbralter are also WAY out of my experience!

The auxiliary characters were quite well crafted and I would have liked to know more than a few of them in real life. I especially liked Eli Mordechai, the former head of Mossad.  There were many sinister characters whose motivations were explored and judged fairly.  There were many situations that were frightening in their realism.  I don’t “like” prophecy and I usually shy away from it but these novels did a great job of exploring Biblical texts and creating fascinating scenarios.

I am a Vince Flynn fan.  I actually PAID real dollars to buy the last book when it came out in December.  Flynn’s characters are vividly drawn and exciting but usually do not ponder questions of eternal significance.  I think Rosenberg’s action scenes and insights into government and international conflict compare favorably to Flynn’s writing.  Suprising to me, I actually enjoyed Rosenberg more because he deals with the reality of eternity and truth.  For example, one of Rosenberg’s characters refuses to bend his knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ even though he intellectually believes that the claims of Jesus are true.  He says he is not ready yet to give in.  The very next moment a bullet pierces his body and he dies.  He was THAT close to salvation and he missed it.  It was a sobering scene.

I highly recommend all 5 of these novels.  They are (in order):

The Last Jihad

The Last Days

The Ezekiel Option

The Copper Scroll

Dead Heat

All 5 are published in coordinating covers by Tyndale.

The author has a website at: http://www.joelrosenberg.com

Happy Reading!

Jan BLoom

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The Company of the Creative: A Christian Reader’s Guide to Great Literature and Its Themes

by:  David Larsen

Published by Kregel Publications c.1999

I recently found this book on the shelf at a friend’s house.  I sat down with it, intrigued that David Larsen, a pastor from my childhood, wrote about books.  I had known him to be a great Bible expositor – could he possibly write intelligently about books other than the Bible?

Dumb question!!!

This is an amazing book!  It was fun hearing Larsen’s voice speaking the words on the page in my head – he has such a distinctive style.  Even if I didn’t know what his voice sounded like, the words…ah!  the words!  He is a superb communicator.  He uses language well.  He speaks with passion and persuasion.  I don’t know if I have ever read a book or article in which a pastor begs fellow pastors to read across the spectrum of literature. His many reasons for pastoral literacy are clearly argued and convincing.

His words are not only to pastors – they are written to encourage all believers to read, understand, and enjoy books that many of us would probably never have the interest to pick up for our pleasure.  Larsen highlights authors I would expect (C. S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Dostoyevsky) and quite a few I’ve dismissed as being “worldly” or way too ancient like SInclair Lewis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Pliny the elder, Socrates, and Augustine.

Larsen presents a compelling case for the importance of reading well.

The Last Disciple

by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer

Published by Tyndale House, c.2005

I’ve listened to and learned from Hank Hanegraaff’s wisdom and was surprised to find a novel written by him when out booking.  I finished reading it and almost immediately went to the Internet to find the sequel.  It was a very well-written, informative book with a gripping story.

I was introduced to end times eschatology growing up in an evangelical home in the 1970’s.  The best selling apocolyptic series, Left Behind was still many years away but movies like A Thief in the Night and books by Hal Lindsey were everywhere.  In confirmation I learned a pre-trib timeline and never doubted that the rapture would come and Christians would be taken out of the world before the years of the Tribulation.

In recent years I became aware of a different interpretation of end times called preterism.  Preterism is the point of view that many or most of the events in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation occurred between the years of the ascension of Jesus Christ and the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  This novel is built on a  preterist view that is quite convincing.

The characters are well-developed, the plot surges on, and the historical background is interesting and informative.  I was especially struck by the steadfast opinions of the characters who claimed the temple in Jerusalem could NEVER fall and therefore the prophecies of Jesus were NOT fulfilled and he could NOT be the Messiah.  At this side of history we know the temple WAS destroyed and the prophecies of Jesus were fulfilled.

I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to the sequel.