War of the Worldviews edited & compiled by Gary Vaterlaus

Answers in Genesis has taken the next step in their ministry. (If you aren’t familiar with AiG, please check this ministry out.) In short, AiG has built their ministry defending a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11. They have demonstrated the failure of evolution as a theory and led the charge against it. Typically the material that they produce targets an aspect of evolutionary teaching. Then they systematically dismantle the flawed approach of modern science. (Usually, their arguments are fairly devestating.) Each time they approach these subjects they also mention (more as an aside) that this is a battle of philosophical assumptions. The focus of their books has been to educate people about accurate science.

Now, they have taken the battle to the next step. In War of the Worldviews a group of scientists have turned the focus from specific scientific debates and focused the light of truth on the heart of the matter. Each chapter discusses a different area of science; this is done in basic detail rather than in-depth. Then the chapter focuses on the underlying assumptions made by the evolutionists.

The issue is not one of “my facts versus your facts.” Both sides have access to the same facts. Too often, what is often called a “fact” is actually an “interpretation of a fact.” The scientists in this book bring this issue to light. No, one will not find detailed information to combat an evoloutionist in this book (detailed information comes from their other materials). Instead, you will find the tools to challenge their assumptions.

Jesus Loves Me This I Know by Robert Morgan

In this short book, Robert Morgan expertly tells the story behind one the greatest songs ever written. In truth, the uniqueness of the history behind this song is that it was not developed out of a great tragedy. This song was simply an expression of heart of two sisters.

Anna Warner and her sister, Susan, were born into a wealthy Christian family. Their father, Henry Warner, invested in real estate as well as many other business ventures. When the US hit a depression, Mr. Warner lost everything except Constitution Island which he had recently purchased. He moved his family to Constitution Island which was within sight of West Point academy. There the two girls learned to trust God for their daily bread.

Many people might have turned bitter toward God for removing their easy lives. Instead these two sister wrote books to pay for their living expenses. They never married so their writing became their sole support. In time they were recognized as popular authors – so popular that other publishers reprinted their materials without paying royalties. This forced the sisters to write extensively to support their simple lifestyles.

Despite the struggles to make “ends meet,” they always trusted in the Lord who loved them. In their book Say and Seal the sisters had a character sing “Jesus Loves Me” to a dying child. The words quickly impacted the lives of their readers. Shortly thereafter, William Bradbury wrote the music for this great hymn.

These two saints spent much of their lives ministering to their “boys” at West Point. In fact, their testimony was so great, that the academy had both sisters buried in the West Point grave yard which made them the first two civilians to be honored with a burial in military soil.

Here were two ladies with no earthly treasures. Yet, they impacted more lives then most ministers. These two saints of God have influenced more people through the simple words of this precious song than many Christians influence in a lifetime. They truly modeled Matthew 6:19-21. Spend a few dollars on this book and allow the testimony of Susan and Anna Warner to change your life. I cannot write in a manner that does justice to the quality of the writing of this wonderful story. Take the time to read this short book.

New Horizons by Lois Gladys Leppard

When this first book of the new Mandie series came across my desk, I decided to read it to learn a little about this popular girls series. Having never read any of the books and having two sisters who had read some of them, I was curious about the story. I also figured that it would make good research in case I ever have daughters.

The plot (what there was of it) was confusing and poorly written. I realize that I am a tad old for the target audience (and the wrong gender), but from a literary standpoint, the book should not have been published. If I had a daughter, I would not be concerned about her learning objectionable material from this book. However, I would be concerned from a educational perspective. We should encourage our children to read quality literature. The plot meanders along without much purpose. Some great authors have written novels without a strong focus on climax and conflict (e.g. Little House on the Prairie and Little Women). New Horisons vascilates between the meandering style of the afformentioned classics and literature based on climax and conflict. After sufficient climax has been developed, the story meanders off without resolution. At points, I saw potential to draw out a great story from the plot and this book could have been several distinct stories. The mystery of the haunted boarding house could have been a great book, but alas, after the suspense was built up sufficiently, the plot changed direction without giving resolution. Later the resolution was presented through several quick comments. It came across as if the plot lost focus repeatedly. Many sub-plots arose to the surface as if they were to be the main story, and then were quickly discarded through a brief and somewhat unrealistic resolution as the story abruptly changed directions (e.g. the snobby girls abruptly changed into repentant and humble classmates).

As best as I can tell, the original series was not this poorly written.

Final tally? If your child is a fan of the Mandie books, they might enjoy this story. Otherwise, start your child on another series of books.

“Vienna Prelude” by Bodie and Brock Thoene

Do you like historical fiction? Then this book, and the whole “Zion Covenant” series is just for you. If you are not already familiar with the works of Bodie and Brock Thoene than you are in for a treat. Their books are a far cry from the typical, fluffy, Christian fiction of today. You will learn so much as you are transported back to a time in history that rocked our world.

As “Vienna Prelude” opens you find yourself in Austria, 1936. Meet the blond Elisa Lindheim, a violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, who adopts an Aryan stage name for protection. All seems right in the world, until Nazi darkness descends upon Europe. There are those who choose to fight Hitler’s madness, Elisa’s father, Theo. A courageous American reporter, John Murphy. Winston Churchill, the British statesman. A farm family in the Tyrolean Alps. The Jewish Underground. But who can stop the tide of impending darkness? No one is who they say and nothing is what it seems as swastika flags begin to cover Europe. Spies and secrets lurk behind every corner. What does the violin case really carry, and will books reveal more than what is merely typed on their pages? As Elisa struggles to save a few, can her closest friend, Leah, a talented cellist, escape in time? Is it possible for true love to live in such a time as this? The clock is running out of time for those the Nazi’s consider enemies of the state and the Third Reich. No one is safe as all find out, there is no middle ground.

The “Zion Covenant” series continues for nine books including; “Vienna Prelude,” “Prague Counterpoint,” “Munich Signature,” “Jerusalem Interlude,” “Danzig Passage,” “Warsaw Requiem,” “London Refrain,” “Paris Encore,” and “Dunkirk Crescendo.” They have recently been recovered and also contain study questions, perfect for individual use or group discussion.

In my opinion these books are historical fiction at its best. They not only combine extremely accurate historical facts and figures but captivating fictional ones as well. You will be hooked as you follow the lives of unforgettable characters. The memory of WWII may be fading fast but the things we can learn from that time grow more important. You will see the wonderful way our Lord worked through history and how He is still working today. The Thoene’s motto sounds true as you, “Discover the Truth through Fiction.”