Book Review: Why Jesus? by Ravi Zacharias

Why JesusWhy Jesus? by Ravi Zacharias

This faith-shaking or faith-affirming book (depending on your beliefs) by apologist Ravi Zacharias is subtitled Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality. Yes, false beliefs in the name of spirituality have been mass-marketed, and the results should shock the Christian church. Discerning believers have noticed, but most have remained oblivious as false religious beliefs have oozed their way past our steeples and crosses into the very minds and hearts of those who call themselves believers in Jesus Christ.

After my local Christian bookstore closed about twenty years ago, I went into a Barnes and Noble to find a Christian book. The clerk directed me to their “spirituality” section. When I had visited that section of the store before, it had held mostly Christian books and Bibles. But no more. The so-called “Christian” books had been relegated to a tiny section at the bottom, and the New Age books filled most of the shelves. If the store had Bibles, they were few.

How did such a change occur? In Why Jesus? Ravi Zacharias explains why what he calls the New Spirituality looms so large in our society today. Two of the most influential people in this area have been Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. Zacharias explains what they teach and how they have influenced people to follow them. He also shows how Eastern mysticism has played a huge role in convincing people to believe in lies.

I watched this influence seep in while I was growing up. Then when I was in college, Hari Krishnas took over the small lawn in front of our student union building. We couldn’t avoid them. The Beatles had already gone to India to learn from Hindu gurus. So it had become popular to explore the religions of the world to find the right “fit” for each individual. Advertisements for someone calling himself “the true Christ” were posted everywhere. Students made plans to join religious communes. Instead of a country that honored God in its Judeo-Christian heritage, I suddenly lived in a place of spiritual chaos.

Still today, people seek religion that feels right to them. Even in so-called Christian churches and ministries, preaching and teaching faithful to the Scriptures is difficult to find. Ravi’s book shows how any belief but biblical Christianity falls short in every way. A comfortable, emotional experience cannot replace the logical, awe-inspiring, fulfilling, and beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ or a true relationship with Him.

Every thinking Christian – and all Christians must be thinking Christians – should read this book, more than once. If you can buy Why Jesus? at a local Christian bookstore, please support them. Otherwise, you should be able to find or order it from any other store – even if their Christian section has shrunk into oblivion.

© 2014 Jeanne Gowen Dennis

Music CD Review: John Schlitt, The Christmas Project

TheChristmasProjectaAs you’re preparing for Christmas and having your ears bombarded with Santa and Rudolph everywhere you go, you might find John Schlitt’s new Christmas album a refreshing change. John, the former lead singer for Petra, takes his unique style and applies it to some favorite standards of the season. You will enjoy his new CD, The Christmas Project, especially if your taste tends to 70s and 80s rock, but there may be something here for almost everyone.

The album contains ten songs, mostly Christmas standards, with two original additions. The titles included are: “Halleluiah Chorus,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “O Holy Night,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,””Good Christian Men Rejoice,” “That Spirit of Christmas,” “We Three Kings,” “What Christmas Needs to Be,” and “What Child Is This.”

I tend to be a purist when it comes to classical music like Handel’s Messiah, so I had a hard time with John’s first song, which is his rendition of the “Halleluiah Chorus.” It was fine until he got to the high soprano parts using a falsetto, and then it got too rocky for my taste. I really enjoyed the rest of the album, though. John’s pleasant voice with its periodic, hoarse tones worked well on the arrangements. I especially appreciated the creative rhythms in “Little Drummer Boy” and “O Holy Night” and “What Child is This.” “Do You Hear What I Hear” is introduced by a sweet child’s voice and animal sounds. Then the song alternates between a driving rock beat and a gentler one. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” has a slightly stronger rock feel, with a “dirty” guitar sound, but I like it. “Good Christian Men Rejoice” has an 80s rock sound. The original song, “That Spirit of Christmas” is an easygoing, toe-tapping and pleasant song. “We Three Kings” is also an enjoyable, easygoing rendition. “What Christmas Needs to Be” talks about the true meaning of Christmas. In this song, John sings, “The hope of God’s salvation is what Christmas needs to be.” I really like this song and believe it will become a Christmas standard. My favorites are probably “Little Drummer Boy,” “O Holy Night,” and “What Christmas Needs to Be.”

John and his friends have done a great job on this album, and I recommend it, especially if you like John’s style of music. This album is a nice addition to the repertoire of Christian Christmas music, and I hope it does really well.

Copyright © Jeanne G. Dennis