Monday, September 23, 2019

Book Review: Emblems of the Infinite King

Emblems of the Infinite King: Enter the Knowledge of the Living God. J. Ryan Lister and Anthony M. Benedetto. 2019. Crossway. 184 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: His strong and wise command cut through the empty silence as he reached out of the shadows to offer an ancient key. “I am the Key Keeper. I have come to show you the Way. But before you do anything . . . Heed this warning: Those who turn this key will never be the same. It will show your deepest guilt and display your darkest shame. You’ll see who you were made to be and what you’ve really become. But only if you turn the key will you find your story isn’t done, that the way ahead is the path that leads into the throne room of the Son, this one they call the Death Killer, who gives his life to pay your ransom. “If you so choose, pick up the key. Open the lock. “If you do, you will not be alone. I will walk with you and guide you. I will meet you on the other side.” Everything changed with the turn of a key.

This book is a great introduction of the gospel for children and teens to read either on their own or with their parents. The gospel presentation is structured around the thematic concept of keys. The Throne Room Key: The Doctrine of God. The Dust Key: The Doctrine of Humanity. The Serpent Key: The Doctrine of Sin. The Tomb Key: The Doctrine of Christ. The Spirit Key: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Gavel Key: The Doctrine of Salvation. The Temple Key: The Doctrine of the Church. The Throne Key: The Doctrine of Last Things.

I earlier said 'gospel presentation' but it could also be seen as an introduction to systematic theology. If you are already a believer, the clear presentation will strengthen and inform your faith. Plenty of substance to chew on. If you are not a believer--perhaps you've been exposed here and there to the faith of others--then I think this will give you food for thought. Perhaps the Spirit will use the book to help clarify and explain the faith.

I think the intended audience is children ages eight and up. But I think adults could benefit as well from reading this one. I do think families could benefit from using this one together. Counting the introduction and conclusion there are ten chapters/sections to read.

It does directly address the reader. Not many books for adults do this--for better or worse. I liked the style of this one--especially in small doses.
We all want to be the main character in our own story. Everybody—in his own way—wants to be the center of his world. Everyone wants to be king of the mountain, the smartest kid in the class, the one with the biggest trophy case, or everybody’s best friend. It hurts when you aren’t and, after a while, it can even hurt when you are. This is why knowing the King is so important. Knowing him shows you that you can’t be the center of the world because he already is. That is a good thing. You weren’t made to be the center of the world; you can’t hold everything together. But God can. And when he is the center of the world, and the center of your story, you are free to be who you were made to be—who he made you to be.
If knowing the King is really the most important thing, then you need to know him correctly. This is where it gets really good: God doesn’t play hide-and-seek with you. He actually comes to you. The King wants you to know him, and, in his kind mercy, he has actually already spoken to you in many ways.
In both the Old and New Testaments of Scripture, God works with the words, lives, and qualities of human authors to give you his perfect words—not just to have them, but so that you may believe and obey them and find life in them. Because the King speaks through Scripture, you can trust it to be a perfect guide to knowing him. Every part of it is from God, which means it doesn’t have any errors. It means you can understand it, and it means that it already contains everything God wants you to know. It also means that God will use it to make sure that what he wants to happen will indeed happen.
Now this is too important to miss, so listen well: the only real reason you can know the King is because the King wants you to know him. He tells you everything you need to know about him. Now, he doesn’t tell you everything; but everything he does tell you is true and exactly what you need to know. The King wants you to hear his words because he wants you to know him rightly. People will try to tell you who God is but the truth is, God himself has already told you who he is. He’s given you his Word. The question is, will you hear and heed his Word?
I would definitely recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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