Learning to Walk Alone–A Review

Ingrid Trobisch, Learning to Walk Alone, Personal Reflections on a Time of Grief. (Kehl, West Germanyl: Editions Trobisch, 1987) 113 pages.

“Walter and Ingrid Trobisch have been known throughout the world for their pioneering efforts in Christian family counseling. Together they wrote and edited one another’ss books and present family life seminars to thousands of couples.” Back cover.

Their books have helped millions to better their lives.  Their partnership came to an end in 1978 when Walter died of a heart attack at age fifty-five.”Life will never be the same. It was more than an amputation–losing an arm or a leg. I feel as if someone has taken an axe and split me from head to toe.” )25)

Ingrid Trobisch records her grief journey and the resetting of her life as a widow. She drew upon the support of her close friends, her five children, the counsel of pastors who knew her, and her strong faith in Christ. She stated, “A nurturing and supportive social network was absolutely essential for me at this stage of my grief.” (45).

She was glad her doctors viewed grief as therapeutic and did not sedate her. (37) She felt when she offered her emptiness to Christ, he gave himself to her. (55-56)

She felt alone, having lost Walter     “I’ve lost myself? I no longer have an identity as the wife of Walter Trobgrsch, not even as the mother of his children. Who am I?” (64) “I realized that I had no one anymore for whom I was number one. I shared my pain with Katrine. She wisely reminded me that I must again revert to the time of adolescence and learn anew the secret of living with unfulfilled desires” (80)

She stated, “One is unprotected and vulnerable, until a new strength is born, the strength to love and to be vulnerable. It is the strength ‘to be’ and not simply ‘to need.'” (92) She learned “that we don’t honor the dead by dying with them.” (93)

“It is possible to live without sexual activity, but it is not possible to live without affection. Nor is it possible to live without the affirmation of others.” (94) “I wonder if young people know how their parents long for a word of affirmation or even thanks from their children. (105).

The book has value for those who have lost their mate, children who have lost one of their parents, and couples who someday will walk alone. It is well-written and inspiring.

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ by H. Lynn Gardner has been translated  into Russian and is being printed this month (January, 2018). It is not available in English.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ stands at the center of the Christian faith. My purpose in preparing this book is to provide basic biblical teaching on these two topics for Russian speaking Christian believers. Sergei Golovin and his team have translated several of my books into the Russian language. My desire is that this basic teaching will strengthen the faith in these Christians who face incredible challenges.

Some of the chapters have been published elsewhere in a different form. The published sources include Christian Standard, The Lookout, and Where Is God When We Suffer?

Each of the two parts of the book begins with a commentary on a chapter of Luke’s Gospel: Luke 23 on the death of Christ and Luke 24 on the resurrection of Christ. Chapters two through four summarize the sufferings of Christ, what his sufferings teach about God, and a study on the meaning of Christ’s death for the believer.

Chapter 6 explains the practical relevance of our Lord’s resurrection. Chapters seven and eight present a case that the resurrection is an established fact of history: chapter seven answers objections by unbelievers and chapter eight states positive historical evidence for Christ’s resurrection. Chapter nine shows the power available to the believer because of the resurrection. In chapter ten, apostle and eyewitness Peter states what the resurrection means for our faith and hope. The last chapter is the author’s personal testimony on how faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ has enabled him and his family to face some of life’s serious challenges.

Christ’s death gives believers forgiveness for their sins and new life in Christ. Our Lord’s resurrection gives us daily assurance and power as we live the new life.

Two reviews of the book follow.

“The cross and the resurrection of Jesus are not only the heart and foundation for Christian belief; these two events are the basis for our future hope. Dr. Gardner examines both of these foundational subjects in very detailed, yet, clear language. This book will provide the reader with an excellent understanding of these two key pillars of our faith. “

  Dr. Brian Brubaker, Bible college professor and preaching minister

“Brother Lynn Gardner focuses our attention on the heart of the gospel. Understanding Jesus’ death and resurrection from Luke’s perspective builds our faith and provides clear biblical truth to share with others. I appreciate this work not only for its compilation of his previously published essays but also for how the author has improved their wording and added new material, including updated documentation. Brother Gardner has taken complex themes and translated them for every Christian. It should be required study in Bible classes, small groups, and apologetics courses. Every honest seeker of truth has the duty to come and see the evidence, then to go and tell to as many as possible.”

John Hunter, Library Director

Some Books that Have Influenced My Thinking and Life (in addition to the Bible)

1. Elizabeth Elliott, The Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliott.

2. Ned Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir.

3 & 4. Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There and How Should We Then Live?

5-7. Merrill C. Tenney, The Reality of the Resurrection, New Testament Survey, and Interpreting Revelation.

8. Seth Wilson, Learning from Jesus.

9 & 10. J. W. McGarvey, Commentary on Acts and Evidences of Christianity.

11 -13. John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, and Between Two Worlds.

14 & 15. J. I. Packer, Knowing God and God Has Spoken.

16-18. Leon Morris, I Believe in Revelation, The Gospel According to John, and Atonement.

19. John Wenham, Christ and the Bible.

20. Herman Ridderbos, The  Authority of the New Testament Scriptures.

21, Neil Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible.

22. Carl. F. H. Henry, ed. Revelation and the Bible: Contemporary Evangelical Thought.

23. Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative.

24-26. F. F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? and The Epistle to the Hebrews.

27. Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries.

28. Augustine, The City of God.

29. James North, Union in Truth: An Interpretative History of the Restoration Movement.

30. Louis Cochrane, The Fool of God: A Novel Based on the Life of Alexander Campbell.

31 & 32. J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism and The Origin of Paul’s Religion.

33. Philip Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts?

34. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants.

35. Gerald L. Sittser, A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss.

36-38. Os Guinness, The Dust of Death, In Two Minds (now God in the Dark), and A Free  People’s Suicide.

39. Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay and Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith.

40. David F. Wells, No Place for Truth: Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?

41. Harold H. Titus, Living Issues in Philosophy, 2nd ed.

42. James Sire, The Universe Next Door.

43. Elton Trueblood, The Idea of a College.

44. S. A. Witmer, The Bible College Story: Education with Dimension.

45. James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge.

46. Robert K. Greenleaf, Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness.

47. Kenneth O. Gangel, Feeding and Leading: A Practical Handbook on Administration in Churches and Christian Organizations.

48. John Wooden, My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey.

49. Alister McGrath, C. S. Lewis: A Life, Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet.

50. Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.

51 & 52. David McCullough, John Adams and 1776.

53. William Zinsser, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Non-Fiction.

                                                 

Heaven Is for Real–What Are We to Think?

Four-year-old Colton Burpo from Imperial, Nebraska, nearly died while having an emergency appendectomy for ruptured appendix. He later reported to his family that he had a supernatural experience in a visit to heaven. He described looking down and observing the doctor operating on him and seeing his father praying in the waiting room. He said he visited with deceased family members and Jesus. He described the Holy Spirit as a bluish image.

A 2010 book Heaven Is Real, published by Thomas Nelson had sold over eight million copies and been translated into twenty-five languages. In anticipation of the Sony Pictures movie version in April 2014, it rose to be the No. l best-selling non-fiction paperback.

What are we to think about near-death, out-of-body experiences, experiences of visions, visits to heaven, and supernatural messages from God?

1. Always judge an experience by Scripture. The Bible is the Word of God and must be our highest authority and final court of appeal on spiritual matters. If the experience contradicts Scripture then realize you have drawn the wrong conclusion from it. Subjective experiences carry a degree of subjectivity.

Truth defines experience. God’s truth in his Word defines spiritual experience. Evaluate the experience. Does the experience or part of it contradict Scripture? Even doing religious experiences like doing miracles did not prove people right with God (Matthew 7:21-23).

 2. Never tell someone that their experience is not real. Even if what a person has experienced is an illusion, their experience is still real. We may have a dream we are falling. We wake up and find we were not actually falling but we had a mental experience of falling. While a person’s experience of the supernatural is real, they may have misinterpreted its meaning.

3. Never decide what God will not do. The exception to this is what God in his Word has said he will not do, e.g. God will not lie or do evil. God is God, we are fallible humans. He may work in new ways unfamiliar to our experience. We must not put God in a box and become an authority on something out of our jurisdiction, namely God’s freedom.

 4. Do not give the experience equal authority with Scripture. If you have had a seemingly supernatural experience that had brought you reassurance, peace, and a closeness o God, thank God for it. Remember to put your confidence in Christ not in that experience. Cults, e.g. Mormonism, and false religions arise because people exalt their experience above Scripture. Jesus Christ and the Word of God constitute the most valid and powerful authority for believing in the reality of heaven.