Posted in book review, theology

Book Review Shots: Disciplines of a Godly Woman; Can I have Joy in my Life?; Amy Carmichael; The Machine Stops

By Elizabeth Prata

Crime novel writer James Patterson issues books in a series called “BookShots.” These are novellas, short books he writes in beteeen the longer ones. I like the idea.

I’ve been participating in Tim Challies’ annual Christian Reading Challenge. I’m keeping up pretty well, and enjoying the structure it provides so I do not lapse into total couch potato with brain of mush.

Here are a few of my Book ReviewShots, short reviews of the books I’ve recently read.


Disciplines of a Godly Woman, by Barbara Hughes

I do not recommend this book.

I like the topic, and there were a few good nuggets in it, but overall it was simply a rehash of normal things any women has already heard, if she has been saved for any length of time. Few new insights.

Issues I had with the book were:

–LOTS of anecdotes. The book would be half as long if Mrs Hughes cut the personal anecdotes and stories that supposedly cemented her point and just stuck to the Bible. Anecdotes the author thinks makes her case, don’t always connect with every reader, but the Bible unfailingly does.

–Some misused scripture, or relying on a traditional view of famous verses rather than teaching their real meaning. (Mt 18:20, Jeremiah 29:11)

–Quoting doubtful characters, i.e. William Barclay, a confirmed universalist who denied the Trinity; Watchman Nee, a mystic whose views on sanctification, the Holy Spirit, hermeneutics, baptism, the church and sin contain significant error; Christy the missionary written about by Catherine Marshall, who was a social justice warrior missionary who gravitated to Quakerism; Win Arn, church growth guru who partnered with C Peter Wagner, demon delivery guru for one of his books, and more. Her Resources page also contains iffy books.

In the book was the following statement- “Apostle Andrew became the patron saint of three diverse countries.” As if that helps his stature! But it lessens the author’s though, for promoting Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic “tradition”. There is no such thing as a “patron saint” of a nation. Statements like these should never be included in a book aimed at evangelical women.

I found this book hard to get through and problematic to pass on.

Better books are:

Praying the Bible by Don Whitney
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies
Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You by John F. MacArthur
Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr.
The Pursuit of God, by A. W. Tozer



Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes, by Iain Murray

A short book and an easy read. Murray seems a bit glowing over Amy, but then again, what Amy did was amazing. He didn’t gloss over some of her known issues, however, such as her subjective approach to interpreting the Bible, or her (often misunderstood, according to Murray) imperiousness. Thus, I believe this to be a fair assessment of her life. It isn’t deep, since the book is short, but it’s a good introduction to a remarkable woman’s life lived for Christ. It contains a lengthy bibliography if one wants further info on Amy’s life and work in India.

See also:

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot
The Little Woman by Gladys Aylward
Lady Jane Grey: Nine Day Queen of England by Faith Cook


Can I Have Joy In My Life? (Crucial Questions #12) by R.C. Sproul

A short, extremely helpful book on the topic, from RC Sproul. (50 pages). I bought it at the Ligonier $5 Friday sale for $1.88. It’s worth much more than that. Great to keep and re-read at various times, or to give away. Recommended.

I also purchased but have not read others in the series:

Can I Lose My Salvation? (Crucial Questions #22) by R.C. Sproul
Are People Basically Good? (Crucial Questions #25) by R.C. Sproul

Crucial Questions is a good series. Many books covering oft-asked questions. Since the book length is pamphlet sized and they are inexpensive, it makes a perfect giveaway to any brother or sister struggling with any of the questions the book covers.


The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster

Written in 1909 as a short story (only 47 pages for this edition of the paperback) it is a masterful dystopian novella with an eerie bull’s eye to today’s tendency toward individual isolationism and over-reliance on technology. Who knew that the author of A Passage To India, Maurice, Howard’s End, A Room With a View and other familiar novels, had such a prescient eye for the future and could create a totally dystopian, subterranean world. “The Machine Stops” was named one of the greatest science fiction novellas published before 1965 by the Science Fiction Writers of America. This book influenced future authors such as Isaac Asimov and filmmaker George Lucas.


See also:

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
The Running Man by Stephen King


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

4 thoughts on “Book Review Shots: Disciplines of a Godly Woman; Can I have Joy in my Life?; Amy Carmichael; The Machine Stops

    1. Leah, Thank you for the tip on the free Crucial Questions ebooks!!

      I like dystopian books and in searching for ‘best dystopian books,’ Forster’s came up on several of the lists. I had never heard of it either!


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