Category Archives: Book and Media Reviews

Book Review: Battle Hymn

Dean Hess
Buckeye Aviation Book Company, Reynoldsburg, OH, 1987.
Topic: Christianity and War

Battle Hymn is the true story of a preacher who became a fighter pilot and fought in World War II and Korea. Col Dean Hess is largely credited with the forming the Republic of Korea (South Korea) Air Force and being the driving force behind Operation Kiddy Car, in which hundreds of orphans were flown out of Seoul to avoid the Communist invasion.

Though some sources question the bravado of Col Hess, the story presents an interesting look at a spiritual man in what sometimes seems an unholy profession. Apparently the book was also made into a movie by the same name (starring Rock Hudson) that strayed slightly from the true storyline.

Recommended. While not always complimentary of Hess’s actions (both as a Christian and an Air Force officer), it is a worthwhile read. It is a particularly interesting read for young fighter pilots who are looking to an assignment at Osan or Kunsan in Korea.

This book appears to be out of print, but the most recent (1987) and older versions are available through re-sellers at Amazon.


Book Review: Every Man’s Battle

Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker
Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs, 2000.
Topic: Sexual purity

The Battle series is immensely popular right now. While it’s not perfect and there are issues with some things they say, it is a good book with plenty of advice for dealing with sexual temptation.

Notably, it was surprising to see them mention the evil of the double entendre, something that had heretofore not been addressed outside of the pilot community (p13). On a less positive note, the authors set out to “bust the myth” that men can’t control themselves, though in at least one instance they qualify masculine traits by saying “How could he help it?” (p184).

Recommended for those who may struggle in the sexual arena, and as a means of preparation for those entering the sexually laced fighter pilot community.

This book is available from Christian Book Distributors and Amazon.


Book Review: Becoming a Contagious Christian

Bill Hybles and Mark Mittleberg
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1994.
Topic: Evangelism

While formulaic (the book is structured around the equation “HP+CP+CC=MI”), it does offer some unique insight into witnessing. In one chapter (“Strategic Opportunities in Relationships”), the author specifically addresses some concerns with living “in” the world with non-Christians. The only disappointment in that chapter is that his primary emphasis is the impact of such a choice on those we would evangelize; his only nod to the perceptions of other Christians (which is often crucial) is the potential impact on our “reputation,” which he brushes off as “we’ll be misunderstood, just like Jesus was.”

Recommended for those looking for insight into Christian witnessing.

This book is available from Christian Book Distributors and Amazon.


Book Review: Under Orders

William McCoy
edein, 2007.
Topic: Spirituality

Under Orders is subtitled “A Spiritual Handbook for Military Personnel,” has a rare endorsement from active duty General Petraeus, and is written by an experienced chaplain. It has exemplary reviews on various websites. It seems like an excellent reference for a military Christian.

It’s not.

The book’s intended audience are those who are non-religious, non-church-going, depressed, or traumatized. Nothing is said to those who already have a spiritual faith.

Chaplain McCoy, who is sponsored by the Lutheran denomination, doesn’t speak confidently about his own faith. In fact, he has little positive to say about the Christian faith at all. He belittles fellow Read more

Book Review: In, But Not Of

Hugh Hewitt
Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 2003.
Topic: Ambition

Even though “In” is only 25% of the title, it makes up more than 90% of the book. There are only one or two of 48 chapters dedicated to a Christian topic, and the implied motivation of those chapters is still questionable. (For example, there is a chapter on making sure you attend a church, but the implied purpose is to have a “guardrail” to your conscience—something to keep you honest while you’re working in the world.) All other chapters are simply about how to succeed, with a sentence or caveat at the end of the chapter about how a Christian shouldn’t have pride (which is apparently the only vice “of the world” the author is concerned with).

The book primarily focuses on living in the right place, going to big name schools, understanding a professional sport, and looking good to your boss. In civilian terms, Mr. Hewitt states that politicking is a legitimate means of endearing yourself to the appropriate people for their favor: “People rise in the world because they attract the attention and approval of powerful people” (p50). He accurately asserts that “authority requires credentials,” and lists Paul’s resume’ in Philippians 3:5-6 as a Biblical example, which takes it somewhat out of context, particularly since Paul’s credentials were all prior to his conversion. Mr. Hewitt asserts that one cannot be both a pastor and influential in the world (Chapter 11) because “a preacher has next to zero credibility on any issue of politics or public policy…” (p62).

Mr. Hewitt’s brand of “in but not of” suggests a paradigm of cloaking Christianity in order to succeed; he seems to think that using a Christian phrase might torpedo someone’s perceptions of you and thus your potential to advance professionally.

Not recommended. The book is predominantly about how to advance yourself, not dealing with Christian ambition.

This book is available from Christian Book Distributors and Amazon.


Book Review: God and Government

Charles Colson
Zondervan, 2007.
Topic: Church and State

God & Government is an updated version of Chuck Colson’s 1987 Kingdoms in Conflict. Subtitled “an insider’s view on the boundaries between faith and politics,” it is an interesting and generally centrist evaluation of the complex relationship between religion and the state.

The book is a worthwhile read for a military Christian for several reasons. First, Colson adequately addresses both sides of the “church/state controversy,” an issue that is constantly cited in arguments against Christian activity in the military. He acknowledges that there are some Christians who would like nothing more than to elect a President-Pastor, and some secularists who would like nothing more than to eliminate the public existence of religion. He maintains that Read more

Book Review: Christian Fighter Pilot is not an Oxymoron

Jonathan Dowty
Published 2007
Topic: Military life, Christian living

Fighter pilots are known for their bravery, cunning, and skill in combat. They are also known for their expertise in worldly vices. Few people would think that Christian men and women could be a part of that military culture.

They not only can, but should.

Godly men and women can be both good Christians and good fighter pilots, Sailors, Soldiers, or Marines – something many people believe is a contradiction. From fighter pilot traditions to the controversy of military evangelism, Christian Fighter Pilot explains not only the popular fighter pilot culture, but also the sometimes secretive world of the men and women who fly and fight. Whether in training or combat, Christians are shown that they can live out their faith and still excel in the world’s best military.

This book briefly introduces the basics of how to become a fighter pilot and what a fighter pilot is and does. The bulk of the content focuses on how a Christian can live a life that is both honoring to God and to the military profession he has volunteered to serve. Spiritual questions are discussed and practical living suggestions are made. The book is aimed at Christians and is appropriate both for those who are thinking about becoming fighter pilot and those who already are. While some of the book is fighter pilot specific, much of it is applicable to Christians in the military in general.

No recommendation. This summary was written by the author.

This book is available wherever books are sold. It is also available from at Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers. Cadets and college or high school students who may be unable to afford the book may contact the author through this website for arrangements.

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