Reviews: family entertainment, documentaries, resources, books, music
AFA Staff
AFA Journal staff reviews movies, books and other resources

Above, the Foto Sisters from Baton Rouge, Louisiana: (r to l) Katie, Gaylyn, and Adelyn

July-August 2017 – Foto Sisters CD is picture of musical beauty, excellence
The Foto Sisters of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, are something of an anomaly among contemporary musicians in the evangelical world. First, they are very highly trained classical players. Second, their maturity and musicianship belie their youth. (The three sisters, who have been playing together since childhood, are in their early 20s.) And third, they exemplify servant-musicians who understand that their gifts are for the glory of the Giver rather than for themselves.

undefinedAll that and more is evident on Morning by Morning, their 11-song collection of well known hymns that feature violin, viola, cello, and piano.

The 2013 CD release embraces timeless songs with thoughtful instrumental arrangements that always serve the melody, yet without being banal. The collection includes “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Amazing Grace,” “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” “Beneath the Cross of Jesus,” and others.

Morning by Morning and other projects from the Foto Sisters, including a Christmas album, are available at thefotosisters.com. New at the site is a five-song EP (extended play) released in early June. Titled What Lies Beyond, it includes uplifting arrangements some of which feature vocals from the sisters.

Follow the Foto Sisters at facebook.com/thefotosisters.
Rusty Benson

undefinedCounter Culture
Among Christians, awareness and determination to fight for those experiencing hunger, poverty, and sex trafficking is ever increasing. In his book Counter Culture, David Platt addresses the church’s widespread indifference concerning the more controversial issues such as homosexuality and abortion. He reminds the church that as we take our cues from the Word of God, our lives will look radically different from the culture. And we cannot be content to sit down and remain quiet concerning the prevailing sin, no matter how unpopular or hated our outspokenness will make us.

Ten booklets released in conjunction with Counter Culture complement the book, each one serving as an introduction to a cultural issue covered in the book.

The booklets are ideal for small group settings, for sermon resources, or addressing specific issues or ministry focus. Topics include poverty, same-sex marriage, racism, sex slavery, persecution, abortion, orphans and widows, sexual immorality, and unreached people groups. Counter Culture booklets are available online.
Anne Reed

undefinedKnow Who You Are
In this new title, Tim Tebow writes for middle school students, and specifically home school students, although all teens would likely relate to it. In the book, structured like a devotional study with 36 chapters designed for a weekly study, each chapter begins with a key verse, uses a few pages to give a short anecdote or illustration on a concept drawn from that verse, and ends with questions and space for journaling. The intention is for it to be used alongside a homeschooler’s curriculum.

Tebow opens up with details about his personal life, his childhood, his struggles, and lessons that brought him greater wisdom – all in a way that is winsome and considerate of a child’s understanding and interests. In chapter one, he describes the day of his salvation in detail. That sets the foundation for the rest of the book and the foundation for good character that he lays out for young people. He goes on to discuss topics such as identity in Christ, friendships, fear, and failure.

It is compelling that Tebow takes time and attention to focus on middle school students, and even hone in on homeschool students in particular. Young readers will be sure to appreciate being shown that respect, and pay heed to the example he sets for them. Available from online and retail booksellers.
Stacy Long

undefinedLuther legacy chronicled In photo, noted scholars including R.C. Sproul (upper inset) and Steve Lawson appear in the documentary.
Martin Luther. Many in the Christian faith, both Catholic and Protestant, know the name, but few know the man.

That reality is one reason Stephen McCaskel focuses on the German reformer in his latest documentary, Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer.

It would be easy for such a film to become only a history lesson, or to focus so strongly on the man that little context of his world is offered. Luther skillfully balances both.

Viewers are offered a solid portrayal of sixteenth century western Europe, as well as an overview of Luther the Christian, the theologian, the pastor, the husband, and the father.

The film offers both flattering and unflattering portraits of Luther. He is shown as both the bold man of God who challenges the religious elite, as well as a combatant who eviscerates anyone who disagrees with him. Well known scholars bring insight to help viewers grasp the monk’s impact on history.

“We admire the Luther at the Diet of Worms, but we are horrified by the Luther of 1525 (when he wrote a harsh book toward peasants),” one speaker says. “I think we have to understand … that the same character trait that allowed Luther to do the one great and admirable thing also drove the reprehensible thing.”

Production values are high in Luther. Beautiful aerial shots and occasional stunning animation bring a fresh appreciation to the man whose incalculable impact on history is still felt today.

For those who want to improve their understanding of the impact of the Protestant Reformation, there is no more appropriate time than the 500th anniversary upcoming in the fall, and no better resource to start with than Luther.

Luther and a book based on it are available at lutherdocumentary.com.
Teddy James