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30 Minute Reviews

Here is another roundup of 30 Minute Reviews. These are noteworthy books that I did not have time or opportunity to read from beginning to end. Instead, I tried to spend at least 30 minutes with each—enough to get a sense of what the book is all about.

Athanasius - Simonetta Carr is building a fantastic series of biographical books for children and Athanasius now joins John Calvin, Augustine of Hippo and John Owen. Future volumes are expected to include Lady Jane Grey, John Knox and Jonathan Edwards. “A complex and fascinating character, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, is best remembered as the Father of Orthodoxy, upholding the doctrine of the Trinity against the Arian heresy. In the newest addition to the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, author Simonetta Carr introduces children to the life and times of this important church father who tirelessly defended the Nicene Creed, which many of us today recite as a confession of our faith.” This is a series you’ll want your children to have access to.

What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? - This strangely-titled book comes from the pen of Edward Welch. I read it in manuscript form and wrote this blurb: “When we make people big, we necessarily make God small in comparison. This sin of pleasing people ahead of God, this fear of man, is the kind of sin we dress up and excuse and neglect; we have made it respectable. In What Do You Think of Me?, Ed Welch carefully, surgically, exposes people-pleasing for what it is. He lets it be ugly—all sin is ugly!—and offers a much more satisfying vision rooted in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Whether you are young or old (but maybe especially if you are young) you would do well to give this book a read.” This book is, in some ways, an extension to or expansion of Welch’s classic When People Are Big and God Is Small.

Gospel Wakefulness - Jared Wilson’s new title comes endorsed by Matt Chandler, Ed Stetzer, Trevin Wax and Scotty Smith, among others. Here is the publisher’s description: “We may know the gospel. We may believe it—even proclaim it. But we also may assume the gospel and become lethargic. In this book Jared Wilson seeks to answer the central question, how do we experience and present the gospel in a fresh, nonroutine way in order to prevent ourselves and others from becoming numb? His answer may be surprising: ‘by routinely presenting the unchanging gospel in a way that does justice to its earth-shaking announcement.’ We don’t excite and awaken people to the glorious truths of the gospel by spicing up our worship services or through cutting-edge, dramatic rhetoric, but by passionately and faithfully proclaiming the same truths we have already been given in Scripture.”

Lit! - Tony Reinke has done a service to Christian readers with this book, which is “A Christian Guide to Reading Books,” according to the subtitle. I wrote an endorsement for this book as well: “Tony Reinke does not just read, but he reads well, and these are two very different things. If you are not much of a reader, consider Lit a part of your education. Tony will teach you to read, to read widely and to read well. If you are already an avid reader, consider Lit an investment that will instruct you in how to read better. In either case, this book will be a blessing to you.” Here is what Crossway says: “Learn how to better read, what to read, when to read, and why you should read with this helpful guide from accomplished reader Tony Reinke. Offered here is a theology for reading and practical suggestions for reading widely, reading well, and for making it all worthwhile.”