Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation

It’s not like we’re hurting for books about a Christian understanding of work. In fact, the past few years have seen nothing short of an explosion of interest in the subject. So when yet another showed up in my mailbox, I was tempted to set it aside. I was tempted, that is, until I saw D.A. Carson’s commendation: “The last few years have witnessed a flurry of books that treat a Christian view of work. This is the best of …

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read (But Is Too Embarrassed to Ask)

I’ve seen churches where the pastor has been treated terribly—a slave forced to cede to the congregation’s every whim. I’ve seen churches where the pastor has been treated heroically—a superstar who exists above all critique and accountability. Surely the biblical position avoids both extremes and treats the pastor far better than either a slave or a celebrity. It treats him as a shepherd or, better still, an under-shepherd who serves on behalf of the great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus …

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Between Life and Death

We’ve all heard the witticisms about death and taxes as the world’s only inevitabilities and about humanity’s mortality rate continuing to stick stubbornly at exactly one hundred percent. We all know we are going to die and that we ought to prepare ourselves accordingly. But what’s equally inevitable and perhaps even more painful, is that people we love are going to die. Harder still, is that we may need to guide them or even make decisions for them in those …

The Gospel-Driven Church

Over the past few decades, evangelical churches have been shaped and reshaped by the church growth movement. This movement held out a model of local church ministry that some have labeled “attractional.” The idea was to make churches attractive to unbelievers so they would have compelling reasons to come to church where they could then hear the gospel message and be saved. Churches most commonly made themselves attractive by emphasizing contemporary music, integrating creative elements like illustrated sermons, focusing on …

A Company of Heroes

I write this review of Tim Keesee’s new book A Company of Heroes at the end of a year-long journey around the world. Twelve times in the past year I boarded a plane and began a long journey to a distant nation. Twelve times I disembarked and got oriented and began a search—a search for objects related to the long and storied history of the Christian church. I scoured colleges and cathedrals, libraries and museums, always on the lookout for …

Budgeting for a Healthy Church

Have you ever wondered why books often have a foreword? Why would one author ask another to write a little mini-chapter at the front of his book? Having been asked to provide one for Jamie Dunlop’s Budgeting for a Healthy Church, I had to think it through. I believe the reason is two-fold. First, it’s meant to give you, the reader, confidence in the author of the book, to assure you he or she is qualified to write about the …

Counsel for Couples

Over the past few years, we have been blessed with an incredible volume of resources related to biblical counseling. From primers for amateur counselors to in-depth examinations of specific issues, we are now well-served with resources meant to address a host of common issues. New to the field is Jonathan Holmes’s Counsel for Couples: A Biblical and Practical Guide for Marriage Counseling. Holmes is the pastor of counseling at Parkside Church in Ohio and brings a wealth of both practical …

Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them

We all suffer in this messy, sin-stained world. Sometimes our suffering is the direct result of our own sin and sinfulness. Sometimes it’s because others sin against us. And then sometimes we suffer through the suffering of those we love. And while it can be difficult or even gruelling to walk alongside a loved one’s illness or disease, there is something particularly trying about enduring another person’s mental illness. In Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them: Schizophrenia Through …

New and Notable Books for March

It’s that time again! I couldn’t possibly read or review every good book (not to mention every bad book) that finds its way into my mailbox. However, I do like to look them all over and let my readers know about some of the new ones that are most notable. So here are the new and notable books that appeared in my mailbox over the last month or so. In each case, I’ve included the publisher’s description to give you …

Mere Calvinism

Somewhere along the way, it seems like the New Calvinism became about everything but Calvinism. Somewhere along the way, we stopped thinking and writing about the very doctrines that brought the movement together in the first place. Maybe we had already mastered them, so it was time to move on to more advanced topics. Or maybe we just began to assume them and then to subsume them to other matters. Either way, I’m delighted to see a new crop of …