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Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
March's New & Notable Books
March 06, 2014
I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received a veritable mountain of books and, in sorting through the pile, here are the ones that have risen to the top because they appear the most noteworthy.
Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World by Andreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock, & Josh Chatraw. It’s not difficult to see how this book matters. “Here is how leading experts describe our church kids today: They are unarmed and incapable of defending their faith. They possess a faith that cannot withstand the scrutiny of trials or intellectual questions. They have a shallow belief system. They lack a robust faith. They haven’t learned how to think. They are embarrassingly ignorant of our faith. Easy to read yet loaded with meat and substance, this book is a level-headed reaction to those who equate Christian faith with ‘blind faith,’ even those whose subtle or stated goal is to separate students from their religious traditions. Readers will discover the kind of historical information and thinking skills that build a sturdy backbone of confidence in high schoolers and young adults, making them able to defend by ‘reasoned faith’ what the Bible claims as truth.” (Amazon)
Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology by R.C. Sproul. How did I not know this book was coming? “Many people react negatively to the word theology, believing that it involves dry, fruitless arguments about minute points of doctrine. Yet as Dr. R.C. Sproul argues, everyone is a theologian. Any time we think about a teaching of the Bible and strive to understand it, we are engaging in theology. Therefore, it is important that we put the Bible’s varied teachings together in a systematic fashion, using proper, time-tested methods of interpretation so as to arrive at a theology that is founded on truth. That is precisely what Dr. Sproul does in Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology. This book is anything but a dry discussion of minute points of doctrine. Dr. Sproul, demonstrating his trademark ability to make complex subjects easy to understand, surveys the basic truths of the Christian faith, reminding us once more of what God is like and of what He has done for His people in this world and the next.” (Amazon)
Your Future Other Half: It Matters Whom You Marry by Rebecca Vandoodewaard. You may recognize the title or the subject matter of this one from an older blog post. “Rebecca Vandoodewaard of The Christian Pundit blogsite gives Biblical advice for women who are in a relationship, who wish to be in a relationship, or who struggle in an imperfect marriage by addressing the spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and relational effects of intimacy and answering questions for the single or married such as: Where does love fit in? and, How do I fit in?” The blog post was excellent, and I’m assuming the book will be as well. (Amazon)
Slogging Along in the Paths of Righteousness by Dale Ralph Davis. I’ve yet to come across a book by Dale Ralph Davis that hasn’t proven helpful and I’m assuming this one will not prove the exception. Here’s how the publisher describes it: “Dale Ralph Davis plunges right into the middle of King David’s hard times with a study that is resonant for our lives. King David’s faith brought him through the muddy parts of life. Will we find that depression is our final response to a hard path? Will faith carry us across? Find the encouragement that Psalms 13-24 hold for the Scripture-filled life.” (Amazon)
The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived by Andreas Kostenberger & Justin Taylor. “On March 29, AD 33, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem and boldly predicted that he would soon be put to death—executed on a cross, like a common criminal. So began the most important week of the most important person who ever lived. Nearly 2,000 years later, the events that took place during Jesus’s last days still reverberate through the ages. Designed as a day-by-day guide to Passion Week, The Final Days of Jesus leads us to reexamine and meditate on the history-making, earth-shaking significance of Jesus’s arrest, trial, crucifixion, and empty tomb. Combining a chronological arrangement of the Gospel accounts with insightful commentary, charts, and maps, this book will help you better understand what actually happened all those years ago—and why it matters today.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer & Chris Horst. This one looks interesting. It certainly addresses an important topic. “Without careful attention, faith-based organizations drift from their founding mission. It’s that simple. It will happen. Slowly, silently, and with little fanfare, organizations routinely drift from their purpose, and many never return to their original intent. Harvard and the YMCA are among those that no longer embrace the Christian principles on which they were founded. But they didn’t drift off course overnight. Drift often happens in small and subtle ways. Left unchecked, it eventually becomes significant.” (Amazon)