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New & Notable Books

I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books and I like to provide regular roundups of some of the best and brightest of the bunch. Of all the books I have received recently, here are the ones that appear most noteworthy.

Glimpses of GraceGlimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman. I count Gloria as a friend, having invited myself to take advantage of her (and her husband’s) hospitality when I was in Dubai last year. I am really excited to see her first book in print. “Sometimes life feels a lot like a burden—day-in and day-out it’s the same chores and tasks, challenges and discouragements, anxieties and responsibilities. Dust bunnies show up on the stairwell, social commitments clutter the calendar, and our families demand daily attention and care. At times, just catching our breath seems like an impossible feat. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working woman splitting time between the office and home, Gloria Furman—writer, pastor’s wife, cross-cultural worker, and mom—encourages us to see the reality of God’s grace in all of life, especially those areas that often appear to be boring and unimportant. Using personal examples and insightful stories, her richly theological reflections help us experience the gospel’s extraordinary power to transform our ordinary lives.” Aileen and I read this book in pre-publication and were glad to write an endorsement for it. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books).

The Gospel For Real Life Series. Brad Hambrick is editor of the excellent Gospel For Real Life series of counseling booklets. The series has four recent additions: Sexual Abuse: Beauty for Ashes by Bob Kelleman, Burnout: Resting in God’s Fairness by Brad Hambrick, Depression: The Sun Always Rises by Margaret Ashmore, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Recovering Hope by Jeremy Lelek. The low page-count necessarily limits the amount of help these booklets can provide, and they are in no way a replacement for more thorough works or formal Christian counseling, but they still have their place in guiding the person grappling with a difficult issue or the person grappling with such an issue alongside a friend or family member. I read Kelleman’s booklet on sexual abuse before it went to print and was glad to write an endorsement for the back cover. It is a helpful and healing treatment of sexual abuse. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon).

James White QuranWhat Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an  by James White. I have always appreciated James White’s dedication to research; when you read one of his books you know you are reading a fair treatment of the subject, even if it is one he critiques (as in his books on Roman Catholicism and Arminianism). In this new book he looks at the Qur’an and Islam. “What used to be an exotic religion of people halfway around the world is now the belief system of people living across the street. Through fair, contextual use of the Qur’an as the primary source text, apologist James R. White presents Islamic beliefs about Christ, salvation, the Trinity, the afterlife, and other important topics. White shows how the sacred text of Islam differs from the teachings of the Bible in order to help Christians engage in open, honest discussions with Muslims.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon).

I Am A Church Member  by Thom Rainer. I am always intrigued by books that begin as short articles, cause a stir, and end up in book format. Such is the case with Rainer’s I Am A Church Member. “Best-selling author and ministry leader Thom S. Rainer drew an exceptional response when he posted a 500-word declaration about church membership to his daily blog. “I Am a Church Member” started a conversation about the attitudes and responsibilities of church members — rather than the functional and theological issues — that previous new member primers all but ignored. Thoughtfully expanded to book form, I Am a Church Member begins to remedy the outbreak of inactive or barely committed church members, addressing without apology what is expected of those who join a body of believers. When a person’s attitude is consistently biblical and healthy, matters of giving, serving, and so forth will fall into place more naturally.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon).

Abraham KuyperAbraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat by James Bratt. I grew up around many Dutch Reformed Christians and often heard the name Abraham Kuyper. This new volume published by Eerdmans is “the first full-scale English-language biography of the highly influential and astonishingly multifaceted Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) — theologian, minister, politician, newspaper editor, educational innovator, Calvinist reformer, and prime minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905. Based on voluminous primary and secondary Dutch sources, Bratt’s Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat will prove to be the go-to biography of this major figure whose ideas and influence extend far beyond his own time and place.” I definitely intend to give this one a try at some point. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books).

And how about you? Are there some new and notable books that you’ve added to your reading list? Is there anything I’m missing?