Summer is over and publishers are now preparing to roll out a whole new season of books. Many publishers wait until the fall to release their best books, hoping that the coming Christmas season will lead to increased sales. In the general publishing world this means that we will see new titles by Tom Clancy, Ken Follett, and even George W. Bush (who between them will outsell all Christian authors put together). Even Susan Boyle (yes, that Susan Boyle) is getting in on the act. Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars is another title that is going to be flying off store shelves.
The Christian market will also see a lot of books making noise. I have spent some time combing through publisher catalogs and am going to share with you some of the books I am most looking forward to this fall.
Before we begin, here are a few caveats: Do note that I have not yet read any of these books. I have seen manuscripts for a couple of them, but no more than that. Also, not all publishers maintain a public list of their forthcoming books (though all of them should!) so I may well have missed some exciting titles. Note as well that what I have put within quotes is description provided by the necessarily-biased publishers. Finally, these are all books set to publish between now and the end of 2010. And I think that is enough caveats. Let’s have at it.
Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change by Brian Hedges
I have done quite a bit of thinking about the centrality of the gospel to the Christian life in general and to my life in particular. It has been tough going! I am very much looking forward to having Brian Hedges’ help as I seek to turn thoughts into action. “The central claim in Christ Formed in You is that it is God’s purpose to change us by progressively making us more like Jesus, and that this happens only as we understand and apply the gospel to our lives.” I have thought a lot about the centrality of the gospel and am looking forward to having this book guide me as I attempt to move from thought to action. At the end of the introduction to the book Hedges writes, “In each of these chapters, my aim has been to connect the dots between the gospel, the goal of Christlikeness, and the specific aspect of spirituality under discussion.” That sounds like just the thing! (October 1 | Shepherd Press | Pre-Order)
Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition by James K.A. Smith
“Letters to a Young Calvinist provides pastoral and theological counsel, encouraging converts to and participants in this tradition to find in Calvin a vision that’s even bigger than the New Calvinism might suggest. Noted Reformed philosopher James K. A. Smith contends that much of what traffics under the banner of New Calvinism reduces ‘Reformed’ to a narrow concern with Calvinistic soteriology. Smith introduces New Calvinists to the ‘world-formative’ Christianity that was unleashed with the Reformation, presenting the Reformed tradition as an Augustinian renewal movement within the church catholic. Offering wisdom at the intersection of theology and culture, he also provides pastoral caution about pride and maturity.” I may well be among those who is Reformed more in soteriology than in a well-rounded way, and I am looking forward to being challenged by what “Reformed” means in its historical context. (November 1 | Brazos Press | Pre-Order)
Handel’s Messiah: Comfort for God’s People by Calvin R. Stapert
Attending a performance of Messiah is a Christmas tradition I love and I am eagerly anticipating this book which seeks to make that tradition even more enjoyable. “George Frideric Handel's oratorio Messiah is a phenomenon with no parallel in music history. No other work of music has been so popular for so long. Yet familiarity can sometimes breed indifference -- and even misunderstanding.This book by music expert Calvin Stapert will greatly increase listeners' understanding and appreciation of Handel's majestic Messiah, whether readers are old friends of this remarkable work or have only just discovered its magnificence.” While we are on the subject, have you purchased your Messiah tickets yet? They are probably on sale right now. (September 15 | Eerdmans | Pre-Order)
Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper
If you read my blog consistently, you know that I am not one who automatically reads the newest books by John Piper. But in this case I’m very intrigued as the life of the mind is an issue near and dear to me. “John Piper's newest book will help Christians think about thinking. Focusing on the life of the mind helps us to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. Along with an emphasis on emotions and the experience of God, we also need to practice careful thinking about God. Piper contends that "thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God." So how are we to maintain a healthy balance of mind and heart, thinking and feeling? Piper urges us to think for the glory of God. He demonstrates from Scripture that glorifying God with our minds and hearts is not either-or, but both-and. Thinking carefully about God fuels passion and affections for God. Likewise, Christ-exalting emotion leads to disciplined thinking.” (September 30 | Crossway | Pre-Order)