With books arriving at my door on a near-daily basis, I cannot hope to read and review them all. I’ll admit that quite a few of these books meet an immediately and untimely end in the trash. But many others, even though they are perfectly good, I’m simply unable to read and review. I want to draw your attention to a few of those titles today. These are books I’ve looked through and perhaps read in-part; but for one reason or another I have not read in full. They’re perfectly good books but ones that didn’t fit my review schedule.
True story: no sooner had I written this paragraph than a heard the thump of a box hitting the front step. In the box were nine new books.
In each case I’ll provide a bit of information about the book as it is provided by the publisher. I may toss in a personal note as well. And so, with apologies to the authors, here they are:
Precious Blood by Richard D. Phillips
At the very heart of Christian faith is the blood of Jesus. His sin-atoning death is the divine work on which the entire structure of salvation rests and the truth on which the Christian doctrine of salvation must be built. Yet recent years have seen a pastoral neglect of the cross and a doctrinal assault from the academy. With these concerns in mind, R. C. Sproul, Philip Ryken, Joel Beeke, Derek Thomas, Carl Trueman, and Robert Godfrey have joined editor Richard Phillips in exploring the doctrine of Christ’s atonement. These noted pastors proclaim the (1) necessary, (2) redeeming, (3) cleansing, (4) atoning, (5) offensive, and (6) precious blood of our Savior in a series of essays that set the cross in its rightful place—at the forefront of salvation.
Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Daily comforts from the gospel of Christ provide busy Christian women with brief but deep reminders of how his truths powerfully connect to their daily lives. That’s where Elyse Fitzpatrick’s latest book comes in. Comforts from the Cross provides those well-intentioned women with bite-sized readings to remind them of their place in Christ and of his love and ministry in their busy lives. It also dusts off the facts of the gospel to show how ancient truths such as justification, sanctification, and redemption can free and enliven their souls every day. Even more, these five-minute celebrations of the gospel relieve readers of legalistic condemnation and empower them for joyful obedience by engendering fresh love for the Savior.
Divorce & Remarriage: A Permanence View by Jim Elliff
During these stressful days, divorce will seem like the easy way out for many. Be prepared. We are already seeing a positive affect from this comprehensive but readable book. It is very important that church leaders think through this together. Also, pastoral fraternals may ask for free copies if it will be read by participants and will be the topic of discussion for at least one fraternal meeting. This may also be just the right book for couples contemplating divorce. [Tim] I tend not to agree with Elliff’s view of remarriage. At some point I’ll read this one as I try to put more Scriptural authority behind my understanding.
From Age to Age by Keith Mathison
sing the narrative method of biblical theology, From Age to Age traces the eschatological themes of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, emphasizing how each book of the Bible develops these themes that culminate in the coming of Christ and showing how individual texts fit into the overarching picture. [Tim] This looks like a great book but, because it is so thorough and because it falls within an area about which I have so little knowledge, I’ve decided to take a pass on it for now. I’m sure I’ll be turning to it in the future.
Start Your Family by Steve and Candice Watters
Starting a family is a soul-shaping, world-altering experience. Unfortunately, in a culture of competing values and protracted timelines, couples are increasingly backing their way into parenting or missing it altogether. By the time the average couple tries to have kids, they are often beyond their late twenties and surprised to learn they’re sliding past the peak of their fertile years. In Start Your Family, Steve and Candice Watters encourage couples to be intentional about their timeline in the early years of marriage and to trust God to help them boldly launch their families. Responding to the most common doubts and hurdles, they offer biblical inspiration for the questions, “Why have kids?”, “When is the best time to start?”, and “How can we fit kids into our lives?”
Believing God by R.C. Sproul Jr.
In his latest book, Believing God: 12 Biblical Promises Christians Struggle to Accept, Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. challenges Christians to take a second glance at the promises of God in the Bible in order to see anew the grandeur of what God has committed Himself to do for His people. Sproul explores twelve of the most significant promises in Scripture, methodically unpacking each divine pledge. He shows that while Christians may express trust in God s words, they refuse, in numerous ways, to stake their lives on what He says. Sproul goes on to present the clear biblical meaning of each promise and strives to help his readers grasp the sheer wonder and glory of it. Biblical passages on which Sproul focuses include God s promises to forgive the sins of those who confess their transgressions to Him (1 John 1:9); to give wisdom to those who ask it of Him (James 1:5); and to give His people the desires of their hearts (Ps. 37:4). In the final analysis, the book functions as a mirror in which every reader with a teachable heart will see how he or she can more fully believe God. All Christians who appreciate careful biblical teaching and heartfelt passion for God will appreciate and benefit from this book.
Jesus on Trial by James Boice and Philip Ryken
Providing crucial details about the law in Jesus’ time and how it compares to our own legal system, two respected pastors give careful attention to each stage of the judicial process Jesus endured. As you hear the evidence and weigh the testimony against him, you will find yourself drawn into the role of a juror. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of Jesus and what it meant for him to claim that he was “Christ, the Son of the Blessed One.” And as you are riveted by the hows and whys of the jury findings, you will develop a new perspective on how and why Christ died for you. [Tim] I’ve read extensively on this topic in the past couple of years. Hence I chose not to read another book on the subject. For those who are new to the subject, this is undoubtedly a good choice.
Living for God’s Glory by Joel Beeke
The theological system known as Calvinism is often caricatured or simply dismissed as a relic of the past. But as Dr. Joel R. Beeke shows in this comprehensive treatment, Calvinism, also known as Reformed theology, is “biblical, God-centered, heartfelt, winsome, and practical.” As such, it is uniquely suited to help Christians fulfill the purpose for which they were created—to live to the glory of God. With the gifted help of eight contributors, Dr. Beeke traces the roots of Calvinism and sets forth its doctrinal distinctives, then explores how Calvinists live out their beliefs in every sphere of life, from their private devotions to their service in the church, from their marriages to their careers, from politics to ethics. Through the examples of John Calvin himself, the Puritans, and other Calvinists of the past, this God-exalting belief system emerges as a timeless guide for Christian living. [Tim] I’m sure this volume is excellent and next time I read an introduction to Calvinism, this is going to be it. For now, though, it didn’t fit my reading schedule.
A Proverbs Driven Life by Anthony Selvaggio
This is a book about the wisdom God has given us in the Book of Proverbs. By this wisdom, we can learn how to live in light of what is really true about ourselves, one another, and this wonderful yet deeply flawed world. Ultimately, therefore, this is a book about life lived for God in the light of divine truth. It’s about life as God intends for us to live it. Proverbs does offer an infallible guarantee that a Proverbs-driven life will result in spiritual and practical blessings. But it is vitally important to remember that the goal of Proverbs is not finding earthly prosperity or even wisdom itself. The goal of Proverbs is to grow ever closer to the God who is Wisdom. [Tim] I love Proverbs and love books by Shepherd Press. Put the two together and I’m not quite sure why I haven’t read this one yet. I suspect it may have something to do with the title.
Rethinking Retirement by John Piper
John Piper challenges fellow baby boomers to forego the American dream of retirement and live out their golden years with a far greater purpose in mind. [Tim] Based on its size (29 pages) this only just qualifies as a book in the first place. It’s a great essay, though, and I think this is a good booklet to put on a table at the back of the church.