Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

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November 17, 2008

A Visual History of the English BibleI wanted A Visual History of the English Bible to be a standout. A book that I spied in a catalog and knew I just needed to read, it deals with a topic I love and in a way that is fresh and compelling. Few readers of the English Bible really understand the history of their Bible and fewer still understand the countless sacrifices that were made to bring it to us. A book like this helps us understand even more what a treasure the Bible truly is and how blessed we are to have it available to us.

November 12, 2008

Three Cups of TeaI eventually gave in to the pressure. I had seen Three Cups of Tea on the shelves of airport bookstores, in the hands of friends and on countless bestseller lists. I thought it was only right that, if so many people were reading it, I should read it too. And so, while browsing through one of those airport bookstores and searching for some early-morning easy reading, I finally picked it up.

November 08, 2008

Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life was a phenomenon, selling tens of millions of copies and remaining on the New York Times list of bestsellers not for mere weeks or months, but for years. Tens of thousands of churches and organizations have participated in a “40 Days of Purpose” program, encouraging their members to read the book and implement its teachings. While several books bearing Warren’s name have been released since The Purpose Driven Life (which was published in 2002), none have been much more than condensed versions of The Purpose Driven Life. This year, just in time for the holiday season, comes The Purpose of Christmas, a book that is, if not entirely new, at least predominantly so.

October 30, 2008

The Prodigal God by Tim KellerAfter the publication of The Reason for God, Newsweek hailed Tim Keller as “a C.S. Lewis for the twenty-first century.” That is a lofty comparison and one I’m sure must make Keller quite uncomfortable. Yet at some level the comparisons are becoming undeniable. Keller’s ability to communicate to believers and unbelievers alike and to do so on an intellectual level clearly parallels that of Lewis. Where Keller’s first book offered an explanation as to why we should believe in God, his second, The Prodigal God, focuses on Jesus’ best-known parable (and arguably the best-known and most-loved story of all-time) to challenge both believers and skeptics.

October 28, 2008

Christless Christianity by Michael HortonIt is no small thing to take upon oneself the name Christian. Though it was first used as a form of derision when unbelievers mocked the “little Christs,” the name was embraced by the earliest believers. The term, even when used mockingly, nicely encapsulated what they sought to do, namely, to imitate their Lord and Savior. Sadly, in the centuries since then, the word has become far too ambiguous and now refers to any number of faiths that, in one way or another, honor or respect Christ or that have some historical connection to his teachings. Amazingly, some of those called by the name of Christ actually deny him—perhaps not his existence but at least his uniqueness and his divinity. In Christless Christianity Michael Horton argues that such denial of Christ may not be too far from home. More and more evangelical churches, he says, are now essentially Christless.

October 21, 2008

5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow is a book about Christians and farming. R.C. Sproul suggests five things that every Christian needs to grow—barley, wheat, corn… OK, I’m just kidding. But don’t you think the strangely ambiguous title could fit such a book? In reality, 5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow is a reprint of a small book published in 2002 by Thomas Nelson. Revised, expanded and given a great new cover, the book has been republished by Reformation Trust, the publishing division of Ligonier Ministries.

October 17, 2008

Unpacking ForgivenessYou do not need to live long in this world before you will accumulate a nearly endless list of people to whom you owe forgiveness. Even young children quickly begin to sin against others and have to ask forgiveness (just as my two-year old had to seek forgiveness from her sister yesterday for tearing a page from her new Bible). And though Christians speak often of forgiveness extended to them by God, they speak far less often of forgiveness offered to others. In Unpacking Forgiveness, Chris Brauns provides “biblical answers for complex questions and deep wounds.” And really it is only God’s word that can unpack forgiveness, offering hope for true and lasting healing.

October 14, 2008

ESV Study BibleI still remember getting my first study Bible. It was many years ago, probably in the late 80’s, that my parents gave me the gift of a brand new NIV Study Bible. I used that Bible daily for many years though it was eventually replaced by a New Geneva Study Bible in the NKJV translation and after that by a Reformation Study Bible in the ESV. Today, if you drop by my home in the early morning, you are likely to see me reading from the Literary Study Bible, also in the ESV. On the bookcase in my office I have a copy of the Archaeological Study Bible (NIV), the MacArthur Study Bible (NASB) and The Apologetics Study Bible (HCSB). A visit to a local Christian bookstore will turn up many more and a search of publishers’ “Coming Soon” lists will show more still. Truly there is no lack of study Bibles available to us. And into this crowded field steps a newcomer, the ESV Study Bible.

October 03, 2008

Called Out of Darkness by Anne RiceOf all genres of books, memoirs may be the toughest to review. After all, how is a reviewer to evaluate the life experiences of another person? What is the measure of a good memoir and what is the measure of a poor one? Ultimately, as a reviewer, I can judge only the power and effectiveness of the writing, the truthfulness of what the author claims as fact, and, more subjectively, the personal impact of the person’s life-story. And with these criteria in mind, I turn to Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by novelist Anne Rice.

September 30, 2008

Death by Love by Mark DriscollDeath by Love is Mark Driscoll’s fourth book (or eighth if you count the “A Book You’ll Actually Read” series of booklets released earlier this year by Crossway) and the second to be released in the 2008 calendar year. It follows Vintage Jesus, Confessions of a Reformission Rev. and The Radical Reformission. Along with Vintage Jesus it is the second to be co-written with Gerry Breshears. Death by Love is unique among Driscoll’s books in that it is serious in tone from the first page to the last; gone is the sometimes-irreverent humor and gone is the biographical theme. In place comes a deadly-serious look at deadly-serious theology.