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

Tim Challies

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reviews

July 28, 2009

Mark Tubbs is a good friend and my co-laborer over at Discerning Reader. If you have enjoyed that site recently, thank Mark more than me. As Managing Editor, he is heavily involved in the day-to-day management of all that happens there. Because I am on vacation this week, I asked if he would mind if I borrowed a review he had published at Discerning Reader. It is for Paul David Tripp’s brand new Broken-Down House. I trust you’ll enjoy the review and consider purchasing the book!


Broken-Down HouseUsing the concept of the house as a metaphor for life isn’t a novel idea. In Scripture, both the psalmist and Christ himself employ the metaphor. More recently, author William Paul Young situated the majority of the action of The Shack in a ramshackle structure in which the Trinity helps the main character to process the tragic events of his life. Even the secular world has employed the metaphor, such as in the 2001 film Life as a House.

July 21, 2009

The New Shape of World ChristianityThose of us who are Western Christians continue to hear reports that the church is migrating to the south and to the east—that as our nations increasingly turn their collective backs on God, God begins fresh work in other parts of the world. Says Mark Noll in his new book The New Shape of World Christianity, “It is as if the globe had been turned upside down and sideways. A few short decades ago, Christian believers were concentrated in the global north and west, but now a rapidly swelling majority lives in the global south and east. [If a Christian] Rip Van Winkle wiped a half-century of sleep from his eyes … and tried to locate his fellow Christian believers, he would find them in surprising places, expressing their faith in surprising ways, under surprising conditions, with surprising relationships to culture and politics, and raising surprising theological questions that would not have seemed possible when he fell asleep.”

July 07, 2009

Why We Love the ChurchChurch is out, spirituality is in. This is true outside Christians circles but, shockingly, it is true within as well. Recent years have seen a long succession of books talking of the revolution to come (or the revolution underway) which will see Christians abandon the institutional church in favor of expressions of the faith that are supposedly more pure. Christians meeting together in Starbucks in twos or threes, Christians meeting on park benches or around a backyard swimming pool. This, say some, is a true, pure, biblical expression of Christian community. It is in reaction to this kind of misinterpretation of Scripture that Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck have written, Why We Love the Church.

June 23, 2009

The BetrayalI wonder what Calvin would have said, what he would have thought, if he could have peered five centuries into the future and seen how he would be honored on the five hundredth anniversary of his birth. Several new biographies; a long list of conferences; books discussing every aspect, every facet of his theology; a bobblehead; and now The Betrayal, a novel that recounts his life as historical fiction.

June 16, 2009

Justification and RegenerationAt the very heart of the gospel, at the very heart of the Christian faith, are two great miracles, two inseparable miracles, through which a dead man is brought to life. The first miracle is justification; here a condemned sinner is made right in the eyes of a perfect judge. The second miracle is regeneration; here a hater of God and a hater of good is transformed into a lover of God and a lover of all that is good and right. Despite the importance of these two, confusion reigns, even among Christians, about what they are and what they mean. In Justification and Regeneration Charles Leiter sets forth a biblical understanding of each of these, the similarities, the differences, the misconceptions, the truth.

June 09, 2009

You Are the Treasure That I SeekI spent a few minutes yesterday reading about the new iPhone—the iPhone 3G S. It sounds spectacular. With every generation of the phone the wizards at Apple get one step closer to what people wanted the iPhone to be from the outset—an amazing, innovative, gizmo that does so many things so well. Watching the videos, reading the descriptions, I can feel my heart begin to long for that phone. I know that if I don’t watch myself, if I don’t guard my heart, I may just find myself dedicating way too much time to pursuing that phone and rationalizing all the reasons I need it. Of course the problem is not with the phone, but with my heart—a heart that longs for what it does not have. Idolatry, it seems, is alive and well.

June 05, 2009

The Disappearance of GodIt is becoming difficult to keep up with the volume of books coming from the pen of Dr. Albert Mohler. In the past eighteen months we have seen five new books and there is still one remaining for later in 2009 (an original work based on a sermon series, slated for release later this year). Atheism Remix began as the W.H. Griffith Thomas Lectures Mohler delivered at Dallas Theological Seminary early in 2008; He Is Not Silent, a book on preaching, is an original work, written as a book; Culture Shift and Desire and Deceit began as articles written over a period of years, most of which were posted at Mohler’s blog.

June 01, 2009

A Praying Life by Paul MillerAny time I write a review of a book dealing with prayer I feel the need to point out that bookstore shelves are already groaning under the weight of such books. There are hundreds, thousands probably, of books on prayer. A new one is going to need to be good—very good—to supplant the excellent resources already available. Paul Miller, perhaps a bit reluctantly, takes on this challenge in his new book A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World. I was drawn to this book by David Powlison’s Foreword in which he gives it his highest recommendation and says, “A Praying Life will bring a living, vibrant reality to your prayers. Take it to heart.” And what Christian does not want to learn to pray better? What Christian would claim that his prayers are as powerful as ever he would want them to be? The vast number of books on this subject testifies to the Christians’ desire to pray more and to pray better.

May 26, 2009

Outrageous MercyMartin Luther got it right when he said, “No theology is genuinely Christian which does not arise from and focus on the cross.” The cross of Christ is the very center point of the Christian faith; indeed, it is the very focal point of all of history. No event will or can be more significant than this. Little wonder, then, that so many books have been written that teach the cross, reflect on the cross, draw the Christian’s gaze to the cross.

May 18, 2009

This Momentary Marriage by John PiperJohn Piper waited forty years to write a book on marriage. It is only after forty years of marriage that he felt like he would have something valuable to say (or something valuable to add to a very crowded genre of book). “Romance, sex, and childbearing are temporary gifts of God. They are not part of the next life. And they are not guaranteed even for this life. They are one possible path through the narrow way to Paradise. Marriage passes through breathtaking heights and through swamps with choking vapors. It makes many things sweeter, and with it come bitter providences.” Four decades of sweetness and bitter providences stand behind this book.

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