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New & Notable Book Reviews

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I love writing book reviews and I love reading them. Since I cannot possibly read and review all of the interesting books out there, I publish occasional round-ups of reviews written by other writers. Or even if I am able to review the book, it’s always good to get a second opinion. So here are a few notable links I’ve collected recently:

Sensing Jesus by Zack Eswine. Reviewed by Aaron Armstrong. “Sensing Jesus, by the author’s own admission, is meant to be a slow burn. If you blast through this book, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. “Apprenticeship needs meditation and time,” as he puts it (27). Readers would do well to take Eswine at his word. Read slowly and thoughtfully. Make lots of notes. Be willing to recognize where you see yourself in its pages, and consider how God might challenge you through it to recover the humanity of your ministry.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books.)

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens. Reviewed by Douglas Groothuis. “In the middle of a book tour for a memoir, Hitch-22, Hitchens came down with severe symptoms that were later found to be esophageal cancer, a rapid and rarely curable form of this perennial plague on humanity. Hitchens tells his story without self-pity or lugubrious detail. In fact, he writes with a kind of detachment—here are the facts; here are my reflections on them—but not without some pathos. This slim volume is a less a lament than a report, which is apt enough, given Hitchens’ vocation. But it, nevertheless, discloses something of the sting of death, inflicted on one without the hope of the gospel. Hitchens remains a naturalist to the end: everyone dies; there is no afterlife; that is the way it is—and I might as well write about it.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon.)

Fools Rush In by Carl Trueman. Reviewed by Erik Raymond: “If you have not read any of Trueman, either on his blog or in his other books, this would be a terrific introduction into his writing. There is a certain style with which he writes that is simultaneously humorous, painful, prophetic, and pastoral. As a guy who is Reformed, (relatively) young, and pastor who has a blog–I am a prime candidate to be greatly offended by Trueman. But I’m not. I’m very thankful for him. His words were particularly helpful for me over my Christmas vacation.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books.)

Walking with the Poor by Bryant Myers. Reviewed by Mez McConnell. “Obviously, this is too vast a book to justice on one meaningless little blog in cyberspace but I will try to at least engage with the parts that I remember most, both positively and negatively. This is a book replete with real pearls of wisdom. For example, when speaking of many people’s desire to try to solve poverty by increasing material wealth, Myers is scathing: “research shows that when the poor receive additional income, the extra money is spent on festivals, TV’s, medical emergencies, alcohol, tobacco, and better tasting but not more nutritious food.” (p39) I would say that this is often a charge levelled at our “social security” culture here in the UK (something not tackled in the book). The more benefits the poor get the more they spend it on rubbish (or so the argument goes). However, it is not just the poor or the benefits ‘scrounger’ that make these errors but, according to Myers, it is a Western cultural problem.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon.)

Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp. Reviewed by David Steele. “Each page is filled with sobering challenges for men who call themselves a pastor/shepherd/elder. Indeed, there are many ‘lessons in the woodshed’ but the author does not leave pastors in a hopeless condition. Rather, he applies the gospel to pastors who have been wounded in light of unconfessed sin, pride, and arrogance. I believe that Paul David Tripp has accurately accessed the condition of pastoral ministry. But the assessment is not the most important observation. What stands at the center of this discussion is the gospel.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books.)

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Ethics and the Beginning of Human Life by Megan Best. Reviewed by David Steele. “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made is a valuable resource for all kinds of people. It’s been written to educate people (like me) who know next to nothing about many of these topics. Where technical information for healthcare professionals is included, it’s marked out from the main text in sidebars so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the main argument. Both a general index and a Scripture index are included, as well as some excellent appendices on (i) the pill (and whether it can cause abortions); (ii) commercial markets created by the abortion industry; (iii) human genetics; (iv) umbilical cord blood collection; and (v) recommended resources for further exploration. And scattered throughout (again, marked off in sidebars or with italics) are lots of personal stories, which give these issues a human ‘face’. These are real stories—some heartbreaking—from real people.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books.)

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