New and Notable Christian Books for February 2020

I’m in the happy position of receiving endless numbers of Christian books. Every month or so I try to sort through them to identify the new books that seem most noteworthy and, therefore, may be of most interest to readers like you. Here is the selection for February 2020, including the publishers’ descriptions. (Note: I’ve skimmed these books, but have not thoroughly read most of them.)

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With All Your Heart: Orienting Your Mind, Desires, and Will toward Christ by A. Craig Troxel. This one comes well-endorsed by Ed Welch, Carl Trueman, Joel Beeke, and others. Sinclair Ferguson says, “Here is a book to be welcomed enthusiastically, to be read carefully, and to be returned to frequently.” “In our world, we use the word heart to refer to our emotions. But the Bible uses the word heart to refer to the governing center of life. We need to grasp the true meaning of the heart in order to better understand ourselves, our sin, and our need for redemption. As we rediscover the heart as the source of all our thoughts, fears, words, and actions, we will discover principles and practices for orienting our hearts to truly love and obey God with all that we are.” (Amazon | Westminster Books)

Toxic Sons- and Daughters-in-Law: Untangling Difficult Relationships by Doyle Roth. Strictly speaking this one is not brand new, but it is new to me and deals with a topic I’ve never seen addressed before. “Generally speaking, if there s trouble with in-laws in a family, blame is quickly assigned to the father- or mother-in-law. But they are not always to blame. Many fathers- and mothers-in-law are wonderful folks, beloved parents, good communicators, and fun-loving people. When their son or daughter ends up married to a person with immature attitudes, an abusive personality, or excessive emotional baggage, these parents are now stuck with a son- or daughter-in-law who makes their lives a living hell. What was once a loving family now finds itself turned upside down by a toxic, self-centered individual. Toxic Sons- and Daughters-in-Law helps expose the harmful attitudes and actions of a difficult son- or daughter-in-law and calls for biblical repentance and change. Untangling the destructive and dysfunctional nature of their abusive behavior will help parents manage the painful process of rejection, manipulation and anger. Practical counsel throughout the book will guide parents through the minefield of emotions to a God-glorifying conclusion and a lifestyle marked by application of biblical principles.” (Amazon)

Fight Your Fears: Trusting God’s Character and Promises When You Are Afraid by Kristen Wetherell. “What are you afraid of? You could probably fill this page with a list of your fears. Fears about the future; fears about your health, job, and family; fears about inadequacy and failure (and maybe success); fears about how much fear itself seems to affect your decisions, plans, and growth in this life. You might even fear what God thinks about your fears. After all, in his Word God commands us not to be afraid hundreds of times. But how is this possible? We’re troubled by evil, we’re slammed with bad news, and we can’t know what tomorrow will bring. How can we learn to trust God and not be afraid? Kristen Wetherell is in the fight with you. She is a fearful fellow traveler on the road of the Christian life, making strides alongside you in this battle. In Fight Your Fears she carefully searches 10 of God’s great and precious promises, equipping you with the practical tools to overcome the fears and anxious thoughts that are robbing you of your joy. Each chapter ends with Scripture exercises, a memory verse, questions to ponder, and a prayer. Discover truths that will bring peace to your soul as you learn to fear God and nothing else.” (Amazon)

The Story Retold: A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament by G. K. Beale & Benjamin L. Gladd. “New Testament introductions fall into two categories: those that emphasize the history behind the text through discussions of authorship, dating, and audience, and those that explore the content of the text itself. Few introductions weave the Old Testament into their discussions, and fewer still rely on the grand narrative of the Old Testament. But the New Testament was not written within a vacuum. Rather, it stands in continuity with the Old Testament. Israel’s story is the church’s story. In The Story Retold, G. K. Beale and Benjamin L. Gladd explore each New Testament book in light of the broad history of redemption, emphasizing the biblical-theological themes of each New Testament book. Their distinctive approach encourages readers to read the New Testament in light of the Old, not as a new story but as a story retold.” (Amazon | Westminster Books)

The Hunger for Significance: Seeing the Image of God in Man by R.C. Sproul. I guess this one doesn’t count as a new book, as much as a reprint. This was one of Sproul’s earlier works and, if you’re familiar with his work, you’ll observe that it’s of a slightly different style than the books he wrote later on. But the content is as solid as ever as he “gets to the heart of humanity’s search for personal worth. As he sheds light on daily obstacles to dignity—in home, school, hospital, prison, church, and workplace—Dr. Sproul points us to new ways of loving and serving one another.” Reading this will make you thankful for Sproul’s legacy and make you wish it could continue not only in reprints, but in new works! (Amazon)

Why Does God Care Who I Sleep With? by Sam Allberry. “Christians are increasingly seen as outdated, restrictive and judgmental when it comes to sex before marriage, cohabitation, homosexuality, gender identity, or transgender rights. In fact for many people, this issue is one of the biggest barriers for them considering Christianity. Sam Allberry, author of many books including Is God Anti-Gay? sets out God’s good design for the expression of human sexuality, showing that God himself is love and that only he can satisfy our deepest desires. It is a great reminder of the Bible’s positive blueprint for love, sex, and marriage and ideal for giving away to people who may see this as a stumbling block for belief.” (Amazon)

Big Theology for Little Hearts by Devon and Jessica Robyn Provencher. This is not a book as much as a series of books—board books for young children. “Big Theology for Little Hearts is a board book series for children ages 1–5 that teaches key Christian truths in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Each book introduces a big idea from the Bible with concise definitions and engaging illustrations to help young minds gain a foundational understanding of God’s Word. As each book’s topic builds on the previous one, children can develop a cohesive framework of theology that includes God, creation, humanity, Jesus, and the gospel—allowing parents to start having crucial conversations with their children as early as possible. The first book in the series—God—lays a foundation for understanding who God is, defining 10 words that describe God so children know what to believe and how to follow him. The second book—Jesus—helps children understand important truths about Jesus as God, King, rescuer, priest, and prophet, and how he came to earth to atone for our sins and defeat death once and for all. The third book—The Gospel—tells children why they need to be forgiven of their sins, what Jesus has done for them on the cross, and how they can respond to the gospel and receive eternal life.” (Amazon | Westminster Books)

If I Could Speak: Letters from the Womb by Mark Jones. “‘Dear Mommy…’ So begins the correspondence from an unborn baby to her mother. Making an impassioned plea to her mother to not abort her, she shares her hopes and fears with the woman who can control whether she lives or dies. These letters are an appeal to all who read them to choose life. Chapter Headings: I can hear your voice; I would make you happy; You and daddy put me here; I would like a name; You were here once; I will take care of you one day; Happy Father’s Day; Your freedom and mine; God was here once; I’d rather be adopted than aborted; I wish I were a baby eagle; Mommy, I’m scared; There is forgiveness; Mom’s letter to Zoe; Zoe’s letter; I miss you.” (Amazon)

Sanctification: God’s Passion for His People by John MacArthur. This is just a wee little book, but one with a purpose. “Among all the things that a pastor will do on any given day, he must not lose sight of his one ultimate goal: the sanctification of God’s people. This is the heart of God’s purpose for Christians. John MacArthur calls pastors to remember what all the countless hours preparing sermons, visiting hospitals, counseling, conducting weddings, and more are all about, even when the finish line seems so far in the distance that they’re tempted to give up. He encourages pastors with the power God gives them to place the sanctification of God’s people at the center of their ministry.” (Amazon | Westminster Books)