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New and Notable Christian Books for July 2023

As another month draws to its close, I want to make sure you’re up-to-date on some of the noteworthy new Christian books that released in July. In each case I have provided the editorial description so you can learn a little bit about it.

David Livingstone: Missionary, Explorer, Abolitionist by Vance Christie. “David Livingstone was one of the most consequential individuals who lived in the nineteenth century. An unpretentious Scottish missionary doctor, explorer and abolitionist, he opened the door for Christianity in southern Africa. Vance Christie’s biography is the most comprehensive and accurate ever written about Livingstone. During his lifetime he was a hero in Britain and beyond, and gained a degree of respect, trust, appreciation and even affection with many African people. He was a man who overcame many deprivations and discouragements, and displayed the utmost measure of courage, self–control, faith, wisdom and ingenuity. Christie takes a balanced look at Livingstone’s amazing achievements, but also at his very real flaws. This gripping in–depth biography is a must–read insight into a fascinating man.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes by Nancy Pearcey. “Bestselling author Nancy Pearcey has a knack for tackling the tough issues of our day. A former agnostic, Pearcey was hailed in The Economist as “America’s pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual.” In this book, she takes readers on a fascinating romp through American history to discover how the secular script for masculinity turned toxic–and what action we can take to fix it. We often hear that Exhibit A of toxic behavior is evangelical Christian men. But the social sciences tell a very different story. Studies find that family men who attend church regularly test out as the most loving husbands and the most engaged fathers. They have the lowest rate of divorce and–here’s the real stunner–the lowest rate of domestic violence of any group in America. The sociological facts explode anti-male stereotypes and show that classic Christianity has the power to overcome toxic behavior and reconcile the sexes. That’s a finding that has stood up to rigorous empirical testing. This book will equip thinkers and activists to challenge politically correct ideology and bring an evidence-based message of healing into the public square.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Planting by Pastoring: A Vision for Starting a Healthy Church by Nathan Knight. “As churches rapidly expand, Christians risk viewing the church with an entrepreneurial mindset. Church planters can be tempted to fixate on gaining numbers and achieving financial stability as their only metrics for success. They fail to focus on lifting up Christ’s people within the church. In Planting by Pastoring, author Nathan Knight challenges our view of church planting and centers the goal of pastoral ministry on a basic biblical foundation: a church plant is in fact a church, and a planter is in fact a pastor. A healthy church plant is not measured by size, speed, or level of self-sufficiency but by good pastoring that produces faith, fruit, and a flourishing community. Once pastors and church leaders redefine their plant as a church, their ministry will begin to align with Jesus’s mission to shepherd the flock and bring glory to God alone.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Hard Sayings: Understanding Difficult Passages of Scripture by R.C. Sproul. “God gave us His Word so that we may know Him and live by His truth. So, what should we do when we’re reading the Bible and a difficult passage stops us in our tracks? Sometimes the solution is right there on the page—if we know where to look—while other passages gain clarity in light of the rest of the Bible or its historical background. With the help of an experienced guide, we can overcome the obstacles to our progress and know God’s Word more deeply. In Hard Sayings, Dr. R.C. Sproul applies his wisdom as a theologian and Bible teacher to some of the most challenging verses in Scripture. By showing us how to navigate tough texts in the Old and New Testaments, he outlines key principles to help us grow in our knowledge of God.” (Buy it at Amazon)

The Pilgrim’s Progress, Legacy Edition by John Bunyan & Lauren Ducommun. This one actually released earlier in the year but I’m only noticing it now. “Many beautiful versions of John Bunyan’s work have been produced over the past three centuries. Often these versions included wood-cut illustrations from some of the finest artists of the day, and yet many of those versions are out of print and few heirloom quality editions exist today. Our desire was to honor the rich legacy of illustrations of The Pilgrim’s Progress with this new edition. Some of the special features of the Legacy Edition include: Unabridged text with carefully updated language; 150+ vintage illustrations; Heirloom quality cloth cover, gilded edges, and ribbon page marker; Full ESV Bible references in margins; Large Print; Frameable 6.5×8.5” Pilgrim’s Journey Matte Cardstock Map. Our hope is that, as this story has impacted generations of Christians, this edition will continue the legacy of this book for many generations to come. (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Alexander Moody Stuart by Kenneth Moody Stuart. “Many are familiar with the likes of Robert Murray M‘Cheyne and the Bonar brothers. Fewer are aware of their mutual friend and colleague, Alexander Moody Stuart (1809-1898), who was nonetheless an esteemed and influential minister, standing firmly, like his friends, in the Reformed tradition of his forebears. This well-paced and engaging memoir, partly autobiographical and completed by his son, covers the life, work, friendships, and challenges of one who was fully engaged with the people under his spiritual care, and also a willing defender of orthodox belief in an age of rapid change in approaches to Scripture. Moody Stuart is here presented by his son as a man of his times, and yet as one whose diligence, spiritual maturity, and pastoral wisdom has much to say to today’s Christians. Pastors will especially benefit from reflecting on Moody Stuart’s approach to ministry.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Answering Speech: The Life of Prayer as Response to God by Daniel J. Brendsel. “In wondrous contrast to silent idols, the one true God speaks. He addresses his people in love, and it’s their great privilege to answer him in prayer. At its root, prayer isn’t mere self-expression or a prod to get a silent God to speak, but it is a learned skill to answer God’s initiating word in Christ. Through this thoughtful book, author and pastor Daniel J. Brendsel explains how responding to God can nurture prayerful engagement with Scripture, shape healthy rhythms among God’s praying people, and spur excitement for communion with God. For those disappointed by their current life of prayer, Answering Speech invites readers to enter into an expansive and exuberant life of response to the Father through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Sketchy Views: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Sense of God by Dan DeWitt. “Is your understanding of who God is and how he works in our lives today a little sketchy? Daniel DeWitt’s Sketchy Views is a beginner’s guide to making sense of God. Everybody has beliefs about God. There are a million ways to get God wrong, but there’s only a narrow path to getting him right. In order to understand God, we have to go back to the Bible, but that can be overwhelming if you are new to theology. Sketchy Views uses words and sketches to help readers visually connect with and understand what basic Christian theology is and is not. DeWitt helps readers understand why what we think about God is the most important thing about us. Because God is the most important topic a person can think about, the way we think about God (our theology) is our most valuable and important collection of our thoughts and words.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

The Upside Down Kingdom: Wisdom for Life from the Beatitudes by Chris Castaldo. “In our sinful world, we often struggle with anxiety, loneliness, and heartache. Everywhere we look, we see broken families and divided communities. How can we truly cultivate God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven” in such a broken place? In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2–12), Jesus urges us to set ourselves apart from the world, living in a counterculture with a new identity rooted in him. The Upside Down Kingdom examines this counterintuitive wisdom and explores its relevance for today. Drawing on insights from the biblical story of redemption, church fathers, Reformation scholars throughout history, and contemporary life, this book equips and encourages readers to get their spiritual bearings in an upside-down world. Author Chris Castaldo ultimately points readers to the kingdom of Christ—not as a set of rules, but as a means of bringing peace and blessing here and now.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Daniel Rowland and the Great Evangelical Awakening in Wales by Eifion Evans. “Daniel Rowland (1713 – 1790) was one of the foremost leaders of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist revival in the early 19th century along with Howell Harris and William Williams. For most of his life he served as curate in the parishes of Nantcwnlle and Llangeitho, Ceredigion. He was renowned as a preacher and made Llangeitho memorable as a centre of Calvinistic Methodism in Wales. The Anglican Church authorities deprived him of his Nantcwnlle curacy in 1763, an action which was unpopular with parishioners. Following this, he established a Methodist cause in Llangeitho. His early preaching was known to be frightening as he gave much attention to God’s judgment in his sermons. But as he matured in his ministry he gave more emphasis on the saving work of Jesus on the cross. His theology and character was seen as more consistent and stable than that of his counterpart Howel Harris during the revival. This is a new retypeset edition.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Memorable LossMemorable Loss: A Story of Friendship in the Face of Dementia by Karen Martin. “Dementia is experienced in different forms, in different ways and is coped with differently by different people, but with nearly 10 million new cases every year, it is something many people face. It’s tough on those with the disease, but it is also incredibly hard for the loved ones around them. Karen Martin’s story about her friend Kathleen, however, is overwhelmingly one of love and persistence. Despite their nearly half–century age difference, their commonality drew them to each other, and their genuine friendship uplifted them both. Charting the story from pre–diagnosis to Kathleen’s eventual passing, this moving tale highlights the difficulties and joys of facing dementia, through the lens of friendship.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

The Illustrated Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English edited by Paul Cox. “Through winsome, colorful illustrations, Paul Cox presents the classic Westminster Shorter Catechism in a way that will engage your children in their learning and even memorizing essential Christian doctrines! The proof texts provided throughout can be used to invite your kids into further discussion about these vital truths. But there’s even more to this book! This modern-English edition also includes the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostles’ Creed as additional resources to help you to train your children in knowing and understanding God’s Word and the convictions of his church.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)


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