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New and Notable Christian Books for May 2021

I am 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 titles that seem most noteworthy and, therefore, may be of most interest to readers like you. Here is the selection for May 2021, including the publishers’ descriptions.

Gun LapGun Lap: Staying in the Race with Purpose by Robert Wolgemuth. “You may think you’re too old to run fast, but you’re not too old to run well. When the lead runner starts his final lap in a long-distance race, the starter fires his pistol for the second time. This signals the start of the gun lap—the last chance to leave it all out on the track. Gun Lap is for men who are running their last lap. Or maybe younger men who are looking ahead to their gun lap, but want to live the rest of their lives with purpose and strength. This is no small thing. In fact, it’s a big deal, because we only get one chance at this life. The author of the New Testament book of Hebrews agrees…wrote, ‘Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us’ (12:1 CSB). Perseverance. No word better describes the goal of this race…every lap…including the last one. Gun Lap will help you pay close attention to the strides you have left.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Embodied: Living as Whole People in a Fractured World by Gregg Allison. “We rarely give thought to our bodies until faced with a physical challenge or crisis. We have somehow internalized the unbiblical idea that the immaterial aspect of our being (our soul or spirit) is inherently good while the material aspect (our body) is at worst inherently evil and at best neutral–just a vehicle for our souls to get around. So we end up neglecting or disparaging our bodies, seeing them as holding us back from spiritual growth and longing for the day we will be free of them. But the thing is, we don’t have bodies; we are our bodies. And God created us that way for a reason. With Scripture as his guide, theologian Gregg Allison presents a holistic theology of the human body from conception through eternity to equip us to address pressing contemporary issues related to our bodies, including how we express our sexuality, whether gender is inherent or constructed, the meaning of suffering, body image, end of life questions, and how to live as whole people in a fractured world.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Brave by Faith: God-Sized Confidence in a Post-Christian World by Alistair Begg. “What does it look like to live with joy in a society that does not like what Christians believe, say, or do? It’s tempting to grow angry, keep our heads down, retreat, or just give up altogether. But this isn’t the first time that God’s people have had to learn how to live in a pagan world that opposes God’s rule. In this realistic yet positive book, renowned Bible teacher Alistair Begg examines the first seven chapters of Daniel to show us how to live bravely, confidently, and obediently in an increasingly secular society. Readers will see that God is powerful and God is sovereign, and even in the face of circumstances that appear to be prevailing against his people, we may trust him entirely. We can be as brave as Daniel if we have faith in Daniel’s God!” (Buy it from Amazon or Westminster Books)

The God of the Mundane: Reflections on Ordinary Life for Ordinary People by Matthew Redmond. “It’s OK to not be a ‘radical’ Christian. Our life is not about what we do for God. It’s about what he does for us. You’ve heard the message. ‘If you really loved God, you would be totally committed-do something big, sell your belongings, maybe become a missionary.’ Matt Redmond has preached it himself. But here he simply asks: What about the rest of us? Through stories of pastors, plumbers, dental hygienists, and stay-at-home moms, Matt finds grace and mercy in chicken fingers, classic films, and smiles from strangers. Ultimately, he convicts us of what he has learned himself… There is a God of the mundane, and our life is not about what we do for him. It’s about what he does for us.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

The New Reformation: Finding Hope in the Fight for Ethnic Unity by Shai Linne. “We all know that racial unity is important. But what’s the right way to approach it? How can Christians of different ethnicities pursue unity in an environment that is so highly charged and full of landmines on all sides? In The New Reformation, Christian hip-hop artist Shai Linne shows how the gospel applies to the pursuit of ethnic unity. When it comes to ethnicity, Christians today have to fight against two tendencies: idolatry and apathy. Idolatry makes ethnicity ultimate, while apathy tends to ignore it altogether. But there is a third way, the way of the Bible. Shai explains how ethnicity—the biblical word for what we mean by ‘race’—exists for God’s glory. Drawing from his experience as an artist-theologian, church planter, and pastor, Shai will help you chart a new way forward in addressing the critical question of what it means for people of all ethnicities to be the one people of God.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Proverbs: A Shorter Commentary by Bruce Waltke & Ivan de Silva. “Since 2004, Bruce Waltke’s magisterial two-volume NICOT commentary on the book of Proverbs has been recognized as a definitive exegesis of the Hebrew text, groundbreaking in its illuminating analysis that the authors and redactors of Proverbs had organized their material into discernible clusters and groupings. Waltke and Ivan De Silva here offer an abridged and revised version of the preeminent commentary, which is more accessible to students, pastors, and Bible readers in general. In place of a technical analysis of the Hebrew text, Waltke and De Silva interpret the translated text, while also including their own theological reflections and personal anecdotes where appropriate. A topical index is added to help expositors with a book that is difficult to preach or teach verse by verse. At its heart, this shorter commentary on Proverbs preserves the exegetical depth, erudition, and poetic insight of Waltke’s original and maintains the core conviction that the ancient wisdom of Proverbs holds profound, ongoing relevance for Christian faith and life today.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos. “Catherine Vos was the wife of great theologian and exegete, Dr. Geerhardus Vos of Princeton Theological Seminary, and an author in her own right. After looking through bookstore after bookstore for a book which would present the excitement and warmth of the stories found in the Bible, when she came up empty, she made it a life-long project to write one herself. The Children’s Story Bible was the result. Catherine Vos’ Child’s Story Bible combines qualities which are not generally found together: she appeals to the interest and imagination of children without sacrificing fidelity to the text of Scripture; she uses the stories to impress great doctrinal truths, uniting the element of enjoyment with instruction; and she takes the sombre warning passages of the word of God as well as those which call for admiration and trust in the Saviour around whom children once gathered upon earth. This edition includes 26 colour illustrations by Neil McArdle and readers will be interested to know that there are no images of Christ in the book.” (Buy it at Westminster Books)

Treasures of Encouragement: Women Helping Women by Sharon Betters. “Encouragement is vital the spiritual health of all Christians. It’s a blessing to both the encouraged and the encourager. As God’s children, it’s our responsibility to provide comfort to others. But when the need for comfort arises due to tragedy or hardship, we often fail to encourage our friends and family because we feel too awkward or nervous. As she explores the power of biblical encouragement, Sharon Betters shows how to harness it to help those in need, even when it’s difficult. We discover that a strong foundation in Christ enables us to step into the suffering of others and show them the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Through inspiring stories, key principles, and ideas for putting biblical encouragement into action, readers will learn that by sharing in each other’s suffering, we can bring joy and contentment to our community and to ourselves.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

5 Things to Pray for Your Parents: Prayers that Change Things for an Older Generation by Chelsea Stanley. “The Bible calls us to honor our parents—and one way we can do that is by praying for them. Little children often see their mothers and fathers as the ones with all the answers. It’s not until we grow up that we realize our parents are just like us—regular people in need of prayer. This guide will help you to pray rich, intentional prayers for your mother or father—be they biological or adoptive, working or retired, frail or fit, married or separated, believers or unbelievers. Whatever their situation, if we want to love them well, we need to pray. Each of the 21 prayer themes in this book takes a passage of Scripture and suggests five things to pray for a particular area of your parents’ lives. You can use this book in any number of ways: work through it as part of your daily quiet time or pick it up whenever a particular need arises.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

The Child is Father of the Man by Tom Nettles. “Tom Nettles examines the life of one of the world’s most famous preachers. He isolates key convictions that appear in Spurgeon’s life either before or immediately after his conversion, and traces them through his life as he develops into the charming, interesting, confident, humble, spiritual–minded man and pastor whose work and witness dominated evangelicalism in the last half of the nineteenth century.” This endorsement by Stephen Nichols gives a bit more information: “… brilliantly focusses on ten key moments, convictions really, that shaped the larger–than–life Charles Haddon Spurgeon. These convictions steeled Spurgeon to weather controversy, depression, and setbacks. Through it all, Spurgeon’s exuberant love for God, the gospel, and for the church shines through.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

The Multi-Directional Leader by Trevin Wax. “Today’s threats come from every direction. How can we faithfully respond? Many church leaders assume the most dangerous threats to God’s people will emerge from one side of the field. But when they scan for attacks in only one direction, they leave Christians vulnerable to different dangers. The church needs what Trevin Wax calls multi-directional leadership—leaders who combine dexterity and discipline. In short, leaders today must demonstrate faithful versatility. Wax applies multi-directional leadership to the most contentious issues facing churches right now. Unity and truth can still triumph in a divided age.” (Buy it at Amazon)


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