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New and Notable Christian Books for May 2022

May has been another good month for Christian book releases. I sorted through the many options and arrived at this list of new and notables. In each case I’ve provided the editorial description to give you a sense of what it’s all about. I hope there’s something here that’s of interest to you!

A Concise Guide to the Life of Muhammad: Answering Thirty Key Questions Ayman Ibrahim. “What is so unique about Muhammad? What are the reasons for the strong devotion Muslims have for him? Did he really exist? What do Muslims say about him and his teaching? Did he perform miracles? What did he say about loving one’s neighbor and about those who abandon Islam? Did he teach on homosexuality and owning slaves? These are some of the thirty questions answered in this clear and concise guide to Muhammad’s life and religious significance. This companion volume to Ayman Ibrahim’s A Concise Guide to the Quran answers many of the key questions non-Muslims have about Muhammad, reveals the importance of Muhammad for Christian-Muslim and Jewish-Muslim interfaith relations, examines Muslim and non-Muslim primary sources, and engages classic and modern studies on the most important human figure for scores of Muslims.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Guidebook for Instruction in the Christian Religion by Herman Bavinck. “Guidebook for Instruction in the Christian Religion is an introductory systematic theology by one of the foremost theologians of the past century. Alongside The Sacrifice of Praise, this is Bavinck at his best doing catechetical theology. To this end, Bavinck sets off to explain in a simplified manner the main contents of the Christian religion, even giving it a title that is a tip of the hat to John Calvin’s Institute of the Christian Religion. While Bavinck’s lengthy Reformed Dogmatics is an academic work, Guidebook for Instruction serves a more egalitarian aim. It is a theological guide for the everyday person in the pew. In this one—and much shorter—volume, Bavinck walks Christian readers through all the major topics covered in Reformed Dogmatics with theological depth and insight.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

The Lord’s Prayer: Learning from Jesus on What, Why, and How to Pray by Kevin DeYoung. “Christians know the importance of prayer, but the act of praying can be a real challenge. Some have the desire, but not always the will; others worry they don’t do it well. Books about prayer usually emphasize spiritual discipline, but that can foster more guilt than reassurance. So how can Christians improve their prayer life, embracing the privilege of communicating with God? In The Lord’s Prayer, Kevin DeYoung closely examines Christ’s model for prayer, giving readers a deeper understanding of its content and meaning, and how it works in the lives of God’s people. Walking through the Lord’s Prayer word by word, DeYoung helps believers gain the conviction to develop a stronger prayer life, and a sense of freedom to do so.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

What Is Saving Faith?: Reflections on Receiving Christ as a Treasure by John Piper. “What happens in the heart when it experiences real saving faith? John Piper argues that faith in Christ is not saving unless it includes an “affectional dimension of treasuring Christ.” Nor is God glorified as he ought to be unless he is treasured in being trusted. Saving faith in Jesus Christ welcomes him forever as our supreme and inexhaustible pleasure. What Is Saving Faith? explains that a Savior who is treasured for his all-satisfying worth is more glorified than a Savior who is only trusted for his all-forgiving competence. In this way, saving faith reaches its God-appointed goal: the perfections of Christ glorified by our being satisfied in him forever. (Buy it at Amazon)

Refreshed: Devotions For Your Time Away by John Hindley. “Vacations often give us an opportunity to rest and reflect. However, when our normal routines and habits are suspended, it can be hard to spend time with God. These 30 devotions have been specifically designed to help you to rest in the Lord’s goodness and glory during your time away so that you can return home feeling refreshed spiritually as well as physically. ‘I want to help you find rest, peace, joy, hope, and renewed zeal. We go away to be refreshed. Christ is the one who sets his Spirit in our hearts to cause streams of living water to well up within us and flow from us. Sometimes we rest away from Jesus, but how much better to rest with and in him? He is where our true refreshment is found.’ You can pick and choose which devotions to read depending on the type of vacation you are on (for example, city break or beach) and there are optional family activities and questions linked to each devotion giving other family members an opportunity to reflect alongside you.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Growing Downward: The Path of Christ-exalting Humility by Nick Thompson. “Author Nick Thompson recognizes that pride is our worst enemy. If pride is our chief foe, then humility is our chief friend, even though its company may be painful. But spiritual growth is a descent―we must grow downward. Defining humility as “the downward disposition of a Godward self-perception,” Thompson walks us through the practical implications of this definition, leading us to embrace a God-centered perspective on the self. With winsome illustration and warm pastoral instruction, Growing Downward shows us that the path of humility, though difficult, is the way to true meaning and fulfillment in Jesus Christ.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Pure: Why the Bible’s Plan for Sexuality Isn’t Outdated, Irrelevant, or Oppressive by Dean Inserra. “Few things bring more immediate scrutiny and impassioned angst among young adult Christians today than hearing the words ‘purity culture.’ Serious flaws from purity culture deserve to be scrutinized, especially given its lasting negative effects on some raised in the movement. Many Christians today reject the movement—and all that it stood for—wholesale. However, we can’t ignore the clear sexual ethics of the Bible. Pure dives into the big picture of God’s design for men and women regarding sexuality, and seeks to reclaim one of the clearest teaching in the scriptures: the call to sexual purity. While purity culture gets the truth right, the approach and gospel elements it espouses are often wrong. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, but rather celebrate God’s great design for marriage and the loving boundaries he has put in place for our joy, protection, and flourishing.” (Buy it at Amazon)

The Gates of Hell: An Untold Story of Faith and Perseverance in the Early Soviet Union by Matthew Heise. “Decimated by war, revolution, and famine, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia was in critical condition in 1921. In The Gates of Hell, Matthew Heise recounts the bravery and suffering of German–Russian Lutherans during the period between the two great world wars. These stories tell of ordinary Christians who remained faithful to death in the face of state persecution. Christians in Russia had dark days characterized by defeat, but God preserved his church. Against all human odds, the church would outlast the man–made sandcastles of communist utopianism. The Gates of Hell is a wonderful testimony to the enduring power of God’s word, Christ’s church, and the Spirit’s faithfulness.” (Buy it at Amazon)

Retiring Well: Strategies for Finding Balance, Setting Priorities, and Glorifying God by John Dunlop, MD. “Preparation for retirement requires more than just financial planning. For most people, and especially for Christians, it comes with a host of other considerations—when to retire, where to live, and how to spend one’s time. Many find themselves asking, Is there a right way to retire? Drawing from his work with geriatric patients and his own retirement experience, Dr. John Dunlop shares practical strategies for Christians as they approach their retirement years. With Scripture as his guide, he promotes balance between rest and activity—encouraging intimacy with God, service to churches and communities, time with friends and family, and care for one’s health. (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Everyday Holiness: Becoming Who You Were Made to Be by Josh Moody. “You don’t have to pick between being boring and being bad. There is a better way: a biblical understanding of holiness. David Brooks’ The Road to Character, and Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, both in their own way underline our renewed interest in character and responsibility today. In the church too we sense the need for a fresh call to holiness. With moral scandals in the news, it is time is to listen to what the Bible says about becoming more like Jesus. What is holiness? Why should we be holy? What place does grace and the gospel play in the drama of becoming more like Christ? And, most practically, how do we become holy? Dr. Josh Moody leads us with clarity along a path to a simple biblical profundity: holiness is becoming who we are in Christ. Holiness isn’t about a drab or dreary lifestyle. It’s not about faking it, or being inauthentic. Holiness is becoming who you were made to be. There’s a sweetness, a joy, a freedom in pursuing Jesus. We were designed to live like this, so we find our fullest flourishing there.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Blessed: Experiencing the Promise of the Book of Revelation by Nancy Guthrie. “Over 12 chapters, Blessed covers the full text of the book of Revelation, exploring its call to patient endurance as God’s sovereign plans for judgment and salvation are worked out in the world. In this book, Guthrie shows how Revelation is less about when Jesus will return and more about who we are to be, what we are to do, and what we can expect to endure as we wait for Jesus to return to establish his kingdom in the new creation. With a friendly and engaging tone, Blessed takes the fear, intimidation, and confusion away from studying Revelation, providing a solid and accessible resource that individuals and small groups can use to study this important yet often avoided book. (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)


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