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New & Notable Book Reviews

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I love reading books, but I also love reading reviews of books. Reviews allow me to discover books I haven’t heard of, they teach me to think wisely, they allow me to better prioritize the books I am considering reading, and they sometimes provide a helpful second opinion on books I have already read. For all of those reasons I publish occasional round-ups of reviews written by other writers. Here are a few notable links I’ve collected recently:

Saving EutychusSaving Eutychus: How To Preach God’s Word And Keep People Awake by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell. Reviewed by Mez McConnell. McConnell has a somewhat lighthearted but very positive review of this book, one I have also read, reviewed and recommended. “So my Assistant Pastor bought this for my last week with the quip: ‘Saw this and immediately thought of you.’ He wasn’t laughing so much as I pushed him out of the nearest window when he wasn’t looking. First off, great title or what! I immediately liked the look of it just from that. If a book can hook you on the title alone then the publisher has done a great job. The downside of a tagline that promises to show us ‘how to preach God’s word and keep people awake’ is that these guys better be good! Failure to deliver would be an epic fail. Based on the real life biblical account of Acts 20, this book is only 8 chapters long and contains two helpful appendices at the end (obviously).” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Weakness is the Way by J.I. Packer. Reviewed by Gloria Furman. “Even just the title of this book flies my heart straight to Jesus, kindling afresh my desire to see him as he is. I’m reminded each day that only God’s strength can sustain and empower me for service, yet I’m tempted to desire worldly strength. JI Packer’s new book, Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength, emboldens those beset with weaknesses with the truth that our human frailty becomes real spiritual strength in and through Christ alone. Teaching from passages in 2 Corinthians, Packer describes ‘life with Christ our strength.’ In typical Packer fashion, this book draws the reader through the scriptural defense of an idea and hurls you into your daily mundane with a glorious picture of who God is.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Talk About GodWhat We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell. Reviewed by Michael Kruger. “Bell’s book … functions a lot like the Apple vs. Microsoft commercial that was popular a number of years ago. Microsoft was represented by an out of shape, poorly dressed geek, while Apple was represented by a thin, hip, well-dressed urbanite. In effect, Bell is arguing that God is not like Microsoft. He is more like Apple. God is relevant. He can keep up with the times. Unfortunately, being an apologist for the faith does not always lead one to uphold the faith. Indeed, there is a long history of folks who have sought to defend Christianity from critical attacks by simply changing the problematic portions of the faith. In other words, apologetics is not always about defending what we believe, but is sometimes about modifying what we believe. Apologetics is sometimes about giving Christianity an extreme makeover.”

Deserted by God? by Sinclair Ferguson. Reviewed by Starr Meade. “Ever have the nagging worry that maybe God has turned His back on you? Or perhaps, less dramatically, do you sometimes feel numb toward the spiritual things that used to be so exciting? Does the Christian life seem to give less than it promised when you began it? Sinclair Ferguson’s experience as a pastor tells him that many more Christians feel these things than will admit to it. If you ever feel this way, or if you work with others who sometimes do, you will find Deserted By God? to be an invaluable resource. At least, that will be the case if you’re willing to agree to several of its basic premises. … The book offers studies on ten psalms. Each study is a thoughtful, mini-commentary, highly practical in nature. Since, in every case of discouragement, the solution comes in our seeing who God is and how He meets our particular need of the moment, the book is highly devotional and worshipful as well.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Gospel Centered DiscipleshipGospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson. Reviewed by Erik Raymond. “I remember being asked to teach a Sunday School Class on Discipleship several years ago. I quickly found out that there are not a lot of good books out there on the topic. Thankfully things are changing! One especially helpful book is Jonathan Dodson’s Gospel Centered Discipleship. I really like this book. In fact, a number of us at Emmaus went through this during the last quarter. Dodson excels at making theology very practical and application very theological.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books)


  • Free Stuff Fridays (Moody Publishers)

    This giveaway is sponsored by Moody Publishers. Attention all Bible scholars, believers in the power of faith, and lovers of the Word! Learn about God’s divine mercy and compassion with our exclusive Bible Study Giveaway. Win the ultimate bible study library including Overflowing Mercies by author and Bible teacher Craig Allen Cooper. This giveaway also…

  • Leadership

    We Need Qualified Leadership

    A few days ago I happened upon the page of an especially mega-sized megachurch. The church is about to undergo a leadership transition from an older man to a younger one and a page on the site lays out the process through which this new pastor was chosen. I read with a morbid kind of…

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    A La Carte (June 21)

    A La Carte: Making tea and holding hands for the sake of the gospel / When Christian groups subvert religious liberty of Christians / How busy should I be? / 5 ways people worship themselves / A backwards birth into heaven / A new systematic theology / and more.

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    A La Carte (June 20)

    A La Carte: How to support the caregivers in your church / What we gain in following Jesus / The way we feel is not necessarily the way it is / The power and danger of habit / The man who introduced American Evangelicals to C.S. Lewis / and more.

  • Do Not Envy the Wicked

    Do You Envy the Wicked?

    It takes a long time for sinful instincts to become pure, for tendencies toward what is evil to be transformed into tendencies toward what is good, lovely, and pleasing to God. The man who quits drugs will still react when he catches a whiff and the woman who gave up alcoholism will still struggle when…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 19)

    A La Carte: The golden rule for hard conversations / Seven reasons you shouldn’t ignore beauty / The early church on entertainment / The uselessness of prayer / A thousand wheels of providence / Impossible, hard, and easy / and more.