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New & Notable Books

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I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books and I like to provide regular roundups of some of the best and brightest of the bunch. Of all the books I have received recently, here are the ones that appear most noteworthy. (Note: I don’t often provide these posts two weeks in a row, but the new year has brought an unusually large number of new books my way).

From Heaven He Came And Sought HerFrom Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective by David & Jonathan Gibson. This is a huge volume with a very narrow focus: the doctrine of definite atonement. This is now considered the most comprehensive work describing and defining the doctrine. “There is a palpable sense of confusion—and sometimes even embarrassment—with regard to so-called limited atonement today, pointing to the need for thoughtful engagement with this controversial doctrine. Incorporating contributions from a host of respected theologians, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her stands as the first comprehensive resource on definite atonement as it examines the issue from historical, biblical, theological, and pastoral perspectives. Offering scholarly insights for those seeking a thorough and well-researched discussion, this book will encourage charitable conversations as it winsomely defends this foundational tenet of Reformed theology.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Engaging KellerEngaging with Keller: Thinking Through the Theology of an Influential Evangelical edited by Iain Campbell & William Schweitzer. I consider it a sign of health within a theological movement when its leaders are able to lovingly and winsomely critique one another. This volume does just that. “Tim Keller’s name is known across the evangelical world. His work as a pastor-teacher has found expression both in the urban ministries of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, and in his many writings. Keller’s books, in turn, have spawned Bible study courses and generated a great measure of discussion about key biblical concepts, as he has sought to make the gospel relevant for a modern generation. In this collection of essays, written from within the same evangelical constituency, several writers engage with different aspects of Keller’s thought. While indebted to Keller in many ways, they also wish to examine his position in the light of Scripture and to work constructively as well as critically with his published works. That such an influential figure should be the subject of discussion is not surprising; what will be surprising to many is that not all evangelicals are prepared to accept without question all of Keller’s conclusions or formulations. This is a book to stimulate discussion and to remind us that God’s Word must always be our final judge in matters of theology, evangelism and apologetics.” (Amazon)

Exalting Jesus in MatthewExalting Jesus in Matthew (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary) by David Platt. A new commentary series is always noteworthy. This one is targeted squarely at the general reader or local church pastor and promises to be very good. “Edited by David Platt, Daniel L. Akin, and Tony Merida, this new commentary series, projected to be 48 volumes, takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition. Exalting Jesus in Matthew is the second volume in the series and is solely authored by Platt (best-selling author of Radical). Other projected contributors to the series include notable authors such as Russell D. Moore, Al Mohler, Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, Mark Dever, and others.” One thing to commend is the price: Less than $10 for Kindle and less than $12 for paperback. (Amazon, Westminster Books) You may also be interested in Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus (Amazon, Westminster Books).

Bitesize Biographies from Evangelical Press. Bitesize Biographies is a series of short biographies published by Evangelical Press. The series has recently seen the addition of several new volumes:

  • Hugh Latimer: The Foremost Preacher of the English Reformation. The life of Hugh Latimer (c. 1485 1555) spanned the most critical years of the great revival of biblical Christianity known as the Reformation. Within a year of his conversion in 1524, he became a popular preacher and reformer. He soon fell foul of church authorities who despised his simple gospel message and his condemnation of the church s false doctrines. (Amazon)
  • Adolphe Monod. “Adolphe Monod (1702-1856) was a beloved and courageous French pastor, a major figure in the nineteenth-century Awakening. While he is still well-known among our French-speaking brothers, most English speaking evangelicals have scarcely heard of him.” (Amazon)
  • William Farel. “William Farel lived his life as one of the magisterial Reformers in the shadow of John Calvin and for that reason has been little known. He was born in 1489 and in the 1520 s was one of the first French speakers to echo Luther s critique of the Roman Catholic church, having arrived at his own conclusions by simply reading Scripture. Farel saw this as a work of God s grace and soon developed a passion to spread the Gospel to other French-speaking lands.” (Amazon)

iGodsiGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives by Craig Detweiler. This book speaks to one of my areas of interest. “Today the world is literally at our fingertips. We can call, text, email, or post our status to friends and family on the go. We can carry countless games, music, and apps in our pocket. Yet it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by access to so much information and exhausted from managing our online relationships and selves. Craig Detweiler, a nationally known writer and speaker on media issues, provides needed Christian perspective on navigating today’s social media culture. He interacts with major symbols, or “iGods,” of our distracted age—Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Pixar, YouTube, and Twitter—to investigate the impact of the technologies and cultural phenomena that drive us. Detweiler offers a historic look at where we’ve been and a prophetic look at where we’re headed, helping us sort out the immediate from the eternal, the digital from the divine.” (Amazon)

And how about you? Are there some new and notable books that you’ve added to your reading list? Is there anything I’m missing?

  • The Way You Walk

    The Way You Walk

    You can tell a lot about people by the way they walk, can’t you? You can tell a lot about their physical health, their emotional state, and perhaps even their spiritual condition. You can often tell at a glance whether they are healthy or ill, joyful or sorrowful, delighting or despondent. Consider a company of…

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    A La Carte (June 7)

    A La Carte: Feminism as critical social theory / Lessons from a Job season / Was the woman at the well married to any of the five men? / Holy haggling / The other D-Day / The problem with livestreams / and more.

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    A La Carte (June 6)

    A La Carte: Toward a Protestant pronatalism / The rise of hyperpleasures / Why only pastors can baptize / Fighting the “respectable” sins of gossip and slander / Can we forgive when the offender doesn’t repent? / 10 questions a Christian man should ask himself before making a marriage proposal / D-day / Kindle deals…

  • The Least of My Childrens Accomplishments

    The Least of My Children’s Accomplishments

    I know what it is to be a father and to take pride in the achievements of my children. I had not been a father for long when I learned that the least of my children’s accomplishments by far outshines the greatest of my own. Their smallest victory generates more delight than my largest and…

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    A La Carte (June 5)

    A La Carte: 3 waves that have shaped evangelical churches (and a 4th on the way) / When is a couple considered married? / A Christian’s practical guide to reproductive technology / Don’t be half a Berean / Wisdom is work / This body is only the seed / Book and Kindle deals / and…

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    A La Carte (June 4)

    A La Carte: The blame game / Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be / A kind invitation and lifelong friendship / Steered into error by those closest to you / Satan as “prince of the air” / Under the eaves / General market books / and more.