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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. Here are some of the notable books that I’ve received in the past few weeks.

Center Church by Tim KellerCenter Church by Timothy Keller – “Many pastors struggle to translate their theological beliefs into fruitful ministry in the places they are called to reach. It’s not enough to simply know what to believe (theology) or, on the other hand, how to do ministry (methodology)—they need something in between. They need help thinking about ministry in a culture that no longer believes Christianity is a force for good, let alone the source of ultimate revealed truth in the person of Christ. Center Church, a collection of twelve essays by Timothy Keller, outlines a theological vision for ministry that is organized around three core commitments: * Gospel-centered: The gospel of grace in Jesus Christ changes everything, from our hearts to our community to the world. It completely reshapes the content, tone and strategy of all that we do. * City-centered: With a positive approach toward our culture, we learn to affirm that cities are wonderful, strategic and underserved places for gospel ministry. * Movement-centered: Instead of building our own tribe, we seek the prosperity and peace of our community as we are led by the Holy Spirit.” (Learn more and shop at Westminster Books or Amazon)

Hagaii, Zechariah, and Malachi by Andrew Hill – “Despite the return of the Hebrews from the Babylonian exile, selfishness, apathy and despair crippled their community spirit. In response to this distress, God raised up three prophetic voices in Jerusalem. Haggai rallied the people to rebuild the Second Temple. Zechariah was given visions of the return of the glory of the Lord to Zion. Malachi preached repentance, covenant justice and restoration of proper temple worship. Andrew Hill’s excellent commentary on these oracles shows how they remain timely for the Christian church’s worship and mission in the world.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon)

Little Book for Theologians KapicA Little Book for New Theologians by Kelly Kapic – “Whenever we read, think, hear or say anything about God, we are doing theology. Yet theology isn’t just a matter of what we think. It affects who we are. In the tradition of Helmut Thielicke’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, Kelly Kapic offers a concise introduction to the study of theology for newcomers to the field. He highlights the value and importance of theological study and explains its unique nature as a serious discipline. Not only concerned with content and method, Kapic explores the skills, attitudes and spiritual practices needed by those who take up the discipline. This brief, clear and lively primer draws out the relevance of theology for Christian life, worship, mission, witness and more. ‘Theology is about life,’ writes Kapic. ‘It is not a conversation our souls can afford to avoid.’” (Learn more and shop at Amazon)

Reformation Commentary on Scripture Genesis 1-11 – “The first chapters of Genesis are the bedrock of the Jewish and Christian traditions. In these inaugural pages of the canon, the creation of the world, the fall of the human creature, the promise of redemption and the beginning of salvation history are found. Interwoven in the text are memorable stories of the ancient biblical patriarchs and matriarchs. While following the precedent of patristic and medieval commentators on Scripture, as well as Rabbinic midrash, the Reformers provide insightful and startling fresh readings of familiar passages, inviting readers to see the ancient text with new eyes. This volume collects the comments of not only the monumental thinkers like Luther, Calvin and Melancthon, but also many important figures of the time who are lesser-known today. The wealth of Reformation interpretation is brought together here for study and reflection, much appearing in English for the first time.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon)

John FlavelAn Honest, Well Experienced Heart by Adam Embry – “An Honest, Well-Experienced Heart introduces us to the life and writings of Puritan preacher and author John Flavel (1627 1691). In his brief, introductory biography, Adam Embry discusses Flavel s background, ministry, and theology of keeping the heart, which, for Flavel, is the great business of a Christian s life. Centuries ago, Flavel wrote, Above all other studies in the world, study your own hearts. Embry guides us through forty-two short passages from Flavel s writings that acquaint us with this dedicated Puritan minister s piety and help us see the importance of this great business of keeping and managing our hearts.” (Learn more and shop at Westminster Books or Amazon)

Twelve What Abouts by John Samson – “‘Sometimes a single misapprehension or sticky question stands in the way of an honest believer’s examination of the doctrines of grace. John Samson answers those questions with a pastoral heart, yet with biblical fidelity.’ – Dr. James White, Alpha & Omega Ministries. One man said, ‘This book helped me enormously. My understanding of God’s grace has soared to new heights.’ Another said, ‘This is the one book I wish had been placed in my hands as a new Christian. There is a lifetime of insight here.’ Whether you are brand new to the subject, or still wrestling with these weighty concepts, Twelve What Abouts will prove to be an indispensable resource in your search for the truth.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon)


  • 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…

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    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.

  • Our Salvation Through Christ

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers and this post is adapted from The Kindness of God by Nate Pickowicz (© 2024). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission. Just like the Old Testament, the New Testament teaches that this wonderful salvation is extended to us as a kindness. Paul opens his letter…