I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received boxes of them and, in sorting through the pile, here are the ones that have risen to the top. They are the few that appear most noteworthy.
How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature—A Response to Bart Ehrman by Michael Bird, Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, Charles Hill & Chris Tilling. This book released as the same day as the book it refutes. “In his recent book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee historian Bart Ehrman explores a claim that resides at the heart of the Christian faith—that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. According to Ehrman, though, this is not what the earliest disciples believed, nor what Jesus claimed about himself. The first response book to this latest challenge to Christianity from Ehrman, How God Became Jesus features the work of five internationally recognized biblical scholars. While subjecting his claims to critical scrutiny, they offer a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher from Nazareth came to be hailed as ‘the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Namely, they contend, the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Now That I’m a Christian: What It Means to Follow Jesus by C. Michael Patton. I love the premise of the book. I still haven’t found quite the right book to hand to (or go through with) a new Christian, and this may just fit the bill. “You’ve become a Christian. Now what? Michael Patton unpacks the basics of the Christian faith, helping you think carefully about God and live fully for God as you begin your new life in Christ. In ten easy-to-read chapters, this book will introduce you to the foundational teachings and life-giving practices of Christianity—from the doctrine of the Trinity to reading and understanding the Bible. Designed as a handbook for the Christian life, this go-to guide will help you answer a crucial question: What does it mean to follow Jesus?” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
The Storytelling God by Jared Wilson. I appreciate Wilson’s books and blogs, so have high hopes for this one. “Throw away your Flannelgraphs. The prodigal son. The good Samaritan. The treasure hidden in a field. Most of us have heard Jesus’s parables before. Yet if these stories strike us as merely sweet, heartwarming, or sentimental, we can be sure we’ve misread them. In The Storytelling God, pastor Jared Wilson helps us to see how Jesus’s parables reveal profound spiritual truths about God, humanity, the world, and the future. Discarding the notion that Christ’s parables are nothing more than moralistic fables, this book highlights how each one is designed to drive us to Jesus in awe, need, faith, and worship.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Picture Perfect: When Life Doesn’t Line Up by Amy Baker. This looks like it would be a helpful book for those people who are driven toward perfection in all areas. “The quest for perfection can be a crushing burden. When life doesn’t line up, it’s easy to be angry, anxious, or even paralyzed. Amy Baker uncovers the pitfalls of perfectionism and examines the root and purpose of the longing for perfection to show how God’s grace transforms this burdensome quest into a joyful walk of faith.” It comes with endorsements from John D. Street (The Masters College & Seminary) and Heath Lambert (Boyce College & Southern Seminary). (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Basil of Caesarea: His Life and Impact by Marvin Jones and Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact by Michael Haykin. These are the first two entries in a new series edited by Michael Haykin that will provide brief biographies of the Early Church Fathers. Here are brief descriptions of each. Patrick of Ireland: “Patrick ministered to kings and slaves alike in the culture that had enslaved him. Patrick’s faith and his commitment to the Word of God through hard times is a true example of the way that God calls us to grow and to bless those around us through our suffering. Michael Haykin’s masterful biography of Patrick’s life and faith will show you how you can follow God’s call in your life.” Basil of Caesarea: “Basil of Caesarea (329-379 AD) was a Greek Bishop in what is now Turkey. A thoughtful theologian, he was instrumental in the formation of the Nicene Creed. He fought a growing heresy, Arianism, that had found converts, including those in high positions of state. In the face of such a threat he showed courage, wisdom and complete confidence in God that we would do well to emulate today.” (Amazon: Patrick of Ireland, Basil of Caesarea)
Calvin on the Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever by Michael Horton. This book is the latest entry in Crossway’s “Theologians on the Christian Life” series. “John Calvin, a man adored by some and maligned by others, stands as a legendary figure in Christian history. In Calvin on the Christian Life, professor Michael Horton offers us fresh insights into the Reformer’s personal piety and practical theology by allowing Calvin to speak in his own words. Drawing not only from his Institutes and biblical commentaries, but also from lesser-known tracts, treatises, and letters, this book will deepen your understanding of Calvin’s theology and ministry by exploring the heart of his spiritual life: confident trust and unwavering joy in the sovereign grace of God.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
And how about you? Am I missing any that look particularly interesting to you? Is there something I ought to be adding to my reading list?