Prepared To Stand Alone

I trust you know the rule when it comes to books by Iain Murray: If he writes it, you ought to read it. Murray has a long legacy of authoring books that look to the past to help us better understand the present. Through this work he has had an unexpected and far-reaching impact, and any serious account of today’s New Calvinism needs to tell of his influence. When Mark Dever wrote a series titled “Where’d All These Calvinists Come …

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife

Now here is a provocative title for a book: Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife. The subtitle brings a measure of explanation: “My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse.” Ruth Tucker’s new book is really two books in one—it is her harrowing account of being married to an abusive man and, at the same time, her critique of complementarian theology and an associated call for full egalitarianism. In my assessment it succeeds well as the first book …

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A Charlie Brown Religion

Like countless millions of people of my generation (and the one before and the one after), I grew up reading Peanuts. I loved reading stories and gags based on Charlie Brown and his gang. Charles Schulz had a gift for creating lovable characters and for communicating real ideas through the simplest medium—three or four small squares on newsprint. One thing that always fascinated me about Schulz was his references to the Christian faith. Hundreds of his strips and many of …

J.I. Packer: An Evangelical Life

I have often expressed my love of biography. It’s not only that I enjoy peering into people’s lives, but also that there is so much to learn about life and faith by reading about other people. Biography, and Christian biography in particular, shows Christianity lived, realized in God’s people. New from Leland Ryken is J.I. Packer: An Evangelical Life. The publisher’s description does a good job of describing what you’ll encounter in the book’s pages: “Over the last sixty years, …

Ask (The Other) Pastor John

You are familiar with the name John Newton, I am sure, and with the broad strokes of his life–how he went from captaining a slave trading ship to becoming a Christian and composing the great hymn “Amazing Grace.” What fewer people know about is his 40 years of pastoral ministry. Newton the pastor is the subject of Tony Reinke’s new book Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ. I recently asked Tony to tell us why he wrote this …

I Quietly Admitted that God Had Won

Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth is a book I have read and re-read, and one I intend to read again in the very near future. As I flipped through it today I came across the fascinating account of her conversion.  While still at L’Abri, I had once accosted another student, demanding that he explain why he had converted to Christianity. A pale, thin young man with a strong South African accent, he responded simply, “They shot down all my arguments.” I continued …

Counterfeit Bonhoeffer

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I enjoyed reading Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Actually, it’s one of my all-time favorite biographies; it’s readable, engaging and it deals with a fascinating part of history. But lately I’ve come across a few articles by experts in Bonhoeffer who say that it’s just plain wrong–it’s a portrayal of the man that is geared toward evangelicals and, in seeking to make the reader happy, it succumbs to all sorts of …

Reading Biographies Together – Spurgeon

You are familiar, I think, with the Reading Classics Together program. Over the past few years, I and many of the readers of this site have read a series of classics of the Christian faith. We’ve read them concurrently, a chapter or two at a time, and then have met up here at the blog once a week to discuss what we’ve read. After we finished the most recent version of this program (which saw us read The Bruised Reed …

Keep On Keeping On

Of all the books I read I often feel that the biographies are most helpful to my Christian walk. I developed an early love of the genre from my mother who taught me the importance of reading about and understanding the lives of the great saints of the past, that we might be able to learn from their example. As a child I remember reading biographies of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Eric Liddell and many dedicated but …