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New Books–June 2015

Not a Chance: God, Science and the Revolt Against Reason (Expanded Edition), by R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison. Can chance really be responsible for all we see in creation?

Death by Dying: Life Is Meant to be Spent, by N.D. Wilson, author of Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl and son of Douglas Wilson. A portrait of faith, futility and the joy of this mortal life. Eric Metaxas says: “Our sad, dark and decaying culture needs more salt, light and joy from such authors as N.D. Wilson. He reminds me of a young Chesterton.”

HISTORICAL NON-FICTION: The Great Fire: One American’s Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century’s First Genocide, by Lou Ureneck. Many of the Christian survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide by Turkey fled to Smyrna, where they were relatively safe. But in 1922, Turkish nationalists drove out the Greek protectors, and tried to finish off the genocide by burning Smyrna to the ground. As allied ships sat in the harbor remaining neutral, an American Methodist minister and a courageous naval commander helped to rescue nearly one million of the refugees. This is the heroic and unforgettable story.

MORE ON THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE: The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, by Peter Balakian; First Jihad?! First Genocide?! A Centennial Re-Introduction to the Armenian Holocaust of 1915, by W. Colin Marris; My Grandmother: An Armenian-Turkish Memoir, by Fethiye Cetin (a grandmother’s story told to her granddaughter); The Armenian Genocide (DVD), by Andrew Goldberg (2006 PBS documentary, tells the complete story).

Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church, by Collin Hansen. A book about how Christians in Western societies today are responding to a culture quickly growing post-Christian, and to recognize our blind spots. Hansen sees three distinct responses—the “courage” group which stands valiantly for the truth; the “compassion” group which stresses service, listening, and engagement; and the “commissioned” folks who are all about building up the church and reaching the lost. However, once things are broken down like that, it becomes clear that the three cords should be a single strand, and to the extent each group is “blind” toward the other or distances itself toward the others, the unity of the body is lost.

Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ, Tony Reinke. John Newton experienced a dramatic conversion from a life in the slave trade to his tireless work to end it, and is famous as the writer of the hymn, Amazing Grace. But in his 40 years as a pastor, John Newton was perhaps the greatest pastoral letter writer in the history of the church.

Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World, by James B. Jordan. Jordan says that since idolatry stands between God and His people, we must develop a biblical view of both of nature and of history.

The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto Against the Status Quo, by Jared C. Wilson. The author says that is not a reactionary rant, but a gentle manifesto to church leaders to reconsider their priorities when it comes to how they “do church” and reach people in their communities. He sets forth an explicitly biblical approach to both the traditional and the “attractional” models, one which is gospel focused, grace based, and fruit oriented.

Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God, by Joe Thorn. Pastor/author Thorn tells how he came to really experience God’s grace in the Trinity during a dark period of anxiety and depression in his life.

Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves, by Trillia J. Newbell. A book addressed to women on the fears that women face in their lives. In life the author experienced sexual assault as a college student, the sudden death of her sister, anxiety about her husband traveling, and the anxiety during pregnancy of another miscarriage. She reminds us that no matter what we face, we have the One who can replace our fear with faith.

Biblical Eschatology, by Jonathan Menn. Eschatology from an amillennial perspective. Sam Storms rated it number 6 in his top books of 2014, due to its “near exhaustive treatment of every issue imaginable and his fair-handed and always biblically grounded interaction” with other views, which make it “an extremely valuable resource for anyone wanting to dig deeply into the swirl of debate regarding the end times”.

Rejoicing in Jesus, by Michael Reeves. What is God like? The answer is Jesus Christ. In an age that calls us to look at ourselves, Reeves calls us to look at Christ.

Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks from a Lifetime of Preaching, by John Piper. A theological summary from one preacher’s lifetime of investment in a local church. A summary of doctrinal emphases from his years of preaching.

Without a Word: How a Boy’s Unspoken Love Changed Everything, by Jill Kelly, wife of Jim Kelly, Hall of Fame Quarterback with the Buffalo Bills. The Kelly’s darkest trial began when their young son was diagnosed with Leukodystrophy, an incurable genetic disease with a life expectancy of 2 years. Hunter was born into an already troubled marriage, yet the Kellys stayed together for Hunter’s sake. Though Hunter’s disease prevented him from ever speaking a word, his will and unconditional love spoke volumes. By the time he died at age 8 (exceeding medical expectations) the light of his life had shone into the lives of the Kellys, leading them to a restored relationship and an authentic Christian faith.

Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians, by Bruce Riley Ashford.

True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of Our Complex World, by David Skeel. Our complex world raises difficult questions. But law professor Skeel makes a fresh case for the explanatory power of Christianity for the central puzzles of our existence, such as our capacity for idea making, our experience of beauty, and our inability to create a just social order.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Everything a Child Should Know About God, by Kenneth N. Taylor. Good theology for pre-schoolers. Highly recommended by Justin Taylor and Tim Challies.

COMMENTARIES: Mark 1-8, by John MacArthur (MacArthur NT Commentaries); Romans 8-16 for You, by Tim Keller; The Song of Songs, by Iain M. Duguid (Tyndale OT Commentaries).

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