Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals with Sinners, by Craig L. Blomberg (New Dimensions in Biblical Theology). One of humanity’s most basic and common practices—eating meals—was transformed by Jesus into a divine encounter. In sharing food and drink with his companions, he invited them to share in the grace of God. His redemptive mission was revealed in his eating with sinners, repentant and unrepentant alike. Blomberg traces out the historical and theologically-laden implications of table fellowship across the canon of scripture, and issues a call to contemporary Christians to reform their habits in this matter.
The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives, by Ravi Zacharias. How differently would we live if we believed that every event of our lives—from the happy to the tragic to the mundane—was part of a purposeful design in which all the elements intertwined with breathtaking precision.
The Messiah and the Psalms: Preaching Christ from all the Psalms, by Richard P. Belcher, Jr. Some psalms have a direct relationship to Christ, but with others the link is not always as evident. However, Belcher’s view is that all the psalms relate in some way to Christ’s person or his work.
Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life, by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker. When Dungy led the Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl victory in February, 2007, he became not only the first African-American coach to achieve that honor, but also one of only three individuals to win the Super Bowl as both a player and a coach. But the bigger story is how through adversity and achievement, Dungy has consistently practiced a proactive faith.
The Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior, by Wayne Cordeiro. The author describes a method of devotions and journaling that will provide a systematic, disciplined method of hearing from God’s Word daily.
Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution, by Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey, and Andrew Sach. The doctrine of penal substitution states that God gave himself in the person of his Son to suffer instead of us the death, punishment, and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for sin. However, an increasing number of theologians and church leaders are questioning this doctrine, claiming that it divides the Trinity or misreads such crucial texts as Isaiah 53 or Mark 10:45. The doctrine has even been provocatively described as “divine child abuse”. In response, these authors offer a fresh articulation and affirmation of penal substitution and engage with 20 specific objections. In the Foreword, John Piper prays that “the Lord will give this book success in the defence and honour of God, and that Jesus Christ will be treasured all the more fully as he is seen more clearly to be Pierced for Our Transgressions”.
Pray Big: The Power of Pinpoint Prayers, by Will Davis, Jr. Encouragement to pray BHAP’s (big, hairy, audacious prayers).
Truth’s Victory Over Error: A Commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith, by David Dickson (1583-1663). A book not merely of historical interest, but also of considerable value now because many of the errors refuted in its pages have resurfaced in the 21st century under new guises.
Good to Great in God’s Eyes: Ten Practices Great Christians Have in Common, by Chip Ingram. Using scripture, personal stories, and examples from Christians who left an indelible mark on the world, Ingram offers clear steps to becoming great in the things that matter most (Librarian’s note: one of the ten recommended practices is to read great books!).
Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church: Exploring the Formation of Early Christian Thought, by Ronald E. Heine. An introduction to the ways the early church fathers viewed the Old Testament Scriptures, as they sought not only to understand the text, but to mold their lives by what they read.
The Expansion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Wilberforce, More, Chalmers, and Finney, by John Wolffe (A History of Evangelicalism Series #2). Second in a projected five-volume series, Wolffe provides an account of evangelicalism from the 1790s to the 1840s, balancing British and American developments, while also discussing Canada, Australia, the West Indies and other regions. Among the aspects of the movement he covers are spirituality and worship, the place of evangelicalism in the lives of women, men and the family, and its broader social and political aspects such as slavery.
The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, by Simon Gathercole. In NT studies, a number of scholars have held that among the canonical Gospels, only John presented a theology of Christ’s preexistence and his being sent into the world by the Father. Gathercole has thrown down the gauntlet with the thesis that the “I have come in order to” sayings in the Synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke imply a Christology of preexistence, and supports it with an array of secondary Jewish literature. As one reviewer said, this detailed study “will make it impossible for NT scholarship any longer to restrict preexistence Christology to John among the canonical Gospels”.
Ten Tortured Words: How the Founding Fathers Tried to Protect Religion in America…and What’s Happened Since, by Stephen Mansfield. In the steamy summer of 1787, as America’s founding fathers fashioned their Constitution, they told the most powerful institution in their new nation what it must not do: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. For the first time in human experience, the legislative power of a nation was forbidden from legislating the conscience of man. And for over 150 years, religion flourished. So what happened? Why is it that today a cross-shaped memorial or a religious symbol in a city seal is considered a violation of the Constitution?
Queen Esther’s Reflection: A Portrait of Grace, Courage, and Excellence, by Ann Platz. God fashioned, refined, and appointed the mysteriously beautiful Queen Esther for a remarkable purpose in His plan.
Strong Winds and Crashing Waves: Meeting Jesus in the Memories of Traumatic Events, by Terry Wardle. For those who suffer from acute anxiety and panic disorders.
More Than Dates and Dead People: Recovering a Christian View of History, by Stephen Mansfield. The author says that the main difference between thinking of history as boring or as fascinating is to be found in the world-view of its students. People of biblical faith believe that God has decided what the end of history will be and that He has been drawing mankind through the ages toward a final destiny that God decided before all creation, which makes history a fascinating journey that never gets out of the Maker’s control.
Alone in Marriage: Encouragement for the Times When It’s All Up to You, by Susie Larson. When you said “for better or for worse”, you never imagined “the worse” could be so hard. This is for those who are experiencing a season of intense loneliness in their marriage.
Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview, by Meredith G. Kline. A literary focus on the book of Genesis and its account of the formative stages in the eschatological movement of the kingdom of God from creation to consummation.
God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament, by Richard Bauckham. Recent discussion on the interpretation of NT Christology has been closely linked with debate about the nature of Jewish monotheism in the period. According to Bauckham, the earliest Christology was already the highest Christology, a fully divine Christology entirely compatible with the Jewish monotheistic understanding of God. He argues that NT Christology is best viewed as a Christology of “divine identity”, with both the exalted Christ and the earthly, crucified Christ belonging to the unique identity of God. Therefore, the divine identity—who God truly is—is to be seen in Jesus’ humiliation, suffering, and death, as well as his heavenly glory.
COMMENTARIES: The Gospel of Matthew, by R.T. France (New International Commentary on the Old Testament).
ADULT FICTION: Distant Echoes, Black Sands, and Dangerous Depths, by Colleen Coble (Aloha Reef #1-3); Midnight Sea, by Colleen Coble; A Perilous Proposal, by Michael Phillips (Carolina Cousins #1); Summer, by Karen Kingsbury (Sunrise Series #2).
CHILDREN’S BOOKS: The Beginner’s Bible Book of Devotions: My Time With God, illustrated by Keith Pulley.