Here are some books I had the privilege of reading this past month and some brief thoughts about each one.
#1 – A Theology of Biblical Counseling: the Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry by Heath Lambert (published by Zondervan, 2016). Not since Jay Adams’ Competent to Counsel has there been such an insightful book on the “why” of biblical counseling. In this work, you will find the author explaining how Scripture, common grace, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, man, sin, suffering, salvation, and the church impact how one approaching a counseling relationship. Each of those areas of theology determine how we help others. The author of this book does an outstanding job showing us how. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
#2 – Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds by Chris Brauns (published by Crossway, 2008). This book was disappointing. While the author is clear, humorous and easy to follow, his argument for conditional forgiveness being the only practice for the Christian and his treatment of church discipline are weak. I would only recommend this book to those who are looking to better understand a conditional forgiveness view. There are more biblical treatments of the topic of forgiveness that are available (e.g., The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness by John MacArthur). BOOK RATING: 6 out of 10 stars.
#3 – Tying the Knot: A Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Relationship by Bob Green (published by New Growth Press, 2016). Up until now, I have never read a single book or study for premarital counseling where I found everything I wanted to cover. This book is my new “one-stop shop” for premarital counseling. The book in structured in such a way for a counselor to take an engaged couple through a series of subjects (e.g., love, problem-solving, roles, expectations, communication, finances, church, and sex) and how to keep Christ at the center of each area. The author has provided some very helpful discussion questions/homework for the couple and mentor that will help structure the counseling sessions. I cannot wait to use it with an engaged couple. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
#4 – The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates: A Proper Resistance to Tyranny and a Repudiation of Unlimited Obedience to Civil Government by Matthew J. Trewhella (published in 2013). This book was given to me by a friend at my church to read. I enjoyed the refresher on why God created government and the reminder that we ought to obey our government if it does not interfere with our obedience to God. One item lacking that I think would have made this a much better resource is help on how to determine when to resist your government. Things are clear when it a law directly contradicts a verse in Scripture, but how should Christians respond to unbiblical laws that are passed that don’t directly command the Christian to follow? For example, homosexual marriage is now permitted in our country. Christians are not commanded to marry homosexuals, but what is a proper reaction? Giving some counsel on what a Christian should or can do in response to unbiblical laws that don’t have a direct effect on the Christian would have been helpful. BOOK RATING: 9 out of 10 stars.
#5 – Forever and Always: A Story of Marriage, Autism, and God’s Glory by Jeff and Erin Miller (published by Focus Publishing in 2012). This book is more of a testimony of a couple who has an autistic child and how they have learned to “cope” with that reality. If you would like a glimpse into the life of a parent of an autistic child, read this book. If you are a parent of an autistic child who needs encouragement from others who are walking that path, read this book. If you are a church leader who would like to be better equipped to encourage the parents of an autistic child, read this book. If you are a child worker who cares for autistic children, read this book. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.
#6 – F.F. Bruce: A Life by Tim Grass (published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing in 2011). I’m not going to lie – I was completely bored reading this book. Several times I considered stopping my read of the book and move onto something else, but every now and then, I am across an anecdote that piqued my interest (e.g., Bruce learned Syriac in a week!). Bruce was quite the scholar but the author who wrote this did not do a good job making his life interesting at all. Even the title of the book is boring. BOOK RATING: 5 out of 10 stars.