Books

Book Review: Gay Girl, Good God

See the source imageBook Review Score – 10 out of 10

Book Title: Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry by Jackie Hill Perry (published by B&H Publishing Group, 2018)

This was my 1st exposure to this author, blogger, and conference speaker. Her testimony is one of being a former celibate lesbianism to now a married heterosexual, but as she rightfully claims, her identity is not of sexual orientation. In other words, she would identify herself as a “gay Christian” which has a plethora of exegetical problems (II Corinthians 5:17). Her identity is in Christ alone.

Her writing style is poetic and transparent. It is joy to read books that are like going to an art museum. She excels in painting pictures of the issue in warm and accessible ways.

This “page turner” is a book that tells her life story, with each chapter covering different years of her life. The Gospel is on display in every chapter. She is a living, breathing testimony of the transforming power of the Gospel – as every Christian is.

She also weaves lessons and wisdom throughout the book – meant for the modern church.

I would recommend this to almost any Christian looking for encouragement and help in navigating graciously through the contemporary issues related to same sex attraction.

I would like to thank Lifeway for giving me a copy of this book to read, review and apply to my current ministry.

 

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Book Blurbs: September 2018

Here are some books I had the privilege of reading this past month and some brief thoughts about each one.

#1 – Oversee God’s People: Shepherding the Flock Through Administration and Delegation by Brian Croft and Bryce Butler (published by Zondervan, 2015). This is the 1st of books in the Practical Shepherding Series I have read. If you read Croft’s blog, you know he excels at giving practical wisdom to pastors and churches on a host of questions you rarely read about it other books. This book is like that blog – full of application, clear, and biblical. The primary focus is on the “business” side of running a church.  BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

#2 – Eldership in Action Through Biblical Governance of the Church by Richard H. Swartley (published by Emmaus College Press, 2005). If you have read Alexander Strauch’s Biblical Eldership, this is as close to a sequel as there is available. If you have not read Strauch’s book, read that one first. What you will find in this book is more details on how to conduct elder meetings, descriptions of elder functions and titles, planning, delegating, decision-making, etc. While the book doesn’t read like a manual for “how to be a faithful elder”, it still has value for those elders wanting to be very specific in how they learn how to govern and shepherd.  BOOK RATING: 9 out of 10 stars.

#3 – What Happened in the Garden: The Reality and Ramifications of the Creation and Fall of Man edited by Abner Chou (published by Kregel Academic, 2016). I can’t imagine reading another book with more insights from Genesis 3 than this one. Every chapter looks at the ramifications of sin from a different perspective – how sin effected human enterprise, thermodynamics, psychology and counseling, gender discussions, and education. It’s a book for the well-rounded person who enjoys science, history, and theology. BOOK RATING: 8 out of 10 stars.

#4 – Prepare Them to Shepherd: Test, Train, and Send the Next Generation of Pastors by Brian Croft (published by Zondervan, 2014). This is the 2nd of books in the Practical Shepherding Series I have read. This is a helpful resource for pastors and elder teams looking for practical help on how to train up the men in their church for leadership and potentially full-time vocational ministry. Like Croft is elsewhere, you will not run out of “how to’s” in this book. As brief as the book is (109 pages), you won’t have many questions about training and calling that go unanswered.  BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

#5 – 7 Women and the Secret of the Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas (published by Nelson, 2015). If you have not read Metaxas, you are in for a treat. This modern-day historian has already written “must reads” on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce. Now, enjoy these shorts bios on these 7 women: Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint Maria of Paris (I had never heard of her), Corrie Ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa. Keep in mind: these are biographies and not theological endorsements. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

#6 – 7 Men and the Secret of the Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas (published by Nelson, 2015). Another classic work by this author! You will enjoy reading the short biographies of George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Charles W. Colson. With the exception of his lauding of the Pope as a Christian, I thoroughly enjoyed these surveys of impactful men. I would even recommend this as a resource for churches looking to encourage manhood. BOOK RATING: 8 out of 10 stars.

Book Review: Spiritual Gifts by Thomas R. Schreiner

See the source imageBook Review Score – 10 out of 10

Book Title: Spiritual Gifts: What They Are & Why They Matter by Thomas R. Schreiner (published by B&H Publishing Group, 2018)

The way this book begins and ends may be the most encouraging feature.

The author begins by dedicating this book to 3 men that he disagrees with on the nature and usage of miraculous gifts: John Piper, Sam Storms, and Wayne Grudem. By calling them “coworkers in the Gospel of Christ”, the author helps the reader understand that the issue of miraculous gifts is not of primary importance, and I appreciate his grace and humility in treating such a subject.

Also, the authors ending was “cut from the same cloth” as he reminds his readers of the subject of I Corinthians 13 and how it applies to debates about the miraculous gifts. He reminds us that love is the most important gift given to the church and even uses this helpful paraphrase, “If I have the right view of spiritual gifts, but I don’t have love, then I am nothing.”

The view the author takes – Cessationism – is my view, but that is not why I loved this book.

While Schreiner and I agree on why Cessationism is a preferred view about miraculous gifts, the strengths of this book lie primarily in the clarity of his arguments. Many books that debate miraculous gifts can get a little “heady” at times. Not this one. I have not read a book on such a book that is simpler and clearer than this one. Even John MacArthur, who is rigidly clear in his writings, isn’t as clear as Schreiner.

I would gladly put this book in the hands of any Christian – no matter the level of spiritual maturity. It is that transferrable!

I would like to thank B&H Publishing Group for giving me a copy of this book to read, review and apply to my current ministry.

 

Book Blurbs, August 2018

#1 – Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life by Sam Alberry (published by P&R Publishing, 2010). Every Easter, preachers says things like “The resurrection changes everything,” but rarely do they tell you what it changes or how to live in light of Jesus’ resurrection. This book gives help to those missing components. The author uses his careful reason and humor to show how Jesus’ resurrection gives us assurance, transforms our hearts, gives us hope, and drives our mission.  BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

#2 – Unparalleled: How Christianity’s Uniqueness Makes It Compelling by Jared C. Wilson (published by Baker Books, 2016). What this author does with clarity and simplicity is compare Christianity to a variety of world religions. I can see this book being useful for Christians wanting to begin conversations with their skeptic non-Christian friends.  BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

#3 – The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield (published by Crossway, 2018). What you will discover in this book is not a “how to” guide on practicing hospitality but the author showing how they practice hospitality from their own home. You will be amused, moved, and convicted to hear stories of this family’s Christlike love for the stranger. You might even gather ideas for your own home for future hospitality opportunities. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

#4 – The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Justin Taylor (published by Crossway, 2014). This is a book that details the final life of Jesus by harmonizing passages in the Gospels together and giving commentary on each section. While there are other works that are more detailed and contain much more historical background, this book is still useful for those looking for a timeline of Jesus’ passion week with brief explanations of each event. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

#5 – 18 Best Stories by Edgar Allen Poe edited by Vincent Price and Chandler Brossard (published by Dell Publishing, 1965). I will be content if I never read another story by Poe again. While his books are not scary, they are deeply disturbing. I lost count of how many times someone was buried inside of a house after they died (particularly in the walls of the house). Poe is clearly a gifted writer; his descriptions of people and places brings the stories alive, but the conclusions and ends were too dark for my taste. BOOK RATING: 6 out of 10 stars.

#6 – Fanny Crosby: The Hymn Writer by Bernard Ruffin (published by Barbour Publishing, 1976). What a lovely woman Fanny must have been! This engaging book about one of the most significant hymn writers in church history could be enjoyed by any level of reader. The stories about her life are compelling You will enjoy hearing some of the background for why she wrote hymns like “Blessed Assurance”, “To God Be the Glory” and “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.” BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

#7 – The Communicant’s Spiritual Companion by Thomas Haweis (published by Reformation Heritage Books, 2015). Do not mistake assume when you see the publication date that this book was written a few years ago. It was not; the author lived in the 1700’s. What you fill find is a contemplative resource on the “who, what, when, where and why” regarding the Lord’s Supper. There were occasions in the book when I found my mind drifting due to the ramblings of the author, but nothing in the book did I disagree with or find anti-biblical. I could see this book useful for ministers who are looking for fresh ways to officiate the Lord’s Supper for their congregations. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

50% off Books at Moody Publishers This Thursday

Moody Publishers is having a 1-day sale on August 9, 2017 where they are offering 50% off all their books! And if you order over $25 of books, you get shipping Amazon Prime style (in other words, free)!

Some of the books on “My Most Wanted List” that I will be browsing for are as follows:

  • Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson (a book for the anxious and “heavy laden”)
  • Famine in the Land: A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching by Steve Lawson (a book on expository preaching by a modern-day expositor)
  • Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (thoughts from Titus 2)
  • Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope by Trevin Wax (a book sounding the alarm for danger from within the church)
  • Angels: Elect and Evil by C. Fred Dickason (a book on my “Most Wanted List” but I don’t remember why)
  • The Minor Prophets by Charles L. Feinberg (a book I have wanted for years for a future study through these 12 prophets)

Besides the authors listed above you can find books from A. W. Pink, A.W. Tozer, Alistair Begg, Carl Trueman, D. Edmond Hiebert, Donald S. Whitney, F.B. Meyer, H.B. Charles Jr., Horatius Bonar, J.C Ryle, J.P. Moreland, James Montgomery Boice, John Bunyan, John F. MacArthur, Jon F. Walvoord, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, Jonathan Leeman, Josh McDowell, Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, Kevin DeYoung, Nathan Busenitz, Norman L. Geisler, Paul N. Benware, Paul Enns, Thabititi Anyabwile, Trillia J. Newbell, Warren W. Wiersbe, and William Gurnall.