Book Review - 7/22/13

Recent Releases

Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, for the World, Stephen J. Nichols, 2013, Crossway, Wheaton, Ill., ISBN 9781433511882, 208 pages, $17.99, softcover.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer died a martyr's death at the age of 39 but remains one of the most influential and challenging theologians of our time. His writings teach us the value of cross-centered theology, and his courageous actions against the Nazi regime compel us to consider the cost of discipleship. From Bonhoeffer we learn that the Christian life is lived both alone and together, and that there is a stark difference between cheap and costly grace. With insight, clarity, and wisdom, Stephen Nichols guides us through the words and deeds of this humble yet heroic pastor, whose example shows us that the Christian's life flows from the cross, for the world.

The 40 Most Influential Christians Who Shaped What We Believe Today, Daryl Aaron, 2013, Bethany House, Bloomington, Minn., ISBN 9780764210846, 304 pages, $14.99, softcover.

As the heirs of 2,000 years of the faithfulness of a great cloud of witnesses, martyrs, missionaries, preachers, theologians, today's Christians truly stand on the shoulders of giants. Far too often, however, we are ignorant of this heritage and the incredible courage and struggles of our forefathers that made it possible for us to even hear the Gospel. Daryl Aaron, a pastor and professor at Northwestern College in Minnesota, has compiled a helpful overview of 40 men and women who have most influenced today's Church through their words and deeds. Each chapter gives a brief biography of the subject, discusses their contributions to theology, and analyzes that impact. Aaron has profiled many of the "heroes of the faith" here, but he doesn't shy away from including figures who influenced the Church in negative or conflicting ways either, as he critically engages each author's work.

The In-Between: Embracing the Tension between Now and the Next Big Thing, Jeff Goins, 2013, Moody Publishers, Chicago, ISBN 9780802407245, 176 pages, $13.99, softcover.

Most of us spend our lives searching and longing for something more than what is in front of us. Whether it's traveling abroad or chasing cheap (or expensive) thrills, we're all looking for medicine to satisfy our restlessness. And, so often, we're looking in the wrong place. The In-Between is a call to accept the importance that waiting plays in our lives. Can we embrace the extraordinary nature of the ordinary and enjoy the daily mundane-what lies in between the "major" moments? Goins posits that moments of breakthrough are not where life's greatest transformation happens; the stuff that God uses to shape us often lies in the in-between. It's the bus stops and layovers and DMV lines and moments of unintentional pause that force us to become better people.

The Pastor's Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry, Jared C. Wilson, 2013, Crossway, Wheaton, Ill., ISBN 9781433536641, 192 pages, $15.99, softcover.

Ministry can be brutal. Leaders, face discouragement, frustration, and exhaustion-and many times we face it alone. Helping pastors to refocus their gaze on the Gospel, Vermont pastor Jared Wilson offers here practical insights, real-life anecdotes, and in-your-face truth related to the ups and downs of pastoral ministry. Honest yet hopeful, this creative fusion of biblical exposition and personal confession will help pastors weather the storms of ministry by rooting their identity in Christ.

Son of David: Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books, Nancy Guthrie, 2013, Crossway, Wheaton, Ill., ISBN 9781433536564, 272 pages, $16.99, softcover.

A study of the Old Testament Historical Books-Joshua through Esther-enables us to see the kingdom of God not only as it once was, but also as it is now, and as it will be one day. Over ten weeks of guided study, relevant teaching, and group discussion, seasoned Bible teacher Nancy Guthrie traces the history of the people of God from the time they entered the Promised Land through a series of failed kings, exile, and finally their return to await the true King. Readers will see Jesus as the greater Joshua who leads his people into rest, the greater Boaz who has done all that is necessary to redeem, the greater King who will sit on David's throne forever, and the greater Restorer who is building his church from ruined stones.

The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good, Peter Greer with Anna Haggard, 2013, Bethany House, Bloomington, Minn., ISBN 9780764211027, 192 pages, $16.99, softcover.

Most Christians recognize that our faith is more than simply an intellectual pursuit of the Gospel, we also want to live it out by serving others. Often, however, our zeal for service and justice can lead to burnout, pride, disillusionment, or worse. Peter Greer, CEO of Hope International, shares a firsthand testimony of how this can happen and seeks to help readers protect themselves from the pitfalls that can accompany ministry. Greer shows how something that starts with the noblest intentions can get off track when we try to accomplish things in our own strength, forgetting that we undertake ministry at God's bidding, in His time, on His terms, and by His power.

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