Book Review - January 2016

Recent Releases

The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historic Doctrines That Separate Christians, Erwin D. Lutzer, 2015, Kregel, Grand Rapids, Mich., ISBN 9780825442353, 256 pages, $16.99, softcover.

Christian doctrine is a vital part of the Gospel message, but certain doctrinal beliefs have divided the church for centuries. Lutzer examines various controversies that exist within the broad spectrum of Christianity, presenting the historical background of the issue and the biblical understanding of the doctrine. Chapters include "Predestination or Free Will?"; "Justification by Faith"; and many more.

The Giver and the Gift: Principles of Kingdom Fundraising, Peter Greer and David Weekley, 2016, Baker Books, Ada, Mich., ISBN 9780764217746, 112 pages, $8.99, softcover.

For many people, "fundraising" has become a dirty word. Conjuring images of guilt-inducing gimmickry, the predominant model saps the joy from both the donor and the receiver. But what if fundraising has the potential to be good for the giver, not just the recipient? What if it's about love and service, not just "What's in it for me?" Based upon the authors' own relationship and experiences, The Giver and the Gift outlines a Kingdom perspective on fundraising. Instead of guilt, there is gratitude. Instead of obligation, joy. 

A History of Western Philosophy and Theology, John M. Frame, 2016, P&R Publishers, Phillipsburg, N.J., ISBN 9781629950846, 928 pages, $59.99, hardcover.

 Christians should evaluate philosophy by biblical criteria. This will shed greater light on the developments in the history of philosophy and better prepare us for the intellectual challenges of our time. The fall of Adam brought intellectual as well as moral corruption on the human race, and the effects of the fall can be seen in the work of philosophers, most of whom try to understand the world autonomously-through reasoning apart from God's revelation. Some philosophers have appealed to God's revelation, but their work has often been compromised with the wisdom of the world. Revelation should inform reason, and not the other way round. In the past, even Christian theology was corrupted by the movement toward intellectual autonomy, creating the tradition of liberalism, which has unhappily dominated academic theology down to the present day. But there is hope-a new generation of Christian thinkers take God's Word seriously. Frame's unique new contribution augments that process.


The Miracles of Jesus: How the Savior's Mighty Acts Serve as Signs of Redemption, Vern Poythress, 2016, Crossway, Wheaton, Ill., ISBN 9781433546075, 272 pages, $19.99, softcover.

Jesus walked on water. He healed a blind man. He turned water into wine. More than just displays of his divine power, Jesus's miracles signify something deeper-they're windows into God's grand story of redemption, foreshadowing the great miracle of Christ's death and resurrection. By explaining the meaning and significance of all 26 miracles recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, New Testament scholar Vern Poythress shows us their relevance for our lives today. Poythress unpacks how understanding the meaning of Christ's miracles will help us better grasp the salvation God has brought into the world.


The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance, Sinclair B. Ferguson, 2016, Crossway, Wheaton, Ill., ISBN 9781433548000, 256 pages, $24.99, hardcover.

Since the days of the early church, Christians have wrestled with the relationship between the law and gospel. If, as the apostle Paul says, salvation is by grace and the law cannot save, what relevance does the law have for Christians today? By revisiting the Marrow Controversy-a famous but largely forgotten eighteenth-century debate related to the proper relationship between God's grace and our works-Sinclair B. Ferguson sheds light on this central issue and why it still matters today. In doing so, he explains how our understanding of the relationship between law and gospel determines our approach to evangelism, our pursuit of sanctification, and even our understanding of God himself. Ferguson shows us that the antidote to the poison of legalism on the one hand and antinomianism on the other is one and the same: the life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ, in whom we are simultaneously justified by faith, freed for good works, and assured of salvation.

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