Fellowship and faith
Four accessible theology books
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2 Corinthians for You by Gary Millar: Millar offers a lively study of the New Testament book of 2 Corinthians, taking the reader verse by verse through the Apostle Paul’s extraordinary letter to a church he longed to see grow in Christ and generously serve others. Millar shows how suffering is part of that service: Paul teaches that we suffer for the benefit of other people. We face pain—and receive God’s comfort—so we can comfort others in the Church. Comfort isn’t a dulling of pain or a peaceful, easy feeling. It’s a fortifying of the soul to trust God and look forward to “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Millar reminds us that one of our chief aims is to “love people enough to spend ourselves to engender joy in those we serve.”
A Place to Belong by Megan Hill: A casserole-laden table in a church fellowship hall takes on new beauty in Hill’s rich treatment of the local church. The breaking of bread and sharing of lives isn’t a quaint tradition or an old-fashioned ideal but a key piece of what it means to be part of God’s people: “In loving the local church, we experience the presence of Christ.” We also experience the privilege of family: “Belonging to the church will always increase our obligations and decrease our independence.” Simple worship, humble prayer meetings, and quiet service become the means God uses to display His glory and draw others to Christ. The book would make a thoughtful gift for new church members or a helpful discussion guide for study groups.
The Ten Commandments of Progressive Christianity by Michael J. Kruger: This small book takes on a big challenge: refuting some of the most common arguments against Biblical orthodoxy. Kruger interacts with a set of 10 principles outlined in a book that Kruger describes as “a kind of confessional statement of modern liberalism.” For example, Kruger shows why it’s Biblically incorrect to argue that “Jesus is a model for living more than an object for worship” or that “affirming people’s potential is more important than reminding them of their brokenness.” Kruger points out where some proponents of progressive Christianity get some things right but then often steer directly into un-Biblical teaching that ends up withholding the truth people need most.
A Way With Words by Daniel Darling: Darling isn’t the first to write about “using our online conversations for good.” But he’s chosen a subject that is pressing enough to warrant another book aimed at helping Christians think about how to avoid some of the common pitfalls of pride, incivility, and distraction lurking in our online lives. Darling doesn’t advocate abandoning the internet, but he does encourage us to consider: “Social media often brings out our inner Pharisee. Every day, it seems, we are at our digital temples crying loudly, for everyone to hear, that we are so very unlike those other people.” The book seems especially helpful during an acrimonious election year, and Darling is transparent in speaking about what he’s learned from his own failures.
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