Four popular theology books
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Homosexuality may well be the defining issue for the 21st-century North American church. Christians have long held that the Bible declares homosexuality to be sin, but today face constant calls to rethink and redefine that position. In a new book on this pressing issue Peter Hubbard bravely asks, “What if homosexuality is not a threat but an opportunity?” While affirming what Christians have always believed, he helps sharpen and strengthen our thinking on this issue. He writes carefully, compassionately, and pastorally while speaking words of hope to those who struggle with same-sex attraction, calling Christians to hold fast to both truth and love. Hubbard’s work is a welcome and much-needed contribution to this pressing conversation.
Not by Sight
Jon Bloom’s debut book is about walking by faith. He retells familiar stories from the New Testament (and a couple from the Old) in a fresh, imaginative way, using the real experiences of real people to challenge his readers on the meaning of “trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” In 35 short chapters, Bloom encourages Christians to live for Jesus even when times are painful or confusing. Each chapter stands alone and is best read slowly and meditatively. Not by Sight is one of those books you will best enjoy if you take the time to slow down and savor it.
The Glory of Heaven
Today an increasing number of people claim to have been to heaven and to have experienced its glories, before returning to life here on earth. New York Times bestsellers like Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven and Todd Burpo’s Heaven Is For Real, and many others, represent a growing genre in Christian publishing. In this second edition of The Glory of Heaven, John MacArthur addresses these books, answers a long list of misconceptions about heaven, and, even better, shows what the Bible teaches about life after death. He goes constantly to the Bible, determined neither to overstep the boundaries of God’s Word nor to overstate what God chooses to make clear.
Rid of My Disgrace
Sexual assault is a tragic and tragically common consequence of mankind’s fall into sin. The Holcombs, he a pastor and professor of theology, she a deacon and counselor, define it as “any type of sexual behavior or contact where consent is not freely given or obtained and is accomplished through force, intimidation, violence, coercion, manipulation, threat, deception, or abuse of authority.” After describing the disgrace of assault, they go to Scripture to apply the healing balm of God’s grace. Victims in some chapters describe abuse and its consequences before proclaiming the hope they have found in Jesus. Those who have suffered abuse and those walking with them will benefit from this book.
The Puritans get a bad rap. Many times I have heard it said that Puritan works are dense and inaccessible, but when I read those books I find them readable and surprisingly simple. Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, though written 350 years ago, is no exception. In his work, Brooks describes 12 devices Satan uses to lead the soul to sin, eight means through which the devil keeps Christians from taking hold of God’s means of grace, eight of Satan’s plans to destroy a Christian’s assurance of salvation, and five strategies he employs as he plots against the wise, seeks to overpower those in high positions, and attempts to destroy Christian unity. Brooks reveals Satan as ultimately malevolent but Christ as ultimately powerful, and proposes a biblical remedy perfectly and powerfully suited to every one of Satan’s attacks. —T.C.