Four books about faith and theology
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God calls Christians to make two simultaneous journeys—the external journey of the worldwide advance of the kingdom of Jesus Christ to all nations, and the internal journey from being dead in sin to being gloriously perfect in Christ. These two journeys are the central work of the Christian life. Andrew Davis believes evangelicals in recent decades have neglected the second in favor of the first. In An Infinite Journey, he develops a systematic theology of spiritual growth and maturity, and provides a map for the journey. It is a powerful and effective book that will spur on your growth in godliness.
The Pastor’s Justification
Jared Wilson believes that pastors may be among the most insecure people you’ll meet. The Pastor’s Justification is a response to this great vulnerability. Writing as a pastor to other pastors, Wilson targets those who desperately need to understand, ponder, and apply the gospel of Jesus Christ. He carefully and insightfully explores and applies 1 Peter 5:1-11, showing how Peter admonishes pastors to ground their lives and their ministries in the good news of what Christ has accomplished on their behalf. Then he turns to the five solas of the Reformation to show how pastors can take more of themselves out of their ministry in order to apply better and more fully Christ and His gospel. This is a book any pastor can read, savor, and apply.
John Piper’s name is often associated with Calvinism and, perhaps especially, with what is being called New Calvinism. He has certainly been one of the Christian leaders at the forefront of this movement. Here, in Five Points, he offers his explanation and defense of Calvinistic doctrine. The strength and the draw of Piper’s ministry have always been his ability not merely to defend what he believes but to show how it leads to wonder and to worship. He says, “My experience is that clear knowledge of God from the Bible is the kindling that sustains the fires of affection for God. And probably the most crucial kind of knowledge is the knowledge of what God is like in salvation.” No matter your view on Calvinism, you will enjoy Piper’s joy in exploring the person and work of God.
Four Views on the Historical Adam
Few questions among evangelicals are more pressing today than the time and manner in which God created the world. Following closely in its wake is the controversy over whether Adam was an actual, historical figure. Zondervan’s “Counterpoints: Bible and Theology” series turns to this issue by inviting four scholars to defend their own views while interacting with others. Based on his evolutionary creation view, one of the authors insists there was no historical Adam; the other three authors defend the existence of a historical Adam, one through an archetypal creation view, one through an old-earth creation view, and one through a young-earth creation view. Though the writing is dense at times, readers will be rewarded with a firm grounding in the discussion and a heightened sense of just how much is at stake.
Elyse Fitzpatrick’s terrific book, Found in Him (Crossway, 2013), drills down on the significance of the incarnation and our union with Christ. The first half of the book offers a brief survey of the Old Testament, showing how Jesus, “not Moses or Elijah, was the subject of all the Old Testament scriptures.” Fitzpatrick says the incarnation shows the length Jesus went to so we would not be alone: “He became man, becoming one with us so that we would not have to live in deep solitude any longer.” In the second half, Fitzpatrick focuses on what it means to be “in Christ” or to have “union with Christ,” and outlines the benefits that flow from union. Fitzpatrick is careful with Scripture, and her counselor’s heart shows both in the urgency of her writing and in the practical applications she draws: “If you’ve ever doubted God’s love for you, it is because you aren’t thinking about his love for his Son.” —Susan Olasky
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