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Notable Books

Books of applied theology

Notable Books
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Wm. Paul Young hopes his new novel, Eve, will revolutionize and rescue our understanding of the relationship between men and women through a retelling of the creation narrative. Young intends to show that men have co-opted and perverted the story of humanity’s fall into sin so as to gain power over women. He insists that the truth embedded in this novel has the power to free us from Bible interpretations that have long corrupted human relationships. In the final assessment, Eve is a troubling, faulty, and even dangerous story.

Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion

I appreciate Os Guinness’ concern that he not become a professional apologist and along the way neglect the actual work of apologetics. But after many years of doing such work, he has written a good book, Fool’s Talk, that introduces readers not to technique, but to the art of Christian persuasion—the kind of persuasion we see modeled in Jesus, in Paul, and in the Old Testament prophets before them. Eminently quotable and packed full of helpful insights, Fool’s Talk is a well-written, well-structured, and well-argued book that I enthusiastically recommend.

The Compelling Community: Where God’s Power Makes a Church Attractive

If the number of highlights in a book serves as an indication of its worth, then The Compelling Community has already proven especially valuable. Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist and Jamie Dunlop, his associate pastor, argue that the kind of church community God desires is one that has both breadth and depth—it spans the most diverse people and it brings them into deep, loyal, and loving relationships. If you have read Nine Marks of a Healthy Church and wondered what that kind of church looks like, The Compelling Community is for you.

The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design

Courtney Reissig describes herself as an accidental feminist—someone who became a feminist simply by absorbing the cultural ethos. Even after she became a Christian, she continued to filter the world through the feminist lens, but in this book she explores difficult topics like women’s roles in church and home, bodies and beauty, and, of course, the dreaded “s-word”—submission. She looks first to the truth from the Bible and then works toward helpful and realistic application. Always practical, she extends her application across demographics, from single women to married and from young women to older ones.


Jen Hatmaker’s blog posts are the kind that get passed around from young mom to young mom. She readily admits failure and humorously depicts the messier side of life. That’s the theme of her new book For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (Thomas Nelson, 2015). To the woman who in trying to be it all—mom, interior decorator, chef, career woman—finds perfection beyond her grasp, she offers peace. Hatmaker lacks Anne Lamott’s rawness and political stridency, but scratches the same itch: to write humorously and honestly about kids, marriage, and church. She’s not offering deep doctrinal reflection, but speaks wisely about many things. Here, for instance, is her guidance about whether something is gospel or not: “If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.” —Susan Olasky

Tim Challies

Tim is a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto and a former WORLD correspondent.


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