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Notable Books

Four works of accessible theology


Notable Books
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Whitney observes that many Christians stop praying because they are bored with their prayers: “They tend to say the same old things about the same old things.” In this book he recommends a prayer method that addresses the sameness of our prayers: “Simply go through [a] passage line by line, talking to God about whatever comes to mind as you read the text.” The book’s tone is warm, conversational, and encouraging. If you read it, you will better understand his method and be more equipped to practice it, understanding that it is one among many systems of prayer.

Spiritual Friendship

Wesley Hill addresses the subject of spiritual friendship as a Christian who believes the Bible forbids homosexual behavior, but who cannot deny his homosexual orientation. He wonders if he is doomed to a lonely life. The solution, he believes, is biblical friendship—yet friendship has fallen on hard times. Our culture is obsessed with a kind of freedom and autonomy in which meaningful friendships seem to require too much to be worth the bother. But what could we gain if we simply took friendship much more seriously? Having read this book, I find myself wanting deeper and more meaningful friendships.

The Prodigal Church

When Jared Wilson was caught up in the church growth movement, he felt restless. The model seemed woefully inadequate. But the Bible transformed him from within, enabling him to understand the utter centrality of the gospel (and not programs) in the church. He critiques the seeker-friendly model by using the Bible to show where it falls short. God calls believers to be faithful members of local churches who pursue His work in His way, so I gladly commend this book for your consideration.

The Art of Work

There is a lot to like about a well-written book packed with interesting illustrations and interviews. I really wanted, and even tried, to love it. Unfortunately, Goins gives the impression you can be truly, deeply, and eternally satisfied apart from Christ. The gospel is entirely absent as is a faithful handling of the Bible. I can only recommend this book as one that contains helpful nuggets rather than as a wider system for finding meaning and satisfaction in the work God intends for you to do.

Spotlight

Figures in Motion (figuresinmotion.com) puts out books of tagboard paper figures to color, cut out, and assemble with brads. The three most recent series include Famous Figures of the Renaissance (Columbus, Gutenberg, Da Vinci, Luther, and others); Footsteps of Faith: Queen Esther (Mordecai, Esther, Haman, and the rest); and Famous Figures of Ancient Times (Moses, David, Hammurabi, Aristotle, Jesus, and others). Happily, the sets are historically accurate and treat biblical sources as truthful.

Bradley Johnston’s 150 Questions About the Psalter (Crown and Covenant, 2015) comes from the publisher connected to an exclusive psalm-singing denomination, but all of us would benefit from singing more from the hymnbook of the ancient church. This catechism-style book provides useful information about the different kinds of psalms and their traditional uses in worship. —Susan Olasky


Tim Challies

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

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