Four books on popular theology
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The gospel matters in the pulpit, in the home, and in the family. And, according to Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger, the gospel also matters at work. The Gospel at Work is meant to show that Christians work for a King, and that this changes everything, because there is no work that is meaningless or insignificant when it is done for King Jesus. The authors provide a brief but sound theology of work, and then progress to practical matters: choosing a career; finding that difficult balance between work, family, and church; sharing the gospel at work; and so on. Since we all work somewhere, sometime, this is a book we would all do well to read.
Few subjects are more important to the life and well-being of the Christian than spiritual warfare. Yet, in my experience few topics receive worse treatment. Novel interpretations abound, as do outright unbiblical ones. In Spiritual Warfare Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura look at Ephesians 6 to provide a detailed but reader-friendly examination of this text. They stay within the bounds of Scripture, never embellishing or pursuing original and unconventional interpretations. C.S. Lewis said Christians fall into two errors when it comes to demonic forces: “One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” This book avoids both extremes. It is a steady, reasonable, and balanced look at the reality of our battle and the armor God has provided.
What’s Best Next
I am convinced there is a Christian way to think about everything. One of the joys of reading widely in the Christian book market is seeing how authors address those topics for which they have a special interest or passion. In What’s Best Next, author and blogger Matt Perman explores productivity—a topic about which there is a gap in Christian literature. It’s not only about getting things done, but about getting the right and best things done. Perman provides a uniquely Christian view on productivity, and then offers a practical approach that will help you become more effective in what you do, no matter what you do.
The New Calvinism Considered
I don’t think anyone could have predicted the contemporary resurgence in Calvinistic theology. Yet over the past 10 or 20 years, Calvinism has once again become a significant presence in evangelicalism. In The New Calvinism Considered, Jeremy Walker explores the roots, strengths, weaknesses, and future of this movement. Writing personally and pastorally with a winsome tone and a balanced view, he commends this movement for what it is doing well, and cautions it for areas in which it is weak, vulnerable, or even unbiblical. While this book is certainly not the final word on the movement, Walker’s commendations and concerns are on-target and thought-provoking. A willingness to consider such critiques would prove both the health and the humility of this movement.
In Volume 2 of Building a Godly Home: A Holy Vision for a Happy Marriage by William Gouge (Reformation Heritage Books, 2013), the Puritan pastor draws practical applications from Ephesians 5:21-33. His pithy prose will keep you reading. For example, he describes a man who intending “to court and woo a woman will promise mountains, but not perform mole hills. Others will snuggle and kiss their wives much, but trust them with nothing.”
In Help for Women Under Stress: Preserving Your Sanity (Eternal Perspective Ministries, 2013), Randy and Nanci Alcorn provide a biblical perspective to overbusy women. The book deals with theology—appreciating and trusting God’s sovereignty and goodness—and with practical habits—diet, exercise, relaxation—that can help us stay healthy. In this updated edition, the Alcorns share what they’ve learned in the years since the book first came out. —Susan Olasky