Reflections on grace and truth
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Being the Bad Guys by Stephen McAlpine: McAlpine understands why Christians often feel like the bad guys, but he encourages believers to resist the mindset that “if we don’t win this culture war, everything is over. … That is how earthly politics work, not God’s kingdom.” The author says we should be more concerned about what destructive belief systems will do to people made in God’s image than how we might suffer for embracing an unpopular worldview. He explores ways to spend time preparing for “a tsunami of the broken and wounded who wash up on our shores.” He calls for boldness and compassion: “A big view of God means we do not fear other people, but we do not despise them either.”
Surviving Religion 101 by Michael J. Kruger: New Testament scholar Michael Kruger offers practical, Biblical answers for common objections to Christianity: How can Christianity be the only right religion? How could a good God allow such evil? Are we sure that homosexuality is really wrong? How do we know the Bible is true? Kruger writes the book as a series of letters to his oldest daughter as she heads off to a secular college, and the volume would make a helpful gift for other young Christians poised to do the same. He begins with a fatherly reassurance that it’s OK not to have all the right words easily at hand: “Not having an answer does not affect the truth of what you believe.”
An Ocean of Grace by Tim Chester: Nearly every spring, Christian book publishers release new titles to anticipate the season leading up to Easter. It’s a worthy way to spend the last few weeks of winter months, but I’ve always hoped such books won’t lose steam after Easter is past. Since every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ, I’ll commend a book technically designed for Easter preparation, but good for any time of the year. An Ocean of Grace leads readers through daily meditations and prayers from Christians across Church history. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Owen, Charles Spurgeon, and Samuel Rutherford are a few of the writers offering Biblical meditations on confession, repentance, and rejoicing in the saving work of Christ.
Glimmers of Grace by Kathryn Butler: Butler is a trauma surgeon (and now a homeschooling mom) who writes vividly about her firsthand exposures to the wonders of the human body—and the woes of its breakdown. Her encounters with extreme suffering in trauma units and hospital rooms led her to despair, and then to Christ. She already knew that “the wounds of our flesh leave scars. The wounds of our soul gnaw us from within.” But she learned “Christ’s wounds heal everything.” Butler writes for the sick and those who love them: “When you gaze into the mirror and find your face wan from illness and haggard from grief, remember that even as our sense of ourselves fades, who He is never changes.”
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