New and noteworthy books

Noteworthy books to arrive in April and May

One of my favorite times of the day, after coming home and greeting my family, is seeing what mail has arrived. This is not because I love finding out how many bills are waiting for me, but because there’s often a new book waiting for me from one of the many Christian publishers out there (and occasionally from a non-Christian one). Here’s a look at several of the more noteworthy books that have arrived over the last while:

The Gospel Project Bible (B&H Publishing Group). This new study Bible “is designed to lead readers to understand basic biblical doctrines, to see how all the Scriptures point to Jesus, and to join Him in His mission of seeking and saving the lost.” One of my favorite things about it so far? The summaries of all 99 of The Gospel Project’s essential doctrines. (For more on this Bible, check out this post on the Gospel Project blog.)

Living in the Light: Money, Sex & Power by John Piper (The Good Book Company). This compact book is demonstrates how Christians can enjoy these three “dangerous opportunities” in a way that “satisfies you, serves the world and glorifies God.” I’ll almost certainly be reading this in the next few weeks.

Liberating King by Stephen Miller (Baker Books). I’m just starting to crack into this one, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read. This book is all about the good news we all need—how the gospel overcomes our sin and how “holy living is within our grasp when we keep our eyes and our adoration on the one who was sent not only to save us but also to make us into new creations.”

Habits of Our Holiness by Philip Nation (Moody). This new book on the spiritual disciplines “connects [them] to all of life” by showing how they have their “greatest power when practiced in community and on mission.”

Pictures of a Theological Exhibition by Kevin Vanhoozer (IVP Academic). “Through essays on the church’s worship, witness and wisdom, Vanhoozer shows us how a poetic imagination can answer the questions of life’s meaning by drawing our attention to what really matters: the God of the gospel.” Having flipped through this, it’s definitely one I want to read (hopefully soon), but it’s not going to be a fast one.

Delivered from the Elements of the World by Peter Leithhart (IVP Academic). Purporting to elude conventional categories, this book on the atonement “prods our theological imaginations” by reframing Anselm’s question “Why the God Man?” instead asking, “”How can the death and resurrection of a Jewish rabbi of the first century . . . be the decisive event in the history of humanity, the hinge and crux and crossroads for everything?”

Aspire: Transformed by the Gospel by Matt Rogers (Seed Publishing Group, LLC). This is a new 15-week workbook style study intended to be used to disciple believers in a church context. Think one-on-one relationships or groups of three. The content in it looks really solid so far, balancing theological insights and practical application well.

And a bonus book (one I purchased):

The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton (Penguin Classics). Chesterton’s writing brings me joy, so I’m looking forward to working my way through each story featuring this Catholic priest… who also happens to be an amateur detective.

New and noteworthy books


One of my favorite times of the day, after coming home and greeting my family is seeing what mail has arrived. This is not because I love finding out how many bills are waiting for me, but because there’s often a new book waiting for me from one of the many Christian publishers out there. Here’s a look at some of the latest that have arrived:

Faith Alone by Thomas Schreiner

Historians and theologians have long recognized that at the heart of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation were five declarations, often referred to as the ‘solas’: sola scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, and soli Deo gloria. These five statements summarize much of what the Reformation was about, and they distinguish Protestantism from other expressions of the Christian faith. Protestants place ultimate and final authority in the Scriptures, acknowledge the work of Christ alone as sufficient for redemption, recognize that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and seek to do all things for God’s glory.

In Faith Alone—The Doctrine of Justification renowned biblical scholar Thomas Schreiner looks at the historical and biblical roots of the doctrine of justification. He summarizes the history of the doctrine, looking at the early church and the writings of several of the Reformers. Then, he turns his attention to the Scriptures and walks readers through an examination of the key texts in the Old and New Testament. He discusses whether justification is transformative or forensic and introduces readers to some of the contemporary challenges to the Reformation teaching of sola fide, with particular attention to the new perspective on Paul.

Buy it at: Amazon | Westminster Bookstore

The Holy Spirit by Christopher Holmes

Who is the Holy Spirit and how does the Spirit come to be in relation to the Father and the Son? What is the mission of the Spirit and where does it come from? Chris Holmes takes up the questions surrounding the Spirit’s procession and mission with the help of three of the church’s greatest teachers—Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Karl Barth.

Drawing on their engagements with the Fourth Gospel, Holmes presents an account of the Spirit’s identity, origin, and acts, to show how the acts of the Spirit derive from the Spirit’s life in relation to Father and Son—and the extent to which the Spirit’s mission testifies to the Spirit’s origin.

Holmes presents a way forward for pneumatology. Housed within the doctrine of the Trinity, pneumatology’s joyful task is to describe the Spirit’s acts among us in light of their source in the Spirit’s acts in God. The end of this inquiry is our beatitude—knowledge of the Trinity that yields to love of the Trinity.

Buy it at: Amazon | Westminster Bookstore

The Original Jesus by Daniel Darling

From hit songs to bumper stickers to eye-black, Jesus is trending high wherever you look. But at the end of the day, many “try Jesus” and come away disappointed in the experience. That’s because the Jesus of popular culture looks much more like us than the God-man who appeared in the flesh two thousand years ago. We’ve got Guru Jesus, Braveheart Jesus, Dr. Phil Jesus, Free-Range Jesus, and plenty more imposters that feed into our selfish desires. The problem is, they don’t have the power to save us or transform us into new creations. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Original Jesus calls readers back to the Jesus who demands our worship–the potter who molds us, the clay. Seekers, skeptics, and sojourners in the way of faith will see Jesus for who he really is: God in the flesh, calling us to surrender our very lives that we may truly live.

Buy it at: Amazon

Gospel Conversations by Robert Kellemen

How does a person learn to counsel others with the truth of God’s Word? Bob Kellemen believes that the best way to learn counseling is by doing it—by giving and receiving biblical counseling in the context of real, raw Christian community.

Gospel Conversations explores the four compass-points of biblical counseling:

  • Sustaining: “It’s Normal to Hurt.”
  • Healing: “It’s Possible to Hope.”
  • Reconciling: “It’s Horrible to Sin, but Wonderful to Be Forgiven.”
  • Guiding: “It’s Supernatural to Mature.”

These four compass points combine to equip readers to develop twenty-two ministry relational competencies—the “how to” of caring like Christ. This book serves as a practical training manual that can be used for lab and small group interaction.

Buy it at: Amazon | Westminster Bookstore

It’s Not What You Think by Jefferson Bethke

Jesus was most upset at people for seeing but not seeing. For missing it. For succumbing to the danger and idolatry of forcing God into preconceived ideals. What if there were a better way? What if Jesus came not to help people escape the world but rather to restore it? Best-selling author and spoken word artist Jefferson Bethke says that “Christians have the greatest story ever told but we aren’t telling it.” So in this new book, Bethke tells that story anew, presenting God’s truths from the Old and the New Testaments as the challenging and compelling story that it is—a grand narrative with God at the center. And in doing so, Bethke reminds readers of the life-changing message of Jesus that turned the world upside-down, a world that God is putting back together.

Buy it at: Amazon