Books I hope to read in 2012 in no particular order.
Godforsaken: Bad Things Happen. Is there a God who cares? Yes. Here's Proof by Dinesh D'Souza - For a lot of people, the biggest question about God is not, surprisingly enough, whether he exists. Instead, it is about whether God is truly good. Dinesh D'Souza, in his debates with leading atheists, quickly realized that many of those debates revolved around the question of evil in this world—how God could create a world that allowed such suffering and evil. In Godforsaken, Dinesh D'Souza takes these questions head on: Does God act like a tyrant? Is God really responsible for the evil in this world? Why is there suffering in the world? For the first time ever, Dinesh D'Souza approaches this topic with historical and scientific proof and presents to the reader why God is truly worthy of our worship and love.
The Cross of Christ by John Stott - The work of a lifetime, from one of the world's most influential thinkers, about the heart of the Christian faith. "I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. . . . In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?" With compelling honesty John Stott confronts this generation with the centrality of the cross in God's redemption of the world -- a world now haunted by the memories of Auschwitz, the pain of oppression and the specter of nuclear war. Can we see triumph in tragedy, victory in shame? Why should an object of Roman distaste and Jewish disgust be the emblem of our worship and the axiom of our faith? And what does it mean for us today? Now from one of the foremost preachers and Christian leaders of our day comes theology at its readable best, a contemporary restatement of the meaning of the cross. At the cross Stott finds the majesty and love of God disclosed, the sin and bondage of the world exposed. More than a study of the atonement, this book brings Scripture into living dialogue with Christian theology and the twentieth century. What emerges is a pattern for Christian life and worship, hope and mission. Destined to be a classic study of the center of our faith, Stott's work is the product of a uniquely gifted pastor, scholar and Christian statesman. His penetrating insight, charitable scholarship and pastoral warmth are guaranteed to feed both heart and mind.
Shepherding the Small Church: A Leadership Guide for the Majority of Today's Churches (Gold Medallion-Finalist) by Glenn C. Daman - This second edition is an indispensable source of advice and encouragement for the small church pastor, including how to formulate a mission while understanding the cultures of the community and the church. Chapter-by-chapter suggestions and several appendixes of helpful assessment tools help pastors and lay leadership work through the book together.
Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller - The New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God and a nationally renowned minister, Timothy Keller exposes the error of making good things "ultimate" in his latest book, and shows readers a new path toward a hope that lasts.
Success, true love, and the life you've always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held the key to happiness, but with a sneaking suspicion they might not deliver. The recent economic meltdown has cast a harsh new light on these pursuits. In a matter of months, fortunes, marriages, careers, and a secure retirement have disappeared for millions of people. No wonder so many of us feel lost, alone, disenchanted, and resentful.
But the truth is that we made lesser gods of these good things -gods that can't give us what we really need. There is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings- and now is the perfect time to meet him again, or for the first time.
The Bible tells us that the human heart is an "idol- factory," taking good things and making them into idols that drive us. In Counterfeit Gods, Keller applies his trademark approach to show us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts. This powerful message will cement Keller's reputation as a critical thinker and pastor, and comes at a crucial time-for both the faithful and the skeptical.
Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope by Trevin Wax - What if the biggest danger to the church of Jesus Christ is not blatant heresy, the moral failures of church leaders, persecution, the rise of Islam or the loss of our rights' What if the biggest threat is counterfeit gospels within the church, ways of thinking and speaking about the good news that lead to a gradual drift from the truth of Scripture'The gospel is like a three-legged stool. There's the Gospel Story ¿ the grand narrative of Scripture (Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration). Within that overarching framework, we make the Gospel Announcement about Jesus Christ (His perfect life, substitutionary death, resurrection, exaltation). The gospel announcement then births the Gospel Community: God's church ¿ the embodiment of the gospel, the manifestation of God's kingdom. A counterfeit gospel is like a colony of termites, eating away at one of the legs of this stool until the whole thing topples over. This book exposes six common counterfeits (Therapeutic, Judgmentless, Moralist, Quietist, Activist, and Churchless) that would get us off track.The goal of Counterfeit Gospels is to so deepen our love for the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ that we would easily see through the many counterfeits that leave us impoverished. So come, love the gospel, recognize and overcome the counterfeits, and be empowered for ministry!
John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock by Ian Murray - Through more than forty years, John MacArthur has opened and taught the Word of God in one local congregation, Grace Community Church, Los Angeles. Consequences have followed which no one anticipated, and which the preacher attributes to the sovereign hand of God. A people united to Christ, and to their pastor, became a channel for blessing across the earth. It has been a ministry marked by characteristics that re-appear in every spiritual advance - not concern for relevance not special attractions for young or old, male or female; but love for God and dependence on his Word and promises. MacArthur has proved, without ever intending to do so, that true preaching of the Word of God is international, because if you teach the Bible it transcends every border, every language, every culture. It is as relevant today, and will be tomorrow, as in all the years since God put it down. That is why his sermons are heard or read in more than two hundred countries around the world today.
But this is also a human story, including the shaping of his youth, the strength of marriage and family, the refining influence of trials and controversies, and the building of a man whose staff have never known to be angry. There are friends who, for all their love of his ministry, say his life is his best sermon.
Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine by Gregg Allison - Most historical theology texts follow Christian beliefs chronologically, discussing notable doctrinal developments for all areas of theology according to their historical appearance. And while this may be good history, it can make for confusing theology, with the classic theological loci scattered throughout various time periods, movements, and controversies. In Historical Theology, Gregg Allison offers students the opportunity to study the historical development of theology according to a topical-chronological arrangement, setting out the history of Christian doctrine one theological element at a time. Such an approach allows readers to concentrate on one tenet of Christianity and its formulation in the early church, through the Middle Ages, Reformation, and post-Reformation era, and into the modern period. The text includes a generous mix of primary source material as well, citing the words of Cyprian, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Barth, and others. Allison references the most accessible editions of these notable theologians' work so that readers can continue their study of historical theology through Christian history's most important contributors. Historical Theology is a superb resource for those familiar with Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology or interested in understanding the development of Christian theology.
Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words by Brian D. McLaren - Christianity is in crisis. Many sincere Christians feel their traditional Christian practices are in danger of becoming irrelevant, empty rituals. In his previous book A New Kind of Christianity, Brian D. McLaren offered new biblical models for how we understand the central ideas of a faith that provides hope for restoring and reinvigorating the power of the gospels to transform us and our communities.
Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker - The period of young adulthood, from ages 18 to 23, is popularly considered the most sexualized in life. But is it true? What do we really know about the sexual lives of young people today?
Premarital Sex in America combines illuminating personal stories and comprehensive research surveys to provide the fullest portrait of heterosexuality among young adults ever produced. Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker draw upon a wealth of survey data as well as scores of in-depth interviews with young adults from around the country, both in and out of college. Digging underneath stereotypes and unexamined assumptions, the authors offer compelling--and often surprising--answers to such questions as: How do the emotional aspects of sexual relations differ between young men and women? What role do political orientations play in their sexual relations? How have online dating and social networking sites affected the relationships of emerging adults? Why are young people today waiting so much longer to marry? How prevalent are nontraditional forms of sex, and what do people think of them? To better understand what drives the sexual behaviors of emerging adults, Regnerus and Uecker pay special attention to two important concepts: sexual scripts, the unwritten and often unconscious rules that guide sexual behavior and attitudes; and sexual economics, a theory which suggests that the relative scarcity of men on college campuses contributes to the "hookup" culture by allowing men to diminish their level of commitment and thereby lower the "price" they have to "pay" for sex.
For anyone wishing to understand how sexual relations between young adults have changed and are changing, Premarital Sex in America will serve as a touchstone for years to come.
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by Mark R. Levin - When nationally syndicated radio host Mark R. Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny appeared in the early months of the Obama presidency, Americans responded by making his clarion call for a new era in conservatism a #1 New York Times bestseller for an astounding twelve weeks. As provocative, well-reasoned, robust, and informed as his on-air commentary, with his love of our country and the legacy of our Founding Fathers reflected on every page, Levin’s galvanizing narrative provides a philosophical, historical, and practical framework for revitalizing the conservative vision and ensuring the preservation of American society.
In the face of the modern liberal assault on Constitution-based values, an attack that has resulted in a federal government that is a massive, unaccountable conglomerate, the time for reinforcing the intellectual and practical case for conservatism is now. In a series of powerful essays, Levin lays out how conservatives can counter the tyrannical liberal corrosion that has filtered into every timely issue affecting our daily lives, from the economy to health care, global warming to immigration, and more.
The ACLU vs. America: Exposing the Agenda to Redefine Moral Values by Craig Osten and Alan Sears - As a result of the work of the American Civil Liberties Union and their war on America, we now live in a country where the church has been progressively silenced, parental authority has been undermined, children are less safe, and human life continues to be cheapened-both at birth and death. While the ACLU and its allies in the media have positioned themselves as the great defenders of freedom, they are in reality eliminating the freedoms of millions of Americans. Sadly, most Americans are unaware of the extreme positions of the ACLU. But there is hope. Many Americans are waking up to the dangerous agenda of the ACLU. The ACLUvs. America will clue readers in to the culture wars afoot and will equip them to become effective agents for liberty and freedom against the ACLU's onslaught.
Reviews - Reading List for Summer 2011