Leland Ryken, Augustine’s Confessions, Christian Guides to the Classics (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015). Paperback | Kindle Augustine’s Confessions is a spiritual and literary classic. He began to write it in A.D. 397, ten years after his conversion to Christianity, when he was bishop of Hippo in Roman North Africa, partly to respond to his critics. Books 1–9 are largely autobiographical, while Books 10–13 include meditations on memory, time, and the Book of Genesis. The book continues to fascinate and inspire readers, both scholars and laypeople, but it is not easy to read. Augustine mixes autobiographical reflections, biographical portraits of others, … Continue reading Review of ‘Augustine’s Confessions: Christian Guides to the Classics’ by Leland Ryken
Sean Michael Lucas, God’s Grand Design: The Theological Vision of Jonathan Edwards (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011). $17.99, 224 pages. My doctrine of salvation is Arminian, so you may wonder why I think highly of Sean Michael Lucas’s study of Jonathan Edwards, whose soteriology was Calvinist. The answer is twofold: First, Lucas has written an accessible introduction to the biblical theology and pastoral practice of “America’s greatest theologian”—as Robert Jenson described Edwards. Whatever their theological stripes may be, interested students of theology are in Lucas’s debt for this service. Edwards’s literary corpus is large and his thought complex, but Lucas ably … Continue reading A Review of “God’s Grand Design: The Theological Vision of Jonathan Edwards” by Sean Michael Lewis
Mike McKinley, Am I Really a Christian? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011). $12.99, 160 pages. Matthew 7:21–23 may be one of the most difficult passages of Scripture for Christians to contemplate. There, people asked Jesus, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” (Evidently, they were Pentecostals, like me.) Instead of commending them, however, Jesus said, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.” These people were self-deceived about the authenticity of their Christianity. In Am I Really a Christian? Mike McKinley outlines five things … Continue reading Am I Really a Christian?
Sam Crabtree, Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011). $14.99, 176 pages. As my wife and I raise our toddler son, we notice that he responds better to affirmation than to correction. If we affirm his behavior as good and praise him for it, he increasingly behaves in the desired way. However, if he hears “No” too often, he tunes us out. According to Sam Crabtree, “Affirmation is the purpose of the universe—specifically, affirmation of God.” But, he argues, we also should affirm “those who are not God.” The Bible teaches that God … Continue reading “Practicing Affirmation” by Sam Crabtree