Monthly Book Reviews

Each month, Pastor Stef reads and reviews a different book - many of which you can find in The Hub, our church library.

  • Living the questions: making sense of the mess and mystery of life

    Click here for February 2020 Review

    For many of these reasons I snatched up Carolyn Arends book Living the Questions: Making Sense of the Mess and Mystery of Life (2000) when I stumbled across it at Value Village – (and I have since discovered that it is a signed copy). The book is part memoir and part musings on life and faith. Arends is a good storyteller and I could relate to some of her experiences of growing up in a small town. She also writes about such things as the adoption of her brother, the “conversion experience” she had in being forced to listen to Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion for a school assignment, and the tragic early death of her friend and fellow musician Rich Mullins. 

    Purchase Carolyn Arends' book here

  • The Lost world of the flood: mythology, theology, and the deluge debate 2018

    Click here for January 2020 Book Review

    According to Longman and Walton, the Biblical flood is a real historical event, yet told in hyperbole to convey a theological truth. Thus, the story is told as a global flood even though it was only a (vast) local flood. To make their case Longman and Walton look at the way other ancient Middle Eastern literature was written and interpreted. They also bring in a geologist for one chapter to show that global geology does not support a worldwide flood.

    Click here to purchase Longman and Walton's book

  • The infancy Narratives: jesus of nazareth

    Click here for December 2019 Book Review

    Joseph Ratzinger is a brilliant Bible scholar who has written numerous books on the Christian faith. His book on the Infancy Narratives of Jesus is part of a larger three volume trilogy he has written on the life of Christ. In the work on the Infancy, Ratzinger goes through all the passages in the gospels of Matthew and Luke that deal with Jesus’ birth and childhood. As he does this he interacts with both historic and contemporary church teachers to help draw out what the text says. 

    Click here to purchase Joseph Ratzinger's book

  • HOLY SEXUALITY and the gospel

    Click here for November 2019 Book Review

    Dr. Christopher Yuan explores the concept of holy sexuality--chastity in singleness or faithfulness in marriage--in a practical and relevant manner, equipping readers with an accessible yet robust theology of sexuality. Whether you want to share Christ with a loved one who identifies as gay or you're wrestling with questions of identity yourself, this book will help you better understand sexuality in light of God's grand story and realize that holy sexuality is actually good news for all.

    Click here to purchase Dr. Yuan's book

  • Grace Based Parenting

    Click here for October 2019 Book Review

    Dr. Tim Kimmel explains how fear-based parenting is a guaranteed method to set children up for failure. Learn how to meet your child's three driving inner needs for security, significance and strength with the invaluable gifts of love, purpose and hope.

    Click here to purchase Dr. Kimmel's book.

  • Created for Community:  Connecting Christian Belief with christian Living

    Click here for September 2019 Book Review

    This revised edition of a classic college-level introduction to theology presents the core doctrines of the Christian faith, encouraging readers to connect belief with everyday life.   Stanley Grenz, one of the leading evangelical scholars of his era, and Jay Smith, an expert on Grenz's theological legacy, construct a helpful theology that is biblical, historical, and contemporary. The book's easy-to-use format includes end-of-chapter discussion questions and connects theological concepts with current cultural examples.

    Click here to purchase Stanley Grenz's book.

  • VAnishing Grace: What ever happened to the good news

    Click here for August 2019 Book Review

    In his landmark book What's So Amazing about Grace?, Philip Yancey issued a call for Christians to be as grace-filled in their behavior as they are in declaring their beliefs. He now returns to this vital subject, asking why Christians continue to lose respect, influence, and reputation in modern culture.   Yet people everywhere still thirst for grace. How can Christians present truly Good News amid the changing landscapes of our time? Why do so many people dislike Christians? How can we communicate faith in an appealing way to future generations? Using his trademark journalistic style--story-filled, compelling, accessible--Yancey explores how grace can bridge the gap between Christian faith and a world increasingly suspicious of it.

    Click here to purchase Philip Yancey's book.

  • Overcoming the impossible: a life of trials and triumphs

    Click here for July 2019 Book Review

    Monica faces numerous daily challenges in her life. Her physical challenges are evident, but her inner turmoil she hid from the world until now. She stands out from the crowd because she is different; yet there is an inner strength that pushes her forward to Overcome the Impossible.

    Click here to purchase Monica's book.

  • Sources of christian self: a cultural history of christian identity

    Click here for June 2019 Book Review

    Beginning with such Old Testament figures as Abraham, Moses, and David and moving through the New Testament, the early church, the Middle Ages, and onward, the forty-two biographical chapters in Sources of the Christian Self illustrate how believers historically have defined their selfhood based on their relation to God/Jesus.

    Purchase James Houston's & Jens Zimmermann's book here.

  • Can god be trusted? faith and the Challenge of Evil

    Click here for May 2019 Book Review

    In a world riddled with disappointment, malice, and tragedy, what rationale do we have for believing in a benevolent God? If God is all-powerful and all-loving, why is there so much evil in the world? John Stackhouse goes beyond Rabbi Harold Kushner, M. Scott Peck, and others to take a more historically informed approach to this dilemma, examining what philosophers and theologians have said on subject and offering reassuring answers for thoughtful readers.

    Purchase John Stackhouse's book here.

  • The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation

    Click here for April 2019 review.

    In a radical new vision for Christianity, Rod Dreher issues a manifesto and clarion call for American Christians to consider how the practices of an ancient Christian way of life—the Benedictine way initiated by sixth-century monk, St. Benedict of Nursia—can be applied and lived out within today's Church.

    Purchase Rod Dreher's book here.

  • Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World

    Click here for February 2019 Review

    Can Christians act like Christians even when they disagree?  In these wild and diverse times, right and left battle over the airwaves, prolifers square off against prochoicers, gay liberationists confront champions of hte traditional family, artists and legislators tangle, even Christians fight other Christians whose doctrines aren't "just so."

    Purchase Richard Mouw"s book here.

  • Gay Girl, Good God

    Click here for December 2018 Review

    Growing up fatherless, Jackie abused drugs, loved pornography, embraced lesbianism---and knew what Christians said about all of the above. But how was she supposed to change when homosexuality felt natural to her? When she came face-to-face with God at 19, she found her answer! Read her amazing story and discover how she was made new.

    Purchase Jackie Hill Perry's book here.

  • The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture

    Click here for September 2018 Review

    In The Bible Made Impossible acclaimed sociologist Christian Smith argues that this approach is misguided and unable to live up to its own claims. If evangelical biblicism worked as its proponents say it should, there would not be the vast variety of interpretive differences that biblicists themselves reach when they actually read and interpret the Bible. Far from challenging the inspiration and authority of Scripture, Smith critiques a particular rendering of it, encouraging evangelicals to seek a more responsible, coherent, and defensible approach to biblical authority.

    Purchase Christian Smith's book here.