stuff we really like
Daily Fight: One Year of Daily Bible Readings
C. Wayne Hays
There are daily devotionals, and then there is Daily Fight. While I cannot say I have a taste for the average devotional—too sentimental, frankly—Hays avoids the usual pitfalls and delivers something robust. This book is intended particularly as an aid for fathers, to provide a solid starting point for family worship and discussion times. It succeeds in being meaty without ever getting obscure.
Equally importantly, it is set squarely in the real world. It is both eminently biblical and thoroughly practical.
What more can you ask than that?
Buy Daily Fight from Amazon.
Christian Culture: An Introduction
P. Andrew Sandlin
The Christian Church in the West went through decade after decade of a flight mentality. This has been fueled in part by the dispensational notion that the world is going to get worse and worse, and then Jesus will get us on out of here. In the context of that pervasive theology, Christians have frequently taken the attitude that there is not much point polishing brass on a sinking ship. The result has been withdrawal from engagement with culture, including a retreat from politics and an ambivalence toward the arts and full-orbed Christian education.
There have been recent signs of a recovery from that retreatism, but all too often, in place of retreat is simple adoption of the spirit of the age. Sandlin’s little book is a helpful corrective to both ditches, showing not only what the Church got right historically on these issues, but also what the biblical foundation for genuine Christian culture is, and some things that can be done toward creating a new Christian culture.
All this is helpful and necessary to hear. You should get this book.
Buy the paperback or the Kindle.
Feed My Lambs
This book helped ignite a bit of a firestorm a decade ago when the recent seminary graduate published it, advocating the communing of baptized children—a controversial proposal within a conservative tradition that waited for a profession of faith not usually expected until late high school or early adulthood.
Arguing that the Reformed practice of infant baptism already rightly recognizes that the offspring of believers are part of the body of Christ, Gallant argues for the integrity of the Lord’s table. According to 1 Corinthians 10:16–17 and other texts, the body and the bread are coextensive; if we grant that children are part of the body, we ought to grant they should be participants in the bread. In fact, failure to do so is a form of failure to discern the body of Christ, against which Paul warns vigorously in the following chapter.
Although more churches are practicing “paedocommunion” today, the message of this book remains timely and important.
Buy Feed My Lambs at Amazon.
These Are Two Covenants
The study of Paul has seen a proliferation of scholarly books in the past 35 years, in part due to the controversial claims of E. P. Sanders in his 1977 book, Paul and Palestinian Judaism. His thesis was essentially that Christians, and in particular, Protestants, had got Judaism all wrong, and that it really was not “legalistic,” which in turn implied that a great deal of interpretation of Paul’s letters has been wrongheaded. In the ensuing years, much of Pauline scholarship has been devoted either to embracing or refuting that thesis.
In These Are Two Covenants: Reconsidering Paul on the Mosaic Law, Gallant does not so much embrace nor refute the Sanders viewpoint as attempt to read Paul’s arguments concerning the law on their own terms. The result is a densely argued small book that advocates a new take which finds fundamental coherence with the overall shape of overarching Protestant concerns such as sola fide while at the same time urging a fresh exegesis of texts where traditional interpretation doesn’t quite work.
While this isn’t light reading, it’s a good place to start if you are looking for a coherent view of Paul’s understanding of the relationship between the Mosaic law and the new covenant.
Buy These Are Two Covenants at Amazon.
Sermons on Galatians
Galatians is widely recognized as a fundamentally important letter of Paul; and it is also notoriously difficult. Tim Gallant has largely lived with Galatians for over a decade, and much of that intimacy is evident in this book (he has two commentaries on the letter slated to be released in late 2013).
These are not essays; the book consists of 35 sermons preached for a real congregation. Thus, while the biblical texts are of varying difficulty, a great deal of time was taken to simplify the issues for the person in the pew.
Buy Sermons on Galatians at Amazon.
T. A. Gallant
Racism is a hot topic, and relationships between Caucasians and African-Americans are usually at the forefront in such discussions.
This little novel, however, deals with prejudice at a different level, as the underlying context of a hotshot young architect’s view of himself and the Canadian aboriginals among whom he unexpectedly finds himself working.
This is not, however, a tract for social change so much as a story of self-discovery and the power of genuine friendship.
Buy Moniyaw at Amazon.