Here are five books that have come across my desk over the past month or two that are worth knowing about:
30 Events That Shaped the Church: Learning from Scandal, Intrigue, War, and Revival by Alton Gansky (Baker Books)
The church of today did not appear on the earth fully formed; rather, it developed over the centuries. Following Jesus’ command to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth, the apostles and their spiritual descendants have grown the church through times of peace and times of war, through persecution and pilgrimage. The church that began as a ragtag group of Middle Eastern fishermen, tax collectors, and zealots became the multiethnic, multifaceted church we know today through historical events that, while they may seem distant, have a direct effect on our everyday lives.
Now thirty of these course-altering events are brought vividly to life by consummate storyteller Alton Gansky. Spanning twenty centuries of history, this lively book will entertain, educate, and enlighten you even as it enriches your appreciation for those who have come before us in the faith.
I have not read the whole thing, but if you’re looking for a deeper glimpse of many important events throughout church history, Gansky’s 30 Events will scratch that itch. Check out the table of contents on Amazon’s preview to see the list of thirty events.
What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? By Kevin DeYoung (Crossway)
In this timely book, award-winning author Kevin DeYoung challenges each of us—the skeptic, the seeker, the certain, and the confused—to take a humble look at God’s Word regarding the issue of homosexuality.
After examining key biblical passages in both the Old and New Testaments and the Bible’s overarching teaching regarding sexuality, DeYoung responds to popular objections raised by Christians and non-Christians alike, making this an indispensable resource for thinking through one of the most pressing issues of our day.
Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church by Collin Hansen (Crossway)
Here’s another great new Crossway title from Collin Hansen, the editor of The Gospel Coalition. I hope to look at this in the next couple of weeks. Judging by the fact that we all have blind spots, I’m hoping Hansen (and the Spirit) will shine some light on mine.
The world needs bold, united followers of Jesus. It needs you and me to understand and appreciate the contributions of our brothers and sisters in faith. However, too often, our blind spots lead to divisions and disagreements, preventing God’s people from testifying to his grace with one voice.
In this provocative book, Collin Hansen helps us view our differences as opportunities to more effectively engage a needy world with the love of Christ. Highlighting the diversity of thought, experience, and personality that God has given to his people, Blind Spots lays the foundation for a new generation of Christians eager to cultivate a courageous, compassionate, and commissioned church.
Gracia sobre gracia: la nueva reforma en el mundo hispano Various Contributors (Poiema Publications)
What is a Spanish title doing on this blog?! This new book put out by Poiema and The Gospel Coalition’s Spanish arm is titled “Grace Upon Grace: The New Reformation in the Hispanic World.” I got it at the Gospel Coalition’s pre-conference and am excited to see what Hispanic leaders say about the Latin American church. This is of interest to me as a part-time missionary to Latin America with Leadership Resources. I hope to share some thoughts from it this summer (don’t worry, it will be in English.)
Heaven, How I Got Here: The Story of the Thief on the Cross by Colin S. Smith (Christian Focus)
From my review on The Gospel Coalition:
I’ve learned something interesting about unbelievers after several years of engaging them with the gospel: while many feel uncomfortable discussing sin, the exclusivity of Christ, or eternal punishment, most don’t mind discussing the afterlife.
This fascination with the afterlife can be a great inroad to gospel conversation. Heaven is often seen as non-threatening and profoundly interesting—one of the reasons so many I-went-to-heaven-and-back books have flown off the shelves in recent years.
What if there were a book you could share with your non-Christian friends that would scratch their “heaven itch” while compellingly sharing the gospel?
I know I’ve already mentioned this book on the blog before, but it’s so rich. Our church put on a one-man show featuring Steven Baldwin as the thief and it was powerful.