31 August 2010

Book Notes-August 2010

1. A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life by JI Packer (1994).  Packer wrote a brief summary of the Puritans, a primarily English, primarily Reformed movement that followed on the heels of the reformation.  The Puritans were deeply Biblical, strongly theological, and profoundly doxological.  Packer rightly points out that we could learn much from the Puritans.  The only criticism is one I would apply to all I have read of Packer; he is theologically intense, but often loses me with his style, or perhaps with his intellect.  3 stars.

2. Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. by Kevin DeYoung (2009).  DeYoung describes the wisdom approach to the will of God.  His book is subtitled, "How to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc."  Too often, as Christians, we believe that (a) God has a specific plan for our lives and (b) that He expects us to discover it.  A is true; B is not.  He wraps up the book at the end by writing, "So the end of the matter is this: Live for God. Obey the Scriptures. Think of others before yourself. Be Holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, and you'll be walking in the will of God."  I strongly recommend this book to anyone seeking to discern God's will.  4.5 stars.

3. Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self (The Terry Lectures Series) by Marilynne Robinson (2010). Robinson's book is the second of the month whose style is intellectually challenging yet richly satisfying.  She challenges many of the many of the current thinking about God by the new atheism and does so with grace.  3.5 stars.

4. God Who Is There, The: Finding Your Place in God's Story by DA Carson (2010).  Carson wrote this very accessible Biblical survey.  Essentially, he walks through the Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, discussing the primary themes of the Bible in 14 chapters.  The book could easily be used in a Bible study format for unbelievers, new believers, and seasoned believers alike.  4 stars.