As the fall officially begins in a week or so, I thought it was time to share some of the books that I am most looking forward to reading this fall. First on my list is this short tome by Kevin DeYoung. The epidemic of busyness has dramatically infected the evangelical church and if I am honest, I have succumbed to its ill effects more often than I would like to admit. This book has been described as ” not the typical arsenal of time management tips, but rather filled with the biblical tools we need to get to the source of the issue and pull the problem out by the roots. It is highly practical and super short, and will help you put an end to “busyness as usual.” As I head into an incredibly busy schedule of travel, events and meetings at this time of the year, I can’t wait to read this gospel oriented approach to reclaiming the time that God has given me.
Bo Fu is am amazing person and someone that I tremendously admire. Interestingly, CLC nearly published this book, and Bob has stayed on our campus when he first came to the United States. Bob has been described by the Wall Street Journal as ” The pastor of China’s underground railroad,” and is fighting to protect his fellow believers from persecution, imprisonment, and even death. God’s Double Agent is his fascinating and riveting story. By day Fu worked as a full-time lecturer in a communist school; by night he pastored a house church and led an underground Bible school. The book chronicles Fu’s conversion to Christianity, his arrest and imprisonment for starting an illegal house church, his harrowing escape, and his subsequent rise to prominence in the United States as an advocate for his brethren. For those that wonder if Christians are still persecuted in China for attending house church’s, this book is a must read. Bob is one of the most courageous people I know.
Andy Crouch is the author of the ground breaking book Culture Making. He recently became the Executive Editor at Christianity Today magazine and is a particularity profound thinker and writer. He lives in the Philadelphia area and I had the chance to spend a delightful afternoon with him getting to ask questions and pick his brain. This is a book that I have really been looking forward to reading. In it, Andy unpacks the dynamics of power that either can make human flourishing possible or can destroy the image of God in people. He offers fresh insights from key biblical passages, demonstrating how Scripture calls us to discipline our power. He makes the case that wielding power need not distort us or others, but instead can be stewarded well. In a world where far to many Christians have wielded power in ways that have brought derision to the very God they serve, this book is greatly needed. Rather than shying away from using power at all, Andy encourages us to allow God to transform it.
Jefferson Bethke exploded onto the evangelical scene with a viral video with the same name as this book – Jesus > Religion. It got millions of views and this is his fuller exploration of the concepts first presented in that video. As a father of digital natives, I was blown away by the video and captivated by the concept he presented. That said, the video did receive some criticism and to his credit, Bethke responded with humility and a willingness to learn. I will be curious to see if those critiques are reflected in his writing. The book is described as, “highlighting the difference between teeth gritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, despair and hope. With refreshing candor he delves into the motivation behind his message, beginning with the unvarnished tale of his own plunge from the pinnacle of a works-based, fake-smile existence that sapped his strength and led him down a path of destructive behavior.” As someone who has felt those same tendencies, I can’t wait to see what he has to say.
This last book is a “strange” one for me to suggest as I have not always seen eye to eye with Macarthur and his writing. On some occasions in the past, it has felt like his desire to present the truths of the Bible have not always been done with love and grace. That said, he is a top notch Biblical scholar who has written many books and is widely respected in evangelical circles. Given that he is quite popular in Latin America where Pentecostalism is so dominant, I will be very interested to see what he has to say in this book. The book is clearly a critique of the charismatic movement and its excesses. It is a clarion call for us to show true reverence to the Holy Spirit, and above all cling to the Bible as the inerrant, authoritative Word of God and the one true standard by which all truth claims must be tested. As a Christian who believes in the gifts of the spirit for today, I hope that this needed corrective is done with more grace and love than some of his previous books. In any case, it will be instructive to read what he has to say.