Helpful Book Reviews – 01-26-13

The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung – My concern is that those who fear that the gospel can be overemphasized and should be balanced, maybe even limited by law will find fuel for their worry in DeYoung’s words, instead of realizing that these two realities for the Christian–that we are freely justified by faith as a gift AND that God calls believers to lives of obedience and holiness–are complementary truths and gain their meaning and power in relation to each other not in opposition to each other.

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear – J. D. shows that faulty ways of presenting the gospel are a leading source of the confusion. Our presentations may not be heretical, but they are sometimes misleading. The idea of “asking Jesus into your heart” or “giving your life to Jesus” often gives false assurance to those who are not saved–and keeps those who genuinely are saved from fully embracing that reality. – Josh Harris

Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman – But my greatest concern is that Idleman describes the gospel as the gateway to the Christian life (which it is!) but not as the power and the joy of the entire Christian life (which it is as well). Without this focus on the gospel as the very center of our commitment to God, the book slips into being a call to commit to Jesus and then to commit to try harder. The fact is that we will all be fans at times, and only the gospel offers us the deepest peace, forgiveness and motivation to carry on. Unfortunately Idleman concentrates on the gospels so much, and the epistles so little, that he offers an unbalanced and incomplete view of Christian living. The reader concerned about his tendency to be a fan instead of a follower will learn to evaluate himself by his fervor rather than the finished work of Jesus Christ.  – Tim Challies

Jesus the Son of God by D.A. Carson – D. A. Carson’s latest book may have originated in a seminary lecture hall, but its subject strikes at the heart of a fiery global debate on the Christian mission frontier. How should Bible translators in predominately Muslim contexts render the term “Son of God”? Is the so-called Insider Movement an example of missiological sensitivity or overcontexualized carelessness? Organizations embroiled in the controversy include mission giants Wycliffe, SIL, and Frontiers. Such group have drawn the rebuke of entire denominations, including thePresbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the Assemblies of God (AG). Jesus the Son of God comes as a timely treatment of the exegetical issues informing a broad contemporary mission challenge.  – Mark Overstreet

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