Book Briefs -- By: John H. Armstrong
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Messy Spirituality, Michael Yaconelli, Grand Rapids: Zondervan (2002), 141 pages, cloth, $14.99
Mike Yaconelli has spent decades making people think and laugh, a rare combination in the evangelical world. As editor of The Door, and founder of Youth Specialties, he has served the Church well. Now he does it again with a great title and an even better book. If you ever feel like you don’t measure up, that spirituality does not come easily for you, and that life is filled with messiness, then this is the place to spend a few profitable hours.
Most of us have to admit that we spend far more time thinking about what we haven’t done that what we have. We focus on our imperfect performance rather than God’s desire to work with people just like us. Yaconelli rightly observes that real Christianity is messy, erratic, lopsided and gloriously liberating. In an evangelical subculture that is often more indebted to Gnosticism than historic Christianity this is a wonderful answer.
The Spirit And The Church, Abridged and Made Easy to Read by R. K. Law, John Owen, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth (2002), 196 pages, paper, $6.99
How do we make any progress in the Christian life at all? John Owen rightly believed that the only answer is the
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powerful and gracious work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who guides, assures, teaches, comforts and equips the Church for all the work to which she has been called in Christ.
Puritan writers in general, and John Owen in particular, are wordy and sometimes difficult to read. The next generation, given its loss of the better elements of English grammar and reading, will be unlikely to profit from such classic works unless they are both abridged and modernized. I do not know why more of this kind of work has not been done before, but I am sincerely grateful that the Banner of Truth is doing it now. I hope they will do more. This is a valuable new edition.
The Illustrated Survey Of The Bible, Derek Tidball, editor, Minneapolis: Bethany House (2001), 256 pages, cloth, $18.99
This magnificently illustrated survey includes superb articles all written by teachers on the faculty of London Bible College. For each book of the Scripture the writers provide background, an outline, a synopsis of the book’s primary message, a survey of key themes, application for life and suggestions for further study. Beautiful maps, photos and charts are also included, giving the book an appearance that is first-rate. If you are looking for a popular, but academically sound, overview...
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