Church, Knowing God, Forgiveness, Women, Suffering and thing in common…

I was recently on holiday, as you can probably imagine, one of the hardest things for me going on holiday is knowing which books to take with me. Depending on the holiday destination, I like to spend a lot of time on the beach or by the pool with a good book. That’s what I did this time, except for a day trip to Ephesus which was very fun! Admittedly, I didn’t read as much as I normally would, I did read a few good books that I’d like to share with you all. I previously posted a few reviews here, but I wanted to give you a few more short reviews of books that I read on holiday…

Who Needs the Church? by Terry Johnson

In short, buy this book and read it! In a world and culture where the church is increasingly being sidelined, even by professing Christians, we need the reminder of what the church is and this book gives you that. Johnson takes you through what the Bible teaches about the church, he clarifies some of the issues that can put people off or raise questions and he takes you through a history lesson on the church and how she has been perceived over the years. Super helpful book, great quotes, good challenges and an enjoyable read. You might not agree with everything he says (Johnson is a Presbyterian and I am not) but it is certainly worth a read!

Knowing Me, Knowing God by Richard Brash

FYI, if you didn’t just sing ABBA after reading that title… we cannot be friends. What Brash has done in this book is smart. He takes one theological point in a chapter and then argues the ‘contrary’ in the following chapter. Brash takes a systematical approach to the Bible, where as Vaughan Roberts in his ‘God’s Big Picture‘ takes a Biblical theology approach.

I’m torn here, on the one hand I enjoyed the book but on the other Brash stated that it was to be a non-jargon theology book for the lay-Christian. I’m not convinced he managed to strike that balance well. The theological points he brings out are good and helpful and there is a lot of good stuff in the book, but it still feels rather academic and detached from where your average church member may be. Books are subjective, so you may disagree with me and that’s ok 🙂

Tears and Tossings by Sarah Walton

Is there any benefit in suffering? Is there any hope in the midst of despair? Sarah Walton’s story says yes. In this short book (just 88 pages) Walton takes you through her story and to the Bible to help you see the hope that you can find in the waves of life that come your way. Sarah takes you to Scripture to be encouraged, to challenge your view of suffering and the Christian faith and to help you see the wonderful promises of God that can comfort you even in the darkest of times. Sarah is a wonderfully gifted writer and I’ve benefitted greatly from some of her other books, this one did not disappoint! It’s well worth a read.

I Forgive You by Wendy Alsup

Every so often I read the endorsements of a book, printed in the first pages, and think to myself “did we read the same book?” Personally, and books are very subjective, I found this to be a disappointing read. I was hoping to read answers to difficult questions, for the author to wrestle with issues that many Christians wrestle with and to take you to Scripture to find hope and peace. That’s not what I found. I found a book that went to unusual passages and that left questions unanswered and I don’t think it added anything new to what’s already on the market. This is not a book that I would recommend, if you’ve read it and loved it, please prove me wrong!

10 Women Who Overcame Their Past by Dayspring MacLeod

Sadly, here’s another book I wasn’t a fan of. Macleod takes you through 10 topics and the relevance of them in the lives of 10 women in the church, both past and present. I struggled with the book because it spent so much time simply quoting other people’s writing rather than actually discussing the issues. I also wondered whether some of the women from the past would have agreed with the analysis of their words as presented in this book. Again, I’m sorry, but this is not a book that I can recommend.

Things We All Have in Common by Pete Jackson

So many people in the world today suggest that we’re all unique. The idea that every person is different is prevalent in our world, but is it true? In 12 chapters Jackson draws out 12 different things that we all have in common. This book is a helpful read that’s written in direct opposition to the messages that we hear every day. It’s a helpful read and an easy one too! There were points where I wasn’t exactly sure I agreed with the author, I’ve yet to find a book where I do agree 100%, but it could definitely be a helpful book for people to use as they think about their lives and how they can interact with others.

*** I received these books from the publishers in exchange for honest reviews. This does not change the way I rate the books. My views are my own. ***

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