Holiday musings…

My wife and I were recently away for a few days on holiday and I got some much needed time to catch up on some much needed reading, much needed because my ‘to read/review’ shelf has been bursting at the seems. We were only away for a few days and I didn’t do as much reading as I normally would, but here are the five books that I managed to get through and short reviews on each.

Is God Anti-Gay by Sam Allberry

This is an updated and expanded version of the book that was originally published in 2013. I would like to compare the two books next to each other, as I couldn’t remember the 2013 edition that well. However, this is a good book that will give Christians confidence as they approach a topic that is so controversial in our world at the moment. The thing I like about this book is that there are five short chapters but then followed by little sections that answer specific questions like; aren’t people just born this way? Isn’t the Christian view of sexuality harmful? and many more.

Sam opens up about his own same-sex attraction (SSA) and uses his experience of what he has experienced or seen work well or not so well when Christians approach the topic of homosexuality and the church.

Another interesting thing to compare is how this topic, and particularly the topic of SSA, is talked about in the UK and the US. Twitter isn’t always (almost never!) a good gage on these things, but US Christian twitter went crazy about this a couple of years ago so I’ll be interested to see how this book is received on that side of the pond.

This is the Word of the Lord by Daniel Hyde

This does pretty much what it says on the tin, it was written to give the average Christian reader confidence in the Bible. It’s not academically heavy or overly detailed but it gives you the right amount of information to help you understand some key things about the Bible. Touching on the usual topics like; certainty, revelation, inspiration, canonicity, sufficiency and so on.

The book is good, but as hinted at above, it hits on usual topics. The big question I have about this book is if it was really necessary? There are so many book out there already on this topic and I don’t think that this book did anything different than others or that it hit a different audience than other books do already. That doesn’t mean that the book is bad, it isn’t, but I wonder if it is necessary.

Essential Christianity by J.D. Greear

Greear is a very conversational writer, which is a style I quite like. In his latest book he takes the reader through 10 words at the heart of the gospel based on some key passages and themes from the book of Romans. It is not a commentary on Romans, but a walk through of key themes. It was a super easy read that most people will be able to get through easy enough. The thing that surprised me most was that in the chapter where Romans 1 was spoken about sexuality wasn’t brought up at all, the topic did have its own section later on in the book. I think I know why Greear did it that way, but I wonder if it was the wisest thing considering that not every person will read the book from start to finish.

This could be a helpful introduction to a non-Christian or to a new believer about what the gospel is all about. As with every book, there will be parts that you might not agree with or emphasis on certain things that you wouldn’t think about, but that’s inevitable.

Redeeming Memory by Matt Rehrer

I’ve not read a book like this before, Rehrer has written this book to explore memory through the lense of Scripture. Rehrer is a doctor and so in this book there’s a mixture of his own life story with some of his memories (good and traumatic), his scientific and medical knowledge and his understanding of Scripture.

In the end I liked the book, at points I was a bit confused about the structure of the book and how connections would be made in some chapters, but once I got used to Rehrer’s style I liked it. Having never read a book on this topic before I did come away with some questions particularly on the chapters that speaking about future remembrance and about how important God’s memory, to name two topics. But overall, I liked it and think it could be a helpful introduction to the important of memory from a Christian perspective and how we understand why our memory is a good thing, but also why our memory has also been tainted.

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

The gospel according to Christ’s enemies by David Randall

A quick look at the Gospel accounts in the New Testament and it’s easy to see Jesus’ enemies proclaiming truth about him, his identity and what he would do. An example of this is in Luke 15 where religious leaders say that Jesus ‘receives sinners’ in a rather snarky way. They meant it as an insult almost, but it was true and pointed to a glorious truth about what Jesus did and what continues in salvation today.

Another example is when Jesus is being crucified with a sign over his head declaring that he was king of the Jews. What was meant to be a joke actually pointed to a greater reality of the work that Jesus was doing.

Those are just two examples, in this book Randall pulls out more examples and shows explores the truth that was proclaimed. Each chapter is about one truth and Randall takes you to different parts of the Bible to unpack it more. I thought this book was helpful and I actually found it quite an enjoyable read.

*** I received a copy of 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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