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Book Reviews

Calling Men to Be Fully Human

MAN ENOUGH: HOW JESUS REDEFINES MANHOOD NATE PYLE ZONDERVAN, 2015 $15.99 208 PAGES I cried as I read the last chapter of a book written about Christian manhood. Yes, you read that correctly. But, before I talk about the end, let me back up a bit. As a woman called into ordained ministry but having to struggle against ideas I had learned during my formative years about the place of women in church and home, I have had to unpack the…
February 29, 2016
Book Reviews

Tackling the Psalms in One Volume

THE BOOK OF THE PSALMS (THE NEW INTERNATIONAL COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT) NANCY DECLAISSE-WALFORD, ROLF A. JACOBSON, BETH LANEEL TANNER EERDMANS, 2014 1,073 PAGES $60 “Reflecting the combined insights and strengths of three superior biblical scholars, this book is the most complete and detailed one-volume commentary available on the Psalms”: so boasts publisher William. B. Eerdmans. Before I comment on this mammoth book and respond to that claim, honesty demands that I begin with full disclosure: I am neither…
December 31, 2015
Book Reviews

The Departed Who Haven’t

UP THE HILL JAMES CALVIN SCHAAP NEW RIVERS PRESS, 2014 E-BOOK $6.99 There is an appealing sense of redemption in the notion that our daily cares might extend in a purified form beyond the limits of our temporal lives. The linked stories in James Calvin Schaap’s collection Up the Hill offer several versions of that essential redemption. Most of the characters in these stories, including our central narrator, inhabit the cemetery “up the hill” from the town of Highland, Iowa;…
December 31, 2015
Book Reviews

Stories that Bring Sermons Home

Actuality: Real Life Stories for Sermons That Matter ACTUALITY: REAL LIFE STORIES FOR SERMONS THAT MATTER SCOTT HOEZEE ABINGDON PRESS, 2014 176 PAGES $14.24 (PAPER) Scott Hoezee launched this book at a festive gathering of friends and colleagues in the seminary where he teaches. Though he is a teacher of preachers and the readership for his book is pastors, the guests were not limited to them. The book assumes a lively relationship between the pastor and his congregation, and thus…
October 31, 2015
Book Reviews

Kuyper’s Dilemma: The Church

Going Dutch in the Modern Age GOING DUTCH IN THE MODERN AGE: ABRAHAM KUYPER’S STRUGGLE FOR A FREE CHURCH IN THE NETHERLANDS JOHN HALSEY WOOD JR. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2013 256 PAGES $78 (CLOTH) The statesman-theologian Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) left behind a rich but complicated and sometimes controversial legacy. At the height of his influence, Kuyper had already started a national daily, mobilized the Netherlands’ first modern party, founded a private university “free from state and church” and stood at…
October 31, 2015
Book Reviews

Taming of a Firebrand

FIERCE CONVICTIONS: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF HANNAH  MORE, POET, REFORMER, ABOLITIONIST KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR THOMAS NELSON, 2014 $14.99 306 PAGES How is it that a prolific writer, a beloved teacher and an influential reformer could be lost in the annals of history? And how are we to reclaim her? Enter Hannah More, an 18th-century playwright, novelist and pamphleteer, and Karen Swallow Prior, her latest biographer. In Fierce Convictions, Prior draws on a rich archive of literature, life writing and local…
September 1, 2015
Book Reviews

A Cure for Flinging Scripture Around

GOD AND THE GAY CHRISTIAN GOD AND THE GAY CHRISTIAN: THE BIBLICAL CASE IN SUPPORT OF SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS MATTHEW VINES CONVERGENT BOOKS, 2014 $17.97 224 PAGES THE BIBLE’S YES TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: AN EVANGELICAL’S CHANGE OF HEART MARK ACHTEMEIER WESTMINSTER JOHN KNOX PRESS, 2014 $13.83 144 PAGES THE BIBLE'S YES TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE In 2010 I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Stanley Hauerwas at Duke University. During the meeting, Hauerwas spoke of the need for the church to…
July 1, 2015
Book Reviews

Fighting Gendercide from within the Church

THE CROSS AND GENDERCIDE THE CROSS AND GENDERCIDE: A THEOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO GLOBAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS ELIZABETH GERHARDT IVP ACADEMIC, 2014 $16.28 185 PAGES At the conclusion of my recent class The Global Politics of Human Rights, a student made the observation that when we discuss the basis for human rights or discuss the nature of human-rights problems, we try to understand them through the lens of faith. But when we talk about solutions to human-rights problems, we…
July 1, 2015
Book Reviews

A Kindly Ballet of Serious Questions

Lila, by Marilynne Robinson LILA MARILYNNE ROBINSON FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX, 2014 $15.60 (HARDCOVER) 261 PAGES Marriage counselors would certainly have discouraged talk of a marriage between an aging Presbyterian pastor in Gilead, a small Iowa town, and an orphan 40 years younger who had only years of wandering with an itinerant group to show for her life. This novel, the third in a trilogy that includes Gilead and Home, builds on the lives of ministers Ames and Boughton –…