Posted 12/5/13 at 8:56 AM | Tim Challies |
Gossip is a serious problem. It is a problem in the home, in the workplace, in the local church and in broader evangelicalism. It is a problem in the blogosphere, in social media, and beyond. In his book Resisting Gossip, Matthew Mitchell defines gossip as “bearing bad news behind someone’s back out of a bad heart” and shows that when the book of Proverbs uses the word “gossip,” it does so in the noun form, not the verb form. In other words, the Bible is concerned less with the words that are spoken and more with the heart and mouth that generate such destruction. Words matter, but they are simply the overflow of the heart. As always, the heart is the heart of the matter.
Here, drawn from Mitchell’s book, is a gallery of gossips, five different gossiping people you will meet in life. FULL POST
Posted 12/3/13 at 9:24 AM | Tim Challies
Rick Warren is one of the bestselling Christian authors of our time. While he has written too few books to compete with the likes of Max Lucado for the greatest number of books sold, the few books he has written have uniformly made their way to the bestseller lists. Where most successful Christian authors have their books sell in the thousands or maybe the tens of thousands, Warren’s sell in the millions or even the tens of millions.
I have often wondered about why Warren’s books are so successful and here is what I understand as a key factor: He does not simply write books; he creates programs. His books reflect a mountain of ambition. The Purpose Driven Church was not merely a description of what the New Testament says about church, but a complete program for how to view church and do church. The Purpose Driven Life was not merely a Christian living book, but a church-wide program meant to impact every member, every attender, and every sermon and small group over a period of time. Rick Warren’s latest book is titled The Daniel Plan and, like its predecessors, it is part of a much wider program—a program meant to revolutionize the lives of those who participate in it. (Do note that this is not The Daniel Diet. Warren does not take the description of Daniel’s diet and make it prescriptive as others have done.) FULL POST
Posted 11/29/13 at 11:11 AM | Michael Svigel
Soon Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing Group) will begin releasing a trilogy of mini-theologies entitled Exploring Christian Theology edited by Dr. Nathan Holsteen and me, with significant contributions by our colleagues in the theological studies department of Dallas Theological Seminary: Dr. Douglas Blount, Dr. Scott Horrell, Dr. Lanier Burns, and Dr. Glenn Kreider. We’re starting with what is actually the third volume in the series (The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times), then releasing volumes 1 and 2 in the next couple of years.
But wait a second . . . Why another “systematic theology” when the market is flooded with them? To answer this question, let me say that ECT is not another systematic theology. In fact, I can honestly say that this series is something completely different. FULL POST
Posted 11/27/13 at 9:33 AM | Tim Challies
A question I often receive is this one: “Can you give me some advice on writing a book review?” I’ll be the first to admit that I cannot tell you how to write an academic review or one you would want to submit to a journal. I became a book reviewer rather by trial and error and only through a very informal medium. Even then, I focus almost entirely on popular-level reviews of popular-level books. Having said that, I typically use a loose formula that I think can be helpful and that often resonates with readers.
As you write a book review, it is important to ensure you are properly understanding the book and its author. Therefore, the first thing to do is to identify the book’s topic, audience, purpose and and structure. Here are questions to ask and possibly answer in the opening paragraphs. FULL POST
Posted 11/26/13 at 3:29 PM | Tim Challies
I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books and I like to provide regular roundups of some of the best and brightest of the bunch. Of all the books I have received recently, here are the ones that appear most noteworthy.
(Note: These are largely academic and pastoral titles, so if you don’t know what to buy a pastor or seminary student for Christmas, anything from this list will make him happy!)
Galatians by Douglas Moo. Moo’s commentary on Galatians has been highly-anticipated and the early endorsements and reviews make it clear that it’s a must-have for anyone who wants to better understand the book. “In this addition to the award-winning BECNT series, highly regarded New Testament scholar Douglas Moo offers a substantive yet accessible commentary on Galatians. With extensive research and thoughtful chapter-by-chapter exegesis, Moo leads readers through all aspects of the book of Galatians—sociological, historical, and theological—to help them better understand its meaning and relevance.” Thomas Schreiner’s endorsement is representative: FULL POST
Posted 11/26/13 at 8:28 AM | Tim Challies
For quite some time now, Malcolm Gladwell has been one of my favorite authors. He is a skilled wordsmith to be certain, but what compels me even more is the way he draws connections between facts and statistics that otherwise seem to have nothing in common. His great strength is finding significance and even fascination in the mundane. The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers were all fascinating books (and, incidentally, they are currently all just $3.99 on Kindle).
Gladwell’s latest is David and Goliath and here he challenges how we tend to think about obstacles and disadvantages. Where we do all we can to avoid obstacles and disadvantages, and where we consider them necessarily negative, Gladwell believes they can actually make us better and stronger. “David and Goliath is a book about what happens when ordinary people confront giants. By ‘giants,’ I mean powerful opponents of all kinds—from armies and mighty warriors to disability, misfortune, and oppression.” Each of the chapters tells the story of a different person who has faced a great challenge and been forced to respond to it. FULL POST
Posted 11/25/13 at 4:28 PM | Tim Challies
Series Introduction: I live in a small house. I work in a small office in a small church. For those reasons and others I will never have a huge library. When I add a book I almost always remove a book, a practice that allows me to focus on quality over quantity. Over the past couple of years I have focused on building a collection of commentaries that will include only the best volumes on each book of the Bible. I know when I’m in way over my head, so before I began I collected every good resource I could find that rated and reviewed commentaries. I studied them and then began my collection on the basis of what the experts told me. Since I did all of that work, and since I continue to keep up with the project, I thought it might be helpful to share the recommendations.
My focus is on newer commentaries (at least in part because most of the classics are now freely or cheaply available) and I am offering approximately 5 recommendations for each book of the Bible, alternating between the Old Testament and the New. Today I have turned to the experts to find what they say about 1 Peter.
Thomas Schreiner - 1, 2 Peter, Jude (New American Commentary). There appears to be a strong selection of excellent commentaries on 1 Peter and most of the experts rate Schreiner’s at or very near the top. This is hardly a surprise since many of his commentaries are considered excellent. Carson commends it as “one of the most impressive volumes in the [NAC] series, nicely displaying Schreiner’s combination of exegesis and theological reflection couched in admirable clarity.” (Amazon, Westminster Books) FULL POST
Posted 11/25/13 at 1:41 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
Several years ago I heard about NaNoWriMo and I thought it was the most ridiculous and outlandish thing I’d ever heard of. The idea was to write an entire 50,000 word novel in one month, namely November. It sounded impossible to me and why would anyone want to even attempt it? I added it to my long list of things I’d never want to do and promptly forgot about it.
This year, just out of curiosity, I went to their website. I discovered that it is an international event. Started in 1999 by a bunch of 21 year olds as a crazy fun thing to do, it has blossomed fourteen years later into something that writers and would-be-writers look forward to with about 300,000 signing up. The website keeps track of each participant’s words, regional word counts and total word counts for the month of November.
Interesting, I thought, but not for me. While I outwardly went about my business, my inner writer began compiling outlines, scenes, character sketches and frantically scribbled notes in the middle of the night, all about a novel that I hadn’t planned on writing anytime soon. This novel is the sequel to one that hasn’t even been published. It took shape in my mind unlike any other book I’ve written. I never make a detailed outline, but this time I knew exactly what I wanted in each chapter. FULL POST
Posted 11/21/13 at 11:16 AM | Audra Jennings
On December 10 at 8:00 PM EST, Abingdon Press authors Vannetta Chapman and Lisa Carter will be hosting the Quilts of Love Christmas Bee, a live Facebook event, to interact with readers about their latest books. The Christmas Bee will highlight Chapman’s The Christmas Quilt (October 15, 2013 / ISBN 978-1426752773) and Carter’s Aloha Rose (November 19, 2013 / ISBN 978-1426752735), the newest releases in the series. This will be the first of a series of quarterly chats with Quilts of Love authors.
Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife. And most days, she finds herself taking the buggy to her brother, Adam's home. Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives.
When Laney Carrigan’s adoptive parents encourage her as an adult to seek out her birth family, her only clue is the Lokelani quilt in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island, she battles fears of rejection from a family that abandoned her once before while her faith struggles to embrace God's love.
Kelly Frost, a textiles conservator, is invited to the Massachusetts coastal town of New Bedford to restore a 150-year-old Mariner's Compass quilt, with one stipulation: she must live and work in Gray House where the quilt is stored. Tom Silva, whose heart seems as hard as the rocky coastline, is the caretaker employed by the mysterious absent owner of Gray House.
Posted 11/20/13 at 1:14 PM | Audra Jennings
Can you pinpoint one decision, one moment, one action that changed your life forever? We all have definable moments that shape who we are and the path we follow, but sometimes other people make that decision for us. In A Marriage in Middlebury (Abingdon Press/November 5, 2013/ISBN: 978-1-4267-3387-1/$14.99), Anita Higman weaves a heartwarming tale of how one choice takes a woman down an unexpected path to forgiveness.
Q: What do you hope readers will walk away with after they turn the last page of A Marriage in Middlebury?