Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Books for May, June, July 2009

I know, I’ve been pretty inconsistent about this...

Here’s what I’ve been reading in recent months:
  • William the Baptist by James M. Chaney (re-read). Actually, I’ve not only been reading this, but editing/updating it. This is a great book-- one of the best, in my opinion-- about baptism and the Reformed view of it. I cannot recommend it more highly. (10)
  • The Pastor As Minor Poet by M. Craig Barnes. This book is excellent. I’m reading through it with a friend, but I went ahead and read the whole thing. Barnes’ take on the pastoral ministry-- and how we might approach it-- is extremely helpful. (10)
  • Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Worship by Hughes Oliphant Old. This is a great workbook that helped me get a fuller and deeper grasp of the significance and place of the various prayers that occur throughout a worship service, as well as giving bountiful examples of each type. Another great resource. (10)
  • Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money by Christian Smith and Michael O. Emerson (with Patricia Snell). I’ve grown a bit cold on statistically-based books-- or at least on ones presented like this one, where the bulk of the content is the statistical data itself. Still, this is an interesting book, and it is worth getting simply for the opening chapter, in which the writers dream of what the church could do if we only gave a bit more. (7+)
  • What Is the Lord’s Supper? by Richard D. Phillips. This is one of those short, booklet-style books that is designed to offer a quick overview. It does that, and I suppose it does it acceptably-- certainly, it is far better than nothing. I found myself feeling shorted on every point, but that is a problem of format and length, not content (which was excellent). Low marks, therefore, are for the choice to make this booklet TOO short. (8)
  • The Living Church by Donald J. MacNair. Another great one. This is one of three in a series (the other two are The Birth, Care, and Feeding of the Local Church and The Growing Church) and it is rich. If you’re looking for good stuff on church health, look no further-- MacNair is the father of church health (or so says Harry Reeder, who knows a thing or two about the subject). (10)
  • The Empty Pew: Caring for Those Who Leave by Louis Tamminga. Good-- not great. There is good stuff to be mined here, but it is a bit too formulaic, and it was clearly written for the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) denomination-- nothing wrong with that, but it was so focused on that denomination’s polity that it was, at times, difficult to export. (8)
  • Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible by Jay Adams. Good book, examining a subject that is far too neglected theologically. I like Adams’ careful commitment to being scripturally-based in all of his conclusions, and he does some good exegetical work. It’s a bit dry at times, but not prohibitively so. (9)

Books I recently started but decided not to finish:
  • Lost and Found: the Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them by Ed Stetzer, with Richie Stanley and Jason Hayes.
  • Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart by Kenneth C. Haugk.
  • Great Lent by Alexander Schmemann.

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