A few years ago, Paul Miller’s book, A Praying Life, earned nearly universal praise for his theologically rich and immensely practical prose of the su...moreA few years ago, Paul Miller’s book, A Praying Life, earned nearly universal praise for his theologically rich and immensely practical prose of the subject of prayer. Now, Miller has brought those same qualities to bear in his new book, A Loving Life. I expect the praise will be wide-ranging for this book as well.
Focusing on the book of Ruth, Miller uses this woman’s story to unpack much of the Biblical meaning of hesed, the Hebrew term typically translated steadfast love or something similar. It combines the ideas of love and loyalty, and Miller spends page after page showing the superiority of hesed love over and against what our culture typically thinks of when it thinks of love. The beautiful story of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz shows us how God loves and how we are to love.
"Hesed is opposite of the spirit of our age, which says we have to act on our feelings. Hesed says, “No, you act on your commitments. The feelings will follow.” Love like this is unbalanced, uneven. There is nothing fair about this kind of love. But commitment-love lies at the heart of Christianity. It is Jesus’s love for us at the cross, and it is to be our love for one another."
The book is saturated with this kind of wisdom, along with real-life, practical examples of people both failing and succeeding in living out hesed. For marriages, friendships, family relationships, business relationships, etc., the Christian is to love with this kind of outward-looking, self-forgetting, loyal love. The vision painted in this book is absolutely beautiful, and it will inspire many to change how they view the people God has placed around them and seek to love God and others more in line with the Biblical view of love…hesed.(less)
Easily the best book I've ever read on evangelism. Packer is clear, concise, profoundly theological and yet practical at the same time. Only 122 pages...moreEasily the best book I've ever read on evangelism. Packer is clear, concise, profoundly theological and yet practical at the same time. Only 122 pages yet brilliantly outlines how God's sovereignty fits perfectly with the commands to evangelize. Our evangelism (and our Christian faith) must hold together God's sovereignty and human responsibility in tension, as the Bible does.(less)
A helpful, short commentary on an answer R.C. Sproul gave to the question, "How old is the earth?" at a Ligonier conference. In each chapter, Mathison...moreA helpful, short commentary on an answer R.C. Sproul gave to the question, "How old is the earth?" at a Ligonier conference. In each chapter, Mathison delves into what Sproul said and explains a Reformed understanding of the relationship between Scripture and science. Some very helpful ideas here.(less)
Some very needed clarity in the midst of widespread and ever-expanding confusion surrounding the topic. Will be using this in the future as a valuable...moreSome very needed clarity in the midst of widespread and ever-expanding confusion surrounding the topic. Will be using this in the future as a valuable resource in multiple contexts, I'm sure.(less)
Stephen Altrogge writes the kind of books I think I would write. Or that I would want to write. If I was an author. And if I could write better. What...moreStephen Altrogge writes the kind of books I think I would write. Or that I would want to write. If I was an author. And if I could write better. What I mean is, his sarcastic wit, his cultural knowledge, and, most importantly, his awe at the majesty and glory of God – these are things I can definitely relate to. Actually, his previous book, The Greener Grass Conspiracy, is one of the things that led to seminary for my family and I. He’s a funny, persuasive, and entertaining writer.
In his latest book, Untamable God, Altrogge sets out to demonstrate, seemingly mostly for Millennials, the God who is “Bigger, Better, and More Dangerous Than You Could Possibly Imagine.” He sets his sights on the god who just wants to be friends and make you feel better and replaces it with the God who spoke the world into existence, who revealed himself gloriously through his son, Jesus Christ.
The first 6 chapters of the book each seek to debunk some way of thinking about God and replace it with the Biblical view of God as huge, sovereign, righteous, loving, gracious, etc. These chapters are littered with funny cultural quips, self-depreciating humor, and Biblical conclusions. I enjoyed these chapters, although there was really very little that hasn’t been said a bunch elsewhere. Altrogge just says it in his voice, which I enjoy.
Where the book really took off for me was in the last couple of chapters. Chapter 7, “The God Who Is Not Impressed,” succeeds mightily in tearing down the “me” generation’s view of itself. We are really not a big deal, despite what our parents and teachers may have told us. Altrogge trots out story after story where God shows his greatness in comparison to humanity and puts us rightly in our place. And best of all, he builds our worth back up in the right place, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only because of Christ will God look at us and say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Finally, in Chapter 8, “The God Who Crushes Serpent Skulls,” Altrogge basically tells the whole story of the Bible, culminating in Jesus. He gets seriously poetic in the last few pages, his style reminding me of Russell Moore, one of my former professors and also one of my favorite authors. He makes the story of the Bible leap off the pages and left me wanting much more. That’s a pretty good author who can do that.
Untamable God is a great book for anyone in their teens, twenties, or thirties to read (the cultural references would likely be lost in large part on readers much older). This is the kind of book I want to give unbelieving friends to show them that much of what they think of as the gospel is actually a pathetic distortion of it. Altrogge writes like a culturally-informed, sarcastic, non-hipster and thinks like John Piper. That makes for a great combination.(less)
I had the privilege of taking Dr. Hamilton for an Old Testament class in seminary, and it was one of my favorite classes so far. This book is a fantas...moreI had the privilege of taking Dr. Hamilton for an Old Testament class in seminary, and it was one of my favorite classes so far. This book is a fantastic summary of much of what I learned from him in that setting. His skill in showing the connections between OT authors that are picked up in the NT is astounding at times. He really shows you how to read your Bible the way the Biblical authors read it, seeing the big themes and symbols that make up the worldview of the Bible. Simply fantastic, and I would recommend this book to every Christian. Might also be a good introduction to the faith for non-believers.(less)
Absolutely beautiful. There were sections of this book that literally took my breath away and made me stop reading to think and pray and be thankful....moreAbsolutely beautiful. There were sections of this book that literally took my breath away and made me stop reading to think and pray and be thankful. Gorgeously poetic, thankfulness-inducing, and filled with grace.
Oh, and take the time to read sections of this out loud to someone. The beauty and joy of Wilson's prose really shine there. (less)
Spectacular. Should be read by every person (guy or girl) struggling in this area, and by everyone who wants to pastor people, as you will definitely...moreSpectacular. Should be read by every person (guy or girl) struggling in this area, and by everyone who wants to pastor people, as you will definitely encounter it. Great example of how to lead someone through repenting and give them Biblical tools for fighting their sin and looking to Christ in the gospel. (less)