Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks often of his religion—but he tailors it to fit his politics, and it focuses on works over faith
Culture Notable Books
Sex is a constant topic today, and Denny Burk bravely enters the conversation with this wide-ranging treatment of what the Bible says about sex and sexuality. Burk believes too many discussions on this topic focus on subordinate rather than ultimate purposes, and he carefully shows from the Bible how “[t]he ultimate purpose of sex is the glory of God. Sex, gender, marriage, manhood, womanhood—all of it—exist ultimately for the glory of God. The glory of God as the ultimate purpose of sex is not merely a theological deduction. It is the explicit teaching of Scripture.” This book is biblical, pastoral, and timely—a powerful treatment of a crucial subject.
Gossip: Solomon warned against it, Paul admonished those who engage in it, and James compared it to a raging forest fire. Today, through the internet and social media, we have more access to it than ever. Resisting Gossip is “an attempt to arm followers of Christ with the biblical weapons we need to resist gossip in all its forms.” Mitchell defines gossip as “bearing bad news behind someone’s back out of a bad heart” and helps his readers identify gossip and gossipers, learn how to resist gossip, overcome the desire to engage in it, and even how to respond when they have been victims of gossip. Whether or not you consider yourself prone to gossip, consider reading this one. It will both challenge and equip.
Jesus > Religion
Jefferson Bethke is a YouTube sensation who exploded onto the scene in January 2012 when he released a spoken word poem titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” Within three days it had 6 million views. As of today it has 25 million. Based on the poem, Jesus > Religion has quickly raced onto the bestseller lists. It’s firmly grounded in the gospel and goes toe-to-toe with the complacency and moralism that marks too many professed Christians. Bethke offers helpful insights into the joy and freedom of Christianity, identifies sin as treason against God, marvels at grace, celebrates forgiveness, and anticipates future glory. Written primarily for the YouTube generation, this is a book that will serve it well.
Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior
Kimberly Wagner is a self-professed strong woman: She has a strong personality, a strong faith in Jesus Christ, a strong knowledge of Scripture, and a lot of strong natural ability. Yet she came to realize that for much of her life and marriage she had misused these strengths. This book is about the beauty of fierceness and how women can use their God-given strength to honor the Lord by honoring their husbands. Part biography and part theology, Fierce Women exhorts women to identify that fierceness, to celebrate it, and to direct it toward the best and highest ends. Used poorly it can be destructive, but used well it can be an incredible blessing.
“Gospel-centered” is a relatively new term, but an increasingly popular one in Christian publishing. Authors have brought us a gospel-centered view of very nearly everything. We are told to live gospel-centered lives (Gospel Centered Life by Steve Timmis and Tim Chester), to teach and interpret the Bible in a gospel-centered way (Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax and Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics by Graeme Goldsworthy), to form gospel-centered churches (Gospel-Centered Ministry by Tim Keller), to be gospel-centered parents (Gospel-Centered Parenting by Rick Thomas), to have gospel-centered marriages (Gospel-Centered Marriage by Tim Chester), and even to say good-bye at gospel-centered funerals (Conduct Gospel-Centered Funerals by Brian Croft). Such books remind and assure us that the gospel must be central to all we are and all we do. But let’s not allow the use and overuse of the term to cause us to grow weary of gospel-centeredness itself. —T.C.