Resources on Book Reviews

Booknote: “Watchfulness” by Brian G. Hedges

By Charlie Wingard · October 5, 2018 · 0 Comments
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Believers must be watchful, ever alert to spiritual danger. From Jesus’ “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” to Peter’s “be sober, be watchful; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” the New Testament sounds an alarm calling God’s people to spiritual watchfulness (Matthew 26:41, 1 Peter 5:8). Given the ample scriptural admonitions to spiritual watchfulness, the number of Puritan sermons and treatises  devoted to the discipline of watching is unsurprising. What surprises is the contemporary lack of interest in an area of vital concern to every believer. Therefore, I’m grateful for Brian Hedges’ Watchfulness: Recovering a Lost Spiritual Discipline. He argues that “watchfulness is as necessary to a healthy…

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Booknote: Bioethics and the Christian Life by David VanDrunen

By Charlie Wingard · September 13, 2018 · 0 Comments
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Bioethics and the Christian Life: A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions, by David VanDrunen. Wheaton: Crossway, 2009. Christians grappling with beginning and end of life issues will welcome this fine book by minister, attorney, and theologian David VanDrunen. He asserts that “[b]ecoming a morally responsible bioethics decision-maker is the task of a lifetime and cannot be reduced to figuring out the right answer at a particular moment of crisis. Bioethical decisions must be made within the context of lifelong growth in Christian maturity” (15). He is persuaded that “having a firm and knowledgeable theological foundation is crucial for living the Christian life well” (17). The pages that follow reveal a solid grasp of scripture and Christian doctrine, as well as…

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Booknote: “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson

By Charlie Wingard · September 12, 2018 · 0 Comments
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  I’ve read Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead twice, most recently in 2014.  This week a friend invited me to discuss the book, which brought to mind this booknote I published in another forum more than a decade ago. The first thing that struck me as I read Gilead is the author’s elegant prose as she finds the voice of Congregational minister John Ames. He has spent his entire life in Gilead, Iowa. His first wife and daughter died long ago, and after decades living alone, he marries a much younger woman. Now, with his own death fast approaching, he writes a letter to his son, seven years old. A significant part of the story is his long friendship with a Presbyterian…

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“Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness” by Megan Hill – A Review

By Charlie Wingard · September 4, 2018 · 0 Comments
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Megan Hill, Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness. P&R Publishing, 2018 Full disclosure: my evaluation of Megan Hill’s Contentment is hardly unbiased. I have long admired both her and her family. In the early 1990s, her Dad welcomed me to the New England Reformed Fellowship. Megan’s writing talent is exceptional, a valuable gift to God’s church. For years I have read with profit her mother-daughter blog, Sunday Women, and her other posts at Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition. Megan is also the author of Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches. When I moved to the Jackson area in 2014, Megan and her husband, Rob, warmly welcomed me to their church and home. Biases…

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Focus on the Eternal

By Charlie Wingard · September 3, 2018 · 0 Comments
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“The present form of this world is passing away.” 1 Corinthians 7:31 The Smartest Guys in the Room chronicles the fall of corporate giant Enron. In one revealing scene, the company’s CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, is contemplating resigning. The years of criminal misconduct, lying, and falsifying financial records have caught up with him and his company. Stock princes plummet. Disaster looms, and he knows it. Into his office walks Ken Lay, Enron’s chairman of the board. What pressing issue is on his mind? In his hands are fabric swatches for the company’s new $45 million corporate jet. Which does the CEO prefer?*  There’s a lesson here: Don’t be consumed by the trivial when you are surrounded by issues of monumental consequence.…

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Booknote: “Meditations on Preaching” by Francis James Grimké

By Charlie Wingard · July 9, 2018 · 0 Comments
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First year students at Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson are introduced to the remarkable life, ministry, and writings of Francis James Grimké  through Thabiti Anywabile’s The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors. Born in 1850 to a white South Carolina plantation owner and slave mother, Grimké lost his father at an early age and, along with him, the protective care that sheltered him from some of the inherent brutality of the slave system. After escaping the cruelty of a white half-brother, he was recaptured and sold to a Confederate officer. After emancipation, Grimké proved himself a gifted and industrious student, graduating from Lincoln University and, later, Princeton Theological Seminary. At Princeton, he was among the last of Charles…

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