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Book Reviews

Book Reviews: A Mind for God

A Mind for God by James Emery White (IVP)

book white200Author James Emery White, founding pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, N.C., and former president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, issues a call for Christians to engage their minds in the disciplines of reading, study and reflection. In a culture increasingly dominated by relativism and postmodernism, Christ’s followers swim against the tide when they dare to “think Christianly” and view the world from a biblically informed worldview, he insists. But first, that requires biblical literacy. Christians must allow their minds to be shaped by Scripture and the Spirit. Then, they should informed by the great thinkers of the ages.

White sometimes drinks a bit too freely from the Francis Schaeffer well, occasionally lapsing into alarmism and sometimes failing to distinguish between traditional Western civilization and Christianity. Even so, he makes a compelling case for entering into “The Great Conversation” by reading abiding literary classics, as well studying philosophy, theology and history. To “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” demands both spiritual discipline and an understanding of the larger world.

One of the book’s most significant contributions is the extensive recommended reading list White includes. Take the necessary hour and a half to read this slender book. Then grab your library card, treat the reading list as your map and get started on a journey of intellectual exploration.

Ken Camp, managing editor

Baptist Standard

Plano

Discipleshift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples by Jim Putman & Bobby Harrington with Robert E. Coleman (Zondervan)

book putnam200Jim Putman, pastor and founder of Real Life Ministries, and Bobby Harrington, pastor of Harpeth Community Church near Nashville, Tenn., joined with seminary professor Robert Coleman, author of The Master Plan of Evangelism, to offer a comprehensive look at discipleship and disciple-making.

Whether for the entire church, church starters, small groups or one-on-one discipling and disciple-making, this book covers the subject. The book focuses on five basic shifts—from reaching to making, from informing to equipping, from program to purpose, from activity to relationship and from accumulating to deploying. Interspersed throughout the book are questions posed to Coleman, along with his answers.

Key points are highlighted at the end of each chapter. The book also includes two key illustrations—the five stages of discipleship and the four spheres of life.

Whether you are a beginner in the discipling process or an experienced disciple-maker, you absolutely will find this book both helpful and a true blessing.

Skip Holman, minister of discipleship

Northeast Baptist Church

San Antonio

Love Does by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson)

book goff200Bob Goff’s first book is partly memoir but mostly vignettes of the author’s somewhat-risky adventures, with good spiritual analogies readers can catch easily.

Purposeful living drives the author, who combines “the ‘do’ part of faith along with doing something worth doing.” Throughout the 225-page book, his words gush forth like a well-primed pump. Love Does is easy to read for that reason, but hard to read for another. It can trouble readers with good intentions who haven’t ventured to take God’s love beyond their comfort zone.

Goff is a bit eccentric, in a good way. His impulsive personality (whimsy is his favorite word) calls to mind the film hero from The Absent-Minded Professor. His youthful stunts ripened into incredible flights of fancy, like taking his children across the globe to meet heads of state.

Goff became a lawyer—by God’s grace, as readers discover—to make a difference in the world. He eventually established Restore International to give a voice to oppressed children of the world. His leaps of faith captivate and inspire us—getting kids out of brothels in India and visiting Ugandan jails to represent children whose petty theft cases have been long forgotten.

Love Does includes some messy stories too, helping readers know that God can use anyone. Goff writes, “It has always seemed to me that broken things, just like broken people, get used more; it’s probably because God has more pieces to work with.”

Each chapter opens with a great aphorism, such as: “I used to think I could shape the circumstances around me, but now I know Jesus uses circumstances to shape me.”

Patti Richter

Heath

       
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