Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us, by Timothy Keller (Dutton)
Timothy Keller connects the grace of God with the divine concern for justice. And he does so in way that connects with Baptists—he builds his case from Scripture.
“From ancient times, the God of the Bible stood out from the gods of all other religions as a God on the side of the powerless, and of justice for the poor,” Keller writes.
The implications of the connection between grace and justice are vast. One area, of course, relates to poverty, which “is seen in the Bible as a very complex phenomenon. Several factors are usually intertwined. Poverty cannot be eliminated simply by personal initiative or by merely changing the tax structure.” Keller stakes out a biblical position on poverty and wealth that transcends polarizing views. It takes no one off the hook, either the rich or the poor.
Doing justice “means ministering in both word and deed, through the local church and as individual agents dispersed throughout the world. It means engaging in relief, and development, and reform,” Keller says. And he connects justice to evangelism, with an important warning. “Deeds of mercy and justice should be done out of love, not simply as a means to the end of evangelism. And yet there is no better way for Christians to lay a foundation for evangelism than by doing justice.”
Ferrell Foster, associate director
Baptist General Convention of Texas
The Wedding Promise, by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer (Penguin)
The Wedding Promise is the second book in a series of Cape Light novels written by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer. It’s not necessary to have read the first book in this series in order to enjoy The Wedding Promise, but there are familiar crossover characters who appear in this stand-alone sequel.
The Wedding Promise is set in a small island village near Boston called Angel Island and centers on recently divorced Liza Martin, who inherited the Inn at Angel Island from her deceased aunt. The inn badly needs repairs, and Liza needs guests in order to carve out a new life for herself. Her big break comes when Jennifer and Kyle ask her to plan their wedding at the inn. On the day of the wedding, a storm rolls in—and the groom is nowhere to be found. Everything—including Liza’s budding romance with mysterious handyman, Daniel—is going wrong, and she knows they all need an Angel Island miracle.
If you like cozy, well-written fiction that is full of hope, based on biblical precepts, has no foul language or racy romantic scenes and delivers a fast-paced, suspenseful plot with mem-orable characters, then this book won’t disappoint.
Sarah Crouch, adjunct professor
Dallas Baptist University
Max on Life:
Answers and Inspiration for Today’s Questions by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson)
The subtitle of Max Lucado’s latest book provides a hint into the volume’s content. In Max on Life, the San Antonio pastor answers 172 challenging questions in a clear, uplifting manner.
Lucado appropriately groups the queries into seven categories—hope, hurt, help, him/her, home, haves/have-nots and hereafter. He then fills each answer with Scripture, sound advice and memorable statements.
When dealing with hurt, Lucado writes, “Don’t make a decision in a storm that you wouldn’t make in calm weather.” On worship, the pastor says: “Worship begins as an attitude. But worship deepens as an action.” He mentions trust, lust, intimacy and grace in the him/her section. In talking about home, the father of three advises that it’s “easier to make money than to make up lost time.” Lucado reminds haves/have-nots, “Greed is always hungry.”
The questions and answers apply to all ages and stages of life—anyone who has ever felt anxiety, heartbreak, doubts, fears, love or grace. And topical and scriptural indexes add to the work’s usefulness. Any pastor, Sunday school teacher, parent or church leader faced with answering life’s tough questions should buy Max on Life and keep it handy.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas