The Seven Deadly Virtues: Temptations in Our Pursuit of Goodness
By Todd E. Outcalt (IVP)
Instead of the seven deadly sins, Methodist pastor and author Todd Outcalt focuses on the seven deadly virtues—faith, love, family, power, success, goodness and generosity. None are negative in and of themselves, but Outcalt asks, “Can these virtues be turned into vices?” For instance, love is a virtue, but loving “our way” is not the same as God’s way of loving. Similarly, power can be used for good, but the author contrasts the power of one with the power of The One. Outcalt, author of more than 30 books, including Before You Say, “I Do,” gives examples of the good as opposed to the godly.
Although the book does not include a Scripture index, it is replete with Scripture references. It includes questions for each chapter to guide discussion and reflection, as well as a brief set of endnotes, arranged by chapter. This book would be great for readers who want to take a spiritual check-up to make sure they are living their lives with the correct scriptural motives.
Skip Holman, minister of discipleship
Northeast Baptist Church
The Hum of Angels
By Scot McKnight (Waterbrook)
Many beliefs about angels float around in our culture. Some may be biblical; others may be wrapped in traditional legends or New Age influences. Because of the prevalence of beliefs and teachings that are not scriptural, many Christians do not think much about angels or avoid discussion about them altogether.
Scot McNight, a New Testament professor at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Ill., insists believing in angels is intellectually and spiritually credible. “If you believe in God, you also believe in angels,” he writes.
While sharing a few contemporary stories of people’s possible interactions with angels, McKnight’s main concern is to unpack what the Bible says about angels. He delves into the varied roles and responsibilities of angels, according to Scripture. Angels bring comfort, guide, guard, announce, liberate and lead in worship, to name a few duties.
Angels exist for Almighty God. Those of us who worship him would do well to acknowledge angels and thank God for them and their purpose in all of creation.
Greg Bowman, pastor
Brock Baptist Church