Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey

Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and SexualityLove Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality by Nancy R. Pearcey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We live in a changing world. And the worldview with which we live in this world affects all that we do. In this excellent book by Nancy Pearcey, she describes how the postmodern worldview is dualistic and thus has made the body insignificant and unworthy. As a result, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, homosexuality, transgenderism, and the break-up of the family are being applauded and sought. First, she describes the upper and lower story view of the body which has created the mind and values has being valuable (the upper story) and the body and matter as not having any value (lower story). Because of this low view of the body, anything goes. Biological facts no longer matter in what gender someone is. Personhood becomes a subjective matter and what determines value, not being a human. In contrast, the biblical worldview looks at the body as being important and integral with the mind. The totality of the person – body and mind – matters. Through the various chapters of this book, she tackles the secular worldview that is leading to the changes around us and contrasts it with the biblical worldview.
In order to better understand why people think abortion or euthanasia is okay, or what lies behind the push for removing gender from biology, this book shows how the postmodern worldview has led to this way of thinking. The challenge for those of us who hold to the biblical worldview is to compassionately show how this other worldview denigrates the body rather than freeing it.
Highly recommended, though a bit philosophical in parts, this book is needed for navigating our current cultural climate.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher Baker Books through Netgalley.com free in exchange for my review.

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Lies Young Women Believe (Updated Edition)

Lies Young Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them FreeLies Young Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just as the book Lies Women Believe is being revised and updated, so also this one geared toward teen girls is being revised and updated. Overall, this was a good read and packs a good punch, not holding back on some of the ways our culture lies to us about what is true and meaningful. In this day and age it is especially hard for young people to battle against the lies of beauty, friendship, and sex. This book tells it straight – what the lies are that young women are believing, and what the Bible tells us about these lies and how we can counter them with the truth of Scripture.
A minor thing, I found that the verse Ephesians 5:21 was used to talk about submitting to God-given authority, however, that is not what the verse is talking about in context: “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Though it is true that we are to submit to God-given authority, that verse is not the one that should be used to teach that truth.
I would recommend this as a good read for moms and daughters to do together, or a youth group book club read. The book emphasizes the need for young women to be in God’s Word and know His truth, so they can combat the lies they encounter every day in this world.

*I received a copy of this book on Kindle through Netgalley from the publisher Moody in exchange for my review.

Lies Women Believe (Updated Edition)

Several years ago, my mom, sister and I went through the book Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and the corresponding workbook Walking in the Truth. Later I summarized the book and my thoughts in a series of blog posts that can be seen here. I was interested in reading the updated version and was glad to obtain a copy on Kindle for review through Netgalley. The updated edition will be coming out in January 2018 and includes a new chapter on lies women believe about sexuality.

The book starts off with a reminder of how we get caught up in lies and that we must recognize these lies and replace them with the truth from God’s Word. Each chapter deals with specific lies that we often believe (even if we wouldn’t actually say it) and how God’s Word contradicts those lies. At the end of the chapter the lies are summarized along with the truth and Scripture references to combat the lies. What we believe affects how we live, and if we are believing lies about ourselves, God, marriage, etc. we will not be living in freedom.

While not every woman struggles with every lie in this book, we all struggle with some of them. This is a great resource to point us back to God’s Word to be the source of what we believe. This would be a helpful book to go through with other women, to gently correct and encourage each other to be grounded in the truth of God’s Word and not give in to the lies that subtly sneak their way into our lives in this world of sin that we live in.

*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle through Netgalley from the publisher Moody in exchange for my review.

 

Closer Than a Sister by Christina Fox

Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to FlourishCloser Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to Flourish by Christina Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Friendship is something that many of us struggle with. We long for it, yet often find ourselves on the outside, wondering what it takes to have the closeness we see others experiencing. In this book, the author particularly addresses the area of friendships for women in the church. For Christian women, friendship goes beyond merely being friends, but having a bond and unity in Christ that makes us a family. She uses the example of the Trinity as an example of perfect community – three persons in one – experiencing perfect unity and community. Because we are made in God’s image, we have been made to experience community with one another. But because of sin, that community has become broken and does not often meet the desires that we have for it.
After explaining the theology behind Biblical friendships and the unity we have as believers in Christ, the author then takes us into practical ways that we can serve and encourage each other and thus grow in our friendships. Community takes work and she talks about some of the downfalls that we often experience. Loss of friendships whether through moving, changes of the season of life, or conflict, all contribute to our loneliness and longing for community. In the last section of the book, the author addresses ways that friendships can be destroyed through gossip or even idolizing our friends and placing unrealistic expectations on them.
Developing friendships such as the author describes requires effort on our part. Not everyone at our church will become a close friend. But rather than waiting for others to come to us, we need to reach out in service to our sisters in Christ. While we wait for friendships to develop, we also remember that ultimately Christ is our true Friend, One who never lets us down or leaves us.
I recommend this book, whether friendship is a struggle for you or not. It is a good reminder of what friendships should strive to be and Who ultimately is the Friend we all long for.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher Christian Focus in exchange for my review.

True Feelings by Carolyn Mahaney & Nicole Whitacre

True Feelings: God's Gracious and Glorious Purpose for Our EmotionsTrue Feelings: God’s Gracious and Glorious Purpose for Our Emotions by Carolyn Mahaney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Often we look at our emotions and view them as bad. Yet emotions themselves are not bad, rather how we use them. Learning to recognize and control our emotions is a battle we all face. In this book, the authors provide some practical steps to better understand our emotions and learn to use them in a God-honoring way rather than in sinful patterns.
Emotions “tell us what we believe and value. We should listen to what they are telling us and evaluate our emotions in light of Scripture. Emotions also move. We should not try to deny their persuading power, but instead allow them to drive us to God.” When our emotions manifest themselves, we should evaluate what that particular emotion is revealing about what we believe and value. For example, anger at being cut off in traffic reveals that we value our safety. Or it may reveal that we want to be in control and have our drive go smoothly. Recognizing our underlying beliefs and values behind our emotions helps us to then respond according to what Scripture teaches rather than turning to a sinful response. If the beliefs or values that an emotion reveals is not Biblical, that emotion is an indication that we need to change our belief or value so that it lines up with Scripture.
This book provides great information for us to evaluate our emotions Biblically and some practical steps for moving forward. If you struggle with your emotions, this is a good read to provide hope and encouragement.

*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle from the publisher Crossway through Netgalley in exchange for my review.

Anger & Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne Mack

Anger & Stress Management God's WayAnger & Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne A. Mack

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know if I read this book years ago or not. Most of it seemed pretty familiar, but that could be due to the reading I’ve done regarding anger management and biblical counseling. Very simple and succinct, if you are not familiar with how biblical counseling addresses anger, this book is a good overview of recognizing anger, whether anger is sinful, and how to respond to it. We often get angry because of wrong expectations or a perceived violation of our “rights”. There are quite a few application questions throughout the book to ask ourselves so that we can properly deal with our anger.
The second half of the book deals with stress and how we cope with stress. A reminder is given of God’s sovereignty and how remembering that helps us in coping with the trials we face.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the book, but I don’t know if that was because I was already familiar with the material. It was a quick, easy read.

*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle through Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for my review.

How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets

How to Read and Understand the Biblical ProphetsHow to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets by Peter J. Gentry

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This is a short, succinct book on the genre of prophecy and how this Hebrew literature was written. In our Western mindset, we often don’t properly read and understand Hebrew prophecy, as it was written in a style that we are not accustomed to. Peter Gentry takes us through the characteristics of Hebrew prophecy and how to better understand it. He uses multiple examples, particularly in Isaiah, to show the style and genre and demonstrate how this would have been understood to the original readers. As I’m currently studying Isaiah, I found this helpful to better understand what I am reading. There are charts throughout the book to demonstrate the chiastic structure that is common in Hebrew literature. We are not properly understanding the Bible if we don’t understand it the way the original readers understood its meaning. This book is a helpful resource to better understand the genre and structure of the biblical prophets so we can better grasp the original readers’ understanding of the text.

*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.

Book Review: A Practical Guide to Culture

A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today's WorldA Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World by John Stonestreet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is geared toward parents, pastors, and youth leaders but could also be read by teens themselves. The authors present the challenges that Christians face in today’s culture and provide practical solutions for facing these. We all have a worldview and often the culture we live in affects that worldview. As Christians our worldview is to be based on the truth of Scripture. When much of the culture we live in flies in the face of that truth, it becomes a challenge to navigate. Teens today especially face these challenges and we need to help equip them properly to know the truth and defend it.
While this book is geared toward those who parent and mentor teens, it could also be used as a small group study amongst teens to help them learn tools for facing some of the most common issues in today’s culture – homosexuality, transgenderism, a hook-up culture, addiction, etc. The authors take us through these key issues and provide answers to the lies that the culture tells us about our sexual identity, relativism, etc. Each chapter in the book ends with further resources on that topic as well as discussion questions to talk through.
I would highly recommend this book as a resource for parents of teens to read, along with youth ministry leaders. We cannot hide our heads in the sand regarding these issues in the culture but need to challenge them with the truth and grace of the gospel. This book is a quick, easy read that provides tools to deal with these issues as well as pointing to further resources for deeper study.

*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle from the publisher David Cook in exchange for my review.

12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, if you weren’t already convicted by how much time you spend on your smartphone, you will be after reading this book! The pros and cons of technology are discussed, particularly when it comes to our use of social media. The author asks some hard-hitting questions and talks about reasons we use our smartphones, things such as distraction and to avoid responsibility, for diversion, for affirmation and community.
“The question of this book is simple: What is the best use of my smartphone in the flourishing of my life? To that end, my aim is to avoid both extremes…” The author gives both downsides and upsides to our use of smartphones. It appears the intent of the book is to open our eyes to why we are using them and for what purposes. We need to be intentional in the decisions we make and the author reminds us that we will answer to God for our words and deeds. He does not tell us we shouldn’t use social media or smartphones, but rather to gauge our use and motivations for use and to be wise with our time and resources. “Before you text, tweet, or publish digital art online, honestly ask yourself: Will this ultimately glorify me or God?”
In a world that speeds by us, this book is a good reminder of what matters and to remember what is truly important. Are we living life for God’s purposes or our own?

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.

Biblical Doctrine by John MacArthur

Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth
The long-awaited, much-anticipated systematic theology by John MacArthur is finally here. Though there are several areas where I disagree with MacArthur theologically, he is a sound Bible teacher and pastor who has remained faithful to the Word of God through the many years of his ministry.

However, as I tried to read this theology book I found myself getting frustrated with the tone and manner in which it is written. The view of the author is put forth as the correct view, matter-of-factly, as if no other view has any validity. Contrary to Grudem’s theology book, which gives the different views within orthodox Christianity, MacArthur’s theology comes across as being the only correct view. I have noticed in past messages by MacArthur that he does not fairly represent opposing views but often uses straw-man arguments. It may well be that he doesn’t understand the opposing view or really thinks that is their view. But his arguments fall flat because he is not accurately teaching what the opposing view actually believes, only a caricature of what he thinks they believe.

I could not continue reading this book with him only giving his view and teaching it as if it is the only way to read and understand the Bible. Many well-respected scholars and theologians down through the centuries would not agree with MacArthur’s interpretations. His view is not the only correct, biblical view. When it comes to salvation and the doctrines that matter (primary issues), we would agree. But on secondary issues, he comes across as his way being correct without any alternative views being allowed for. While I don’t think he actually feels that way, as he has partnered with others such as Sproul, it smacks that way in his book.

For those who hold similar views to MacArthur in secondary issues, you will likely love this book. It is written in an easy-to-read and normal MacArthur manner. But if you believe differently on some of these issues (such as covenant theology, amillenialism, etc.), you may have a hard time stomaching what he writes. Perhaps I may go back and try to finish it in the future, but with so many books out there that I want to read, the rest of this one is going to remain unread for now.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.