Top books (that I read) in 2018 (w/o comment)

Dru Johnson

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 2.11.30 PM.png

If you listen to our podcast (OnScript), then you already know some of the books I’ve been reading. But here are the standouts in no particular order (and note that I still haven’t read 50% of the books on my desk right now):

Fascinating and compelling books for normal folks:

K.S. Prior, On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books


Fikkert, Holt, and Rhodes, Practicing the King’s Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give


D. Groothius, Walking Through Twilight: A Wife’s Illness—A Philosopher’s Lament (OnScript interview with the author)


G. Thornbury, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?


L. Peppiatt, Unveiling Paul’s Women: Making Sense of 1 Corinthians 11:2–16  (OnScript interview with the author)


Y. Hazony, The Virtue of Nationalism 


Academic Books (if you share my peculiar interests):

J. Berman, Inconsistency in the Torah: Ancient…

View original post 106 more words


Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke 2:1-20 (NRSV)

The Most Notable Books from LifeWay in 2018


The Most Notable Books from LifeWay in 2018

Leadership/Church Books

Letters to the Church by Francis Chan
Francis Chan writes books when he feels led by the Spirit and has something powerful to say. This is the fruit. Chan digs deeply into biblical truths, reveals reflections on his own failures and dreams, and shares stories of ordinary people God is using to change the world.

Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom S. Rainer
Welcoming guests to your church can be awkward and often the biggest stumbling block to truly growing your church. Rainer delivers again another practical message to help churches become more welcoming.

Prodigal Prophet by Tim Keller
Tim Keller shares wisdom in what we can learn from the story of Jonah. An angry prophet. A feared and loathsome enemy. A devastating storm. And the surprising message of a merciful God to His people.

Images and Idols by Thomas J. Terry and J. Ryan Liste from Humble Beast
God is the Creator of all things and He created us in His image. Creativity is woven into the very fabric of our humanity. Therefore, Christians should value and champion creativity as a vital part of our image-bearing role. Images and Idols is a theological and artistic exploration of creativity in the Christian life.

Gospel-Centered Kids Ministry by Brian Dembowczyk
Seven out of ten kids will walk away from church after they turn eighteen. About five will return when they have families of their own. But two will never return. These are sobering facts and from Brian Dembowczyk and lessons brought by The Gospel Project. Gospel-Centered Kids Ministry addresses how to communicate with and encourage gospel-centered leaders and parents as part of their ministry.


Christian Living Books

On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior
Acclaimed author Karen Swallow Prior takes readers on a guided tour through works of great literature both ancient and modern, exploring twelve virtues that philosophers and theologians throughout history have identified as most essential for good character and the good life. This is a perfect book for anyone wanting to effectively critique good writing and apply it to their lives.

The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
With engaging stories from her own life-changing encounter with radically ordinary hospitality, Butterfield equips Christians to use their homes as a means to showing a post-Christian world what authentic love and faith really look like.

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie
Founder of the immensely popular Read-Aloud Revival podcast, Mackenzie knows first-hand how reading can change a child’s life. She offers the inspiration and age-appropriate book lists you need to start a read-aloud movement in your own home. From a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance, Sarah details practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family—it has the power to change the world.

The Storm-Tossed Family by Russell Moore
Christianity Today recently announced this book as their 2019 “Beautiful Orthodoxy Book of the Year.” In the book, Moore teaches readers whether you are married or single, whether you long for a child or shepherding a full house, you are part of a family. Family is difficult because family—every family—is an echo of the Gospel.

Suffering by Paul David Tripp
Most know Tripp as the bestselling author of the beautiful New Morning Mercies. Paul David Tripp weaves together his personal story, years of counseling experience, and biblical insights to help us in the midst of suffering, identifying six traps to avoid and six comforts to embrace in his book Suffering.

Mere Hope by Jason Duesing
Influenced heavily by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Jason Duesing crafted a beautiful perspective on hope. Mere Hope offers the core Christ-centered perspective that all Christians share, and that Christians alone have to offer a world filled with frustration, pain, and disappointment. For those in darkness, despair, and discouragement, for those in the midst of trials, suffering, and injustice, mere hope lives.

Growing Down by Michael Kelley
Michael Kelley wrestles with Jesus’ words that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the likes of little children. If that is true, then we must grow down in characteristics that make us functional and effective adults, if we want to truly grow up in Christ.

Words of Grace by Scott Patty
The cover and the content of this book are absolutely beautiful. As a 100-day devotional, it is a pastor’s encouragement, written with a congregation in mind, to build a life centered on God’s Word. Each day’s reading starts with the Scripture. The devotionals expand upon it and are designed to shape your mind by a vision of God and stir your heart’s affection for Him.

Spiritual Gifts by Tom Schreiner
Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner, a leading New Testament scholar, shares his personal experience related to spiritual gifts, but more importantly, he unpacks what the Bible has to say about them.

Dignity Revolution by Dan Darling
Darling offers helpful perspective in an age of divide in politics and even our faith. The Dignity Revolution shows us how wonderful, liberating, and empowering it is to be made in God’s image. Embracing this truth changes how we see ourselves and all other humans, and how we treat and advocate for them.

The Advent of the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey
Ramsey shares how the purposes of God culminated in the coming of Jesus, in twenty-five readings ideal for Christmas or any season of meeting the Savior. The stories are told afresh to help readers hide God’s Word in their hearts by way of their imaginations.

Disruptive Witness by Alan Noble
Noble lays out individual, ecclesial, and cultural practices that disrupt our society’s deep-rooted assumptions and point beyond them to the transcendent grace and beauty of Jesus. This book casts a new vision for the evangelical imagination, calling us away from abstraction and cliché to a more faithful embodiment of the Gospel for our day.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.”

Do Something Beautiful by R. York Moore
Moore shares how you can reframe your own story, begin seeing God’s story breaking into your life in the everyday moments, leave behind mediocrity, and become a part of that beautiful story.


Women’s Books

Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry
This must-read book for living in today’s culture is not just a handbook for how we love others and speak truth. It is also a beautiful story of how God redeems and tears down the idols we make for ourselves, no matter what those are. This is a book that will make you love both God and your neighbor more.

Unexpected by Christine Caine
Much in life cannot be expected or anticipated, but this doesn’t mean we have to live in fear. This book offers real-life strategies for embracing the unexpected and trusting the God whom we know is in control.

In His Image by Jen Wilkin
In this book, Jen Wilkin discusses ten ways that God’s people are to reflect His character. When we view our call as representatives of God on the earth, we live with a different level of intentionality and purpose. This book will compel you not only to live a life worthy of being a reflection of God, but also to worship the God who so artfully made you.

If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey
Everyone has moments in their past that they would rather not share. In this vulnerable book, Jamie discusses her past and the fear that “if you only knew” the whole truth, you’d certainly think differently about her. It’s a story of God moving and redeeming her life and His ability to do the same for you.

Remember God by Annie F. Downs
Is God really kind? When life doesn’t feel kind, we can lose sight of what we know to be true about Him. Yet, in both the good and the bad, we are called to remember God. God’s people have been building altars throughout history as reminders of His goodness and presence—all to remember God.

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst
Sometimes, disappointments are actually divine appointments. Lysa TerKeurst knows this well through her own story. If you are in a place where life feels like it is falling apart, Lysa’s words will be medicine to your soul. God often gives us more than we can handle on our own, but when we give these things to God, that’s when our lives can be made whole again.

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay by Sheila Walsh
We saw a recurring theme in women’s books in 2018: embracing one’s true identity while understanding that the world we live in is not completely what God designed it to be. Sheila Walsh and Lysa TerKeurst wrestle with this in a beautiful and honest way.


Children’s Books

Who Sang the First Song? by Ellie Holcomb, illustrated by Kayla Harren
This beautifully written toddler board book dares to ask the question, Who Sang the First Song? Through lovely illustrations, author Ellie Holcomb reveals the truth that God our maker sand the first song and He’s given each of us a song to sing.

Cornerstones (with Parent’s guide) by Brian Dembowczyk
Not only is this book beautiful, but it’s super practical and not imposing at all. It’ a questions and answers format that you can work through at your own pace with your family. Plus if you have super inquisitive kids that ask a lot of questions, you can pick up the Cornerstones Parent Guide that will help equip you with the right answers for your little theologians.

From Eden to Bethlehem by Danielle Hitchen, illustrated by Jessica Blanchard
This unique board book uses colorful and engaging art to introduce little ones to the Gospel using the animal kingdom. From the fall to prophecy to the incarnation, this book is designed to help your kids get a greater understanding of the animal kingdom.

The Prince Warriors: The Winter War by Priscilla Shirer and Gina Detwiler
In this sequel to Priscilla Shirer’s bestselling trilogy, The Prince Warriors return to Ahoratos to find it bare and dangerous. The Winter War is upon them! Don’t miss the adventures of the prince warriors, perfect for all middle-grade readers!

Love Does for Kids by Bob Goff and Lindsey Goff Vidicuch
A whimsical addition to the family’s bookshelf. For those who love Bob Goff and his bestseller Love Does, this is a book full of crazy stories of adventure between Bob and his daughter Lindsey that will inspire any parent and child.

Thoughtful by Dorena Williamson, illustrated by Robert Dunn
This encouraging story shows how life changes when we learn to value those who are differently abled and to champion the power of thoughtfulness. This beautiful story teaches our children the need to be “thoughtFULL” — full of thoughtfulness and awareness, especially to those who have special needs.

Who’s Your Daddy by Lisa Harper, illustrated by Olivia Duchess
Told mostly through a mother-daughter conversation, this sweet story is careful to affirm relationships with the good, strong daddies here on earth, but it is also comforting for children who might be struggling due to divorce or the loss of a father.

Coming in November 2019: N.T. Wright and Michael Bird – The New Testament in its World


Coming in November 2019 is the long-awaited (and long worked on) New Testament introductory textbook: N.T. Wright and Michael Bird volume The New Testament in its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians (with SPCK and Zondervan).

This book is distinct in several ways:
– Introduces students to the New Testament as history, literature, and theology with special attention given to hermeneutics.
– Situates Jesus and the early church amidst the history, culture, and religion of second temple Judaism and the Greco-Roman world.
– Includes major sections on the historical Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, as well as Paul’s chronology and theology.
– Filled to the brim with pictures, maps, charts, diagrams, and artwork.
– Unique aspects are “Blasts from the Past” with famous quotes from church history, “Emails from the Edge” where a professor responds to a seminary student’s questions, and “Portals and Parallels” with quotes from ancient sources that illuminate a text.
– The survey of each New Testament book discusses the general significance of each book, offers an introduction to critical topics like authorship and date, a short commentary on contents, and some pointers towards application and implications for the Christian life.
– Up-to-date discussions of textual criticism and the canonization of the New Testament.
– A whole chapter dedicated to living the story of the New Testament.
– Represents a distillation of the life’s work of N.T. Wright on the New Testament with input from Mike Bird.

Also coming out around the same are the Video Lectures based on the book, and a church-based video series filmed on location in Israel, Greece, and Rome called The New Testament You Never Knew which releases in Feb 2019!  Blogged about HERE

Here’s The New Testament in its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians textbook contents:

1. Reading the New Testament
1.1 Beginning Study of the New Testament
1.2 The New Testament as History
1.3 The New Testament as Literature
1.4 The New Testament as Theology
2. The World of Jesus and the Early Church
2.1 The History of the Jews between the Persian and Roman Empires
2.2 The Jewish Context of Jesus and the Early Church
2.3 The Graeco-Roman Context of the Apostles and the Early Church
3. Jesus and the Victory of God
3.1 The Study of the Historical Jesus
3.2 The Profile and Praxis of a Prophet
3.3 Who Did Jesus Think He Was?
3.4 The Death of the Messiah
4. The Resurrection of the Son of God
4.1 The Afterlife in Greek, Roman, and Jewish Thought
4.2 The Story of Easter according to the Apostle Paul
4.3 The Story of Easter according to the Evangelists
5. Paul and the Faithfulness of God
5.1 The Story of Paul’s Life and Ministry
5.2 A Primer on Pauline Theology
5.3 1–2 Thessalonians
5.4 Galatians
5.5 1–2 Corinthians
5.6 Philippians
5.7 Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians
5.8 Romans
5.9 The Pastoral Epistles
6. The Gospels and the Story of God
6.1 Mark
6.2 Matthew
6.3 Luke–Acts
6.4 John
6.5 The Making of the Gospels
7. The Early Christians and the Mission of God
7.1 Introduction to Early Christian Letters
7.2 Hebrews
7.3 Letters by Jesus’s Brothers: James and Jude
7.4 Petrine Letters: 1 and 2 Peter
7.5 Johannine Letters: 1, 2, and 3 John
7.6 John the Seer and the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ
8. The Making of the New Testament
8.1 Introduction to Textual Criticism of the New Testament
8.2 The Canonization of the New Testament
9. Living the Story of the New Testament
9.1 Bringing it All Together

2018 Accessible Theology Books of the Year: Short List – WORLD


Accessible Theology Books of the Year: Short List – World Magazine

The Prodigal Prophet
Timothy Keller

Keller skillfully exegetes the four chapters of Jonah and shows the importance of failure and suffering: “It is only when you reach the very bottom, when everything falls apart, when all your schemes and resources are broken and exhausted, that you are finally open to learning how to completely depend on God.” Jonah thought he understood God, but he initially didn’t know that God cared about Assyrians—and then he worried that God did care about Assyrians. Like Jonah, “We naturally believe that we have far more ability to direct our lives wisely than we really have.”

Idols Of A Mother’s Heart
Christina Fox

Fox explores ways in which motherhood can turn from good gift to idol, from sanctifying experience to sinful one. Her opening discussion draws heavily from R.C. Sproul, Tim Keller, and John Piper, applying their insights to the particular situation of mothers. In her second section, she looks at the particular idols common to mothers, including idols of achievement, comfort, control, and approval. She helpfully lays out how to identify idols and offers wise counsel on the means of grace that train our hearts to love and worship the Lord rather than puny idols.

Disruptive Witness
Alan Noble

Noble describes the problems Christians face in today’s culture, where the gospel is one of thousands of options, and buffered selves intensely adopt stances after seeing compelling viral images on Facebook. Some churches, Noble notes, push back with services “that feel more like a concert and TED Talk than a sacred event. … The pastor paces the stage with a headset mic, skillfully weaving facts, stories, and dramatic pauses. … Each element of the service alludes to bits of popular culture. … The cumulative effect is to give the impression that the Christian faith is something akin to a good motivational conference.”

Embodied Hope
Kelly M. Kapic

Kapic emphasizes that our hope is in God “who made and redeemed heaven and earth, not in our own intellectual acuity.” He asks Christians to mix hope and lament in faithful suffering, rather than emphasizing hope with no lament (that’s naïve optimism), lament with no hope (“unrelenting despair”), and neither hope nor lament (“detached stoicism”). Practical application: “When contemporary churches cease to sing laments as part of their regular catalog of songs, instead only choosing happy or upbeat music, … our muscles for godly mourning atrophy.” Good news: Christ saves us from the tyranny of death, which no longer has the final word.


Honorable Mention

Owen Strachan & Douglas Allen Sweeney’s The Essential Jonathan Edwards is an excellent introduction to the great theologian who is heavy sledding for modern readers. Matthew McCullough in Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope asks, “How can you enjoy anything about life if you know that, in the end, the more you love something the more it will hurt when you lose it?” Buddhists say the answer is nonattachment to anyone and anything: McCullough shows how Christians can see that bid for support and raise it through Christ’s promise of eternal life.

Jonathan Leeman’s The Rule of Love explains why the Biblical pronouncement that “God is love” does not mean zapping moral boundaries or judgments, or unconditionally accepting everything except authority and institutions. John C. Peckham’s Theodicy of Love: Cosmic Conflict and the Problem of Evil is a deep dive into the coexistence of divine omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence with human freedom and rampaging evil.

Source: Accessible Theology Books of the Year: Short List – WORLD

The Six Streams of Christian Tradition – Conclusion

Six Streams.jpg

This is entry eight, and the final entry, in a short new blog series, in which I am exploring the topic of The Six Streams of Christian Tradition. Throughout this series, I will be focusing on one of the six streams, defining it, taking an introspective look into the practice in my own life, and then exploring it’s impact on the church as a whole.

Holistic Practice of the Six Streams of Christian Spirituality

The six streams of Christian spirituality are a great summary, outline, and framework of the various styles, attributes, and approaches to the Christian life. Although certain streams come natural according to one’s personal preferences, talents, and spiritual gifts, it is important to understand, participate, and contribute in all six streams and traditions. When used and engaged together, these streams, lives, and traditions help believers generate and produce a balanced spiritual life, inwardly and outwardly.

The six spiritual streams and traditions serve as a guide, standard, and influence to benefit one’s journey towards an intimate relationship with God and pursuit of Christlikeness. A holistic understanding and use of the six streams will result in an on-going transformation of one’s life from the inside out. One of the most significant, of the many benefits of holistic practice, is a fullness of the Christian life on earth, enhancing our personal growth while leading and influencing others, inside and outside the faith, along the way.

The most prominent passage in the Bible where, in my opinion, the six streams are fully at work in the life of the church comes from Acts chapter two. “Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:43-47 NRSV).

A holistic approach to the spiritual life is just as important in the life of the church and the life of the individual today as it was then. Gaining in knowledge and understanding of the six streams and traditions will benefit our weaknesses and improve our strengths and spiritual gifts, leading us into a growing, deepening, and more Christlike relationship with Christ Jesus Himself.



The Six Streams of Christian Tradition – Incarnational Stream or Sacramental Life

Six Streams.jpg

This is entry seven, in a short new blog series, in which I am exploring the topic of The Six Streams of Christian Tradition. Throughout this series, I will be focusing on one of the six streams, defining it, taking an introspective look into the practice in my own life, and then exploring it’s impact on the church as a whole.

The Sacramental Life

The Sacramental Life, or Incarnational Stream, is the believer’s pursuit of their relationship with God and quest to become Christlike within one’s physical and material reality. Although much of the Christian’s experience with God is unseen, and takes place within what is spiritual, God is actively working and manifesting Himself and His nature within the bodily and physical creation. As one grows in knowledge and in relationship, the fleshly activities and endeavors become spiritually significant. Our interaction with God works itself out in the details of our daily existence.

My personal experience with the Sacramental Life is one I battle with daily. Of all the six streams, this is the one that I work towards most earnestly. I often find myself relating to Brother Lawrence and his “great deal of pain” (Foster and Smith {Lawrence} 2005, 370), while during a spiritual exercise my mind wanders. Thankfully, I find comfort and love in the arms of Christ, knowing that He gracefully understands my deficiencies. Although my mind wanders, I often myself reconnecting with Him through simple reminders in nature. Athanasius said: “God knew the limitation of mankind, and thus He provided the works of creation also as a means by which the Maker might be known” (Foster and Smith {Athanasius} 2005, 340). As I mature and grow, I find God showing His presence to me, even before I remember to look.

The church’s role in the practice of the Sacramental Life is fundamental to both believers and unbelievers. Teaching, preaching, worship, the Lord’s Supper, acts of Christian service, missions, baptism, most all actions of the Church, demonstrate to the believers the unity in Christ through the Power of the Spirit, as well as evangelize to those who don’t yet know God. The work of the Spirit through the church, is one way that God presents Himself as active and evident in the world; incarnated in the lives of the children of God. If one outside of Christ does not find Him nature or the Word, they will see Him alive in the heart of the church.

Foster, Richard, & Smith, John Bryan. 2005. Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups, Revised and Expanded Edition. San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins Publishers.



The Six Streams of Christian Tradition – Evangelical Stream or Word-Centered Life

Six Streams.jpg

This is entry six, in a short new blog series, in which I am exploring the topic of The Six Streams of Christian Tradition. Throughout this series, I will be focusing on one of the six streams, defining it, taking an introspective look into the practice in my own life, and then exploring it’s impact on the church as a whole.

The Word-Centered Life

The Word-Centered Life, or Evangelical Stream, is the Christian believer’s pursuit of dwelling and abiding in the Word of God, Scripture, throughout all facets of their lives. The Word of God is not a casual piece of reading, but rather to be read and prayed through daily; a habit within the disciplined life. Much of everything a believer believes, thinks, and does, takes root in and has foundation in Scripture.

My personal experience with the Word-Centered Life is steady and continual. My favorite posture in my pursuit of spending time with the Lord is in solitude and in Scripture. I have found personal enjoyment and growth in my time in the Word. However, my horizons have expanded recently in my view of the Word. Jeanne Guyon said: “Jesus Christ is the Eternal Word. He, and He alone, is the source of new life to you. For you to have new life, He must be communicated to you…He demands the most intense attention to His voice. Now you can see why the Scriptures so frequently urges you to listen, to be attentive to the voice of God” (Guyon 1975, 69). Unintentionally, I have limited Christ to the Bible at times in my studies. Through this course, I have gained a new perspective to seek and build my relationship with Christ, listening for Him through the Scriptures, not limiting His presence to only the Scriptures.

The church, overall, is doing good work in the Word-Centered Life, however improvement could change lives inside and outside the congregation. If the church could persuade individuals to value Scripture enough to spend daily time in it, I believe it could change hearts and lives. E. Stanley Jones said: “Take the prescription of the Word of God daily. No Christian is sound who is not scriptural” (Foster and Smith {Jones} 2005, 283). A church that promotes and displays great value on the Word of God, can influence individual believers to use it daily to connect with the Lord, growing deeper and stronger in their relationship with Him.

Foster, Richard, & Smith, John Bryan. 2005. Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups, Revised and Expanded Edition. San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins Publishers.



IVP Reader’s Choice Award Winner! – An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich by Veronica Mary Rolf – Book Review (Repost)


In celebration of this book winning the 2018 IVP Reader’s Choice Award (IVP Academic) I thought I would repost my original review.

Also,  you can save 30% on this book through January 31, 2019, when you use promo code RCWIN18 when you checkout on IVP’s website.

My original review:

I first heard the name Julian of Norwich from the pages of Richard Foster, but although I’ve appreciated the snippets from her books via quotes and selected paragraphs, I’ve never really taken the time to explore who she is and the works she has written.

Thankfully, in her book, An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich, author Veronica Mary Rolf does the hard work and research, then carefully guides the reader into the life of this intriguing and beautiful Christian of the 14th century.

The book is divided into two parts: Getting to Know Julian of Norwich and Exploring the Revelations of Divine Love.  Each part has subsections which narrow the focus to specific questions, topics, and timelines of Julian of Norwich’s life and work.  Rolf does an impeccable job of carefully and thoroughly examining key information to enrich the reader of not just facts or information concerning Julian herself, but many of the surrounding topics with which she is associated.

Admittedly, although this book was a bit of a challenge due to the breadth of new information and historical material, it was a well received and much enjoyable read.  The included glossary was a helpful addition to push me through any sticking points in the unheard and unknown terms and vocabulary of Julian of Norwich.

If you find yourself wanting to dive in and explore the life of Julian of Norwich, there is no better place to start than An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich.

You can purchase it from InterVarsity Press, Amazon, Christianbook, or other retailers.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary publicity copy from the publisher (IVP Books). (This in no way affected my honest review of the book)


IVP Reader’s Choice Award Winners – InterVarsity Press

RCA18-banner2018 InterVarsity Press Readers’ Choice Awards

The results are in!

2018 Readers’ Choice Winners
IVP Books:

Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice That Restores
by Dominique DuBois Gilliard
The United States has more people locked up in jails, prisons, and detention centers than any other country in the history of the world. Exploring the history and foundations of mass incarceration, Dominique Gilliard examines Christianity’s role in its evolution and expansion, assessing justice in light of Scripture, and showing how Christians can pursue justice that restores and reconciles.

Life in the Presence of God: Practices for Living in Light of Eternity
by Kenneth Boa
It’s hard to discern God’s presence amid the hubbub of modern life. But experiencing God is not just for the super-spiritual—every Christian can learn to cultivate a greater awareness of God in the everyday. Sharing dozens of practical exercises and disciplines, Ken Boa offers a contemporary guide to practicing the presence of God, revealing how we can deepen our walk with God and abide in his presence.

IVP Academic:

An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich: Explorer’s Guides
by Veronica Mary Rolf
Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love is truly an astounding work: an inspiring example of Christian mysticism, a unique contribution to Christian theology, the first book in English known to have been written by a woman. Veronica Mary Rolf guides us as we read, examining its fourteenth-century context and illuminating our understanding of this enduring work.

IVP Praxis:

Seeing Jesus in East Harlem: What Happens When Churches Show Up and Stay Put
by José Humphreys
Church leaders need to show up, stay put, and see what God is doing in their midst. Pastor José Humphreys recognizes how deeply our faith is tied to our particular stories in our particular places. Combining spiritual formation with activism, vivid narrative with exhortation, and realism with hopefulness, Humphreys offers pastors and church planters a thoughtful look at discipleship in a complex world.


The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships
by Suzanne Stabile
How do we understand the motivations and dynamics of the different personality types we see in our intimate partners, our friends, or in our professional lives? This book from Suzanne Stabile on the nine Enneagram types and how they experience relationships will guide readers into deeper insights about themselves, their types, and others’ personalities so that they can have loving, mature, and compassionate relationships.
Honorable Mentions:

Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up
by Kathy Khang
It can be hard to speak up when power dynamics keep us silent and marginalized, especially when race, ethnicity, and gender are factors. Activist Kathy Khang roots our voice and identity in the image of God, showing how we can raise our voices for the sake of God’s justice. We are created to speak, and we can both speak up for ourselves and speak out on behalf of others.

Homeland Insecurity: A Hip Hop Missiology for the Post–Civil Rights Context
by Daniel White Hodge
Even though the North American context is changing, most missiological approaches continue under colonialist assumptions. Focusing on the framework of Hip Hop theology, Daniel White Hodge shows us how to radically engage with emerging adult populations, critiquing the impaired missiology of imperialist and white supremacist approaches to modern, urban short-term missions.

Redeemed Sexuality: 12 Sessions for Healing and Transformation in Community
by Andrew A. Boa
Foreword by William M. Struthers
Sexual brokenness permeates our culture and is often a source of fear, shame, or secret sin for emerging adults within the church. But as we experience love, joy, and intimacy with God and others, sexual shame and sin lose their power. Incorporating peer-to-peer leadership, this small group curriculum invites us to seek sexual maturity and discipleship in the context of community.


Congratulations to all!

Save 30% on all of the winning books and honorable mentions through January 31, 2019, when you use promo code RCWIN18 when you checkout at IVP’s website.