One of my joys as Managing Editor of Discerning Reader is the opportunity to collect our reviewers' diverse array of reviews each week, and to see which topics and themes emerge. This week a major theme seems to be 'brokenness.'
Brokenness is a hallmark of the fallen world in which we live. No human hand is capable of setting what's wrong back to rights, except for the One who created the world in the first place. He is accomplishing this slowly but surely through the agency of His Son, who died in our place to restore our hearts to Him by restoring the image of Christ in us. One day the restoration will culminate in a re-creation of the heavens and earth, and more importantly, a restoration of face-to-face intimacy with the lover of our souls. But for now...we're broken.
There is no brokenness as profound and tragic as alienation from God. Trevin Wax reviews Don Everts' and Doug Schaupp's new book I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught us about Their Path to Jesus, which describes, rather than prescribes, successful modes of evangelism directed at the unsaved postmodern crowd.
Jack Hodgins, Canadian writer extraordinaire - and vastly underrated, I might say, as the one who read and reviewed this book - crafts a sublime story of human brokenness in his award-winning novel Broken Ground. This is storytelling at its best; simply unparalleled.
Ian Clary recommends the online debate between the inimitable Douglas Wilson and the notorious Christopher Hitchens, now captured in print in Is Christianity Good for the World? by our friends at Canon Press. In it, Wilson recommends Christianity, and by extension, Christianity's subject and object, Christ, as the only cure for a world ailing from the effects of sin.
Many students and professors at Union University must have wondered what had gone wrong with the world when a tornado descended upon the school in February 2008. Miraculously, not a single student was killed despite heavy structural damage totaling in the millions. Reviewer Scott Lamb recommends God in the Whirlwind: Stories of Grace from the Tornado at Union University, written by Union staff member Tim Ellsworth. Scott also enjoyed a new biography of important but lesser-known Southern Baptist theologian John Broadus in John A. Broadus: A Living Legacy by David Dockery.
Leslie Wiggins reviews one of Nancy Leigh DeMoss' books in the Revive Our Hearts trilogy from Moody Press. Brokenness: The Heart God Revives concerns the spirit of brokenness and humility before God that must precede any work of revival. This book cites such a work of God at Colorado State University in 1995, which led DeMoss to set down in print the necessary conditions for personal revival.
Meanwhile, Tim returns to two of his favourite topics: the perennial debate between continuationism and cessationism, with Jim Thompson's contribution to the debate in Prophecy Today, and Christian rock music, in Nigel James' autobiographical Lessons from the Road, a roving rock-n-roll chaplain's travel diary of sorts, describing life on the tour bus with Christian band Third Day.
That rounds out this week's reviews.