• Book Reviews,  Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Why White Fragility Fails

    Earlier this week, I finished Robin Diangelo’s New York Times #1 Bestselling book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk about Racism (Beacon, 2018). A lot of ink has already been spilled over this book, and I suppose that I have little more to add. I won’t write a full review here. If you want that, I recommend Tim Challies’ three–part series. Nevertheless, I do have some observations that I would like to add to the conversation. The basic gist of the book is this. White people participate in a complex system of privilege and white supremacy. Whether they mean to or not, they are therefore…

  • Book Reviews,  Theology/Bible

    A Review of James Dolezal’s “All That Is in God”

    I really wish I had not waited as long as I did to read James Dolezal’s 2017 book All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism (Reformation Heritage, 2017). As it is, I only picked it up a month or so ago, but I would have picked it up much sooner if I had realized what an important book this is. It’s only 137 pages, but it is without question one of the most significant books that I have ever read. I don’t agree with everything in this book. In fact, there are parts of it that I found quite frustrating. Nevertheless, the main…

  • Book Reviews,  Social Justice

    Is social justice unjust?

    I want to post a brief note about Noah Rothman’s new book on social justice titled Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America (Regnery, 2019). I just finished it a couple days ago and found much that is helpful in it. Rothman outlines a brief history of social justice movements and argues that its current incarnation has collapsed into identity politics. In short, social justice is not about notions of individual liberty and justice but about righting historical wrongs committed against various identity groups. Rothman is not denying that certain groups have experienced injustice. On the contrary, he argues that certain classes of people have in fact experienced historic…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity

    A Hope Not on Offer in the Gnostic Gospels

    Yesterday, I finished Elaine Pagels’ moving memoir Why Religion? A Personal Story (Ecco, 2018). If Pagels’ name is unfamiliar to the general reader, it is not to scholars of the Bible and early Christianity. Pagels has been writing provocative books about early Christianity and its interface with Gnosticism since the 1970’s. Her 1979 book The Gnostic Gospels was a popular introduction to the Nag Hammadi library that became a publishing sensation. Her work in this book caught the attention of a popular readership and garnered numerous awards. She has written many other books since then, so her scholarly work has been well-known for decades now. And yet, this latest book, Why Religion?, seems…

  • Book Reviews

    “Ready Player One” and Three Is the Magic Number

    I just finished the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, also known as The Greatest Story Ever Told. What do I mean by that? I don’t think I’ve ever come across a more heavy-handed retelling of the gospel narrative in a novel. Nor have I had more fun with a novel than this one. It’s as if Cline aimed this book at people born in 1972 and weaned on 80’s pop-culture. The book is a nostalgia-filled Geek-fest for readers like me. Synopsis The story is set in the United States in a dystopian future in the year 2044. The main character, Wade Watts, is an awkward teenage gamer and…

  • Book Reviews,  Culture

    Ryan Anderson on the virtues of motherhood and homemaking

    I’ve been working toward a review of Ryan Anderson’s forthcoming book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (Encounter Books, 2018). It really is a fantastic, must-read work. I will resist beginning the review here, but I do want to share a passage from it that extols the virtues of motherhood and homemaking. Anderson writes: G. K. Chesterton praised the vocation of mother and homemaker as greater than paid employment in the modern marketplace, noting especially the broad range of responsibilities it involves. In her own domain, a home- maker is like the Queen, “deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays”; she is like Whiteley, the great retailer, “providing…

  • Book Reviews

    Kiss the Wave: Embracing God in Your Trials

    Yesterday, I received a copy of Dave Furman’s new book Kiss the Wave: Embracing God in Your Trials. Dave is a husband, father of four, and a pastor at Redeemer Church of Dubai. I just received the book, so I obviously haven’t read it yet. But I wanted to share a little snippet from a letter that Dave wrote describing what the book is about. He writes: One month into our ministry in the desert, everything fell apart. The nerve pain in my arms went from bad to extreme and the accompanying depression was unbearable. I was (and still am) unable to drive, shake hands, and lift more than a…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity

    Beauty, Order, and Mystery: A Christian Vision of Human Sexuality

    Todd Wilson and Gerald Hiestand have put together a stimulating collection of essays on sexuality titled Beauty, Order, and Mystery: A Christian Vision of Human Sexuality (IVP, 2017). Contributors represent a diverse range of views within evangelicalism and include Richard Mouw, Beth Felker Jones, Wesley Hill, and yours truly. My chapter is titled “The Transgender Test” and explores the ways that transgenderism presents a unique challenge to Christian faithfulness and witness. I argue that it is a test of biblical authority, a test of biblical message, and a test of biblical relevance. All of the contributors participated in the 2016 conference hosted by the Center for Pastors Theologians in Oak…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Book Review of “Single Gay Christian”

    I just finished reading Gregory Coles’ moving memoir Single Gay Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity (IVP, 2017). In many ways, there is much to admire about this book. Coles is a great writer and has put together a real page-turner. This is not a boring book. Coles’ honesty and vulnerability come through in just about every page. Coles is telling his own story—warts and all—and he’s gut-wrenchingly honest about his emerging awareness of himself as a same-sex attracted man. Coles’s story is a very human story, and just about anyone (same-sex attracted or not) can resonate with the humor and the pathos that he narrates. By…

  • Book Reviews,  Theology/Bible

    God and the Transgender Debate

    Andrew Walker’s important new book has just released today. It is titled God and the Transgender Debate, and it is a must-read. That is in fact what I wrote in my endorsement for the publisher: The post-Christian West says that we are what we think we are, not what our bodies reveal us to be and this is one of the chief challenges to Christianity today. That is why God and the Transgender Debate is so important. It is a countercultural, compassionate, must-read book.—Denny Burk, President, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood The transgender challenge is at the leading edge of Christianity’s interface with secular culture. If you want…