• 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…

  • Book Reviews

    As sweet as apple pie and as pure as Christmas

    Somehow I’ve gone my whole life until now without reading Wilson Rawls’s classic Where the Red Fern Grows. My wife recently began reading it to our children, and that is what motivated me to get into it myself. Tonight I ended up finishing it well before they did, and I have to say that I really loved it. I’m sure I would have enjoyed this book as a boy. I certainly relished it as a man (although I think I have something in my eye). In her introduction to the story, Clare Vanderpool describes the book this way: Wilson Rawls’s beloved tale taps into the wellspring that runs deep in…

  • Book Reviews,  Theology/Bible

    A great little book on transgenderism

    People often ask me for recommended reading on transgenderism. I always have trouble answering that question, not because there are no Christian books on the subject but because there isn’t very much written that is both pastorally and biblically faithful. I am happy to report, however, that my inability to make a recommendation has now ended. Vaughan Roberts has written a really helpful little book titled Transgender. It is published by The Good Book Company, which also published Sam Allberry’s popular work on homosexuality Is God Anti-Gay? Just as Allberry’s book has been a must-read resource on homosexuality, so also now is Roberts book on transgenderism. This book will be…

  • Book Reviews,  Theology/Bible

    The Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption

    Book Notice: For those of you following recent discussions about the Trinity, you may remember that I have been pointing to the covenant of redemption (a.k.a. pactum salutis) as a potential rallying point for those on opposite sides of the trinity debate. In that connection, I recently recommended J. V. Fesko’s 2016 book: The Covenant of Redemption: Origins, Development, and Reception, Reformed Historical Theology. In addition to that book, I would also recommend Fesko’s newest work: J. V. Fesko, The Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption, Mentor (Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus, 2016). Whereas Fesko’s earlier book is a scholarly history of the doctrine, this most recent book is…

  • Book Reviews

    Hillbilly Elegy lives up to the hype

    Today, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis officially earned the top rank on The New York Times bestseller list, and deservedly so. I finished this book yesterday, and I think it lived up to the hype. There are already many capable reviews out there, so I won’t offer a full review here. Nevertheless, I would offer a handful of brief reflections. It would be misleading to say that the book is about the plight of the working poor in America. It is not nearly so abstract. The book is actually a searching, introspective look at the author’s own troubled childhood in the…

  • Book Reviews,  Theology/Bible

    Is disagreement about homosexuality an “intra-evangelical” discussion?

    Zondervan will be releasing later this year a new book on homosexuality in their Counterpoints series—a series I appreciate and have recently contributed to. This new volume features two writers who believe homosexuality is not sinful and two writers who do. I have not read this book yet, but I am eager to see it as soon as it is available. Having said that, here are a few things to be watching for: 1. Framing Sexual Immorality as an Evangelical Option – The publisher’s description has a section that caught my eye: Until recently most books fit neatly into two camps: non-affirming books were written by evangelicals and affirming books…

  • Book Reviews,  Theology/Bible

    An unseemly troll but a fine review

    Several weeks (months?) ago I received a package in my faculty mailbox at work. I was so taken aback by it that I snapped a photo of it (at right). It was obviously a book mailer, but the label on the outside said this: “Are Conservative Evangelical Men More Likely To Abuse Their Wives?” I didn’t even know what was inside the package, but I already knew that this was a transparent troll—a marketing ploy. They send out a book to a bunch of conservative evangelical men, and then they put a label on the outside of the package with an ugly insinuation about conservative evangelical men. The publisher wasn’t…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    A must-read about the evangelical gender debate

    Without question, 1 Timothy 2:12 is the most contested verse in the wider debate among evangelicals about women in ministry. The most contested clause within this most contested verse is “I do not allow a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man.” And the most contested word within this most contested clause is without a doubt authentein (often translated as “exercise authority”). The meaning of this term and even of its syntax has been the subject of no little dispute. And it has long been a crux interpretum among those engaged in the debate between complementarians and egalitarians. For two decades now, the most important book on…