Friends – SO many great books launched in Fall 2021. I was honestly overwhelmed. I have a stack as big as my torso on my desk and wanted to do individual book reviews for each, but since I want these in front of you before 2023, I decided to shorten my summaries and compile them in one place! If you’re looking for some great gifts, or want to keep this post for future reference, save it in your browser because this is one to come back to!
Phy's Top Lists
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When I heard the title of Karen Ehman’s latest book, I knew I needed to read it. Without even seeing the subtitle I knew the content was applicable to me and my lifelong struggle of making choices to prevent conflict and make people like me. And if you’ve read anything from Karen, you know you’ll hear truth like she’s sitting at the table with you to talk about it.
I first discovered this book when I heard the author, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, speak at a critical thinking summit here in Petoskey. His message was so powerful I knew I wanted to read his work – and when I arrived at his booth, he was GIVING his books away. I may have grabbed this book for free, but it is certainly worth your money and this review will detail why.
People who want to know about libertarian free will, how to understand biblical predestination if you’re not a Calvinist, and whether Arminians are indeed “false teachers” on the verge of theological liberalism gather each Ask Anything Monday to pose questions about this theology. That’s why I am so delighted to offer this book review! I think it will give readers – Arminian, Calvinist and undecided – the push to understand Wesleyan-Arminian history accurately and argue for/against it rightly.
Salvation by Allegiance Alone probably makes a few people a bit wiggly when they see the title because we’re used to the Five Solas (grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone, etc.) and none of those Solas mention the word “allegiance”. But actually… one does. Sola Fide, or “faith alone”, links us to Matthew Bates’ topic. He argues that how we define “faith” results in either an authentic Christian life or one riddled by uncertainty and lack of fruit. If “faith” is just a vague mental assent (“I asked Jesus into my heart” or “I believe in Jesus”), nominal “Christians” should not surprise us. But what if faith – as Jesus and Paul and Peter describe it – isn’t just “belief”? What if it’s more than that?
I love a good book on the Holy Spirit.
He is, as Francis Chan put it, “Forgotten God” – often overlooked and misinterpreted, either ignored in our churches or emphasized beyond what Scripture says. That’s why so many Christians struggle either to embrace the Spirit’s role or to understand Him outside of sensationalism. When Jeannie Cunnion released this book, I was thrilled to provide a resource for my community.
Since The Chosen – a TV series about the life of Jesus and His disciples – launched in 2020, I’ve received a plethora of questions about watching the show, what I think of it, how to interact with it, etc. Per the usual, I don’t plan to tell you what to think; I would rather teach you how to think through the show and get the most out of it. This led me to write a quick post outlining some tips for engaging with the show and including your kids or friends in the discussion of it.
Growing Slow came out earlier this year just as Farmer Bob, our neighbor, was planting his corn. As I write this, the corn was indeed growing slow – and now it’s ten feet tall, swaying in the field behind our house. As I read the book (both personally and in a mom’s study I hosted) I felt as if I had an actual visual of the principles in Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book: principles of cultivating, planting, harvesting, and rest.
This book is physically beautiful. It’s like a coffee table book, or your nicest cookbook, pretty enough to leave out and pick up periodically to read the short chapters. It’s filled with beautiful photos, which actually made the reading experience even better and also fit with the content of the book.
If you’re looking for a book that is calming but encouraging, gentle but convicting, educational and beautiful, you’ll enjoy Satisfied: Finding Hope, Joy and Contentment Right Where You Are.
The very first book I assigned as part of the Every Woman a Theologian 2021 book club was this one. That probably gives away my review, but so be it: this is one of my favorite theological books of all time. Perhaps because I didn’t realize I needed it when I first read it, Michael Reeves words struck a chord in my heart and faith. It’s no my go-to resource for Christians with any question about the character of God.