Christian Books

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Welcome to the Episcopal Church by Christopher L. Webber

Welcome to the Episcopal: An Introduction to Its History, Faith, and Worship
Christopher L. Webber
Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1999
133 pages

Rating: 4 out of 10

Quick Summary: Christopher L. Webber is a prolific author and Episcopal priest.  He has earned two advanced degrees from General Theological Seminary.  This work is an introduction to the Episcopal Church.  Admittedly, after having read Urban Holmes book, What Is Anglicanism (The Anglican Studies Series), this book was quite disappointing.  While I found myself disagreeing at times with Holmes, I still found myself saying, “he still makes a theologically informed, lucid point.”  I cannot say this with Webber’s book.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sacred Companions by David G. Benner

Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship and Direction
David G. Benner
Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2002
240 pages

Rating: 8 out of 10

Quick Summary: This is my fourth revue of a book by Dr. David G. Benner.  Personally, I have followed his work from psychology and pastoral care to Christian spirituality.  Interestingly enough, Larry Crabb, who wrote the Foreward, and Benner, share a similar journey from clinical psychology to Christian spirituality.  Benner is a Christian clinical psychologist and academic, who has written on many topics relating to the Christian faith, psychology, and Christian spirituality.  His book, Care of Souls: Revisioning Christian Nurture and Counsel and this work lay the foundation for his brief, popular Christian spirituality books which follow this work.  I hope to revue some of these later…

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Understanding and Applying the Bible by Robertson McQuilkin

Understanding and Applying the Bible,
Revised and Expanded
Robertson McQuilkin
Chicago: Moody Press, 2009
334 pages

Rating: 9 out of 10

Quick Summary: Dr. Robertson McQuilkin is the President Emeritus and was the President of Columbia International University from 1968-1990.  In a heartfelt and touching move, he resigned in 1990 to care for his wife, Muriel, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and has since passed away in 2003.  Their story is told in a short book called, A Promise Kept (Amazon link).
Returning to this revue of Understanding and Applying the Bible, McQuilkin has provided a standard, evangelical textbook on Biblical interpretation.  I used his 1992 text in Bible college as well as in seminary!  Thankfully, it was revised and expanded in 2009 to address more recent hermeneutical issues.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh

Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
Adam S. McHugh
Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2009
222 pages

Rating: 9 out of 10

Quick Summary: My wife actually started reading this book because she thought that she was an introvert, but after a few chapters, she said to me, “He’s describing you perfectly.”  Once she finished reading it, I had to read this book, especially since it was talking about me!
The author, Adam McHugh, is an ordained Presbyterian minister and introverted personality.  He has an M.Div and Th.M from Princeton and has served in various pastoral and chaplaincy ministries.  He says, “My hope is that, through this book, God will begin or continue a process of healing introverts – helping them find freedom in their identities and confidence to their faith in ways that feel natural and life-giving, the way that God intended…Further, I hope that God will unlock in introverts the tremendous gifts that they have to bring to the church” (13).  As an introvert, I have to say, “AMEN!”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pastoral Care Under the Cross by Richard C. Eyer

Pastoral Care Under the Cross: God in the Midst of Suffering
Richard C. Eyer
St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1994
155 pages

Rating: 9 out of 10

Quick Summary: Richard Eyer is an experienced Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) pastor, chaplain, and professor of over 40 years and is the author of several books.  This book presents a well-balanced, practical theological perspective on pastoral care that is informed by psychology and medicine, but not controlled by it.  He interacts with our current cultural perspective of individualism, relativism, and utilitarianism to explain the wide canyon between it and a Christian view of pastoral care.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Soul Friend by Kenneth Leech

Soul Friend: An Invitation to Spiritual Direction
Kenneth Leech
New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992
 250 pages

Rating: 8 out of 10

Quick Summary: Retired Anglican priest and theologian, Kenneth Leech, authored this “modern classic” on Christian spiritual direction.  Almost every current book on spiritual direction will quote or comment on this book.  It is like Dallas Willard’s Spirit of the Disciplines.  Everyone respects it and refers to it, but no one really wants to read it because of its scholarly depth and difficult prose.  In addition, this book is also thorough and scholarly.

Healing Emotional Wounds by David G. Benner

Healing Emotional Wounds
David G. Benner
Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990
137 pages

Rating: 7 out of 10

Quick Summary: Because of my personal interest in a Christian approach to counseling and psychology, this prompted me to read and revue a third book by Dr. David Benner.  He is a Christian clinical psychologist and has written on many topics relating to the Christian faith, spirituality, and psychology.  In this work, he integrates psychology with Scripture to address the healing of emotional wounds.  We all experience emotional wounds that we do not deserve.  What can we do about them?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Spirituality and Pastoral Care by Kenneth Leech

Spirituality and Pastoral Care
Kenneth Leech
Cambridge, MA: Cowley Publications, 1989
149 pages

Rating: 8 out of 10

Quick Summary: Kenneth Leech is a retired Anglican priest who has written two modern classics on Christian spirituality, Soul Friend and True Prayer, which I hope to review at a later time.  He draws on his many years of research into the history of Christian spirituality and of experience as a priest to call pastors to the ministry of spiritual direction as a focus of pastoral care.  He covers the foundations of spirituality, spiritual direction, and the practice of spirituality in ministry.  I appreciate Leech’s broad approach which includes both the social as well as the individual implications of the Gospel.

Lutheranism 101 by Concordia Publishing House

Lutheranism 101
General Editor: Scot A. Kinnaman
Assisting Editor: Laura L. Lane
St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2010
309 pages

Rating: 9 out of 10

Quick Summary: Lutheranism 101 is published by Concordia Publishing House which is the publishing arm of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).  The LCMS is an orthodox, confessional Lutheran denomination.  Lutheranism 101 is a very accessible, well-written, sometimes entertaining introduction to the LCMS.  I especially appreciated the short chapters... they kept it interesting and moving.  It does an excellent job of explaining Lutheran theology, history, and worship.  Also, it explains common Lutheran terminology and concepts, which many evangelicals would not be familiar with.

Strategic Pastoral Counseling by David G. Benner

Strategic Pastoral Counseling: A Short-Term Structured Model
David G. Benner
Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2003
2nd Edition

Rating: 8 out of 10

Quick Summary: Dr. David Benner, a Christian clinical psychologist, has researched and written on many topics relating to the Christian faith and psychology.  In this work, he has written a pastoral counseling textbook for pastors who counsel, but who are not trained as professional counselors.  He has created a counseling model that utilizes pastors’ biblical and theological training in a pastoral counseling context.  While the strategic model is based on research of what pastors actually do concerning counseling, it attempts to focus this by setting pastoral counseling in its proper context of one’s overall pastoral ministry and makes use of the spiritual resources of pastors in addressing parishioners’ issues in counseling.