On average, we publish around 150 book reviews a year at The Gospel Coalition. Ecclesiastes 12:12 rings true: “Of making many books there is no end.” It’s impossible to read, let alone review, each one. But in addition to our steady line of reviews, we want to highlight other books you should know about. This is our monthly installment of brief book notices from Fred Zaspel. You can check out more book notices, reviews, author interviews, and book summaries at Books At a Glance.
Jesus and the Future: What He Taught about the End Times
Andreas Köstenberger, Alexander Stewart, Apollo Makara
Weaver Book Co., 2017
The authors’ goal is to provide a reliable guide to understanding Jesus’s Olivet Discourse (Part 1) and then to allow its bright light to illumine the other scattered references to the end times found in Jesus’s teaching (Part 2). Given the centrally important role of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) in the study of biblical eschatology, the plan is a good one, and the authors pull it off with obvious success. It’s a model of theological exegesis: they’re careful to follow the text, and they’re careful not to step beyond it. Doubtless this will become required reading for any study of Jesus’s famous eschatological discourse.
Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary
Of the various commemorative volumes published in this Reformation 500th anniversary year, this may be the most significant. Barrett has assembled a first-class team to provide us with a systematic theology textbook that the Reformers themselves could claim as their own work. Valuable historical notes are included also. A resource that’s long overdue, this is surely a “must have” volume for anyone teaching theology.
How Can Justification Make Me Joyful?
Daniel R. Hyde
Reformation Heritage Books, 2017
The gospel is intended to enliven the heart. This little booklet not only explains how that works, but actually serves to minister that joy through a personalized consideration of the gospel’s leading benefits. A delightful read for every Christian, well suited for evangelistic use also.
Asking the Right Questions: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Applying the Bible
Matthew S. Harmon
Matthew Harmon takes the professionalism and academic mystique out of profitable Bible reading and offers every Christian layperson real help—a simple approach that’s well-informed yet entirely accessible. I’ve read many “how to read your Bible” kinds of books—this is my favorite and the first one I’ll suggest to believers looking to read their Bibles to spiritual profit. This book would serve well for individual reading and for group use—great for a Sunday school or small group setting.
Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land
Gerald R. McDermott
Gerald McDermott (Anglican Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School) is convinced you don’t have to be a dispensationalist (and he’s not) or even a premillennialist (I don’t think he is) to see that Israel’s promised hope remains. Plenty of non-dispensational and even Reformed types in the history of the church illustrate his point, and McDermott himself (in the words of one of his endorsers) “reworks covenantal theology to argue that there remains a covenant with Israel, which includes the land, and that this insight has implications for Christian doctrine as a whole.”
This work is simpler and briefer, yet similar in substance, to his larger edited volume, The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land (see my interview with him here). It treats the question historically, exegetically, theologically, and even politically.
McDermott is certain to meet critical reviews from the traditional sides. His interpretations are sometimes surprising. But his work is of the sort that will claim attention and, if not agreement, then at least a response.
Visit www.BooksAtaGlance.com, where you can access a plethora of quality Christian book reviews, book notices, book summaries, and author interviews.