An Amateur Parent Poo-Poos the idea of a “Christian Family”

Review of Disciplines of a Godly Family by Kent & Barbara HughesA necessary precautionary disclaimer: As of this writing, I am the parent of a three-month old. Which means I have exactly zero real-world experience when it comes to raising children who can do more than eat and scream and poop.With that said, Disciplines of a Godly Family by Kent and Barbara Hughes is a fine enough book. The theology is solid; the advice is sound; and the writing is clear and readable. If I have a … [Read more...]

Just what is biblical theology anyway?

Review of What Is Biblical Theology? by James M. Hamilton, Jr.Just what is "biblical theology"? And  isn't all good theology 'biblical' theology? Well, yes and no. Obviously all good theology will be based on the Bible, but "biblical theology" refers to a very specific category within the broad science known as theology. It is this specific category that Southern Seminary Professor James Hamilton's What Is Biblical Theology? is intended to introduce. In this short book, Hamilton gives a q … [Read more...]

Why would you want to raise a reader?

Review of How to Raise a Reader by Elaine McEwanAs someone who teaches at the college level, I'm not sure whether the number one academic problem with college students today is illiteracy, laziness, or both. It may even be that the two are really different sides of the same coin—I just don't know enough about what goes on in primary and secondary education to be able to say for sure. What I do know is that far too many college freshmen are functionally illiterate (not, thankfully, either a m … [Read more...]

‘Teach Us to Want’ Teaches Us to Pray

Review of Teach Us to Want: Longing, Ambition, & the Life of Faith by Jen Pollock MichelBased on the title, the jacket blurb, the promotional materials, the opening chapter, and the final paragraphs of the book, Teach Us to Want is a book about the role of desire in the life of a Christian. The foreword describes it as 'a practical theology of desire.' Michel, like many Christians, once labored under the misapprehension that the Christian life is diametrically and fundamentally opposed … [Read more...]

An Amateur Parent Reviews an Obscure Parenting Tract

Review of Duties of Parents by J.C. RyleTwo necessary precautionary disclaimers:As of this writing, I am the parent of a one-month-old. Which means I have exactly zero real-world experience when it comes to raising children who can do more than eat and scream and poop.When you say "Duty" out loud, it sounds like "Doody." Be prepared to giggle. This little tract by J.C. Ryle (available for free here and here) is short, well-written, and full of excellent advice. Specifically, he … [Read more...]

An Amateur Parent Reviews a Parenting Classic

Review of Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp Two necessary precautionary disclaimers:As of this writing, I am the parent of a one-month-old. Which means I have exactly zero real-world experience when it comes to raising children who can do more than eat and scream and poop.There is little about shepherds and nothing about sheep in this book. You'll have to look elsewhere if you want to learn more about Biblical ovine care.With those disclaimers in mind, Shepherding a … [Read more...]

The Tyranny of Tolerance

Review of The Intolerance of Tolerance, by D.A. Carson In 2008 Brendan Eich donated $1,000 to the campaign for California’s Proposition 8, a measure to ban same-sex marriage in that state. Six years later he was promoted to CEO of Mozilla, an internet company he helped found. Pro-gay-marriage activists called for a boycott of the company, successfully provoking a social-media furor over Eich’s supposed intolerance. Under intense pressure, Eich resigned.The widely-noted incident would fit … [Read more...]

Sex and Violence in the Bible

Review of Sex and Violence in the Bible: A Survey of Explicit Content in the Holy Book by Joseph W. Smith, IIIJoseph Smith relates in his introduction to this book that he arranged for a screening of The Artist at his church. The 2011 film is a charming black and white comedy about a silent movie star in 1920s Hollywood struggling to cope with the transition to talkies. It won the Oscar for Best Picture.Smith relates that a church member complained because they felt the movie was … [Read more...]

Looking Into the Abyss, and Finding a Way Toward Hope

Review of My Bright Abyss by Christian WimanMy Bright Abyss, the spiritual memoir of Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman, has received the highest praise from literary critics and many of Wiman’s fellow poets. Written after Wiman was diagnosed with incurable cancer, My Bright Abyss is, indeed, a new classic, but what is its spiritual perspective? How does it adhere to, or depart from, orthodox Christian belief?First, if you’re looking for traditional language about God and theological … [Read more...]

Christian Realism and Democracy

The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, by Reinhold Niebuhrby Paul D. MillerIn 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama famously said Reinhold Niebuhr was “one of my favorite philosophers.” Niebuhr, Obama explained, believed that “there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction.” In Niebuhr’s view, Christians should be neither utopian no … [Read more...]