The following brief, interesting book reviews are by Russell Pulliam, an Indianapolis Star columnist who directs the Pulliam Fellowship summer intern program for the Indianapolis Star and the Arizona Republic.
1) With Him, A Biblical Model of Discipleship for Men, Ken Smith, 2017. 60 pages of excellent commentary on our union with Christ.
2) ReSet: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture, by David Murray, 2017. An excellent short book about resetting priorities in life and guarding against being Crazy Busy.
3) How Does Sanctification Work? By David Powlison, 2017. A very good analysis that avoids the fallacy of the false dilemma, or taking sides between discipline and grace; or strenuous effort and walking in the Spirit.
4) Coach Wooden and Me, Our 50-year friendship On and Off the Court, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 2017. Jabbar tells this story as well as he shot that sky hook and pays tribute, as a Muslim, to UCLA Coach John Wooden and his Christian faith.
5) The Road to Jonestown, by Jeff Guin, 2017. Such a sad story about Jim Jones, a gifted preacher/activist in Indianapolis and San Francisco and how he made an idol out of himself. The result was the tragic mass suicide in their colony in South America.
6) Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance, 2016. This memoir is one is the best stories to show how family dynamics are a key to causes of poverty. He offers the opposite of a victim mentality.
7) Forgotten, Don and Stephanie Prichard, 2016. Second in their series of novels. The plot is incredible. Underlying their story is God’s sovereign rule. They write exciting plots, on the order of the old 24 television show, but with a Christian foundation.
8) The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters, by Sinclair Ferguson, 2016. He reviews the 18th century Scottish theological controversy and outlines the dangers of legalism and antinominanism. The dangers arise not just from wrong thinking but from our fleshly bent to seek credit for ourselves instead of appreciating Christ’s grace at work in us.
9) I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction, by Bob Beckel, 2015. His story of conversion from a lifetime of addiction reminds me in some ways of Charles Colson’s Born Again. Behind this story is the faithful personal witness of journalist Cal Thomas and his friendships with liberal Democrats.
10) Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat, by James D. Bratt, 2012. A strong biography, showing Kuyper’s weakness relationally that made it harder for succession in the great Dutch political movement he launched. Yet Kuyper’s greatness across several fields comes through in the story – a very significant man in journalism, church, university, theology and politics in Holland, late 19th century and early 20th century. He started a university, built up the Anti-Revolutionary Party into a major political force and wrote newspaper columns several times a week. Sometimes he had to take time off in the mountains, due to understandable exhaustion.
11) Alloys and Automobiles: The Life of Elwood Haynes, Ralph Gray, 1979. Haynes was one of the auto inventors and entrepreneurs, in that era of invention, 1880-1925. Many of these inventors and entrepreneurs trusted in Christ, including Haynes, glass plate entrepreneur Washington DePauw, television inventor Charles Jenkins and the Wright brothers. Or they had a Psalm 112:2 blessing from parents trusting in Christ.