Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical

Timothy Keller Review by Andrew J.W. Smith

In 2007, Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, wrote his rational defense of the Christian faith in The Reason for God. The book was a strong counterargument to postmodern skepticism, offering a compelling case why Christianity is a reasonable belief system.

Making Sense of God is Keller’s prequel to The Reason for God, as it addresses a question even more basic than the rationality of Christianity and considers why Christianity is worth considering at all. For many skeptics, Christianity doesn’t seem to be worth their time. No one rejects Christianity because of reason alone, Keller argues. There are social, emotional, and cultural factors that render religion unworthy of rational consideration for many.

This book addresses the secular worldview underpinning all doubt, identifying the moral value assumptions borrowed from Christianity and confronting some of the “background beliefs” that motivate supposed unbelief.

Andrew Fuller: Holy Faith, Worthy Gospel, World Mission 

John Piper Review by Annie Corser

John Piper formats his short biography on Andrew Fuller as an academic paper, keeping his analysis condensed and concise. In less than 60 pages, Piper provides highlights of Fuller’s life and theological impact on his criticism of hyper-Calvinism and Sandemanianism.

It is because of Fuller’s impact on theology, missions, and evangelism that Piper believes Fuller’s impact may continue to grow “by the time Jesus returns.” Ultimately, Fuller’s faithfulness to the Scriptures marks his practical understanding of evangelism and transforms how Christians should reach the world. Piper concludes with a prayer for his readers in their devotion to experiencing and understanding Christ in the gospel biblically and authentically.

“May God ignite that experience and that understanding in such a way that your life will count like Andrew Fuller’s for the cause of world evangelization to the glory of Christ,” Piper writes.

Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels 

Richard B. Hays Review By Andrew J.W. Smith

In the same vein as his seminal 1989 book Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, Richard B. Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels trains the attentive hearer to recognize the deep strains of the Old Testament that resonate throughout the fourfold witness to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. The central figure of Christianity was not just a prophet or teacher, but a faithful interpreter of Israel’s story, and the Gospel writers were his witnesses.

The four Gospels, each from a different perspective, retroactively complement the Law and the Prophets that bear witness to Jesus — what Hays calls a figural reading, a term he introduced in his 2014 work Reading BackwardsEchoes of Scripture in the Gospels applies that hermeneutic to the writing of each Evangelist, noting their distinctive instrumentation in the symphony of Christological fulfillment.

Live Smart: Preparing for the Future God Wants for You

Dan Dumas

Review by Andrew J.W. Smith

Growing up in this culture is hard, particularly the many challenges facing junior high and high school kids, from distractions keeping them from growing in their faith to unstated expectations that they act younger than their age. There are also few theologically robust Christian resources applying biblical wisdom to help girls and boys grow into spiritually strong men and women of God.

“My singular goal in this book is to give you some of the guidance I missed as a young man,” Dumas writes in the introduction. “I want to pass on wisdom that I’ve learned from Scripture and from life, wisdom that I hope will save you from regrets.”

In Live Smart, Dan Dumas winsomely appropriates the profound and practical wisdom of the book of Proverbs to young people in the church. Dumas, senior vice president for institutional administration at Southern Seminary, shares his unique burden for the younger generation and wants to see them develop lifelong habits of God-fearing discipline. The book invites young believers to find their place in God’s plan for the church, encouraging them to cultivate deeper relationships with their Lord, their parents, their peers, and themselves. Kids should resist the urge to do the easy things of life, and commit to heavy lifting in their pursuit of godliness.

“Building a gospel centered life is like scuba diving. You can either meander through the shallow coal, or you can head for the deep spots and never touch bottom,” Dumas writes. “Let me encourage you to spend the rest of your life diving into the deep. There are riches to find there, even if it takes some work to find them.”