Eight Women of Faith by Michael A.G. Haykin (Crossway, 2016, $14.99)

Review by Annie Corser

Eight Women of Faith represents a unique collection of biographies of influential women of faith between the 14th and 19th centuries. Michael A.G. Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality at Southern Seminary, sought to recognize the importance of women’s roles throughout church history.

This book provides an engaging look at the lives of each woman using written texts including journal entries and letters. These texts support the character development in each narrative creating an easy-to-read sketch of history making the biographical stories come to life. Haykin weaves his love for theology and history throughout this book.

“One gets a good idea of the nature of Margaret’s mettle when Baxter tells us that at the time of his first imprisonment in 1669,” Haykin writes in his chapter on Margaret Baxter. “[According to Baxter] Margaret ‘cheerfully went with me into prison; she brought her best bed thither, and did much to remove the removable inconveniences of the prison. I think she scarce ever had a pleasanter time in her life than while she was with me there.’”

While not an all-inclusive explanation of every woman who has impacted the Christian faith, Haykin dives deeper into the lives of these eight women in order to portray them in a personal, honest way. These women include Jane Grey, Margaret Baxter, Anne Dutton, Sarah Edwards, Anne Steele, Esther Edwards Burr, Ann Judson, and Jane Austen. This personal account of history paired with short chapters is enough to satisfy readers at every level. Eight Women of Faith is a great book for readers to grow their love for history alongside a well-rounded view of women who have played a part in shaping the Christian faith.

The Mestizo Augustine: A Theologian Between Two Cultures by Justo L. González (IVP Academic 2016, $24)

Review by S. Craig Sanders

“To be a mestizo is to belong to two realities and at the same time not to belong to either of them,” writes historical theologian Justo L. González in his illuminating The Mestizo Augustine. Writing from his own perspective as a Cuban American, González explores how Augustine balanced the tension between “his African roots and Roman order” and subsequently how his legacy in church history grew larger because Western Christianity was embracing its own mestizaje (“mixed ancestries”).

González first analyzes the role of Augustine’s background in his conversion and pastoral calling, and then discusses how his mestizaje shaped the theological controversies with Manichaeism, Donatism, Pelagianism, and paganism. For instance, González aligns Pelagianism with a Roman social vision of the intrinsic value of individuals and Augustine’s theological defense with a North African social structure in which the chief determines the value of the individual.

God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture by Matthew Barrett (Zondervan 2016, $24.99)

Review by S. Craig Sanders

If you haven’t paid attention to Zondervan’s “The Five Solas Series” leading up to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, SBTS alumnus and series editor Matthew Barrett’s God’s Word Alone is a clarion call: Evangelicals must continue the mission of Luther, Calvin, and Tyndale against renewed threats to biblical authority.

In keeping with the other books in the series, Barrett provides a historical overview of the battle for biblical authority (founded on inspiration and inerrancy) during the Reformation, Enlightenment, and 20th-century liberalism; a biblical theology of Scripture showing how God has revealed himself in redemptive history and proved the truthfulness of his Word; and a systematic exploration of the attributes of Scripture, namely inspiration, inerrancy, clarity, and sufficiency. Although published third, God’s Word Alone is the place to start in this series to grasp the relevance of these Reformation doctrines.

Unlimited Grace: The Heart Chemistry That Frees from Sin and Fuels the Christian Life by Bryan Chapell (Crossway 2016, $14.99)

Review by S. Craig Sanders

What is the relationship between grace and obedience, and how do we avoid legalism on the one hand and antinomianism on the other? In Unlimited Grace, seasoned pastor and author Bryan Chapell explores how God’s grace frees us from shame and guilt and motivates our hearts to faithfulness.

“Our Savior knew there is a chemistry of the devoted heart that is stronger than the math of the divided mind,” Chapell writes. “When we experience how great is his grace toward us, then our hearts unite with his. He changes our ‘want to’ so that his priorities become our greatest joy, love, and compulsion.”

In three parts, Chapell provides an overview of what grace is and how it fuels our lives, encourages pastors and counselors to find grace in all of Scripture, and answers common and difficult questions about grace.