The Christian faith is a bloody faith. Every benefit available to those who believe in Jesus Christ is connected to them through a trail of blood that leads from the cross. In Blood Work, Anthony Carter, pastor of East Point Church in East Point, Ga., demonstrates from the pages of the Bible how the blood of Christ is necessary for purchasing, propitiating, justifying, redeeming, cleansing, sanctifying, electing, freeing, and so much else. In a book that is equally descriptive and meditative, Carter forces the reader to take a look at the Bible’s blood motif and to see it as equally vile and beautiful, for the blood that flowed to demonstrate the cost of our salvation is the very thing that accomplished it.
Though we could hardly claim that Jesus’ Beatitudes are unknown or underappreciated, they are too often misunderstood and inappropriately applied. Instead of understanding them as qualities that mark the one who has been saved by grace, they are reduced to a series of commandments through which we win God’s favor. In Crucifying Morality R.W. Glenn teaches through the Beatitudes. As he does so, he battles their misappropriation, showing that Jesus “uses counterintuitive gospel logic to show us that life in the kingdom of God is completely contrary to what we expect. In fact, we could not have predicted it. Kingdom blessing looks like the opposite of everything we value.” The Beatitudes, properly understood, show a Christian who lives in the joy and freedom of the gospel.
In 2010 Joshua Harris released Dug Down Deep, a book challenging the reader to build his life upon robust, biblical theology. That book’s strongest chapter, a call to equal parts orthodoxy and humility, forms the basis for Humble Orthodoxy. Here Harris challenges readers to hold the truth high without putting people down. J.D. Greear aptly describes the challenge in his foreword: “Getting doctrine right is a matter of life and death, but holding that doctrine in the right spirit is essential too. A great deal of damage is done by those who hold the truth of Christ with the spirit of Satan.” Harris’ call to hold fast to both truth and love is written in and for a digital age in which words come quickly and damage deeply.
Eutychus had a privilege we have all wished for at one time or another: an evening with the world’s foremost theologian. Yet he is known to history for just one thing—falling asleep and plunging to the ground (Acts 20). Pastors Gary Millar and Phil Campbell are concerned with preaching that is boring or bad, and Saving Eutychus is their biblical, practical, and delightfully quirky antidote. They desire to equip preachers to prepare sermons that change the heart, offering powerful insights into the nature of preaching combined with practical pointers. The book’s greatest strengths come in describing sermon preparation—particularly prayer—and the intricacies of pitch, pace, and volume in sermon delivery. It is for good reason that both D.A. Carson and Alistair Begg hail it as one to read.
Martin Luther said, “The highest worship of God is the preaching of the Word; because thereby are praised and celebrated the name and the benefits of Christ.” This dedication to the preaching of the Word is among the greatest legacies of the Reformation, for the Reformers held that preaching is one of God’s greatest means of grace to His people. Steven Lawson’s The Kind of Preaching God Blesses attempts to recapture the priority of biblical preaching in the face of its many contemporary counterfeits, for “As the pulpit goes, so goes the church. … The spiritual life of any congregation and its growth in grace will never exceed the high-water mark set by its pulpit.” This is a book for those who preach sermons, for it will challenge them to preach God’s Word in God’s way, and it is a book for those who listen to sermons, for it will challenge them to be satisfied with nothing less. –T.C.