Goodreads Review of Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin

Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World's Largest ReligionConfronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion by Rebecca McLaughlin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Christianity is the world’s largest religion. And as Rebecca McLaughlin argues, if nothing else just given the sheer mass of those who find its beliefs compelling, everyone at some point should give serious Christianity deep consideration.

If you are not a worshipper of Jesus, I want to commend this book to you and ask you to consider reading it.

A very good and thoughtful book addressing some of today’s most pressing issues re the veracity of Christianity. Believers as well will be both encouraged and stretched by picking up this volume.

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Goodreads Review of The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson

The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still MattersThe Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters by Sinclair B. Ferguson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ferguson uses the Marrow Controversy that occurred in the Scottish Presbyterian church during the early 18th century to illuminate and provide an excellent theological treatment on the classic issue of the relationship between law and gospel and their role in the life of the believer. This means he provides an analysis of subjects like legalism, antinomianism, and assurance. In some ways, you might think of this book as a deep dive into the topic “the gospel in the life of the believer” conducted through the lens of a particular historical case study. Ferguson’s treatment is both theologically astute and pastorally sensitive and applicable. This is one of those books I feel like I will want to return to and read again in years to come to refresh myself in the aid it supplies.

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Goodreads Review of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual RevolutionThe Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution by Carl R. Trueman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Phenomenal. One of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. This book serves as a prolegomenon to engaging and navigating our current culture by way of a historical-philosophical explanation of how we got here. This book connected a lot of dots for me in my own understanding of our contemporary society. Very, very helpful. A technical subject matter. But Carl Trueman is a fantastic writer. He makes it easy to follow his argument and is enjoyable to read.

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Goodreads Review of Jesus and John Wayne by Kristin Kobes DuMez

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a NationJesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t originally give this book a rating when I marked it “read.” That’s largely because I felt pretty ambivalent about it — things about it drew me towards a high ranking, like 4 or 5-stars; but other things I found more dissatisfactory or more mediocre.

However, given the popularity and influence of this book, I had several folks ask me for my thoughts. So I guess I’ll oblige. And I’ll give the book a balanced 3-starts, which Goodreads describes as “I liked it” [good, above average], to express my general appreciation of the book, its argument, and form, while also taking into consideration my quibbles and hesitancies.

One note: I listened to this book as an audiobook, which always creates a different experience (at least for me) than a more careful read. I’m a visual learner. So when I listen to books I expect I inevitably overlook or don’t absorb some of its details, but nonetheless gain an overall impression of the book. But anyway, that means you should take any critique or quibbles below with a certain grain of salt in case the fault, in this case, lies with the reader (me) and not the book/author.

But allow me to list out some of the thoughts I have in terms of assessment:

(1) I very much agree with and appreciate the overall message of the book. I personally grew up in the orbit of the evangelical world Du Mez is describing. So I know the truth of her thesis not just academically, but also on a personal level from my own experience. I don’t think she uses the term “toxic masculinity.” But (defined in the best possible way) I think this term fits what she’s describing. Her point is that much of evangelicalism is fraught with such a view of masculinity. And that’s very, very true, in my opinion. No push back there.

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