Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My new favorite books!

Two thousand thirteen has already given me three beautiful and mind-expanding books about life with God. These three books examine widely divergent topics but share one huge similarity: they all cite tons of Scripture to back up their points and newly illuminate it with their ideas. I highly recommend for every Christian:
  1. Men and Women in the Church by Sarah Sumner, which I borrowed from my well-read parents. Main points: Most Christians of both sexes need to repent of sexism, and the Bible affirms women's value and capacity to teach, preach, prophesy and lead.
  2. Miracle Work by Jordan Seng. I think O. likes this one even more than I do. The main premise: Just like other forms of ministry like preaching and sharing the gospel, supernatural ministries like prophecy, healing and deliverance ministries require effort and preparation. God empowers us to do "miracle work." Also, God works to ensure that his power always flows in ways that also demonstrate his love and compassion.
  3. Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey. O. bought this book at Urbana 2009 (but hasn't read any of it) and it caught my eye on our bookshelf last week. Honestly it's been a page-turner for me! I have never learned so much about the Bible from one book before. It's very exciting!! All I can say to summarize is that the Gospels really come alive with color and meaning when the cultural context is illuminated.
What I love most about these books is their explanatory power. Reading any of these books unveils the reason for and the implications of seemingly irrelevant or inexplicable events and details in Scripture. Miracle Work and Men and Women especially provide frameworks for a new kind of understanding--alternative paradigms, if you will. Another shared characteristic is the brilliant combination of personal testimony with exploration of Biblical principles and texts.

But enough from me! Go read one of these brilliant books. You'll be glad you did.

P.S. One last note: All three books also share the theme of sacrifice. Sumner highlights the pairing of sacrifice with submission in Ephesians 5:22-33. Seng states that "Sacrifice is the currency of love" in his discussion of consecration (one of the factors through which God empowers us to do miracle work). Bailey speaks of Christ's "costly demonstration of love" to the sinful woman in the house of Simon, for example, and ultimately on the cross.

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