The Wisdom Pyramid, Feeding Your Soul in a Post-Truth World by Brett McCracken

The Wisdom Pyramid is modeled after the well-known food pyramid. While the food pyramid was developed as a guide for nutritional eating, the wisdom pyramid offers a plan for a “better diet of knowledge and better habits of information intake” (p. 12, cf. p. 17). The food pyramid suggests a balanced diet by dividing all types of food into five classes based on nutritional contributions, organizes them in a pyramid with the more wholesome food groups at the bottom of the pyramid and those of limited or little value at the top. The wisdom pyramid uses the same structure to identify six contributions to our level of thinking, with the most valuable at the base and those of lesser importance toward the top. Before Brett McCracken, a senior editor for the Gospel Coalition, unveils his pyramid, he spends about a third of the book demonstrating the need for a...

Not by Ignorance, An Explanation of Cessationism by Frank W. R. Benoit

As a longtime missionary in Spain, Frank Benoit has witnessed the encroachment of Pentecostal/charismatic views concerning the sign gifts since 1994. Not satisfied in his efforts to find a readable challenge to these views, nor an approachable explanation of cessationism for the average believer, he decided to write this book to fill the gap (p. 4). He begins with basic definitions (pp. 19-37) such as defining cessationism (which he documents as being the historic view of the church – pp. 34, 40, 62, 85). Cessationism affirms “that some of the gifts (the sign gifts) and other miraculous events ceased after the apostolic age because they had already fulfilled their function, that is, laying the foundation of the church, while the other gifts (the service gifts) are and have been used by God since then to build the church until Christ comes for her.” The author spends considerable time making...

A Place to Belong, Learning to Love the Local Church by Megan Hill

While many Christians are disappointed with, critical of, or apathetic toward the church (pp. 11-16), Megan Hill counters by claiming the great need today is to recapture the New Testament teaching on the church (p. 13).  Quoting Martin Lloyd-Jones she writes, “If only we could see ourselves in terms of it, we would realize that we are the most privileged people on earth, that there is nothing to be compared with being a Christian and a member of the mystical body of Christ” (p. 13). In support of her thesis the author offers nine winsome chapters, each devoted to a truth found in the New Testament about the church.  The church is: beloved, called a worshipping community, a body, saints designed for holiness, a family, gospel partners, and a connection to something bigger. When it comes to the church gathered for worship, Hill ascribes to the Westminster Confession of...

We Will Not Be Silenced by Erwin W. Lutzer

Erwin Lutzer is deeply concerned that a new America is emerging due to the influence of cultural Marxism and Social Justice movements (pp. 21-25, 74, 80, 179, 182). The bulk of this book details and documents this concern found in every area of society including education, politics, and historic revision. Under attack by ideological Marxist progressives is everything in our culture from freedom of speech to morals to capitalism. In particular, Christianity is hated and vilified (chapter nine) while Islam is exonerated (chapter eight). Logically it is incongruent that progressives look the other way when it comes to a religion that oppresses women, stifles most freedoms, and executes homosexuals. Yet because radical Islam despises capitalism and seeks to tear down American society (p. 207) and rebuild it according to its own template, progressives and Islam have united around a common threat. Lutzer believes socialism ultimately leads to widespread misery...

Fault Lines, the Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe by Voddie T. Baucham, Jr.

Voddie Baucham titles his book Fault Lines because of the similarity he sees between the geological fault lines that result in physical earthquakes and the social/political/ecclesiastical fault lines that have been developing within our society for decades, and which are now erupting in numerous ways. Baucham is not writing in hopes of avoiding looming trouble, nor does he see avoidance as desirable (p. 2). Rather he views disruption as unavoidable at this point (p. 138). His goal is to expose two competing worldviews, Critical Social Justice (CSJ) and biblical justice (p. 2) so that the reader understands the issues and can be on the right side of the fault line (p. 224). For his audience to realize that he is not writing from an ivory tower or as a mere academic, Baucham offers considerable biographical material detailing his life growing up as a young Black boy in a poor,...

What Every Christian Needs to Know About Social Justice by Jeffrey D. Johnson

Tom Ascol, in his recommendation of this short volume, writes that it will be “the first book I recommend to believers who want a trustworthy introduction to movement.” Ascol’s endorsement would summarize my thoughts as well. Jeffrey Johnson highlights many of the key issues in the social justice debate drawing distinctions between biblical views and critical theory on depravity, authority, God, objective meaning and justice (pp. 64-86). He traces critical theory to Marxism and the Frankfurt School, which developed social Marxism (pp. 62-73). In addition, the author clearly defines many of the key terms used by social justice advocates, terms unfamiliar to most people until recently.  More than that, a handy glossary of these terms is included (pp. 125-127). What Every Christian. . . is both informative and alarming. The reader will be educated about the social justice platform and warned of its design for culture...

The Enneagram Goes to Church, Wisdom for Leadership, Worship, and Congregational Life by Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, former senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church and currently president of the Center for Pastor Theologians, is perhaps best known for his book The Pastor Theologian, which he coauthored with Gerald Hiestand.  In that volume, (see my review here – https://tottministries.org/?s=the+pastor+theologian) Wilson emphasized the need for pastors to be serious theologians. The Center for Pastor Theologians was established to promote this emphasis and, while my review of the book reveals some differences, overall I applauded (and still do) the importance he places on the role of pastors as theologians. Therefore it was with considerable consternation that I discovered that a man who had placed so much stress on doctrine had written a book celebrating the trendy, pseudo-psychological, personality typing system – the Enneagram. I have written at length about the Enneagram exposing its cultic, even occultic, origin, lack of any scientific validity, its hopeless complexity, and its...

Gentle and Lowly, the Heart of Christ For Sinners and Sufferers

Using the Puritans, especially Thomas Goodwin, as his guiding interpretive model (p. 14), Dane Ortlund sets out to write a book about the heart of Christ—who He really is (p. 13). The target audience is: “. . . The discouraged, the frustrated, the weary, the disenchanted, the cynical, the empty. Those running on fumes. Those whose Christian lives feel like constantly running up a descending escalator” (p. 13). The strategy being employed is to “take either a Bible passage or a bit of teaching from the Puritans or others and consider what is being said about the heart of God and of Christ” (p. 15). The controlling text, however, is Matthew 11:28-30 in which Jesus describes Himself as gentle and lowly.” This is the one place, the author writes, where Jesus tells us His heart—what He truly is (pp. 17-19). The essence of Jesus is gentle, meek, humble and...

You’re Not Enough (and That’s Okay), Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love by Allie Beth Stuckey

Allie Beth Stuckey is a writer, speaker and host of the podcast Relatable sponsored by Blaze Media.  In You’re Not Enough, Stuckey takes on the self-love culture which insists that people are perfect the way they are, that love of self is their primary obligation, and that lives should be centered around worship of self (“meology,” pp. 64-72), rather than God.  Self cannot be both our problem and our solution, the author insists (p. 9).  Stuckey’s thesis is that “the world’s answers to our very real feelings of self-doubt, self-loathing, incompetence, and insecurity aren’t sufficient….  This book is about dismantling the lies fed to us and replacing them with God’s truth” (p. 13).  In order to accomplish her goal, Stuckey dismantles five myths that the self-love culture teaches. 1. You are enough (pp. 15-48). This worldview tells us that we can’t do anything until we love ourselves first (p....

The Creedal Imperative by Carl R. Trueman

Carl Trueman, well-known Orthodox Presbyterian scholar and, at the time this book was written, a professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary, has authored as fine of a book supportive of using creeds and confessions in the local church as one will likely find.  Reacting to the slogan “No creed but the Bible,” Trueman defends the uses of creeds and confessions to provide guardrails for truth and as teaching instruments for the church.  He writes: The main burden of this book thus far has been to argue that creeds and confessions are not simply consistent with biblical teaching but that their existence and use are even strongly implied by the same; and also that the history of the church demonstrates that they have frequently been of great help in the maintenance and propagation of the Christian faith (p. 159). Trueman is arguing for a particular brand of Protestant...