Here’s what’s on my shelf for the second week of July:
- The Theology of Augustine—Whole libraries have been written about Augustine and his theology—a subject that demands an entire library. Augustine is easily the most influential post-Pauline theologian in the history of the Church. No theologian or historian worth their salt can afford to ignore Augustine’s writings.
- What makes this book unique is Levering’s approach. Instead of presenting Augustine’s thinking topically or biographically, Levering selects Augustine’s seven most important works (On Christian Teaching, Answer to Faustus, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, On the Predestination of the Saints, Confessions, City of God, On the Trinity). Then he walks through each of them, explaining their argument and flow of thought. By arranging these seven works in the order Augustine wrote them, this book gives a fairly thorough picture of how Augustine’s theology developed, especially his multi-faceted understanding of Christian love.
- This book is accessible even to readers who know nothing about Augustine. Pick up a copy so that “the clean sea breeze of the centuries” that comes from old books can blow through your modern mind. (Amazon: Kindle, Paper)
- Aristotle’s Poetics—Though Plato banished all the poets and playwrights because they distracted people from the pursuit of truth, Aristotle believed that poetry was important for a society. He knew that poetry and story can move people in profound ways, so he set about analyzing how stories produced this effect. This is the very first fully formed essay on literary art and set the standard for subsequent authors in this topic. Aristotle’s study created the content, vocabulary, and concepts of an entirely new field of study—literary criticism. (Amazon: Kindle, Paper)
- Running Scared— I have learned a lot about the Christian life from Ed Welch’s books. A leader in the Christian counseling movement, Welch writes about extremely difficult topics (addiction, anxiety attacks, etc.) with pastoral empathy, Scriptural insight, and Christian love. In Running Scared Welch addresses the perennial and universal topic of fear. After introductory chapters that confirm the reality and power of fear, Welch places fear in a biblical context. He explains what Scripture says about fear and why we must deal with fear head-on instead of ignoring it. He explains the “manna principle”, exposits many of God’s promises of provision, and discusses God’s fatherly character.
- Then Welch discusses specifically four common sources of fear: fear of finances, fear of others’ opinions of us, and fear of death and judgment. He closes with several chapters that discuss the nature of Christian peace—a peace that doesn’t escape hardship but can face it with confidence in the knowledge of God’s faithfulness.
- This is an excellent book, even if you don’t consider yourself a fearful person. At the very least, you will grow in your understanding of God’s character and what it means to live as a disciple of Christ. And, as Welch asserts, fear grips us all at some point. Better to be prepared ahead of time. (Amazon: Kindle, Paper)