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God in Dispute
"Conversations" among Great Christian Thinkers
Roger E. Olson (Baker Academic)

Few scholars possess the creativity, historical breadth, and theological acumen to pull off a volume like this. If Roger Olson's fictionalized discussions occasionally reveal as much about his own views as those of other Christian thinkers, then the excellence of his unusual survey of church history can be his excuse. Quotes like this one, from Luther to a roomful of Reformation-era leaders, keep the reading fun: "Stop quarreling, people. All that is really needful or helpful is for all of you to agree with me!"

The Karma of Jesus
Do We Really Reap What We Sow?
Mark Herringshaw (Bethany House)

As our country's religious topography diversifies, we might expect to see more pastors borrowing concepts from popular alternative spiritualities. Mark Herringshaw's extended gospel presentation gets bogged down at times. But his subversion of karma is intriguing and his theological rewording faithful. He offers a new kind of apologetic, one based less on rationalistic arguments than on re-inhabiting sacred territory.

Pure Pleasure
Why Do Christians Feel So Bad about Feeling Good?
Gary Thomas (Zondervan)

It's a sin not to have fun. A daily latte is money well spent. God delights in our enjoyment. If such statements spark a twinge of guilt, Gary Thomas wants to set the record straight. Written in his warm, personal style, Pure Pleasure reminds readers that pleasures can point to God rather than compete with him, and that God himself can become our highest joy. Others have written in this direction, but Thomas takes us further into a lifestyle of purposeful, holy enjoyment.

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December 2009

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