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Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know
J. I. Packer (Crossway Books)

In 2010, J. I. Packer teamed up with Gary A. Parrett, professor at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, to write Grounded in the Gospel, which called for churches to rejuvenate the art of catechesis (systematic instruction in the essentials of the Christian faith). Now, in Taking God Seriously, Packer has taken the matter into his own hands, going beyond the call for catechesis to give a concrete example of how it's done. Chapters on faith, doctrine, the church, Christian unity, repentance, the Holy Spirit, baptism, and the Lord's Supper bear the author's signature clarity of style and firmness of conviction. Though Packer writes with an eye toward reversing the liberalizing trends within segments of his native Anglicanism, his primer should appeal to committed Christians in many denominations.

Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness
Eric Metaxas (Thomas Nelson)

George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Charles Colson are all, to one degree or another, household names. Eric Metaxas wants today's generation of young men to look up to them, not unreasonably, as heroes and role models. In Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness, Metaxas, already a biographer of Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer, serves up chapter-length portraits of each of these towering figures.

Despite the men's varied callings and achievements, Metaxas sees an underlying commonality: Each man, in his own way, embodied manhood at its best. Blessed with great powers, they used them not to prey on the weak and vulnerable, but to serve others and further noble causes. They habitually "surrender[ed] themselves to a higher ...

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