Typical beach reading is heavy on novels and narrative non-fiction. But if you want to shake up your summer selections, consider picking up one or more of these newly released, theologically informed books.

Your beach companions will think you're prepping for Sunday school or family devotions. You'll actually be learning plenty yourself from an unusually gifted theologian equally adept at teaching seminary students and young children.

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Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church
by Michael Horton
Baker Books, December 2008
240 pp., $14.99

Maybe you should wait to read this book on a rainy day when you can't go to the beach. Horton, a discerning and clear-thinking theologian, diagnoses what ills American believers, including consumerism, individualism, and nationalism.

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Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan
by Faith Cook
Evangelical Press, January 2008
432 pp., $21.99

Biographies make for a quick, engaging read. Cook explores the times that gave us Bunyan, the pastor and prisoner whose best-selling The Pilgrim's Progress brought theology to the masses.

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The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith
by Mark A. Noll
IVP Academic, June 2009
250 pp., $17.99

Venerable historian Noll expands on the contributions of missiologist Andrew Walls to show how American Christianity has shaped the rapidly expanding global church.

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Politics for the Greatest Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square
by Clarke Forsythe
IVP Books, June 2009
304 pp., $16.99

The senior counsel for Americans United for Life advocates the neglected virtue of prudence for fighting abortion. His timing is impeccable for Christians dealing with the ramifications ...
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