For the Beauty of the Church
Casting a Vision for the Arts
W. David O. Taylor, ed. (Baker)

With so many ways to get an edited volume on Christian art wrong—stuffing it with sterile theories, allowing contributors to wax self-reverential, sniffing in disdain at those simple-minded Christians who just don't get it!—David Taylor deserves kudos for an engaging and mature book on art's place in the church. His contributors show a sane appreciation for creativity in the church. It's hard to read their words without wondering how one's own congregation might benefit from a more robust commitment to beauty.

Basic Christian
The Inside Story of John Stott
Roger Steer (InterVarsity)

Readers may not find every period of the Anglican clergyman's life equally fascinating, but Stott's contributions to Christianity in the United Kingdom, the United States, and indeed the world are well-charted by Roger Steer. He reminds us that no Western leader has done more to shape modern evangelicalism. Stott's conflicts with charismatics and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, among others, make for compelling reading.

In the Beginning Was the Word
Language—A God-Centered Approach
Vern Sheridan Poythress (Crossway)

The table of contents may cause the average undergraduate's eyes to glaze over—hermeneutics, translation theory, storytelling, diction and syntax, cultural reconciliation, literary theory, logical positivism. The Westminster Theological Seminary professor covers all of this and much more; his theology of language leaves no stone or relevant Scripture verse unturned, it seems. Yet he concludes with a note of common grace, about the God who reveals himself to all, "right in the structures of language and thought."

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