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06 September 2012

Reviews - idea September/October

Reviews - idea September/October

If God, then what? by Andrew Wilson

Quite simply one of the best apologetics books I've ever read. Its brilliance lies in its Plain English explanations of Big Questions on tough subjects including the origins of the universe, miracles, suffering and the nature of knowledge. Wilson is a gifted theologian, a brilliant communicator and a very clever man, but ultimately this book leads you to think about the implications of having answered the big questions – the so what? – that points the reader ultimately to Christ. You really should read this.Reviewed by Chine Mbubaegbu

A Thorn in My Mind: Mental illness, stigma and the Church by Cathy Wield (Instant Apostle)

Recently a series of MPs spoke of their personal battles with mental illness in a Commons debate, arguing the need in society to talk more openly. Writing both as a doctor and as a patient with the experience of severe depression, Cathy Wield gives a frank account of the agony in her life and family. Her personal story is both realistic and hopeful. 'Realistic', as the formation of God's plan takes place in the midst of suffering. 'Hopeful', as we both rejoice in the answers to prayer for a measure of healing now and the ultimate promise of complete redemption. Cathy's book is a gem for the Church and beyond to increase our understanding and improve our relational framework. Reviewed by Marijke Hoek

The Psalms Project Volume 2 by Steven Faux (Elevation)

Steven Faux is an award-winning composer of TV and film soundtracks so I had high expectations and I have not been disappointed. This is the second part of a project to paint musical and visual pictures of the emotions and stories we encounter in the Psalms. There is a wide range of evocative soundscapes to discover from tracks that sound like a film soundtrack, musical theatre songs, choral works and some modern classical music with great playing by the London Chamber Orchestra as well as some lovely vocal performances. I am now going to buy Volume 1 too! Reviewed by Kim Walker

The Great Partnership by Jonathan Sacks (Hodder)

This is a truly amazing book. It will infuriate you, make you think, make you cry and feed your mind – and that's just in the first few pages. This is without doubt such a total crushing of shallow modern world views that it should be a set text for anyone interested in such things. The book also has the human touch. Sacks talks movingly about his very ordinary but faithful father, the Holocaust and his own journey to faith. There are times, for evangelicals, where much of what he says is confronting – especially his reading of some of the Scriptures, and some times where he seems plain wrong. It is also the kind of book you'll need to read in smallish chunks in case your brain explodes. Anyway, it's a cracker. Read it. Reviewed by Steven Morris

Big Hearted by Chris Duffett and Simon Goddard (Gilead Books Publishing)

If you struggle being inside a church building on a Sunday morning, you'll love this. A practical, innovative guide for anyone with a passion to take the goodness of a "big-hearted" God out onto streets. From tattooing a cross onto a man in a tattoo parlour to offering free hugs to local shoppers to praying for physical healing, Duffet's exuberance and creative spirit jumps off the page. Goddard's middle section on the church is a helpful and practical exploration on how to nurture an outward looking mentality in a congregation, with challenging reflections from the life of St Francis of Assisi. Inspiring, accessible and refreshing. Reviewed by Katherine Maxwell-Cook