With Christmas fast approaching I thought I would recommend some books I have recently read just in case they could make their way onto your Christmas list. My reading isn’t very festive, but the books are all worthwhile.
Firstly, there is The New Normal which is a collection of essays on the issue of the Transgender agenda by the publisher Wilberforce Publications. This is an area I would like to write on myself so I read with interest. It is an excellent and informative book written by experts in various areas. It gives a clear picture of the challenge that society is now confronted with and also some helpful theological advice as to how to understand the issue from a Christian perspective. I particularly appreciated the medical perspectives from Peter Saunders who has done a lot of invaluable work in this area.
Next there is Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin. This is a book on apologetics covering a range of issues such as science and Christianity, the alleged denigration of women in Christianity, the violence of religion, homophobia and the bible, slavery, suffering and hell to name just a few. If you are used to reading generalised books on apologetics, you will know that these themes come up many times. What is good about this book is that Mclaughlin writes very well and expresses herself in a fresh way and so it feels as if you are reading something new even if you understand and know the basic arguments.
While each subject gets only a short treatment (typical of this kind of book) her arguments are compelling and there is nothing that would embarrass and so I would not hesitate to give this book to a non-Christian. What I also really enjoyed is the way in which Rebecca weaves in her own spiritual journey into the book which not only humanises the obvious scholarship, but her story is very interesting. She is someone who has wrestled with her own personal issues with honestly and she writes about it in an engaging way. This is a very good book and well worth reading.
Next, a bit of an epic from the pen of Tom Holland by the name of Dominion. In essence this is a 500+ page book on church history which might initially turn someone off. However, it should not for several reasons. Firstly, Tom is a brilliant writer and so the book is absorbing from the very start. Secondly, Holland is very skilled in knowing what to include and what to leave out, an essential quality when the subject matter is so vast. Thirdly, Holland really knows how to write history. He does not merely give a succession of facts, rather he really tells the story emphasizing not just what was going on at the time but also showing its relevance to the big picture. His vivid portraits of key figure such as Paul, Augustine, Abelard and Francis of Assisi are worth the price of the book alone.
Best of all are the unique angles and insights that Holland gives. He begins with pre-Christianity and then the early church and then builds a complete historical picture that shows how the Christian faith has shaped and challenged the thinking and culture of the West right to the present day, often by being subversive. This work will help you to get a snapshot of just how imbedded Christianity is in our culture even though secularism gives the appearance of having taken over. A brilliant book that will broaden your horizons.
Then there is The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray. I don’t often review books by well know gay atheists, but as Murray is one of my favourite writers and thinkers, I don’t hesitate with this one. This book is very insightful and although Murray espouses a worldview quite different from many Christians, I think most Christians will find much t agree on in this book.
Essentially Murray is a social commentator and one of the most erudite and able in the UK today. In this book he tackles huge cultural themes such as transgenderism and gay culture. His thesis is to point out that our culture has gone mad, the ‘group think’ that pervades contemporary culture have driven it to come to conclusions that are not just devoid of rationality but positively ludicrous. He encouraged the reader to think through issues in their own right and not to be swayed by the tide of public opinion, especially as public opinion can end up being so obviously wrong. There is real benefit in Christians reading books by sensible people who may not share our faith but do speak powerfully into situations that concern us. This is one such book. Just be warned that, given he is not a Christian, his vocabulary is sometimes adventurous!
Finally, there is The Moral case for Conservatism by Samuel Burgess. Given that we are in the middle of a general election this book is both timely and very well written. It is not so much a defence of the Conservative Party in the UK but rather Burgess is an advocate of Conservative Philosophy, having written before about Edmund Burke, one of the spiritual fathers of modern-day conservatism. Clearly this book is overtly political, but Burgess purpose is to argue that the basic tenants of conservatism have a moral and well as political purpose.
If you are a committed socialist or liberal, you will probably disagree with Burgesses’ overall direction of travel. However, you will probably also find some of his arguments compelling. He does write convincingly and argues that Christians should think about the morality of politics and have the maturity not just to look for quick political fixes but to ask bigger questions about what is good for society as a whole and what are the implications of some of the decisions that our political leaders make. I found this a very thoughtful and helpful book as well as enjoyable. If you read it, whatever your political persuasion, you will probably think more deeply and purposefully next time you cast your vote.
Keep reading and have a great Christmas
If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, you can purchase them through The GLO Bookshop at the following special prices – please quote ‘Stephen’s Recommendations’ to the GLO Bookshop staff to get these prices.
Various authors, THE NEW NORMAL: The Transgender Agenda
Wilberforce Publications, April 2018, Paperback, ISBN: 9780995683259, 212 pages.
Stephen’s Recommendation Price – £8.00 – save 20%
Samuel Burgess, THE MORAL CASE FOR CONSERVATISM
Wilberforce Publications, June 2019, Paperback, ISBN: 9781999584238, 192 pages.
Stephen’s Recommendation Price – £8.00 – save 20%
Douglas Murray, THE MADNESS OF THE CROWDS: Gender, Race and Identity
Bloomsbury Continuum, September 2019, Hardback, ISBN: 9781472959959, 288 pages.
Stephen’s Recommendation Price – £12.00 – save 14%
Rebecka McLaughlin, CONFRONTING CHRISTIANITY
Crossway Books, April 2019, Hardback, ISBN: 9781433564239, 240 pages.
Stephen’s Recommendation Price – £12.00 – save 30%
Tom Holland, DOMINION: The Making of the Western Mind
Little, Brown Books, September 2019, Hardback, ISBN: 9781408706954, 624 pages.
Stephen’s Recommendation Price – £20.00 – save 20%
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