Archives For Book Reviews

A Review of Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Zondervan: 2014)
By David H. Leonard, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics, Luther Rice University, Atlanta, GA

It might be tempting to think that productivity is a topic more suitable for business leaders and entrepreneurs, for whom it’s essential to “get things done” as efficiently as possible.  As Matt Perman argues in What’s Best Next, however, productivity is mainly about loving others by putting their needs first.  Such an emphasis results not only in greater productivity, but is also consistent with a Christian view of such matters.  Indeed, the implication is that all Christians, regardless of their vocation, are called to excel in their productivity.  To achieve that goal, it’s not sufficient that we’re merely aware of the relevant skills of productivity; rather, our employment of these skills must be motivated and informed by a proper theological foundation.  In this regard, Perman’s book offers readers a unique and insightful perspective on the topic of productivity, explicitly informed by the Christian faith.

Christian scholars, in particular, ought to take seriously Perman’s insights on productivity, for the ideas and principles he develops have direct relevance for the quality of their teaching and research.  Whereas Andreas Köstenberger, for example, has challenged scholars to pursue their work with excellence, in terms of demonstrating boldness amidst the pressures of “academic respectability” and displaying integrity in their scholarly activities, Perman highlights for readers the practical steps that might be taken to clear the way for such excellence to be achieved.  Continue Reading…

Perhaps I’m stating the obvious but most discussions of origins seem to generate far more heat than light. They preach to the choir of those who agree, fail to engage those with whom they disagree on their own terms and perpetuate the unfortunate notion that Christianity and science are at war with each other. Gerald Rau’s Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything (InterVarsity Press, 2012) is a notable exception to that trend in that it is intended to promote understanding and conversation rather than more controversy.

Gerald Rau takes a novel approach in this book. Rather than taking a side, he lays out six different models that may be found in the current discussions. This itself is important because most of the coverage of this issue assumes two very diametrically opposed options: naturalistic evolution, that there is no god and the universe and all life arose simply through physical causation, and young earth creationism, which treats Genesis 1 as a literal account of how God created the world in six literal days, a world that is approximately 10,000 years old.

Rau identifies four other models and their proponents: Continue Reading…

An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling (InterVarsity Press, 2013).

In An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest Alan Fadling contends many of us are suffering from hurry sickness, and that it is not only detrimental to our bodies but also to our souls. We are going too fast to hear God, too fast to grow deeply, too fast to discern the temptations that lead us astray.

He begins by painting a picture of the frenetic life that characterizes modern life. He contrasts this with the idea of apprenticeship with Jesus, the unhurried learning with him. He argues from the life of Jesus that unhurry isn’t laziness and that there is no such thing as holy hurry, only holy unhurry. Unhurry enables us to resist temptations, which often come in the form of pressure to take shortcuts to some seemingly good thing. Unhurry gives us time to stop and care, to stop and pray. Sabbath is the gift of unhurried rest for God’s people. The next chapters (8 and 9) were most significant for me. He talks about suffering and how it can stop us in our tracks and take us into a place of unhurry where we meet God. And he talks about maturity, which if it is to happen well and deeply, cannot happen fast. Continue Reading…