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Enjoying God Blog

This is the second installment of four in my series on the best books of 2021. As I noted in the previous article, there were so many great books published this year that I couldn’t keep it to only ten. So here are numbers 15-11.

(15) Shadows and Substance: The Truth About Jewish Roots and Christian Believers, by Neil Silverberg (Trilogy Christian Publishers, 253 pages).

When Neil Silverberg contacted me earlier this year with a request to read his manuscript, I almost declined. I get these sorts of requests weekly. But in this case, I agreed. And I’m glad I did. Here is the endorsement I wrote for it:

“I’ve waited years for a book like this to be published. Neil Silverberg has provided for us a thoroughly biblical and pastorally wise evaluation of the Hebrew Roots Movement that I can wholeheartedly endorse. He tethers his conclusions to the Word of God and demonstrates the life-transforming glory of how Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. While contending that the HRM is a dangerous trend among many today, he does so with pastoral concern and a love for both the Old Testament and the Jewishness of Jesus. If you’ve encountered people in the HRM and are confused by their claims, this book is for you.”

(14) God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World, by Andrew Wilson (Zondervan, 207 pages).

What could anyone hope to find meaningful in dust, earthquakes, pigs, livestock, tools, horns, stones, honey, donkeys and the sun? Well, the glory of God! In this short but remarkably wonderful book, my good friend Andrew Wilson helps us see in the “everyday” stuff, the sort of stuff we almost always take for granted and to which we give virtually no consideration, the glory and power and majesty of God.

If you believe the apostle Paul when he says in Romans 1 that the things which are made, the things which are visible, reveal the nature and power of God, you need to read this book. It is a joy.

(13) 40 Questions about Roman Catholicism, by Gregg R. Allison (Kregel, 332 pages).

No Protestant of whom I’m aware knows as much about Roman Catholicism as my friend Gregg Allison. In 2014 he published, Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment (496 pages). I read it cover to cover and learned much. In this “sequel” he reduces the issues to 40 and focuses on the most essential and controversial elements in Catholic belief and behavior. Gregg spent many years living in Italy while working for Cru and speaks fluent Italian. In other words, he’s not just another English-speaking theologian trying to decipher what Catholics believe. He has read much of the original documentation and is conversant with the primary declarations and papal decrees of the Roman Catholic Church. Highly recommended.

(12) Embodied: Living as Whole People in a Fractured World, by Gregg R. Allison (Baker, 260 pages).

Clearly, Gregg Allison did not waste the pandemic lockdown. In this excellent treatment of human embodiment, Gregg explores what it means to “be” a body. He touches on a variety of topics, such as the Gendered Body, the Social Body, the Sexual Body, the Sanctified Body, the Worshiping Body, the Suffering and Healed Body, and the Future Body, just to mention a few.

This is a topic that has been largely neglected until now, and I’m thankful to Gregg for his contribution to it.

(11) The Authoritarian Moment: How the Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent, by Ben Shapiro (Broadside Books, 276 pages).

Most of the books that make my “best” list are more biblical and theological in nature. But I almost made Shapiro’s book number one. If you don’t know who Shapiro is, he is the founding editor in chief and editor emeritus of the Daily Wire and host of The Ben Shapiro Show, the top conservative podcast in the nation. Shapiro, an orthodox Jew, is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and is widely considered one of the most influential conservative voices in America.

I wish every American would read this book. Here is how it is described on the inside dust cover.

“According to the establishment media, the intelligentsia, and our political chattering class, the greatest threat to American freedom likes in right-wing authoritarianism. . . But what if the true authoritarian threat to America comes not from the political Right but from the supposedly anti-fascist Left?

There are certainly totalitarians on the political Right. But, statistically, they represent a fringe movement with little institutional clout. The authoritarian Left, meanwhile, is ascendant in nearly every area of American life. A small number of leftists – college educated, coastal, and uncompromising – have taken over not just the Democratic Party but our corporations, universities, scientific establishment, and cultural institutions. And they have used their newfound power to silence their opposition.

The authoritarian Left is aggressively insistent that everyone must conform to its values, demanding submission and conformity. The dogmatic Left is obsessed with putting people in categories and changing human nature. Everyone who opposes it must be destroyed.

Ben Shapiro looks at everything from pop culture to the Frankfurt School, social media to the Founding Fathers, to explain the origins of our turn to tyranny, and why so many seem blind to it.

More than a catalog of bad actors and intemperate acts, The Authoritarian Moment lays bare the intolerance and rigidity creeping into all American ideology – and prescribes the solution to ending the authoritarianism that threatens our future.”

Get this book and read it. I couldn’t put it down.

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