New and Noteworthy Books — May 2024

The Life of an Associate Pastor: How God Used My Vocational Training to Prepare Me for Ministering to His Church (Founders Press, 2024) by Rick Davidson

This new book on local church ministry is a unique resource; there simply is no other book like it that I’m aware of. This book tells the story of a man and longtime personal friend, Rick Davidson, who gained skills in a variety of heavy trades, any of which could have been a lifetime occupation.

His call to ministry required that he pursue competencies in several areas related to his position as teacher, preacher, chaplain, counselor and encourager, and shows the amazing providences as to how all his past skills aided him in pastoral ministry as an effective servant of the congregation and chief aid and encourager to the church’s teaching pastor.

This work will encourage all who labor in local church work — not just associate pastors. Davidson served as an associate pastor at LaGrange Baptist Church in LaGrange, Ky., for more than two decades. His background, gifts, and calling are as unique as this valuable little volume.

 

The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict (Baker, 2004) by Ken Sande

How can we achieve Christian civility after two individuals or two groups have gone to war in the church? There is simply no better resource available than Sande’s classic work on how to bring warring factions together biblically. Our Lord said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” but today those words seem profoundly elusive for many in churches, families, workplaces, and just about everywhere.

Sande offers a street-level and comprehensive theology for how Christians should treat each other amid efforts to resolve conflict. The late R.C. Sproul said “battlefield theologians” are the best theologians because they are equipped to use the Bible’s theology in the war that is everyday life. Sande’s book is just this kind of theology — to be put to use toward redeeming conflict between followers of Christ.

 

Systematic Theology: From Canon to Concept, Volume One (B&H Academic, 2024) by Stephen J. Wellum

Another long-awaited and highly touted book by a longtime friend, Steve Wellum’s Systematic Theology is Trinitarian, evangelical, and baptistic. It models a serious evangelical engagement with the Scriptures while being grounded in church history and keenly aware of contemporary issues.

Building on decades of research, Wellum formulates doctrine exegetically, covenantally, and canonically for a new generation of students, pastors, church leaders, and seasoned theologians. This first of two volumes will surely set the standard for contemporary works of theology written from a Baptist point of view. He is a longtime professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

 

The Tinker’s Progress: The Life & Times of John Bunyan (Christian Focus, 2024) by Jacob Tanner

Known primarily for his allegorical work, The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan was also a preacher, a gifted theologian and interpreter of Scripture. Academically, he was not a learned man, but when it came to practical and experiential mastery of the Scriptures and their theology, he was as gifted as anyone. His writings have a beauty and practicality not often found. He teaches that the greater the Christian’s understanding of truth, the stronger their own passion for Jesus will be, and the greater their worship and doxology will become.

This delightfully readable new biography traces Bunyan’s life from his humble beginnings to his calling home to the Celestial City, from his debauchered youth to glimpses of grace and eventual calling to ministry.

There are lessons here for any 21st century Christian. One of his greatest lessons to modern Christians is how to live faithfully for Christ in a world that is antagonistic to God.