An Intersect Summer Reading List: Power, Barrenness, Charity, the Problem of Evil

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Summer is upon us, so now is the time to plan your summer reading. As you craft your reading list, Intersect contributors would like to recommend some books. We’ll share their recommendations over the coming weeks.

This week, our contributors highlight books on power, motherhood, charity and the problem of evil by Andy Crouch, Chelsea Patterson Sobolik, Robert Lupton and Cornelius Plantinga.

Editor’s Note: You can download two Intersect-exclusive ebooks from Bruce Ashford for free. Details>>

Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power
by Andy Crouch (IVP, 2013)

Ken KeathleyKen Keathley: Playing God gives the best explanation I have read of how Christians are to steward the gift of power. Crouch examines the nature of power, describes how power so easily becomes an idol, and then outlines a Christian approach to power.

Rather than simply denouncing power as an intrinsic evil, Christians are to exercise power within the spheres of influence providentially given to us. We are to do so with by consciously and deliberately submitting these power structures under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I found Crouch’s book to be refreshing and challenging, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Longing for Motherhood: Holding On to Hope in the Midst of Childlessness
by Chelsea Patterson Sobolik (Moody Publishers, 2018)

Christy BrittonChristy Britton: Author Chelsea Sobolik shares her story of barrenness in Longing for Motherhood. As a mother of 4, I began reading it to learn how to better minister to the childless women in my networks. By the end of the book, I was able to identify so much with this topic because of unfulfilled longings in my own life.

Chelsea gives very practical advice for how churches can minister effectively to the barren. She teaches us how to grieve and how to minister to the grieving.

Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results
by Robert D. Lupton (HarperOne, 2015)

Lemanuel Williams

Lemanuel Williams: There are biblical mandates, but also biblical methods for alleviating poverty. Robert Lupton’s book Charity Detox answers the question, “Is hurtful charity better than no charity at all?” Lupton answers, “No.”

This book challenges the traditional methods of charity and suggest a more effective method of charity: Using capitalism with concentrated compassion or “sanctified self-interest.” As Christians ought to remember or be constantly mindful of the poor, this book challenges our current thinking of charity and re-imagines what charity could be. It’s a fascinating read.

Prepare for a provocative approach to charity. It’s an approach that is bringing shalom to impoverished communities now — I’m a personal witness. It’s a read that will turn into personal action.

Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin
by Cornelius Plantinga Jr. (Eerdmans, 2010)

Sam MorrisSam Morris: Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be is one of the most helpful works I’ve read that aids us in tackling the question of the problem of evil.

Plantinga helpfully walks through the dizzying effects of sin while also applying the renewing nature of the gospel.


What books are you reading this summer?

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The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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