The Cambridge Companion to Evangelical Theology
Edited by Timothy Larsen and Daniel J. Treier

This volume offers a judicious sampling of evangelical voices on matters of theological import, sufficient both to suggest the diversity of evangelicalism in the 21st century and to convey the core convictions that give the term evangelical some meaning, for all its elasticity. In the latter regard, coeditor Larsen's opening essay, "Defining and Locating Evangelicalism," is particularly helpful, taking David Bebbington's standard definition as a point of departure and expanding on it.

Before I Die
Jenny Downham

All the buzz is about Richard Dawkins and his swaggering band of "New Atheists." But what if God is simply passé? Skip The God Delusion and read this heavily promoted young adult novel, another import from the U.K. Tess, a bright teenage girl, learns that she is terminally ill. How does she respond, how do her loved ones cope, in a world from which Christianity has disappeared and no one mourns its absence? Our likable heroine knows this much, at least: She wants a "woodland burial" as arranged by "the Natural Death Centre," for which she'll be decked out in her "butterfly dress, … lilac bra and knicker set, and … black zip boots," nestled in a "biodegradable willow coffin." For every belligerent atheist, there are thousands of Tesses.

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Water from a Deep Well: Christian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries
Gerald L. Sittser

To many Christians, "ecumenism" suggests a flabby relativism. In contrast, Gerald Sittser's wonderfully capacious book gives us ecumenism at its best. Saint Benedict and Macrina the Younger, Julian of Norwich and Francis of Assisi, Luther and Calvin, Mary Slessor and Dorothy Day: These are some of the figures who illuminate Sittser's survey. This would be a fine book for a Sunday school class or a small group.

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