The God Who Is There

Finding Your Place in God's Story
D.A. Carson
Baker Books, 2010
224 pp., $9.99

Don Carson provides an overview of the Bible's story of our world and the God who has made us. The New Testament theologian's approach resembles an airplane soaring over the biblical landscape, allowing us to take in the grand sweep of its narrative. But Carson also lands the plane back on the ground, carefully expounding key biblical texts. The result is a splendid introduction to Christian teaching, one that balances biblical and systematic theology as well as biblical exegesis and summary.—Trevin Wax

Souls in Full Sail

A Christian Spirituality for the Later Years
Emilie Griffin
IVP Books, 2011
180 pp., $11.99

Out of a youth-obsessed culture, even and especially in evangelicalism, comes a wise book. Wise, because it's grounded in both biblical insight and the experience of having lived—the latter trait being sorely lacking in much evangelical fare these days. Many things have to be rethought in the winter years—home, vocation, parents, health, children, and money, to name a few—and Griffin helps readers do so Christianly, using prose both thought provoking and beautiful.—Mark Galli

Calvin's Ladder

A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension
Julie Canlis
Eerdmans, 2010
336 pp., $21.99

Any book that helps rescue John Calvin from his undeserved reputation as a grim egghead needs to be noted. In fact, Calvin's theology, especially as detailed in the Institutes, was from first to last pastoral, driven by a concern to comfort souls. His spirituality, as Canlis shows, is anything but rigidly Reformed. Because Calvin's theology is saturated with the theme of our participation in Christ, she says, the Geneva pastor lies well within the tradition of Christian mysticism.—Mark Galli

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