Surviving the State, Remaking the Church: A Sociological Portrait of Christians in Mainland China

Li Ma and Jin Li (Pickwick Publications)

Some accounts of Christianity in China are pessimistic, emphasizing government persecution. Others are more hopeful, emphasizing the post-Mao revival of religious movements and the flourishing of underground house churches. Scholars Li Ma and Jin Li, who interviewed around 100 Chinese believers and observed dozens of unregistered churches for this book, say that neither story does justice to the underlying reality. “Portraying churches in China as either persecuted or revived captures facets of the truth but also obscures the complexity and fluidity of the whole picture,” they write. “It is our hope that this book will acquaint readers with the real lives of Chinese Christians in their authentic context.”

Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope

Matthew McCullough (Crossway)

To experience more joy in life, think more often about the fact that you are destined to die. This is the counterintuitive advice of Nashville pastor Matthew McCullough, who points out that ignoring mortality dulls the force of Christ’s promise of eternal life. “Before you long for a life that is imperishable,” he writes, “you must accept that you are perishing along with everyone you care about. You must recognize that anything you might accomplish or acquire in this world is already fading away. Only then will you crave the unfading glory of what Jesus has accomplished and acquired for you.”

Cosmology in Theological Perspective: Understanding Our Place in the Universe

Olli-Pekka Vainio (Baker Academic)

Since the dawn of time, human beings have gazed at the stars and wondered what (and who) else might be out there in the universe. In Cosmology in Theological Perspective, Finnish theologian Olli-Pekka Vainio reflects on how the discovery of alien life might influence Christian understandings of divine creation and human significance. He insists that questions about our place in the universe shouldn’t be left to scientists and astronomers alone: “I argue,” he writes, “that philosophy cannot be divorced from cosmology. . . . Therefore, cosmology, no matter how it is done, will always have (at least) one foot in a religious stream.”

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