I would like to start a new series of posts called “Recently Read.” At any given time I’m reading/scanning/skimming a dozen books or so. I read a lot of good stuff that makes me think “this would make for a great post.” But posts take time which I don’t always have a lot of. So in a similar manner to my “Around the Web” posts this series will feature quotes from books which I liked or even disagreed with but made me think. My hope is that you will find things which encourage you or to give you something to think about. Some my best reading has come from reading a short quote which prompted me to read the entire book.

From Kevin DeYoung’s new book Taking God at His Word (Crossway)

“Of the four attributes of Scripture, this [sufficiency of Scripture] may be the one that evangelicals forget first. If authority is the liberal problem, clarity the postmodern problem, and necessity the problem for atheists and agnostics, then sufficiency is the attribute most quickly doubted by rank-and-file churchgoing Christians. We can say all the right things about the Bible, and even read it regularly, but when life gets a difficult, or just a bit boring, we look for new words, new revelation, and new experiences to bring us closer to God. We feel rather ho-hum about the New Testament’s description of heaven, but we are mesmerized by the accounts of school-age children who claim to have gone there and back.” (43-44)

From The Complete Introduction to the Devout Life by Francis deSales (translated by Fr. John-Julian, Paraclete Press)

“God did not bring you into the world because he had any need of you (who are wholly useless to him) but solely that he might manifest his goodness in you, giving you his grace and glory. And to this end he gave you understanding in order to know him, memory for you to remember him, a will that you might love him, imagination that might represent his kindness, eyes that you might behold the marvels of his works, a tongue that you might praise him, and so on with all your other faculties.” (35)

From Evangelizing Catholics by Scott Hahn (Our Sunday Visitor)

“When you read Augustine and John of the Cross, Teresa of Ávila and Thérèse of Lisieux, you’re reading the story of a great love affair, the love affair of all those saints had with Jesus. The Church’s greatest mystics are the men and women who fell most completely in love with God. Note how that love didn’t lead them away from the Church’s sacramental and devotional life. Those saints didn’t say, ‘I have Jesus; I don’t need a priest or Mary or the Mass.’ Rather, that love led them more deeply into the sacramental and devotional life of the Church. They came to understand those things from the inside out, seeing them not as obligations or dispensable extras but as precious gifts and powerful helps in their journey to God.” (41)

From Evangelism by J. Mack Stiles (Crossway)

“The Christian faith has no category for believers who are not members of a local congregation. Church is not, and has never been, optional for the believer. But even given that the church plays such a fundamental role in our discipleship, the average church member has an astounding  variety of ideas about what church should be–ideas not rooted in the Bible.” (70)

From What is Marriage? by Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George (Encounter Books)

“Rigorously pursued, the logic of rejecting the conjugal conception of marriage thus leads, by way formlessness, toward pointlessness: it proposes a policy for which it can hardly explain the benefit. Of course, some revisionists will defend their preferred norms as simply the most workable or the most likely to have the best consequences. . . . Most revisionists, however, support norms like exclusivity as a matter of principle. But they have not succeeded when challenged to explain the basis of those norms. This is no fault or theirs, but of their position: it has no coherent defense.” (21)

From Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg (Brazos Press)

“We cannot emphasize our main point strongly enough. All the major, nonsectarian Bible translations are more than adequate for teaching God’s people everything God wants them to know that really matters. The KJV, despite its slightly faulty textual base, is a highly reliable, formally equivalent translation, made intelligible to modern people by the NKJV. The NASB is outstanding even if often somewhat woodenly literal. The RSV never deserved the broadsides it received: it was a very good translation. And both the NRSV and ESV are excellent revisions of it, even if they disagree on how often to use inclusive language for humanity. The NLT has brought countless first-time Bible readers to faith in Christ or to a deepend faith and a love of Bible reading that they did not previously have or might never have had. The HCSB is an excellent optimal equivalent translation that deserves more attention than it has received and a broader share of the Bible ‘market.’ The updated NIV may have attained the best combination of accuracy and clarity of all the translations. If gender-inclusiveness is going to be used anywhere (which even the ESV and HCSB employ in hundreds of texts), the updated NIV is probably the most balanced and nuanced in communicating the biblical authors’ intentions about whether just men or both men and women are in view in a given passage. Many other good yet less commonly used translations could be added to this litany of praise. And of course there is plenty of room for successive revisions of all translations to improve even on existing versions.” (117-18)