2021 Top iAt Book Reviews

December 8, 2021

We’ve compiled a list of our top In All Things book reviews from 2021. Looking for a book club title? Considering further personal reading about a topic at the intersection of faith and culture? Need a gift idea? Check out some of the following popular books from our 2021 archive.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World by John Mark Comer

iAt book reviewer Dawn Berkelaar writes, “What if hurry, busyness, and resulting distraction are the biggest challenges facing our spiritual lives today? That is the question John Mark Comer addresses in his book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. The title comes from a quote by Dallas Willard, who was a philosopher at the University of Southern California and author of many books about the spiritual life; Willard once advised, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”1” Check out the rest of the iAt book review here.

The Making of Biblical Womanhood by Beth Allison Barr

iAt book reviewer Melissa Bailey writes, “It is difficult to know where to stop in a review of such a well-researched work that Barr presented. I appreciate the scrutiny to which she gives her own reformational tradition, encouraging her readers to not rewrite history or spin uncomfortable doctrines. She makes a strong historical argument that patriarchy and complementarianism aren’t always theologically motivated. More often than not, the power struggle comes first, and the theology comes second as a means to justify decisions already made. If the reader disagrees with that last sentence, then I encourage them to read Barr’s book with an open mind, particularly her analysis of the patriarchy and its tight connection with the inerrancy argument and its use of “slippery slope” theology, and allow the good, bad, and ugly of church history to stand trial.” Check out the rest of the iAt book review here.

Prayer in the Night by Tish Harrison Warren

If you, along with much of humanity, have felt a grief, a weight, a depth of sadness recently, this book speaks into our losses. Myles Werntz, contributing author, writes, “It is sobering to consider that for the bulk of history, humanity has been keenly aware that there are, indeed, things in the dark that are not there in the daylight, despite modern skepticism.” Tish Harrison Warren addresses spiritual darkness and, as Werntz continues, “But the darkness described in Scripture is not simply that of midnight and moonless evenings, but of confusion, despair, and pain—the spiritual darkness which is never far from us.” Check out the rest of this review here.

Reformed Public Theology by Matthew Kaemingk

Justin Bailey writes, “Reformed Public Theology offers a glimpse of what that sort of broader engagement might look like, drawing together essays from a broad range of authors representing an impressively wide array of backgrounds. The diversity of this collection serves as a powerful demonstration of what it looks like to apply Neo-Calvinist insights to “every square inch” of our common life.”

Check out the 4-part iAt book reviews here: Introduction and Public Culture (J. Bailey)Public Markets & Justice (D. Roth)Public Academy & Aesthetics(G. Doornbos) Public Worship (T. Zuidema).

Liberty for All: Defending Everyone’s Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Age by Andrew T. Walker

iAt Contributing writer Myles Werntz states, “Walker’s attempt to ground religious freedom as a doctrinal question comes ultimately to a paradoxical, and even contradictory, place: on the one hand, Christians are called to convert the world (a consequence of religious liberty grounded in a doctrine of mission), while on the other hand, they are called to cultivate religious pluralism as a matter of natural law (because it is also grounded in eschatology).” Check out the rest of this review here.

A Church Called Tov by Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer

The Church and abuse. The stories keep emerging. As Dr. Abby Foreman states, “As part of the Reformed tradition, I am fully acquainted with the concept of total depravity and its effects on all of creation. Still, I am surprised and truly dismayed when trusted church and community leaders or beloved Christian celebrities are outed as manipulative abusers. Or, even worse yet, when there are cover-ups within an organization that protect and enable the abuser and attempt to silence or exile the victims. How does this happen and why does it keep happening? Why do churches and other Christian organizations engage in toxic and dishonest behaviors to protect abusive leaders?This is an important read for us towards proactive preventative rather than reactive steps in our churches.  

We hope you find this list helpful as you “expand your imagination for what the Christian life—and life of the mind—can accomplish.” In pursuit of these aims, In All Things hosts book reviews that seek to explore the concrete implications of Christ’s presence in all facets of life.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that iAt does regular book reviews. We’d love to hear from you: what books should iAt consider reviewing this next year in 2022? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

About the Author
  • Ruth (Van Essen) Clark resides in Sioux Center, Iowa, with her husband and three children, and serves as the Andreas Center Coordinator at Dordt. She also teaches in the Core Program. She especially enjoys good conversations around cups of coffee or plates of food, reading, games, cooking, gardening, traveling, and international cuisine. 

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