Book News and Reviews

New books, and book reviews from customers and staff

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That's a Good Question!

Posted on 25 July, 2019 at 10:30

We all have lots of questions about God, faith, and the Bible, and some of the best come from our children… "Who made God?", "Does God sleep?", "If God hears our prayers, why don't I get what I ask for?", and "Will my dog go to heaven?". Canon J. John gives clear, honest, and straightforward answers to all these and more in his new book That's a Good Question!

J. John has a refreshing down-to-earth style, and the writing and illustrations make this an ideal book for any inquisitive youngster. Those of us who are older will recognize the questions he considers as questions we deal with ourselves, either when other people ask us about our faith, or when we are thinking through our faith by ourselves.

Don't let the fact that this is aimed at a younger readership fool you that the answers are simplistic, though: presented in a way that is simple to follow, yes; but simplistic, no. I particularly liked J. John's answer to the question "Who made God?", for instance. I won't spoil it for you, but he very neatly illustrates the notion of a category mistake without, of course, using those words!

In summary, if you have a young reader you know who is interested in Christianity, I would heartily recommend this book. In fact, buy two copies, then you can read one, too!

John Wilson

The Badly Behaved Bible

Posted on 25 July, 2019 at 10:20

Now available in stock: The Badly Behaved Bible by Nick Page.

In his own easy-to-read style, Nick Page looks at how the Bible refuses to be the book we might want it to be, and challenges us to rediscover Bible reading as a way of meeting God.

We also have several of Nick Page's earlier books in stock, including Revelation Road, A Nearly Infallible History of the Reformation, and Simply the Bible.

Book Sale!

Posted on 25 April, 2019 at 10:05

Don't miss our April and May book sale: a wide range of titles past and present all reduced by up to 50%!

World Book Day

Posted on 7 March, 2019 at 7:15

Celebrate World Book Day with us! Here is a taste of the range of books we have available…

Books for Lent

Posted on 28 February, 2019 at 9:50

We have a wide range of devotional and group studies to read during Lent, with titles including the 2019 Archbishop's Lent Book: Reconciliation by Muthuraj Swamy.

Lent 2019 begins with Ash Wednesday on 6th March

Devotional studies for the New Year

Posted on 5 January, 2019 at 9:00

The start of the New Year is an excellent time to start a new series of devotional reading.

Titles published by CWR are available at £2 off RRP while stocks last.

Whatever your life situation we are likely to have something to suit—do call in and have a look at our wide range now in stock.

Books to make you think

Posted on 24 November, 2018 at 7:05

One of the joys of reading is meeting new viewpoints, and being challenged to think. I have been reading a few books recently that have helped me to see and think about different sides to Christian and theological issues—and I bought all of these books right here at Cornerstone!

Determined to believe? by John Lennox

How do we think about the apparent conflict between our free will as human beings, and God's sovereignty and rule? If even faith in God is a gift of God, do we really choose to believe in him, or does he choose us? If we don't choose freely, how can God judge us for the choices we make?

Lennox has a very readable style, and is able to cover quite deep questions in a straightforward way that reminds me of C.S. Lewis.

The Day the Revolution Began by Tom Wright

No list of worthwhile Christian books could be without at least one title by Tom Wright!

What happened when Jesus died nearly 2000 years ago is central to Christian belief. Tom Wright argues that Jesus's death on the cross is both the fulfilment of God's promises in the Old Testament, and the beginning of the redemption of all believers with the world (rather than a rescue of believers from the world).

If you have read anything else by Tom Wright, you will know his very readable and persuasive style. And if you haven't, here would be a good place to start.

How I changed my mind about Evolution (ed. Applegate & Stump)

Evolution is obviously a contentious issue in some Christian circles. This is a collection of short essays by Evangelical Christians from different walks of life. Some I found more engaging than others, but all are honest and thought-provoking.

The Lost World of Adam and Eve by John H.Walton

How do we enter the mindset of the Ancient Near East to read the account of Adam and Eve without importing our modern worldview?

This is a fairly challenging read, but an excellent follow-up to Walton's earlier Lost World of Genesis One.

Books are my bag

Posted on 11 October, 2018 at 7:20

We are joining the Books are my Bag event this year, as promoted by the Bookseller's Association.

Come in and browse our wide selection of Bibles, reading notes, study guides, Christian fiction, and non-fiction titles: there really is something for everyone! And if you buy a book from us during the week following 6th October you can claim a free Cornerstone cloth bag.

Faitheism by Krish Kandiah

Posted on 10 August, 2018 at 8:55

Now in stock: Faitheism by Krish Kandiah.

If you have read any of Kandiah's other books (like Paradoxology or God is Stranger), you will know that he combines a readable style with genuine insight and honesty. In this new book, he considers the verbal battles between Christians and atheists that, as he puts it, have "generated a lot more heat than light". With a better understanding and willingness to listen, perhaps there is more common ground than we realised?

Undivided by Vicky Beeching

Posted on 19 July, 2018 at 15:55

“Don’t give us any spoilers,” one of my friends warned me when I told her I was intending to review Undivided by Vicky Beeching. So I shall try not to.

Vicky Beeching, both in her Preface and Final Disclaimers, makes clear what she is writing. “This is not a theology book or an academic essay; it’s a memoir.” It’s a contemporary story of one very gifted and prominent young musician struggling with her sexuality in an antagonistic culture. In effect, she simply says, "This is how it was for me."

So how does Undivided do as a memoir? For me it was eye-opening and harrowing. Although I’ve met Vicky once, I had no idea of the pilgrim’s progress she had been through. Now I understand a bit more. She is extraordinarily honest about her life, her thoughts and her faith – something which lies at the heart of her being.

In her early teens, Vicky realised that she was gay. For her it immediately created a conflict because at an even younger age she had committed herself to faith in Jesus Christ, and the evangelical culture in which she was brought up considered the two incompatible. One could not be gay and a Christian. And so for the next twenty years of her life, living in the heart of that particular Christian world, she struggled to be free of her nature and was constantly in fear of her orientation being uncovered. That struggle led to despair, many tears and the point of suicide.

Having myself grown into a similar world, I recognised the situations that she describes as true to life, from youth camps, to inappropriate use of the Bible, to double standards, and courageous stands. I also recognise the honesty of internal questioning and doubting to which she admits. It’s clear that her sexuality is not a result of nurture. Her family and her heroes of faith are staunchly conventional in their teaching on the matter. Her sister is straight. She grows up wishing she was too.

The reason that Vicky’s story captured the headlines like no other is that she was arguably the most popular female song-writer and worship leader of the noughties on both sides of the Atlantic, and in the US the Christian music business is a multi-million dollar concern. Educated in theology at Wycliffe, the evangelical hall in Oxford, her musical gift gained an added theological depth, so that when she went to the States in her early twenties her talent was recognised and she was soon signed up by EMI. She was in demand in mega-churches and on radio stations across the country. Her tour schedule was gruelling, much of it in the southern Bible Belt, where there was particular antipathy to the LGBTQ+ movement. As is now well known, it was her physical health that put a stop to her stellar life as a Christian song-writer and performer, and brought her back to England for urgent treatment on the National Health Service.

Having admitted to herself that she needed to come out in order to become whole and live free from shame, Vicky then went through a rigorous study of the Bible, which remained the foundation of her faith, in order to see whether she had come to the wrong conclusion. She highlights two occasions, in Brompton Oratory and St Paul’s Cathedral, which lead her to the conclusion that she was right. “God was letting me in on a new perspective, one of radical acceptance and inclusion. ‘Do not call unclean what I have made clean’ echoed round my head and heart. The person I’d always been – a gay person – was not something to be ashamed of. God accepted me and loved me, and my orientation was part of his grand design.”

In the final section, “Into the Unknown”, Vicky writes about her interview with Patrick Strudwick which was published in The Independent newspaper in August 2014, and grabbed the headlines worldwide within 24 hours. The fall-out from her admitting that she was gay beggared belief and, I am deeply sorry, reflected very sadly on the Christian community to which I belong and which she still calls hers. It extended for beyond disagreement into insult, condemnation and threats. Practically her music was widely boycotted and engagements cancelled or not renewed, drying up her income stream and threatening her livelihood.

When she was a child, Vicky’s ambition was to be a missionary like her much loved grandparents. If there is any happy ending to this gritty book, it must be that she is now representing faith in unlikely places, most of all in the LGBTQ+ community, where her Christian faith in the face of all odds is recognised and given a voice.

So, who should read Undivided, and why?

First, let’s start with people like me: straight Christians, brought up to be suspicious or judgmental about homosexuality. It gave me vivid insight into really what it is to be differently orientated in a still intolerant community. The book is dedicated “to the memory of Lizzie Lowe, a fourteen-year-old British girl who tragically took her own life in 2014 because she feared telling her Christian community that she was gay”. It’s almost impossible to grasp the nature and power of that fear until you read a memoir as well-written as this.

Secondly, gay Christians should read it, especially if you’re young. You will find you’re not alone, and that it’s possible to be gay and Christian, and have as full and fulfilled a life as anyone else. In fact, it would be so for any gay person no matter of what faith.

Thirdly, everyone should read it, wherever you stand. It is an honest insight into authentic living. It is a moving account of a hard-won liberation from fear and shame. And it's a good read.

I suspect there are many young people worldwide who are in a similar situation to Vicky’s. What she has given us, by virtue of her former popularity in the Anglophone world, is a view through a magnifying glass of their experience. We may make of it what we will. We may embrace it and support their freedom. We may dismiss it and resist any change. We may simply choose to take note of it. What we may not do is ignore it. I'm reminded of Martin Luther's apologia, "Here I stand. I can do no other." Please read it from beginning to end. Thank you, Vicky Beeching.

PS I still think The Wonder of the Cross is one of the greatest worship songs ever! How tragic that Vicky is no longer considered as acceptable in worship.

(At present Undivided is available only in hardback. It comes out in paperback in April next year. I recommend either or both!)

Michael Wenham