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Ten Theology Books to Watch For – January 2024

Theology Books January 2024

Here are some excellent new theology books * that will be released in January 2024 :

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

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Reckoning with Power: Why the Church Fails When It’s on the Wrong Side of Power 

David Fitch

(Brazos Press)

History is clear: Whenever the church has aligned itself with worldly, coercive power, it ends up on the wrong side of important justice issues.

But when the church cooperates with God’s power through his presence among the least powerful, its witness for Jesus transforms the world into a better place.

In Reckoning with Power, David Fitch unpacks the difference between worldly power, or power over others, and God’s power, which engages not in coercion but in love, reconciliation, grace, forgiveness, and healing.

In a world where we can see the abuses of power everywhere–in our homes, schools, governments, and churches–Fitch teaches readers how to discern power and avoid its abuses and traumas. By learning from the church’s historical pitfalls, Fitch empowers Christians to relinquish worldly power and make space for God to disrupt and transform our culture for his kingdom.


Theology Books January 2024

Picking Up the Pieces: Leadership after Empire

Kathleen McShane and Elan Babchuck

( Fortress Press )

While the exodus dates back thousands of years, religious organizations continue to operate in the shadows of the pyramids–the symbol of empire–that the Israelites once toiled to build. The reason is understandable, given that pyramids are remarkably stable structures. Pyramids lend an orderliness to organizational relationships in our churches and synagogues.

However, Kathleen McShane and Elan Babchuck argue that such leadership models reflect syncretic cultural traditions more than our theological convictions. These patterns elevate the structure of the pyramid above the people. They reward the consolidation of power at the top at the expense of the freedom of those below. They constrain creativity and elevate efficiency at the cost of human dignity.

In Picking Up the Pieces, McShane and Babchuck argue that these leadership models are not the way of the gospel. Therefore, today’s religious leaders need a more generous model. They need a leadership model where power is shared rather than hoarded, and where every person can stretch toward the fullness of their God-given gifts, regardless of where they land on an organizational chart.

Through an innovative exploration of Moses’s biblical narrative, the authors suggest that Moses’s leadership failures were because he, too, was shaped by empire. The authors notice Moses’s stumbles and corrections and the ways he picks up the pieces of broken leadership templates to guide his people toward their liberation. Picking Up the Pieces also offers stories of contemporary innovators and boundary-stretchers who grapple with failed experiments of religious leadership.

This book offers a provocation to religious leaders to exercise institutional power more generously. The book will speak to leaders who are ready to shift from organizational patterns that demand over-functioning and instead share power so that power multiplies. It will help leaders help their people fully engage in the life-giving promise that awaits them.

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