News, VOLUME 12

Ten Theology Books to Watch For [May 2019]

Here are some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:

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

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.

Cinematic Faith: A Christian Perspective on Movies and Meaning

William Romanowski

Baker Academic

This engaging book explores how Christians can most profitably and critically hear, read, and view popular culture through the lens of film. William Romanowski highlights the benefits of a faith-informed approach to cinema that centers on art and perspective and shows how Christian faith contributes to the moviegoing experience, leading to a deeper understanding of movies and life. The book draws examples from classic and contemporary American movies and includes illustrative film stills.


Seasoned Speech: Rhetoric in the Life of the Church

James Beitler III

IVP Academic

The Christian faith depends to a great degree on persuasion. In one of his letters to early Christians, the apostle Paul wrote, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone” (Col. 4:6). Yet rhetoric―the art of persuasion―has been largely ignored by most Christians. In this book, James Beitler seeks to renew interest in and hunger for an effective Christian rhetoric by closely considering the work of five beloved Christian communicators: C. S. Lewis, Dorothy L. Sayers, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Desmond Tutu, and Marilynne Robinson. Moreover, he situates these reflections within the Christian liturgical seasons for the essential truths they convey. These writers collectively demonstrate that being a master of rhetoric is not antithetical to authentic Christian witness. Indeed, being a faithful disciple of Christ means practicing a rhetoric that beneficially and persuasively imparts the surprising truth of the gospel. It means having seasoned speech.

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior

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  1. Jim E Montgomery

    Have searched the NT text and not found any democracy in JC’s teachings or His surrounding 1st century. ‘Democracy’ ought be seen by His disciples and as a strawman or at least a pitch in the dirt not be swung at … Don’t get mad at me; it just ain’t there!

  2. Of course democracy isn’t in scripture, but neither are many facets of life in our churches and homes. Should churches not have pianos because they aren’t mentioned in scripture (apologies, of course, to our brothers and sisters in the non-instrumental Churches of Christ) or should Christians forego transportation by automobile or all modern medicine because it isn’t mentioned in scripture?

    Democracy has some serious flaws (the marginalization — and sometimes oppression– of minority groups) but wouldn’t you agree that it’s its a whole lot better than some forms of government, say fascism or totalitarianism? The Reign of God is not a democracy, but in the modern age democracies have allowed the Gospel to flourish in ways that it hasn’t under other systems of government.

    Whether something is or isn’t in scripture is NOT a great test of its validity for us as Christians. Rather we need to think theologically about all the realities of our days and speak honestly about their virtues and their limitations.

    ~ Chris