Spring and summer are usually associated with light beach reads, but this year the warm season is seeing a crop of Christian theology and history books taking on the heavy topic of sin. Seven such books are releasing in May, June, and July.
Born Bad: Original Sin and the Warping of the Western Mind by James Boyce. (Counterpoint, May). Original sin—the idea that evil taints all humans from birth because Adam, the first man, sinned—permeates Western culture, but often unconsciously, writes Boyce.
Saving the Original Sinner: How Christians Have Used the Bible’s First Man to Oppress, Inspire, and Make Sense of the World (Beacon, June), Karl Giberson jumps into the center of the cultural controversy over evolution. Says Amy Caldwell, executive editor at Beacon Press, “I acquired this book because of the surprising effects the doctrine of original sin was having in 21st century America,” referring especially to the contemporary fundamentalist Christian rejection of evolution.
Bedeviled: Lewis, Tolkien and the Shadow of Evil by Colin Duriez (InterVarsity Press, May). “Can we make sense of war, terror, violence and evil?” asks Duriez, an expert on C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the other Inklings. Here he explores the scars they carried from World War I, and the interplay between good and evil in their writings. (Can you say Screwtape Letters?)
The Gospel According to Heretics: Discovering Orthodoxy through Early Christological Conflicts by David E. Wilhite (Baker Academic, July). Early christological heresies like Adoptionism, Subordinationism, and Subhumanism (seriously, we’re not making that last one up) can teach readers the tenets of Christian orthodoxy by showing them what the errors of history have been, Wilhite argues.
Unashamed: Overcoming the Sins No Girl Wants to Talk About by Jessie Minassian (NavPress, June). Many teenage girls are hiding a “secret sin,” whether it’s about sex, cutting, purging, or addiction. This book offers hope for evangelical Christian girls who want God to free them from the sins that overwhelm them.
Sin Boldly!: Justifying Faith for Fragile and Broken Souls by Ted Peters (Fortress, June). “How can the gospel of grace provide transformation for both fragile and broken souls?” asks Peters, a theologian and Lutheran pastor.
Seven Deadly Sins by Kevin Vost (Sophia Institute Press, May 19). Growing spiritually means understanding the demons within—and recognizing which of the seven deadly sins you are most susceptible to. The book promises “an arsenal of practical weapons” to slay your inner dragons.