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Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Book Review of Wendy Alsup's book “Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives” (published by Crossway)

If you are wondering whether “Practical Theology for Women,” is a euphemism for dumbed-down theology or pop-psychology, let me assure you it is not. To the contrary, the major theme of this book is that seeking to know the “deep things of God” from Scripture empowers Christian women in daily living- from the mundane to the events that shake our world. Throughout the book, Alsup quotes robust sections of Scripture to draw out themes such as God’s love for us, the role of trials in giving us greater glimpses into God’s glory, and the role of discipline in conforming us to the image of Christ. Laying a sturdy foundation from Scripture, Alsup highlights key truths about who God is: 1) as the Father who lovingly adopted us into His family and who desires for us to come to Him with all our needs; 2) as the Brother who sacrificially gave His life for ours, bought our freedom and access to the Father, and who demonstrates by example how we ought to live; and 3) as the Spirit who is our counselor, comforter, sanctifier, and the guarantee of the redemption that awaits us. Humbly using examples from her own life, Alsup goes on to challenge women to examine whether our responses in daily life reflect what we know to be true of God in Scripture. She asks:
What enables one man to face open-heart surgery with calm assurance, while another man is devastated because his car transmission needs to be overhauled? What force drives one woman to near hysterics as she contemplates flying in a plane, while another woman seeks to encourage her family even as she shares the news that she has breast cancer? p. 30
Her answer to these questions is biblical faith- knowing the God of the Bible, trusting Him, and subsequently living like we do. As Alsup reminds us, our God is sovereign, wise, and compassionate, and believing this by faith impacts our daily lives. Alsup’s book exposes how our unbelief is often revealed in our common responses to trials by the way we manipulate our circumstances or sink into despair. Rather than settling for this way of living, Alsup urges women to “stop,” “get off of the emotional roller coaster,” and take our thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. She then takes us by the hand and walks us through the ways we do this by accessing God and the exceedingly great power that is available to us through the Word and through prayer.
The biggest legacy of this small book is its rich reference to Scripture, and the simple, practical, and empowering application of Scripture to the everyday life of women with everyday struggles. It can be read cover to cover in an hour or two, or it can be read chapter by chapter in about 5 to 10 minutes per day. Alsup not only employs helpful illustrations from her own life and the lives of other women, but she offers Biblical and practical tips on how to study the Bible and how to pray.
After reading this book, I am left with this truth that Alsup draws upon throughout the book: God does not leave us as orphans but rather gives us direct access to Him and to the same power that raised Jesus from the grave! As Alsup’s book reminds us, this truth means something for us everyday at the breakfast table, in our school, in our workplace, in our cars, at the gym, at the mall, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods. It also means something when we lose our job, when our friends betray us, when we lose a loved one to death, or when we face our own impending death. Alsup’s book leaves me convicted, inspired, and empowered as I seek to call on, honor, and image the God of the Bible moment by moment in my life.


Emmanuel said...

Dear Bina,

Firstly I love the title of your new blog that is so wonderful. I am so pleased you are using the gifting God has given to you as a writer for His glory.

I really enjoyed reading your book review blogs and sensing the theme of "knowing God" regardless of life's circumstances - which will result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of the King Jesus Christ.

I pray that God will continue to use the talents He has given to you on this blog site and I pray many lives will be touched.

Thank you for listening to His voice and writing for His glory.

The Lord bless you!

Anonymous said...

Awesome blog. I'm going to stalk it.

Anonymous said...

Your blog rocks. Keep up the good work!