Here are just a few thoughts I had on a couple books I recently finished reading. I recommend both of them.In Christless Christianity, Dr. Michael Horton examines the trend within American churches to replace the Gospel of Jesus Christ with something else. While this is rampant in much of what is called American Evangelicalism, Horton shows that it is a disease to which all churches are susceptible and which has infected nearly all branches of Christianity. It’s most dramatic in the realm of the Joel Osteen’s and Mark Driscoll’s of the religious scene. But what made me pause and shudder throughout the book is how much of the philosophy and theory has made its way into the ministry plans of even Lutheran pastors. These Lutherans wouldn’t subscribe to their theology per se, but they seem to be following right along in so many other respects. And I have observed that where Lutherans model their ministry after the same Evangelicals who have replaced the Gospel with a moralistic, therapeutic deism, they invariably tend to start talking and preaching like them. They don’t seem to know the difference between real law and real gospel. I just cannot, for the life of me, understand why a Lutheran pastor would ever even want to resemble that at all. I do not get it. This is an excellent book for gaining an understanding of what’s going on within the American church, and to recognize it when your pastor starts talking less and less like a Lutheran and more and more like—well, something else. In He Remembers the Barren, Katie Shuermann writes about the struggle of women who are unable to bear children. The book is mainly aimed at guiding these women to find their fulfillment more in their Jesus than in their womb. It is a must-read for any woman who bears this burden. But I would recommend it also to their families, their pastors, their fellow church members. It is instructive for understanding the kind of loving care that these dear women need within their families and congregations, and gives some thoughtful insight into the uniqueness of the cross which Jesus lays before them.