So, how to persuade you to buy a book about the 10 Commandments? Specifically, R. Albert Mohler, Jr.'s new Words from the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the 10 Commandments.
This isn't the sort of book that normally arrives in my radio studio or turns up at my law firm. Into the former flow the novels and books of contemporary politics or popular history that publishers are hoping will merit an on-air interview. The latter is the resting place for the policy books on the Endangered Species Act, products liability or the hundred Con Law textbooks that legal publishers are hoping will be adopted for my classroom.
Since my show is a secular one, it is relatively rare for one of the great Christian publishing houses to send along a review copy (though a shirt-tail relative inside Tyndale House tips me to their key books.) I am thus often late to the news that a big book is roiling the Christian waters.
My friend Russell Shubin, Deputy Director of National News and Public Affairs for Salem Communications, does his best to flag for me the key books that Christian leadership are or soon will be reading. This week Russell sent along The Rev. Dr. Mohler's latest, and immediately I was struck by the turn it represents for Mohler. I am often on a conference call with Dr. Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and so know the general outline of the areas in which he is working. Mohler writes frequently on preaching and on subjects of current debate in the public square. He is a widely respected theologian and a leader of evangelical Christianity in America who has earned the enormous respect of his friends and opponents alike because of the depth of his reading and learning and because he avoids the sorts of personal attacks that define much of what passes for debate on the cable channels while still bringing sharp arguments and passionate conviction to whatever serious issue is laid on the table.
As more and more of evangelical Christianity's "big names" get older and intentionally begin to retire from the lists, the 50-year old Mohler is becoming if not the most influential voice in American Protestantism, than certainly one of the very few that command instant and serious attention from all quarters that matter.