Book Review: Fix Your Eyes by Amy Gannett

Book Review: Fix Your Eyes by Amy Gannett

This is going to be my last book review for a little bit, so I wanted to leave it on a high note. I am hoping to go back to educational content for a while and I’m still mapping that out. This was actually my favorite book that I read in March. I just got overwhelmed trying to do too much, so I didn’t get the chance to review it until now. That said, I hope that this review blesses you and I hope you take the opportunity to get the book!

Background on Amy Gannett:

Amy Gannett may sound familiar to you as the creator and owner of Tiny Theologians, a ministry that makes theological educational material for toddlers and children. Amy is also a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is a writer. Her writings have been featured on Risen Motherhood, The Gospel Coalition, and Well Watered Women. Amy, her husband, and children live in Greenville, NC, where they work as church planters at Trinity Church. You can find Amy’s Bible studies at her website and I’ll also link to Tiny Theologians below!


Book Overview:

Amy starts Fix Your Eyes (FYE) by pointing to the fact that (as RC Sproul has also famously done) everyone is a theologian. This sets up the rest of the book to show how proper theology should lead to doxology. As most of you would know by being part of this group, theology is the study of God (theos being the Greek word for “God” and ology being the Greek word for “the study of”) and doxology is an expression of worship (doxa is the Greek word for “glory” and logia is the Greek word for “written or oral expression”).  So explaining this further, having a proper understanding of who God is prompts us to worship God more fully and faithfully. Amy says this on page 14 as:

When knowledge of God and worship of him work together as God designed, we will be Christians who know God and who love him; who learn about him and respond to what we’re learning in worship; who do the hard work of studying the scriptures that we might understand God as he revealed himself and fall on our knees in surrender and affection before the God of the Bible. When we make the study of God and the worship of him non-negotiables, we have the chance to become the kind of Christians who know and love God with our whole selves.

But in order to do this, we have to know who God is, so Amy turns and spends the next three chapters talking about who God is, Christology, and Pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit, pneuma being the Greek word for “spirit”). When looking at who God is, we have to start with looking at his communicable attributes (the qualities of God that we also take a share in by being made in his image) and his incommunicable attributes (the qualities of God that he has and no one else has). Amy explains these attributes as, “In short, you could say the communicable attributes connect us to God, while the incommunicable attributes set him apart from us, drawing the line between creature and creator” on page 25. From there, Amy gives one of the most robust, yet simple explanations of who God is that I’ve ever read, despite the limitations of human reason to be able to explain it. A great example of this is found on page 28:

To say that God is infinite is to say that God is beyond our greatest thoughts of him, he is higher and longer and wider and deeper than we can conceive – and to ever speak in such measurable terms gives us away.

One of the downfalls we tend to do culturally is elevating some attributes of God over others depending on what is convenient at the given moment. Amy is able to avoid that by tying them all together through his sovereignty on page 34:

But God’s sovereignty, like all of his other attributes, is tied into one another. They are all perfectly who God is, which is why God’s authority in creation is what leads him to sacrifice of the cross, the power of the resurrection, and the rule in the new creation. God wields his sovereignty in ways that are congruent with all his other attributes. He rules, yes with goodness. He reigns, indeed, with mercy. He governs, yes, with justice. He’s an uncorrupted King with a kind hand, wisely directing all that goes on in the universe.

God is all of these things and so much more. And God holding these attributes shows us our own higher calling. As Amy says on page 36:

God’s holiness tells us something about where we get our human standards of morality and perfection, God sets that standard. But God’s goodness takes it a step further – God is not only the standard of moral purity, but he is benevolent in all that he does. From top to bottom, God is good. He is a fountain of generosity (James 1:5, John 3:16) and one in whom there is only light and not a spot of darkness (1 John 1:5), and he invites us, by the power of his Spirit, to live the same way.

While God is holy and just, his “mercy is his active compassion toward us”  (page 40) and he shows that compassion by taking on the punishment for our sins. Through this, we look towards the incarnation. Jesus as fully God had all of God’s attributes perfectly, yet he lived among us and had a very human (yet sinless) experience through life. As written in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” While Amy doesn’t cite this verse, I think it fits nicely with what she’s written about Jesus and how the incarnation enables us to have a well formed theology of suffering on pages 83-87.

Something I especially appreciate about FYE is that Amy doesn’t downplay the importance of the Holy Spirit or treat pneumatology as a topic to gloss past until we get to the “real stuff.” She naturally starts her look at the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1:2, pointing to the “Spirit of God hovering over the waters,” but she doesn’t stop there. Amy points to several parts of the Old Testament where you can clearly see the Holy Spirit being active in the lives of God’s people, as God is calling them (and us) to be people of the presence (a reference to Exodus 33:12-17), being marked by the presence of God’s Spirit. 

By far, my favorite chapter was on soteriology (kind of a duh, for those that know me and have been reading my Guides the last 2 years). The thing that makes FYE unique in how it handles soteriology is that she centers the entirety of it around our union with Christ. On page 121, she makes the distinction that “salvation isn’t a gift that [Jesus] worked hard to earn only to hand it off to you and me as we place our faith in him; he is the gift.” Then she explains more in depth on page 122:

Like the center of a wagon wheel, the doctrine of union with Christ is what supports every other doctrine that encircles it. Justification is the result of our being united to the Justified One; adoption is the result of our being united to the Son of God;  our sanctification is the result of being united to the Holy One. All of the gospel, the entire message of salvation, find their source and substance in this eternal doctrine of union with Christ.

This is only obtained by grace through faith. Though, Amy is intentional to note on page 127 that “what is essential is not the quality of our faith, but the reliability of the one in whom our faith is put.” As Jesus himself says in Matthew 17:20 that faith as little as a mustard seed could move mountains. 

A natural implication of the doctrine of our union with Christ is that through our union with Christ, we are also brought to union with one another. On page 177, Amy explains it as:

God saves sinners and immediately includes them in the congregation of the saved. This is why historic theologians were right when they insisted that there is no salvation apart from the church. What they were not saying is that individuals in the church are the ones handing out salvation; what they did mean is that there is no way for someone to be saved without becoming a part of God’s people, the church. Put another way, there’s no way to be united to the Son without being united to everyone else who is united to him – meaning his people. 

Among the historic theologians that held this view was Cyprian of Carthage, who said, “You cannot have God as your Father unless you have the church for your Mother.” The church is vitally important to our spiritual lives because God designed us to live communally amongst people who encourage us to pursue him. Many of the practices that are beneficial for Christian life are best experienced in the context of community.

The last chapter of FYE discusses eschatology and I honestly wish I could just copy and paste the whole chapter here for you guys because it is just so rich, but I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes. The first plays well with the theological implications of our union with Christ and is found on page 206:

This is the culmination of our union with Christ. Those who are in Christ in this world will be found in Christ in his holy city. This is why it’s called the “consummation” of all things: because the union we have with Christ in salvation now will take its fullest form as we savor our richest intimacy and inseparable oneness with him.

As we look to the consummation, we can enjoy our union with Christ and with each other through the ordinary joys of the Word, Sacraments, and corporate worship. As Amy notes on page 218:

If the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is what awaits us, then you could say that we are enjoying the rehearsal dinner of that wedding feast each time we set the table for our family and our community.

Conclusions & Rating:

Fix Your Eyes was exceptionally encouraging. Amy shows a healthy view of law and gospel while pointing the reader towards godliness. The way she describes God and points to his attributes truly prompts you to worship, adoration, and appreciation. This book is a great read for new believers and mature believers alike. I’d say the reading level is probably fit for readers 16 and older. You do not have to be a woman to appreciate this book at all. It would also be great for a small group study and there’s a free discussion guide for that on Amy’s website. All in all, I truly loved reading FYE and happily give it 5 stars out of 5.


Review is also posted on GoodReads here:

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Book Review: Talking Back to Purity Culture by Rachel Welcher

Book Review: Talking Back to Purity Culture by Rachel Welcher

Before I get into this review, I do want to give a disclaimer. If you’re familiar with the book at all, this would come as no surprise to you, but I will likely be talking a lot about sex during this review, so if you have children that sometimes look over your shoulder while you read, I highly recommend setting this review aside to read during nap time. In addition to sex, there would be brief references to sexual assault. The language won’t be explicit, so if you are a sexual assault survivor, it shouldn’t be triggering for you, but if it could, I’d like to encourage you to skip this review. 

Background on Rachel Joy Welcher:

Rachel Joy Welcher has a Masters in Literature from University of St. Andrews in Scotland and she is a columnist for Fathom Magazine, as well as a poet. She and her husband, Evan live in Glenwood, Iowa with their baby Hilde (who was not born at the time of writing this book).

Book Overview:

If you grew up in the late 90s and 2000s like me, you probably read books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris or For Young Women Only by Shaunti Feldhan and Lisa Rice or honestly any of the books by Hayley DiMarco (I was legit obsessed). Younger Gen X and Millennial Christians took part in this massive cultural phenomenon fighting against the sexual promiscuity of our parents’ generation, but many would argue that it wasn’t just ineffective, it was also harmful. Enter in Talking Back to Purity Culture (TBPC) by Rachel Joy Welcher.

In TBPC, Rachel revisits the teachings in books and conferences, holds them against scripture, and examines their impact, while pointing to a healthier Christian view on sexuality. For the purposes of this book, I would define purity culture as “a movement in the 1990s and early 2000s characterized by teens making pledges to abstain from sex until marriage, a high view of virginity as purity, a view that women were morally responsible for helping men resist lust, and an overemphasis on parental involved dating or courtship.” Now, I know you may be thinking, “wait a minute, isn’t abstinence good?” To which I say, absolutely! But in this book, Rachel’s focus isn’t thinking about abstinence, but rather how we think and teach about abstinence. On page 21, she makes it a point to say:

If I ever have children, I will teach them what the Bible says about sex, that it was created by God to be an act of unifying self-giving within the marriage covenant between one man and one woman. I will teach them that, in marriage, sex is a God honoring good, but that extramarrital sex is a sin against a holy and loving Father. But I will not tell them that virginity makes them pure. … Virginity means only that an individual has never decided to or been forced to have sexual intercourse with another person. It is not a badge of holiness, a sign of sexual purity, or a ticket to heaven. The term “technical virginity” exists because of how inventive we are when it comes to finding sexual activities outside of sexual intercourse.

Rachel also makes it a point to show how shallow purity culture views purity because it limits purity to virginity, thus making it a temporal concern. On page 27, she expounds:

Purity culture’s obsession with virginity obscures the fact that our call to sexual purity is lifelong. Adolescents are encouraged that if they just hold out for a little while, they will soon get married and be able to unleash all of their sexual energy on another person. Not only does this dehumanize image bearers of God by painting them as nothing more than sexual outlets, it depicts the pursuit of purity as a season in life rather than a lifelong calling.

This low view of purity also neglects the ways we sin in non physical ways, our hearts can be drawn to lust and pornography even though we never physically do anything with anyone but our spouses. Unfortunately, these things also set us up for unrealistic expectations from life, as well, either by assuming that everyone will get married young (it’s well document in many studies that millennials are getting married later in life than any other generation before) and from those marriages, people who have never had sex before will somehow magically know how to have a great sex life. Yet, those of us in here who are not virgins can definitely attest to the fact that the first times are often painful and uncomfortable while you’re trying to figure out what you’re doing.

Even beyond that, the real damage from this view of purity comes from a theological pitfall that Rachel outlines on page 29:

Too often our elevation of virginity neglects the true source of our purity. The idea that we need to offer nonvirgins some sort of symbolic “second virginity” reinforces our misunderstanding of where purity comes from. We have been made new, washed clean “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). Virginity does not provide our purity. Jesus does.

From there, Rachel looks at how purity culture has specifically harmed women. This is something that has often been addressed on the Theology Gals podcast, but there’s many who believe that women are less sexual than men or have a lower drive and not only is that often not true, but that view also ends up neglecting the fact that women have body parts that serve no function besides sexual pleasure. Scripture can also attest to the fact that women are sexual beings in numerous places, including (but not limited to) Song of Songs. This view also ends up being intellectually inconsistent because women are often seen as sexual temptresses. How can someone be a temptress, yet not sexual?

Purity culture can also play into insecurities women face surrounding their bodies. There’s often shame for being too fat, too thin, having too big breasts, having very small breasts, body hair, whether or not you want to wear makeup. Women are simultaneously given the message that they need to “paint the barn,” but also not wear too much makeup, at the risk of looking like a whore and thus tempting men to sin. But women are more than their sexuality. They are image bearers of the living God.

Unfortunately, women are not the only ones negatively affected by purity culture. While women are taught this view that men are obsessed with sex and may even want it more than they want emotional intimacy, men are taught that they are animals and degraded as those with no self control. Because men are seen as lacking in self control, it further reinforces the view that women are a threat to men and creates a semi antagonistic view between the sexes. I’ll never forget a friend of mine pointing out that Mother’s Day sermons are often encouraging women that they’re valuable, while Father’s Day sermons are often “men do better” and him telling me how deflating it was to hear that all the time.

One of the things that I appreciated the most about TBPC is that Rachel also took the time to address often overlooked groups of people in the conversations surrounding purity. As noted on page 67, “in purity culture, there are 3 promises for those who practice abstinence: marriage, sex, and children,” but what happens if you don’t get any of those things? For those who are long term singles, infertile, or those who struggle with same sex attraction and want to live a godly lifestyle, those things may not be part of their future. To the single person, infertile couple, and SSA person, Rachel approaches these topics each with grace and compassion rooted in scripture. One of my favorite parts was her reminder that Jesus lived his whole life without having sex, so we are able to have a full life without those things, even though we may long for them. She also points out on page 73:

We create opportunities to be disappointed with God when we put our hope in things he never promised. Jesus did not die so that Christians could live out their own Nicholas Sparks novel. He died to set us free from slavery to sin, to make us new, and draw us into the kingdom of God forever. It is not earthly marriage, but the marriage supper of the Lamb that we are promised. It is adoption as sons and daughters that we receive, not because we stayed sexually pure or dressed modestly, but because Jesus spilled blood for our sins. Whatever our relationship status on earth, Christians can stand firm in their identity as children of the living God and as the church, his body, and his bride.

Rachel next addresses how unrealistic expectations towards sex can be harmful in marriage, detailing a few stories from people who had very painful initial experiences that I will spare you. Though, I will share that she had very insightful points made about the idolatry of sex in both American culture and the American church. She also pointed to the fact that purity culture has often absorbed the prosperity gospel in its reasonings surrounding sex. If you do xyz thing and have enough faith, God will give you what you want, which as we all know, does not happen in any meaningful way.

By far, the hardest part to read was the chapter on sexual abuse (chapter 7). When virginity is idolized and that is taken away from you, it can feel like you are less valuable to a future spouse, regardless of whether or not that is true. I found it comforting on page 110 when Rachel wrote:

Being sinned against sexually is devastating and life-altering. And the shame of what has been done to our bodies attempts to block our view of the cross. But our worth remains intact. No matter what has been done to us, or what we have done to others, we are never less than image bearers of the holy God. Any message that downplays this truth is worth challenging. The belief that all people are created in the image of God – the imago dei – is a theology worth fighting for. 

In writing about rape culture (the idea that if someone was raped, they should have defended themselves better or should have dressed and behaved less provocatively), Rachel fights the ways scripture is misused to blame victims of sexual assault for their assault. She also gives a look at how we can see sexual assault in scripture and know that God cares for those who have been victims of assault.

While Rachel spent a considerable amount of time in the book critiquing purity culture, she did also give some space to critique the overcorrections from purity culture, specifically ones that became very permissive towards sexual behavior. Rachel is also very clear about sin, saying on page 135:

There is forgiveness at the cross for every sin. And we can grow from our mistakes, learn from our failures, and even look back with thankfulness at the times when God showed mercy to us, despite our disobedience. But when we start calling “holy” what God calls sinful, we have ceased to honor him. We have misunderstood what holiness means.

At the end of the book, Rachel shifts to look at how to speak to your children about purity. She recognizes that “the Christian pursuit of purity is biblical, but it must flow out of a recognition that it is Jesus that makes us pure” (page 137). She also points out that “if we want to sin, we will find a way” and “this doesn’t mean that the rules are wrong” or that there shouldn’t be rules (page 165). I also appreciated her encouragement to stop trying to make abstinence sexy on page 179:

Purity culture’s main problem is not that it is too conservative, but that it is too worldly. Sex is not about self and abstinence is anything but sexy. Dressing it up as such is not only confusing, it’s discouraging. When our children realize that pursuing purity is incredibly difficult, they will wonder why we didn’t prepare them. Sometimes we think God needs to dangle carrots in front of people in order to make his message palatable, when he called us to preach a gospel of foolishness to those who are perishing, a message so offensive to our pride that we must either reject the Son or fall at his feet.

Rachel finishes by ultimately pointing to the importance of having conversations about sexual purity instead of just reading books about it. She also encourages us to not talk about purity apart from the gospel and scripture.

Conclusions & Rating:

TBPC was such a breath of fresh air. It was very gospel centered and clear. Rachel brings data with a lot of the assertions she makes. I love the encouragement to experience this book in community. She goes beyond the typical appeals to abstinence to really look at purity in Christ.

One thing that sets TBPC apart from other books examining purity culture is that Rachel didn’t set out to redefine scripture’s views on sexuality. I think this is part of the reason that most of the more negative reviews of this book have called it a repackaging of purity culture. Rachel’s dedication to scripture transcends culture and that makes her voice very valuable in the conversation. So this one gets 5 stars out of 5 from me!

Oh, Rachel was also featured on the TG podcast to talk about this book and I’ll link that for you here!


Review is also posted on GoodReads here:

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Book Review: Like Our Father by Christina Fox

Book Review: Like Our Father by Christina Fox

Why is someone who is not a parent reviewing a parenting book? Great question, I would love to tell you. First of all, I love Christina Fox’s writing. Her book, A Holy Fear, was the first book I had ever reviewed for Theology Gals (link to the fb group review below). Second of all, I would actually love the ability to become a mom one day, but even if I don’t, I do have a niece and two nephews that I help babysit, as well as many other children in my life. Third of all, I just like to read lol. 


If you are familiar with Elyse Myers on TikTok or Instagram, that intro might be amusingly familiar to you.  But all of those things I’ve said above are true. This is actually the first parenting book I’ve read in my life, though I don’t expect it to be the last. I am part of the launch team for the book and I waited until the absolute last possible second to join because I wanted parents to have the first opportunity to join. That said, I think I might have an interesting voice to bring to the table as a nonparent, so I hope that you enjoy this review!

Background on Christina:

Christina Fox is a licensed mental health counselor, public speaker, author, wife, and mom to two teenagers. She has been on the Theology Gals podcast 7 times to talk about the books she’s written (episodes linked below). In addition to Like Our Father and A Holy Fear ($2.99 on Kindle right now, first book link), she’s written A Heart Set Free, Closer Than a Sister, Sufficient Hope, Idols for a Mother’s Heart, and two children’s books (one releasing later this year). Christina lives in the Atlanta metro area and also coordinates the counseling ministry at her local church.

Podcast Episodes:,,,,,, 

Book Links:,,,,,, 

Book Overview:

This is very different from what I would expect from a parenting book; however, not particularly different from what I would expect from Christina. I say this because this book is what I would call a theology of parenting, it’s not a step by step how to guide. Like Our Father takes a look at what it means for God to be our Father and how that can inform and model parenting for us. Naturally, Christina starts off talking about the fall and what it means for us to be made in God’s image with a thorough gospel presentation. On page 25, she writes:

Just as God sent Moses to rescue His people from Pharaoh, He sent a Redeemer to rescue us from sin. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, left the royal halls of heaven and came down to earth. He took on human flesh and fulfilled the promise God made to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15 to bruise the head of Satan. He came to defeat sin by living the life we could not live and dying the death we deserved. Through faith in who Jesus is and what He has done for us, we are set free from sin and are made new so that we can live our lives for the glory of God.

Christina repeats that later in the book on page 166 as a perfect chiasm (a chiasm is when a story or book starts the way it ends, a writing version of a palindrome, like the name Hannah) and reminder in the conclusion. She also elaborates on page 26:

Because we are image bearers, we image God to those around us. We reflect Him to others as we do what He does and as we display His character in our lives. And who do we see most often in our day to day life? Our children.

Like Our Father also goes beyond looking at who God is, but also looks at who we are as people and in Christ. We call God our Father because He is our Father, we are adopted into His family as His children. On page 34, Christina states it as, “Being a Christian means becoming sons and daughters of God.” This is a really important paradigm to keep in mind when we look at our own children.

One of the things I appreciate most about Like Our Father is how much Christina emphasizes a solid theological understanding of God. An example of this can be found on page 35, where she writes:

God the Father, through the life and death of the Son, and by the Spirit’s regenerating work in our hearts, adopted us as His children so that we would join in the love and fellowship the Trinity has experienced together for all eternity.

How beautiful is that statement! This is what I mean when I say this book is a theology of parenting. From this premise, we begin to look at how our children’s needs can even point us to God. One of my favorite chapters is chapter 3, God is Consistent. In this chapter, Christina talks about how important routines can be to children (something I definitely related to when I was a child and I still find comfort in routines today as an adult). But because God is consistent, this means that we can trust God and that really opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about giving children routines. A child’s desire and need for routines points to a God of order and consistency. On page 50, Christina phrases it as, “While we can never be perfectly consistent and while we will fail, intentionally or unintentionally, as God’s image bearers, we glorify Him when we create structure and order.” Yet, she doesn’t belabor this point in such a way to guilt parents for their imperfections, she constantly gives grace, later saying on page 55, “Think of consistent parenting not as a rule that is impossible to keep, but as an opportunity to show your children who God is.”

Another thing I appreciated about Like Our Father is that Christina really uses a law gospel approach to parenting. There’s definite moments of pointing to the first use of the law to remind us of God’s goodness and our sinfulness, but there’s also an aspect of the freedom we have in Christ to not take parenting standards as an additional justifying law. Additionally, Christina also gives encouragement to remember that it’s really God who changes our hearts and conforms us to Christ (which means He also does this in our children). On page 79, she states it as, “We are not only saved by His grace, we are trained by His grace.” As an outsider to the mommy wars, one thing I’ve noticed is that people tend to make their parenting preferences as the end all be all. And while yes, there’s definitely ways to do things poorly or wrong, I think that people need to have grace in some of the differences that aren’t so black and white. If you seek to glorify God with your parenting choices, you’ve already got the most important part of the battle underway.

One of the most helpful parts of the book for me to hopefully keep in mind for later is the explanation between discipline and punishment. Christina explains that discipline is training for righteousness and it’s not punitive. She also says, “This means our discipline is not about us and expressing our anger. It is not about getting even with our child” (page 106). A big takeaway is also pointing to the fact that we should show the fruit of the Spirit to our children.

Conclusions & Rating:

This book was by far my favorite book that I’ve reviewed this week. Like Our Father was accessible and approachable. It is not gender specific, so it’s something you can go through with your husband or as a small group Bible study of parents. The book is saturated with scripture and really good for new parents, seasoned parents, and even hopeful parents.

Christina’s wisdom and insightful questions would also make this helpful for those who are newer to the faith or didn’t have a solidly Christian or healthy family upbringing. On a personal note, my parents divorced when I was 5 and my husband and I have been married about 4.5 years. Over the last 4 years, I’ve been unpacking a lot of the things I unconsciously absorbed that were likely not healthy and affected my marriage. So coming to this book, I realized I probably had similar concerns with raising children. That’s part of the reason Like Our Father was highly beneficial for me. I know I don’t have perfect parents, but I do have a perfect Father in heaven and if we are blessed with children, I know that He would love them better than we do and that I can trust that He will take care of their needs as He takes care of mine. So of course, this book gets 5 stars out of 5, but also a really big thank you to Christina Fox for writing it.

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