Four Principles from Daniel for Sustaining Faith in Today’s World

Jeremy Bouma on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310284642How can we live “in the world” and yet not let the world own us and squeeze us into the shape of its own fallen values and assumptions?

A teenager and his friends, to say nothing of an entire nation, had to navigate this question themselves. Thankfully their wisdom has been preserved for us.

In his new book Hearing the Message of Daniel, Christopher Wright explores the perennial problem of living in but not of the world by exploring the book of Daniel—beginning with the young Jewish mens’ surprising response to Babylon’s program of indoctrination.

Though most sermons focus on their courage to say “no,” Wright explains why it is important that…

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Worship Pastor, Are You a “Church Lover” First?

Jeremy Bouma on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310525196If you’re a worship pastor, you’re probably known as many things: song leader, lead musician, artist.

What about church lover?

Given the crisis of commitment in many churches nowadays, Zac Hicks challenges fellow worship leaders to make this role primary in his new book, The Worship Pastor:

those who commit to sticking it out with a church are becoming an endangered species. But even in times when such rare breeds were perhaps more plentiful, they were a sight to behold. The people of a bygone era once called these fanciful creatures “churchmen.” (22)

Churchmen can be translated church lover. Hicks invites his fellow colleagues in worship ministry to look to this model for leading their church. Below are six characteristics he hopes will shape such ministries.

1) Passionate Lover and Believer of the Church

First, “A worship leader who…

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Can You Be Committed to Both God’s Word and the Spirit’s Gifts?

Jeremy Bouma on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

9780310533849Pastor and author Sam Storms has been laboring and praying for what many have said is an elusive dream. What is he searching for?

a local church in the twenty-first century that is committed to the centrality and functional authority of the Bible and to the effective, Christ-exalting operation of all spiritual gifts. (13)

While such a church may seem elusive, Storm believes it’s possible. In his new book Practicing the Power, Storms offers practical steps to understanding and exercising spiritual gifts in a way that they remain grounded in God’s Word. He shows us that, yes, you can be committed to both the authority of God’s Word and the availability of the Spirit’s…

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Why Should I Know the History of Christianity? Here Are 5 Reasons

Jeremy Bouma on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310536284_imageEdmund Burke famously said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Perhaps there is no more urgent task for the church today than heeding these words. Ian Shaw aims to help us.

In Christianity: The Biography Shaw charts the story of Christianity from its birth and infancy among a handful of followers of Jesus Christ, through its years of development into a global religious movement, spanning continents and cultures and transcending educational and social backgrounds. Here’s why:

Understanding and preparing for the future of the church requires opening the book of its past. The biography of Christianity has not been one of constant advance and progress. In times of growth Christians should not exult…

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Two Competing Stories to the Christian Worldview

Jeremy Bouma on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310525042Last week we engaged Gregory Koukl’s new book The Story of Reality, examining what Christianity is and isn’t.

As Koukl explained, “[Christianity] is an account or a description or a depiction of the way things actually are” (23). And the way things actually are can be traced along a four-act story, familiar to many Koinonia readers: creation, fall, redemption, restoration.

Perhaps the most important part of this story is how it begins. Creation tells us how things began, where everything came from (including us), the reason for our origins, and what ultimate reality is like. Koukl explains it like this:

on the Christian view, God and the world—mind and matter—are two different kinds of things. Both are real. The first (God) is…

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Sixteen Ways Worship Pastors Can Engage Pastorally

Jeremy Bouma on 4 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310525196What role does a worship leader play in the modern church?

Song leader? Lead musician? Not really.

Zac Hicks wants to help fellow worship leaders realize they are actually worship pastors. So he wrote a resource to help them, called The Worship Pastor:

If you’re a new worship leader, this book is for you. It will give you an inspiring vision for the road ahead. It will hopefully also provide a set of tools to help sharpen and aim your call. If you’ve been a worship leader for a while, The Worship Pastor is for you too. It will be a fresh articulation of the job you’ve already been doing and hopefully provide some inspiration for how to make what you do even better. (19)

“Whether you know it or…

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What Is Christianity? Different than What Most People Think

Jeremy Bouma on 4 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310525042It’s a basic question, and also a vital one. Not only for our own spiritual journey, but also for the journeys of people we know and meet.

And it’s a question Gregory Koukl engages in his new book The Story of Reality. The reason why is because of the misguided approach to religion people often take:

people are often tempted to think of religion as a kind of spiritual fantasy club…the one that meets your personal needs, that gives you rules to live by that are respectable but not too demanding, that warms your heart with feelings of spirituality…[They say] do not, however, confuse religious stories with reality. They don’t give you the kind of information about the world that, say,…

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Three Steps Toward Rightly Knowing the Doctrine of the Trinity

Jeremy Bouma on 4 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310491491_imageFred Sanders has an ambitious goal with his new book The Triune God: securing our knowledge of the triune God by rightly ordering the theological language with which we praise him.

To get us on toward rightly knowing the doctrine of the Trinity, Sanders outlines three crucial steps, which we’ve engaged below:

to grasp the entire two-Testament canon, to trace its unbroken narrative arc, and to recognize that arc as a self-communicative action with God as its source. (98)

Step 1: Construe Scripture as a Whole

Although space doesn’t permit a complete defense of canonical unity, Sanders spends enough time to show why construing Scripture as a whole is a necessary first step toward rightly knowing the doctrine of the Trinity:

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10 Principles You Need to Know about Trinitarian Dogmatics

Jeremy Bouma on 4 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310491491_imageWhile celebrating Christ’s incarnation is fresh on our breath, it’s apt we contemplate the Trinity. After all, the God-with-us event is inherently Trinitarian: the Father gave the world his only-begotten Son, by the Holy Spirit.

Here to help is Fred Sanders with his new book The Triune God. In it he contends:

the manner of the Trinity’s revelation dictates the shape of the doctrine; it draws its dogmatic conclusions about how the doctrine should be handled on the basis of the way the Trinity was revealed. (19)

He offers an extensive set of dogmatics principles for Trinitarian exegesis to shepherd Trinitarian contemplation. They offer “systematic help for reconstructing the plausibility structures of biblical Trinitarianism” (19).

We’ve briefly shared those principles below to deepen your understanding of the triune God.

1) A Doxological Movement

When…

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Explore God’s Two Books: God’s Word and God’s Works – Reflecting on “Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!”

Jeremy Bouma on 5 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

25% and 23%

9780310526445These two numbers represent the reason why Denis Lamoureux wrote his new book Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!

The first is the percentage of young adults who perceive Christianity as anti-science. The second is the percentage of those who have been turned off by debates surrounding evolution and creationism. Lamoureux finds both numbers shocking; he thinks you should, too.

To help mitigate the fallout of these two numbers, Lamoureux has offered readers a framework for understanding the two “Books” of God. He hopes this framework hopes will help Christian students navigate the tension of modern science and the Bible. What are these two books, you ask?

The Book of God’s Words is the Bible. Scripture reveals spiritual truths concerning…

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What Is an “Evangelical” Dogmatics of Scripture? Here’s a Framework

Jeremy Bouma on 5 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

voiceofgodtextofscriptureSeveral years ago, Oliver Crisp and Fred Sanders conceived of an annual conference discussing and explicating Christian doctrine, one that was self-consciously ecumenical and sought to resource contemporary systematic theology. The result was the Los Angeles Theology Conference (LATC).

Earlier this year, the fourth annual gathering was framed by this question:

How does the voice of God come to us in the text of Scripture?

The result was The Voice of God in the Text of Scripture, a series of illuminating, constructive essays exploring the ways God speaks through the biblical text. Of this unique text Crisp and Sanders write,

we stand before a theological claim of the first order, and one of the right responses is to develop a doctrine…

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Do You Know about These Two Unique Features of John’s Gospel?

Jeremy Bouma on 5 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

johnzecntIt has been understood that John’s Gospel is a distinct chronicling of the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. That biblical scholars have cordoned it off from the so-called Synoptic gospels bears witness to this distinction. And if you’ve spent any amount of time with the beloved disciple’s gospel you’ve probably sensed its uniqueness, too.

But do you understand some of the central features that make it distinct? Edward W. Klink III helpfully explains two such characteristics in his new John commentary (ZECNT).

Building on the pioneering work of C. H. Dodd, who “In the twentieth century … provided the most focused analysis” (53), Klink provides readers an extended introduction to two unique features of John in order to help readers interpret it rightly: dialogues and monologues. Of the former…

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