The 3 Actors of Ephesians—And Why They Matter to the Story of God

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

ephesianssgbc“The story of God in Ephesians will change your life if you let it,” exclaims Mark D. Roberts in his new Ephesians commentary. “It will open your eyes to seeing God, your life, the church, and indeed the entire universe in a whole new way” (1)

That’s because this story isn’t only about God. Yes, he’s the primary actor. But there are two other actors that play a commanding role: “me” and “us.”

Like all commentaries in The Story of God Bible Commentary series, Roberts draws the reader into God’s Story  by illuminating and explaining each passage of Scripture in light of its grand narrative—helping us live this letter in our own contexts. He begins his endeavor with a goodly introduction orienting us to this letter, particularly the actors within it.

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Two Views, Four Voices on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church

Jeremy Bouma on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

homosexualityThe sanctity of same-sex relations is one of the most pressing ethical questions facing the church today. (9)

So contends Preston Sprinkle in his new edited volume Two Views of Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church. And rightly so. For, as he continues, “Unlike other topics that Christians debate—the rapture, the millennium, speaking in tongues, etc.—homosexuality affects the very core of human persons.” (9)

Bringing together four voices to discuss two dominant views on the Bible and sexuality, this unique volume in the Counterpoints series offers fresh perspective on a well-worn topic in three distinct ways:

This first-of-its-kind book published by an evangelical publisher encourages dialogue within the body of Christ about homosexuality, the Bible, and the church Though most discussions have been dominated…

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How You Can Preach the Purpose and Theology of the Book of Daniel

Jeremy Bouma on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

danielsgbcWith so much global uncertainty and unease, it’s easy to forget what the book of Daniel reminds us: God is the King of kings!

Old Testament scholar Wendy L. Widder explores this crucial anthem in her new Daniel commentary (Story of God Bible Commentary series). While Christians have been obsessed with how Daniel reveals end-times events, she argues we’ve often missed its pivotal message—one we need now more than ever:

God is in control, no matter how things look, and his kingdom will one day fill the earth. (14)

Widder explains that this message grows out of the book’s primary theme: the kingdom of God. “The book reveals why God is the king of all kings, and it offers perspective on how citizens of his kingdom should live while they…

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“Redemptive Release” for Wayward Souls – 3 Biblical Examples

Jeremy Bouma on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

9780310523536_imageWhat do you do when someone you love—a friend, a spouse, a child—goes wayward, as we sometimes say? And how do you pursue someone who has hurt you, who has sinned against you?

These deep, important questions are often fraught with pain and confusion. Two pastors with fifty years of experience want to help you navigate them.

In their richly biblical, deeply practical new book Letting Go, pastors Dave Harvey and Paul Gilbert offer counsel for dealing with and caring for the prodigal who has strayed.

As pastors and counselors, we offer to step into your pain and confusion and point you to the One who redeems prodigals with his tough, rugged love. … He cares for the wayward person…

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How Do Catholics and Protestants Disagree over Salvation & Justification?

Jeremy Bouma on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

9780310527930On October 31, 1517, an unsuspecting monk ventured to challenge the prevailing ecclesial authorities of his day by posting his “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Underlying his disputes with the Indulgence Industrial Complex was a theme that would become one of the single most important rallying points in the Protestant Reformation. John Calvin pointedly named this theme:

The only point in dispute is how we are deemed righteous in the sight of God. (Acts of the Council of Trent)

This point of dispute still sits at the heart of what divides Catholics and Protestants five hundred years later. But how exactly do they differ? And is there no point of agreement…

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How Do Catholics and Protestants Disagree over Scripture & Tradition?

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

9780310527930In 1994, leading Catholic and Evangelical leaders signed the document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together,” affirming their common faith and common mission on the eve of the third millennium.

Five years later, mainline Lutherans and the Catholic Church similarly came together to bury the hatchet, as it were, in their “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.”

While such ecumenical endeavors are encouraging, do they belie the real differences that exist between Protestants and Catholics? If so, what are they, and why are they significant?

The Unfinished Reformation brings clarity to these questions by examining what unites and divides these two dominant Christian groups. Theologian Gregg Allison and pastor Chris Castaldo take a nuanced and thoughtful look at the doctrines and practices of…

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5 Things Russell Jeung Learned Among Ancestors & Refugees

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310527831From Syrian refugees to Latin American immigrants, Westerners are wrestling with complicated realities of exile in all of its forms.

What does it mean to be the Church for such people, and what can we learn from our refugee neighbors as we love them in the name of Jesus? Russell Jeung helps us wrestle with such questions.

In his spiritual memoir At Home in Exile, Jeung shares the joyful and occasionally harrowing stories of his life in East Oakland’s Murder Dubs neighborhood, and how those experiences with exile and relationships with refugees shaped his faith.

What I’ve learned from my family and gained from my refugee neighbors is a more precious gift. I have come to realize that both now and in the…

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Is Muhammad a Prophet of God? Muslims Give Three Positive Arguments

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

nogodbutone_newsletterThere is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.

Muhammad’s status as a prophetic messenger of God is the key identifying declaration and central pillar of Islam. It is announced multiple times a day before prayers and recited in the heart of every Muslim.

But is Muhammad a prophet of God?

Growing up, Muhammad’s prophethood was a given for former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi. But when he was challenged to investigate the evidence for Islam and Christianity, he explains in his new book No God but One what he discovered:

The three reasons most commonly given by Muslims to accept Muhammad as a prophet—his character, prophecies in the Bible, and miraculous scientific insights—are all very problematic. As a result, we are left…

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The “War on Christmas” and Jewish-Christian Dialogue

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

near_christianityMy wife and I visited our local Costco this weekend to get a good deal on a vacuum, only to be greeted by rows of fake LED-lighted Christmas trees, a life-size nutcracker, and a giant wire reindeer. Apparently the Christmas season began October 1st this year! Which makes Anthony Le Donne’s new book especially timely.

In Near Christianity, Le Donne offers us an important primer on Jewish-Christian dialogue. He takes us to the borders of the faith to help us understand and sympathize with those who remain “near Christianity.” Perhaps there’s no better time to consider this nearness than the season from Black Friday to Christmas Day.

In a chapter highlighting the dynamics at work between Christians and religious minorities during Advent, Le Donne asks us to consider…

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5 Reasons to Ask “Is the Reformation Finished?”

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

Reformation: From the latin reformatio; “the enterprise of repairing an inadequate state of affairs by returning to an earlier expression of faith.” (18)

9780310527930Next year, on October 31, 2017, many will celebrate the monumental five-hundred-year anniversary of when an unsuspecting monk posted a list of grievances on the door of a nondescript church in Germany—launching what would become known as the Protestant Reformation.

But is such a repairing enterprise finished; is the Reformation over?

Theologian Gregg Allison and pastor Chris Castaldo have set out to answer that question in their new book The Unfinished Reformation. It is a brief, clear guide to the key points of unity and divergence between Protestants and Catholics today. They write to encourage fruitful conversation about the…

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Four Lessons Learned From Jewish-Christian Dialogue

Jeremy Bouma on 8 months ago.

near_christianityIn his brilliant primer on the Christian faith, C.S. Lewis set out to distill the essence of Christianity down to its mereness. His celebrated apologetic, Mere Christianity, was an outsider’s guide to the inside of the faith.

But what about Christianity’s nearness? What does the Christian faith look like from the borders, near the periphery of the faith? That’s what Anthony Le Donne sets out to answer in his new book Near Christianity. It examine “ancient, storied, tragic, and often misunderstood borders—the complicated and shifting borders shared by Jews and Christians.” (17)

Le Donne maps a number of seemingly peripheral topics—the so-called “war on Christmas,” Christian complicity in violence,  anti-Judaism and philo-judaism—revealing how they are more central to Christianity than we may…

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Did Jesus Claim to Be God? Muslims Say “No”

Jeremy Bouma on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

ngb1In No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, Nabeel Qureshi investigates the evidence for Islam and Christianity as a former Muslim. One of the most important parts to his investigation is his engagement with the widest point of divergence between the two religions: the person of Jesus.

“At no point is the schism between Christian and Islamic theologies broader than on the person of Jesus” (213) Qureshi reveals.

Answering his question about not only Jesus’ divinity, but his claim to be God, was a crucial one for his journey from seeking Allah to finding Jesus. “All other differences between Muslims and Christians were secondary to me, far less important than this most significant matter.” (213)

Below we explore this surprising claim by Muslims, that Jesus never claimed to be God,…

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