A Three-Point Framework for an Evangelical Theology of Animal Care

Jeremy Bouma on 11 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

vegangelicalRecently, there has been a heightened sense of justice within the evangelical community for the welfare of various “others”. Yet one group within creation has often received little attention:

Animals.

Admittedly, though I adore my spunky Terrier-Boxer-Pug dog Zoe, I haven’t much considered how caring for animals connects to my faith. But Christian activist Sarah Withrow King has caused me to rethink how animals fit into God’s broader creation plan and re-creation initiative through Christ.

King’s new book is called Vegangelical “because caring for animals has helped me appreciate the Good News in deeper and wider ways, and though the work is often heartbreaking, I have hope in a resurrected Christ, who is calling his whole creation home.” (16)

She opens her book…

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4 Reasons Why Every Christian Ought to Know the Traditional Creeds

Jeremy Bouma on 11 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310520924_imageIn the last several years, there has been a resurgent interest in rediscovering the historic Christian faith. Among others, we have Michael Bird to thank.

In his new book What Christians Ought to Believe, Bird follows up his magnum opus on evangelical theology with a sturdy guide to the bedrock of Christian doctrine: the Apostles’ Creed. It summarizes and explains the basic tenets of the Christian faith using this theological bulwark, in order to reverse a trend he calls a “theological travesty”:

Sadly, I know many churches that make no effort to recite, teach, and confess the Apostles’ Creed or any creed for that matter…By ignoring the creeds those who consider themselves to be orthodox are effectively sawing off the theological…

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Ask These 5 Questions to Bring Clarity to Your Old Testament Sermons

Jeremy Bouma on 12 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310524649I wish I’d had Christopher Wright’s new book How to Preach Through the Old Testament for All Its Worth when I regularly preached. It would have helped me preach the text, yes. But it would have helped me preach it in a way my congregation would have understood it.

Because let’s face it, preaching the Old Testament can be…challenging! Wright sympathizes:

to be honest, the Old Testament is a difficult set of books…trying to preach a sermon or teach a Sunday school class from the Old Testament is too exhausting for the pastor or Bible study leader and too confusing for the people. It’s much easier to stick with what we know—the New Testament. (17)

Which is why Wright offers a five-question roadmap for preaching and teaching Old Testament…

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How Jesus’ Murder-Is-Wrong Ethic Is Deeper than Atheists’ Ethic

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,.

doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsFor the past few months, my pastor has been preaching the Ten Commandments. Though the first four gave me pause, causing me to consider my singular worship of God, and the fifth one about parent honoring resurfaced vivid childhood memories, I sighed in relief at the sixth: “You shall not murder.” I could safely say I’d never murdered anyone.

Not so fast! Because as John Dickson explains in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments, “For Jesus, the command about murder is a shadow of a deeper reality in which God calls on us to revere people so much that we will refuse even to denigrate another…” (125)

Jesus’ murder-is-wrong ethic is a strong one. Even stronger than atheistic, secular notions. Because as Dickson reveals, his logic…

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What Does God Want Me to Do with My Life? Michael Horton Explains

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310525066‘Tis the season for commencement speeches. On June 12, 2005, Steve Jobs gave one of the more memorable ones. His advice to the Stanford graduating class? “You’ve got to find what you love.” This is a common answer to the graduate’s question, “What am I supposed to do with my life?”

But what about the Christian? What are we supposed to do with our life? Michael Horton has an answer, one that’s different from Jobs’s.

In his new book Core Christianity, a helpful guide that tackles the core beliefs that all Christians share, Horton directs our attention away from ourselves—finding what we love—and toward God and our neighbor. His advice on calling begins in a unique way, reminding us where we are and where we’re heading:

we are located…

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3 Keys to Help Doubters Make Sense of the Ten Commandments

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsThe greatest cultural icon of the West isn’t American (Declaration of Independence). It isn’t British (Magna Carta) or French (The Social Contract). Instead it’s Judeo-Christian.

I’m speaking of the Ten Commandments.

Though some have tried to transcend it, offering alternative lists in its place, there is no denying—or escaping—its enduring attraction and influence. John Dickson hopes to recapture both in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments. In it he explores how these ten verses have changed our world and how they show us what the Good Life looks like.

The social impact of this ancient moral charter is so great that most people living in the West…are living by the Ten Commandments, pretty much. These rules…

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How Should Christians Relate to Governing Authorities? Michael Bird Clarifies

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310327189“Origen, who knew Roman brutality all to well, said: ‘I am disturbed by Paul’s saying that the authority of this age and the judgment of the world are ministers of God.’” (Michael Bird, The Story of God  Bible Commentary: Romans, 442)

Two questions:

What does Paul mean that we should “be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1)? And in what way is it “necessary to submit to the authorities.” (13:5)?

Michael Bird brings clarity in his new Romans commentary (The Story of God Bible Commentary series). He helps us hear and explore the text in it’s original Roman context, while also applying it to…

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What Does Genesis 12:1–3 Mean, Why Does It Matter?

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

GenesisEarlier this year, we released another volume in the landmark The Story of God Bible Commentary series, written by none other than venerable Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III.

In Genesis, Longman helps pastors and teachers help those they shepherd live and apply the Story to real life. It also offers them a sturdy resource for hearing the voice of God in the text and finding an accessible explanation of its passages.

Let’s look at how Longman explains and applies Genesis 12:1–3—an important set of verses to be sure!

“One cannot overestimate the importance of these three verses not only for the Abraham story and the Pentateuch but for the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments.” (159)

So what does Read more

Visually Explore the 4 Acts of The Great Drama of God

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

William Shakespeare was right and wrong.

Yes, “All the world’s a stage; And all the men and women merely players.” But it isn’t a tale told by an idiot “full of sound and fury; Signifying nothing.”

In their new book Visual Theology, Tim Challies and Josh Byers remind us that we are all part of a great tale, a great Drama that is guided and directed by a sovereign Storyteller. For some time Christians have understood it as a four act Drama: cfrn Marrying the two Christian values of truth and beauty, Challies and Byers have crafted a visually stunning and equally visually informative resource to help you and those you shepherd see and understand the truth about God.

Below we’ve shared their…

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What Happens When You Die, Why Should You Care? Michael Horton Explains

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,.

9780310525066October 5, 2011: the day Steve Jobs died. When I got the news on my iPhone I was sad. Not only because the world lost an ingenious innovator–mostly because, by all accounts, the man didn’t know Jesus.

This seemed to be confirmed by Jobs himself a few years later, in this reflection from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs:

“I’d like to think that something survives after you die…that maybe your consciousness endures.”

He fell silent for a very long time. “But on the other hand, perhaps it’s like an on-off switch,” he said. “Click! And you’re gone.” (571)

Is that what happens when Death comes knocking? And why should we care what happens when it does?

Enter Michael Horton’s new book Core Christianity, a readable, engaging exploration of the essence of…

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Visually Explore 6 Beautiful Truths About Your Christian Identity

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310520436_2In their new book Visual Theology, a beautiful re-application of God’s truth, Tim Challies and Josh Byers offer an illustration to explain our new identity in Christ:

On February 6, 2006, Stephen Harper stood before the Governor General of Canada and recited the oath of office to faithfully execute the powers and trust given to him by the people of Canada.

In that very moment Stephen Harper became Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Yet, as they explain, “it must have taken him some time to begin confidently behaving like a Prime Minister. There must have been a period of adjustment when he was reconciling himself to all of these new realities…” (29)

How many of us Christians can relate?

Though we were given a new identity when we put our faith in…

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Visually Explore 4 Essential, Beautiful Truths About Life In Christ

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310520436_2Dutch Christian art theorist Hans Rookmaaker said, “Our world has changed for better or for worse. It is for us to find truth and beauty for today, constantly re-applying the truth of God’s word to our own time and our contemporary situation.”

Tim Challies and Josh Byers seem to have taken their cues from Rookmaaker with their new book Visual Theology. Both authors are passionate about finding and expressing truth and beauty in their own way, one as a writer, the other as an artist. Together they have masterfully re-applied the truth of God’s word to our time and situation in a way that is both truthful and beautiful; their visual theology is beautiful theology!

Inspired by the more recent art form of infographics, an especially functional form of art…

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