The Truth About God’s Love
Telling the truth is the essence of memoir. Jack Deere tells the truth about his own life in order to share with us the truth about life in his new book Even in Our Darkness.
In it, he offers an unvarnished look at the Christian life—with all of its disappointments and disasters, addiction and sin—to tell us something essential about the greatest truth: God’s love.
Below are some vignettes of his life showcasing the truth about God’s love, beginning with his early understanding of God’s posture toward humanity and ending with the ultimate truth about this love.
Jack’s dad was the first person to tell him about God, which left a lasting impression:
Dad told me we were born with immortal souls. After we died,…
The Truth About Shame and Grace
Memoir is truth-telling. About one’s own life, yes, but also life. As Elie Wiesel said, “with memoir you must be honest, you must be truthful.”
In Even in Our Darkness, Jack Deere has written a moving memoir that tells the truth. Through his unvarnished story of the Christian life, Jack guides readers in overcoming life’s disappointments and learning to hear God speak in unimaginable ways.
One pathway Jack offers guidance is through the shoals of shame, and the importance of grace in finding victory. Through unvarnished honesty, he explores how each of us have a role to play in other’s experience of both shame and grace.
In one childhood anecdote, Jack recalls cussing out his mother. The next day, his dad told him to go to the dreaded “Back Bedroom” for…
The Truth About Suffering
“I will say, with memoir,” Elie Wiesel is quoted as saying, “you must be honest, you must be truthful.”
Jack Deere tells the truth in his new book Even in Our Darkness. Not merely about his own life, but about life.
Deere’s story is one of beauty in a broken life brimming with the kind of authenticity and realism, failure and fortitude, darkness and light we need to help us and others make sense of life in all of its trueness.
Under Deere’s guidance, truth—his truth, life’s truth—is “profoundly unmasked, unsettling, and unforgettable.” Beginning with the truth about suffering.
There were three insights I gleaned from his raw, harrowing account of life.
Suffering is Mysterious
Deere’s opening paragraph illustrates the truth of suffering’s mystery with painful precision:
On the morning of…
What Can Churches Do to Help with Mental Health Conditions?
ADHD and autism, depression and anxiety, mood disorders and other common mental health conditions are all part of people’s lives this side of the fall.
Yet the very place that should offer healing and hope is often the least equipped to help. Further, it is the place least likely to be actively attended by people suffering with such conditions.
That place is the church.
Stephen Grcevich explains this in his new book, Mental Health and the Church:
The families I meet through my work as a child and adolescent psychiatrist are far less likely than other families in our community to be actively involved in a local church. This reality is a tragic departure from Jesus’ plan for his church. (16)
Thankfully, he wrote…
How Jesus Subverts the Kingdoms of this World
He was born in the Roman Empire over two thousand years ago, growing up to command the loyalty of thousands. During his thirties he was seen as the fulfillment of national hopes and founder of an endless kingdom.
His achievements were considered signs of divine authority. Official proclamations of these acts, known as “gospels,” were published in his honor. In fact, an inscription on a stone was uncovered in southwest Turkey describing him in this way:
God sent him as a savior for us to make war to cease, to create peaceful order everywhere. And the birthday of this “god” was the beginning for the world of gospels that have come to men through him.
Who was this “god”? If you said Jesus, you’d be wrong. The “savior” described is Gaius Octavius, otherwise known as…
What History Tells Us About Jesus
Which makes it open to historical scrutiny.
As John Dickson explains in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus: “If you claim that something spectacular took place in history, intelligent people are going to ask you historical questions.”
How has it fared in the face of such critical observation? Surprisingly well! Particularly because Jesus is mentioned several times outside of the New Testament.
One lucky outcome of this flurry of ancient literary output [about the Roman Empire] is that a small-town Jewish teacher, named Yeshua ben Yosef, or Jesus son of Joseph, happened to…
How Much Exegetical Material Should You Share in Your Sermon?
But how much of that “science” and exegetical material should you share in your sermon in order to preach God’s Word effectively?
In other words: how much of the “then” should you share to help them get the “now” meaning and see the connection?
In their second edition of Preaching God’s Word, Terry G. Carter, J. Scott Duvall, J. Daniel Hays offer this insight:
If your audience does not make the connection between the exegetical meaning in the text and the applicational meaning you are proclaiming to them, your message loses its tie to biblical authority.
How Does Archaeology Contribute to Biblical Studies?
Whether for personal or professional study, inevitably you will come across something in the Bible that relates to its ancient persons, places, or events. How can you better understand this past context in order to understand the message in its historical context and apply it in our own time?
The historical and archaeological record, that’s how. And the new Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology is your guide to that record.
Written by archaeologist Randal Price with historian H. Wayne House, this handbook provides a window into the biblical past through the information available from the field of archaeology to aid your study of the Bible.
Consider these four specific ways that archaeology contributes to biblical studies—and your own study of God’s…
What is Christological Anthropology?
Although Christians have answered that “Jesus reveals what it means to be human,” this orthodox truism isn’t all that helpful. That’s what theologian Marc Cortez concluded when he started reading in theological anthropology:
I was struck by how often I would encounter [this claim] with little or no explanation of what such a statement means or how it should inform our understanding of specific issues in anthropology. (18)
His new book ReSourcing Theological Anthropology addresses that lack by offering an account of why theological anthropology must begin with Christology, centered around three key questions:
Why should we think that Christology is fundamental for understanding anthropology? What are the theological issues involved in making that claim?…
15 Things You Need to Know About the Eternal Generation of the Son
Retrieving Eternal Generation addresses the hermeneutical logic and biblical bases of the doctrine of eternal generation, key historical figures and moments in the development of the doctrine of eternal generation, and the broad dogmatic significance of the doctrine of eternal generation for theology.
Corresponding with its fifteen chapters, below are fifteen things you need to know about eternal generation—and why it is vital to reclaim this biblical, historical relation of the Son to the Father.
1) Integral to Knowing God’s Identity
Scott Swain “correlates two different ways Scripture names God: as the one…
6 Surprising Things You Need to Know about Matthew’s Christmas Story
There are two versions of the Christmas story: the one reflected in Christmas carols and pageants; the other version most forget—Matthew’s Christmas story.
“Matthew’s version of our favorite holiday,” Rodney Reeves explains in his new Matthew commentary (SGBC series), “is hardly recognizable except for the star and the three wise men. Joseph nearly divorcing Mary, Herod’s diabolical ploy, the slaughter of the innocents, the flight to Egypt, waiting for a wicked king to die—none of these things make the cover of Christmas cards” (61).
Yet we need this story for the things Matthew wants to tell us about Immanuel’s story.
In his commentary on Matthew 1:18–2:23, Reeves outlines several important insights into the passage. Below we’ve given you six surprising things you need to know about Matthew’s Christmas story this…
Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics: 5 Contemporary Insights
Since 2013 the Los Angeles Theology Conference (LATC) has sought to advance contemporary dogmatics by fostering serious, collegial engagement with Scripture and tradition, retrieving the best of the Christian past in order to forge theology for the future. One result of LATC has been a series five volumes of groundbreaking research into constructive dogmatics, now available as a box set.
The volumes in Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics address important areas in theology: Christology, the Trinity, atonement, the theological interpretation of Scripture, and theological method. World-class theologians lead the exploration, including Oliver D. Crisp, John Goldingay, Michael Horton, George Hunsinger, Karen Kilby, Peter J. Leithart, Fred Sanders, Katherine Sonderegger, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, and more.
Below we’ve highlighted from each volume one contribution to the exploration of…