“Who Am I?” Personal Identity in an Age of Identity Angst

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

9780310499824After certain events changed Brian Rosner’s life dramatically, he had lost his sense of self and was forced to revisit the most personal of questions:

Who am I?

Out from this one question tumbled a number of others: How do your circumstances affect your sense of self? What makes you, you? What is a human being, anyway?

Leveraging his own personal experiences, Rosner addresses these questions in his new book Known by God. It tells the story of his own crisis of identity and the comfort he found in being known by God in an age of identity angst—a sense in which people are no longer sure who they are.

In our day and age the question of personal identity is subject to two powerful but opposing forces. On the one hand, nothing…

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4 Reasons Why Faith vs. Science Is a Myth

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

9780310535225“Tonight we will be talking about faith versus science. Our first guest is a former University of Oxford professor, evolutionary biologist, and bestselling author. He believes that science, not faith, holds the answers to all questions. On the other side of the aisle we have Joe Smith, who will speak for the legitimacy of faith and Christianity. Joe homeschools his kids, thinks Oprah is the Antichrist, and lives in a swamp” (23).

Sound familiar?

It does to Mark Clark. As he explains in his new book, The Problem of God, culture often portrays faith at odds with science: “science is about thinking, evidence, and rational justification, while Christianity and faith in general are about evading evidence and clinging to nonrationality” (25).

But…

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Gender & Sexual Identity: We Need a Fresh Perspective for Our People

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

9780310526025For many years the intersection of gay identity and Christian identity in the United States was a virtual no-man’s land. Nate Collins is one of the more recent voices bridging that gap with his new book All But Invisible.

While similarly focused books emphasize the biblical and theological issues surrounding faith, gender, and sexuality, he provides a renewed vision of gospel flourishing for LGBT people by speaking from his own experience as a gay man in a mixed orientation marriage.

Collins is committed to helping churches include LGBT people in the family life of the church. But first, he addresses two big-picture problems facing Christians who want to explore identity questions at the intersection of faith, gender, and sexuality.

1) Vision Problem: The Abundant Life for LGBT People

This first problem is…

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2 Crucial Lessons the Western Church Can Learn from African Christianity

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

9789966062291Meet Francinah Baloyi.

Francinah was born into a family of traditional spiritual healers of African traditional religion who were strongly opposed to Christianity. In time she herself became one of these so-called sangomas.

But over the years Jesus revealed himself to her in visions, delivering her from the power of ancestral spirits, convicting her of the sin of her abortions, and commissioning her as a prophet to spread the gospel. In a radical display of obedience, she destroyed all items associated with her work as a sangoma and ancestral spirituality, and began to preach wherever she found herself.

Moss Ntlha tells this important story in his new book, Out of the Shadows of African Traditional Religion. He hopes Francinah’s story will be of help…

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Is the Bible “Patriarchal”? Yes and No – An Excerpt from Gender Roles and the People of God

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

9780310529392Patriarchy—literally, “the rule of the father,” from the Greek patriarkhēs—is any systemic structure in which men or the eldest male hold the power, particularly over women, typically within a household but also in broader society. It has been with us almost since the dawn of humanity.

But is it biblical?

Alice Mathews asks this question and more of this important topic in her new book Gender Roles and the People of God:

How are we to think about the role or place of a woman in a patriarchal system? What is this woman, created as the man’s helper, according to Genesis 2:18? Is she…merely “a loyal and suitable assistant” to a man? Is this what God intended us to learn from that text?…

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What Are the Top 10 Problems People Have with God?

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

9780310535225We are living in one of the most skeptical eras ever.

Whether because of #FakeNews or post-modern relativism, our post-truth world posses a significant challenge to Christians who want to share their faith.

How does one speak into and reach a culture like that with the gospel?

Good question, one pastor Mark Clark takes on in his new book, The Problem of God, a handbook answering skeptics’ challenges to Christianity. Each chapter addresses one of the top ten God questions of our present age culled from a popular sermon series. Nearly a thousand skeptics showed up for it and never left. Clark thinks he knows why:

[B]ecause Christianity answered their questions, and their longings, better than anything else. They saw that it presents a rational and…

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Christ Alone & Catholic Sacramental Theology: A Reformation Response

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

9780310515746In order to understand the nature of the Reformers’ disagreement with Rome, you have to understand the nature of two intertwining ideas that anchor Catholic sacramental theology: the “nature-grace interdependence” and the “Christ-Church interconnection.”

Stephen Wellum traces the contours of this main point of disagreement and the Reformers’ response in his new book Christ Alone—The Uniqueness of Jesus as Savior. In it, he explores what the Reformers taught about the exclusivity and sufficiency of Christ—and why it still matters.

For the Reformers, solus Christus entails the confession of Christ’s exclusive identity and his perfect, complete, and all-sufficient work as our covenant head and mediator (258).

Below, we’ve briefly outlined Wellum’s engagement with these ideas to help you understand the Reformers’ solus Christus response to…

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Grace Is Profoundly Existential, Beginning With the Church

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

9780310515760“Grace is a profoundly existential matter” (157).

That’s the verdict in Carl Trueman’s new book Grace Alone, a tour de force through the biblical, historical, and existential conversations surrounding salvation as a gift of God. How is grace existential?

[Grace] does not simply explain how the Creator and his fallen creatures are brought back into communion with each other… Grace should hold us in its grip in such a way that our whole being is affected. That which brings us from being under God’s wrath to being his beloved children is surely something that we cannot contemplate in a dispassionate manner. (157)

This is why Trueman culminates his book with an extended conversation on the means of grace through the church, preaching, the…

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How You Can Translate Mark 1–4 On Your Own

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

9780310528036A few weeks ago we introduced you to an approach to reading biblical Greek that Mark Strauss calls “interesting and innovative.”

Reading Biblical Greek, conceived of and designed by Richard J. Gibson and Constantine R. Campbell, introduces first-year Greek students to the essential information needed to optimize their grasp of the fundamentals of the Greek language.

The goal of their approach is “to equip students to read the text of Mark’s Gospel as soon as practicable.” (vii) They succeed in part because their grammar is paired with an equally innovative companion workbook.

This supplemental workbook is designed to help students navigate their way through translating Mark 1–4, all on their own, by breaking up the Greek text into manageable portions and providing the…

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Was Katie Luther Spiritual? The Piety of the Reformation’s First Lady

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

9780310532156In Katie Luther, Ruth Tucker introduces us to Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther and First Lady of the Reformation.

This is not the sweet and submissive, subdued and godly woman many assume the great Reformer married. Instead, we discover a strong, independent woman whose voice echoes among modern women, wives and mothers who have carved out a career of their own.

Last week we learned five notable things about Katie—including that she was a nun who escaped her convent and a businesswoman who ran a brewery and inn. But what about her faith? When we consider her husband Martin’s profound spiritual nature imbued by a deep love for theology and the Bible, does Katie’s piety come up short?

As one person put it, “Her piety is more…

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An Interesting, Innovative Approach to Reading Biblical Greek

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

9780310527992The English idiom “It’s all Greek to me” isn’t merely an expression that something isn’t understandable. It also embodies the frustrations all first-year Greek students have when they encounter the foreign language of the New Testament, yet want to understand it in order to read it for themselves.

A new innovative approach to Greek grammar aims to ameliorate such frustrations.

Reading Biblical Greek, ideated and designed by Richard J. Gibson and Constantine R. Campbell, introduces first-year Greek students to the essential information needed to optimize their grasp of the fundamentals of the Greek language—no more and no less—enabling them to read and translate New Testament Greek as soon as possible.

[This book’s] distinctive approach has been shaped by lessons learned over decades from students struggling with the inherent challenge of language…

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5 Things You Need to Know About Katie Luther

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

9780310532156They say behind every great man is a great woman.

The same holds true for Martin Luther. And Ruth Tucker wants to introduce her to you in her new book, Katie Luther, First Lady of the Reformation. In it, she shows how, save for Martin Luther himself, Katharina von Bora was one of the most indispensable figures of the German Reformation:

Take her and their twenty-year marriage out of the picture, and his leadership would have suffered severely. Had it not been for the stability she brought to his life, [Martin] may have gone off the rails emotionally and mentally by the mid-1520s…Only Katharina von Bora—no other woman—could have accomplished what she did with this most unstable man. (11–12)

So who was this great woman behind the great Martin Luther? Here are five…

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