How Do Islam and Christianity Define Our Problem and Solution?
Earlier this year my family moved to a diverse neighborhood in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The next day, we discovered we moved next to a Muslim family. Perhaps you would have done what I did: prayed for opportunities to show them Christ’s love; and wondered how to navigate a conversation about the differences of our faith if a door opened. Thankfully, we have a new book to guide those conversations.
In No God but One, the highly anticipated follow-up book to his New York Times bestselling spiritual memoir Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi addresses the most important questions at the interface of Islam and Christianity: How do the two religions differ? Can we be confident that either are true? And most important, is the truth worth dying for?
Should Christians Defend Jesus’ Virgin Birth?
“The notion that Jesus was born to a young Galilean girl who was still a virgin has proven to be one of the most objectionable and mocked beliefs of the Christian faith” (99), Michael Bird contends in his new book What Christians Ought to Believe.
Even a Christian pastor once suggested that it should make no difference to our faith if archaeologists found definitive, biological, DNA proof that Jesus had an earthly father named Larry.
“And yet,” Bird continues, “there it is right in front of us, right there in the Apostles’ Creed, to be confessed by Christians as part of our holy faith.” (99)
What are we to make of this stanza from our creed: “[Jesus] was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary”? Is…
5 Things I Learned About Kierkegaard’s Work from Stephen Backhouse
“Whatever your take on modern life, there are two things that can be said about [Søren] Kierkegaard: his influence on our various modes of thought is widespread, and the exact nature of that influence is difficult to articulate.” (12)
Part of the task in Stephen Backhouse’s new biography on this enigmatic figure, Kierkegaard: A Single Life, is to make sense of this influence. He accomplishes this magically through a nearly-one-hundred page overview of his works. He also does so by chronicling his work through vivid portraits of his major life moments.
Through prose so compelling it often reads like a novel, I learned five things about the style and substance of Kierkegaard’s work and influence.
1) His Work Marinated
A striking aspect of Kierkegaard’s work is that much of it sat…
5 Things I Learned About Kierkegaard’s Life from Stephen Backhouse
I hate to admit it, but not only did I skimp on Kierkegaard during my ThM in historical theology, Robert Bretall’s anthology of Kierkegaard’s works about did me in. Thankfully, I’m not alone in my struggle to grasp and appreciate the man and his ideas.
In his new book Kierkegaard: A Single Life Stephen Backhouse says, “It is not just theologians who find the influence of Kierkegaard hovering behind much of their work, only to find the life and thought of the man himself hard to get to know” (11)
Backhouse was spurred to write this book after a learned friend said the Kierkegaard he met in a book on his life and thought “seemed dense, distant, and unappealing.” (11) So he wanted to introduce this towering cultural influence in prose so compelling…
Who Has God Made You to Be? Visually Explore a Theology of Vocation
How do you discover who God has made you to be, what gifts and skills he’s given you, and what responsibilities he’s entrusted to you?
Tim Challies and Josh Byers are here to help.
In their new book Visual Theology, they plumb the depths of a theology of vocation in a way that’s both engaging and informative to help believers live out “whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.” (1 Corinthians 7:17)
Below we’ve briefly engaged their four aspects of vocation to provide insight into our probing questions about calling. Here’s what you’ll discover:
What we do is closely related to who we are. And as a Christian, you are responsible to give all of who…
Karl Barth on Mind, Body, and a Christological Anthropology
Two theories have generally explained our ontological construction: one argues we are dually composed of separate “body” and “soul” pieces; the other says the person is strictly a material unity. Theologians of all stripes have offered similar theories, yet one stands above the fold given his decidedly christological orientation.
“Few thinkers in the history of the church have pursued a christological anthropology with greater rigor than displayed in Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics,” Marc Cortez explains in his new book Christological Anthropology in Historical Perspective. “Barth demonstrates how this christological orientation reshapes how we understand specific issues like relationality, ontology, and temporality.” (141)
In his approach to the body/mind relationship, Barth argued they “can only be rightly understood from a christological perspective…” (142) In a clear, logical,…
What Does it Mean to “Believe”? Here are 5 Aspects of Christian Faith
That’s how one of the most important creeds of Christ’s Church begins. And it’s no surprise that it does. Because as Michael Bird explains in his new book What Christians Ought to Believe, not only is “the Christian life a story of faith: of coming to faith, of keeping the faith, and of finishing the faith.” (43) Life itself is a life of faith:
Faith, believe, trust and hope—whatever you like—these emerge from a deeply human experience full of dualities; experiences of life and loss, fidelity and failures, joy and grief, as well as trust and betrayal…The reality is that faith is an inalienable feature of human existence. (44)
What this opening salvo of our cornerstone creed is inviting those who recite it to do is “to recognize their need…
A Three-Point Framework for an Evangelical Theology of Animal Care
Recently, 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:
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 by carefully outlining an evangelical theology of animal care.…
4 Reasons Why Every Christian Ought to Know the Traditional Creeds
In 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 branches upon which they are sitting. (13)
Ask These 5 Questions to Bring Clarity to Your Old Testament Sermons
I 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…
How Jesus’ Murder-Is-Wrong Ethic Is Deeper than Atheists’ Ethic
For 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…
What Does God Want Me to Do with My Life? Michael Horton Explains
‘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…