Reading Proverbs In the Context of the Old and New Testament
One of my seminary professors used to cheekily refer to common Christian devotional practices as our “daily bread crumb.” Meaning: we often take a verse or even part of a verse and spin out a comforting crumb of exhortation at the expense of the whole loaf of biblical bread—whether the surrounding pericope or greater.
Perhaps with no other place in Scripture do we do this than with Proverbs. Ryan O’Dowd offers an important reminder in his new commentary on Proverbs (Story of God Bible Commentary) when studying this book:
such casual study of individual proverbs can be shortsighted, both because it is apt to overlook the endless depth of each saying and also because the sayings take on a whole new life in the…
Christianity and Sexuality: What We Believe, Why We Don’t Believe It
Recently, a number of books have been published grappling with what the Bible and reality says about same-sex practice. Yet pastor Todd Wilson believes there is a crucial gap in these resources:
I don’t think we’ve dealt adequately with the question of homosexuality in the light of God’s design for human sexuality. Instead we’ve addressed the issue too narrowly—at times almost too exclusively in biblical or personal practical terms. (13)
Our approach typically asks one of two questions: What does the Bible say about homosexuality? How can I love homosexuals like Jesus? Although important, these questions miss something: “We need to put the question in a larger theological context” (14).
Enter Mere Sexuality, a cogent, compact book exploring what Christians have always believed about human sexuality. In a culture that’s deeply confused about…
Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical
A provocative question on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And an appropriate one given lingering divisions between Protestants and Catholics in orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
It’s a question Catholic professor Matthew Levering asks in his new book, Was the Reformation a Mistake? Spoiler alert: He doesn’t think it was.
He is “deeply grateful” for the Reformers’ emphasis on a number of doctrinal positions and believes “they were right in seeking reform” (31). Yet he does insist they “made some doctrinal mistakes” (15), which he addresses in his book:
I focus on nine issues raised by Luther at the outset of the Reformation that continue to divide Catholics and Protestants. These nine issues are the following: Scripture, Mary, the…
“Who Am I?” Personal Identity in an Age of Identity Angst
After 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…
4 Reasons Why Faith vs. Science Is a Myth
“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).
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).
Gender and Sexual Identity: We Need a Fresh Perspective for Our People
For 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, Collins 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: An Abundant Life for LGBT People?
This first problem is a fundamental…
2 Crucial Lessons the Western Church Can Learn from African Christianity
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…
Is the Bible “Patriarchal”? Yes and No – An Excerpt from Gender Roles and the People of God
Patriarchy—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?…
What Are the Top 10 Problems People Have with God?
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…
Christ Alone & Catholic Sacramental Theology: A Reformation Response
In 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…
Grace Is Profoundly Existential, Beginning With the Church
“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…
How You Can Translate Mark 1–4 On Your Own
A 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…