A Sudden Scholar – An Excerpt from I (Still) Believe

ZA Blog on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

I (Still) BelieveCan serious academic study of the Bible become threatening to one’s faith? I (Still) Believe answers this question with a resounding “Far from it!” Faith enhances study of the Bible and, reciprocally, such study enriches a person’s faith. With this in mind, this book asks prominent Bible teachers and scholars to tell their story reflecting on their own experiences at the intersection of faith and serious academic study of the Bible.

Engage in this excerpt below as Ellen F. Davis (Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, The Divinity School, Duke University) shares her faith journey.


I am not an accidental biblical scholar, but I am a sudden one, or so it seems to me. I had no intention at all of…

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Wednesday Giveaway – Understanding Four Views on Baptism

ZA Blog on 6 years ago. Tagged under ,.

Four Views on BaptismAlthough most – but not all – Christian traditions practice baptism, there remains much disagreement about how exactly the sacrament should be performed, not to mention theological disagreement about what it might accomplish or mean.

In light of these disagreements pastors, theologians, students, and laity are often left to ask questions such as: What is the significance of water baptism? Who should be baptized? Is infant baptism scriptural? Which is the proper baptismal mode: sprinkling, pouring, or immersion? Should people be rebaptized if they join a church that teaches a different form of baptism? Should baptism be required for church membership?

In today’s giveaway, Understanding Four Views…

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Reading Biblical Devotional Books – An Antidote to Burnout

ZA Blog on 6 years ago. Tagged under .

a guest post from Ajith Fernando,

"Over the past forty-four years or so I have been reading expository books by Bible scholars that give evidence of good background and technical knowledge while also being devotionally edifying. I find that these books do three important things to us. First, they increase our knowledge of God’s life-giving Word. Second, they give us information that would not have normally been accessible to us and thus help us to be more at home in the world of the Bible. And third, they feed the soul with eternal truth which is a great source of inspiration, joy, edification, security, and one of the surest antidotes to burnout. 

DevotionHere is a list of some of the authors who have ministered to me from my late teens: Graham Scroggie, F. B. Meyer, G. Campbell Morgan, A. T. Robertson, H. L. Ellison, F. F. Bruce, Donald Guthrie, Alec Motyer, John Stott, and Leon Morris. More recently I am finding the writings of Thomas Schreiner (NT Theology), Bruce Waltke (OT Theology), Chris Wright and Don Carson doing this for me. 

Then there is another kind of author who writes books that are primarily devotional but which are also biblically and theologically grounded. Here are some of my favourite authors of this kind of book: Robert Murray M‘Cheyne (A Basket of Fragments); Jonathan Edwards, E. Stanley Jones (the devotional The Word Became Flesh is amazing), Paul Rees, Wesley Duewel, Dennis Kinlaw (How to Have the Mind of Christ may be the most inspiring book I have read), J. I. Packer (Knowing God is still unsurpassed), Robert Coleman (see his latest, The Heart of the Gospel), C. J. Mahaney (Humility), Tim Keller (so many recent books), and John Piper (A Godward Life; Future Grace). The top place in this category goes to John Wesley, whose complete works I am slowly reading through. I learned his style of arguing for biblical truth when studying for my lay preacher’s exams about forty-four years ago. This has had a huge impact on my style of preaching.

These are books to read slowly. I have not finished reading most of them. And I do not feel bad about that. But by reading large chunks from these books slowly over a period of several months, the Lord has ministered the wealth of his truth to my soul.

A Pastor left the ministry burned out and totally discouraged. He left his whole library behind in his last church. When the new pastor looked through his library, he found that the older books in the library were biblical and theological books. The newer books were mostly how-to books, dealing with the practical challenges of ministry. It seems that he had been working on improving his skills without feeding his soul. This lesson applies to those who are not in vocational Christian ministry also.

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Wednesday Giveaway – Bringing Jesus to the Desert

ZA Blog on 6 years ago. Tagged under .

Bringing Jesus to the DesertThrough the third to sixth centuries – as Christianity struggled with its new role as a legal (and soon official) religion, and the mix of opportunities and temptations that status offered – Christian men and women began to leave for the deserts of Palestine, Syria and Egypt, shaping the church through their examples of faith and devotion.

History now knows them as the Desert Fathers and Mothers, and their lives display an unswerving counter-cultural commitment to the love of Christ sorely needed in today’s world. 

In this week’s giveaway, Bringing Jesus to the Desert, Bradley Nassif tells the story of how the deserts of the…

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Moore, O’Conner, and the Baptist View of The Lord’s Supper

ZA Blog on 6 years ago. Tagged under ,.

From Understanding Four Views on the Lord's Supper


Christ’s Presence as Memorial

Russell D. Moore

Novelist Flannery O’Connor was at a dinner party when “the conversation turned on the Eucharist.” In response to a comment from the ex-Catholic intellectual Mary McCarthy in which she said she thought of the bread of Communion as a pretty good symbol, O’Connor said, “Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.”

Lords-Supper_555-1Many Christians can sympathize with O’Connor’s reflexively Catholic dismissal of a “symbolic” view of the Lord’s Supper. And, in one sense, she is exactly right. If the bread and the wine are simply “symbols” — along the lines of a contemporary corporate logo —…

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Wednesday Giveaway – Four Views on the Lord’s Supper

ZA Blog on 6 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

Lord's SupperCommunion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist – however your church refers to taking the bread and cup, this practice has long been central to Christian worship around the world. 

But what happens during this meal, and how should we go about observing it?

In this week’s giveaway, Understanding Four Views on the Lord's Supper, Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic contributors explain the what is distinctive about how their community views the Lord’s Supper, and what Scriptures and traditions have formed that viewpoint. 

Along the way they address such questions as; 

– Who should participate in the Lord’s Supper? 

– How frequently should we observe it?

– What does this meal mean? 


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A Journey to Orthodoxy

ZA Blog on 7 years ago. Tagged under ,.

Journeys of Faith"For me to tell my story, I must begin by saying that I hope I’ve gotten this journey right, that I have discerned the guidance of the Lord, that I haven’t fallen into the comfortable confidence that I have figured it all out and that others who don’t see it this way are all wrong. When people ask, “How could you have done this?” I respond that I didn’t set out to leave the circle of my Baptist beginnings, ending up in a world I had never thought about before. It was well after I had taken a sharp turn that the world of Orthodox faith even crossed my mind.

I had…

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The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality Blog Tour

ZA Blog on 7 years ago. Tagged under .

Dictionary of Christian SpiritualityThis week Koinonia will be hosting the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality blog tour!

This reference work provides readers with an understanding of the origins, development, and contemporary expressions of Christian spirituality, and is a valuable resource for pastors, ministry leaders, counselors, teachers and scholars. 

A number of bloggers have already posted their reviews, and more will be added throughout the week. If you have a review of your own to submit, simply link to it in the comments. 

The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is a well-researched, comprehensive study of Christian spirituality from a broad evangelical perspective… I give the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality my highest recommendation.” — Richard J. Foster



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The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality – Blog Tour

ZA Blog on 7 years ago. Tagged under ,.

Dictionary of Christian Spirituality Today I am excited to announce a blog tour for the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality

This reference work includes substantial reflective essays on major themes in Christian spirituality, and sharply focused articles on major figures and topics. It provides readers with a global, biographical, historical, topical, and biblical developments and expressions of Christian spirituality. The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is a unique and valuable resource for teachers and scholars.

Spirituality’ can be a subject that wafts into the ether, but in this broadly ecumenical and very well-balanced work, it is presented with real substance and genuine edification.” — Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

Reviews for the blog tour will need to be…

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What is a Christian?

ZA Blog on 8 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Celtic_Cross_Tombstone Early in One.Life Scot McKnight shares some of his own journey.

Early in his life he learned that a Christian was someone who had experienced an event, specifically accepting Jesus as their savior and saying a certian sort of prayer. 

Later he expanded this definintion, learning how important personal piety was. A Christian then was someone who was saved and who's life was marked by acts like prayer and reading the Bible.

Though affirming both those things as good, McKnight came to a point where now he suggests that this is not how Christ himself framed what it means to be a Christian. Instead a Christian is more accuratly and simply decribed as someone who follows Jesus.

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Common Prayer – A Daily Liturgy

ZA Blog on 8 years ago. Tagged under ,.

Common Prayer

“O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Come, let us sing to the Lord : let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.”

-From Common Prayer: Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals 

Prayer is central to the Christian life, but for many of us it can also be very difficult to enter into the rhythm, or even to know what to say. 

Shane Claiborne, Enuma Okoro, and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove understand these difficulties, and have created Common Prayer

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Such a thing as Too Much: Thought’s after meeting Craig Blomberg

ZA Blog on 8 years ago. Tagged under .

On Monday October the fourth Craig Blomberg was at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary to speak on issues of poverty, riches, and stewardship as a part of this year’s Talking Points session.

As a student there I was able to attend the session and in the process got the chance to talk a bit with professor Blomberg.

Though the session itself was far more in-depth than a blog post can do justice to, I wanted to touch on a key issue it brought up for me.


That, according to the Scriptures, there is such a thing as having too much.

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