With no homework in sight for three months, summer break affords great time for much leisurely reading by children, teens, and young adults. However, getting your teenage boys to read with excitement and consistency can be a challenge. Therefore, I am grateful when I run across a series that can hold the attention of my sons. Recently I found the “Code of Silence” series by Tim Shoemaker. (I think of The Three Investigators series when perusing the books.)
Although some of the reviews of the series suggest that readers might be turned off by the sanitized approach of the writing, I disagree. I think that the adult vileness and licentiousness that has come to characterize teen reading is unnecessary to write a good story. I am grateful to Shoemaker for providing good writing for teens while allowing them to retain a sense of innocence and mystery toward adult themes.
Just a little while ago, Gerald Hiestand gave me a signed copy of The Pastor as Theologians: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision (Zondervan). I am eager to dive into the book (but I have other necessary readings that are competing for priority at the moment). Here is a teaser from the opening chapter:
Pastor theologians aren’t extinct, but sightings are rare. This is because pastors no longer traffic ideas. They cast vision, manage programs, offer counsel, and give messages. We expect our pastors to be able to preach; we expect them to know how to lead; we expect them to be good at solving problems and giving direction. None of this is inherently wrong. Indeed, all of these are important pastoral tasks. But we no longer view the pastorate as an intellectual calling (11).
What happened to the intellectual calling? Why do churches overlook this aspect of pastoral work? How are churches strengthened by pastors who understand that they are, and must be, their congregations’ chief theologians? How do we recover this calling? Hiestand and Wilson will help us find our way back to this calling.
(Want to help strengthen significantly your church’s Gospel ministry to you, your children and grandchildren, and to those who need to hear the Gospel? Read The Pastor as Theologian from cover to cover, give a copy to an elder you know [or if you’re Baptist, to a deacon, if you are friends with one believes in reading for spiritual growth and understands that he should do so for his church’s sake], and gift one to your pastor with an encouraging note attached. If you are a pastor, you should not be offended if a member gifts you such a book; instead, be encouraged that you have a member who cares for you and the congregation.)
I am benefiting from Hiestand and Wilson’s pastor-as-theologian-approach to ministry to my family and our congregation. May your congregation have such joys.
I just received notice of the publication of Timothy Gloege’s, Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism (The University of North Carolina Press). Here is the publisher’s description:
American evangelicalism has long walked hand in hand with modern consumer capitalism. Timothy Gloege shows us why, through an engaging story about God and big business at the Moody Bible Institute. Founded in Chicago by shoe-salesman-turned-revivalist Dwight Lyman Moody in 1889, the institute became a center of fundamentalism under the guidance of the innovative promoter and president of Quaker Oats, Henry Crowell. Gloege explores the framework for understanding humanity shared by these business and evangelical leaders, whose perspectives clearly differed from those underlying modern scientific theories. At the core of their “corporate evangelical” framework was a modern individualism understood primarily in terms of economic relations.
Conservative evangelicalism and modern business grew symbiotically, transforming the ways that Americans worshipped, worked, and consumed. Gilded Age evangelicals initially understood themselves primarily as new “Christian workers”–employees of God guided by their divine contract, the Bible. But when these ideas were put to revolutionary ends by Populists, corporate evangelicals reimagined themselves as savvy religious consumers and reformulated their beliefs. Their consumer-oriented “orthodoxy” displaced traditional creeds and undermined denominational authority, forever altering the American religious landscape. Guaranteed pure of both liberal theology and Populist excesses, this was a new form of old-time religion not simply compatible with modern consumer capitalism but uniquely dependent on it.
I would love to read this work while I am enjoying an American Church History class at my church on Sundays. However, it will have to go into the summer reading pile.
Themelios 39.3 posted today. Kindly they included my review of L. Scott Kellum’s, Preaching the Farewell Discourse: An Expository Walk-Through of John 13:31-17:26 (Broadman and Holman). Scott’s book is worth reading in its entirety. Themelios has many very good articles and reviews.
I am grateful to see the arrival of Richard D. Phillips’, John: Reformed Expository Commentary (P&R). Phillips’ is a tremendous expositor of Scripture. I have enjoyed using both his Hebrews and Jonah & Micah commentaries in my pulpit and classroom preparations. Phillips’ expository publishing output is significant too, as evidenced by his additional commentaries on 1 Samuel and Zechariah. He also is no mean theologian, as we have witnessed in his recent discussions surrounding the theology of sanctification.
I am enjoying greatly Jeremy Treat’s, The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology (Zondervan)! Treat has done a tremendous job in wedding Biblical Theology and Systematic – or Dogmatic – Theology, or rather, in seeing how the Biblical text yields the fruit of both. In particular, others have demonstrated the Markan use of Isaiah in Mark’s portrayal of Christ as King and the crucified one. But they have not done it to the degree that Treat has, neither have they shown so interdependently how “King” guards the truth of the Cross (Systematics), and that the Cross/atonement – as developed through Redemptive History – is what beautifies the role of the King (Biblical Theology). You can read the thoughts of others on Treat’s work below.
I also am most eager for the arrival of Richard D. Phillips’ commentary on John in the Reformed Expository Commentary series (P&R).
Others on Treat’s work:
Jamieson’s review at 9marks
The koinonia blog excerpt
N. T. Wright’s, Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues, just hit the shelves. Yes; of course it will be interesting, maybe even distressing at some points–it’s N. T. Wright! So why even ask if it will be interesting? Just get it. Whether or not you will agree with Wright is another story.
While rearranging my shelves recently, I was shocked to see how much Wright I have utilized in teaching. Yet, I have disagreements with him at many points.