Recently I have received three books in the mail about which I am very excited. Alex Chediak’s, Preparing Your Teens for College: Faith, Friends, Finances, and Much More (Tyndale) is a tremendous book! I wish this book had been available when I used to teach a course on these concepts during the summers in churches where I was a member.
Why I Am Not An Atheist: Facing the Inadequacies of Unbelief, and Magnificent Obsession: Why Jesus Is Great, came in the mail together. I always will take another work that punches holes in the illogic of naturalistic arguments for the existence of the universe. On Magnificent Obsession, from the publisher:
“David Robertson, author of The Dawkins Letters, was told by the leader of an atheist society: ‘Okay, I admit that you have destroyed my atheism, but what do you believe?’ His answer was ‘I believe in and because of Jesus.’ This book shows us why Jesus is the reason to believe. In response to the shout of ‘God is not Great’ by the late Christopher Hitchens, David shows us why Jesus is God and is Great.”
I also had opportunity to endorse two works recently. The first is, Proof: Finding Freedom Through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace (Zondervan):
Creatively, Daniel and Timothy have managed to take the story of redemption, deep systematic theology, and rich church history, and package them in pop culture images and songs – all the while magnifying grace alone in Christ alone. Modern believers, who often unknowingly swing from license to legalism in their attempts to please God, need this joyous proclamation of the plan of salvation. This is a wonderful way of introducing the Canons of Dort to the heirs of the Me Generation, reminding us that it is not our efforts for perfection that save us, but it is God alone who saves us from beginning to end.
The second is, The Unfinished Church: God’s Broken and Redeemed Work-in-Progress (Crossway). On this I write:
Bentz is right: Church is a group of struggling sinners who must pursue one another in love as God’s community! It is essential for us embrace this calling with joy if we are to declare the glory of the Lord to all peoples. There is no greener grass assembly or ideal congregation; each assembly and every church member is in need of greater grace, patience, mercy, humility, and endurance from the Spirit of God. The church for whom our Savior died has a splendor that works in the midst of messiness. Unfinished is a great exhortation to live out the Gospel as people being conformed to the image of Christ.
I hope you will enjoy these works too!
I am enjoying greatly Gary Burge’s, Interpreting the Gospel of John: A Practical Guide (Baker Academic, 2013). Burge has expanded this work significantly from the first edition. It is a good, stand alone introduction to the Fourth Gospel, being current with the vast majority of scholarship produced since Francis Moloney edited Raymond Brown’s introduction. However, the Moloney/Brown work is much more scholarly and thorough than Burge’s volume.
I also like J. Ramsey Michaels’, The Gospel of John (@Westminster) in the NICNT series (Eerdmans, 2010). Michaels’ volume replaces the earlier volume by Leon Morris which, too, is very good. Despite what I feel have been some unfair criticisms of Michaels’ volume, I like this commentary because of Michaels’ strong sense of how verses and pericopes fit into the overall message of John’s Gospel. Michaels understands that exegetical trees are part of a narrative forest with a meaning–a message; many commentaries only see individual trees. Michaels too has a very insightful grasp of John’s use of figurative language. I am trying to read about three pages per day; it is slow going, but a very good read. Michaels writes mainly for scholars, but has the preacher and congregational teacher on his scope too.
Today Crossway launched, Beyond the Page, their new book review program. Go check it out and get yourself some ebook titles from Crossway!
Andy Davis’, An Infinite Journey: Growing Toward Christlikeness (Ambassador International, 2013), is on sale for $4.99 in the Kindle version. Get it! It is worth every penny when it is full price. Davis does a masterful job of discussing Christian maturity in all aspects of our being.
From the Publisher
After we’ve come to faith in Christ, God leaves us in this world for a very clear purpose: his own glory. But how are we to glorify God for the rest of our lives? The Bible reveals that God has laid before every Christian two infinite journeys which we are to travel every day: the internal journey of growth into Christlike maturity, and the external journey of worldwide evangelism and missions. This book is a road map for the internal journey, laying out how we are to grow in four major areas: knowledge, faith, character, and action. In this book, we’ll learn how God grows us in knowledge, faith, character, and action. We’ll also discover that spiritual knowledge constantly feeds our growing faith, faith will transform our character, our transformed character will result in an array of actions more and more glorifying to God, and our actions will feed our spiritual knowledge. This upward spiral will lead us to become more and more like Jesus Christ in holiness. And not only will this book help us understand Christian growth in detail, it will also give us a passion to grow every day for his glory.
Rarely have I read a book on sanctification that is simultaneously serious and fresh, at once reflective and accessible. Andy Davis combines analytical astuteness with pastoral passion. Those who think of themselves as Christians but who have no desire to grow in holiness need this book; Christians who want to be increasingly conformed to Christ will cherish this book. – Dr. D. A. Carson Research Professor of New Testament Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Did Jesus Die to Save Everyone? Reposted from The Gospel Coalition
Did Jesus Die to Save Everyone?
At The Front Porch, Anthony Carter reviews, Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup, in anticipation of a movie about Northup’s life. I am enjoying the work at The Front Porch, with gratefulness.
I am grateful to see the availability of Jason Meyer’s, Preaching: A Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2013). As a book written by the one called and entrusted to step into the pulpit of the faithful legacy that belongs to Bethlehem Baptist Church, and as a text that focuses on the stewardship of preaching, this work seems very promising. I hope to improve my own preaching through repeated reading of this text, and through its use in teaching homiletics courses and assisting in the training of the associate ministers at my own church. You can see a preview of the book here.
In commending a work of this type, I feel it is necessary to address the issue of cultural relevance. By “cultural relevance,” I am not, here, referring to Meyer’s ideas on application. Instead, I am speaking of the fact that a book written by a non-African American pastor, and that focuses more on the responsibility and nature of heralding the very words of God than on delivery style, is relevant to men who largely preach to homogenous, African-American congregations. As Meyer discusses thoroughly in his book, a recovery (my term) of the concept of the preacher holding a stewardship – in which proclaiming the very words of the Most High must foster an encounter with God for the people of God – is needed in Christ’s church. A conscious knowledge of this stewardship will bring us to our pulpits in much more fear of the Lord than what often is expressed in contemporary pulpits. There is a holy gravity that comes to the task and the text with a cognizant stewardship. Bringing more of that fear to the sacred desk would be helpful to the causes of building the Lord’s church and the salvation of souls in the African American community, and not just in Jason Meyer’s ethnic community. So I hope you will grab and prioritize this book, regardless of the relationship of your race, ethnicity, or color to that of the author.
In the Lord’s sovereign grace, I currently serve in a homogenous assembly within the Afro-Baptist tradition. The congregation kindly receives my preaching without any complaint that my preaching is not colorful enough for them, even though it is less colorful than our pastor’s preaching and many others’ who fill our pulpit. Having heard the preaching of a faithful pastor-exegete for 24+ years, they share a concern those serving our pulpit will reveal the Biblical author’s central idea – God’s voice – from every text. I am grateful for my church family, for the rhetoric and style that is part of the rich history of Black preaching, and for works like Meyer’s Preaching that help preachers wed the text of Scripture to the tradition of the church.
Preaching: A Biblical Theology, by Jason Meyer. Crossway, 2013. Retail: $17.01. Paper
Also @Westminster Books