Archives For Scripture

 

Who is the Holy Spirit?
 
A Review of

Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life
Michael Horton

 
Hardback: Zondervan, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Alicia Brummleler
 
 
Recently, while discussing the final paper for her senior Faith and Culture class, my daughter posed a question that I think many Christians have wondered at different points. Mom, what is the role of the Holy Spirit?

Often, there is an ease and comfort with which we discuss the role and attributes of the Father and the Son. But when we mention the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves, well, pausing and perhaps struggling to find the right words to describe who he is. As Michael Horton, the author of Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in the Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life (Zondervan, 2017) aptly acknowledges, “Who exactly is the mysterious third person of the Trinity? Why does he seem to posses less reality or at least fewer descriptive features than the Father and the Son?” (13).

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Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

   

The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary

Jonathan Pennington

Baker Academic
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Jesus, Messiah of the Poor

 

A Feature Review of

Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor
Liz Theoharis

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  

 

Reviewed by Joseph Johnson

 

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared in his famous speech “A Time to Break Silence” that, “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” I think these words, challenging as they are, express the conviction that undergirds the efforts of Liz Theoharis in her timely new book, Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor. Her contention is that Matthew 26:11, one of the most influential passages on poverty in Scripture, has often been twisted out of context in order to give red-lettered justification for viewing poverty as inevitable and pitting Jesus in opposition to the poor (13, 97). In her eyes, these conclusions have obviously damaging consequences.

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The Surprising Nature of Scripture.
 
A Review of

Preaching the Luminous Word: Biblical Sermons and Homiletical Essays
Ellen Davis 

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2016
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]

 

Reviewed by Joseph Johnson
 

This Book was Featured as one of 
Our Best Books of 2016

 
Near the beginning of Preaching the Luminous Word, Ellen F. Davis describes herself as “an exegete who teaches Old Testament and preaches, in that order” (xxiv). I’m grateful for that. It means the sermons gathered together in these pages are born out of a love for exegesis and attentive theological study, and it allows her to open up the unendingly rich and surprising world of Scripture in ways that invite her hearers and readers to slow down and linger with the text. Though her main academic background is in the Old Testament, Davis’s sermons in this volume reflect her engagement over the years with both the Old and New Testaments, delivered on a variety of occasions and in the midst of the seasonal rhythms of the Church’s liturgical calendar.

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Radner-Ephraim

Ephraim Radner’s new book, Time and the Word: Figural Reading of the Christian Scriptures,

explores the theological foundations of figural interpretation, the hermeneutic that was practiced by Christians from the earliest days of the church through the early modern period. Figural interpretation was replaced by the historical critical method that we use today, and contemporary Christians tend to look down on figural reading as an interpretive method that finds things in the text that aren’t actually there. But Radner argues that this attitude doesn’t do justice to the depth of figural reading, and he makes a compelling argument for the recovery of this ancient practice. Radner, who is a professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, is known for work that is both rich and fresh, and this book is no exception.

Time and the Word: Figural Reading of the Christian Scriptures
Ephraim Radner

Hardback: Eerdmans, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]
 
 
Interview by Erin Zoutendam
 
 
ERB: Let’s start with what might be the hardest question. How would you define figural interpretation for people who have never heard of it before?

ER: That’s a good question, and you’re right—it is a hard question. The first thing to be said is that figural interpretation is something that the church has always done. It’s not a matter of inventing a method; it’s a matter of identifying a way that the Bible has been read and continues to be read by lots of different people. The Bible is God’s book that describes the world, the world as it actually is—not just the world as it was.

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Eugene_Peterson

Sunday (Nov. 6) marks the birthday of acclaimed pastor and writer, Eugene Peterson…

In honor of the occasion, we offer a series of our favorite brief video clips featuring Eugene Peterson

*** Books by Eugene Peterson

Conversation with Bono on the Psalms:

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Paul, Perspectives,
and Christian Witness

A Review of 

The Apostle Paul and the Christian Life: Ethical and Missional Implications of the New Perspective
Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica, Eds.

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2016
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Danny Yencich
 
The worlds of biblical scholarship, Christian colleges and seminaries, and evangelical theology and preaching have played hosts to a tempest in a teapot these last few decades. While the rest of the world continued on doing what the rest of the world does, the aforementioned invested readers of Paul have been engaged in a usually quite interesting and sometimes very heated debate about the broad contours and implications of the theology of the apostle to the gentiles. Like a river system, the debates have splintered off into various tributaries, feeders, and side streams, but the central points of dispute have been, and remain to this day, Paul’s attitudes toward salvation, gentiles, and the Judaism of his day. This nexus of issues, read through the lens used by the great reformer Martin Luther, gave rise to what has been called (often pejoratively) “the Old Perspective on Paul” (hereafter “OP”). Enter its adversary from stage right: the New Perspective on Paul (“NP”). Grossly oversimplified, the OP/NP debates have largely centered on first century Torah observance (“works of the law”), justification, and the question of “faith in/of Jesus Christ.” It may be instructive here to take one verse, Galatians 2:16, and run it through the interpretive apparatuses of the OP and NP to briefly and oversimply sketch the broad contours of the debate.

…yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law (Gal 2:16, NRSV).

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Get into the Game

 
A Review of 

Reviving Old Scratch:
Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted

Richard Beck

Paperback: Fortress Press, 2016
Buy now: [  Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Josh Morgan.
 
 
Christians view and interpret Christ rather diversely. However, there seem to be even wider discrepancies between understandings of Satan. Is he real or a metaphoric personification? Is he a fallen angel or playing a designated role in God’s court? Does he have real power or not? Do Christians need to worry about Satan, or should we have no fear because we live in Christ? Many modern Christians in developed countries seem to avoid the issue, perhaps reading C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, but not having much more conscious experience with the Devil beyond that.

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Faith Working Through Love
 
A Feature Review of 

God Unbound:
Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church

Elaine Heath

Paperback: Upper Room Books, 2016
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Daniel Ogle.
 
 
 
The church is anxious.

A large part of that, of course, is that the church is in the world, and the world in which we live is anxious – anxious about power and who will have it, anxious about identity and how we deal with difference, and anxious about how exactly we are going to live into a future that we can’t predict.

One of the most important parts of God Unbound, Elaine Heath’s new book, is that she doesn’t hide from that anxiety.  It is right there in the title, and one of the book’s gifts is naming the anxiety and then setting out to help us think through how we can faithfully live in the midst of it.

The particularity of the church’s anxiety often centers on institutional survival. A generation ago we built buildings and created organizations and made assumptions out of strength and confidence.  But the world has changed – and those assumptions and those buildings and those structures that once seemed to serve us so well now look more like obstacles than pathways to faithfulness.
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What if the problem is not out there, but in our own hearts?

A Feature Review of

Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love
William Willimon

Paperback: Abingdon Press, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by James Honig

 

The long months of the presidential campaign have given people of faith plenty of self-righteous high horses from which to rail at those who would stir up the juices of our all too common human fear of the other.

Reminds me of that delicious story in Luke’s gospel of a Pharisee named Simon who throws a dinner party and invites Jesus (Luke 7). When a woman with a reputation crashes the party, Simon takes the occasion for some self-righteous harrumphing about Jesus’ rusty skills as a prophet. Jesus doesn’t even know who it is who is wetting his’ feet with her tears and wiping them dry with her hair, Simon says to himself. In a brief and masterfully told parable, Jesus turns the tables on that highly religious man, exposing Simon’s self-righteousness and need for forgiveness.

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