Archives For Scripture

 

At the Heart of Biblical Faith?

 
A Review of 

Sacred Sense: Discovering the Wonder of God’s Word and World
William P. Brown

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Debbie Philpott
 
 

Every man discriminates between the voluntary acts of his mind, and his involuntary perceptions, and knows that to his involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due. He may err in the expression of them, but he knows that these things are so, like day and night, not to be disputed.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

 
 

When reading William P. Brown’s In Sacred Sense: Discovering the Wonder of God’s Word and World, I was reminded of an encounter with an Old Testament scholar and chaplain whose longing touches me still.

A few years ago, I engaged in a one-on-on conversation with the chaplain as part of the standard interview process for professorship at a traditional Christian university campus.  Ours was a phone interview due to the distance between us and the timing of the interview.  He asked many of the standard questions for which I had already prepared a response—questions regarding my testimony and my beliefs, and how my beliefs aligned with those of my potential future employer.  Nearer the end of our lighter conversation, he asked a final question that I found troubling, then and still.

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Bringing Coherence to
our Scattered Spiritual Lives.

A Review of 

Lectio Divina: From God’s Word to Our Lives
Enzo Bianchi

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 

Reviewed by Andrew Stout

 

Theological interpretations of Scripture are very much in fashion. These methods emphasize the Church’s interpretive role through typology, creeds, and liturgical use. Plenty of good books are available that call for reappropriations of premodern and precritical interpretive methods (in addition to a host of individual authors, book series like the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, Intervarsity Press’ Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, and Baker Academic’s Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality could be mentioned). However, as Rowan Williams notes in the Foreword to Lectio Divina, “We have plenty of good scholarship and plenty of good popular summaries of that scholarship – but very little on the actual theology of reading the Bible, very little on reading the Bible as a central form of our discipleship” (vii). Enzo Bianchi understands the scholarship, and he provides a helpful orientation for the layperson. More than this, however, Bianchi shows that proper interpretation requires the faithful entrance into an active dialogue with the Word.

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Life at the Table

 
A Feature Review of:

From Tablet to Table: Where Community is Found and Identity is Formed
Leonard Sweet

Hardback: NavPress, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Andrew Camp
 
 
I was raised at the table. Every morning and every evening, I, along with my three sisters, were required to be at the table to have breakfast and dinner together, even when one of us had to be at school at 7:00 am. I don’t remember much of what was shared or talked about each breakfast and dinner, but I do remember the table being a very safe place, a place where no matter what had transpired throughout the day, when we sat down together as a family, I was in a sanctuary.
 
The primacy to which my parents gave the table has greatly informed my understanding of life, God and Church. When I set out on my own, I wanted the table to be central to how I lived and practiced the same hospitality my parents so generously exhibited. As I enjoyed table fellowship with others, whether in my home or in their home, I became curious as to why we were more than content to linger around the dining room table, sometimes sitting in less than comfortable chairs, long after the meal was consumed, when the living room furniture was just a few steps away.

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Reexamining Paul’s Missiology in the 21st Century

 

A Feature Review of

Paul’s Missionary Methods: In His Time and Ours
Robert L. Plummer & John Mark Terry, editors

IVP Academic, 2012
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Chris Schoon

 

There are two temptations when engaging works from a previous generation. The first is a persnickety tendency to elevate the perspectives of those with whom we resonate in a way that prevents us from seeing where their contributions leave room for further development. At the same time, we also face the temptation of a naïve ahistorical hubris that blindly critiques our predecessors for failing to fully conform to our common sensibilities. Such are the dual challenges faced by Plummer and Terry in Paul’s Missionary Methods, which celebrates, extends, and deepens conversations initiated by Roland Allen’s Missionary Methods 100 years ago.

 

For the past century, Allen’s Missionary Methods has served as one of the central introductory textbooks for exploring a biblical model of mission, catalyzing a wide range of New Testament studies and contextualized mission conversations in the process. Allen’s reflections have empowered several generations of New Testament scholars, missiologists, and practicing missionaries to take not only the words of the gospel seriously but also to carefully consider the manner in which the Apostle Paul carried out his calling. Drawing together a strong cohort of evangelical scholars and practitioners, Plummer and Terry’s editorial work reasserts Allen’s argument for seeing Paul as the “exemplary model not for us to blindly follow, but to appropriate and replicate intelligently.”(28)

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Happy Easter to all our readers!

Here’s a short video of N.T. Wright talking about the meaning of Easter…

This talk is similar to his book:

The Challenge of Easter
Paperback: IVP Books, 2009
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

[ READ AN EXCERPT of this book… ]

 

NT Wright’s The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation is only $3.99 for Kindle right now!!!
http://amzn.to/KingdomNT

 






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“The Right Book for the Right Time
in the Right Spirit

A Review of
The Bible Made Impossible:
Why Biblicism is not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture

by Christian Smith.

Reviewed by Michael J. Bowling.


The Bible Made Impossible - Christian SmithThe Bible Made Impossible:
Why Biblicism is not a Truly
Evangelical Reading of Scripture

by Christian Smith.
Hardback: Brazos Press, 2011.
Buy now:
[ ChristianBook.com ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

When the churches of Asia were struggling under the weight of first century Roman imperialism, God gave to them letters and a Letter (Revelation) to encourage continued faithfulness and to give particular direction for that faithfulness. At the end of each letter (found in Revelation 2 and 3), one finds the familiar words, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Whether in perceived crisis or not, churches need to listen for the voice of the Spirit. Appropriately, churches today listen for the voice of the Spirit in the words of the Bible. However, what is being heard and that which is being lived out together by church members is stunningly diverse and visibly contradictory. When these differences among various congregational expressions of the one Church of Christ are probed, one finds many sincerely held convictions which are defended tenaciously as precepts which are rooted deep within the Bible.

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“Slowing Down
And Immersing Ourselves in the Biblical Story

A review of
Lectio Divina, The Sacred Art:
Transforming Words and Images
into Heart-Centered Prayer

by Christine Valters Paintner.

Review by Chris Smith.

[ Read an excerpt from this book… ]


Lectio Divina, The Sacred Art:
Transforming Words
and Images into Heart-Centered Prayer

Christine Valters Paintner.
Paperback: Skylight Paths, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

How do we read the Bible in this age when – as Christian Smith has persuasively argued in his recent book The Bible Made Impossible – some traditional approaches to scriptures are on the verge of dying off?  Is it possible for us to engage and immerse ourselves in scripture in ways other than taking it as cold, static textbook?  The ancient practice of lectio divina (holy reading) is surprisingly relevant for our times, and Christine Valters Paintner’s new book Lectio Divina, The Sacred Art: Transforming Words and Images into Heart-Centered Prayer is an elegant and useful introduction to this approach to reading the Bible (or other texts) in today’s world. Continue Reading…

 

“To Follow the Lead of Christ

A review of
As  Christ Submits to the Church:
A Biblical Understanding
of Leadership and Mutual Submission

by Alan Padgett.

Review by Micah Weedman.


AS CHRIST SUBMITS TO THE CHURCH - Alan PadgettAs  Christ Submits to the Church:
A Biblical Understanding
of Leadership and Mutual Submission

Alan Padgett.
Paperback: BakerAcademic, 2011.
Buy now:
[ ChristianBook.com ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Alan Padgett states quite clearly that he writes this book as a “study of biblical ethics and Christ-centered mutual submission… to set out for readers the strength and wisdom of the biblical egalitarian perspective.” (11)  This alone makes it an important effort, if not one already taken by many writers and thinkers.

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[Apologies to readers who receive the ERB via email, which came this week as two separate emails,
due to a technical error. This will not be a recurring problem! ]

“A Deep and Abiding Communion”

A review of
Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating.
by Norman Wirzba.

Review by Mary Bowling.

[ Read an excerpt from this book… ]

FOOD AND FAITH - Norman WirzbaFood and Faith: A Theology of Eating.
Norman Wirzba.
Paperback: Cambridge UP, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

At first glance, Food and Faith: a Theology of Eating might seem like the newest in the long and popular line of books for foodies, in which case the question would be “What now?”  Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin, end even Wendell Berry  have done an effective job of getting their point across, and have seemingly been able to foster in a growing percentage of the American population at least a recognition that the system that provides most of the country with food is flawed to the point of creating widespread disease instead of health in both people and places.  Anyone who would seek out yet another book related to the modern food and agriculture industry has likely already heard this information coming and going.  But as the subtitle suggests, Food and Faith is not really a food book for foodies. It is a theology book for Christians. Norman Wirzba is certainly sensible to agrarian thought and the works of many writers who would promote more healthful ways of living and eating, and has authored or edited several other related works. What he does here however is to take the subject of food and eating- a subject that many people feel strongly about, although maybe for somewhat vague reasons- and locate it firmly within the realm of the goodness of God’s creation.

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** Note: Due to our efforts to get the print issue completed
this week, we our postponing our next full online issue until next week **

Redeeming Our Own
Muddled History Toward Women

A review of
Holy Misogyny:
Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts
in the Early Church Still Matter.

by April DeConick.

Review by Jasmine Wilson.

HOLY MISOGYNY - April DeConickHoly Misogyny:
Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts
in the Early Church Still Matter.

by April DeConick.
Hardback: Continuum, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

In the new book Holy Misogyny, April DeConick is answering two different but related questions: first, “Where is Lady God?” or putting it differently, “Where are the feminine aspects of God’s nature?” The second question she tackles is, “How were women understood in the early church?” These questions are related, because as DeConick concludes, when the female body was devalued, it is no wonder the female Spirit of God did not remain.

DeConick first traces the femininity of God in the ancient Jewish tradition, and how that carried over into the Christian tradition. She talks about how the “Spirit” of God had been understood by its original audience as feminine. Giving the example of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus at his baptism, when the skies open up and a voice is heard, “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased,” DeConick asserts that modern readers most likely hear that voice as either male or genderless, coming from the Father. She argues the original audience would have heard it as female, coming from the Spirit of God, and that in some places Christians wrote about the Spirit being Jesus’s true mother. DeConick also gives fascinating historical evidence for how the early Christians might have understood their own baptism in more feminine ways, with baptismal fonts in the shape of a womb, and along with consuming the bread and wine during the service, how some would also drink milk, as if from Mother Spirit.

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