Archives For Theology

 

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

    

Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of Old Testament Violence

Gregory Boyd

Fortress Press
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I recently finished reviewing this superb new book for our fall print magazine issue. 
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ACTS: Belief Commentary Series
A Theological Commentary on the Bible

Willie James Jennings

 
Hardback: WJK Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
 
I’m excited to share the following excerpt from this book with you, which I take as one of Jennings’s central (and most timely) themes in this commentary. 
 

Reprinted from Acts: A Theological Commentary on the Bible
by Willie James Jennings.
Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.

 

Word of God against Word of God.
A Reflection on the Story of
Peter in the House of Cornelius
Acts 10-11

(Pages 118-121)

 

“You have heard that it was said, . . . but I say to you . . .” (Matt. 5). These often repeated words of Jesus set the stage for our interaction with the living God, whose words to us are living, because they are bound up with the source and giver of life itself. Acts 11 is a moment of reorientation where the Spirit is teaching us a crucial lesson that the church must constantly remember: God yet speaks and word of God always presses against word of God. What God has said in the past is pressed against by what God is saying now. Israel shows us that the human creature is always positioned between these two words and destined for yet more hearing from a God ever extended in grace toward us. This in-between position  has often been painful for us as we try to grasp clarity of thought and action on a walk of obedience to God on a well-lit path, albeit with multiple twists and turns. (Ps. 119:105) In this regard, the struggle of the church has been twofold: we struggle to hear the new word that God is constantly speaking, and we struggle to see the link between the new word and the word previously spoken.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

  

The Magnificent Story: Uncovering a Gospel of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth

James Bryan Smith

Watch a trailer video for this book… 

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Engaging the Deep Memory of Our Faith

A Feature Review of 

Retrieving History: Memory and Identity Formation in the Early Church
Stefana Dan Laing

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2017
Buy Now:  [  Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Garet D. Robinson 

 

One of the greatest tragedies in history are the forgotten stories, people, and events which have shaped our world. Over time, it seems history books fade almost as fast as memories. Whether this is from the erasure of the so-called victors, or disappearance from steady rushing waters of time, events and stories can be forgotten. When Stefana Dan Laing looks at the history of Christianity, she shares the concern that its formative thinkers and writers are being lost. In Retrieving History: Memory and Identity Formation in the Early Church, Stefana Dan Laing sets out recover these forgotten for patristic texts and remind evangelical Christians of their importance. Holding a PhD from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently serving as assistant librarian at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Houston campus, Laing is well positioned to lead this inquiry. Retrieving History is a short text, coming in at just under 200 pages, and is published by Baker Academic and is a volume in its Evangelical Ressourcement series that seeks to draw present day wisdom from church history.

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Tomorrow (August 5th) is the birthday of theologian James Cone.  In honor of the occasion, we offer this introductory reading guide to his work.

We’ve ordered this list in the order that we think the books should be read, and we offer a brief explanation of why each book was included. We’ve included excerpts of most the books via Google Books.

1)  A Black Theology of Liberation

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Remembering our Ancestors in the Faith
 
 
A Review of 

The Great Athanasius: An Introduction to His Life and Work
John R. Tyson

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Gregory Soderberg
 
 
John Tyson is Professor of Church History at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and is the author of ten books, including Faith, Doubt, and Courage(Wipf & Stock). His new book on Athanasius of Alexandria (296 – 373) is a welcome addition to the on-going effort by scholars to describe and assess the remarkable bishop who stood contra mundum (“against the world”) in his defense of what he believe the Bible clearly taught about the nature of Jesus Christ. Tyson remarks that this book began as his own attempt to understand Athanasius more fully, but he continued to pursue it because “Athanasius is not as well known among contemporary Christians as he deserves to be known” (vii).  Opinions on Athanasius range from calling him the “great Athanasius” (from a funeral oration for Athanasius by another early Christian bishop and theologian, Gregory Nazianzen) to a “gangster” (from Timothy Barnes’ 1993 book, Athanasius and Constantius: Theology and Politics in the Constantinian Empire). Nor is this simply a modern, or post-modern, perspective. Charges against Athanasius, “including abuse of power and authority, along with sorcery, were so well known in the fourth century that they are even reported by the secular Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus” (xii)! So, who was the real Athanasius? Tyson navigates the ancient sources and the best of contemporary scholarship to present a nuanced, and ultimately more human, portrait of one of the most influential figures of Christian history.

Why was Athanasius so important? “In the days before the great Christian creeds were developed and while Christianity was still a minority religion in the Roman Empire, Athanasius laid many of the theological foundations that would become Christian orthodoxy” (x). Furthermore:

Athanasius was one of the chief architects and most persistent defenders of what would come to be accepted as the standard and orthodox understanding of the relationship of God the Father  and God the Son. His writings on the Holy Spirit also helped pave the way for a truly full  Trinitarian theology, and his use of and passion for Holy Scripture contributed significantly to  the closing of the New Testament canon (ix).

 

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

   

The Seventh Function of Language: A Novel

Laurent Binet

Read a review from THE GUARDIAN… 

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Withholding Maps?

 
A Review of

Worship in the Way of the Cross: Leading Worship for the Sake of Others
John Frederick

Paperback: IVP Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by Kirk Cowell

 

One day, while driving with my wife in the mountains of southern New Mexico, I had a moment of inspiration. My grandfather was famous for taking off down roads he had never seen before, eager to discover some homey restaurant or uncrowded woodlands. On a whim, I decided to emulate him. I turned off the main highway onto a road that seemed to go more-or-less the direction we needed. In those pre-GPS days, we were taking a risk, but for a short while, my spontaneous move worked wonderfully—we passed several gorgeous waterfalls we would have never glimpsed from the highway. But then the road turned the wrong direction. Pavement turned to gravel, then dirt, then mud. My little pickup bogged down, then stopped. As I opened the door and stepped out to assess the situation, Sandy asked, “What do we do now?” “All I know,” I said, “is that we are spinning our tires and home is somewhere off that direction. I don’t know how to get there from here.”

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

    

Engaging the Doctrine of Creation: Cosmos, Creatures, and the Wise and Good Creator

Matthew Levering

Read an excerpt from this book

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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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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