Archives For Theology

 

Switching Our Religion.
 
 
A Feature Review of 
 

The Market As God
Harvey Cox

Hardback: Harvard UP, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Philip Christman
 
 
 
I teach first-year English at an elite public university, which gives me a window into the hopes and anxieties of America’s luckier youth. Mostly, they’re anxious about getting into the business school. Some of them actually want to study business, which is fine, but every semester, usually several times, I talk to someone with a demonstrable gift for thinking, writing, doing good, or making art, who has convinced her- or himself that any other major would be irresponsible. They have heard from every corner that the Market will punish them if they—who by their mere presence at University of Michigan have already found their way into a social network so privileged it beggars the human imagination—do the work they want to do. They continue to feel this way even though, from several of my course readings, they have learned that the “skills gap” doesn’t really exist (it’s largely a PR move by corporations that want to offload new-hire training to our public universities), that our future is not threatened by a deluge of art history majors, and that majors have less impact on hireability than many other factors—personal connections, school prestige, work experience. Knowing all this, and in some cases dreading the boredom and enforced club-ability for which business programs are notorious, these students still choose to reroute their hopes and dreams in deference to an abstraction: the Market.

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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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A Truly Dialogical Space

 
A Feature Review of 
 

The Mission of the Church:
Five Views in Conversation

Craig Ott, Ed.

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2016
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Joe Davis.
 
 
 
In The Mission of the Church, Craig Ott facilitates an energizing, informative, and mutually enriching dialogue on how the church participates with God’s work in, for, and with God’s creation. Five contributors participate in this dialogue: Stephen Bevans representing a Roman Catholic tradition, Darrell Guder representing mainline Protestants, Ruth Padilla Deborst representing Latin American evangelicals, Edward Rommen representing an Eastern Orthodox tradition, and Ed Stetzer representing North American evangelicals. Each contributor provides their own perspective and then responds to the other four perspectives. I write this review as a North American evangelical raised in Stetzer’s tradition, but trained academically in Padilla Deborst’s tradition. I was familiar with the work of Bevans and Guder, and am least familiar with Rommen and the Eastern Orthodox tradition. In this review, I briefly summarize each view, discuss the common themes of Trinity and contextualization, and explore how Christological nuances lead to missiological differences.

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Over the course of last year, I set aside a number of books that I wanted to read because I knew that they would make significant contributions to public conversations, but I knew that they would require some time and effort to read carefully and well.

I’m hoping to read a number of these 10 books over the coming year…

By ERB Editor, C. Christopher Smith

(In alphabetical order by author’s last name…)

PAGE 1 OF 5

The Faithful Artist: A Vision for Evangelicalism and the Arts

Cameron Anderson

Paperback, IVP Academic

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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…)

 

Difficult Women: Stories

Roxane Gay

 

 Read a review of this book from Vox.com

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

 

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2017Watch

With 2017 almost upon us, here are the 30 new books that we are most eager to read…

Due to the nature of publishers’ catalogs, this list only spans the first half of the year.  We will do a similar list in June for the second half of the year.

[ Top Ten ] [ Fiction ]  [ Theology ]
[ Praxis ] [ Culture ]  

TOP TEN (Part 1):

These titles are arranged in alphabetical order by the author’s last name…

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A Vision of Love and Unity
for All of Creation

A Feature Review of 

The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian
Brian McLaren

Hardback: Convergent Books, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

Reviewed by Leslie Klingensmith
 

For several years, I was a Brian McLaren skeptic.  It wasn’t personal.  I’ve never met him, and have not seen him speak in person (although I would like that to change).  My skepticism was based on what felt like a universal wave of adulation for him that, in my opinion, was easily turned into dismissal of everything about the church and our history.  While I agree that much about the church needs to (indeed MUST) change, I bristle at the suggestion that the church by which I was nurtured and to whom I have dedicated my vocational life is as hopelessly misguided and selfish as many McLaren devotees say it is.  After all, there are millions of people across denominations who are doing such wonderful work in the world and who make me hopeful for the future of God’s people.  If the church produced them, can it be all bad?  Skeptics in the McLaren universe don’t get very far – if you raise questions about the “Everything Must Change” mind set, you are dismissed as defensive and too invested in the old order of things.  If you point out ways that the current church is already moving in many of the directions McLaren advocates, especially missional communities and emphasis on serving the wider world instead of maintaining institutions, you are in denial about how bad things really are in the mainline church.  Brian McLaren’s cult-like status got on my nerves.

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Our Book of the Month for November/December is…

Endangered Gospel: How Fixing the World is Killing the Church
By John Nugent

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2016.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

We will be reading through the book this month, and posting discussion questions as we go. We hope you will read along with us, and share your thoughts and questions. (Or, even better, get a group of people at your church to read through the book together!)

NOTE: Our read-along of this book will likely go through the end of December…

Previous Parts of this Conversation:
[ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ]  [ Part 4 ] [ Part 5 ] [ Part 6 ]

 

Part 6:
Chapters 20-23

Here are some quotes and questions, please use the comments below to share your own thoughts and questions.

Chapter 20: Vocation

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What is the Human Being?

 
A Review of 

Being Human in God’s World:
An Old Testament Theology of Humanity
J. Gordon McConville

Hardback: Baker Academic, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Nick Jordan
 
 
J. Gordon McConville’s central question, repeated at regular intervals throughout this book, is a Biblical question: “What is the human being, that you [God] should call him to mind; or the son of man that you should pay attention to him?” (Psalm 8:4). He explores this question not only as a Biblical scholar and theologian, but as one who wants to help Christians. As he writes in his Preface, “what follows should be regarded as an essay in reading the Bible in pursuit of oneself, individually and in one’s various communities, as a human being.”

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AJHeschel

Today (Dec. 23) marks the anniversary of the death of noted Jewish theologian, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

In honor of the occasion, we offer a series video clips that introduce Heschel’s life and work…

*** Books by Abraham Joshua Heschel

Introductory Clip
from Religion and Ethics Newsweekly:

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