Arrived on New Academic the Week of June 6, 2016

Arrived this week on New Academic:

9781433689895Search:  The Pastoral Search Committee Handbook by William Vanderbloemen (B&H Books. Paperback. 9781433689895. $12.99)

You need a pastor that matches your church’s vision, culture, and most importantly, your church’s heart. While there is no simple, one-size-fits-all solution to the puzzle of planning for a seamless pastor search, this handbook was created to provide pastor search committees, church leaders, and pastors a guide to asking the right questions in order to plan for the overwhelming pastor search process.

William Vanderbloemen has spent years focusing on connecting churches with pastors who fit their ministry context. Search: The Pastoral Search Committee Handbook guides church members through the process finding the right leader for their church.

Every church faces leadership changes. Leadership transitions often negatively affect the life of the church. Ministries are halted, church members leave, and giving slows down. The momentum the church was building is lost. Imagine instead that the church had a process already in place. What if they knew how to form a search committee and begin the search process for the person God is calling to lead their church?

 

9780802414601On Pastoring: A Short Guide to Living, Leading, and Ministering as a Pastor by H. B. Charles Jr. (Moody. Paperback. 9780802414601. $12.99)

No one is ever fully prepared for the ministry. For pastors just starting out, those needing a little rebalancing, or those growing tired in the trenches, a short guide to the basics is a welcome relief.

In On Pastoring, H. B. Charles gives 30 instructive reflections on the pastor’s heart, leadership, and public ministry, covering topics like:

  • Cultivating personal godliness
  • Prioritizing your family
  • Guarding your ministry effectiveness
  • Planning, preparing, and preaching sermons
  • Balancing pastoral roles and duties

Being a pastor means wearing many hats, weathering lots of pressure, and bearing great responsibility. Let H. B. Charles be a trusted advisor as you do the serious work of shepherding a flock of God.

 

9780802414465Old Paths, New Power: Awakening Your Church through Prayer and the Ministry of the Word by Daniel Henderson (Moody. Paperback. 9780802414465. $14.99)

With all our sleek ministry models, it’s a wonder our churches are declining—until we read Acts 6:4, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word.” After a long, sometimes trying ministry journey, Daniel Henderson was relieved to discover what the apostles knew from the start: The main thing must stay the main thing. It worked in their pagan times, and it will in ours. Old Paths, New Power: Reviving Our Churches through Prayer and the Ministry of the Word calls us back to the tried-and-true: pray and proclaim the word.

“When I teach on the personal spiritual disciplines found in Scripture, I always emphasize that the two most important are the intake of the Word of God and prayer. If a Christian isn’t committed to these, then forget fasting, journaling, and the rest of the disciplines. All other personal spiritual disciplines grow out of and are built on the foundation of the intake of Scirpture and prayer. I am grateful for this valuable resource  that reinforces the preeminence of these disciplines above all others.” – Donald S. Whitney

 

9780802409676Between Pain and Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering by Gerald W. Peterman and Andrew J. Schmutzer (Moody. Paperback. 9780802409676. $22.99)

Despite how common suffering is, we still struggle to understand it, and even more, to bear through it. Between Pain and Grace gets to the heart of this struggle. Born from a popular college course on suffering, this book answers many of our critical questions, like:

  • Is God personally involved in our pain and suffering?
  • How should Christians handle emotions like grief and anger?
  • What does the Bible say about issues like mental illness, sexual abuse, and betrayal?

Striking an elegant balance between being scholarly on the one hand and heartfelt on the other, Between Pain and Grace is useful both in the classroom and for personal reading. The authors pull together Scripture, personal experiences, and even psychological research to offer a well-rounded and trustworthy take on suffering. Between Pain and Grace will give you confidence in God’s sovereignty, comfort in His presence, and wisdom for life this side of paradise.

 

9780802413840After 50 Years of Ministry: 7 Things I’d Do Differently, and 7 Things I’d Do the Same by Bob Russell (Moody. Hardback. 9780802413840. $14.99)

When Bob Russell became the pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, it was just 120 people meeting in a basement. When he retired forty years later, it was nearing 20,000. Though his ministry was clearly successful, he’d be the first to tell you it wasn’t perfect. In After 50 Years of Ministry, Bob reflects on the best of what he’s learned (sometimes the hard way) about ministry and leadership, like how to:

  • Respond to criticism
  • Stop comparing yourself to other pastors
  • Handle a staff moral failure
  • Prioritize preaching in your schedule
  • Build trust with your elders
  • Make better use of downtime
  • Protect your marriage

Marked with Bob’s humor and warmth—and packed with great stories and illustrations—After 40 Years of Ministry is sage advice from a man who practiced faith, put his hand to the plow, and saw God work. If you are in leadership of any kind, don’t miss this chance to learn from one of the best.

“I hope every minister of the gospel, young and old, profits from the wisdom in this book.”— R. Albert Mohler

 

9781629951898John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings, Volume 3 by John M. Frame (P&R. Paperback. 9781629951898. $22.99)

John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings, Volume 3 includes more than thirty short, pointed essays, sermons, and addresses that summarize some of John Frame’s central (and sometimes peripheral!) ideas about the nature and method of theology, theological issues, epistemology, apologetics, the church, and ethics. Part 1 includes “Machen’s Warrior Children,” Frame’s insightful treatment of twenty-one intramural battles within the Reformed camp from 1935 to the present. Other essays introduce clarifications of theological concepts, intended to resolve or alleviate conflicts in the church, on topics such as biblical inerrancy, Open Theism, law and gospel, and the roles of grace and law in sanctification. There are also essays about Biblicism, presuppositionalism, apologetics, the regulative principle, and contemporary worship music.

“In comparison with the ‘feast’ of John Frame’s major works, these are the ‘nuggets.’ They still offer vintage Frame, and I heartily recommend them for their wisdom, balance, and incisiveness. Some have a more personal, informal tone and will usefully complement Frame’s major writings, especially for those who want to understand the connection of his writings to the person behind them.” –Vern S. Poythress

 

9781629952079The God We Worship: Adoring the One Who Pursues, Redeems, and Changes His People ed. Jonathan L. Master (P&R. Paperback. 9781629952079. $14.99)

We were all created to worship, but our worship runs amok, and we pour out our praise and affection before false gods. Meanwhile, we all too often go through the motions of worship as we join others in the pew on Sundays. Who can restore us and make us the worshipers we are supposed to be? Only God himself.

Noted pastor-scholars D. A. Carson, Bryan Chapell, Charles Drew, Kevin DeYoung, Michael Haykin, Michael Horton, R. Albert Mohler, Richard D. Phillips, Joseph “Skip” Ryan, and Philip Ryken redirect our attention to our glorious Lord, showing how he pursues, redeems, and profoundly changes his worshipers—and challenging us to respond to him as he desires.

 

9781629951607Unbreakable: Standing Firm in a Shifting Culture by K. Scott Oliphint and Rod Mays (P&R. Paperback. 9781629951607. $12.99)

How do we love those who are suffering or speak to the overwhelmed? Do we show tenderness and compassion to others? We have a hope to hold on to and to hold out to others—how do we explain it?

In today’s society, truth claims are suspect, and many stand on the shaky ground of relativistic postmodernism. Yet Christians cling to a lasting treasure that cannot fade or disappoint. Rod Mays and K. Scott Oliphint delve into John Newton s great hymn “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”—and into the gospel truth of Scripture behind it—in search of timeless, biblical answers to questions and issues that daily press us in our Christian walk: What should guide us? What do we need in life? How do we engage with others, or even with technology? What does faith in Christ look like as we struggle with sin? Includes discussion questions. Previously published by Crossway as Things That Cannot Be Shaken.

 

9780718078775The Resurgent Church: 7 Critical Ways to Thrive in the New Post-Christendom World by Mike McDaniel (Thomas Nelson. Paperback. 9780718078775. $16.99)

The Pew Research Center reports “No Affiliation”—identification with no religious tradition—is the fastest-growing designation among people polled. Evangelicals, mainline Christians, and Catholics are all declining while the unaffiliated category is increasing significantly. The Church no longer has a primary place in the cultural dialogue, and Christian leaders are struggling with the fallout.

The situation is urgent. Of the present 43 percent unchurched, 33 percent aredechurched—formerly affiliated with church but no longer are. Ten percent are purely unchurched with no background in any church. The pressing question is, what will the declining numbers be in another ten years?

But in his book, The Resurgent Church, author Mike McDaniel says, “If we look beyond the unsettling trends, we begin to see something encouraging—churches are reinventing themselves and finding ways to survive, flourish, and break through to the unchurched and the dechurched.” He shows a new paradigm of incarnational churches that have managed transition to powerfully impact their communities with the message of Jesus.

 

9780310525332The Christian Leader: Rehabilitating Our Addiction to Secular Leadership by Bill Hull (Zondervan. Paperback. 9780310525332. $16.99)

Most leadership literature talks about having the right kind of leadership personality. You know the type: big-picture visionaries who serve others and get the best out of people. But the popular pattern of doing what works and getting rewarded for it is actually the enemy of Christian leadership. It thrives on making our work impersonal and exploitive. Far too often, it serves the leader rather than those the leader leads. Sadly, this pattern dominates Christian leadership in the West.

We need a different style of leadership—one patterned after Jesus. Jesus influenced others because of who he was, not because he was well-known or a person of power or because he had mastered a set of skills or implemented an effective leadership strategy. He could have completed his mission living in your house, driving your car, married to your spouse, working at your office, and raising your kids because leadership comes down to character. Many who aspire to leadership are looking for the right circumstances so they can lead. Many in positions of leadership find it difficult to lead because of obstacles, such as a lack of funds, authority, and or confusion about methods. Jesus faced all of these, and more, yet he accomplished his mission.

This is not a book about improving Christian organizations; it is about changing how Christians lead. It is for anyone with a megaphone, a platform to speak, who wants to lead others in being a witness for truth. It is for people with a pulpit, whether that pulpit be a business or a position of influence in a domain of the culture: entertainment, sports, politics, industry, the arts, academia, or religion. If you are someone to whom others listen—this book is for you.

Arrived on New Academic the Week of May 23, 2016

Arrived on New Academic:

9781433690495The Gospel & Racial Reconciliation (Gospel for Life) eds. Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker (B&H Books. Hardback. 9781433690464. $12.99)

In the kingdom of God, it is not us against them. The problem of racism stretches back as far humanity’s origin in the book of Genesis. Brother pitted against brother, tribe against tribe––people have warred against one another, fueled by contempt for racial differences. Yet the gospel is a message of reconciliation. The kingdom of God is us reconciled to one another. Editors Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) assemble leading voices to frame the issues with a gospel-centered perspective. The Gospel for Life series gives every believer a biblically-saturated understanding of the most urgent issues facing our culture today, because the gospel is for all of life.

 

9781433690471The Gospel & Religious Liberty (Gospel for Life) eds. Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker (B&H Books. Hardback. 9781433690471. $12.99)

One nation, under God. Religious liberty isn’t a principle for Americans alone, though it certainly has played an important role in the history of the United States. Religious liberty is a matter of authority and allegiance for people of every land. To whom one owes ultimate allegiance is a matter of the conscience, and one that should be protected in every nation. But what if religious liberty gives way, and church’s are faced with the difficult decision between allegiance to their country and allegiance to their conscience?

 

9781433690464The Gospel & Same-Sex Marriage (Gospel for Life) eds. Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker (B&H Books. Hardback. 9781433690495. $12.99)

Christian’s should be known by what they are for, not simply what they are against. The Bible is unambiguously clear about marriage’s definition and purpose. So, Christians are for marriage. The Bible’s witness on marriage doesn’t allow for same-sex marriage, not because the Bible gives attention to same-sex marriage, but because the biblical narrative on marriage doesn’t conceive of same-sex marriage as within the realm of possibility. Yet, many Christians live among neighbors and under law-makers who disagree.

 

9781587433788Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians: Finding Authentic Faith in a Forgotten Age with C.S. Lewis by Chris R. Armstrong (Brazos Press. Paperback. 9781587433788. $19.99)

Many Christians today tend to view the story of medieval faith as a cautionary tale. Too often, they dismiss the Middle Ages as a period of corruption and decay in the church. They seem to assume that the church apostatized from true Christianity after it gained cultural influence in the time of Constantine, and the faith was only later recovered by the sixteenth-century Reformers or even the eighteenth-century revivalists. As a result, the riches and wisdom of the medieval period have remained largely inaccessible to modern Protestants. Church historian Chris Armstrong helps readers see beyond modern caricatures of the medieval church to the animating Christian spirit of that age. He believes today’s church could learn a number of lessons from medieval faith, such as how the gospel speaks to ordinary, embodied human life in this world. Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians explores key ideas, figures, and movements from the Middle Ages in conversation with C. S. Lewis and other thinkers, helping contemporary Christians discover authentic faith and renewal in a forgotten age.

 

PrintA Manifesto for Theological Interpretation eds. Craig G. Bartholomew and Heath A. Thomas (Baker Academic. Paperback. 9780801030871. $29.99)

Recent decades have witnessed a renaissance of theological interpretation. Craig Bartholomew, coauthor of the bestselling The Drama of Scripture, and Heath Thomas bring together a team of specialists to articulate a multifaceted vision for returning rigorous biblical interpretation to the context of the church. Developed by the internationally recognized Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar, this book is designed to bring clarity and unity to the enterprise of theological interpretation. It positively integrates multiple approaches to interpreting the Bible, combining academic rigor with pastoral sensitivity for professors, students, and church leaders.

 

PrintJoyful Witness in the Muslim World: Sharing the Gospel in Everyday Encounters (Mission in Global Community) by Evelyne A. Reisacher (Baker Academic. Paperback. 9780801030840. $22.99)

This up-to-date textbook features global perspectives on current Christian engagement with Islam, equipping readers for mission among Muslims. Evelyne Reisacher, who has worked extensively with Muslims in Europe, helps readers move from fear to joy as they share the gospel with Muslims. Reisacher surveys areas where Muslims and Christians encounter one another in the twenty-first century, highlighting innovative models of Christian witness in everyday life. Drawing on insights from global Christianity, this survey takes account of diverse conceptions of Muslim-Christian relations. The book may surprise those who believe mission among Muslims is difficult, challenging, and almost impossible.

 

9781493404858The Baker Compact Dictionary of Theological Terms by Gregg R. Allison (Baker Books. Paperback. 9780801015762. $9.99)

Christianity is a faith built upon the Word and understood through words, both written and spoken, handed down for centuries. But many of the terms used in both the Scriptures and theological writings are unfamiliar or misunderstood. For the Christian desiring a more clear and robust understanding of these terms, this book offers concise definitions of six hundred of the most significant words at the heart of the Christian faith, including terms related to:

· doctrine (e.g., the atonement, the church)
· biblical concepts (e.g., Messiah, Son of Man)
· church practices (e.g., anointing of the sick, immersion)
· philosophical concepts (e.g., a priori, compatibilism)
· people (e.g., Thomas Aquinas, John Wesley)
· councils (e.g., Councils of Nicea I and II, Council of Trent)
· movements (e.g., Protestantism, Pentecostalism)
· documents (e.g., the Chalcedonian Creed, Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy)
· and more

Students of the Bible, college and seminary students, and anyone who desires to deepen their understanding of the Christian faith will find this an indispensable resource.

 

9781433533464A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised ed. Miles V. Van Pelt (Crossway. Hardback. 9781433533464. $50.00)

“For many Christians, the Old Testament is like a thousand pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Where do you start? It helps to look at the box top and see how it all fits together. That’s what these superb teachers of the church do in this insightful book.”
Michael Horton

 

9781433536762A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized ed. Michael J. Kruger (Crossway. Hardback. 9781433536762. $50.00)

“Students and pastors, not to mention laypeople, usually find introductions to the New Testament writings to be rather dry and sterile. But this introduction by RTS authors has a different quality since it focuses on the theology and content of the New Testament. Those who study the New Testament want to gain a better understanding of its message, and thus this volume will prove to be an immense help for pastors, students, laypeople, and even scholars.”
Thomas R. Schreiner

 

413601oUnderstanding the Faith: A Survey of Christian Apologetics by Jeff Meyers (David C. Cook. Hardback. 9780781413602. $39.99)

Does the Bible have authority in a world committed to relative truth?

The understanding of absolute, objective truth has been largely lost. Spend just a few minutes discussing politics or religion and you’ll hear responses like, “There is no truth!” or “That may be true for you, but not for me.” Understanding the Faith dares to wade into the middle of the controversy with chapters such as:

  • Is God Christian?
  • Isn’t Claiming Truth Intolerant?
  • Is the Bible Anti-Science?

Summit Ministries’ half century of teaching, this first volume of the Understanding the Times Series is your definitive resource for deepening and defending your faith. It’s a required resource for every Christian’s bookshelf.

 

9781439190708How Would Jesus Vote?: Do Your Political Views Really Align With the Bible? by Darrell L. Bock (Howard. Hardback. 9781439190708. $22.99)

If Jesus were a voting man, living in twenty-first century America, on what side of our many political issues would he stand? As we approach another election year, we hear politicians on both sides of the aisle as well as religious leaders of every stripe claim to know—with absolute certainty—where Jesus and Christianity stand on their favorite issues. Jesus, of course, would vote exactly as they do. He would most certainly stand where they stand and fight for and against what they do. End of discussion. But would he? This book presents the values of Jesus and the Scripture in a way that challenges simple conclusions about complex issues. Examining some of the most contentious political topics of our time in light of Scripture and the teachings of Jesus, the end goal of this book is not to promote a particular point of view but to objectively portray what the Bible says on political and cultural topics. Author Darrell Bock intends to provoke a different kind of conversation—a conversation where differences are heard and respect is shared, a conversation where we can disagree passionately yet dialogue peacefully and well. Examining the weighty issues of our political and cultural world, author Darrell Bock looks at racial conflict, economics, poverty, health care, immigration, gun control, foreign policy, war, education, sexuality, abortion, and more through the teachings of Jesus and biblical teachings as a whole.

 

9780830852901How I Changed My Mind About Evolution: Evangelicals Reflect on Faith and Science eds. Kathryn Applegate & J.B. Stump (IVP Academic. Paperback. 9780830852901. $16.00)

Perhaps no topic appears as potentially threatening to evangelicals as evolution. The very idea seems to exclude God from the creation the book of Genesis celebrates. Yet many evangelicals have come to accept the conclusions of science while still holding to a vigorous belief in God and the Bible. How did they make this journey? How did they come to embrace both evolution and faith? Here are stories from a community of people who love Jesus and honor the authority of the Bible, but who also agree with what science says about the cosmos, our planet and the life that so abundantly fills it. Among the contributors are: Francis Collins, John Ortberg, N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Tremper Longman III, James K. A. Smith, and Oliver Crisp.

 

9780300111927Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650 by Carlos M. N. Eire (Yale University Press. Hardback. 9780300111927. $40.00)

This fast-paced survey of Western civilization’s transition from the Middle Ages to modernity brings that tumultuous period vividly to life. Carlos Eire, popular professor and gifted writer, chronicles the two-hundred-year era of the Renaissance and Reformation with particular attention to issues that persist as concerns in the present day. Eire connects the Protestant and Catholic Reformations in new and profound ways, and he demonstrates convincingly that this crucial turning point in history not only affected people long gone, but continues to shape our world and define who we are today.

The book focuses on the vast changes that took place in Western civilization between 1450 and 1650, from Gutenberg’s printing press and the subsequent revolution in the spread of ideas to the close of the Thirty Years’ War. Eire devotes equal attention to the various Protestant traditions and churches as well as to Catholicism, skepticism, and secularism, and he takes into account the expansion of European culture and religion into other lands, particularly the Americas and Asia. He also underscores how changes in religion transformed the Western secular world. A book created with students and nonspecialists in mind, Reformations is an inspiring, provocative volume for any reader who is curious about the role of ideas and beliefs in history.

Arrived on New Academic the Week of May 16, 2016

Arrived on New Academic:

9781433644399The SBC & the 21st Century: Reflections, Renewal, and Recommitments ed. Jason K. Allen (B&H Academic. Paperback. 9781433644399. $29.99)

The Southern Baptist Convention is currently facing issues that challenge its identity, heritage, and future.  In The SBC and the 21st Century, key leaders—including Jason Allen, Frank Page, Ronnie Floyd, Thom Rainer, Albert Mohler, Paige Patterson, David Platt, and Danny Akin—address critical issues such as:

·        Will the SBC grow more unified around shared convictions and mission or will it fragment over secondary concerns and tertiary doctrinal differences?
·        Will the SBC be able to maintain a distinct Baptist identity while engaging and partnering with the broader evangelical community?
·        Will the SBC be willing to reimagine its structures, programs, and efforts to effectively reach the world for Christ or will it risk being a past-tense denomination?

This volume not only promotes meaningful dialogue, it calls leaders throughout the SBC into action. Extensive thought, research, assessment, and wisdom from some of the SBC’s brightest minds have been poured into this volume with the intent of rendering a helpful contribution to SBC life that will propel forward the collective work of Southern Baptists well into the 21st century.

 

9781433643224Reclaiming Glory: Revitalizing Dying Churches by Mark Clifton (B&H Books. Paperback. 9781433643224. $14.99)

What is there about a dying church that brings glory to God? Mark Clifton’s convicting answer is “Nothing.” Because a local church is intended to represent the work of God in a community, when that church “loses it saltiness,” not only is God’s work pictured as irrelevant in that community, but also dishonor and disrepute may well become associated with God’s name as a result. In Reclaiming Glory, Clifton draws not only upon his own burden for revitalizing dying churches but also upon years of church replanting experience to offer passionate counsel for how to breathe new life into a dying church . . . all for the glory of the God who is building his church upon the immovable rock of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

9781433688928Understanding Church Leadership by Mark Dever (B&H Books. Paperback. 9781433688928. $7.99)

Who leads a church? Why is this important to God? God cares about his glory, and he means to display his glory through the church. For this very end, God has established elders and deacons, members, and congregational authority. This primer on church structure connects the different offices of the church to one another and to the glory of God. In the Church Basics Series, trusted church experts write practical, trustworthy resources on issues like Church Discipline, Church Leadership, the Lord’s Supper, and Baptism that every pastor can hand every church member. 

 

9781433688911Understanding Church Discipline by Jonathan Leeman (B&H Books. Paperback. 9781433688911. $7.99)

Should we actually practice church discipline today? Is it unloving? Once an ordinary part of church life, churches gradually stopped practicing church discipline in the 20th century. But Jesus commands it. Paul practiced it. And churches benefit from it. Why practice church discipline? It shows love for the individual caught in sin, love for the whole church, love for non-Christian neighbors, and love for the glory of Christ.

 

9781433643873Who Moved My Pulpit?: Leading Change in the Church by Thom S. Rainer (B&H Books. Hardback. 9781433643873. $12.99)

Who Moved My Pulpit? may not be the exact question you’re asking. But you’re certainly asking questions about change in the church—where it’s coming from, why it’s happening, and how you’re supposed to hang on and follow God through it—even get out ahead of it so your church is faithfully meeting its timeless calling and serving the new opportunities of this age. Based on conversations with thousands of pastors, combined with on-the-ground research from more than 50,000 churches, best-selling author Thom S. Rainer shares an eight-stage roadmap to leading change in your church. Not by changing doctrine. Not by changing biblical foundations. But by changing methodologies and approaches for reaching a rapidly changing culture.

 

9781848716780J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone by Iain H. Murray (Banner of Truth. Hardback. 9781848716780. $28.00)

The life of J.C. Ryle has only to be heard once to be remembered. His 84 years (1816 1900) included remarkable contrasts the promise of a fortune, then the poverty of a bankrupt; a Suffolk country pastor, then bishop of the leading seaport of the British Empire. But there was a still greater change from the successful youth at Eton and Oxford, who did not pray or read his Bible till he was 21, to become a Christian ‘bold as a lion for the truth of God s Word and his Gospel’. Although one of the most widely read evangelical authors of the nineteenth century, Ryle’s writings lost influence after his death. The world had moved on, as was supposed. Then, fifty years later a ‘rediscovery’ began. Research on his life was accomplished by able authors, and from a new wealth of material Iain Murray has put together a compelling biography. Ryle believed in definite doctrine, in a message which does not adjust to the times, in revival, and in the living Christ. He knew that all the great turning points of church history have been attended with controversy, and that ‘there are times when controversy is not only a duty but a benefit’. J.C. Ryle’s life is convincing evidence that Christianity stands or falls depending on its relation to the word of God and to the Holy Spirit. That he is being read widely again at the present time gives hope of better days.

 

9780830851287Representing Christ: A Vision for the Priesthood of All Believers by Uche Anizor and Hank Voss (IVP Academic. Paperback. 9780830851287. $20.00)

The priesthood of all believers is a core Protestant belief. But what does it actually mean? Uche Anizor and Hank Voss set the record straight in this concise treatment of a doctrine that lies at the center of church life and Christian spirituality. The authors look at the priesthood of all believers in terms of the biblical witness, the contribution of Martin Luther and the doctrine of the Trinity. They place this concept in the context of the canonical description of Israel and the church as a royal priesthood that responds to God in witness and service to the world. Representing Christ is much more than a piece of Reformation history. It shows that the priesthood of all believers is interwoven with the practical, spiritual and missional life of the church.

 

9780830851225Wesley and the Anglicans: Political Divisions in Early Evangelicalism by Ryan Nicholas Danker (IVP Academic. Paperback. 9780830851225. $26.00)

Why did the Wesleyan Methodists and the Anglican evangelicals divide during the middle of the eighteenth century? Many would argue that the division between them was based narrowly on theological matters, especially predestination and perfection. Ryan Danker suggests, however, that politics was a major factor throughout, driving the Wesleyan Methodists and Anglican evangelicals apart. Methodism was perceived to be linked with the radical and seditious politics of the Cromwellian period. This was a charged claim in a post-Restoration England. Likewise Danker explores the political force of resurgent Tory influence under George III, which exerted more pressure on evangelicals to prove their loyalty to the Establishment. These political realities made it hard for evangelicals in the Church of England to cooperate with Wesley and meant that all their theological debates were politically inflected. Rich in detail, here is a book for all who seek deeper insight into a critical juncture in the development of evangelicalism and early Methodism.

 

9780830824557New Dictionary of Theology: Historical & Systematic eds. Various (IVP Academic. Hardback. 9780830824557. $60.00)

This classic one-volume reference work has been appreciated for decades. It is now substantially expanded and revised to focus on a variety of theological themes, thinkers and movements. From African Christian Theology to Zionism, this volume of historical and systematic theology offers a wealth of information and insight for students, pastors and all thoughtful Christians. Over half of the more than eight hundred articles are new or rewritten with hundreds more thoroughly revised. Fully one-third larger than its predecessor, this volume focusing on systematic and historical theology has added entries and material on theological writers and themes in North America and around the world. Helpful bibliographies have also been updated throughout. Over three hundred contributors form an international team of renowned scholars including Marcella Altaus-Reid, Richard Bauckham, David Bebbington, Kwame Bediako, Todd Billings, Oliver Crisp, Samuel Escobar, John Goldingay, Tremper Longman III, John McGuckin, Jennifer McNutt, Michael J. Nasir-Ali, Bradley Nassif, Mark Noll, Anthony Thiselton, John Webster and N. T. Wright. This new edition combines excellence in scholarship with a high standard of clarity and profound insight into current theological issues. Yet it avoids being unduly technical. Now an even more indispensable reference, this volume is a valuable primer and introduction to the grand spectrum of theology.

 

9780830826407God Has Spoken in His Son: A Biblical Theology of Hebrews by Peter T. O’Brien (IVP Academic. Paperback. 9780830826407. $25.00)

Hebrews is one of the most attractive and powerful yet challenging books of the New Testament. It begins with a magnificent presentation of Jesus as the divine Son through whom God has spoken his final word (Heb. 1:1-4). These opening lines set the trajectory for the whole discourse. The polished literary character of Hebrews and its careful exposition of the superiority of Christ, the Son of God and great high priest led earlier generations to conclude that it was mainly or simply a theological treatise. However, particularly in the last three decades, its purpose has been understood as hortatory; this is made clear by the exhortatory passages that flow from, and are grounded in, the expositions that appear throughout the discourse. Peter O’Brien’s excellent, cohesive exposition of Hebrews examines the major interlocking themes highlighted by the author as he addresses his “word of exhortation” (13:22) to the congregation. These themes include God speaking, Christology, salvation, the people of God, and warnings and encouragements. In this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume, O’Brien shows how Hebrews employs profoundly rich theology to serve the didactic, hortatory and pastoral goals of urging the hearers to endure in their pursuit of the promised reward, in obedience to the word of God and especially on the basis of their new covenant relationship with the Son.

 

9780830839537Christianity and Western Thought: Journey to Postmodernity in the Twentieth Century by Alan G. Padgett and Steve Wilkens (IVP Academic. Paperback. 9780830839537. $30.00)

Colin Brown’s Christianity & Western Thought, Volume 1: From the Ancient World to the Age of Enlightenment was widely embraced as a text in philosophy and theology courses around the world. His project was continued with the same spirit, energy and design by Steve Wilkens and Alan Padgett in Volume 2, which explores the main intellectual streams of the nineteenth century. This, the third and final volume, also by Wilkens and Padgett, examines philosophers, ideas and movements in the twentieth century and how they have influenced Christian thought. Students, pastors and thoughtful Christians will benefit from this volume which, when combined with the previous two, completes an authoritative history of Western thought since the birth of Christianity.

 

9780830851362Taking Pascal’s Wager: Faith, Evidence, and the Abundant Life by Michael Rota (IVP Academic. Paperback. 9780830851362. $20.00)

Since we can’t know with absolute certainty that God exists, each of us in a sense makes a bet. If we believe in God and are right, the benefits include eternal life. If we are wrong, the downside is limited. On the other hand, we might not believe in God. If we are right, then we will have lived in line with reality. If we are wrong, however, the consequences could be eternally disastrous. This was the challenge posed by the French philosopher Blaise Pascal over three hundred years ago. But Michael Rota contends that Pascal’s argument is still compelling today. Since there is much to gain (for ourselves as well as for others) and relatively little to lose, the wise decision is to seek a relationship with God and live a Christian life. Rota considers Pascal’s wager and the roles of uncertainty, evidence and faith in making a commitment to God. By engaging with themes such as decision theory, the fine-tuning of the universe, divine hiddenness, the problem of evil, the historicity of the resurrection and the nature of miracles, he probes the many dynamics at work in embracing the Christian faith. In addition, Rota takes a turn not found in many books of philosophy. He looks at the actual effects of such a commitment in three recent, vivid, gripping examples―Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jean Vanier and Immaculée Ilibagiza. Like Pascal, Rota leaves us with a question: What wager will we make?

 

9780199927975The Blessings of Business: How Corporations Shaped Conservative Christianity by Darren E. Grem (Oxford University Press. Hardback. 9780199927975. $34.95)

The Book of Matthew cautions readers that “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” But for at least a century conservative American Protestants have been trying to prove that adage wrong. In The Blessings of Business, Darren E. Grem argues that while preachers, activists, and politicians have all helped spread the gospel, American evangelicalism owes its enduring strength in a large part to private enterprise. Grem argues for a new history of American evangelicalism, demonstrating how its adherents strategically used corporate America–its leaders, businesses, money, ideas, and values–to advance their religious, cultural, and political movement. Beginning before the First World War, conservative evangelicals were able to use businessmen and business methods to retain and expand their public influence in a secularizing, diversifying, and liberalizing age. In the process they became beholden to pro-business stances on matters of theology, race, gender, taxation, trade, and the state, transforming evangelicalism itself into as much of an economic movement as a religious one.

 

9781594206207For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr by Duncan Hamilton (Penguin. Hardback. 9781594206207. $28.00)

Many people will remember Eric Liddell as the Olympic gold medalist from the Academy Award winning film Chariots of Fire. Famously, Liddell would not run on Sunday because of his strict observance of the Christian sabbath, and so he did not compete in his signature event, the 100 meters, at the 1924 Paris Olympics. He was the greatest sprinter in the world at the time, and his choice not to run was ridiculed by the British Olympic committee, his fellow athletes, and most of the world press. Yet Liddell triumphed in a new event, winning the 400 meters in Paris. Liddell ran–and lived–for the glory of his God. After winning gold, he dedicated himself to missionary work. He travelled to China to work in a local school and as a missionary. He married and had children there. By the time he could see war on the horizon, Liddell put Florence, his pregnant wife, and children on a boat to Canada, while he stayed behind, his conscience compelling him to stay among the Chinese. He and thousands of other westerners were eventually interned at a Japanese work camp.

 

k10689John Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion”: A Biography by Bruce Gordon (Princeton University Press. Hardback. 9780691152127. $27.95)

John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a defining book of the Reformation and a pillar of Protestant theology. First published in Latin in 1536 and in Calvin’s native French in 1541, theInstitutes argues for the majesty of God and for justification by faith alone. The book decisively shaped Calvinism as a major religious and intellectual force in Europe and throughout the world. Here, Bruce Gordon provides an essential biography of Calvin’s influential and enduring theological masterpiece, tracing the diverse ways it has been read and interpreted from Calvin’s time to today. Gordon explores the origins and character of the Institutes, looking closely at its theological and historical roots, and explaining how it evolved through numerous editions to become a complete summary of Reformation doctrine. He shows how the development of the book reflected the evolving thought of Calvin, who instilled in the work a restlessness that reflected his understanding of the Christian life as a journey to God. Following Calvin’s death in 1564, the Institutes continued to be reprinted, reedited, and reworked through the centuries. Gordon describes how it has been used in radically different ways, such as in South Africa, where it was invoked both to defend and attack the horror of apartheid. He examines its vexed relationship with the historical Calvin–a figure both revered and despised–and charts its robust and contentious reception history, taking readers from the Puritans and Voltaire to YouTube, the novels of Marilynne Robinson, and to China and Africa, where theInstitutes continues to find new audiences today.

Arrived on New Academic the Week of May 9, 2016

Arrived on New Academic:

9781506406756God & Cosmology: William Lane Craig and Sean Carroll in Dialogue ed. Robert B. Stewart (Fortress Press. Hardback. 9781506410777. $79.00)

The question of God and cosmology is far from abstract. In fact, the subject raises the deepest questions of human existence: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Or, to put it more personally, “Why am I here?”, Structured as a debate, the 2014 Greer-Heard Forum focused on the issue of God and cosmology and its impact on life and self-understanding. Christian philosopher William Lane Craig and atheist cosmologist Sean Carroll presented their views before a packed crowd of more than nine hundred people. Spirited, civil, and often humorous, the debate highlighted not only their positions, but the full range of possibilities. In this volume, the content of that debate is reprinted and supplemented by a range of reflections by other conference presenters. The purpose of the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum is to provide a venue for fair-minded dialogue on subjects of importance in religion and culture. The goal is a respectful exchange of ideas, without compromise.

 

9781629951737Severe Compassion: The Gospel According to Nahum by Gregory D. Cook (P&R Publishing. Paperback. 9781629951737. $14.99)

Gregory Cook helps us to navigate the book of Nahum, a poetic masterpiece that teaches us about God’s love for his adulterous people. As the prophet Nahum shows us, God’s passionate love threatens all our other loves. When we find God boring and the world fascinating, we commit the sin of rebellion—but God, with severe compassion, refuses to abandon us when we stray into destructive paths. Ultimately, Nahum’s prophecy is fulfilled in Christ, who relentlessly pursued his people and entered history in order to redeem them for himself. Cook further aids our understanding with historical background, cultural references, literary allusions, poetic devices, and challenging application.

“Greg has done the hard work of digging into the Hebrew text; he has gleaned insights from scholars and learned about the world and time in which Nahum wrote; he has sat with and listened carefully and humbly to the text; he has seen and appreciated how it speaks about and points to Jesus; and he has then gone on to consider how its message speaks to us today as people in union with Christ.” –Elizabeth Groves

 

9781498231718Acts: A New Vision of the People of God by Gerald L. Stevens (Wipf & Stock. Paperback. 9781498231718. $70.00)

This analysis of Luke’s post-ascension story of Jesus challenges orthodoxies in the interpretation of Acts and Paul. Carefully constructed narrative arguments from within the story in Acts use the themes of Pentecost, the Hellenists, and the character development of Saul-Paul to reveal Luke’s insight that the future of the Jesus story is in the Hellenist movement realizing the promise of Pentecost in Israel. These Hellenists are at odds with the Jerusalem church on the implications of the outpoured Spirit of Pentecost. Further, the Saul-Paul of Acts is not what most readers presume from Paul’s letters. For Luke, Paul finds his narrative significance in Acts only within the Hellenist movement and Pentecost fulfillment. Paul himself becomes Luke’s premier example of the God active, God resisted theme of the speech of Stephen that drives the plot of Acts. This plot mechanism provides illuminating exegesis of Paul’s insistence on going to Jerusalem from Ephesus with its dramatic conclusion in the shipwreck of Paul. Stevens concludes by integrating the ending of Acts into Luke’s three major themes and overall narrative strategy–an impressive, compelling, and thoroughly fresh reading of Acts.

 

9780310520962.jpgA Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works (10th Edition) by John F. Evans (Zondervan. Paperback. 9780310520962. $24.99)

Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works, by John F. Evans, summarizes and briefly analyzes all recent and many older commentaries on each book of the Bible, giving insightful comments on the approach of each commentary and its interpretive usefulness especially for evangelical interpreters of the Bible. A Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works is essentially an annotated bibliography of hundreds of commentators. More scholarly books receive a longer, more detailed treatment than do lay commentaries, and highly recommended commentaries have their author’s names in bold. The author keeps up on the publication of commentaries and intends to update this book every three to four years.

 

9780310518389.jpgParadox Lost: Recovering the Mystery of God by Richard P. Hansen (Zondervan. Paperback. 9780310518389. $16.99)

Too often the tensions and unanswerable questions of Scripture and the Christian life are seen as barriers to faith. In Paradox Lost, pastor and author Richard Hansen shows that they are exactly the opposite—indeed, God’s mysteries are one of the places where we may encounter him most closely.

In exchange for Enlightenment-based rationalism that can stunt spiritual imagination, Hansen invites readers to:

  • Discern that there is a hiddenness to God that can be inviting rather than threatening
  • Appreciate that God is far greater than we sometimes assume, and to adjust our mental maps to make more space for awe
  • Realize that faith and reason are not enemies but rather dance partners that complement one another

Hansen examines three kinds, or “orders,” of biblical paradox, each at a deeper level than the last, demonstrating for readers that paradox is both endemic to modern life and also a natural part of the landscape of Christian faith. Paradox Lost doesn’t seek to solve or justify paradox; instead, it looks through paradox toward what it reveals—namely a holy, mysterious, and awesome God.

Arrived on New Academic the Week of May 2, 2016

Unparalleled_Covers_3Unparalleled: How Christianity’s Uniqueness Makes it Compelling by Jared C. Wilson (Baker Books. Paperback. 9780801008597. $14.99)

In Unparalleled, Wilson holds up the teachings of the Bible to the clear light of day, revealing how Christianity rises above every other religion and philosophy of the world, and how its unmatched truth answers the deepest longings of every human heart. He provides an overview of Christianity’s key claims showing how, from top to bottom, it is distinct from all other competing ideologies, religious and secular. Christians will come away with a fresh sense of the truth of their faith and nonbelievers will be compelled to consider the relevant claims of Christianity in a drastically new light.

“Like handling a diamond, Jared turns to the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith, shining light on the edges that come together to make Christianity unique.” ―Trevin Wax

 

9780801017131Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin Lutzer (Baker Books. Hardback. 9780801017131. $19.99)

The Reformation unfolded in the cathedrals and town squares of Europe–in Wittenberg, Worms, Rome, Geneva, and Zurich–and it is a stirring story of courage and cowardice, of betrayal and faith. The story begins with the Catholic Church and its desperate need for reform. The dramatic events that followed are traced from John Wycliffe in England, to the burning of John Hus at the stake in Prague, to the rampant sale of indulgences in the cities and towns of Germany, to Martin Luther nailing the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in 1517, to John Calvin’s reform of Geneva. Erwin Lutzer captures the people, places, and big ideas that fueled the Reformation and explains its lasting influence on the church and Western Civilization.

“A wonderful journey through the history of the pre-Reformation and Reformation periods that will illumine what people need to know about the gospel, God’s grace, the church, and religious liberty. These are crucial topics for our day, when so many opinions about them exist. As the book shows, history has much to teach us here.” ―Darrell Bock

 

tvp_265The Vine Project by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne (Matthias Media. Paperback. 9781922206947. $19.99)

In The Vine Project, Marshall and Payne provide a road-map and resources for this sort of church-wide culture change. The book guides your ministry leadership team through a five-phase process for growth and change, with biblical input, practical ideas, resources, case studies, exercises and projects along the way. You will be helped to: clarify and sharpen your convictions; reform your own personal life to express these convictions: honestly evaluate every aspect of your current church (or ministry) culture; devise some key plans for change and put them into effect; keep the momentum going and overcome obstacles. The Trellis and the Vine proposed a ministry mind-shift that changes everything. The Vine Project shows how that mind-shift can and must shape every aspect of what you are doing as a congregation of Christ’s people to make disciples of all nations.

 

41v-GTJYhzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Living in the Light: Making the Most of Three Dangerous Opportunities by John Piper (The Good Book Company. Hardback. 9781784980511. $12.99)

RELEASES TOMORROW, MAY 2, 2016.

Whether we’re rich or poor, married or single, in a position of great influence or not—all of us face temptation in the areas of money, sex and power. They are the dangerous opportunities of our time—opportunities to destroy our own souls, or to experience the true joy of using them for God’s glory. John Piper shows us that when we have the blazing glory of Christ at the center of our spiritual solar system, the planets of money, sex and power find their true and beautiful orbits. This book is for every Christian and will help you to wake up to the all-satisfying glory of God, and discover what you were made for.

“This new book is timely and deserves careful consideration by every Christian. It is a theologically rich, biblically faithful exploration of potential stumbling blocks to enjoying God: sex, money, and power. In these pages you will discover not only the spiritual danger of setting your hope in the things of this world but how, as Christians, we can understand sex, money, and power in ways that display God’s glory.” ―R. Albert Mohler Jr.