Arrived on New Academic:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.