Five hundred years ago this October 31st, a young Augustinian monk, disturbed about the Roman Catholic Church’s many pastoral abuses and doctrinal aberrations, nailed to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, a list of topics he wanted to debate with the local religious authorities. Although he didn’t realize it at the time, Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” would serve as the catalyst for a theological and ecclesiastical upheaval within Europe that would transform churches and whole communities around the world. By returning to the Scriptures as the fount of divine knowledge and rediscovering the doctrine of justification by faith, Martin Luther and those who followed in his footsteps opened a gateway of truth and life to those who had long walked in error and death. Continue reading “‘Why the Reformation Still Matters’ by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester”
Richard Steele was a Puritan minister in the mid-seventeenth century, but his work The Religious Tradesman is what you might consider a “lost classic.” Even in 1747, eighty years after its initial publication, Isaac Watts, writing in the introduction, lamented that the piece was “now very little known;” it’s popularity foundering under the disadvantages of an “ancient name” and “ancient dress.”
Nearly 300 years later, we can join in Watts’s lament. Despite excellent content, Steele’s book has received very little attention among contemporary Christian readers. Hopefully this brief review can encourage a few Christians to pick up Steele’s volume and find encouragement to attend to their daily work with renewed joy and purpose. Continue reading “‘The Religious Tradesman’ by Richard Steele”
Late in 2013 Zondervan released another installment in their Counterpoints series–this particular contribution offering different perspectives on the historicity of Adam. Since their inception several years ago, I have appreciated these multiple-view books. Although I usually come to and leave these books holding firmly to one of the views, I am always grateful to learn, first-hand, how proponents of different positions articulate and defend their views. I am also encouraged to think afresh about my convictions and presuppositions, and nuance my own position if necessary.
In the case of Four Views of The Historical Adam, I come to the discussion as a young-earth creationist who believes in an historical Adam.
In this review, I will discuss a few weaknesses in of each contributor’s argument and methodology. I will then discuss one major weakness that afflicted the book as a whole. Continue reading “Where's the (Philosophy of) Science? A Review of Four Views on The Historical Adam”
Re-entering pastoral ministry after a seven-year seminary hiatus with the recent addition of two boys makes me nervous. More than anything I fear the possibility that my children’s regular exposure to the disappointments, trials, and vulnerabilities of pastoral ministry will have a hardening effect on their hearts and will serve to drive them away from Christ and his people rather than into close communion with both. I have heard the stories of pastor’s kids who have turned from the faith of their parents, often citing the unique difficulties of their dad’s work and their experience in the church as the primary reasons they don’t want to follow Christ. And now I’m a pastor. Who is sufficient for these things? Continue reading “Review: The Pastor's Kid by Barnabas Piper”
Would you classify much of the Bible teaching at your church as little more than “poor lay preaching?” If you were honest, how would you describe the teachers under whom your people sit week after week? Is their material full of biblical content, but dry, disjointed, and unconnected to real life? Or, is their teaching illustrative and witty but touching upon the Scripture only long enough to glean only the smallest seeds of truth? Perhaps you are a pastor or lay-teacher who feels like you fit into one of these two categories. Whatever the case, whether you are a pastor hoping to cultivate a strong teaching ministry in your church, or a lay-teacher struggling to communicate the truths of God’s word in a way that is both useful to students and faithful to the text, Wilhoit and Ryken’s Effective Bible Teaching has much to offer you. Continue reading “Effective Bible Teaching by James C. Wilhoit and Leland Ryken”
It’s a question every Christian asks at least once on their way to heaven. For many believers, however—especially those currently 35 years old and younger—it’s a question that looms over most of their decisions, goals, and general approach to life. Christians of the so-called millennial generation are finding it increasingly difficult to determine what God would have them do with their lives, so they are asking with greater frequency and fervency about the will of God and how to find it.
But the desperate quest for God’s will has not led to more stability and direction among searching Christians, young or old. Just the opposite has occurred, as Kevin DeYoung observes:
[O]ur search for the will of God has become an accomplice in the postponement of growing up, a convenient out for the young (or old) Christian floating through life without direction or purpose. Too many of us have passed off our instability, inconsistency, and endless self-exploration as “looking for God’s will,” as if not making up our minds and meandering through life were marks of spiritual sensitivity (13). Continue reading “Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung”
Kenton Sparks, professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University—an evangelical school by confession—has recently offered his contribution to an evangelical doctrine of Scripture in God’s Word in Human Words: An Evangelical Appropriation of Critical Biblical Scholarship (GWHW). As the title of the book suggests and as he states clearly in the introduction, Sparks situates himself within the evangelical tradition, so he approaches his work from a “profound appreciation” for evangelicalism’s “doctrinal commitment to the inerrancy of God’s Word” (22). But Sparks is concerned over evangelicalism’s approach to assessing and using critical biblical scholarship and he considers himself as one of several emerging evangelical scholars who find the “standard critical arguments” for problems in the Bible offered by modern academics far more satisfactory than those posited in most evangelical efforts (12). Continue reading “Review of God's Word in Human Words by Kenton Sparks”