January 2016 Books read

Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, Mark A. Knoll (begun in 2015)

  • Great premise- all of man’s intellectual endeavors should be centered and motivated by Jesus Christ: the Christ presented in Scripture and the great ecumenical creeds.
  • Some poor execution- the church is absent. To be intellectually acceptable you must jettison young-earth, creation-science, etc.

 

Guidelines for Christian Theology in Africa, Osadolor Imasogie

  • Poor handling of church history.
  • Helpful, if now pretty standard, survey of some of the key components of an African worldview.
  • Confirmed something I have thought about as I have been working in Africa and studying it: the traditional African worldview is, in many respects, close to the medieval European worldview. I need to read more medieval history and theology.
  • A bit redundant, and didn’t devote as much space to the actual guidelines he proposed:
    • Appreciation of the efficacy of Christ’s power over evil forces
    • Emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit and the present mediatory efficacy of the Living Christ
    • Emphasis on the omnipresence of God and the consequent sacramental nature of the universe

 

Preparing for Jesus’ Return: Daily live the Blessed Hope, A.W. Tozer

  • This is the best book on prophecy most people will never read. Evangelicals will not be satisfied due to a lack of commitment to the pretrib rapture. Reformed will look at it and dismiss it as yet another flight of fancy by a delusional dispensationalist.Both would be poorer for their neglect of this title. In A.W. Tozer, Revelation finds just the right kind of interpreter. Someone who believes Revelation speaks to us today because Revelation speaks to us about Christ.

    If you love Christ and love His return, you will love this book. If, on the other hand, you love “prophetic” speculation, you will not.

 

A Reader in African Christian Theology, John Parratt

  • A collection of essays on The Theological Method, Aspects of Doctrine, and The Church and the World considered from an African perspective.
  • Dated, but still helpful in suggesting ways to advance the African church in an African way.
  • Most challenging article was “The Church’s Role in Society,” by Julius Nyerere. A brief summary of poverty along the lines of that offered in When Helping Hurts. How far should the church go in advocating for the disenfranchised?
  • Parratt offers a helpful summary comparing and contrasting some of the main divisions and agreements.

 

Understanding Biblical Theology: A Comparison of Theory and Practice, Edward W Klink III and   Darian R. Lockett

  • So what exactly is biblical theology? Well it turns out it depends on who you ask. In a manner of speaking, there is no biblical theology. Only biblical theologies.
    Klink and Lockett helpfully divide the field of biblical theology into five distinct approaches. They summarize each approach then offer an extended summary and interaction with a leading representative of each approach.
    This would be an ideal textbook in an introductory course on biblical theology. Pastors interested in the field would benefit from it as well.
    Understanding Biblical Theology is a helpful resource to map and engage with the various versions of biblical theology.

 

A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament, Alec Motyer

  • An absolute gem of a little book. This book is pregnant with meaning and truth and would be an excellent basis for a course on introducing the Old Testament. Those who have done more extensive study in the O.T. should find it an invaluable aid in teaching others. If I ever have occasion to teach such a course, this will almost certainly be the book I use.
  • I love the question Motyer asks in chapter 3, “…is there such a thing as the Old Testament.” In very important ways, the answer is no. This no answer is taken in directions that I heartily agree and disagree with.
    • In the positive direction, Motyer certainly has the witness of Scripture on his side when he writes, “The Old Testament does not belong– let me say it to you sensitively– does not belong to the Jewish people. The Old Testament is our [Christian’s] book, and the things that happened in the Old testament are our prehistory, yours and mine because we belong to Jesus.” Amen.
    • In the negative direction, this leads to Motyer embracing the standard reformed teaching that God has only made One Covenant with His people. All the covenants in the “Old” and “New” Testaments are just different administrations of this one covenant. (If that sounds like Dispensationalism with the terms switched around a little, well…) Such teaching is thoroughly contradicted by Hebrews…and Jeremiah and Psalms.
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