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1 - Book Review: A Reader's Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers
2 - Crossway Recognized One of My Reviews
3 - Book Review: What is Biblical Theology? by Jim Hamilton
4 - Ken Ham and Bill Nye Debate Creation
5 - Book Review: A Call to Resurgence by Mark Driscoll
6 - "Digital Doctrine" Published and Copyright with the Knoxville News Sentinel
7 - Book Review: Walking with God through Pain and Suffering
8 - Keeping up with the Robertsons
9 - Book Review- Preaching: A Biblical Theology
10 - Book Review: NT Wright's A Case for the Psalms
11 - Book Review of Bible's Big Story
12 - Book Review: The Meaning of Marriage
13 - Book Review: The Explicit Gospel
14 - Review of the Gospel Transformation Bible
1 - Book Review: A Reader's Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers



Daniel Wallace’s A Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers is not your every day devotional material. The crowd that this book will appeal to is those who long for a greater knowledge of the Biblical and apostolic languages. The lexicon covers a wide range of the Apostolic Father’s works (e.g., 1 and 2 Clement, the Didache, Letter to Barnabus, The Shepherd of Hermas, and the Traditions of the Elders). The lexicon covers any word that occurs less than 30 times in the New Testament. The book indicates how many times the words are used in the particular letter, but it also indicates how many times it is used within the Apostolic Fathers as a whole.
One thing that I love about this resource is that it provides aids to so many early church documents. There is no single resource that brings together this many writings with lexical aid. Next, although the number thirty is arbitrary addressing all the words that are used less than thirty times I found to be very helpful. The number is not too low where it is too difficult to translate, but not to high so that you actually do not have to put any work in. My only critique of the book is that it does not provide the texts within the book. I know that this is intention and that the book would be enormous if this were the case, but I still wish that they were together. Early Greek students will have to have a copy of the Greek text, BDAG, and this book in order to work through it. Overall, I absolutely loved the book. The book is definitely academic in nature, but it is written for young academics. I want to conclude with a great quote from Luther on the importance of learning the original languages. Luther in regards to learning the languages said,

“Let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held; they are the larder in which this food is stored. . . . If through our neglect we let the languages go (which God forbid!), we shall . . . lose the gospel.”

Publisher: Kregel
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 256
Binding Type: Hardback
Book Grade: A

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3/20/2014 11:28:00 AM

2 - Crossway Recognized One of My Reviews



Crossway recognized my review of the Gospel Transformation Bible.  Kind of exciting that a big name publisher caught eye of my work. BTW, even if they did not recognize my blog on their page, I would still highly recommend this resource.


3/4/2014 8:57:00 PM

3 - Book Review: What is Biblical Theology? by Jim Hamilton



Let me begin my review with an encouraging preface. Anytime Hamilton publishes something new, I feel obligated to purchase it. I have never purchased one of his books that I later regretted buying. I would also be hard pressed to think of another person, who has had greater influence on the way that I read the bible other than Jim Hamilton. When I heard about the upcoming release of What is Biblical Theology I was very excited. I have already read Hamilton’s magna opus God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment. I purchased this Intro to Biblical Theology with curiosity as to whether he would add additional insight to other passages that he may not have mentioned in his previous work. I was also curious if this would be a good book to read with a lay person.
Hamilton’s book is not your stereotypical introduction to biblical theology. Most intros spend the majority of their time explaining what Biblical Theology is and not. Usually you will find a long drawn out section which explains the difference between Biblical, Systematic, and historical theology. You do not experience that with Hamilton’s text. Next, the majority of Biblical theologies exhaust all possible literary genres without ever getting to a text. After reading one of these texts, I often feel like I just left an English comp class, rather than having just read a book that is suppose to help me to get further acquainted with scripture. Hamilton puts the bible and its metanarrative (i.e., Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration) at the forefront. Hamilton covers typology, symbolism, patterns, themes, and imagery. He teaches the reader about the literary types from the text itself. I love Hamilton’s approach because the reader sees the importance of language and genre, but never divorced from the text itself. The reader leaves knowing more about the Bible than he does about linguistics.
I would highly recommend this book to all. The lay person and the scholar alike can learn a great deal from this book. This would be a great intro for a Sunday school class, who may long for something weightier. The scholar will see many connections, themes, types, and images that he may never had seen before. Furthermore, the scholar will also see the why this book is important for the local church. The entire last section of this book is devoted to application within the local church. Hamilton is both a scholar and a lover of the church. Within the pages of this book, the reader will encounter both. This book is a goldmine waiting to be tapped.
Publisher: Crossway
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 128
Binding Type: Paperback
Book Grade: A

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2/25/2014 3:33:00 PM

4 - Ken Ham and Bill Nye Debate Creation


Some thoughts from the debate:

This debate made a big splash in the media world. I think that Ham was very helpful in many regards with his approach to the debate. First, Ham demonstrated, through video clips and citations that there are intellectuals that hold to creationism. All too often those who hold to creationism are caricatured as being unintellectual and clueless to the rest of the scientific world. Ham did a good job demonstrating that there are intellectuals, who do hold to this position. Next, Ham's ultimate purpose in debating Nye I believe was accomplished when he presented the gospel multiple times. As believers we need to remember that it is the gospel that saves and not our intellectual arguments. Apologetics is helpful and needed for defending the faith and removing barriers for a person, but it is the proclaimed gospel that saves. This debate was broadcast internationally and live-streamed on the BBC. The European countries, which are growing more and more naturalistic needed to hear the gospel which was presented. Third, Ham demonstrated that creationists do not deny evidence, but they interpret that evidence differently Ham was very clear that all people creationists and evolutionists have the same evidence. The dividing line between the two is the presuppositions or worldview through which people interpret the data. A creationists see the evidence and interpret it as "X" and a naturalist sees the evidence and interprets it as "Y". No one divorce themselves from their worldview while they are interpreting data. The big distinction between creationists and the naturalists is that the creationists admits that he is interpreting through the lens of his own worldview.

These are just some thoughts that I had from the debate. One thing that people need to keep in mind is that within the majority (maybe all) of debates, the people debating are not likely to switch positions as a result of the debate. Whether this be a result of arrogance or lack of persuasion, one needs to keep this in the purview while watching a public debate. I think more important than the two debating are the people listening. The people listening often come curious and with questions. An angry debater often turns away followers. Along the same lines when a debater sounds completely ignorant which facing someone of an opposing worldview that can also do a lot of damage. I think Ham did very in presenting his case. I left the debate being more appreciative of him and his ministry.

Below is a link to another helpful article on this particular debate.


http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/02/05/bill-nyes-reasonable-man-the-central-worldview-clash-of-the-ham-nye-debate/

2/7/2014 4:05:00 PM

5 - Book Review: A Call to Resurgence by Mark Driscoll



Mark Driscoll’s book A Call to Resurgence has not been lacking media attention. The book made its debut when Driscoll attended the “Strange Fire” conference and was asked to leave for dispersing his book to attendees. The book made its next big splash when Janet Mefferd confronted Driscoll on charges of plagiarism from the book. As a result of this Tyndale had to make a public response to the accusations of plagiarism. The actual issues addressed in the book have fallen into the shadows because of these two things.
The book begins by demonstrating that the Christianity of old is not the same Christianity that we are currently living in. The “Christian America” of old has been reduced to a minutia of what it once was. Christian America has been replaced by syncretism, atheism, and deism. Driscoll concludes his gloomy forecast with that Christian America is either headed for a funeral or a future. Driscoll argues that too many churches and people are debating and arguing over fickle things. The church is majoring on the minor, while neglecting to reach out to a world that is in desperate need of Christ. Driscoll stresses this idea when he says, “The church is dying, and no one is noticing because we’re wasting time criticizing rather than evangelizing.” I found chapter four of the book to be extremely helpful. Driscoll in this chapter demonstrates what the church needs to do in order to survive while still holding on to its core tenants. The last chapter of the book gives the indicatives of the book. If you want to see what Driscoll is saying and get around the stories and the lingo go straight for the final chapter of the book.
Even though the book is getting a lot of negative press, I found the book to be very helpful. The negative press the book is getting relates to the content, but is not because of the exact content (if that makes sense at all). Driscoll always finds a unique way of getting his message across. One thing about Driscoll and his writing is that I wish was not the case is that you will not find a fundamentalist or an older person reading his writing. Driscoll writes to a certain niche. Ironically Driscoll generally writes and diagnosis the very people who read his material. I would think that this would turn away the very readers that like him. If Driscoll desires to reach a broader audience he would need to remove some of his “twenty something lingo.” Overall I thought

Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 336
Binding Type: Hardback
Book Grade: B



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2/3/2014 9:20:00 AM

6 - "Digital Doctrine" Published and Copyright with the Knoxville News Sentinel

Digital Doctrine



After the hymns have been sung, scripture has been read, and your minister steps behind the pulpit, you are likely to hear something that prior generations never heard, “Open your bible, tablet, iPhone, or bible app to the book of …” The shuffling of pages is slowly evolving into reflections of afterglow off the faces of those using e-readers around them. Doug Roberts, a pastor at Powell Church, estimates that around 50% of his congregation now uses tablets rather than a traditional paper copy during their weekly gathering. This number is likely to rise based on the recent results from a Barna Group survey. The Barna Group’s survey determined that from 2010 to 2012, pastors’ use of e-readers has tripled. Even though the survey was focused particularly on the clergy, it is evident that the same is true among the members as well.

Dr. Alan Price, Pastor of Beaver Dam Baptist Church in Halls, is one of the pastors who have made the switch from preaching from the traditional paper copy of the bible to preaching from a tablet. Price explained his reasoning for the transition by saying, “The lighting [i.e., from the iPad] helps me to see my notes better.” Even though Price preaches from a tablet, he concedes that he cannot move away from studying with a traditional paper copy. Price explained his reasoning for not fully making the crossover saying, “I do not think I will ever move away from studying with a hard copy. I just think there is something about seeing a copy of God's Word open before you that gives it authority. It also allows you to flip back and forth comparing passages with one another.” Dr. Price finds both the paper copy and the e-reader beneficial for his ministry.

There are several churches in the area that have found other unique ways to use tablets and smart phones within their weekly gatherings. One of those churches that has found unique ways to use media is Foothills Church in Maryville. Greg Gibson, author of the book ofReformational Manhood and a pastor at Foothills Church in Maryville, explained how his church has used multimedia in a number of areas to benefit its members. Foothills Church has their own app that can be downloaded from the App Store. From their church’s app anyone can have quick access to notes for the sermon. Foothills church has also used a text messaging system for their youth. This messaging system makes it so that the youth can use their smart phones to text in questions that they want to be answered after the sermon. Even though Gibson and his congregation use multimedia in many different fashions, he too still prefers to read from a paper copy. Gibson explained his logic for this by saying,

I always prefer a paper bible to an app in the same way I prefer a real book to an e-book. For me, diving into God's Word in book form brings an experience that holding a tablet does not. Though I know e-books are on the rise in the same way mp3's are, there is a 'realness' to the experience when the book is right in front me, affording me the opportunity to underline and make notes in the margin.”

The unifying theme from these pastors is that, even though technology brings with it new benefits, the paper form of the Bible holds a special place in each one of their lives and ministries. As technology advances, it seems as if the paper form of the bible will act as a unifier tying the church of old to the tech savvy millennials. With this rapid transition one may ask, “Is God going digital?” Time can only tell."

Published in the Knoxville News Sentinel on Saturday,January 11th 2014.

1/13/2014 9:41:00 AM

7 - Book Review: Walking with God through Pain and Suffering



I am slowly beginning to wonder if Tim Keller will ever produce a book that I think is “meh” or boring. I cannot think of a time that I have heard him preach or a book that I have read by him that has not caused me to re-examine my thoughts on a particular issue. In Keller’s new book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering he continues on with his motif. Keller has a unique ability to address the secular culture and demonstrate to it that the Christian worldview is the only worldview which can provide hope and a rationale for whatever symptom he is analyzing. The symptom or issue in which Keller is addressing within this title is the topic of “pain” and “suffering.”

Keller demonstrates how the secular culture or a deist/atheist worldview looks at pain as something to avoid or overcome. The Christian worldview sees pain and suffering as an integral part of the Christian life. Keller goes as far as to say that pain and suffering are “the heart of the Christian message.” Pain and suffering remind the Christian of the reality of sin. Although Christ has defeated sin, its effects are still present. Suffering also plays a vital role in the sanctification of believers. The book of James discusses how a believer is made complete through suffering. Without pain and suffering a believer cannot experience this completeness. Where the secular culture sees pain and suffering as something to avoid and something that hinders progress, the Christian sees it as essential. The nonbeliever sees these things as pointless or as serving no end-purpose.

Keller through Penguin-Dutton press has produced several incredible titles (e.g., Reasons for God, Redefining Marriage, Prodigal God, and now Walking with God through Pain and Sufferiing) which are evangelistic, apologetic, and spiritually challenging. Generally when an author writes a book that is evangelistic, it lacks in depth and can at times seem irrelevant to the believer. Keller’s book is chalked full of nuggets. The reader, if not careful, will find himself underlining almost every page. One thing that I love about Keller is that he addresses moral issues through the lens of Christ. More often than not writers will fall into moralism in their writing. If you are writing a book from the Christian perspective it should never be devoid of Christ and the gospel. If by the end of your book, a Jew can say "amen" to it, you are doing it wrong. Keller keeps Christ at the center of suffering and demonstrates how the Christian should view it through the lens of Christ. Keller does this masterfully when he said, ““The best people often have terrible lives. Job is one example, and Jesus—the ultimate ‘Job,’ the only truly, fully innocent sufferer — is another.” I would highly recommend this title. If you know someone going through a tough time in life, this is the book for them. I would even highly recommend this book as an evangelistic tool for educated nonbelievers. Although the nonbeliever may read this for help during a difficult time, in the end he will find himself confronted with the gospel the only true hope while suffering.

Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 288
Binding Type: Hardback
Book Grade: A+








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1/7/2014 8:43:00 AM

8 - Keeping up with the Robertsons



There is a lot being said about Phil Robertson's recent comments on homosexuality. There have already been support pages created, protest A&E pages, and newscasts discussing it. With everything that is being said, rather than offer more to the discussion, I thought I would compile a list of articles/videos that I found helpful that discuss the issue. Here are the most helpful videos/articles that I have found that address Phil Robertson's recent suspend from A&E.

The GQ Article that started it all.
GQ Article

Trevin Wax Article
Trevin Wax Gospel Coalition

Russell Moore Article
Russell Moore

First Thing Article
First Things

Desiring God Article
Desiring God

Dr. Mohler Article
Dr. Mohler Article

Dr. Mohler Interviewed on CNN







Duck Dynasty\'s Official Statement

"We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family."








12/20/2013 9:39:00 AM

9 - Book Review- Preaching: A Biblical Theology





I have never read a preaching book quite like Jason Meyer’s Preaching: A Biblical Theology. One of the things that drew me to the book is that I love reading biblical theology. I also love reading preaching texts. The idea that someone could pull the two together excited me. This is exactly what Jason Meyer has done in this book. This book’s uniqueness is a result that it is packed with incredible connections between Old and New Testaments. If you are buying this book as a “Ten Steps to Better Preaching” you are not going to get it with this book. Meyer examines throughout scripture key figures and how they handled (i.e., Stewardship of the Word and Proclamation/Heralding of that word) the word. Based how the characters of scripture handled scripture Meyer calls preachers to a higher view of preaching and the handling of the word of God. Meyer takes his time developing this point. Do not take me as saying that he is long-winded with this. Meyer spends the majority of his time textually demonstrating that all of scripture pulls to the forefront the importance of heralding and stewarding God’s word. From this he then concludes his book with application on how pastors can apply this to their ministries.
This book is an incredible resource. I would encourage every pastor to buy this book just for its summary and outline of the Old Testament. There is some incredibly rich exegesis and connections that Meyer draws out in this book. What I appreciate about his biblical theology is that he brings together information that would generally only be obtained if a person were to read 50 biblical theology books. Just to reiterate the point, buy this book simply for its biblical theology! I would also encourage you to buy this book because of its high view of scripture. Too many pastors spend their time within their sermon on jokes, stories, and antedates. Meyer brings the preacher back to a careful handling and an urgent proclamation of the word. This book will definitely past the test of time among preaching texts.
Publisher: Crossway
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 368
Binding Type: Paperback
Book Grade: A+


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Publisher: Crossway
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 368
Binding Type: Paperback
Book Grade: A+

For the best price on this click on the link below.

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12/19/2013 10:28:00 AM

10 - Book Review: NT Wright's A Case for the Psalms





Nt Wright has a unique ability to write on many levels. Wright is able to write to the academic and the lay person alike. Wright’s specialty is within the New Testament, so I was curious as to how he would approach a subject like the Psalms. Even though the book has six chapters, I believe it can be divided into three parts: a case for the use of the Psalms in the church and in one’s daily life, the purpose of the psalms, and Wright’s personal experience with the Psalms. Wright begins and ends the book in similar fashion explaining how if one were to ask him to think about how the Psalms or which Psalm has most deeply impacted his life is like asking him about a time when he was breathing. A person cannot recall a particular time he was breathing, but he is certain that he is always doing so. Wright then explains how he can recall particular Psalms which played an important role in his life. The most significant thing which I took away from the book was Wright’s explanation of how the Psalms bring the church into God’s space and God’s time. I am going to spend the rest of my review explaining this crucial concept and what exactly it means. To understand this idea, it is helpful to begin by looking at Moses at Mount Sinai. When Moses went up to the mountain, God spoke the Law to him. At this event we see God’s space invading man’s space. One may think of Mount Sinai as God’s universe or God’s kingdom invading our kingdom. For a brief period of time the two universes intersect. This may seem more like a Fringe event, than what a person is used to when reading scripture, but Wright makes a good case for such a reading. When we pray “thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” this is the very thing in which we are praying for. We are in essence praying for God to invade our space with His sovereign/all powerful presence. Wright then applies this concept to Psalms. In the Psalms God’s space invades man’s space. The temple, where God lives, draws people into the presence of God. When the church sings or reads these Psalms they are taken into the presence of the One who is restoring all things to himself. Next, Wright discusses God’s time invading our time. To best understand the concept of God’s time invading our time, it is helpful to look at the Exodus. During the Exodus God provided food from a future land to His people while they were wandering through the wilderness. When we partake in the Lord’s Supper we are eating a meal from a future kingdom. At the Lord’s Supper we are participating in a foretaste of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. In the Psalms God time and man’s time likewise intersect. When the church sings the Psalms, she joins the church of old in singing of a certain future hope. What God has declared true in His time is becoming reality in our time. Wright offers a different approach to reading the Psalms. While most commentators approach the Psalms by explaining the different types (e.g., Lament, Psalm of Thanksgiving, hymn), making arguments for the structure, or by offering historic background for individual Psalms, Wright examines the Psalms eschatologically, through the lens of the coming kingdom. The book is a short, but offers a major punch within only a few pages. As always Wright leaves the reader with something to go and further research. I left this book longing to spend more time in the Psalms. Based on everything mentioned above, I believe that this book is definitely worth its value.

Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 208
Binding Type: Hardback
Book Grade: A+

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12/12/2013 3:20:00 PM

11 - Book Review of Bible's Big Story

I was overjoyed when I found out that Dr. Hamilton was writing a children's book. The reason for my delight was that I knew that my children would be able to be impacted by an author and professor that had deeply impacted my own life. In The Bible's Big Story: Salvation History for Kids, Hamilton goes through significant events and key figures in scripture. Hamilton connects Old Testament and New through poetic rhyme. One nice aspect of the way that the book is setup up is that it can be read all the way through in one sitting or broken down by individual story. Each page has a further reading section, which allows for further explanation of the event or person spoken of on the page. One thing that I would recommend for parents would be to try to have their children memorize the lines from the book. If over time your children memorize this rhyme, he/she will inevitable know the bible's overall narrative. This book is easy to read and filled with great pictures. The price of the book alone is worth purchasing it. I would highly this to parents and teachers who may teach young children's classes.

"Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it"

Publisher: CF4K
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 24
Binding Type: Paperback
Book Grade: A+


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12/4/2013 9:20:00 PM

12 - Book Review: The Meaning of Marriage


Take a walk down the aisles of your local bookstore and you will likely see a large section devoted to marriage. You may ask yourself, “Why are there so many books written on marriage?” There are problems either within marriages or society’s perception of marriage. Divorce rates are at an all-time high. Marriage counselors are never hurting for jobs. Single-parent families are becoming the norm. With the rise of situations like these and many others, there doesn't seem to be enough ink to discuss all the problems; not only do people see the problems, everyone believes they have a solution.
One would think Timothy and Kathy Keller’s newest book, The Meaning of Marriage, would just be another book to add to the bookend of the marriage shelf, but upon closer examination, you will quickly realize it is much more.
The Kellers begin their book by determining the root of the problem. The common tendency among books within this genre is to address the symptoms of the problem, rather than finding the true problem. Sometimes authors will argue that lack of time spent together is the issue; at other times, authors will say fighting (or having times of intense fellowship) with your spouse is the problem. But Tim and Kathy Keller make the argument that problems in marriage can to be traced back to the Garden of Eden.
Marriage was created perfectly in the Garden of Eden. Up until the fall, marriage was only experienced as “harmony” and “fellowship.” Once sin entered into the world, the perfect harmony that existed within the marriage was disrupted. The Kellers point out all problems within marriage can be traced back to sin entering into the world. Divorce, fighting, anger, bitterness, fornication and adultery all have their root in sin's entrance into the world. But not only do the Kellers trace out the root of the problem, they also offer a sound solution.
The solution to the sin problem in marriage can only be resolved by understanding the purpose of marriage. The purpose of marriage can only be fulfilled when the fellowship and harmony that were lost in the garden are restored to the marriage. This restoration is only possible because of the finished work Christ. For the Christian, the purpose of marriage is conformity to the likeness of Christ. From this point, Keller discusses a common notion within society that a long-lasting marriage is the result of both parties within the marriage being willing to accept each other as they are. Keller demonstrates how this idea is at enmity with the purpose of marriage. You should not accept your mate as they are; both parties within the marriage should be constantly working and longing for change within both themselves and their spouse. The person you married several years ago should not be the same person you are married to today. If you or your spouse is the same person now as when you married, neither of you have fulfilled the purpose of marriage. 
Next, the Kellers critique the idea that love should come naturally within a marriage. Love is the fulfillment of the law. The only possibility of obedience to the law is through the enablement of the Holy Spirit. Keller shows the difficulty and pain of love by comparing it to a professional athlete. A professional athlete does not become one naturally or without practice. Professional sports take practice, and with practice comes endless pain and exhaustion. Likewise, love is not natural. Love is something that promises pain and difficulty. Jesus describes the greatest love as one that is willing to lay down its life for another. Love is not something that comes naturally but something that must be constantly worked at.
The Kellers almost seem prophetic in their diagnosis of America’s understanding of marriage. As a surgeon with a steady scalpel, the Kellers cut away all the hidden cancer that plagues our understanding of marriage. The Meaning of Marriage ranks among the best books that I have read on the subject of marriage. The Kellers accurately diagnose the problem and offer a biblical solution, placing the Christian understanding of marriage against a secular society’s understanding of marriage. It is not a self-help, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps approach but a Christ-centered, others-focused approach to marriage. The Christian view of marriage is not a contract that forces us to stay together but a covenant that calls us to lovingly sacrifice our lives for the sake of the other.
Published by Relevant Magazine
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/books/reviews/28618-review-the-meaning-of-marriage 

12/4/2013 9:15:00 PM

13 - Book Review: The Explicit Gospel


"One thing is for certain: If my T-shirt doesn’t convert those I encounter in a store, my bumper sticker will get them on my way out."
As silly as this may sound, our actions often reflect this to be a reality. We live in a day where many believers hold to what Matt Chandler and Jared Wilson, in their new book The Explicit Gospel, call a “bumper sticker” or “T-shirt theology”—looking on the surface rather than preaching deep truth. Chandler and Wilson address common misunderstandings of the Gospel and set out to clarify what the Gospel is and its implications. The majority of those who profess to be Christian claim to know and trust the Gospel, but the sad reality is, most do not even know it at all.
The book is divided into three parts: the Gospel on the Ground, the Gospel in the Air and Implications and Applications. Chandler first examines what he calls “the Gospel on the Ground.” This is the Gospel on the micro-level. The Gospel on the ground addresses God’s holiness, mankind’s fall, Christ’s life and death and man’s required response. It deals with how man is reconciled to God through the finished work of Christ. Most presentations of the Gospel in our day begin and end here.
But Chandler argues that the Gospel message is much bigger than this—that it extends to all creation. So in section 2, Chandler discusses the Gospel on the macro-level, or what he calls “the Gospel in the Air.” He explains the Gospel on this macro-level in saying:
The gospel in the air gives us this conception of the scope and the ambit and the greatness of the gospel. If the Bible gives us a wider context than personal good news for personal sin requiring personal response, let’s be faithful to it. At the end of the Biblical story, the gospel’s star figure says, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5). If his word is true, we must take his reference to “all things” seriously. As Lloyd-Jones says, “The whole universe is involved."(p. 90)
Chandler shows the Gospel is not simply justification but also includes redemption and restoration of all creation. The book of James is very clear in that the one who truly understands and is transformed by the Gospel is the one who helps the poor, the orphan and the hungry. One whom the Gospel has done a work in is one who takes part in this ministry of restoration. When a person embraces the Gospel, he embraces God’s heart to restore what has been tainted and destroyed by sin.
Finding the right balance between the "Gospel on the ground"  and the "Gospel in the air" is crucial. In section 3, Chandler shows the danger of over- and under-emphasizing either aspect of the Gospel.
There are several dangers of the Gospel being "on the ground” too long. When a person stresses the Gospel on the ground, the Gospel becomes nothing more than an individual salvation call. Often, even men who desire to be faithful in preaching the Gospel will fall into this trap. The major problem with this is that it divorces salvation from community and the Bible’s overarching theme of restoration. Salvation then becomes a personal relationship with Jesus but divorced from the Church, community and God’s plan of restoration. The believer is saved but not saved into a new life. The Gospel becomes a message about man’s reconciliation to God without any mention of God creating a new humanity called to act as a vice-regent for the risen Christ.
Likewise, there is equal danger of the Gospel being "in the air” too long. When one focuses on the Gospel in the air, that leads to a Christ-less Christianity, or a social gospel. There are many organizations that guise themselves as Christian relief organizations but may never directly present the Gospel. When things such as helping the poor, fighting injustice and participating in acts of mercy are divorced from Christ and His purpose to reconcile sinners to God, you have no Gospel at all. Chandler critiques Saint Francis of Assisi’s idea that we should preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words. Chandler instead argues that words are essential in the Gospel message. He explains the Gospel beautifully with his illustration of intrinsic circles. There are three aspects, or circles, of the Gospel that need to be understood: the first circle addresses how God is reconciling man to Himself through Christ; the second circle addresses how man is reconciled to man in covenant community; and the third circle addresses how reconciliation takes place between God and creation. All three of these aspects must be explained or present if one is to be faithful to the Gospel message.
Both Chandler and Wilson are two of the funniest Christianspeakers/writers alive, both having a unique ability to balance theological precision with humor and illustration. Expect the unexpected while reading this book. But know that Chandler and Wilson are also writing on an issue of great importance to our day. The Explicit Gospel brings extraordinary clarity and creativity to what all assume is understood—but quickly realize has been forgotten.
Published Through Relevant Magazine.
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/books/reviews/29094-review-the-explicit-gospel 

12/4/2013 9:13:00 PM

14 - Review of the Gospel Transformation Bible

If you frequent your local Christian bookstore you have probably seen about a hundred different study bibles shuffle on and off the shelves. Generally speaking there are two types of study bibles that make it onto the shelves. Both types of study bibles have good aspects and bad aspects to them. Not all study bibles are created equal. First, there are study bibles that focus mainly on explanation. These SB are extremely helpful when a person comes to a difficult passage and is seeking clarification of the meaning of the passage. These study bibles often bring up points regarding 1st century culture that may not be clear with a surface reading of the text or to the person who is not that acquainted with bible history. There are a couple problems that can occur with this type of study bible. First, when the reader is reading notes from the Old Testament, the commentator will often never bridge the gap to Christ. The commentator is being faithful to his job of explaining the meaning of the text, but he/she often neglects to explain it through ht he lens of the rest of scripture. This will result in a Christ-less reading of the text. Although the writer may be doing a great job of explaining the context and meaning, he may miss the purpose of the text (i.e., what does this Old Testament passage teach me about Jesus). The second problem with this type of study Bible is that it often lacks application. When the purpose of the SB is explanation, it can fail into the trap of never explaining, “what does this text mean to the reader?” The second type relates directly to this. The second type of SB is one which is devoted to application of the text.

The second type of SB often will even carry a title which emphasizes its focus on application (e.g., The Life Application Study Bible, Spirit Filled Life Study Bible, Life in the Spirit Study Bible, Life’s Essentials Study Bible, Mission of God Study Bible, etc.). Application SBs like Explanation SBs have benefits and problems also. The clear benefit to them is that they bridge the gap from 1stcentury to the 21st century and answer the question, “what does this text mean to me?” One problem with application SB is that they will often overstress the application to the neglect of the explanation of the text. A second problem with Application SBs is that they will stress the moral implications of the text to the absence of Christ. The result of this sort of application is a moralism that is void of the gospel. I say all this as a preface to why I LOVE the Gospel Transformation Bible.

The Gospel Transformation Bible is a very unique study bible. First this SB offers a great balance between application and explanation. I do not believe that there is a SB that compares in the realm of scholars explaining the text apart from the ESV Study Bible. The thing that I believe places this above this ESV Study Bible is that it bridges the gap to Christ, when explaining the Old Testament. The ESV Study Bible is an incredible resource, especially when it comes to offering clarification for difficult passages. The Gospel Transformation Bible offers explanation, but also explains how the text points to Christ. Next, the GTB is filled with gospel centered application. The GTB does call the reads to do more or be more and Jesus will be happy with you. The GTB tells the reader, “in light of what Christ has done for us in the gospel, we should….”. I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of this study bible for awhile. This SB has pulled together some incredible scholars from our day (e.g., Michael Horton, Graeme Goldsworthy, Jim Hamilton, Bryan Chapell, Bruce Ware, Ray Ortland Jr., and Daniel Doriani). This SB pulls together the “whose, who” in Christo-centric writers and preachers. Please go and purchase this book.

Publisher: Crossway
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 1984
Binding Type: Hardback
Book Grade: A+

11/30/2013 2:13:00 PM


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