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The Old Testament Book by Book

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised, Edited by Miles Pelt
This collection of essays on the books of the Old Testament is a wonderful introduction to gaining wisdom and understanding into the First Testament.  The authors, professors from RTS, from John Currid to Richard Pratt and many more, combine to grant the reader a look into the key theological and literary features of the 39 books of the Old Testament.  With standard categories elucidating the author, setting of the book, and theology, each chapter is full of solid readings of the texts.
With illuminating work and a particular eye toward the details of Genesis, Professor John Currid presents the reader with a focused and clear portrait of the first book of the Bible.  I appreciated John’s keen insight into the concept of the image of God in Genesis.  He writes, “Originally the word meant “something cut from an object,” as, for example, a piece of clay cut from a sculpture.16 In such a case…
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Idols and 1 Corinthians 10

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.  15I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.  16Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?  17Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.  18Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?  19Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?  20No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.  21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 
22Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he? 1 Corinthians 10:14-22
Idols are not a thing of the past.  We often scoff at the insistence that idols …

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd
Students in high school and college have for years been given Jonathan Edwards’ sermon entitled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God to read.  With much frustration and repulsion toward the view of God as an angry judge and tyrant, Brian Zahnd in his new book, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God seeks to bring a new view of God to his readers.  Desiring to set for a living concept of God that is rooted in Jesus, Brian wants to get to the heart of the good news for all people.
Early on in the first chapter of the book, Brian recounts how both Edwards’ work and the fundamentalist tracks of J.T. Chick, he asks the question, “does this portrait of God look like Jesus…?”  Brian does evidence the violent actions and depictions of God in the OT, but he submits that this picture of God should be subordinate to the ‘revelation of God seen in Jesus’ (14).  God’s spirit and attitude toward men and women created by him is one of love and mercy, n…

Jesus Eats with Sinners

Eats with Sinners: Loving Like Jesus by Arron Chambers

Realizing that Jesus ate with sinners, emulating and acting out his lifestyle among the sinners of our society is another thing altogether.  Yet, as Pastor Arron Chambers notes, "We must believe people can change" In his new book, Eats with Sinners, Arron outlines the ministry of Jesus as a paradigm for the way Christians should share the the good news with others. Thinking outside the box is Arron's way, and in many times he challenges the status quo of the church with a focus on people coming into the kingdom.  This is a real insightful book with many challenging stories and ideas.

After stating many reasons why both church buildings and clothing can be a obstruction for people coming into the church and hearing the gospel, Arron shares a story that captures the heart of Jesus.  He writes, "One of the most bonding things you can do for your own children is to care about their friends.  Through these dinners we…

Change Hurts

Learning Change by Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor

This is a unique book in that it explores change within the church setting through personal renewal of its pastors and members.  The idea of the book was set forth through an initiative by Western Seminary, RCA, and CRCNA congregations.  The leaders sought to develop a program that would help transformational learning to take place on a large scale in each congregations.  With the help of Jim and Trisha, this initiative became the Ridder Church Renewal process which 126 leaders completed the program of which 128 began the process.  The goal was to combine teaching, multi-day retreats and guidance that would help leaders navigate change in their respective churches (10-12).

Brain Stone opens the book in chapter 1 by reflecting on the dreams we have in our life, from childhood to today.  One of the significant points in this chapter is Brian's development of mission in life of Jesus and God's calling on our life.  He writes, &q…

Bible Sleuth: New Testament

Bible Sleuth: New Testament Illustrated by Jose Perez Montero

A million different red and white striped Waldo's cover the page and you are supposed to find the one with a ski cap and green glasses?  The series of books devoted to finding Waldo were both fun and darn near frustrating at the same time.  The same idea holds here for the new book, Bible Sleuth: New Testament illustrated by Jose Perez Montero.  The book looks at particularly significant themes int he NT such as the birth of Jesus and the Beatitudes and also includes a synopsis of what's going on in the story.  The illustrations and the characters that you are supposed to find are very large and that is good, because you don't want to hunt for hours for Mary.

The illustrations in the book were both fascinating and humorous.  On the section where The Apostles Heals many, you have Roman guards looking sternly at the people while a man in the past confined to a wheelchair is pushing his chair down the way careenin…

Women in the Reformation

Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity's Rebirth by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

The luminary figures of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Cranmer, and Melancthon are just a few of the men who shaped the Reformation of religion and society in the 15-16th centuries.  Left in the dustbin of history are often those people who are at home raising families and praying for husbands, leading others to change through writing, and keeping safe those who would continue the Reformation.  In her new book, Reformation Women, Rebecca VanDoodewaard focuses in those women who particularly impacted the continuance of the Reformation started by the likes of Luther and others.

Rebecca begins her book looking at the life of Anna Reinhard, the  wife of Zwingli.  She cared for her husband in a most beautiful manner and was a woman of humility and virtue. Rebecca writes, "Anna welcomed large numbers of her husband's friends and entertained guests..The upper chancellor of Silesia …