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Showing posts from August, 2012

Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian Perspective

The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 Edited by Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser

The prophetic writings of the Old Testament include some of the most challenging and illuminating passages in the whole canon. The interpretation of these prophetic passages in the New Testament provides a lens by which we understand the coming of Jesus. The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 is a collection of rich essays by evangelical scholars focusing in on the value of Isaiah 53 for academic and apologetic discussion. The book's divisions are threefold: Interpretations of Isaiah 53, Isaiah 53 and Biblical Theology, and Isaiah 53 and Practial Theology. What I found to be very helpful in these divisions is the insistence in bringing together various interpretations of Isaiah 53 and the role these understandings have on belief (in and outside the church).

Part I of the book relates interpretations of Isaiah 53 in Jewish and Christian thought with analysis taking into consideration non-evangelical sources a…

You're Stronger Than You Think

You’re Stronger Than You Think by Dr. Les Parrott

Dr. Les Parrott, a very influential psychologist and author has written this new book about the way to overcome obstacles when you think you can’t move forward. Although this book is not replete with new ideas, I think some of his points were good reminders. In his chapter on expectations I was thinking that he was heading into some fuzzy notions of positive thinking equals prosperity. Yet, Dr. Parrott counters this notion by saying, “Because our greatest hope is not for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. These are shallow hopes. Our greatest hope is far deeper. Whether we know it or not, our greatest hope is for meaning” (38). The object that we put our hope in only gives us a return on our investment equal to the satisfaction that that object provides. Parrott goes on later to connect the idea of expectations and hope with the conviction that comes only through faith.

My favorite chapter in the book deals with weakness and vulnerabil…

One God One Message

One God One Message by P.D. Bramsen

The book One God One Message written by P.D. Bramsen provides the reader with an overview of the biblical truth that we find in the Scriptures, the truth concerning Jesus and many answers to various questions that both Muslims and others ask. The book is broken up into three parts and each part focuses on a particular issue. The first part of the book devotes 7 chapters to identifying the challenges to believing the Bible and how God bears witness to his Word through creation and revelation. The second part of the book is more like a retelling of the biblical story starting from the characteristics of God, creation, sin, redemption and renewal. The last part of the book is kind of a summation of the work of God through all of history focusing in on reversing the curse of the fall.

As I began to read through this book I was amazed at the way in which Bramsen includes actual emails that he received from those questioning the Christian faith from all…

Should Christian Be Environmentalists?

Should Christian Be Environmentalists? By Dan Story

Dan Story, apologist for the Christian faith has written a timely and provocative book on the relationship between Christians and the environment. Growing up with a passionate fervor for the environment and being heavily involved with environmental efforts since the 1970’s, Story knows what it’s like first hand to have a profound respect for God’s creation. In this book, Dan tries to bring together a biblical theology of nature, respond to secular environmentalists and develop an apologetic platform for the faith through Christian environmentalism.

One of the eye-opening chapters in the book was the chapter entitled Are Non-Christian Religions More Environmentally Responsible Than Christianity? Mr. Story goes to great lengths to brush aside the common held belief that all pre-literate and tribal societies respected and did not alter the environment in which they lived. The reader gets a partial glimpse of a story told by anthropolo…

Father Hunger

Douglas Wilson, pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho has written a very timely and unique book on the role of fathers. Never one to mince words, Wilson comments on everything from feminism to education, sex to fatherlessness in our culture. There are so many things here in the book that deserve mention but I will key in on what I thought Wilson did well, what was troubling to me and finally, why does it matters that he tackles the big issue of fathers.

In the beginning of the book, Wilson lays the groundwork for understanding the responsibilities of men by saying, "When men take up their responsibilities to nurture and cultivate, and to protect and guard the fruit of that nurture..they are doing something that resonates with their foundational, creational nature. When they walk away from these responsibilities..they are-dont' miss this-walking away fro their assigned masculine identity" (8-9). This idea of fathers as provider and protector is written into the design…

Love Your Enemies

John Piper, former Pastor of Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota is a man of vigor, wit and profound wisdom. Prolific in the number of books he has written, this book entitled Love Your Enemies: Jesus' Love Command in the Synoptic Gospels and The Early Christian Paraenesis is Piper's doctoral dissertation at the University of Munich which he wrote in 1974. A work of erudition and insight, this dissertation does not have the popular flavor of most of his books, but packs a punch with its well-reasoned argument about the nature of enemy love.

One of the fascinating things about this book is Piper’s transparency in seeking to go where the texts that speak of enemy love go but still remaining alert to speculative critical assumptions. In seeking to understand what Jesus taught concerning enemy love, Piper is wary of gross speculation by saying, “The attempts to penetrate behind the evangelists have become ever more complicated….It is even more questionab…