Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2014

Why Diets Don't Work

Why Diets Don’t Work: Food is Not the Problem by Joyce Tilney
In the ever burgeoning culture we live in, food runs across our palate at a feverish pace.  From commercials to convenience stores, we are enticed to join the wagon of high-calorie fat laden foods.  We need a healthy dose of wisdom of about our bodies and the way eating and food interact with each other.  This new book, Why Diets Don’t Work by Joyce Tilney is a work that focuses on the issues surrounding the battle of the mind, our desires, and our habits surrounding food rather than crash diets. The benefit of the book is its tendency to take every thought captive through the Word of God and reframe our thinking regarding food, dieting, and image. 
Joyce begins the book by harnessing her efforts toward understanding her book as a battle plan.  She writes, “To overcome any battle in life, we must understand ourselves and how we are created to function in this w…

O Taste and See: A Biblical Reflection on Experiencing God

O Taste and See: A Biblical Reflection on Experiencing God by Bonnie Thurston
Psalm 34 is a Davidic psalm that brings to the forefront the five senses for experiencing God.  In her book, O Taste and See, author and former professor Bonnie Thurston elucidates the nature of longing after God in true knowledge.  In the introduction, she writes, “The great human hunger is not first for theology ….Theology comes after satisfying the primary hunger, which is for direct experience of God.” (xv)  To taste and see that the Lord is a visceral and bodily way of describing the believer’s posture toward God.  In line with the opening of Calvin’s Institutes, the knowledge of God, knowing Him is foremost in the life of the believer.  Bonnie’s book is a transparent commentary on Psalm 34:8 and the way God is revealed in the context of the entire psalm. 
The deep reservoirs of grace and understanding our sin a…

The Modern Life Study Bible (NKJV)

The Modern Life Study Bible (NKJV)
This new study bible entitled The Modern Life Study Bible (NKJV) is a unique addition to the myriad of Bibles on the market.  The aim is to bring the eternal truth of the Bible to reckon with the world we live on and its various problems, which are not too different than the ones back in the Garden of Eden.  This study Bible is bent on addressing the issues of life in the private and public spheres and bringing God’s Word to bear on all of life.  The editors write, “…but as Christians living in the modern world, it is imperative that we recover the often forgotten public dimension of the gospel.” (xvii)  This focus on the public dimension of faith is as important as ever in a world that is seemingly losing its grasp on key biblical foundations.

Life in Christ

Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ by Jeremy Walker
Following Christ, being found in Him, and living as a child of God are all requisite features of the Christian life.  Yet, we often have shallow and dull affections for following Jesus.  Pastor Jeremy Walker, in his new book, Life in Christ, reminds us of the radical change taking place as Christ changes our lives and leads us to follow him.  The beautiful vision of this book is encapsulated in Jeremy’s ability to outline key teachings of the Christian faith and bring them to the foreground of today’s believer.  Winsome, chalk full of wisdom, biblical, and faithful to a glorious Reformed vision, this book is one to be read and re-read again. The book begins with looking to Jesus and ends with a life in review that spans the space from receiving Christ and believing on Him to reviewing a full life of faithful living.

A Reader's Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers

A Reader’s Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers Edited by Daniel B. Wallace, Brittany C. Brunette & Terri Darby Moore
Wading in the waters of the Apostolic Fathers comes with its share of difficulties, but this new Lexicon overseen by Daniel B. Wallace is a treasure chest of help.  The book entitled A Reader’s Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers is designed to aid the student/pastor who has a grasp of biblical Greek to understand to carefully plough through the writings of early fathers of the church.  This lexicon provides the reader with lexical forms for words used 30x or less in the church fathers.  The added advantage of this lexicon is that the editors have indicated not only the frequency with which words come up in individual writings but also indicate how many times those words come up in the entire corpus of the early church fathers.  Using this lexicon alongside Kregel Academic’s A Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament by…

The Global War on Christians

The Global War on Christians by John L. Allen Jr.
This new book, The Global War on Christians, written by Senior Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, John L Allen Jr, is a riveting account of the global persecution taking place against Christians throughout the world.  Be warned, this account is a stomach turner at times with the brief retellings of the details of persecution activities.  Yet, what is to be commended about the book is the degree to which John references the global scope of persecution, for we often think violent measures are taken in a few militant Muslim countries against believers.  This book is a record of the front lines of persecution from all over the world, including stories from recent converts.
The first chapter provides a good window into what constitutes persecution from a mild to dangerous level.  Allen points out specific factors including legal discrimination, suppre…

God for Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter

God for Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter Edited by Greg Pennoyer & Gregory Wolfe
God for Us is a wonderful collection of essays on the meaning of Lent and Easter written by a great host of writers, including writers, priests, a poet, and professors.  The book is stunningly enhanced by incorporating famous works of art throughout the chapters as a way of illuminating the message or theme of the piece.  Each reading includes a few Scripture readings, identification of the day of the church calendar, a short explanation, prayer, and work of art depicting that chapter.  Whether you worship in a church with high or low liturgy, this book will expand your appreciation for the Lenten and Eastern season which mirror the life of Christ.
The powerful reminder coming through in this book was the fact that we are all on a journey.  Commenting on Shrove Tuesday and Lent, Richard Rohr writes…

Cinematic States

Cinematic States: Stories We Tell, The American Dreamlife, and How to Understand Everything by Gareth Higgins
Take 50 states, round them up around the concept of movies that focus on that state, and explore some of the major themes in these cinematic productions and you have Cinematic States by Gareth Higgins.  Beyond mere description, Gareth combines an uncanny knack for seeing the resolute beauty of a film and the way it captures human nature in all its ugliness, grace, and forgiveness.  With brief pictures of the film alongside a synopsis of each one, Gareth does a great job at laying the landscape for each chapter.  Much like Sufjan Stevens in his quest to tell the story of each state in music, Gareth seeks to elucidate the essence of a state by its films.  In this review, I am focusing my own state, the Show-Me-State Missouri.
Gareth lends his weight to examine Waiting for Guffman, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, and Kansas C…

The Letter to the Ephesians: Some Thoughts on Commentaries

Commentaries on never the first resource for those studying biblical texts but they do add some great substance to any indepth research.  Recently,  I did some research on Ephesians 1 and wanted to pass along some a recommendation regarding commentaries on the Epistle.

1.  Cohick, Lynn H. Ephesians, Cascade Books: Eugene, OR. 2010
This commentary by Lynn Cohick, Associate Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College is from the NCCS series (New Covenant Commentary Series) put out by Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf & Stock.  The volumes in this series are relatively slim by commentary standards but seek to stick to the flow of argument that the NT authors make in their writings.  A couple things worth mentioning concerning this commentary by Cohick; one, she is very good at combining exegetical rigor with a sense of the practical power of a text to believers.  For example, on Ephesians 1:11-14 she writes,

"Paul underscores the aspect of God's predestined plan to counte…

Apostle of the Last Days

Apostle of the Last Days: The Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul by C. Marvin Pate
After surveying the various approaches to Pauline theology in the past few centuries, professor and author C. Marvin Pate identifies eschatology as the centerpiece of the Apostle’s thought.  Elements of inaugurated, realized, and consistent theology abound in the writings of the apostle, yet a marked inaugurated eschatology is the focal point; by which Jesus the Messiah brought with him the kingdom of God, the new age has dawned due to his life, death, and resurrection, and the sacraments celebrate entrance into the kingdom (26).  The real strength of Marvin’s book is the consistency with which he presents an eschatologically driven picture of each of Paul’s writings.
After a section on Paul as an apocalyptic seer, Marvin systematically weaves his way through the Pauline corpus starting with Galatians and ending with the Pastoral Epistles.  Of particula…

Let Us Keep the Feast: living the Church Year at home (Epiphany & Lent)

Let Us Keep The Feast: living the Church Year at home (Epiphany & Lent) Edited by Jessica Snell
This slender volume on Epiphany and Lent is a welcome addition to the literature we have on these pivotal times in the church calendar.  Jessica Snell alongside Anna Moseley Gissing and Cate MacDonald have put together some beautiful chapters on the meaning, significance, and some practical suggestions for celebrating Epiphany and Lent.  I was particularly happy that these talented women spoke about specific ways the family can celebrate these events by acting out the stories, completing a recipe, and putting some artistic touches to the event.  Overall, I think this book is good introductions to the reason Christians celebrate Epiphany and Lent and also some practical ways we can do so.
In the introduction Jessica …