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Showing posts from April, 2016

40 Questions on the Historical Jesus

40 Questions on the Historical Jesusby Marvin Pate
Marvin Pate, Professor of Christian Theology at Ouachita Baptist University, seeks to get at the heart of the study of the historical Jesus in recent times.  The format of the book follows the most pertinent questions regarding the historical Jesus from what’s at stake with the four gospels, the Old Testament and the Messiah, and the historical reliability of the gospel accounts.  While study of the historical Jesus continues, Dr. Pate handles the most significant questions for the church and the academy concerning this avenue of study.  What comes out of the book is a well-reasoned, fully researched, and thorough investigation of not only the historical Jesus but those who have written on this subject over the years. 
While many today have heard of the Jesus Seminar and their work, few have really dived into how and why they came up with their results.  After finding only 18% of Jesus’ sayings and acts deemed authentic, we are left to…


More: Find Your Personal Calling and Live Life to the Fullest Measure by Todd Wilson
Among the spate of books devoted to the issue of calling and finding one’s place in life, Todd Wilson’s new book, More, is a welcome addition.  Todd, founder and director of Exponential, a national nonprofit designed to help leaders plant new churches, is no stranger to the whole host of issues surrounding calling.  The book is divided up into two major sections, the first one on foundations of calling and the second in discovering your calling.  What is so helpful in this book is Todd’s ability to capture the biblical and theological storyline that motivates the reader to situate his calling in the midst of God’s work.  Further, the focus is not on the individual hopes of finding a calling and then pursuing it regardless of others, but rather a calling that is in every way shaped by the church, including seeking to bless others in small ways.
Todd helps the reader engage the major questions of life aro…

Around the Fire

Around the Fire by Greg Denton, Gabrielle Quinonez Denton with Stacy Adimando
Around the Fire is a new cookbook based upon recipes from Ox restaurant in Portland, Oregon.   Chefs Greg and Gabrielle Denton have been recognized globally for their unique cuisine and flair, especially with their Latin American live fire cooking meals.  Stacy Adimando is a food and travel journalist while also engaging in the writing for many news syndicates.  The cookbook is a beautiful hardcover table book that is very visually appealing. 
The authors incorporate some basic recipes alongside some more difficult recipes to challenge anyone from beginner to trained chef.  On page 95 the recipe for Grilled Maple Brined Pork Chops was a very good one indeed.  The brine is made of Maple Syrup Grade B and infuses the pork with a sweetness that balances out the saltiness of the meat when grilled.  The brine allows the flavor of the meat to stay inside while not making the meat dry out too quickly, since pork has…

Augustine on the Christian Life

Augustine on the Christian Life by Gerald Bray
For all that has been written on St. Augustine, from Peter Brown’s excellent biography to the many monographs on his theology, few have given much thought to how the saint from North Africa influences believers in their Christian life.  In steps Gerald Bray, with his keen sense of vision for Christian history and the followers of Christ who have made dramatic impacts.  Bray covers much ground in this book on Augustine, from his conversion to his writings, especially his polemical and Trinitarian ones, with an eye at every point to how this man of God helps us to follow Christ as well. The loss of a close friend is a time of much pain and soul-searching, such was the same for Augustine as he lost his good friend Thagaste.  Yet, it is in the response after the death that muc introspection came for Augustine.  Bray writes,
“The bitter experience of losing a close friend led Augustine to meditate on the meaning and importance of love. Love lies…

Visual Theology

Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding The Truth about God by Tim Challies and Josh Byers
I was excited about this new book, Visual Theology,  by former pastor and prominent blogger Tim Challies alongside the work of Communications Pastor Josh Byers.  In it, the authors seek to get to put together the disciplines of the Christian life in order that readers may grow in their faith in the entirety of their lives.  In other words, to promote the concept of growing in godliness is one of the primary reasons for writing the book, not just in learning doctrine or truth, but in putting the hard work of sanctification to work in the life of every believer.  What makes this book different than others is that the authors try to engage the reader using a visual format that intersperses teaching and knowledge with visual graphs and charts that help the reader learn in a multi-sensory way. 
A few of the highlights for me in the book were the chapters on vocation (ch. 8) and putting off (ch. 6). …

A Theology of Biblical Counseling

A Theology of Biblical Counseling by Heath Lambert
Dispensing wisdom, giving good advice, listening to a friend in need, these are all situations where we are all counseling, so says Heath Lambert in his new book, A Theology of Biblical Counseling.  Heath, no stranger to counseling, The difference for Heath in his book is this, “Every vision of reality about counseling with be theological.  The only question is whether a counselor adopts a theological vision of reality that God believes is faithful – or unfaithful (17).”  This kind of counseling vision is what steers every part of this book, and steers people toward Christ and His Word.
In the second chapter, Heath offers a distinction between those who see the Scriptures as necessary for counseling but not enough.  He writes, “They often thing that the Bible is necessary for people who need counseling, but even then do not believe the Bible is enough.  They think the Bible is a book about how to get saved and walk with Jesus but is n…