Friday, December 20, 2013

Review of Reformed Means Missional

As a man who loves reformed theology the title alone peaked my interest. I could not wait to get my hands on a copy of this work, seeing that I am a MDiv student and part of a church plant this book as a whole was very intriguing. This work was not very long and was not extremely difficult to read. I would almost call this an anthology since it is a compilation of multiple works. Each author takes a different point of the importance of mission ranging from race relations to healthcare and everything in between. Being someone who reads (a lot) this work was as enjoyable to read, as it was informative. I would caution those who are not reformed to not build an understanding of reformed theology from this work alone; while to those who are reformed I would encourage you to allow this work to encourage your understanding of missions. There was not one essay that was better than another they all reach for the stars while being grounded in solid theology. This work is a great read for anyone who loves missions and/or reformed theology. It makes a great intro into understanding how missions impact a whole community in all of its differing aspects. I received a copy of this work in exchange for a fair and balanced review.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review of One Year to Better Preaching

One year to better preaching is a book that new pastors can find helpful. Pastors who have been in the game for a while will also find some things that will give them a new tool or remind them of one they had forgotten about. Overdorf did a good job in coming up with 52 different activities for the preacher to try. This work is not one I would recommend you sit down and try to read cover to cover; it is more useful as a reference tool.  There is a specific format he follows which works for the most part. He gives us a short story about the topic, then he offers an exercise to work on what he has introduced and then he has a section where people have tried it giving their testimony.  The testimony sections become a bit much after you get pass the first several chapters.  This book is not overtly large and not short by any means, it come in around 300 pages that is separated into 52 different lessons. Something else that was helpful was after certain topics he would list additional materials for the reader to review.  I was given a copy of this work in exchange for a fair an honest review.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review of Five Points by John Piper

            If you are familiar with Piper at all then you know how much he loves Christ, the body and the Book. In this short book he gives us a good introduction in to the doctrines of Grace (a.k.a. Calvinism). He does something very interesting instead of sticking with the old acronym TULIP he switches the place of irresistible grace, and unconditional election. However, he does it in a way that it does not feel disjointed it actually seems to flow better; each chapter he writes builds upon its successor.
            Before he gets in to the points themselves he gives us a brief history lesson which I for one did appreciate. He tells the reader things like, “So the so-called Five Points were not chosen by the Calvinist as a summary of their teaching.  They emerged as a response to the Arminians who chose these five points to disagree with.” (pg. 12) He spends the majority of the rest of the book giving us detailed yet concise material dealing with each of the five points, and closes the book out with his and other pastor’s testimonies in how important Calvinism is to the faith, read especially the testimonies of Whitfield and Spurgeon. 

            I would happily recommend this work to anyone and everyone. It does not matter if you have been part of a reformed tradition for years this book can help you explain/argue your stance much better. And if you have no idea what I have been talking about this is a great introduction into reformed theology. I was given a copy of this work in exchange for a fair review, I did not have to give this book a good review in order to receive it.  So go pick up a few copies and have them to give out to those you know and those you don’t.   

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Should Christians Litigate Against One Another?

Why is it better for Christians to lay down their rights and suffer injury than to litigate? In short, why shouldn’t Christians sue one another, and what’s wrong with litigation?
Provide a well-thought out answer to the question above, and address any collateral issues that come to mind, such as,
The failure of the church to teach this principle, or
The possible lack of receptivity in western-minded believers

            No, as Christians we should not enter into litigation with one another. There are numerous reasons why. One of the reasons is that we are supposed to be setting an example for the rest of the world to follow and if we are going around suing each other what type of standard are we really giving?  Jesus said that you will know who belongs to him by the love they have for one another. In John’s Gospel these are the exact words of Jesus, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”(John 13:35, ESV).
            Also, when we litigate against one another particularly it shows that we are unwilling to be wronged whether it is for the cause of Christ or not. Peter tells us how Christ handled persecution when he says, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23, ESV) Therefore if we are supposed to be like Christ we are to take persecution as though it comes with the territory.
            It is a shame that most churches will never teach on this topic, not because it is irrelevant for our time but out of fear. There are all of these mega churches preaching heresy, while the church that preaches truth is often condemned as being intolerant. While this principle should be taught even if it is on the larger scale of not expecting to be rich, and always healthy.  We want to believe that the life of a Christian is supposed to be easy with no challenges. But that is not what Jesus told his followers, he told them that if the world or even the religious leaders persecuted him because he was teaching truth that they would get the same treatment (Matt 10:16-25).
            In the west we have come to believe that culture influences the Bible and it is backwards, the Bible should influence society. And if that is the case we should be willing to give to our brother/sister in Christ and suffer that loss. Look at the believers in Acts who sold everything so that they could share and take care of one another as a community and a body/family of believers.  But our western mindset has taught us that we have to look out for numero uno,  and to get what is coming to me. That however is not what scripture teaches us it is the exact opposite and until we as a body can begin to exhibit love for one another and not take each other to litigation over things that can be settled at home the world will always think we are a joke.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review of A Call to Resurgence by Mark Driscoll

            Let me start by saying I am usually a huge fan of Mark Driscoll especially of his theology. When I heard he had a new book coming out I could not wait to get my hands on a copy. Like anything else he has written this is a meaty book weighing in at 250 pages of actual material and then another 60 pages or so for the appendices. The book is broken up into seven chapters and two appendixes. In the first chapter Driscoll explains how we no longer live in a world ruled by Christian values and how Christendom as we know it has DIED. To make his point of how Christianity has lost its pull in this country in particular he says, “When evangelicals can’t even land a token appearance at an event orchestrated to reflect the various facets of American society, it’s clear that Christian clout has reached its expiration date and been pulled off the shelf.” (Driscoll,7) He also points out our failure to proselytize, “the percentage of Christian converts is not keeping pace with our growing population as unbelief overtakes Christianity.”(page 22.)

            Deep into chapter two he has a chart that describes the different “tribes”. It is rather informative and let me know that I am all over the map with several exceptions being that I don’t fall in to the Charismatic Pentecostal category. Most of the rest of the book almost feels like a rehash of some of his previous work. So as long as you are  a fan of Driscoll you will find something to like, if you are not there are still something’s you can take away from the material. So if you can get a copy of the book check it out and take the time to process it, if you own most of Driscoll’s other works you may not be missing out on much new information here. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.