Eschatological Discipleship: A Review

Eschatological Discipleship by Trevin Wax

In this book Trevin Wax addresses the task of discipleship in light of one crucial question. What time is it? Wax sets the Christian understanding on the world and history over and against the prevailing worldviews of progress, sexual revolution, and consumerism.

In the first section of the book Wax lays the foundation for understanding concepts of worldview and wisdom with a view to their relationship to the task of discipleship and understanding the times. In the second section explores the biblical foundations that support his understanding of eschatological discipleship drawing on both the Old and New Testaments. The third section explores Christianity and its relationship to the prevailing worldviews of our culture. The final section explores how eschatological discipleship can shape spiritual formation.

Not many books on the topic of discipleship address the philosophical and worldview issues addressed in this book. Wax’s book is helpful in addressing these neglected issues in the task of discipleship. As seen in the book when we are and where history is going are two important questions that must shape and inform our understanding of what it means to be disciples of the risen Christ. This book will help any reader understand how to live as a citizen of heaven in the present time.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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How The Nations Rage: A Review

How the Nations Rage by Jonathan Leeman

Recent years have demonstrated that there is much confusion and division within the county in general and among evangelicals in particular in regards to how faith and politics interact. In this book Jonathan Leeman, a noted political theologian, provides biblical clarity to the issues at hand.

Leeman in the eight chapters explores both the division that currently exists in the political sphere and how Christians should live in light of biblical mandates. In the first chapter addresses the current chaos of the political spheres and provides goal for Christian interaction. Chapter two is especially helpful as Leeman dispels the myth that the public square is some neutral zone that faith values are not supposed to be kept separate from. The third chapter explores the impact of the Fall on the political sphere. Chapter four addresses the role of Scripture  and how to apply it to politics. Chapter five addresses the biblical role of government. The sixth and seventh chapter addresses the role of the church and believers as ambassadors for Christ.  The final chapter explores the theme and importance of justice.

Anyone who has paid any attention to how the Church and Christians have interacted with the political processes will see that this is indeed a timely book. Rather than taking our cues from the changing agendas of parties we are to draw our understanding of how we interact with the political realm in light of Scripture. This book points believers to a better way of interacting with politics in light of their faith.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Enter the Ring: A Review

Enter the Ring by D.A. & Elicia Horton

A truth I have learned in ministering to couples is that marriages don’t end because couples fight they end because they either stopped fighting or didn’t fight fair. In this book the Hortons provide biblical advice on how couples can fight to stay together in a world that pulls marriages apart.

Throughout this book the Hortons point to the importance of pursuing Christ together for the health and well being of the marriage. Common problems like how to manage family relationships are addressed from a biblical perspective. The importance of shared goals and communication in every area especially finances are demonstrated.

I have known far too many couples divorce because they weren’t willing to fight for their marriages and as a result damaged their gospel witness and the witness of their church. I would commend this book to couples and to pastors looking for resources to use in premarital and marital counseling.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Embodied Hope: A Review

Embodied Hope by Kelly M. Kapic

The best books to read on suffering are those written by those who are personally acquainted with it. Author and professor Kelly Kapic writes not as one detached from suffering, but as a fellow-sufferer and the husband of one deeply acquainted with pain and suffering.

In eleven chapters Kapic provides pastoral and theological wisdom in regard to pain in suffering. In the early chapters of the book Kapic addresses how pain and suffering often tempt us to think ill of God and the need to be reoriented to God and the place of lament and questions in pain in suffering. In the second of section Kapic points readers to the cross and the significance there is in Christ’s identification with us for the pain and suffering we find in this world. In the final section Kapic addresses the importance of community for suffering saints, also noting how in  suffering there is a temptation to isolate oneself from community for fear of how others will react.

Of all the subjects one could read about it might be asked why anyone should want to read a book on pain and suffering. Kapic speaks to certainties of life in addressing pain and suffering. If you are a Christian you will suffer in some way, it is part of being a follower of Christ sharing in His sufferings. Not only that those you love and know will suffer. If you are in ministry everyone you minister is suffering or will suffer. Kapic’s book is a valuable resource that points faithfully to the bedrock foundation we have in hope even and especially in the midst of suffering.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: A Review

The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus by D.A. Carson

This republication of D.A. Carson’s work on John 14-17 is an invaluable resource on a major section of John’s gospel. In this work Carson’s exegetical insight and pastoral heart are on full display. Those who have benefited from Carson’s commentary on John in the Pillar series are sure to benefit from this resource as well.

Carson in this work walks the reader through each of the three chapters drawing out the exegetical insights as well as apt application. I would highly commend this resource for the added understanding Carson provides. I plan on using this resource frequently when I preach through John later this year.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Becoming a Welcoming Church : A Review

Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom Rainer

This latest title by Thom Rainer addresses the importance of the church being a welcoming place for new guests. What stands out is that as true in many areas of life common sense is not that common. Rainer draws from his experience in consulting churches to provide basic guidelines in regards to becoming a welcoming church. If you’ve followed Rainer’s blog over the year there really isn’t anything new or unheard of in this book but it is still a useful resource nonetheless.

In six chapters Rainer walks the reader from self-examination regarding whether the local church is as welcoming as we think it is, to seeing how outsiders experience church, to practical steps that help in being a truly welcoming church. What Rainer points to isn’t a seeker-sensitive understanding of the church, he’s pointing readers to simple things like clear communication and cleanliness.

As I said if you’ve followed Rainer for any amount of time you’ve probably seen much of this information in some form on his blog. While my church does practice most of the things he points to as being important for a welcoming church this book has given me some things to think about. This is especially true in regards to the meet and greet time, I think it’s too easy to forget what those times are like for someone who is a first time guest and the danger of coming across as disinterested in them or desperate for them to stick around neither of which are good. Over all I think this is a good resource for pastors and for church leaders especially those who might not get on the internet.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Not God Enough: A Review

Not God Enough by J.D. Greear

J.D. Greear in this book addresses a problem all to common among professing Christians, a small view of God. In this book Greear directly challenges the small view of God held by many with the biblical view of God in all his majesty.

In two parts comprised of seventeen short chapters Greear explores the biblical attributes and character of God. Greear points to his own challenges in his journey of understanding God in all His greatness and bigness in such a way that moved him to bold faith. Greear does a great job in pointing out the importance of a right view of God for the life of the believer.

While many seem to think theology is unimportant this book helps show how wrong that understanding is. The most important thing we can know about someone is what they believe about God. Greear rightly points that the Bible does not allow for the small or personalized God many people claim to have, instead he puts to a God who is awesome in every way. I highly recommend this book, get it, read it, and give it as a gift you won’t regret it.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

A Reader’s Guide to the Major Writings of Jonathan Edwards: A Review

A Reader’s Guide to the Major Writings of Jonathan Edwards
Nathan A. FinnJeremy M. Kimble

Jonathan Edwards is considered the greatest theologian and philosopher America has produced, his writings have been in print since his life time, yet many can be daunted in where to start reading Edwards and how to read Edwards. This book helps to address both challenges.

This book draws on a wide range of church historians in addressing the major works of Edwards.  Each contributor helps the reader understand the background behind the writings of Edwards which is important for understanding Edwards’s thought. The contributions range from a general overview of how read Edwards by Dane Ortland to more specific overviews such as Nathan Finn’s chapter on Edwards autobiographical spiritual writings, Jeremy Kimble’s chapter on the revival writings, Michael McClenahan on justification, Gerald McDermott on Religious Affections, Rhys Bezzant on the Life of David Brainerd, Joe Rigney on Freedom of the Will, Robert Caldwell of Original Sin, History of the Works of Redemption by Sean Michael Lucas, Edwards’s Affectional Ethics by Paul Helm, and an appendix by a man who has does much to popular the work of Edwards today John Piper. Each of these provides valuable insight on the work of Edwards.

Personally I enjoyed most the chapter on the revival writings of Edwards as it provides great background information in regards to Edwards work as an apologist for the Great Awakening. I also enjoyed the chapter on The Life of David Brainerd a work that has had a profound impact on the history of Christian missions. If you’re looking at reading Edwards I would commend this book, if you’re wondering where you can find his works they are available in many print editions as well as here http://edwards.yale.edu/ .

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

The Prayer That Turns the World Upside Down: A Review

The Prayer That Turns The World Upside Down by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

This latest title from Dr. Mohler on the Lord’s prayer is one of his best books to date. The material behind this book grew out of a series of chapel messages that Dr. Mohler delivered when I was a student at SBTS. He later adapted that material into a teaching series for Ligonier Ministries. Now his insight into the Lord’s prayer has been turned into a book that I am certain all readers will profit from.

In th first chapter of this book Dr. Mohler addresses the nature of prayer and how prayer serves as an accurate reflection of what we really believe about God. Mohler makes very clear what prayer is not setting aside subbiblical and unbiblical understandings of prayer. The second chapter addresses Jesus’s preliminary teaching on prayer with a focus on the absolute necessity of prayer in the believer’s life. In the following chapters Mohler addresses each part of the Lord’s prayer showing how each petition should shape our prayer life.

While there are many books on prayer out there many of them depart from Scripture as the basis for understanding prayer. Dr. Mohler’s book is a throughly biblical resource that I highly commend.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Spiritual Leadership: A Review

Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders

One can look at any bookstore and see there is no shortage of books on leadership being published every year. J. Oswald Sanders classic which was originally published 50 years ago stands out because of the fact that it is throughly rooted in the Bible. The heart and soul of this book is what the Bible has to say about the character of a leader more than anything else. In a day and age where many churches and religious organizations are looking for natural leaders Sanders work serves as a helpful corrective.

In 22 chapters Sanders explores what the Bible has to say about spiritual leadership from every angle. Sanders from the start focuses on Christ’s requirement that leaders be servers. Sanders says “The real spiritual leader is focused on the service he and she can render to God and other people, not on the residuals and perks of high office or holy title. We must aim to put more into life than we take out (p. 14).” Every aspect of the spiritual life is addressed as it relates to fitness as spiritual leader from prayer to time management on to reading. Sanders also looks to the leaders task of raising up leaders who will be spiritual leader which is sorely needed in our day.

If you’re looking for a book that gets to the heart of what it means to be a true Christian leader get this book. It is the most faithful book on leadership I have come across and in every chapter gets to the heart of what it means to be spiritual leader who honors Christ.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.