Monday, June 23, 2014

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief by John Frame

Named one of World Magazine's Book of the Year, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief by John Frame hit the top shelf. With many good reviews already, this one is for the shelf of every pastor, teacher, theological student and armchair theologian. See more below.

Product Description

Systematic Theology is the culmination and creative synthesis of John Frame's writing on, teaching about, and studying of the Word of God. This magisterial opus—at once biblical, clear, cogent, readable, accessible, and practical—summarizes the mature thought of one of the most important and original Reformed theologians of the last hundred years. It will enable you to see clearly how the Bible explains God's great, sweeping plan for mankind.

 Editorial Reviews

"John M. Frame's Systematic Theology is a remarkable achievement. It is simultaneously scholarly yet accessible, sweeping in scope but penetrating in insight, steeped in historic orthodoxy yet fresh in reflection."
—Peter A. Lillback, President, Westminster Theological Seminary

"Systematic Theology . . . is a worthy climax to the life's work of one who has only ever sought to be a faithful servant of Christ, teaching in his church. It is a privilege to celebrate its appearing and to commend it for serious study. I guarantee that the dividends of such study will be uniformly high. Thank you, John Frame, for this superb gift."
—J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

"This new systematic theology comes from one of the great theological minds of our age. John Frame's contributions to theology are already massive and many, but now he has given the church a systematic theology. This is a very important book, and it represents a lifetime of consecrated theological reflection. This new volume promises to be an enduring contribution to evangelical theology."
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"John Frame is one of my favorite theologians, and his Systematic Theology is filled with the deep learning and warranted wisdom of a lifetime. I commend it warmly to the Lord's people everywhere."
—Timothy George, Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University; General Editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture

Frame has produced what should become required reading in seminary classrooms and pastors studies for years to come.
—Mark Young, President, Denver Seminary

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events by Vern Poythress

If you have a chance, check out the latest from Vern Poythress, Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events.

Product Description

What if all events—big and small, good and bad—are governed by more than just blind chance? What if they are governed by God?
In this theologically informed and philosophically nuanced introduction to the study of probability and chance, Vern Poythress argues that all events—including the seemingly random or accidental—fall under God’s watchful gaze as part of his eternal plan. Comprehensive in its scope, this book lays the theistic foundation for our scientific assumptions about the world while addressing personal questions about the meaning and significance of everyday events.

Chance and the Sovereignty of God from Westminster Theological Seminary on Vimeo.

More videos of Vern Poythress on the issue of chance can be found here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

What's Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life's Big Questions

One of two books this year named by World Magazine as Book of the Year, James Anderson's, What's Your Worldview?: An Interactive approach to Life's Big Questions, hit the mark. Check it out.

Product Description

How do you view the world?

It’s a big question. And how you answer is one of the most important things about you.

Not sure what you’d say? Join James Anderson on an interactive journey of discovery aimed at helping you understand and evaluate the options when it comes to identifying your worldview. Cast in the mold of a classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, What’s Your Worldview? will guide you toward finding intellectually satisfying answers to life’s biggest questions—equipping you to think carefully about not only what you believe but why you believe it and how it impacts the rest of your life.

Listen here to an author interview by the gents at Reformed Forum.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: The Unfinished Church: God’s Broken and Redeemed Work-In-Progress by Rob Bentz

Rob Bentz’s book, TheUnfinished Church: God’s Broken and Redeemed Work-In-Progress published by Crossway, is an enjoyable read. Bentz incorporates personal anecdotes with Scripture and insightful examination to provide the reader with a fresh understanding of how the church, Christ’s bride, should operate in today’s world.

The work is broken down into three segments, each worth careful study. In part one he lays the groundwork for his book in The Foundation and offers background and understanding as to what it means to be part of God’s chosen community. In part two Bentz delves deeper into what it means for the church in The Construction. Here he delineates several facets where we, as Christ’s bride, should be toiling. To love one another, encourage, serve, and dwell together in peace are all aspects Bentz, with love for the Church, explicates with great clarity.

Bentz concludes with the heart of the matter in part three, The Completion. Here we read that “Sanctification matters!” Indeed it does and Bentz lays it out for us. He marks out that, “God’s church, is miraculous because it’s his activity.” And “The church is victorious; Jesus said it would be.” Believers, one and all, take part in the glorious, wonderful work though we are broken and sinful. This section was most inspiring and helpful.

The Unfinished Church was indeed and enjoyable and informative book. This would be a great book for a church library or any new believer especially. I rate this 4.5 out of 5. Get it, read it and apply it!

Crossway has provided a complimentary copy of this book through Beyond the Page.   

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New Title: The Word of the Lord

Based on Nancy Guthrie's history, The Word of the Lord: Seeing Jesus in the Prophets will be another fine study.

Nancy Guthrie on her newest study, "The Word of the Lord" from Crossway on Vimeo.

In the Old Testament, God spoke to his people through prophets—men specially called to speak God’s Word to his people. The New Testament makes it clear that such prophets, whether chastising or comforting, testified to Israel’s final redemption and ultimate hope: Jesus the Messiah.
Over ten weeks of guided personal Bible study, relevant teaching, and group discussion, Bible teacher Nancy Guthrie will help you see the person and work of Christ in:
  • Hosea's willingness to redeem his unfaithful bride from slavery
  • Isaiah's divine King and suffering Servant, who will be punished for his people
  • Daniel's stone, not hewn by human hands, that will crush every human kingdom
  • Ezekiel’s vision of a city where we will enjoy Jesus’s presence forever
Gain a fresh perspective on the message of the Old Testament prophets, a broader understanding of Jesus as the fulfillment of Scripture, and much more when you join Nancy on this incredible journey to see Jesus in the Old Testament!

About the Author
Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at conferences around the country and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Covenant Theological Seminary. She and her husband, David, are the co-hosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 8,500 churches nationwide and they also host Respite Retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child. Guthrie is the author of numerous books including Holding on to HopeHearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, and the five-book Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Three Works on Struggling With Sexual Idenity

As we live in a society where everyday is a sexual free-for-all, we need to understand how to minister to the sexually confused. Below are three books that can help us do that.

Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality  By Wesley Hill 

Product Description
'Gay,' 'Christian,' and “celibate” don't often appear in the same sentence. Yet many who sit next to us in the pew at church fit that description, says author Wesley Hill. As a celibate gay Christian, Hill gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to wrestle firsthand with God's 'No' to same-sex relationships. What does it mean for gay Christians to live faithful to God while struggling with the challenge of their homosexuality? What is God's will for believers who experience same-sex desires? Those who choose celibacy are often left to deal with loneliness and the hunger for relationships. How can gay Christians experience God's favor and blessing in the midst of a struggle that for many brings a crippling sense of shame and guilt? Weaving together reflections from his own life and the lives of other Christians, such as Henri Nouwen and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hill offers a fresh perspective on these questions. He advocates neither unqualified 'healing' for those who struggle, nor their accommodation to temptation, but rather faithfulness in the midst of brokenness. 'I hope this book may encourage other homosexual Christians to take the risky step of opening up their lives to others in the body of Christ,' Hill writes. 'In so doing, they may find, as I have, by grace, that being known is spiritually healthier than remaining behind closed doors, that the light is better than the darkness.' 

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey into Christian Faith By Rosaria Champagne Butterfield.

Product Description
Rosaria, by the standards of many, was living a very good life. She had a tenured position at a large university in a field for which she cared deeply. She owned two homes with her partner, in which they provided hospitality to students and activists that were looking to make a difference in the world. There, her partner rehabilitated abandoned and abused dogs. In the community, Rosaria was involved in volunteer work. At the university, she was a respected advisor of students and her department's curriculum. And then, in her late 30s, Rosaria encountered something that turned her world upside down-the idea that Christianity, a religion that she had regarded as problematic and sometimes downright damaging, might be right about who God was, an idea that flew in the face of the people and causes that she most loved. What follows is a story of what she describes as a "train wreck" at the hand of the supernatural. These are her secret thoughts about those events, written as only a reflective English professor could. Conversion put me in a complicated and comprehensive chaos. I sometimes wonder, when I hear other Christians pray for the salvation of the "lost," if they realize that this comprehensive chaos is the desired end of such prayers. Often, people asked me to describe the "lessons" that I learned from this experience. I can't. It was too traumatic. Sometimes in crisis, we don't really learn lessons. Sometimes the result is simpler and more profound: sometimes our character is simply transformed. -Rosaria Butterfield

What is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense by Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, Robert P. George

Product Description
Until yesterday, no society had seen marriage as anything other than a conjugal partner­ship: a male-female union. What Is Marriage? identifies and defends the reasons for this historic consensus and shows why redefining civil marriage is unnecessary, unreasonable, and contrary to the common good.

Originally published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, this book's core argument quickly became the year's most widely read essay on the most prominent scholarly network in the social sciences. Since then, it has been cited and debated by scholars and activists throughout the world as the most formidable defense of the tradition ever written. Now revamped, expanded, and vastly enhanced, What Is Marriage? stands poised to meet its moment as few books of this generation have.

Rhodes Scholar Sherif Girgis, Heritage Foundation Fellow Ryan T. Anderson, and Princeton Professor Robert P. George offer a devastating critique of the idea that equality requires redefining marriage. They show why both sides must first answer the question of what marriage really is. They defend the principle that marriage, as a comprehensive union of mind and body ordered to family life, unites a man and a woman as husband and wife, and they document the social value of applying this principle in law.

Most compellingly, they show that those who embrace same-sex civil marriage leave no firm ground--none--for not recognizing every relationship describable in polite English, including polyamorous sexual unions, and that enshrining their view would further erode the norms of marriage, and hence the common good.

Finally, What Is Marriage? decisively answers common objections: that the historic view is rooted in bigotry, like laws forbidding interracial marriage; that it is callous to people's needs; that it can't show the harm of recognizing same-sex couplings, or the point of recognizing infertile ones; and that it treats a mere "social construct" as if it were natural, or an unreasoned religious view as if it were rational.

If the marriage debate in America is decided soon, it will be with this book's help or despite its powerful arguments.