Politics make for strange bedfellows, but what about your witness?

politicswitnessAt some point in history, the direction and motive of the church in the world changed. As described by John Howard Yoder, there was a “Constantinian Shift.” Suddenly the power and ability for the church to exercise dominion became embodied and carried out through political and military force. Sounds eerily similar to the 1st Century Temple and Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day doesn’t it?

The Politics of Witness: The Character of the Church in the World is another entry into the Areopagus Series from Energion Publications. This book, along with the others in the series, is aimed at expounding upon topics of universal interest to the Christian Church in an irenic tone. Alan Bevere, the author ventures to expound upon a difficult topic within a short sixty-two page limit.  Continue reading Politics make for strange bedfellows, but what about your witness?

Jesus, A Theography | Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola

JesusATheographyFrank Viola teams up with Leonard Sweet for a concerted effort in this 424 page entry. As the title itself implies, the book is a theological biography about Jesus Christ.

I have never read anything written by Leonard Sweet, and have read many books by Frank Viola in the past. Although I am familiar with the reputation of Leonard Sweet and have read his other non-novel works, and found them enjoyable. However, with this book, I am not impressed with this work itself.

I usually can engage a book, review it, and be glad that I read it even when I disagree with it. But the dilemma involved in reading this particular work was not one of agreement. I found the style of prose utilized to be engaging and within normal practice for a book involving Frank Viola. I am also not opposed to a narrative approach to the history of scripture.

The way the book was billed through various outlets and from Frank Viola via his website, blog, and podcasts, I thought I this book would be a page turner. Continue reading Jesus, A Theography | Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola

Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord’s Supper

Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord’s Supper by Ben Witherington III addresses the topic of Communion in the history of the making a meal of itChurch. Beginning with a survey of the cultural factors contributing to historic 1st century practices, Ben illustrates a profound progression and description of ‘secular’ traditions that are eerily similar to that of which Paul was addressing in 1 Corinthians.

Ben also goes on to discuss the trajectory of the Lord’s Table from the final night of our Lord’s earthly ministry with the Disciples, to the stratification and elitism of the 1st and 2nd centuries, on to the eventual liturgical and sacramental mystery that became the sacrifice of the mass.

Making a Meal of It serves as a running commentary that sheds light on the mystery that seems to surround the practice as we see it today. Regardless of the view a Christian has on the actual rite itself, this book covers the nuances between them, and then demonstrates why not even those were a matter of debate in the 1st Century Church practice. As it would seem, and according to the author, the meal of breaking bread in the scripture would be so much more inclusive than even the most liberal celebrants among us could imagine. Continue reading Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord’s Supper

Fasting: The Ancient Practices by Scot McKnight

fastingmcknighAdmittedly, I am intrigued by the topic of fasting. As sparse the evidence in the New Testament may be for pragmatism, I honestly believe the symphony of scripture provides plenty examples for our own personal implementation. What is addressed in this particular book treating the topic, is obviously anecdotal.

What exactly is fasting, its past manifestations and origins, its contemporary examples, and just how do some of humans conduct ourselves while doing it? Jews, Christians, Muslims, and many other world religions, practice fasting. The question this book seeks to answer is, what in the world is your point? If you are fasting, is it to convince God to create a result in your favor? Or do you fast in response to something requiring the practice of body submission? Continue reading Fasting: The Ancient Practices by Scot McKnight

Keep Your Greek: Strategies For Busy People – Review

Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at Amazon

Are you a Greek Student? Are you an accomplished Greek Scholar? Are you a diligent minister of the word who has let the knowledge of the languages creep into the recesses of your mind? Are you discouraged by the reclaiming of once prominent recall of the Greek from your overbearing and busy schedule?

These are all great questions with great answers in this new book from Constantine R. Campbell. This new release from Zondervan brings together a series of blog posts that were previously posted at the author’s blog Read Better, Preach Better, and offers them in an easy, engaging, and encouraging format. The blog posts now converted to chapters in the book are complete with responses from the blog on each post, and now subsequent chapter. Campbell gives cause, justification, and technical advice that is both practical and wise. With the inclusion of quotes from respected scholars and teachers of Greek, this book reinforces the student or graduate of Greek studies with motivation to serve God through diligent study and understanding.

In just under 90 pages, Keep Your Greek converses and equips you with tools, tips, tricks, and categorizes useful resources, web pages, and other materials to get you into the game…or for those who have forgotten their Greek, back into it!

I loved this! As a blogger, and active blog reader, I found it exciting to see a dialog transpiring between the author and his audience. The chapters were helpful, and the practical responses offered by the commentators made the whole discussion real. For me, a mere student of the Koine Greek, I found the tips from those much more experienced than I helpful and even preventative in my own labors to acquire a “dead” language. This book not only helps you internalize language acquisition as a task of love, but also reinforces that the Koine is in no way dead, but perfectly alive, so long as you engage it!

I received this book at no charge in exchange for an unbiased review. You can see other entries concerning this book during its blog tour March 14th through the 18th at the Koinonia Blog.

You can browse other helpful book reviews here.

Following Jesus, the Servant King by Jonathan Lunde

Purchase at Amazon

Following Jesus, the Servant King: A Biblical Theology of Covenantal Discipleship by Jonathan Lunde came to me at an interesting time. Just as my interest in honoring the call of our Lord Jesus to radical discipleship has piqued, this book provided a much needed survey of the progression of the covenants in God’s Holy Writ. The author takes on the task of demonstrating something the mainstream church has shown to be lacking for quite some time, a historical and practical demonstration of true obedience. The exemplary servitude of Jesus Christ comes as a focal point and example in which the author demonstrates is the filter in which all obedience to God’s word must be understood. Jonathan Lunde takes a practical approach to this by cleverly and systematically approaching three questions,

The Essential Bible Companion To The Psalms

There are two types of books a student of the Bible can benefit from. Commentaries, which can be very involved and theologically deep andessentialbiblecomp companions, which can serve as quick references or summaries. While both resources can vary in skill and ability required to utilize them fully, the latter tends to be more accessible for the every day reader.

The Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms is an excellent example of accessibility. Sitting down with the Psalms and giving them a cursory read will often leave the reader with questions or confusion. But, this new resource from Zondervan helps illuminate several key areas of each Psalm for the reader,

  • Theme – an overarching and common thread that runs through each Psalm
  • Type – categorized by various genres of Psalms that appear in the Scriptures
  • Background – a contextual synopsis of the historical and literal events that influence the understanding of the Psalm itself
  • Structure – a brief exposition of the Psalm verse by verse
  • Special notes – a breakdown of unfamiliar terms or ancient references that may be culturally unfamiliar

Last but not least, each Psalm has a brief reflection to summarize the message of the passage. Although each entry for each Psalm appears short and lacking on the page, the information is concise and accurate, providing ease of reading and appropriate information for studying one of the greatest treasure troves of Scripture, the Psalms.

I highly recommend you picking this book up, it is well worth having as a desk reference, coffee table book, or sitting on the reference section of your bookshelf.

I received this book from Zondervan in exchange for an unbiased book review.