Knitter does a good job of explaining the different camps regarding salvation in the light of theology of religions. Yet his very inclusivistic bias d...moreKnitter does a good job of explaining the different camps regarding salvation in the light of theology of religions. Yet his very inclusivistic bias do shine through. (less)
I found the book to be simplistic and written to the lowest common denominator of student. It reminded me of a high school level textbook. It did fair...moreI found the book to be simplistic and written to the lowest common denominator of student. It reminded me of a high school level textbook. It did fairly treat most of the world religions but was a bit suspect with Judaism, Islam and Christianity. It's a survey book and in that purpose was fair in quality in its attempt to introduce world religions. I didn't care for it as an introduction to world religions in a masters level seminary class. (less)
There was so very good thoughts in this book as it brought educational theory to Christian education. They embrace such educational minds such as Piag...moreThere was so very good thoughts in this book as it brought educational theory to Christian education. They embrace such educational minds such as Piaget's stages of development. The book was good but didn't provide any tremendous insights overall. It was a good read but nothing spectacular.(less)
I was very impressed with this book. Focusing on relationships with the youth versus entertaining them, the authors give a very good alternative for y...moreI was very impressed with this book. Focusing on relationships with the youth versus entertaining them, the authors give a very good alternative for youth ministry as well as ministry in general. It was quite a poignant point when they point out how currently educational and catechetical methods currently found in most modern Christian churches fail to integrate the youth with the congregation. The result is a feeling that one is graduating out of their belief systems versus being inducted into a new way of life. Dean really focuses on providing guidance to youth and raising expectations for youth as well as a give them an insight into how they should live their lives.(less)
Have you ever had a book that almost got a great point but never quite gets there? This was that book. Reading Matthaei's book was very frustrating on...moreHave you ever had a book that almost got a great point but never quite gets there? This was that book. Reading Matthaei's book was very frustrating on so many levels. One of the writing aspects that made for such a difficult read was how she introduced the people she was citing or quoting. It would begin by saying "Gordon Fee says,". You had to resort to asking yourself who this person was and why are they a source to be quote. The work cited list in the back helped but wasn't a guarantee on identifying who the person was. Just a couple of extra word like, Gordon Fee, a Christian commentator says gives us an idea of if this person is a poet, a developmental psychologist, a theologian, or whatever. Plus Matthaei rarely introduced an idea, she just jumped right in.
The other aspect of the book I found incredibly frustrating about the book was how she kept circling around using the same catch phrases and buzz words she had picked up in her studies without ever really floating a plausible thesis. She bills the book as a book that will help people to figure out how to help people grow in their faith by creating a ministry. It was over halfway through the book until she postulates a thesis based upon buzz words of servant ministry, being go-betweens, and other assorted terms. The part of this book that made one want to rip their hair out was that I believe she came so very close to trying to answer the question how do we grow people in their faith.
The problem I discern with this book on theological grounds is that she has a very skewed view of what it means to "make disciples". The other problem is she tries to attack the question of how do we make disciples and grow people in their faith from an institutional viewpoint rather than a cultural one. The result of these two problems produces a book that fails to answer any questions at all. The problem is that people come to Faith based upon God's calling and their acceptance. The verse she cites for making disciples comes from Matthew 28:19 which says that they are made through baptizing them in the name (authority) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that we teach them to observe all that Jesus has commanded. But becoming a disciple is just the first part of the spiritual journey. Matthaei actually does a good job hitting this point and the importance of building relationship with God and those around us. The problem with her book is that she fills it up with attempts to explain the hierarchy of the church while makes a stab at non-hierarchical servant ministry right on the heals of explaining what an deacon and elder, that the book is horribly disjointed and very confusing.
Plus I am of the belief that one can only grow in faith through living out relationships with other and experiencing life in community. Instructional teaching can help us to know tradition and about the bible and about why we need to grow in faith but it can''t grow us in faith. Faith is caught not taught. It is caught in relationship and Matthaei makes some good points on this ground.
One last thing is that Matthaei's book is extremely tainted with very feminist ideals. I agree with her points that people are seeking true relationship and authentic community and search for deeper meaning but that isn't just going to be learned by them feeling "heard". While listening to people is important Matthaei gives us a quote that "In the beginning was not the Word, in the beginning was the Hearing" . Didn't quite get that one.
In the end, Matthaei makes some wonderful points but I could not recommend anyone to read this book.(less)
This was a book I both enjoyed and disliked. The discussion regarding diversity and educating diverse crowds or people who are different than you was...more
This was a book I both enjoyed and disliked. The discussion regarding diversity and educating diverse crowds or people who are different than you was fascinating. I especially enjoyed Gary's insight of being an outsider as a white man in a different culture of Koreans. There are tremendous insights on how to deal with dissimilar backgrounds and culture. Conde-Frazier however in her third of the book spends what too much time and effort on multicultural issues. I found her contributions to the book to be full of references to liberation theology and neo-socialism that presents what I consider to be a very unbiblical message of everyone is equal and must have equal power and opportunity. While racism and other "isms" are bad, this kind of political thought really doesn't mix well with true Christianity. (less)
I was quite surprised by this book. I didn't think I was going to like it as much as I did. Cathy Stonehouse does an excellent job in showing how mode...moreI was quite surprised by this book. I didn't think I was going to like it as much as I did. Cathy Stonehouse does an excellent job in showing how modern educational and developmental psychology theories relate to the process of christian education and discipleship efforts with the youth. She does a great job in explaining what has worked for her and the churches she has been affiliated with. The only concern would be implementing her strategies into a very large church or a very small church. Otherwise, it was quite a good read.(less)
This was by far my favorite read of all of Ben Witherington's books this semester. All too often, the modern day scholar of the Bible fails to take in...moreThis was by far my favorite read of all of Ben Witherington's books this semester. All too often, the modern day scholar of the Bible fails to take into consideration the premise of this book. The practice and art of rhetoric not only greatly influenced the writing of the books of the New Testament but also greatly enhances the meaning of the texts if we understand the role rhetoric plays in why the writers said things a certain way.
I enjoyed how the book walks through the elements of rhetoric first both in a micro and a macro way. Understanding the basic differences between Asiatic and Attic variants as well as the basis structure of a rhetorical position was quite illuminating. It was quite illuminating seeing scripture come to life as you look at standard rhetorical constructs like parables, synkrisis comparisons, and other rhetorical devices come alive in the scripture.
One thing I picked up from the book that I did not pick up from the lecture was the impact rhetoric has on the Gospel. The whole concept of Luke changing his tone from a Semiticized version of Greek to a more Hellenized version as the book of Acts moves into the Greek and Gentile areas was very intriguing. It is not a tremendous stretch to see how the rhetorical style and devices of the each writer in the New Testament flavors each piece.
I gained a new found respect for Luke and especially Paul as I read through the illustrations in the center part of the book. It was real helpful to go through each chapter of the book and have the rhetorical styles, influences and constructs laid out for us. It gives you a real idea of why Paul would sound different in the pastoral letters versus his general letters because he was freed from the need to persuade and was focused more upon encouragement. The mention in 1 John of the use of the rhetorical device of amplification or repeating the same theme with different variation really helps one to see the nature of how the writer was trying to influence those of us who would receive the words found within.
All examples through the book aside, I found Chapter 8 to be culminating point of the book in answering the question of why should I consider rhetoric as a major factor when reading the Gospels. Outlining a number of the significant mistakes that one can make if we do not understand the impact of rhetoric upon the writing of the scriptures was very eye opening. From talking about enthymenes or preaching to the choir to focusing on misinterpretations of impersonation, personification and amplification, really gave good reasons for the modern student of the bible's need to understand New Testament rhetoric. It is for this reason that I would highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to go to the next level in their study of the New Testament.(less)
What can one say about a book of Greek grammar? Was it the best read? Probably not. Was it extremely helpful in assisting one in learning the nuances...moreWhat can one say about a book of Greek grammar? Was it the best read? Probably not. Was it extremely helpful in assisting one in learning the nuances of the Koine Greek language as found in the New Testament? Absolutely. This is a must have book for anyone studying Koine New Testament Greek.(less)
I'm not a big fan on interlinears. However there is one feature I really liked in that it shows me the particulars in regards to grammar for each word...moreI'm not a big fan on interlinears. However there is one feature I really liked in that it shows me the particulars in regards to grammar for each word which helps me with my translation efforts. (less)
This was a concise description of crisis counseling. I benefited from reading but can't say I was bowled over by this book. It was short and sweet how...moreThis was a concise description of crisis counseling. I benefited from reading but can't say I was bowled over by this book. It was short and sweet however.(less)
I had a hard time with this book. I had to read it for a class. Not sure I would recommend it to anyone to read. The one major premise that I believe...moreI had a hard time with this book. I had to read it for a class. Not sure I would recommend it to anyone to read. The one major premise that I believe Melvin Steinbron makes that I agree with centers around that everyone is called to minister and that there really is a priesthood of the believer although the author never uses that term. The focus solely on lay pastoring makes the book a bit disjointed because there are so many places where lay participation can make a difference. I have seen this kind of philosophy implemented at churches and the way Mr. Steinbron advocates his lay participation in the church seems to breed a kind of christian consumerism where people at the church ask what can the church do for them and what ministries can they partake. This stands in stark contrast from versus a true development of community. While the goal of having someone pastoring to every person is very admirable, the way the author advocates to implement this seems a bit centered on clergy controlling every aspect of the program. I will give kudos to Mr. Steinbron telling clergy they need to let go and let lay people engage however the model he advocates seems to breed consumer christianity.(less)
It's not often that you can refer to a book as one that shifts paradigms but that is precisely what this book did for me. Anthony Headley addresses th...moreIt's not often that you can refer to a book as one that shifts paradigms but that is precisely what this book did for me. Anthony Headley addresses the misconceptions of what it means to be in ministry head on. I enjoyed how he illustrates how our driven, results oriented society perpetuates how people view ministry and those who engage in ministry.
I have read books about lay ministry and the priesthood of the believer but this book takes this concepts and show a minister how to do them. The paradigm that many of us struggle with is the fact that many believe only vocation ministers can minister. The result is an expectation for professional ministers to do everything. Our seminaries and even the ministers themselves perpetuate this broken and fallacious paradigm.
If I took one thing out of this book it was that ministry towards others begins with ministry towards oneself. For too long I had looked as the concept of self as something that was a bad thing and this book changed that view for me. It's OK to engage in self care and set boundaries. As he expanded self-care with his explorations into showing what a balanced spiritual life and ministry would look like, I particularly liked his emphasis that ministry starts with retreat and self care, then we as ministers need to engage community and then we minister. Having the pattern of withdrawal and then engaging was very enlightening for me.