This work is so God-centered and it's contagious. This is the theology the church today needs! It's not an easy work to read, but it's contents are foThis work is so God-centered and it's contagious. This is the theology the church today needs! It's not an easy work to read, but it's contents are for all. I want to always be dwelling on the message of this book, so as to keep my life in the correct perspective....more
...Those issues aside, for such a short work Ware has given a number of weighty concepts to ponder. Topics such as impeccability and hypostatic union could easily overwhelm many readers, but Ware’s clear writing, personal tone and constant devotional application ably navigate the reader through these issues. There are no unimportant discussions here. Each chapter ends with application and discussion questions, calling the reader to praise and response.
This is probably the most impacting book I read in 2012 (how can Christ not impact you?). In proportion to what I received from this book, my concerns are small. The depiction of Christ’s human experience and obedience was truly powerful and devotionally effective. I admit to overlooking Christ’s humanity, so this helpful corrective kept me in awe of Jesus’ life, it encouraged in my reliance upon the Spirit, and contributed to my eagerness to focus on the Gospels this year and seek how to follow His example of obedience.
I would wholeheartedly recommend The Man Christ Jesus to any Christian, and expect to be giving out many copies in the near future....more
Reading Wright, to me, is a little like reading C.S. Lewis. I am interested to see what he has to say about a given topic irrespective of whether I wiReading Wright, to me, is a little like reading C.S. Lewis. I am interested to see what he has to say about a given topic irrespective of whether I will agree with him or not. Wright’s prose is clear and enjoyable and his ideas are exciting if not always correct.
Stimulating. Controversial. Frustrating. Exciting. Dull. Meandering. Moving. Refreshing. All of these words describe Surprised by Hope for me. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading something from Wright; I would just encourage them to push through the dull/meandering/odd parts to get to the real meat – of which there is plenty – while also being wary to not accept everything he says at face value.
This is just the conclusion from my full review, which can be read on my blog (see my profile).
Barrs has assigned himself a difficult task here, but he has pulled it off very well. There is a delightful balance here of theological analysis and childlike joy in the arts. Barrs rightly grounds everything in Scripture and covers an amazing scope of issues related to this topic while still creating a work that flows well and is very enjoyable to read. As mentioned above, I would have enjoyed a little more on how the content of what we take in, but overall this is a fantastic work. I would not want my praise to be overshadowed by this criticism.
I would highly recommend this book to any Christian interested in the arts or how to think about the arts. Particularly this would include pastors seeking wisdom, artists seeking a foundation, and parents wanting to properly decide what should enter their household. More broadly, I cannot think of anyone, Christian or otherwise, who would not benefit from Echoes of Eden. May we all, like Barrs, take delight God's good gifts in creation!
[Many thanks to Crossway and Netgalley for providing a review copy of this book]...more
Wilson said he hoped this book would be "funny, dark and redemptive", I think he's completely succeeded on this! Wilson somehow manages to make a bookWilson said he hoped this book would be "funny, dark and redemptive", I think he's completely succeeded on this! Wilson somehow manages to make a book with such disturbing content also funny. This in itself is a wonder, but Wilson doesn't just leave us with cynicism, irony and satire, he also weaves in very redemption without this being an "everyone gets saved at the end" kind of Christian story. I read this book over 3 days and couldn't put it down. Highly recommended...more
What is Biblical Theology? serves as a great introduction for those interested in the topic of biblical theology, but it has so much more to offer. Ultimately, Hamilton here wants to create better readers of the Bible. This is no small ambition but neither is it an obscure or unimportant one. All Christians should know their Bibles better because life is in His Word. As such, What is Biblical Theology? is a book for every Christian and one that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Get this book!
[Many thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of this book to review via Netgalley. All opinions are my own]....more
A very careful and structured introduction to and argumentation for Amillennialism. Storms by no means represents every Amillennialist, and some willA very careful and structured introduction to and argumentation for Amillennialism. Storms by no means represents every Amillennialist, and some will be surprised with his exegesis, but he lays out his view well so that even disagreement can be informed disagreement. He is a little repetitive and redundant at times, though perhaps this is because Storms is aware that his views may be so surprising they are missed on first reading. Lastly, I felt his portrayal of Dispensationalism (his main sparring partner) was often the worst of the system, and gave little documentation, which was unfortunate. Overall, a good introduction to amillennialism...more
It is said that religion should never be discussed at dinner parties. For a party of Christians, perhaps eschatology would substitute. There is nothing quite like eschatology, a complicated and controversial topic, to ruin potential unity. Conviction and confidence are inadequate; this discussion cannot survive without humility. This needed humility is striking in Dean Davis’ The High King of Heaven. Davis begins, “as fools long to play Hamlet, so I longed to write a short definitive book on biblical eschatology. I blush to present you with the results” (xiii). This is no doubt due to the fact that this sentence appears in a 700+ page book! However, Davis has achieved something quite remarkable here, in that The High King of Heaven is an astoundingly amiable and accessible book on eschatology.
A brief outline of Davis’ argument is in order. The High King of Heaven is made up of 25 chapters divided into 5 Parts, concluding with 10 Appendices and indices. Part 1 surveys end-times issues and options (ch 1-4). In Part 2, the Kingdom of God is treated at length from varying angles including the teaching of Jesus (ch 5), God’s eternal plan of salvation (ch 7) and the Old Testament (ch 8). Part 3 carefully examines Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy and not only how it is used by the NT, but also in its own context in books such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Psalms, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah. Part 4 is all about Revelation, particularly the Millennium in Rev 20. Finally, Part 5 surveys how the NT presents the consummation of all things. Appendices include critiques of Historic Premillennialism (#1), Postmillennialism (#2), Dispensational Premillennialism (#3), and Preterism (#4); a discussion on the modern state of Israel (#5); helpful lists of relevant eschatological texts (#6-9); and selections from the creeds on the consummation (#10).
The High King of Heaven has many virtues, all beginning with ‘c’. First is charity. Commonly, these debates to take an argumentative or polemic turn, but I doubt Davis would lose any readers due to his tone. One will find frequent lines like “our postmillennial brethren” (p622) or references to dispensational convictions as “reasonable and commendable” (p15). Davis seems like a guy who is forcefully persuasive, but with a smile! A friendly personality leaps off the page.
Second, is clarity. I was immediately struck by just how understandable Davis has managed to make such complicated concepts. This is mostly found in his prose, which is warm, eloquent and patient. Explanatory tables and charts and Davis’ own summary terms are also very helpful. An example of the latter would be “OTKP”, which stands for “Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy”; that is, any Old Testament passage that envisages the future glorious age. Another example would be “NCH”, which stands for the “New Covenant Hermeneutic”. It seems to me that any believer could pick up The High King of Heaven and follow along with Davis.
The third virtue is the book’s comprehensiveness. Whether it’s treatment of every important NT eschatological passage, his ten (!) appendices, or – especially welcome – his thorough discussion of Old Testament eschatological passages, Davis leaves virtually no stone unturned! Additionally, as a feature that is always beneficial, the Scripture index has formatted in bold any page number where a particular passage is treated in depth. Weaknesses
However, I also perceive three weaknesses to The High King of Heaven, beginning with ‘l’. First, counterbalancing the clarity is a frequent long-windedness. Davis is inclined to explain himself carefully, but for some this will become dull and repetitive. Entire paragraphs could have been summarised into one or two sentences. I am not saying that Davis rambles; everything in this book is relevant and well laid out. However, at times virtually hundreds of pages discuss issues that are important, but ultimately peripheral. For example, the Understanding the Kingdom of God is unpacked in 7 chapters over 100 pages. Davis himself admits that rather than going directly to “the next logical step in our journey” (p69), he takes a “rather circuitous route to our destination”, which, though longer, is a “more fruitful journey” (p70). Though this scenic route was more exhaustive, I found myself more exhausted.
Second, and related, the book’s length counterbalances the comprehensiveness. Though appealingly formatted with numerous headings and sub-headings, I am sure many hesitate even opening the book due to its size. This would be unfortunate, but understandable.
Third, and my most significant issue is the logic of Davis’ “keys”. Davis begins with principles drawn from Jesus’ own teaching and then applies these principles to the Old Testament. For Davis, these principles, known as the New Covenant Hermeneutic (NCH), are “four great truths that open all doors and solve all problems” (p177). This approach of beginning with Jesus is certainly commendable; where better to begin than with Jesus? What’s more, the NCH is easy to grasp and apply to navigate the overwhelming maze of eschatological texts. However, skeptics to Amillennialism will most likely have the distinct feeling that Davis is stacking the deck. Rather than being given ‘keys to unlock any door’, some will see instead a ‘hammer that opens any window’. As a striking example, Ezekiel 37’s imagery of the regathering of Israel and Judah in the land becomes for “Christian interpreters ruled by the NCH” a “‘mysterious’ picture of the ingathering and upbuilding of Christ’s New Covenant people – the church” (p314). And what of their return to the ‘land’? The “new land” becomes either heaven, or possibly “‘the [spiritual] region of which Christ is King and Lord” (p314). What of Ezekiel’s imagery of the two sticks of Judah and Israel being joined together (Ezek 37:16ff)? This is somehow a “very subtle picture” of Christ’s cross (p316)! Many will stomach this, but others will be left with a rotten taste in their mouth from the apparent “great fruitfulness of the NCH” (p316). For them, this will exemplify the usual criticism of Amillennilasm: it “spiritualizes” the text to such a degree that it becomes nearly unrecognizable.
A comprehensive book on eschatology must choose an approach, and Davis’ New Covenant Hermeneutic has its clear strengths, particularly its intelligibility and accessibility to any Christian. However, I have found a more inductive Amillennial approach – one that carefully traces intertextual development of OTKP texts and themes – to be more compelling, as it is harder to argue against Scripture rather than a principle. However, this would result in a very different and more rigorous book, a thereby restricting it to a more selective audience.
The High King of Heaven unabashedly argues for Amillennialism, and as such is not intended to be an impartial introduction to eschatology. However, this should not dissuade interested readers. One need not agree with everything Davis says to benefit from this work; in fact, I expect even many Amillennarians will disagree with his take on some passages, such as Daniel 9:24-27. However, one would be hard pressed to find a more charitable, clear and comprehensive presentation of Amillennialism. It also serves nicely as a resource for later use.
I could certainly recommend The High King of Heaven to any Christian who is keen enough and patient enough to wade through its many pages to read a defense of Amillennialism. For a reader with less interest and/or time on their hands, I would look elsewhere, perhaps Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillennialism. For a more academic reader interested in getting their elbows dirty through thorough exegesis, I would suggest other works such as Storms’ Kingdom Come or especially Menn’s Biblical Eschatology. As I’ve only read Storm’s work, these recommendations come on very general knowledge of the books’ contents.
Davis is working on a condensed introduction to Amillennialism, which I expect will resolve my critiques of the book’s long-windedness and length! And then interested readers can track down copies of The High King of Heaven to impress others at dinner parties.
I was personally and graciously asked by Dean Davis to review this book. I have tried to review it on its own merits as a representation of Amillennialism. Reviewing this book does not mean I hold Davis’ conclusions....more
Studies in the Pauline Epistles is put together by Matthew Harmon and Jay Smith and includes a stellar lineup of scholars contributing essays in honour of Doug Moo inspired by his interests.
Essays are collected under three headings:
1. Exegeting Paul (ch 1-6) 2. Paul’s Use of Scripture and the Jesus Tradition (ch 7-9) 3. Pauline Scholarship and Contemporary Significance (ch 10-16)
Ardel Caneday begins by arguing that Romans 5:17 (“will … reign in life”) does not speak of the believer’s future dominion over creation (as in Romans 8), but rather “the believer’s present dominion over sin in these mortal bodies” (p28) as developed in Romans 6. Chris Vlachos suggests that the believer’s freedom from the law “occupies a seminal place in [Paul’s] teaching regarding moral transformation” (p48) and thus unpacks the implications of being free from the law. Doug’s son Jonathan Moo investigates 1 Corinthians 4:15-16 to find “what in his relationship with the Corinthians Paul intends to highlight as he uses the parent-child metaphor” and “what Paul’s comparison reveals about how he conceives of family life…and life in the family of God” (p61). Scholars agree that Paul quotes the Corinthians’ own words back at them throughout his first letter, and Jay Smith wants to add one more phrase to the list: “all other sins a person commits are outside the body”. D. A. Carson focuses on Galatians 2:11-14 and “reflect[s] a little on some of the mirror-reading that goes into every interpretation” (p99) and proposes as solution that he sees as making best sense of the evidence. Verlyn Verbrugge gets his elbows dirty in suggesting a translation of Philippians 2:12 that recovers an “important nuance” (p116) that other translations have missed.
Moving to part 2, Craig Blomberg applies Richard Hays’ methodology for detecting OT allusions in Paul’s letters allusions to the Jesus tradition, summarizing likely allusions in Paul’s letters and suggesting a few new ones (e.g. Matt 19:28 in 1 Cor 6:2, Matt 19:1-12 in 1 Cor 7:10-11, Mark 9:42 in 1 Cor 8:13 and Matt 10:10 in 1 Cor 9:14). Matthew Harmon tackles the ever-controversial “allegory” in Galatians 4:21-5:1 to discover Paul’s own hermeneutics, arguing that Paul’s “allegorical” use is better understood as typology that is faithful to the text’s original meaning. Grant Osborne displays his humility and care as a scholar by retracting his previous view of Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:7-10 and proposing a new understanding.
Part 3 begins with Robert Yarbrough “revisit[ing] the promise of salvation history in interpreting the Pauline writings” (p181), surveying its history, its detractors and its value. G. K. Beale argues that Paul’s understanding of resurrection, the Holy Spirit, justification, the Law, and ecclesiology are all shaped by his eschatology. The next two entertaining articles have James Dunn having “little difficulty” (p214) explaining what the Old Perspective on Paul gets right and Stephen Westerholm what the New Perspective gets right. N. T. Wright takes the NIV (and Moo by extension) to task for the interpretation of δικαιοσὐνη θεοὒ (the righteousness of God), and raises some implications for the “apocalyptic” movement in Pauline scholarship. Thomas Schreiner “think[s] briefly and in a survey fashion about what Paul says about truth and our ability to perceive and grasp it” (p259). Lastly, Mark Seifrid offers a closing essay in gratefulness to Doug Moo.
As is always the case with books like this, one’s enjoyment and appreciation will vary. Most are quite specific, so their usefulness is subjective. If any of the articles sounds intriguing or useful then it is certainly worth reading. Having read each of the articles, I can testify that they are all quality.
Not only are the scholars top-notch, but the diversity here particularly encouraged me: we have Carson and Westerholm, but also Wright and Dunn. The editors should be congratulated on managing to bring this motley crew together. Having articles on the Old and New Perspectives on Paul by antagonists was especially genius.
Though it is impossible to pick a standout chapter, D. A. Caron’s chapter was particularly enlightening and enjoyable. It was a carefully reasoned and articulate piece of writing that proposed a compelling reading of a difficult passage with an overwhelming number of interpretative options available. Conclusion
Studies in the Pauline Epistles is recommended for any audience interested in the subject matter of the articles or even Pauline studies in general. It is a collection of fine contributions and the calibre and diversity of scholars desiring to esteem one of their own does him an honour.
Many thanks to Zondervan Academic for providing a copy in exchange for an unbiased review....more