Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dockery’s Summer Reading List, New Yorker on Mike Huckabee, and Weekly Standard on Tea Parties

A Union University grad kindly sent me David Dockery’s summer 2010 reading list.  It’s listed below (in original order) and will be of help to those of us who enjoy little more than a beach towel and a good read.

Let me throw in a couple of quick  comments: the Metaxas book on Bonhoeffer is excellent.  You would not think 550 pages on a German pastor-theologian would read so quickly, but they do.  If this was fiction, they would option it as a movie (it already has been and is).  Though the work does not delve into Bonhoeffer’s theology as much as some would hope, it is a must-buy.

Also, Hunter’s book on the Christian cultural approach is richly stimulating.  Not all of us will agree with everything, but the book cries out to be read by thinking Christians.

TO CHANGE THE WORLD, by James Davison Hunter (Oxford, 2010)

THE ESSENTIAL EDWARDS COLLECTION, by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney (Moody, 2010)

BONHOEFFER: PASTOR, MARTYR, PROPHET, SPY, by Eric Metaxas (Thomas Nelson, 2010)

BIBLICAL THEOLOGY IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH, by Michael Lawrence (Crossway, 2010)

AGAINST ALL GODS: WHAT’S RIGHT AND WRONG ABOUT THE NEW ATHEISM, by Phillip Johnson and John Mark Reynolds (InterVarsity, 2010)

CHRIST AMONG THE DRAGONS: FINDING OUR WAY THROUGH CULTURAL CHALLENGES, by James E. White (InterVarsity, 2010)

GOD AS AUTHOR, by Gene Fant (B&H, 2010)

BAPTISTS THROUGH THE CENTURIES, by David Bebbington (Baylor University Press, 2010)

EDUCATION FOR HUMAN FLOURISHING, by Paul Spears and Steven Loomis (InterVarsity, 2010)

AMERICAN SAINT: FRANCIS ASBURY AND THE METHODISTS, by John Wigger (Oxford, 2009)

THE HOLE IN OUR GOSPEL, by Richard Stearns (Thomas Nelson, 2009)

THE BEST KEPT SECRET OF CHRISTIAN MISSION, by John Dickson (Zondervan, 2010)

SAINT PETER, by Martin Hengel (Eerdmans, 2010)

TRANSFORMATIONAL CHURCH, by Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer (B&H, 2010)

THE GREAT COMMISSION RESURGENCE, edited by Chuck Lawless and Adam Greenway (B&H, 2010)

REMYTHOLOGIZING THEOLOGY, Kevin Vanhoozer (Cambridge, 2010)

ENCOUNTERING THEOLOGY OF MISSION, by Craig Ott, Stephen Strauss, and Timothy Tennent (Baker, 2010)

THE END OF SECULARISM, by Hunter Baker (Crossway, 2009)

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The New Yorker just published a lengthy profile of Mike Huckabee.

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The Weekly Standard looks into the “populist insurgency” unfolding among American conservatives.

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Mark Noll on His Time at TEDS

From a recent piece in the Christian Century (HT: Nathan Finn):

As an undergraduate at Wheaton College I learned from several professors how natural it could be to link serious intellectual pursuits with simple Christian faithfulness. At Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the early 1970s I learned still more. Several faculty, led by David Wells, portrayed the faith as a thing of intellectual power and moral beauty stretching back over the centuries and—despite many blotches, missteps and disasters—deserving full commitment of heart, soul, mind and spirit. Then at Vanderbilt University I found out how much I could learn about things that meant most to me from professors and fellow students whose commitments diverged in small and sometimes major ways from my own.

On teaching at Trinity College:

When I returned to teach at Trinity College, a sister institution to Trinity Seminary, I enjoyed a year of weekly coffee sessions with David Wells and George Marsden, the latter visiting from his regular post at Calvin College. These casual meetings gave me much more than most postdocs harvest from a year of uninterrupted study. It was a direct experience of the same mixture of intellect and godliness that historical study was providing through other means—though both David and George seemed to have a better sense of humor than most of the great Christian figures of the past.

The whole essay is well worth reading, even if many won’t agree with portions of it.  Young wannabe historians like myself have benefited hugely from Christian forebears like Noll, George Marsden, and John Woodbridge.

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Sarah Palin and the End of Men

Two major news stories suggest that men–and evangelical men–are in danger of extinction.

The first is from Newsweek and is entitled “Saint Sarah: How Sarah Palin is Reshaping the Religious Right.” Here’s a key quotation from Lisa Miller’s essay:

[W]hile leftist critics continue to shred Palin as a cynical, shallow, ill-informed opportunist, and new polls show her unpopularity rating to be at an all-time high—53 percent—Palin is now playing to her strengths. Even if she never again seeks elected office, her pro-woman rallying cry, articulated in the evangelical vernacular, together with the potent pro-life example of her own family, puts Palin in a position to reshape and reinvigorate the religious right, one of the most powerful forces in American politics. The Christian right is now poised to become a women’s movement—and Sarah Palin is its earthy Jerry Falwell.

The second is from the Atlantic Monthly and is entitled “The End of Men.” Written by Hanna Rosin, who published on Patrick Henry College some years back, the article considers whether men are fit for modern society.  Here’s a snatch:

Even more unsettling for Ericsson, it has become clear that in choosing the sex of the next generation, he is no longer the boss. “It’s the women who are driving all the decisions,” he says—a change the MicroSort spokespeople I met with also mentioned. At first, Ericsson says, women who called his clinics would apologize and shyly explain that they already had two boys. “Now they just call and [say] outright, ‘I want a girl.’ These mothers look at their lives and think their daughters will have a bright future their mother and grandmother didn’t have, brighter than their sons, even, so why wouldn’t you choose a girl?”

As one can see, these are significant stories, pieces that have considerable implications for life in modern America.  There are major shifts afoot; huge pressure is upon the church of God to conform to society.  Exactly how things will play out one cannot know, though we do know that a Man figures in rather prominently in the last days.  For some that is a consolation; for some it is a curse.

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Naselli on Keswick, Paralyzed Rodney Rogers, and Kluck’s New Press

TEDS PhD student Andy Naselli just published his first dissertation with Logos, Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology (2010).  It is a rich and engaging analysis of Keswick theology that is a genuine contribution to the academic guild.  Graced with a foreword by Tom Schreiner, it is worth your attention–and your dollars.  Learn more about how to understand Keswick theology through Andy’s scholarly spade-work (interview with Kevin DeYoung here).

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This is a deeply moving story on paralyzed former NBA player Rodney Rogers, one-time sixth man of the year.  A father of three, Rogers broke his neck while riding dirt bikes.  He now merely hopes to walk again.  Stuff like this makes one sit up and take life seriously (and pray for people like Rogers).  Time is precious; bodies are fragile; others need us.

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Ted Kluck, evangelical provocateur, has just started up a virtual publishing press with a buddy of his, Zach Bartels.  I haven’t read their first book, but it looks typically enjoyable and enlightening (Denny Burk liked it).  Look for more from Gut Check Press (make sure to check out Ted’s new Hello, I Love You, a looked-for book on adoption by Moody).

Ted is quotable.  Here’s a funny line from the story on the press from the Grand Rapids Press:

Bartels and Kluck plan to publish more books through Gut Check Press, though at the moment are accepting manuscripts only from themselves.

And another:

“We want to publish books your mom wouldn’t like, that are too edgy for the middle-aged women running publishing, “ said Kluck.

Ted throws his punches hard at times, but he’s a funny dude and an evangelical voice worth hearing out.

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A Beautiful Story on the Power of Music

Caught this moving story in WSJ, the magazine of the Wall Street Journal.  It’s from Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, the online personalized radio program:

Music is a tremendously powerful medium. I was in a Pandora town-hall meeting in New York. Near the end, this fellow got up. He had lost his hearing about eight years ago and was reading our lips while we were talking. He said Pandora had changed his life. As a song starts playing, he finds the lyrics, puts them up on the screen, puts his hands on the speakers and feels the music pulse through his body. People there were spellbound. I was choked up. That night, I couldn’t sleep.

This is just a powerful thing to read, firstly.  In God’s economy, the way He has created the world, music has a certain ineffable quality.

Secondly, it seems to me in some way a metaphor of the gospel.  I don’t have it all worked out, but there’s something here.

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Have you heard about the book The Strategically Small Church by Leadership Journal writer Brandon O’Brien?  If not, you’ll want to look for it when it comes out in the fall.  Though the market on church books is dominated by megachurch thinking, most churches are small.  How refreshing to see a book that reflects this and works from it to strengthen and equip all local churches, not just the massive ones.  Brandon is a gifted writer and thinker, so you might want to look for this.

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This is a great (and unexpected) story from the Southern Poverty Law Center on how the gospel is transforming race relations in some PCA churches in the south.  The article mentions Chris Hutchinson, a faithful pastor in beautiful Asheville, NC who pastors a strong church called Trinity Presbyterian.

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BookNotes: Coppenger on GCR, DeYoung on Heidelberg, Anyabwile on Muslims

It’s time for a new BookNotes list.  This being the list where we list a few recent noteworthy books.  I’ve got four for you today.

You’ve likely heard talk about the Great Commission Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention, but until now, there has been no small, easy-to-read introduction to it.  Jedidiah Coppenger of B&H Publishing has just edited a little volume entitled Retreat or Risk: A Call for a Great Commission Resurgence (B&H, 2010).  I’ve looked through it, and it has some great material.  Jed contributes a helpful chapter on the SBC,  David Platt challenges readers to take the gospel to the nations, and Al Mohler writes on the future of the SBC.  All well worth reading.  Pick it up–it’s cheap and accessible.

Kevin DeYoung recently released his interaction with the Heidelberg Catechism, entitled The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism (Moody, 2010).  The Heidelberg Catechism is perhaps best known for its question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?,” and its answer, “That I am not my own, but belong–body and soul, in life and in death–to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.”  This is a book worth picking up, one filled with stout commentary on Scripture and the need for holy living before the Lord.  Plus, it’s got Kevin’s trademark wit and insight, and will be a fun read besides.

Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, has just published The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence (Moody, 2010).  This pastoral work is a helpful primer on the sometimes fearsome task of Muslim evangelism.  In part one of the text, Anyabwile walks through differences between Christian and Muslim theology.  In part two, he offers practical evangelistic suggestions.  I found Thabiti’s own testimony about his conversion from Islam encouraging.  This little book will help to equip those of us who want to share the gospel with Muslims to do so with confidence and hope.

Finally, M. David Sills has written Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience (Moody, 2010).  This book offers a holistic look at missiology.  Danny Akin of Southeastern Seminary says the following about this new text: “David Sills makes the argument that a holistic and biblical methodology for missions must include both search and harvest strategies.  It must include evangelism and discipleship, church planting and theological training….This book is long overdue.”

If you are looking for further book reading recommendations, see Collin Hansen’s summer reading list, which was commented on in a prominent USA Today blog run by Cathy Lynn Grossman of that paper.

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