Don’t tell me N.T. Wright denies PSA

25 01 2010


A Few Great Reads

13 01 2010

These are some of the books I’ve read of late that I really enjoyed over 2009 and early 2010.
My focus was to spend a lot more time reading the Bible and I’ve got quite a few commentaries on the list to show that.
So here are some of my favourite reads in no particular order:

 J.A. Thompson – New International Commentary on Jeremiah
It’s pretty much the standard evangelical commentary on Jeremiah.
Some have said its a bit dated, but I found it full of great insights. Highly reccomended.
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Dinner With Skeptics – Jeff Vines

12 01 2010

I went to Jeff’s Church in New Zealand, and listened to him preach. He was excellent then and his book is no different. As I read the book Jeff’s voice kept playing in my head. Jeff is a quick thinker and a very logical man, and it shows in this book. But his heart for people shines through too. His answers were solid and he gave a good defence of the Christian faith. The objections are nothing new to me, I’ve heard them before from many other apologetics books like “Reason for God” – Tim Keller and “Reasonable Faith” – William Lane Craig. This book is different from those because it sets Jeff’s apology in a real life situation, and the story line really hooks you in. I found myself wanting to know what happened next. In saying that it’s an easy read and you should finish it in a day or two. Some concerns for me as a student of theology, is that Jeff resorts to a form of open theism or arminian interpretation of the problem of Evil. God takes a risk in creating creatures with free will who will possibly break his heart and use their freedom for evil instead of good. Albeit Jeff does say in the footnote that God was not caught off guard. I don’t find this convincing especially when we scripture speaks of God as omnipotent, as one who declares the begining from the end. Also we note in Genesis that God created a world where sin was a latent possibility (why would paradise have the tree of knowledge of good evil?). Somehow I think God knew and planned all things in life, and that somehow all things work together for the good of those who love Him. I realise there are many different ways to tackling this problem and even the best interpretation of the facts will not give us complete knowledge. Different intepretations are a good thing, and this is a minor flaw in my view.

Overall this is a good book and one I would reccomend as a tool for evangelism or equipping the average Christians with some good answers for skeptics

Jesus wants to save Christians – Rob Bell

11 01 2010

First post of the new year! All right and it’s a quick one too. Having read Bells other books (Velvet Elvis and Sex God) I wasn’t holding my breath for anything good but I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I really liked it. The book deals primarily with the idea, explored by many New Perspective theologians (N.T Wright in particular) and Pauline Scholar Tom Holland, of exodus and exile theology in the Bible. Bell traces the narrative of the Bible along these themes. It’s a critique of “Empire”, and that term is defined as the book progresses. Bell spends most of his time looking at the empires in scripture and compares them to the current American “Empire”. At some points the critique is sharp and hits the nail on the head. At other times I got a sense that it was bordering on Anti-American sentiment. I tire of anti-american sentiment in the same way I tire of american patriotism. Neither are the way forward. I keep coming back to the fact that although America may have many problems, it still sends out thousands of missionaries, and allows the Gospel to be proclaimed freely. However there are many times where the Gospel has been co-opted by the American gospel. Under Solomon Israel became a nation not unlike America, and there were many similarities. Most notably in the fact that Solomon started to amass a large army and built military bases on foreign (or near foreign) soil, not too dissimilar from America’s actions in the middle east or cuba.  One negative thing that continues from Bells previous books are some spurious and weak links to Old Testament e.g. the fact that the ethiopian eunich in Acts was riding in a chariot and chariots are symbols of the empire, so Luke is showing us the redemption of chariots.  A weak link if ever there was one. Following on the theme of exile and exodus Bell makes an excellent point that the heart of every human being is in a state of exile, east of eden, and what is needed is not just a physical exodus from egypt but one that deals with the human hearts exile. Fantastic! That is right on the money. On the whole the book is sound and will show you God’s heart for justice, for the oppressed, and to put the world to rights. I reccomend it!