Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Themelios 39, 1 (April 2014)

The latest Themelios is online here (and available here as a single pdf), containing the following articles:

D.A. Carson
Do the Work of an Evangelist

Off the Record
Michael J. Ovey
The Covert Thrill of Violence? Reading the Bible in Disbelief

Brian J. Tabb
Editor’s Note
What is the task and focus of Christian theology? What are the distinctive contributions of biblical theology and systematic theology? In this issue of Themelios, a distinguished systematic theologian (Gerald Bray) and biblical theologian (Thomas Schreiner) address these and other questions. Schreiner reviews Bray’s God Is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology (Crossway, 2012), with a response by the author. Then Bray reviews Schreiner’s The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Baker, 2013), followed by a response from Schreiner.

Thomas R. Schreiner
A Biblical Theologian Reviews Gerald Bray’s Systematic Theology

Gerald Bray
Response to Tom Schreiner

Gerald Bray
A Systematician Reviews Tom Schreiner’s Biblical Theology

Thomas R. Schreiner
Response to Gerald Bray

Collin Hansen
Revival Defined and Defended: How the New Lights Tried and Failed to Use America’s First Religious Periodical to Quiet Critics and Quell Radicals
Thomas Prince, editor of The Christian History – the first religious periodical in American history – could hardly have invented the Great Awakening, as Frank Lambert argues. Indeed, Prince and New Light allies such as Jonathan Edwards failed in their efforts to employ this growing medium to quiet critics and quell radicals. Their example actually refutes both the scholarly critics of revival, who doubt God’s supernatural blessing, and also modern-day radicals, who believe our actions guarantee God’s blessing of revival.

Robert W. Yarbrough
Should Evangelicals Embrace Historical Criticism? The Hays-Ansberry Proposal
Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Christopher Hays and Christopher Ansberry, argues that evangelical scholars have failed to embrace historical criticism to the extent that they could and should. This review essay surveys the book’s argument by chapters, asks how its claims should be evaluated, and arrives at the conclusion that while the Hays-Ansberry proposal marks a significant step in discussion of these matters, it is not always a step in a helpful direction.

Pastoral Pensées
Ray Van Neste
The Care of Souls: The Heart of the Reformation
Too often people think of the Reformation in terms of an abstract theological debate. While intensely theological, the Reformation was not merely about ideas; it was about correctly understanding the gospel for the good of people and the salvation of souls. This thesis is advanced by investigating Reformation leaders, primarily Luther, Calvin, and Bucer. As we seek to appropriate lessons from the Reformation for today, we must not miss the pastoral impulse that drove this recovery of the gospel.

Book Reviews

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Regent’s Reviews 5.2 (April 2014)

The latest edition of Regent’s Reviews is now available here.

It contains reviews of (among others), Sarah Coakley’s God, Sexuality, and the Self, Tony Lane’s Exploring Christian Doctrine, Nigel Biggar’s In Defence of War, Tom Wright’s Creation, Power and Truth, James K.A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom, and Graham Tomlin’s Looking through the Cross.

Earlier issues can be accessed here.

Friday, 18 April 2014

O Sacred Head, Once Wounded

For this year’s Good Friday...

O Sacred Head, Once Wounded,
With grief and pain weighed down,
How scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown!
How pale art Thou with anguish,
With sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish,
Which once was bright as morn!

O Lord of life and glory,
What bliss till now was Thine!
I read the wondrous story,
I joy to call Thee mine.
Thy grief and Thy compassion
Were all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.

What language shall I borrow
To praise Thee, heavenly Friend,
For this, Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Lord, make me Thine for ever,
Nor let me faithless prove;
O let me never, never
Abuse such dying love!

Be near me, Lord, when dying;
O show Thyself to me;
And for my succour flying,
Come, Lord, to set me free:
These eyes, new faith receiving,
From Jesus shall not move;
For he who dies believing,
Dies safely through Thy love.

The original poem, written in Latin and much longer than the four stanzas reproduced here, is sometimes attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) and sometimes to Arnulf of Louvain (d. 1250), so it has ancient pedigree either way. It was translated into German by Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676), and has been translated into English by several writers over the years.

John Dickson on Top 10 Tips for Atheists

This is an enjoyable piece by John Dickson on the top 10 tips for atheists this Easter.

Here’s the run down:

Tip #1. Dip into Christianity’s intellectual tradition
Tip #2. Notice how believers use the word ‘faith’
Tip #3. Appreciate the status of 6-Day Creationism
Tip #4. Repeat after me: no theologian claims a god-of-the-gaps
Tip #5. “Atheists just go one god more” is a joke, not an argument
Tip #6. Claims that Christianity is social ‘poison’ backfire
Tip #7. Concede that Jesus lived, then argue about the details
Tip #8. Persuasion involves three factors
Tip #9. Ask us about Old Testament violence
Tip #10. Press us on hell and judgment

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Catalyst 7 (Spring 2014)

Catalyst is a twice-yearly magazine, published by CARE, highlighting ministries ‘making a Christian difference’ as well as giving the latest CARE news.

This issue ‘has a focus of the outworking of our gospel responsibility, and how Christian love in action transforms lives’, and features include ‘a lively profile of UCCF, the Christian University Unions, and some special charities carrying out sensitive work to vulnerable people... an update on CARE’s public affairs work, an uplifting piece by Stuart Weir, CARE’s National Director for Scotland, and a lively report on The Big Promise event’.

The issue is available for browsing here, or downloadable as a pdf here.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Evangelical Alliance on Discipleship

The latest report in the 21st Century Evangelicals Series from the Evangelical Alliance UK highlights research about discipleship.

The full report – Time for Discipleship? – is available as a pdf here.

This is what the EA says:

‘This report has found that evangelicals see God at work in their lives, are using smartphone technology to help them read the Bible on the go, and really value their Church and home groups. But the research shows that challenges remain; including low prayer levels, a widespread feeling that churches are not doing well at discipling new Christians, and evangelicals saying they do not feel equipped to share their faith.’

PowerPoint presentation and discussion questions for churches are linked to from this page.

Andrew Williams on Biblical Lament and Political Protest

The latest Cambridge Paper from the Jubilee Centre is available online, this one by Denis Alexander:

Here is the summary:

‘This paper considers the pastoral and political role of biblical lament in the Christian life. The theology and practice of lament is often neglected in congregations, despite its prominence in the biblical text. Such neglect deprives churches of a pastoral resource and moreover, as this paper highlights, diminishes the church’s capacity for prophetic critique and political activism in the face of social injustice. This paper argues lament is needed in corporate worship and prayer, not only to give spiritual expression to faith wrestling with pain, but also to re-energise communities of believers to name injustice, recognise political agency and sustain prophetic action.’