Thursday 30 September 2010

Q Ideas

I recently stumbled across Q Ideas which gathers together some very helpful material in various formats – video, audio, essays, etc. – in the four big areas of church, future, culture, gospel.

As the ‘About’ page notes: ‘Q educates church and cultural leaders on their role and opportunity to embody the Gospel in public life. We believe that exposure to old and new ideas is the best way to stimulate imagination for ways the Gospel can be expressed within our cultural context.’

A pain-free sign-up process is required to download some of the items.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Jonathan Lunde on Following Jesus

Jonathan Lunde, Following Jesus, the Servant King: A Biblical Theology of Covenantal Discipleship, Biblical Theology for Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, forthcoming 2010), 320pp., ISBN 9780310286165.

Lunde’s book will be the second volume released in Zondervan’s ‘Biblical Theology for Life’ series (the first by Chris Wright on The Mission of God’s People is already out).

A short excerpt of this one is available here, which includes the table of contents. It looks as if the main theological drivers in Lunde’s discussion of discipleship are covenant (its grace and its demands) and christology (Jesus as the Servant King).

Friday 24 September 2010

The Bavinck Institute and The Bavinck Review

Herman Bavinck is enjoying some attention at the moment, not least with the completion of the four-volume English translation of his Dogmatics and a full biography on the way.

And then there’s The Bavinck Institute, which ‘exists to promote Reformed scholarship in the line of Herman Bavinck and his neo-Calvinist contemporaries and proteges’.

Among other activities, the Institute produces The Bavinck Review, which is made freely available on the website six months after publication. The first volume (contents below) has just become available. Individual articles are available here, or the entire issue can be downloaded as a 3.3MB pdf here.


John Bolt

Introduction to The Bavinck Review


James D. Bratt

The Context of Herman Bavinck’s Stone Lectures: Culture and Politics in 1908

Dirk van Keulen

Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Ethics: Some Remarks about Unpublished Manuscripts in the Libraries of Amsterdam and Kampen

In translation

Herman Bavinck, trans. John Bolt

John Calivn: A Lecture on the Occasion of his 400th Birthday, July 10, 1509-1909

Pearls and Leaven

Bavinck Bibliography: 2008-2009

Book Reviews

Thursday 23 September 2010

A Conversation with James Davison Hunter

Following an earlier review (by James K.A. Smith) of James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World, The Other Journal is now carrying a conversation between Smith and Hunter.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

J.C. Ryle on the Duties of Parents

Feedbooks make available (here) a pamphlet on the duties of parents, originally published in 1860, written by J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool.

In the Introduction, Ryle writes that this ‘is a subject that concerns almost all’, that ‘all of us, I suspect, can do something here, either directly or indirectly’, also reminding his readers that ‘this is preeminently a point in which men can see the faults of their neighbours more clearly than their own’!

He calls the following points ‘hints about right training’, and asks readers not to reject them ‘because they are blunt and simple’ or ‘contain nothing new’.

1. Train Your Child Rightly

First, then, if you would train your children rightly, train them in the way they should go, and not in the way that they would.

2. Tenderness, Affection and Patience

Train up your child with all tenderness, affection, and patience. I do not mean that you are to spoil him, but I do mean that you should let him see that you love him.

3. Much Depends on You

Train your children with an abiding persuasion on your mind that much depends upon you.

4. Consider the Soul of Your Child

Train with this thought continually before your eyes – that the soul of your child is the first thing to be considered.

5. A Knowledge of the Bible

Train your child to a knowledge of the Bible.

6. A Habit of Prayer

Train them to a habit of prayer.

7. Diligence in the Public Means of Grace

Train them to habits of diligence, and regularity about public means of grace.

8. A Habit of Faith

Train them to a habit of faith.

9. A Habit of Obedience

Train them to a habit of obedience.

10. Always Speaking the Truth

Train them to a habit of always speaking the truth.

11. Redeeming the Time

Train them to a habit of always redeeming the time.

12. Fear Over-Indulgence

Train them with a constant fear of over-indulgence.

13. How God Trains His Children

Train them remembering continually how God trains His children.

14. The Influence of Your Example

Train them remembering continually the influence of your own example.

15. The Power of Sin

Train them, remembering continually the power of sin.

16. The Promises of Scripture

Train them remembering continually the promises of Scripture.

17. Continual Prayer for Blessing

Train them, lastly, with continual prayer for a blessing on all you do.

Michael S. Horton on Systematic Theology

Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, forthcoming 2011), 960pp., ISBN 9780310286042.

This one-volume systematic theology has been promised for a while, and is now slated for publication in January 2011. I’m looking forward to it, and will take the time to read it through when it comes out.

In a series of four significant volumes (a quadrilogy?) published over a number of years, Michael Horton has been seeking to integrate biblical theology and systematic theology on the basis of Scripture’s own categories, particularly covenant. ‘Covenant’, he holds, is highly suggestive given its emphasis in Scripture, and it can shed light on a variety of traditional theological topics in systematic theology, like God (the covenant maker), anthropology (the covenant partner), christology (the covenant mediator), soteriology (the covenant blessings), ecclesiology (the context of the covenant), eschatology (the covenant’s consummation).

The books to check out are:

Michael S. Horton, Covenant and Eschatology: The Divine Drama (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002).

Michael S. Horton, Lord and Servant: A Covenant Christology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005).

Michael S. Horton, Covenant and Salvation: Union with Christ (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2007).

Michael S. Horton, People and Place: A Covenant Ecclesiology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2008).

These are academic in tone, heavily footnoted, and necessarily engaged in discussion with scholarly peers, so I’m hoping that the new volume will bring Horton’s insights to a wider range of people who wouldn’t normally work through the more demanding tomes.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Marilynne Robinson on Absence of Mind

Christianity Today has an interview with Marilynne Robinson around her recent book, Absence of Mind, a polemic against some current contributions to popular science which ‘tend to reduce the person to brains, explaining away the strangeness and mystery of human experience’.

Books & Culture reviewed the book back in June here.

Christian Reflection on Monasticism Old and New

The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University kindly makes available online a quarterly publication called Christian Reflection. The current issue is devoted to ‘Monasticism Old and New’.

They write:

‘“The restoration of the church will surely come from a sort of new monasticism,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer predicted. Our contributors explore new forms of Christian community, sifting their continuity with classic monasticism and their transforming possibilities for our discipleship.’

The full issue is available as a pdf here, and a set of study guides to go with the articles is available here, seeking to ‘integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore how monastic communities, classic and new, provide a powerful critique of mainstream culture and offer transforming possibilities for our discipleship’.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

The Other Journal

The Other Journal regularly carries stimulating content, in my opinion, currently including a review by James K.A. Smith of James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World, and an interview with Brian McLaren around his most recent book, A New Kind of Christianity.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Biblefresh (September 2010)

The September 2010 Biblefresh email is available as a pdf here, and is worth checking out.

Among other things, it links to a free downloadable resource of ideas for a service based on Nehemiah 9-10, which includes suggestions for prayer, songs, and a sermon outline.

Sunday 5 September 2010

Tim Chester on Proverbs

Tim Chester, ‘On Answering a Fool: Making Sense of the Book of Proverbs’.

Here’s a short piece on the book of Proverbs, with reflections nicely organised under three main headings capturing three main thoughts:

A Created Order
Proverbs are rules of thumb reflecting belief in a created order.

A Moral Order
Proverbs are rules of thumb representing belief in a moral order.

A New Order
Proverbs leave us longing for Christ our Wisdom to create a new order.

Lausanne World Pulse (September 2010) on Christians in the Public Arena

September’s issue of Lausanne World Pulse is online, this one containing pieces on Christians in the public arena. The full version is available here, and the executive summary (from which the following summaries are drawn) is available here.

Doug Birdsall
Christians in the Public Arena: Our Calling from God

Christians and the public arena for the most part have not been peaceful bedfellows. However, Christians are called to be active in the public arena – to deliver God’s message of hope so others will believe in him. We must work toward creatively engaging the public arena with excellence in our work and testimony, Birdsall writes.

Ram Gidoomal
Christians in the Public Arena

There are Christians working in public service at all levels across the world, with major opportunities to represent Christ and impact society through their words and actions. Gidoomal offers six Christian principles for public service, including social justice, respect for life, reconciliation, active compassion, stewardship of resources, and empowerment.

Dion Forster
Business as Ministry

Many Christians spend between sixty and seventy percent of their waking hours at work – but how many of us, as Christians, deliberately work toward ‘taking Jesus to work’ with us so that others can encounter him? Forster shares an example from South Africa of how mission is being doing in the workplace.

Brett Elder
Stewardship and Discipleship: Two Sides of the Same Coin

It is urgent for the future of the Church that we recover a whole-life model of discipleship that understands every legitimate human activity as responding to a call from God. Millions of churchgoers are ‘Christians’ for only an hour a week – Christianity is something they do on Sunday morning rather than a way of life. The withering of discipleship is one of the gravest threats facing the Church today, Elder writes

John Godson
Christians in Public Service: Biblical Foundations, Lessons, and Dangers

After pursing politics himself, Godson shares reasons Christians should get involved in politics and advice for those pursuing this realm of civic life and others supporting those in politics.