Part of my preparation for my comprehensive exam next month, I must master the basic contours of the second half of the Christian Bible—the New Testament. While I am just scratching the surface, I have found this study so rewarding that I want to share my method and some of its fruits.
Irenaeus on the Christian Faith is James Payton’s condensation of the church father’s magnum opus, Against Heresies. Irenaeus, a theologian of the second century, presents a defense and presentation of the Christian faith against Gnosticism. In Book I of Against Heresies, Irenaeus painstakingly describes the gnostic teaching. He responds negatively in Book II by offering a thorough refutation. He then responds positively in Books III-V by presenting what Christians believe from the Apostles’ Teachings (Book III) and from the words of Christ (Book IV). Book V serves as an addendum, where Irenaeus adds “further teaching” from Christ and the Apostles. James Payton finds Irenaeus’ presentation of the Christian faith beneficial and edifying even for believers who are a couple millennia removed from the dangers of first century Gnosticism.
Aída Besançon Spencer has contributed a significant resource in the study of the Letter of James. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Kregel Publications, in exchange for an honest review. When evaluating exegetical commentaries, I typically look at three areas: 1) key features (usually dictated by the commentary series); 2) discussion… Continue reading A Commentary on James by Aída Besançon Spencer (Kregel Series) — A Book Review
A friend has asked me to respond to a discussion over at larapatricia.wordpress.com regarding speaking up against the government. I'm re-posting my answer to that discussion here at my space for easy reference. Is it biblical to speak up against the government? The simple answer: absolutely! Moses was commanded by God to speak against Pharaoh… Continue reading Speaking Up Against an Unjust Government, Civil Disobedience, and Pursuing Church Unity in Politics
David Mathis provides the church with encouragement and tools for spiritual growth in his monograph, Habits of Grace. Mathis highlights three principles of ongoing grace: hearing God's voice (Scripture), having God's ear (prayer), and belonging to his body (fellowship) (p. 15). His goal is to help the Christian see "how realistic and life-giving it can… Continue reading “Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines” by David Mathis — A Book Review
In Conversion, Michael Lawrence addresses the theological and practical problem that leads to false conversion in the church, especially among the children. He laments that, Too often our confessional theology says one thing, while our practical theology says something else. We say that regeneration makes us new creatures in Christ, but then we teach our… Continue reading “Conversion: How God Creates a People” by Michael Lawrence — A Book Review
John Onwuchekwa teaches his readers how to pray better corporately (as churches). In this short volume, Onwuchekwa laments the lack of corporate prayer that slows down and lingers on God's glories, attributes, and character unhurriedly, as well as the lack of meditation that confesses specific sins. Onwuchekwa, John. Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church.… Continue reading “Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church” by John Onwuchekwa — A Book Review
Mark Allan Noll, formerly a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, is now a research professor of history at Regent College. He holds a Ph.D. in History of Christianity from Vanderbilt University (1975). His dissertation was “Church Membership and the American Revolution: An Aspect of Religion and Society from the Great Awakening… Continue reading “Between Faith and Criticism: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America” by Mark A. Noll – A Book Review
Arthur Holmes, in The Idea of a Christian College, argues for the role and importance of a Christian liberal arts education. Holmes, Arthur F. The Idea of a Christian College. Rev ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987 Synopsis In chapter 1, Holmes argues that the purpose of a Christian college is to cultivate a liberal arts… Continue reading “The Idea of a Christian College” by Arthur F. Holmes — A Book Review
In Handbook of Christian Education, Horton provides a biblical philosophy for Christian education, outlining biblical teaching on education and deducing biblical principles regarding the teaching of subjects in a standard curriculum. Horton, Ronald. Handbook of Christian Education. Greenville, SC: BJU Press, 2017. Synopsis Part 1 In Part 1, Horton addresses the Christian Philosophy of education,… Continue reading “Handbook of Christian Education” by Ron Horton — A Book Review