Book Review: New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics

McGrath, Gavin, Walter Campbell Campbell-Jack and C. Stephen Evans, eds. New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2006. cloth, xx + 779 pages. $45.00
New Dictionary of Christian ApologeticsPurchase: IVP | WTS ($27.45) | CBD ($32.99) | Amazon ($32.85)

ISBNs: 0830824510 / 9780830824519 / 1844740935 / 9781844740932

Subject: Apologetics
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Courageous Femininity in an Emasculated Culture, Part 2

The Biblical Challenge of Being a Strong Woman in a Weak Man’s World

Read Part 1.

Deborah’s Story—Judges 4 and 5

Strong WomanThe biblical Deborah is relevant to today’s Christian woman because she symbolizes strong and courageous femininity in a culture of weak and fearful men. Deborah’s times and our times are similar. The eminent historian, Jacques Barzun, has pointed out that in times of decadence there is a “loss of nerve,” and this was the milieu in which Deborah lived. Decadence had broken down the moral fiber of men and women in Israel. Of all the judges mentioned in the Book of Judges, Deborah is the most virtuous. She lived and served with virtuous faith practically alone in an environment full of men who had simply buckled their knees to the oppression of the enemy. The people of Israel had rejected the Law of Moses by living in flagrant immorality and were now obsequiously serving people they had been called to destroy. Without virtue, therefore without spine.
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Christian Cultural Literacy

In The Nick of TimeNote: This article is a reprint of an essay published on June 24, 2005.

I recently had a chance to discuss the topic of Supreme Court nominations with a young woman who was studying for a career in law. Some of the terms we used included confirmation hearings, Senate committee, Federal Appeals Panel, separation of powers, checks and balances, and Chappaquiddick. In order to carry on our conversation, we both had to know what these terms meant. We also had to know that the other person knew what the terms meant. To complicate matters, these are not the sort of expressions that can be found in just any reference tool (try to find a dictionary that will give you the connotation of Chappaquiddick).

This conversation illustrates an important point: for communication to occur, both parties need to know more than definitions of words and rules of syntax. They must also share a certain amount of information, and share it in such an easy way that they may call upon it without having consciously to reference it. This shared information puts much of the color into their conversation. It provides the powerful images and the delicate nuances without which communication shades toward tedium and, eventually, incoherence.
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Getting What You Inspect

The Value of Spiritual Accountability

By all appearances, the pastor and his ministry were thriving. New people were visiting, members were growing in their walk with the Lord, and missions was an exciting arm of the church. There was no sign of any problem. Months later, though, the mask was ripped off, and the pastor’s consistent moral failure was revealed. A missionary was spending thousands of Magnifying Glasssupport dollars on lavish personal conveniences. A church member disguised his spiritual apathy and lack of devotion to his wife through years of performance in church events. How do these and many other sinful choices go on for so long without being noticed? While each person is responsible for his own actions, many spiritual battles can be won through loving accountability.
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The Shack, a Review

Note: This review has been reprinted with permission from the author. For a printer-friendly PDF version of this review, click here. The Shack

The Shack is the unlikeliest of success stories. The first and only book written by a salesman from Oregon, it was never supposed to be published. William P. Young wrote the tale for the benefit of his children and after its completion in 2005, it was copied and bound at Kinko’s in time for him to give it to his children for Christmas.

Shortly after he completed the book, Young showed the manuscript to Wayne Jacobsen, a former pastor who had begun a small publishing company. After the manuscript was rejected by other publishers, Jacobsen and his co-publisher Brad Cummings decided to publish it themselves under the banner of Windblown Media.

The three men, with only a $300 marketing budget at their disposal, began a word-of-mouth campaign to let people know about the book. The rest, as they say, is history.
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The Emerging Church: The New Worldly Church

Note: This article is reprinted from The Faith Pulpit (May-June 2008), a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (Ankeny, IA).
emergent_box.gifWhat are we to think of the emerging church movement? Does it have any validity? What are its dangers? Here, Dr. Douglas Brown of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (Ankeny, IA) combines careful analysis with biblical understanding to show us the hazards of this movement and how to help people avoid being enticed by it.

The emerging church (or emergent church) is an elusive movement.1 Attempting to understand and explain the emerging church is admittedly difficult. However, the movement is impacting the church today and needs our attention. This article will give an overview of the emerging church and offer some basic critiques.
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Rationalism and Mysticism

In The Nick of Time
Christian theology moves between two poles. On the one hand, it is impelled by the desire to understand God. Understanding implies explanation, and explanation is essentially a matter of giving reasons. This impulse leads us to ask why God is or does thus or so. If we cannot find clear reasons, then we at least seek for careful definitions. We may not be able to say why God is Triune, but we at least attempt to formulate as precisely as we can what the Trinity means. This theological pole could be called the rational impulse in theology.

At the other pole, theologians constantly bump up against the recognition that God is wholly other. They quickly learn that the predicates that we apply to God cannot be used univocally. Even so basic an assertion as “God exists” has to mean something different than the assertion that “we exist,” for God’s being is underived. He alone is self-existent—His being is different than our being.

Faced with the limitations of human understanding and human language, theologians sometimes despair of any rational knowledge of God. For them, theology becomes purely a matter of negation. They cannot meaningfully say what God is. They can only say what He is not. Rational knowledge of God is impossible.
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