Book Review—No Legal Grounds


by Adam Blumer

Bell, James Scott. No Legal Grounds. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007. Paperback, 339 pages, $13.99

(Review copy courtesy of Zondervan)

Purchase: Zondervan, CBD, Amazon

ISBNs: 0310269024 / 9780310269021

LCCN: PS3552.E5158 N62 2007

DCN: 813/.54 22

Subject: Fiction - Suspense/Mystery

James Scott Bell ( is a winner of the Christy Award of Excellence in Christian Fiction and the bestselling author of several suspense novels, including No Legal Grounds, Presumed Guilty, Breach of Promise, Deadlock, and Sins of the Fathers. A former trial lawyer, Bell makes his home in Los Angeles with his wife, Cindy.
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Book Review—Same Lake, Different Boat


Hubach, O. Stephanie, and Joni Tada. Same Lake, Different Boat: Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability. Phillipsburg, NH: P&R Publishing, 2006. Paperback, 234 pages. $14.99

(Review copy courtesy of P&R Publishing)
Hubach_Same LakePurchase: P&R; CBD;WTS Bookstore; Amazon

Notes & Glossary

ISBNs: 1596380519 / 9781596380516

LCCN: BV4460.H83

DCN: 261.8’324

Subject: Disabilities; Church & Ministry

Listen to a interview with the author on the “Joni and Friends” radio program. Look for the “Stephanie Hubach interview” program dated September 7, 2006.
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Book Review—The Bible and Contemporary Culture


Theissen, Gerd. The Bible and Contemporary Culture. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007. Paperback, 176 pages. $16.00

(Review copy courtesy of Fortress Press)
contemp.jpgPurchase: Augsburg/Fortress, CBD, Amazon

Publisher’s press release.

Special Features: Endnotes; Index of Ancient Texts [Scripture]; & Index of Names and Subjects

ISBNs: 0800638638 / 9780800638634

LCCN: BS511.3.T46 2007>

DCN: 220.6

Subjects: Bible, Contemporary Culture
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Things to Ask a Prospective Pastor


by Aaron Blumer

I’ve never been on a pulpit committee. But I have interacted with a few and read a fair number of screening questionnaires. I’ve seen the results of pulpit committee work many times. In my experience, both pulpit committees and congregations tend to overlook matters of great importance when choosing the pastors who will lead and feed them.
decisions.jpgSome of these matters are fairly obvious. The committee should get a comprehensive employment and ministry history and make contact with someone at every church where the candidate has served. If there are large gaps, the committee should do a criminal background check. The committee should verify the prospect’s training credentials and have him read the church’s doctrinal statement and comment on points of tension (if there are no points of tension, he’s either not being honest or the doctrinal statement is not comprehensive). Of course, the committee should ask about all the sensitive, emotionally charged issues churches tend to fight about (translations and music, for example).

And nowadays, it should be fairly easy to obtain and evaluate several preaching recordings, preferably in different settings over an extended period of time. If the committee notices overused phrases and repeated rants on pet topics, it should be concerned. What’s slightly annoying on a sermon recording may be extremely distracting in the pulpit every Sunday.

Some less obvious matters also require evaluation. How are his interpersonal skills? How does he view his role? How does he handle opposition and criticism? What liberties does he believe he is entitled to?
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Suffering Women to Learn?


In The Nick of Time
by Deborah Forteza and Kevin T. Bauder

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man…”
1 Timothy 2:12

Is it ever right for a seminary to give theological education to a woman? That depends upon what you think the purpose of a seminary is.

Most of our seminaries claim to exist in order to assist local churches in training church leaders. They especially focus on preparing pastors. Even so, nearly every seminary has students that do not enroll with a desire to shepherd a flock or to enter vocational ministry. Some of these students want to be better disciplers; others hope to be good Bible study leaders; and some simply wish to understand the Scriptures better for their own personal growth.

One could argue that if a seminary has been established to prepare pastors, then people who do not intend to be pastors should not be accepted. Few, if any, seminaries are that stringent, however. Who would object to admitting a student who simply wanted to be a knowledgeable and faithful deacon, even if he never meant to become a pastor? Indeed, would it not be unreasonable to deny seminary education to any believer who sincerely desired to study the Scriptures, increase in knowledge, and nourish his love of God?
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