Theology

Book Review: Light from the Christian East

Payton, James R. Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2007. Softcover.

(Review copy courtesy of InterVarsity Press.)

Light from the Christian EastPurchase: IVP | Amazon | CBD

ISBNs: 0830825940 / 9780830825943

The Word Guild 2008 Canadian Christian Writing Awards winner!

Book Excerpts:

PDFPrologue

PDF1. Historical Perspectives

PDFScripture Index (corrected)



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The Mosaic Law and National Reconstruction

Note: This article is reprinted from The Faith Pulpit (January/February 1990), a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (Ankeny, IA).

by Ralph G. Turk, D.Min.
MosesThere is a movement today identified as Reconstructionism or Dominion Theology that has its roots in postmillennialism. It advocates establishing a theocratic kingdom in America based on the judicial laws of Moses. In fact, by its reasoning, the Christian is under a divine mandate to accomplish this end.

It has been popularized in recent years by Rousas J. Rushdoony in “The Institutes of Biblical Law” and Greg Bahnsen in “Theonomy in Christian Ethics.” Out of this has come the Chalcedon school which is a foundation that identifies itself as an independent Christian educational organization. Its viewpoint represents an exact opposite to the Biblical, dispensational position of fundamental Baptists. In essence, Reconstructionists argue the continuing and universal obligation of Old Testament Law.

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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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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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Knowledge, Humility, Zeal, and Leadership

Note: This article was originally published at SI on October 2, 2006.
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I really love Peter. It is so easy for us, in retrospect, to snipe at him for his antics, but I have been thinking a lot about him lately. Peter strikes me as a man who had given himself over entirely to follow Jesus. He rightly vested in Christ all of his hopes and dreams. So much so pryde_direction.jpgthat when asked if he were going to leave Jesus, he responded, “Where else can we go? You have the words of life.” Peter was exactly right; Jesus is the only way to life. All other paths are leading directly to sin and death.

Yet much of Peter’s ideas of discipleship were colored by his own misguided expectations and misunderstandings. Jesus had a habit of turning those expectations upside down, and we frequently find Peter struggling to reconcile what Jesus was doing and teaching with his own preconceived notions of the way things were supposed to be.

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Book Review: Future Israel

Horner, Barry E. Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged. NAC Studies in Bible & Theology. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2007. Jacketed Hardcover, xxii + 394 pages. $19.99.

(Review copies courtesy of B&H Academic.)
Future IsraelPurchase: B&H | Amazon | CBD

ISBNs: 0805446273 / 9780805446272

Note: This is volume 3 in the NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY STUDIES IN BIBLE AND THEOLOGY.

Features: Footnotes; 5 Appendices including an Annotated Bibliography of Jewish-Christian Relations in Church History; Author, Subject, and Scripture Indexes

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How Did Jesus Perform Miracles?

Note: This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.
That Jesus did perform a multitude of bona fide, undeniable, nature-superceding miracles is the clear and consistent testimony of the New Testament, most commonly noted in the Gospels and Acts. (For a convenient but not quite complete list of Gospel references to Jesus’ miracles, see A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels, p. 294.) One question requiring attention is, “How did Jesus perform these miracles? In His own divine power, or by some other means?”

One crucial theological aspect of Christ’s incarnation was His “self-emptying” as described by Paul in Philippians 2:6-7.

Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (NASB)

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