Showing posts from March 30, 2014

Book Review: "Basil of Caesarea" by Stephen M. Hildebrand

Net Galley Review
Basil of Caesarea
Stephen M. Hildebrand
[In the Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality series, eds. Hans Boersma and Mark Levering]
Baker Academic (March 18, 2014)
ISBN: 9780801049071; $26.99

For many Protestants, especially Evangelicals, the early church pastors and theologians are something of a closed book. They sit at a far distance from the modern pressures and progresses, and appear to have little to say to Christians in the 21st Century. But there is a new move afoot that is attempting to retrieve our forbearers in the faith and make them accessible for Evangelicals, and one of the feeder-streams in the ressourcement rivulet is Baker Academic’s “Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality” series, edited by Hans Boersma and Mark Levering. The third volume of this series has now arrived on the scene; the 224 page paperback, “Basil of Caesarea” by Stephen M. Hildebrand, professor of theology and director of the theolo…

Book Review: "Taking God at His Word" by Kevin DeYoung

Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me by Kevin DeYoung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Newer Christians and older believers, seminary trained pastors and seasoned elders, parents and progeny, find themselves at times becoming stilted and stale when it comes to the Bible. Sometimes it is a result of the hermeneutic of suspicion spreading like a bad flu in our society, and at other times it comes about because of the sheer weariness of life and its disappointments. Like a Vitamin B12 injection comes Kevin DeYoung's newest 128 page paperback, "Taking God at His Word." This short, eight chapter book, is written with the average reader in mind. It reads quickly, yet without sacrificing substance.

DeYoung begins "Taking God at His Word" by laying out his overarching intent, "The purpose of this book is to get us to fully, sincerely, and consistently embrace" the enjoyment, trust and longing for…

Book Review: "Slogging Along in the Paths of Righteousness" by Dr. Dale Ralph Davis

Slogging Along in the Paths of Righteousness: Psalms 13-24 by Dale Ralph Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

He's done it again! Dr. Dale Ralph Davis, Minister in Residence at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., has succumbed to the temptation of putting forth another book on a portion of the Psalms. This 189 page paperback, fittingly titled "Slogging Along in the Path of Righteousness: Psalms 13-24," takes readers further down the trail the author began in his previous work, "The Way of the Righteous." Davis guides the reader, step by step, along the path of Psalms 13-24, pointing out the easy-to-spot scenery, but also describing the beautiful intricacies that color in the backdrop. Academic technicalities are rare, and when they do surface, they are easily handled.

As the title of the book puts it, the paths of righteousness are often a sloshing and slogging through muck. Davis doesn't soft-pedal the muck, but neither does he leave the reader to suffo…

Book Review: "The Way of Righteousness" by Dale Ralph Davis

The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life: Psalms 1-12 by Dale Ralph Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this 144 page paperback, Dale Ralph Davis walks the reader through the first twelve Psalms. He approaches the Psalms along the lines of Gordon Wenham in his book "The Psalter Reclaimed" (see my review of that fine work). Davis follows more of a canonical-redemptive flight pattern in interpreting the Psalms. Each Psalm is where it is for a reason, and that helps to unpack the meaning of the passage. But beyond that technicality, this is a delightful morsel to feed on, especially for weary, worn, watery-eyed souls that feel that their faith is becoming rice-paper thin."

"The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life" is truly what they title says. On the one hand, there are loads of reasons for God's covenant-love recipients to take heart. The God whom we love, not only loved us first, but continues to keep our plight in mind, guiding, sustaining, helping;…

Worship and Suffering Pt 3; 2 Corinthians 1.3-11

{TheSermon Audio File is here for you to listen to while reading through the notes below}
Worship and Suffering - 2 Corinthians 1.3-11 {As we wade into this passage, Father, show us things we easily miss, and drive home the great things we find it hard to believe. Amen}
The fictitious world many Christians and many Churches seem to be living in is reflected in books and preachers from Houston, Dallas, Tulsa and Tampa. They promote the notion that if you follow their plans, repeat their “Faith-Formulas”, kneel on their little Jesus Prayer Rugs, etc., and then everything will go A-OK. And many churches act as if the dirty little secret we should never talk about is suffering, and so their worship and communal-psyche is all PolyAnna-ish, running around looking for the glad verses in the Bible and ignoring the harsh, scummy, devilish realty that muck happens and it happens to God’s people – even the most godly and most saintly. And that’s what you see here in Paul’s 2nd letter to the C…

Pastoral Prayer - 30 March 2014

(Pondering Micah 2.13). Lord God you break out and go up before your people – breaking out of the limits, prejudices, perplexities and boundaries people try to force upon you. You strengthen your people that we too can break free of the constraining identities others seek to foist on us. And you send us forth with our king passing on before us, and you at our head. We thank you our barrier-breaking God! We adore you, worship you, and happily sing to you, O God our exceeding joy!

Father, we implore you for your church in all places – including this congregation;Sante Fe Presbyterian Church; Secret Place Community Church; Siloam Baptist Church; South Pointe Church; Southern Hills Christian Church; all of the congregations of the PCUSA; Bible Presbyterian Church; The Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches; Since our salvation is nearer than when we first believed, the night is far spent and the day is at hand; therefore help us to cast off the works of darkness, and put on the arm…

An Invocation (30 March 2014)

{This is from the morning worship assembly. Feel free to use it. Mike}
Lord God, you are not ashamed to call us your own. But who are we? Is there anything in our portfolios or résumés to impress you? Are our family lineage or domestic techniques worthy of your kind attentions? Do our degrees and titles make you blush with excitement? Can our theological prowess, precision and primness compel you to take notice of us? You are the God who shows no partiality; and so you search our hearts and know that in all of these things that may impress others, we have still sinned and fallen short of your glory. And yet you are not ashamed to call us your own for this reason – you do not retain your anger forever because you delight in steadfast love (Micah 7.18); and you have demonstrated that love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5.8). Glory to God in the highest! Therefore, with thanksgiving and with confident trust we come to adore you, and now pray …