Archives for February 2013

Lectionary Reflection for the Third Sunday in Lent

Luke BTCBThis excerpt comes from Luke (BTCB) by David Lyle Jeffrey, commenting on Luke 13:1-9:

The question about evil and its causes—or about evil and its relation to justice—can of course be asked in many ways. The epitome in biblical literature for theodicy examined from the perspective of unjust suffering is surely the book of Job; looked at from the other end, as a question about why the practitioners of evil seem to prosper as their victims suffer, it take theological form in Ps. 73.

Here it is the first perspective in which the question is raised, though the second hovers over it, since the Roman oppression was on everybody’s mind. In order to address the issue more fundamentally, Jesus adds to it the fate of some people killed in an accidental manner, perhaps through a flaw of engineering long unnoticed. Talbert suggests that the issue might well have been raised because some in the audience took absence of tragedy as a sign of God’s blessing, while thinking that “trouble is God’s punishment for sin”; the effect would be as much as to say, “Our lives are tranquil. . . why should we repent?” (2002: 145).

Whatever the motives of “some” in the crowd for turning to this subject, Jesus has an astringent answer: “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no.” The idea of a necessary causal connection between personal sin and the experience of suffering is here dismissed in a word.

But there is a more pressing, more universal question, and that is the question of the human sinfulness, from which no one is free, and its deeper consequences, from which no unredeemed person is exempt. Accordingly, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). In the context of Jesus’s immediately preceding eschatological remarks, this almost certainly means “perish eternally.”

The fig tree parable (13:6-9), as Cyril of Alexandria observed sixteen hundred years ago, is such that “the literal sense. . . does not need a single word of explanation” (1983: Homily 96). The fig tree has captured the attention of many an allegorist, however, and in the spiritual sense it has been associated with Israel, the synagogue, and even all humanity. Perhaps (as Bock 1994-96: 2.1208 and others suggest) it involves an allusion to Mic. 7:1-6, a passage already invoked in Luke 12:53.

Regardless, the net interpretation is unmistakable: God’s judgment regarding fruitfulness is imminent. This seems to weigh in favor of it being in its context a parable primarily about Israel.

 

©2012 by David Lyle Jeffrey. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Learning in the Crossfire – by Donald Opitz

This is an original post by Donald Opitz, co-author (with Derek Melleby) of The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness: A Guide for Students.

Donald Opitz (PhD, Boston University) is associate professor of sociology and higher education at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous articles and has worked as a pastor as well as a campus minister. 

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The venerable C. S. Lewis delivered a remarkable sermon in the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in October 1939. “Learning in War-Time” was written in the shadow of the Big One, and in his sermon, Lewis addressed students who felt cowardly or insignificant because they were not sacrificing their lives to defeat the enemy.

On behalf of his students and colleagues, Lewis asked, “How can we continue to take an interest [in the academy] when the lives of our friends and the liberties of Europe are in the balance?” When at every moment, lives—eternal destinies—are in the balance, how can we study literature or art or mathematics or even theology, for that matter?

Lewis realizes that this isn’t just a question for wartime. It is an “all the times” question for every Christian student. People perish every day, and there are so many important causes that cry out for loving attention. Does our academic work stand up under the shadow of national and eschatological urgencies? Is it frivolous or selfish to invest in our own learning?

Lewis reminds his audience that human culture has always existed under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. Yet there is no life apart from culture, and culture was our human assignment from the start. Culture is not swept away by the sirens of war, or even the trumpet blast of judgment.

For those of us called to teaching and learning, academic culture is the focus of our love and the fruit of our labor. East of Eden work is often toilsome, sometimes agonizing. But Lewis reminds us, as did the apostle Paul long ago, that “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Lewis turns to a theology of glory as the heart of this spirituality for everyday life and as the root of academic faithfulness.

The first sentence of this sermon is often quoted: “A university is a society for the pursuit of learning.” And here is the primary task for those of us gathered in this society: to see God more clearly and to see what God sees more clearly.

This road will not be an easy one. Lewis sees three challenges along this road that cut across his campus and your own: distractions, frustrations, and fears. Perhaps you feel that your learning is futile; that it does not matter; that you’re not good enough, smart enough, influential enough. Please remember that such fear and frustration isn’t of God, and that your calling isn’t to be acclaimed or even successful; it is simply to honor God in life-wide, deep-thought, loving-response faithfulness.

At the end of the day, we must not place our hope in human culture or expect too much from the academy. There is no academic panacea. The cure is not in us, and it is not on campus. No discipline discovers the Holy Grail. No discipline holds the key to wisdom. For only Christ is the source of all wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3).

The best our disciplines can do is to make ready the way for the One who comes and to make ready the way for all who are to come, so that in each aspect of the created and cultural world that is ours to tend, something glorious is growing and glowing there. Learning is leaning toward glory, and we do it best together.

We wrote The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness because we share the love that C. S. Lewis had for learning and for students. We hope that the book will help students to love learning and the Lord of learning a little more during their college years.

The Weekly Hit List: February 22, 2013

Speaking of DyingSpeaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith was reviewed by pastor Conrade Yap.

“I am deeply grateful for this book because it shines light into a dark place where few people dare to tread. It speaks into the needs of people who struggle with the questions of death and dying.

“Above all, as it helps the Church recover her voice for speaking hope to the dying, it also illuminates ways in which pastors, preachers, leaders, and concerned believers can participate in the ministry of caring for the dying.

“Well written and researched, intelligent and practical, this book is a strongly recommended reference book for all in Christian ministry and leadership. As much as we all want to live well, we need also to learn what it means to die well. This book provides much wisdom and guidance.”

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Christian Smith, author of The Bible Made Impossible, appeared on Dr. Bill Maier Live on Faith Radio.

Kevin Schut, author of Of Games and God, appeared on Relevant Magazine‘s web site with the article “Do Video Games Cause Violence?“.

Darkness Is My Only Companion by Kathryn Greene-McCreight was recommended as one of “My Top 5 Books on Mental Illness” by Amy Simpson on Christianity Today.

Matthew Dickerson, author of A Hobbit Journey, wrote an article for The High Calling: “The Slippery Slope of Idolatry.”

 

Cross-Shattered Christ Giveaway Winners:

Congratulations to Phillip Johnston, Laura Nickelson, Glenn Davis, Andrew Jacobs, and Cameron Merrill.

They have each won a copy of Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations on the Seven Last Words by Stanley Hauerwas on The Brazos Blog.

Keep checking back for our next giveaway.

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

February ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 41% off.

Abraham (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Paul (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
David (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Peter (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Women of the Gospels (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Women of the Torah (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis by Craig L. Blomberg
Magnifying God in Christ by Thomas R. Schreiner
Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament by G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson
Cross-Shattered Christ by Stanley Hauerwas
The Forgotten Ways Handbook by Alan Hirsch with Darryn Altclass

Lectionary Reflection for the Second Sunday in Lent – plus a giveaway

Luke BTCBThis excerpt comes from Luke (BTCB) by David Lyle Jeffrey, commenting on Luke 13:31-35:

What Jesus is saying, essentially, is that his ministry is now drawing rapidly to a close (the phrase “today, tomorrow, and the third day” should be taken figuratively to suggest rapid culmination rather than a literal three-day period) and that, as in the historical pattern for prophets, he will come to the end of his earthly road in Jerusalem.

It is in fact Jerusalem that is now weighing heavily on Jesus’s mind. His lament for Jerusalem is a synecdoche—a lament in which the city stands for all of Israel—which, as in his parables, has killed the prophets and stoned the messengers sent to them rather than repent.

His figure of a hen trying to gather her chicks under her wings to spare them from the ravages of fire will have special poignancy for anyone who has seen after a grassfire the burned carcass of a prairie chicken or pheasant that has sheltered and saved perhaps one or two, though seldom all, of her chicks. There is deep foreboding here, as well as parental sorrow. The image of a desolated house anticipates the house of David ravaged, the house of Jacob a wasteland.

When Jesus adds that “Jerusalem” shall not see him “until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'” (13:35), it is a way of warning that until the messengers of God are received by his chosen with gracious blessing and hospitality, Jesus himself will not again appear. Those in his immediate audience would have heard an echo of Ps. 118:26: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.” The familiar words of this psalm were sung in the “Great Hallel,” a recitation of Ps. 113-18 on every feast, in every family (Lightfoot 1979: 3.146).

The latter part, including 118:26, would have been the hymn that the Lord and the apostles sang at the end of the paschal meal on the Thursday before his crucifixion. It was called the “Great Hallel” because the head of the family or leader of the group would sing the whole, with the others singing after him the first line only of each psalm; after every verse they would respond antiphonally, singing “Hallelujah!”

No one in Jesus’s immediate audience could fail to get the deep layering of messianic portent in what Jesus is saying; it may be that later readers of Luke’s account are getting here also a literary foreshadowing of the sudden recognition of the Lord at the occasion of two disciples’ postresurrection hospitality to him, as to a stranger, at his blessing of the bread (Luke 24:13-35). The breaking of bread and blessing, a major theme in Luke, is heading toward its climactic sequence.

©2012 by David Lyle Jeffrey. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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Cross Shattered ChristFor your Lenten reading, we recommend Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations on the Seven Last Words by Stanley Hauerwas.

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas offers a moving reflection on Jesus’s final words from the cross. This small and powerful volume is theologically poignant and steeped in humility. Hauerwas’s pithy discussion opens our ears to the language of Scripture while opening our hearts to a truer vision of God. Touching in original and surprising ways on subjects such as praying the Psalms and our need to be remembered by Jesus, Hauerwas emphasizes Christ’s humanity as well as the sheer “differentness” of God.

Ideal for personal devotion during Lent and throughout the year, Cross-Shattered Christ offers a transformative reading of Jesus’s words that goes directly to the heart of the gospel.

We are giving away 5 copies of this book.

Behind the Book: Bryan Litfin on Getting to Know the Church Fathers

Today Bryan M. Litfin shares why he wrote Getting to Know the Church Fathers.

When someone asks me what I do for a living, and I say I’m a professor whose academic expertise is the early church fathers, I often receive a blank stare. Christians today rarely have any idea of who the early church fathers might be. If this is true in your case, I believe you are missing something valuable. To illustrate what I mean, let me tell you a story about a boy I call Billy.

Getting to Know the Church Fathers

Little Billy loved his grandmother very much. His childhood years were filled with visits to her house after school or on Sunday afternoons. If while playing in the yard Billy happened to fall and scrape a knee, Grandma was there with some old-fashioned concoction to tend his wound (though in truth her comforting words accomplished far more as a remedy). Billy simply loved going to his grandma’s house. She always lavished care and concern on him, giving her undivided attention to whatever he might be interested in at the moment.

But when he became a teenager, Billy’s visits to Grandma’s house became less frequent. He had a driver’s license now, and his schedule was filled with sports and activities. Eventually his visits to Grandma’s house were only at Christmas, if at all. Soon the young adult named Bill had a demanding career, a family, and a life of his own.

And so it was that Grandma’s death came as something of a shock to Bill. The responsibility fell to him to dispose of her possessions and sell her house. Bill began to reflect in new ways about his grandmother and his family line. “Who was this woman?” he wondered. “Where did she come from? What people and values shaped her world?” It dawned on Bill that while she had shown great interest in every minor preoccupation of his life, he had never really known her as a person. Bill began to regret that in a profound way.

One day he was cleaning out his grandmother’s attic. His eyes fell on a large object in the corner: a cedar hope chest of the kind that, back in the old days, women received when they were married. Bill opened it with hushed expectation, like a pirate discovering long-lost treasure in the stories Grandma used to tell.

The chest was indeed filled with treasure but not the kind made of silver and gold. Bill first picked up an old baseball glove, which smelled richly of leather and oil. It had his long-deceased grandfather’s name handwritten on it. Next he examined a necklace with a finely crafted ivory locket hanging from the chain. Inside were two small pictures of Grandma and Grandpa. On the back the locket was engraved with the words, “Until I return.” But Grandpa had not returned from the war. A photo album of black-and-white pictures, now yellowed with age, told the full story of their lives—all the joys and sorrows, the light moments and memorable occasions, of lives lived in the real world.

At the bottom of the hope chest was a leather-bound family Bible inscribed with Grandma’s name. As Bill flipped the delicate pages, he discovered marginal notes and scraps of paper brimming with his grandmother’s prayers, wise observations, and private spiritual longings. Moisture gathered in Bill’s eyes as he remembered how she had offered him some of these same Christian observations—but only rarely, for Bill had typically been disinterested in such matters and quick to run off to the next game or activity. As he sat on his knees in front of the old hope chest, Bill berated himself, asking, “Why didn’t I take the time to explore this legacy when I had a chance?”

It is all too easy to let the past be crowded out by the urgencies of the present and the opportunities of the future. This is certainly true when it comes to the ancient church. We know there were famous Christians who lived “back then,” but we can’t quite put a finger on who they were or what they did. Something about the Romans and the lions and all that, right?

Yet despite our indifference to their world, we are inextricably bound to the church fathers. They are our spiritual ancestors, for better or worse. It is easy to go through life like Bill: vaguely aware of the past, yet too busy with present responsibilities to think about something as intangible as heritage. Yet, like Bill, we are missing real treasures if we do not explore our spiritual origins.

I wrote Getting to Know the Church Fathers to introduce modern people to the ancient Christians. If you lift the lid of the hope chest and take a peek inside, you won’t be disappointed by what you find inside.

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Bryan M. Litfin (PhD, University of Virginia) is associate professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute.

For more information on Getting to Know the Church Fathers, click here.

The Weekly Hit List: February 15, 2013

Educating All God’s Children (April 2013) by Nicole Baker Fulgham was reviewed by Publishers Weekly.

Educating All Gods Children

“Despite a strain of anti-intellectualism among extreme Christian conservatives, Christianity has historically been at the forefront in promoting both public and private educational systems. Baker Fulgham, who leads a faith-based education reform group, makes this point as she calls on Christians in this, her first book, to once again lead the way.

“While contributing valuable data on the ‘achievement gap”’between low- and high-income schools, the systemic inequities that shape academic outcomes, and innovative grassroots models of church and public school partnerships, she excels at illustrating biblical principles and personal stories in a conversational tone sure to engage the reader. Her goal is clear: she’s on a mission to bring more people of faith into the fight to save the minds of America’s low-income children.

“Given the unpopularity of tax increases of any kind, however, it will be critical for Christians—especially the evangelicals whom Baker Fulgham particularly addresses—to use their ‘strong and powerful advocacy voice’ for policies that will close educational gaps.

“Baker Fulgham is well-informed and stands on a firm historical foundation. (Apr.)”

 

Quick Hits:

The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns was reviewed by Winn Collier for Religious Herald:

“In the area of human origins, the theological debate currently brewing is over whether or not the creation story demands a literal, historical Adam and Eve (verses [sic] Adam and Eve as a ‘prototype’ or a literary metaphor referring to human ancestors). The question is not merely a revision of the old liberal/fundamentalist controversy but rather a nuanced conversation about interpreting Scripture properly so that it can have its full authority. Peter Enns is at the center of this current debate, and this volume will give a concise view of one perspective.”

 

Grand Entrance by Edith M. Humphrey was reviewed by The Living Church (to read the full review, you must have a subscription):

“In this graceful and inspiring volume, Edith Humphrey . . . celebrates the central theme of liturgical worship through Christian history: entrance into the presence of God.” 

 

Of Games and God by Kevin Schut was cited in a World Magazine article.

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was reviewed by blogger “Camostar.”

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

February ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 41% off.

Abraham (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Paul (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
David (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Peter (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Women of the Gospels (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Women of the Torah (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis by Craig L. Blomberg
Magnifying God in Christ by Thomas R. Schreiner
Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament by G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson
Cross-Shattered Christ by Stanley Hauerwas
The Forgotten Ways Handbook by Alan Hirsch with Darryn Altclass

Lectionary Reflection for the First Sunday in Lent – plus a giveaway

LukeThis excerpt comes from Luke (BTCB) by David Lyle Jeffrey, commenting on Luke 4:1-13:

Scripture narrative presents three direct temptations by Satan; these, in canonical order, are the temptation of Adam and Eve, the temptation of Job, and the temptation of Jesus here in Luke’s Gospel. Unsurprisingly, these three episodes have been connected by Christian exegetes down through the centuries in various ways, but especially by seeing the resistance of temptation by Jesus as a paradigmatic reversal of the yielding of Even and Adam in the garden of Eden.

That this connection is invited by Luke, arranging and concluding his genealogy of Jesus as he does with Jesus as “the son of Adam, the song of God” (3:38), has seemed to much of Christian tradition an obvious element of his narrative design. Thus, Ambrose speaks for many: “There is here an Adam typology and a Genesis background to this story: as Adam is cast out of paradise into the wilderness, so Christ, the new Adam, goes into the wilderness on our behalf, then to come forth from that temptation to lead us back to paradise” (Exposition of Luke 4.7). . . .

What seems to emerge in these Lukan passages is a strong reminder that in biblical narrative in general there is a cosmic agōn or struggle taking place for the human soul (Calvin 1972: 1.135). In the temptation of Jesus, most fully recounted by Matthew and Luke (Mark mentions it only briefly and John not at all), it is as though the fundamental antagonist to God and his creation has been exposed in a face-to-face encounter with the now revealed protagonist of salvation history, the Redeemer, toward whom all the other narratives and prophecies of scripture had long been pointing.

This too is a part of the reader’s growing sense of the “fullness of time” now appearing. That this confrontation was not an accidental encounter but rather a deliberate showdown willed by the divine author of salvation history is indicated by Luke’s beginning his narrative of this event by specifying that Jesus, newly signified from heaven as God’s anointed, was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and that it was the Spirit who “led [him] . . . into the wilderness” (4:1). . . .

For the church historically spiritual conflict with the adversary has made Jesus’s example of defense by a deep sense of scripture an important principle. For Luke himself, it is the distinctive question of Jesus’s identity that takes precedence, however. Luke wants us to see that the baptized Chris, divinely ordained to his ministry of preaching the salvation of God, is uniquely, unequivocally God’s Anointed One.

Jesus, though echoing the prophets, is not their equivalent. He is rather the Son of God who alone overcame by the word of his power. When the archtempter offered just such temptations as those to which we ourselves fall heir, Jesus answered Satan in each case with a definitive word of God, citing, as in the third instance (which is a summary of Deut. 6:16), just the pertinent divine word to answer a distorted citation of that word.

 

©2012 by David Lyle Jeffrey. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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Cross-Shattered ChristFor your Lenten reading, we recommend Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations on the Seven Last Words by Stanley Hauerwas.

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas offers a moving reflection on Jesus’s final words from the cross. This small and powerful volume is theologically poignant and steeped in humility. Hauerwas’s pithy discussion opens our ears to the language of Scripture while opening our hearts to a truer vision of God. Touching in original and surprising ways on subjects such as praying the Psalms and our need to be remembered by Jesus, Hauerwas emphasizes Christ’s humanity as well as the sheer “differentness” of God.

Ideal for personal devotion during Lent and throughout the year, Cross-Shattered Christ offers a transformative reading of Jesus’s words that goes directly to the heart of the gospel. Now in paperback.

We are giving away 5 copies of this book.

Christian Scharen on How to Approach Popular Culture

Today we feature an excerpt from Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen, on how Christians can approach popular culture.

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Broken HallelujahsWhat good is it if we love only those who are “good Christians,” as my grandma used to say? When she said that, she acted as if such a judgment was the litmus test for whether we ought to listen to what someone had to say. I want to argue, to the contrary, that even if something in pop culture is so twisted that its portrayal of horror only offers a broken cry, that cry is worth hearing. Why? Because Christ is in that cry, God listens to that cry, and we Christians as the body of Christ ought to hear it too.

The Saw films may not, in the end, be any good. They may not be redemptive in any way. Our family would never take our kids to see them, and I wouldn’t ever want to see them myself (as it turns out, I dislike the horror genre in general). It is worth saying, furthermore, that those who produce the films and those who see them likely don’t understand what they are making or consuming in this theological perspective.

Yet, if the theological framework I have developed thus far holds water, such cultural creations cannot be Godforsaken. More than that, we can’t know whether Saw VII or Kanye West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or any other cultural production is any good unless, following C. S. Lewis’s understanding of Christian discipleship, we have practiced surrender.

Christian Scharen

An obvious shorthand for this invitation to practice surrender is C. S. Lewis’s simple (but not simplistic) juxtaposition of looking “at” something with looking “with” it. Looking “with” something is, he agrees, not the easier of the two ways. We don’t have time enough for surrender to each cultural creation, and so we cannot always know whether what we see when looking “with” it is is any good, for us or for the world as God intends it.

That is why, after all, constricted imagination is such a common approach to pop culture. The constriction leads to a checklist that can be certain, clear, and easy. Accept this, reject that. Yes! Done!

I am sympathetic to the ease of this approach. I too want a way to make judgments about the music, film, games, and other popular arts I engage. Yet, if this book has done anything, I hope it has raised serious theological doubts about such an approach. God gets terribly small when we follow the trail of constricted imagination: God’s here (with me), God’s not there (with you).

No, I say! Just when we think we have got that one straight, Jesus gives us the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, and the sinner comes out looking the better (Luke 18:9-14).

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Christian Scharen (PhD, Emory University) is assistant professor of worship and theology and codirector of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has authored a number of books, including One Step Closer and Faith as a Way of Life.

For more information on Broken Hallelujahs, click here.

The Weekly Hit List: February 8, 2013

Of Games and GodOf Games and God by Kevin Schut was reviewed by blogger Joel Watts and by blogger Conrade Yap.

“Kevin Schut’s book is a must read for those struggling with the returning question of just what good are games and what are games good for.” 

To read more of Joel Watts’s review, click here.

 

“As a gamer-enthusiast himself, Schut covers a lot of ground with regards to the range and the depth of understanding of how games work, why gamers play, and what it means for Christians. . . . This rare book is worth reading for anyone desiring to understand a little more of what games is about, and how to connect better with gamers.”

To read more of Conrade Yap’s review, click here.

 

Of Games and God was also reviewed by Janelle Weibelzahl, who worked with Kevin Schut on this book.

“The reason I am so excited about the release of this book . . . is that it begins a conversation that needs to be had by Christians about video games. . . . recognizing that video games are an unavoidable and growing part of our culture, Schut invites us on a journey towards a critical understanding of the relationship between faith and games. He offers us the tools to think intelligently about games, to ask for ourselves the question, ‘How should we then live?'”

 

Quick Hits:

Luke (BTCB series) by David Lyle Jeffrey was reviewed by Justin Boulmay.

Speaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith was included in Princeton Alumni Weekly.

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

February ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 41% off.

Abraham (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Paul (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
David (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Peter (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Women of the Gospels (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
Women of the Torah (Ancient-Future Bible Study) by Stephen J. Binz
A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis by Craig L. Blomberg
Magnifying God in Christ by Thomas R. Schreiner
Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament by G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson
Cross-Shattered Christ by Stanley Hauerwas
The Forgotten Ways Handbook by Alan Hirsch with Darryn Altclass

Lectionary Reflection for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany

LukeThis excerpt comes from Luke (BTCB) by David Lyle Jeffrey, commenting on Luke 9:28-36:

As at the first Passover the blood of the lamb slain marked out for deliverance the families of the chosen people who Moses would lead out of bondage and into freedom, so here we are on the cusp of the greater deliverance of which that was the harbinger. Jesus, the Chosen, Suffering Servant, and Lamb of God, for sinners to be slain, is the fulfillment of all that the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) have spoken.

Peter the spokesman, James the first martyr, and John the beloved are selected to receive thus a privileged insight into the meaning of their spiritual history and its culmination in Jesus. For them, what they see is a paradigm of Jewish identity in which God as revealed in Jesus is united with all that God has been doing in the history of redemption.

The radiance of Jesus’s face would have recalled that of Moses coming down from the presence of God on Mount Sinai—except, as John of Damascus noted, that whereas Moses bore a reflected glory, our Lord’s radiated from within, “proceeding from the inherent brightness of the divine glory” (Sermon on the Transfiguration 13). This radiance is accordingly a further manifestation to the disciples of the divine identity of Jesus; as Cyril of Alexandria has it, they were having a preview of Christ’s eschatological return in majesty (1983: Homily 5).

In Bede’s way of putting it (Homilies on the Gospels 1.24), “the transfigured Savior shows the glory of his own coming for our resurrection. . . . As he then appeared to his apostles, [he] shall in like manner appear to all the elect.” And he quotes to the point a later scripture: “It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2 KJV). Calvin, focusing on the main text, adds that “he gave them such a taste of his infinite glory as they were able to receive” (1972: 2.198). . . .

As the transfiguration ends, the three see Jesus “alone,” and this time, they apparently need no warning to “keep it close,” not to disclose “in those days any of those things they had seen” (Luke 9:36). They had been standing on very holy ground, and they now understood the identity of Jesus in a far more profound way than ever before.

 

©2012 by David Lyle Jeffrey. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.