The Weekly Hit List: January 17, 2014

Of Games and God by Kevin Schut was reviewed by several reviewers for EFCA Today.

Of Games and God is part of a growing body of literature encouraging Christians to think critically about our relationship to technology. . . .

“For the pastor wanting to understand the child playing Elmo Loves ABCs, the teenager playing Call of Duty, the young professional playing World of Warcraft or the mom playing Candy Crush, Of Games and God helps us think about God, faith, video games and gaming culture from a distinctly Christian perspective.”

Read the rest of the reviews here.

 

And in case you missed it, this past Monday Kevin Schut spoke at The January Series at Calvin College.

Video of his talk is available here.

 

Quick Hits:

Living into Focus by Arthur Boers was recommended by Walt Mueller.

Roger Olson shared that he is reading iGods  by Craig Detweiler.

Of Games and God by Kevin Schut and The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns were recommended by Pastor  Matt Mitchell.

Educating All God’s Children by Nicole Baker Fulgham was quoted on Flower Patch FarmGirl blog.

Jesus and Money by Ben Witherington III was quoted by Paul Beasley-Murray.

 

Ebook Specials:

The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture by Christian Smith is only $2.99 (82% off) from participating retailers through January 23.

The Weekly Hit List: November 22, 2013

Living into Focus by Arthur Boers was reviewed in Mockler Memo.

“In the midst of chaotic schedules and beeping smartphones is precisely where God calls us to find or create relevant, contextualized focal practices. A healthy Silicon Valley career — just like that of a Montana-based writer — requires focal practices like meditation and study, prayer groups, jogging at noon, the evening walk, the music lesson or dance group, and the household feast on weekends (at least).

“Boers never suggests that technology per se is evil, nor does he invite us all to move out into rural communes. His message, so biblical, so appropriate today, is to be thoughtful and aware and make space and time in our lives for what is truly important.”

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Devin Brown, author of A Life Observed, was quoted in “50 years ago, Kennedy, Huxley and Lewis followed different paths to the grave” in Deseret News.

Devin Brown was also quoted in The Imaginative Conservative.

Kevin Schut, author of Of Games and God, appeared on Issues, Etc.

iGods by Craig Detweiler was referenced on Hopeful Realism blog.

 

Ebook Specials:

Jesus and Money: A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis by Ben Witherington III is only $3.99 (79% off) through November 23.

Excerpt from Jesus and Money

The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of Jesus and Money: A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis by Ben Witherington III.

Now through November 23, the ebook of Jesus and Money is available for only $3.99 (79% off).

More information and a list of participating retailers is available here.

——————————————————

It is important from the start to recognize that money is just one sort of asset, one sort of material good that exists in this world, and from a theological point of view all such “stuff” should be discussed together. The rationale for such a discussion comes from the very first chapter of the Bible, where we read the following: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” and then it goes on to say at the end of the chapter “and God saw all that he had made, and it was good” (Gen. 1:1 and 31). All things—the whole material universe and everything in it—are created by God. Equally important, all things were created good. Trees are good, the sun is good, animals are good, food is good, minerals are good, people are good, and so on. There is nothing inherently evil about any material thing, not even money. Of course it is true that human beings have the capacity to take a good thing and turn it into something harmful and even wicked, like turning the coca plant into cocaine.

But there is an important corollary that comes with the notion that God created all things, and made them all good. That corollary is that all things ultimately belong to God. They do not “belong” in the fullest sense to human beings. As the psalmist puts it, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all who dwell there” (Ps. 24:1). Properly speaking, God is the only owner of all things, whether born or made, whether natural or humanly fashioned. This sounds simple and obvious enough, but all too often we fail to think about money and material possessions in this proper theological way. And that failure leads to a host of problems. Apparently it is easy to forget that we brought nothing with us into this world, and even if we are buried with our pink Cadillacs we can’t actually take them with us. Perhaps you’ve heard the humorous story about a man who was about to die so he liquidated all his assets, turning them into gold bricks. He required his family to pack the bricks in two suitcases and bury them with him. When he arrived at the pearly gates St. Peter met him and immediately noted the oddity that this man had come to heaven with luggage. “What’s in the suitcases?” inquired Peter. The man proudly opened his suitcases. Peter stared into them nonplussed, then said: “You brought pavement up here? Pavement?”

Christians can have some pretty odd notions about the issue of ownership in this world. What a proper understanding of the Genesis creation story reminds us of is that God is the maker and owner of all things, and so, as the story of Adam and Eve makes evident, we are but stewards of God’s property. Our task is to be good stewards of property we do not own. Adam and Eve were to fill the earth and subdue it, they were to be fruitful and multiply, they were to tend and take care of the garden, but they were not to think they owned the world just because they worked in the world. And this brings us to another important point.

In modern Western culture we place a high value on work, which is fine, but one of the philosophical assumptions that can come with such values is that we assume that we own what we earn or buy. From a biblical point of view this is extremely problematic. There isn’t any necessary correlation between hard work and ownership. Think, for example, of all the hard work that went into building the pyramids in Egypt. Most of the workers were slaves, and they had no delusions that because they built the pyramids they owned the pyramids. No, they believed that both the pyramids and they themselves belonged to Pharaoh! In this sense (excepting of course that Pharaoh is not God), they had a more biblical worldview of work than most of us do. Our hard work may be well rewarded or not. It may produce prosperity or not. But until we see all that we receive, whether by earning it or receiving it without work, as a gift from God, a gift we should use knowing who the true owner of the gift is, we will not be thinking biblically about such matters.

 

©2010 by Ben Witherington III. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Ebook Special for Jesus and Money by Ben Witherington III

Now through November 23, the ebook for Jesus and Money: A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis by Ben Witherington III is only $3.99 (79% off) from the following participating retailers:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

CBD

 

“In this comprehensive review of statements in the Bible about economics, wealth, and poverty, [Witherington] analyzes canonical texts and their contemporary applications for Christians. . . . From unpacking perplexing gospel stories like ‘the dishonest steward’ to offering concrete advice on how to separate from a culture of conspicuous consumption (discerning between necessities and luxuries and practicing debt forgiveness are among the practices he advocates), this cogent, accessible, scholarly analysis contributes to the current economic conversation and urgently calls people of faith to review and reform their role as God’s stewards. Appendixes include popular Christian myths about money, and a powerful and apt 18th-century sermon on money by John Wesley.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Sadly pertinent to the current economic situation, this book examines Scripture with diligence and intelligence, seeking the teachings of Jesus and his followers on wealth, poverty, giving, and debt. Best of all, Witherington includes an appendix of ten myths about Christians and money that, rightly understood, are stinging rebukes to the adherents of the so-called Prosperity Gospel. . . . For all Witherington’s scholarship, this work should nonetheless be accessible to most readers. It offers ample evidence for Witherington’s assertions about what Jesus might have made of our current economic predicament.”
Library Journal

Widespread unemployment. Record home foreclosures. A vulnerable stock market. Government bailouts. In the wake of a sobering global recession, many Christians realize they need to rethink their approach to money. Here respected New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III explores what the Bible doesand doesn’tsay about money. He clearly and concisely examines what Jesus and his earliest followers taught about wealth and poverty, money and debt, and tithing and sacrificial giving to help readers understand the proper role of money in modern Christian life. Along the way, he critiques the faith promise and health-and-wealth approaches to these issues, showing what good stewardship of God’s possessions really looks like. Church study groups, pastors, church leaders, students, and all who are concerned about making sense of money in a world of economic uncertainty will value this book.

The Weekly Hit List: July 13, 2012

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was reviewed by Comment Magazine.

“Smith’s argument, however, is not simply critical. He offers a positive, even if tentative, plan for rightly dividing the word of truth.

While his main argument is that ‘pervasive interpretive pluralism’ violates the expectations that biblicism itself sets up, Smith appears also to think that biblicism helps generate (or at least exacerbate) interpretive pluralism.

Thus, his positive account functions, in part, to rein in some of biblicism’s more egregious results.”

 

Quick Hits:

God and Charles Dickens by Gary L. Colledge was discussed in the WORLD Magazine article “Victorian Culture Warrior.”

Stanley Hauerwas speaks on healthcare and dying in this The Work Of The People video.

James K. A. Smith, author of Letters to a Young Calvinist, was interviewed on Australia’s ABC Radio National.

Ben Witherington III wrote an article for Christianity Today on God’s grace and the gravity of sin: “‘Behavior Doesn’t Interrupt Your Relationship with Christ’: A Recipe for Disaster.”

Brian LePort has continued to write a series of posts on the “historicity” of Adam, comparing The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns and Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? by C. John Collins.
Jesus’ understanding of Adam: the options” is the latest post in this series.

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

For a limited time, the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series (a 16-volume set) is 40% off from Logos Bible Software.

July ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these ebooks are at least 50% off (and, in most cases, 70% or more):

A Cross-Shattered Church by Stanley Hauerwas
Good News for Anxious Christians by Phillip Cary
Testing Scripture by John Polkinghorne
Power Failure by Albert Borgmann
Is the Reformation Over? by Mark A. Noll and Carolyn Nystrom
Transforming Conversion by Gordon T. Smith

You can read more regarding the special ebook sale prices at www.brazospress.com/ebookspecials.

The Weekly Hit List: July 6, 2012

Song of Songs by Paul J. Griffiths was reviewed in the June/July issue of First Things.

You must be a subscriber to read the entire review, but here is an excerpt:

“Paul Griffiths . . . intends his commentary to be read by Christian laymen and laywomen today, in an age when the sacramental nature of marriage urgently needs rediscovery and reaffirmation. The high rate of divorce and of partnering without vowed commitment, the powerful political and cultural forces urging the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, the general use of contraceptives by lovers, and the epidemic addiction to pornography require a new ‘figural’ reading of the Song of Songs that offers a model for reordering our human loves. And this is precisely what Griffiths offers.”

 

Quick Hits:

Speaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith was reviewed by Keith Watkins.

The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns was recommended by Rachel Held Evans in her post “My Top 6 Books of 2012 So Far.”

Jesus and Money by Ben Witherington III was reviewed on Mark Heath’s blog.

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was reviewed on Justin Boulmay’s blog.

Spirituality and the Awakening Self by David G. Benner was reviewed on Mary Lou’s Reviews.

 

Ebook Specials:

Don’t forget that July ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these ebooks are at least 50% off (and, in most cases, 70% or more):

A Cross-Shattered Church by Stanley Hauerwas
Good News for Anxious Christians by Phillip Cary
Testing Scripture by John Polkinghorne
Power Failure by Albert Borgmann
Is the Reformation Over? by Mark A. Noll and Carolyn Nystrom
Transforming Conversion by Gordon T. Smith

You can read more regarding the special ebook sale prices at www.brazospress.com/ebookspecials.

This Just In: Jesus and Money – Now in Paperback

Jesus and Money
by Ben Witherington III

ISBN: 9781587433191
Price: $18.99
Category: Bible/Money

Widespread unemployment. Record home foreclosures. A vulnerable stock market. Government bailouts. In the wake of a sobering global recession, many Christians realize they need to rethink their approach to money.

Here respected New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III explores what the Bible does—and doesn’t—say about money. He clearly and concisely examines what Jesus and his earliest followers taught about wealth and poverty, money and debt, and tithing and sacrificial giving to help readers understand the proper role of money in modern Christian life.

Along the way, he critiques the faith promise and health-and-wealth approaches to these issues, showing what good stewardship of God’s possessions really looks like. Church study groups, pastors, church leaders, students, and all who are concerned about making sense of money in a world of economic uncertainty will value this book.

Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and is on the doctoral faculty at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the author or coauthor of more than thirty books, including The Jesus Quest, The Paul Quest, and The New York Times bestseller The Brother of Jesus. He has appeared on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN.

 

“In this comprehensive review of statements in the Bible about economics, wealth, and poverty, [Witherington] analyzes canonical texts and their contemporary applications for Christians. . . . From unpacking perplexing gospel stories like ‘the dishonest steward’ to offering concrete advice on how to separate from a culture of conspicuous consumption (discerning between necessities and luxuries and practicing debt forgiveness are among the practices he advocates), this cogent, accessible, scholarly analysis contributes to the current economic conversation and urgently calls people of faith to review and reform their role as God’s stewards.”
Publishers Weekly

“Urgently needed. Solidly biblical. Readable, clear, and provocative. American Christians desperately need to read and heed this book.”
—Ronald J. Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action; author, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger

“This book is like a theological cagematch—Jesus and Mammon go head to head. Witherington offers a smart, witty, bold corrective to the prosperity gospel. Rooted in Scripture and church history, Jesus and Money will help us all navigate the narrow way to life, regardless of whether Wall Street flounders or flourishes. After all, as Ben reminds us, God’s dream looks pretty different from Wall Street’s dream.”
—Shane Claiborne, author, activist, recovering sinner, www.thesimpleway.org