The Weekly Hit List: June 5, 2015

Cover ArtPeter Leithart, author of Traces of the Trinity, wrote “How to Glimpse the Trinity” for Christianity Today.

When Jesus talks about mutual indwelling, he stresses the similarities—rather than the dissimilarities—between the relationship of the Father and the Son, the church’s relationship with him and the Father, and Christians’ relations with one another. All this helps us to understand not only the God we worship, but also who we are and what we experience on a day-to-day basis.

At The Englewood Review of Books, Andrew Stout reviewed Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry Walls.

Walls’ imaginatively reasoned and defended account of these traditional doctrines will do much to persuade those with different visions of the faith. It also offers a thoughtful, appealing, and narratively coherent account of the Christian drama to those not of the faith.

Quick Hits:

Scot McKnight began a series on Wesley Hill’s Spiritual Friendship.

Stuart Dunn reviewed 2 Samuel and Colossians in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible.

 

The Weekly Hit List: February 6, 2015

Jerry L. Walls, author of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, was interviewed by David Baggett for Moral Apologetics.

“Well, I was raised in Knockemstiff, Ohio, and ‘hellfire and damnation’ was often preached about in my little country church, especially during revivals. Listening to the sermons at Bethel Chapel, there was no doubt that issues of life and death were at stake in how one responded to the gospel.  I was converted at age 11 in response to a sermon on the text, ‘there is but one step between death and thee.’

“Several years later, I went to Princeton seminary, and many students as well as faculty were dubious about the idea of hell, and some rejected the afterlife altogether. The clash between my religious formation and my formal theological training was existentially riveting for me, and provoked me to think seriously about heaven and hell and whether there really are good reasons to believe in them or not. After graduating from Princeton, I went to Yale Divinity school, where I wrote a master’s thesis on hell, and I have been thinking and writing about these issues ever since!”

Read the entire interview here.

 

Rejoicing in Lament Media:

J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, wrote “Lament: Self-Indulgent Whining, or Faithful Complaints?” for Reformation 21.

“As I spent more and more time in study and prayer with the Psalms I realized how often I had been ‘skipping over’ its sharp cries of grief, its protests to the Lord, its complaints about enemies. In a Christianity always seeking to be upbeat, centered on helping us to discover and fulfill our dreams, I had missed the centrality of lament: raw complaints and protests before the Lord.

“As a cancer patient whose life expectancy had likely been chopped off by decades, I felt grief and anger. But am I supposed to ‘bring those emotions to church,’ and risk being a complainer? The prayer of Psalm 102:23-24 was clear enough: ‘In the course of my life he broke my strength; he cut short my days. So I said: “Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days.”‘

“Apparently, God can handle our complaints.”

Read the entire article here.

 

In a new video, Todd Billings reminisced reminisced on how the community at Western Theological Seminary supported him during some of his darkest days.

 

Quick Hits:

Colossians (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by Christopher R. Seitz was reviewed by Steve Bishop.

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls was mentioned by Patheos blogger Keith Parsons.

 

The Weekly Hit List: January 9, 2015

Rejoicing in Lament (February 2015) by J. Todd Billings received a 5-star review from Christianity Today.

“Few words have the power to chill the soul as does cancer. Combined with terminal, the effect is both exponential and surreal.

“It is trite to say that a cancer diagnosis will change your life. Hearing these words from a doctor is profoundly disorienting, more like an out-of-body experience than a medical judgment. Once the sentence is pronounced over us, like some strange and terrifying sacrament uttered by a priest, we are never the same.

“At age 39, theologian J. Todd Billings was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. In his remarkable book Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ (Brazos Press), he presents an unflinching look at how life changes after a medical death sentence. In the same tradition as C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Rejoicing in Lament is brave, honest, and probing. But this book has one important difference. Most writers in this genre look at death and dying through the eyes of a family member who survives. Billings surveys the same terrain, but through the lens of someone who is dying, someone whose landscape includes both ‘a narrowed future’ and ‘a spacious place.’ It is territory marked by fog and light, sorrow and joy. Billings wrote the book during various stages of his treatment, and its contours reflect the shape of a journey that isn’t over.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Three forthcoming Brazos Press titles were included in The Englewood Review of Books‘ Top 50 Books For Christian Readers to Watch for in 2015“:

 

Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demands but Most Christians Have Never Really Tried by Ronald J. Sider (February 2015)

“Every once in a while a book substantially changes the conversation, and even the posture, of the church. What Ron Sider’s Rich Christians in An Age of Hunger did to change how Christians think about poverty, Nonviolent Action promises to do for how we think about war. This book is for every person who is appalled by evil but conflicted in how to respond to it in a way that honors Jesus, the Prince of Peace. It is not just for pacifists. It is for skeptics, war hawks, liberals, and conservatives—but is not for the faint of heart, for in the end it is a clarion call to take the cross as seriously as we have taken the sword.”
Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and founding partner of The Simple Way

 

Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian by Wesley Hill (April 2015)

“Wesley Hill captured my imagination by presenting a vision of friendship—spiritual friendship—that has been our Christian heritage. Each of us who make up the body of Christ will be enriched and our corporate witness to a broader culture enhanced if we can find a way to live into this vision.”
Mark A. Yarhouse, Rosemarie S. Hughes Endowed Chair and professor of psychology, Regent University

 

The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance by Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson (fall 2015)

Here two authors with firsthand experience in the justice movement encourage us to ground our call to justice in sound biblical and theological teaching as we engage with the most critical global needs of our time. The authors connect justice to Scripture, the character of God, and the long traditions of the church so that our passion meets perseverance and justice becomes an enduring and integrated part of our life and faith.

 

Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

Books at a Glance reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

David Matthew reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Joshua Ryan Butler reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Scot McKnight wrote “On the term ‘Kingdom.'”

 

Quick Hits:

Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings was reviewed by Reformation 21 in “New & Noteworthy Books in 2015.”

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, will present at Calvin College’s January Series on Monday, January 12, on  “iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives.”

Craig Detweiler discussed the positive and negative ways in which technology shapes our lives with the Centre for Public Christianity.

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg was reviewed in Denver Journal.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was reviewed by Drew McIntyre.

Colossians (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by Christopher Seitz was reviewed by Chris Woznicki.

A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves was reviewed on Traces of Faith.

 

Ebook Specials:

Secret Faith in the Public Square: An Argument for the Concealment of Christian Identity by Jonathan Malesic is only $1.99 (93% off) from participating retailers through January 12.

This Just In: Colossians (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series) by Christopher R. Seitz

Colossians (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible)
by Christopher R. Seitz

 

“No one has spent more time than Christopher Seitz over the past generation writing about the relationship of the two testaments to one another and how that issue constitutes the defining feature of the Christian Bible. He is no doubt one of the best theological readers of the Bible. This is the first time he has dedicated himself to the interpretation of an entire book of the New Testament, and it will become a landmark volume in this prestigious series.”
Gary A. Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame

 
 
 

The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible advances the assumption that the Nicene creedal tradition, in all its diversity, provides the proper basis for the interpretation of the Bible as Christian scripture. The series encourages readers to extend the vital roots of the ancient Christian tradition to our day.

In this addition to the acclaimed series, renowned scholar Christopher Seitz offers a theological exegesis of Colossians, bringing his expertise in canonical reading to bear on his interpretation of this Pauline letter. As with other volumes in the series, the book is ideal for those called to ministry.

Christopher R. Seitz (PhD, Yale University) is senior research professor of biblical interpretation at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, in Toronto, Ontario, and is an ordained Episcopal priest. He previously taught at the University of St. Andrews and Yale University. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including The Character of Christian Scripture,Prophecy and HermeneuticsThe Goodly Fellowship of the Prophets, and Nicene Christianity.

 

Praise for Colossians:

“It is a real pleasure to commend this commentary on one of the jewels in the New Testament by one of today’s leading Old Testament scholars. Colossians is sometimes the neglected Pauline epistle among preachers because of its similarities to Ephesians. Nevertheless, it contains some unique Pauline themes, including the way in which believers in Christ have in some sense already been resurrected in Him. Preachers, teachers, and thoughtful Christians will all appreciate Seitz’s clarity, insight, and theological acumen as he navigates technical matters while pressing home theological and pastoral application.”

Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania

“Over against the trend in many contemporary commentaries, Christopher Seitz refuses to treat Colossians as a single, isolated letter. Instead he views Colossians as embedded in the world of Paul, imprisonment, Christian fellowship, and the scriptural canon as a whole. What emerges from Colossians is the sound of a brave and confident Pauline voice, singing of grace, truth, and shared ministry, surrounded by the full and rich choir of Scripture. This is a powerful and deeply theological commentary.”
Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

“That Colossians comes to us as part of a collection of Letters of Paul is a fact everyone who opens an edition of the New Testament will immediately acknowledge. The more striking fact is that very few commentaries explore the reading instructions expressed in this simple observation. Christopher Seitz with his deep appreciation of the canonical context shows how an enigmatic text like Colossians will come to life when readers find the courage to listen to the voice of canonical Paul and not get lost in unsolvable historical riddles. Beautifully crafted, richly annotated, and an excellent example of meaningful narrative interpretation in a historical context.”
David Trobisch, director of the Green Collection

 

Praise for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series:

“What a splendid idea! Many preachers have been longing for more commentaries that are not only exegetical but theological in the best sense: arising out of the conviction that God, through his Word, still speaks in our time. For those of us who take our copies of Martin Luther’s Galatians and Karl Barth’s Romans from the shelves on a regular basis, this new series in that tradition promises renewed vigor for preaching, and therefore for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in our time.”
Fleming Rutledge, author of The Bible and The New York Times and The Seven Last Words from the Cross

“This new series places the accent on ‘theological’ and reflects current interpretive ferment marked by growing resistance to the historical-critical project. It may be that scripture interpretation is too important to be left to the exegetes, and so a return to the theologians. We will wait with great anticipation for this new series, at least aware that the outcomes of interpretation are largely determined by the questions asked. It is never too late to ask better questions; with a focus on the theological tradition, this series holds the promise of asking interpretive questions that are deeply grounded in the primal claims of faith. The rich promise of the series is indicated by the stature and erudition of the commentators. Brazos has enormous promises to keep with this project, and we wait with eagerness for its appearing!”
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

“The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible makes a most welcome contribution to the church, the academic world, and the general public at large. By enlisting a wide range of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians who differ on much, but who agree on the truth of the Nicene Creed, the series also represents ecumenical activity of the very best kind. It is always a daunting challenge to expound the church’s sacred book both simply and deeply, but this impressive line-up of authors is very well situated for the attempt.”
Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

“Preachers and teachers in particular, but thoughtful Christians more generally, have long lamented the slide of biblical scholarship into hyper-specialized critical studies of ancient texts in remote historical context. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Brazos Theological Commentary is being so warmly welcomed. The outstanding array of authors, beginning with Jaroslav Pelikan’s splendid commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, are, at long last, reclaiming the Bible as the book of the living community of faith that is the church.”
Richard John Neuhaus, author of American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile

“Contemporary application of the Bible to life is the preacher’s business. But no worthy contemporary application is possible without a thorough understanding of the ancient text. The Brazos Theological Commentary exists to provide an accessible authority so that the preacher’s application will be a ready bandage for all the hurts of life. We who serve the pulpit want a commentary we can understand, and those who hear us expect us to give them a usable word. The Brazos Commentary offers just the right level of light to make illuminating the word the joy it was meant to be.”
Calvin Miller, author of A Hunger for the Holy and Loving God Up Close

“For pastors, wanting to get at the theological heart of a text, there is some good stuff. When I am preaching, I usually try to take a peek at the Brazos volume.”
Nijay K. Gupta, assistant professor of New Testament, Northeastern Seminary, Roberts Wesleyan College

The Weekly Hit List: September 12, 2014

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins by Dennis Okholm was reviewed by Leadership ConneXtions.

“In his extraordinarily insightful book . . . Dennis Okholm has done a great service, especially for those called to roles of ministry and leadership. Okholm, who is a Benedictine oblate, a pastor at Holy Trinity Anglican Church and a seminary professor takes us deep into the spiritual psychology of several great monastics. 

“Evagrius, Cassian, Gregory the Great and Thomas Aquinas are the important authors and developers of the Seven Deadly Sins. Okholm is intimately familiar with their writing, their theology, their spirituality and their contexts. . . .

For every deadly sin, Okholm provides the best practical remedies from the monastic tradition. He makes possible a greater self-awareness about these passions and sins.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, was interviewed by C. J. Stunkard.

Colossians (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by Christopher Seitz was recommended by Chris Woznicki.

Monk Habits for Everyday People by Dennis Okholm was reviewed by Michele Morin.

The Weekly Hit List: August 1, 2014

Colossians (BTCB) by Christopher R. Seitz was reviewed by Robert Gundry in the July/August issue of Books & Culture.

“Seitz offers a wealth of canonical and theological commentary on the text of Colossians. . . . Readers will be enriched both theologically and historically. . . .

“Happily for me, Seitz’s commentary, while paying due attention to the history and importance of theological interpretation as represented in the Nicene tradition, seems to prioritize the scriptural text.

“Well done!”

Subscribers can read the rest of the review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins by Dennis Okholm was reviewed by Byron Borger on Hearts & Minds.

Devin Brown, author of A Life Observed, will be the guest speaker on the Educational Opportunies Tours’ May 2015 tour through England, “A Journey with C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien.”

Darkness Is My Only Companion by Kathryn Greene-McCreight was reviewed by Michele Morin.