The Weekly Hit List: December 4, 2015

 Cover ArtLisa Graham McMinn, author of the forthcoming To the Table, was interviewed at Publishers Weekly.

Sacramental eating calls forth a humble gratitude that inclines us to eat in ways that fosters the flourishing of other life. So we learn about and begin to pursue “just” food untainted with human exploitation, animal misery, or ecosystem degradation. We begin to open our hearts and minds to an ever-expanding community that changes how and what we eat. Perhaps we will influence how our partners and children eat, and introduce our friends and extended family to eating with an eye toward the flourishing of all life.

Alastair Roberts, at The Gospel Coalition, reviewed Jonathan Grant’s Divine Sex.

Grant presents a wide-angled-lens account of Christian sexual ethics within the context of contemporary culture. Rather than focus on discrete questions—he only lightly grazes on some of the fiercest prevailing controversies—Grant’s concern is to expose the nature of the shared cultural matrix from which they arise….This is a book I’ve already personally recommended to several friends and acquaintances. I highly encourage you to read it too.


Quick Hits:

Free to Serve, by Stephen Monsma and Stanley Carlson-Thies, was reviewed at Influence Magazine.

At Reformedish, Derek Rishmawy used Peter Leithart’s commentary on 1 & 2 Kings to discuss lessons for the church from the time of king Ahab’s reign.

Lisa Graham McMinn announced To the Table on her blog, Preserving Life.

The Weekly Hit List: November 6, 2015

Cover ArtJames K.A. Smith was interviewed at The Living Church.

Do you plan to write a book at a more popular level, more in line with your talks that have been broadcast on YouTube?
Yes, it’s called You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (2016). When I wrote Desiring the Kingdom, I thought it was a popular book. Only an academic could make that mistake! In my talks I translate more of my concepts into metaphors. With this new book I reworked what works in the talks and developed some stickier metaphors. I’ve added new material on family and household, children and youth, and faith and work. I’ve tried to write it with a little more verve and scriptural cadences. It’s coming out in March.

Traces of the Trinity, by Peter Leithart, was reviewed at The Solid-State Archive.

An invaluable resource, not only for understanding the operation of the Trinity in the everyday stuff of life, but for the shaping of worldviews and ideas we hold of what God has to do with our personal lives. I can’t recommend this volume enough. It crosses literary boundaries and may be enjoyed by the apologist and the layman, the pastor and the congregant.


Quick Hits:

At his blog, Peter Enns, author of The Evolution of Adam argues that seeing the need to move beyond biblical categories is in fact biblical.

Craig Blomberg was interview at White Horse Inn about his book Can We Still Believe the Bible?.

Derek Rishmawy attended the recent Center for Pastor Theologians’ conference, and reflected on the messages of Brazos Press authors Peter Leithart and James K.A. Smith.

Lectionary Reflection for the Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

This excerpt comes from 1 & 2 Kings (BTCB) by Peter J. Leithart, commenting on 1 Kings 17:8-16:

Wherever Elijah goes, life breaks out, abundantly, since he is the bearer of the word and presence of the life-giving creator. By providing food for the widow of Zarephath, a Canaanite counterpart to Jezebel, Yahweh shows his superiority to Baal, who, after all, is unable to provide a bit of bread for a Sidonian widow and her household.

In the midst of drought and famine, Elijah’s arrival makes her house a place of uninterrupted provision. When she honors the prophet by giving him her first cake of bread, Yahweh gives her a prophet’s reward (Matt. 10:41), replenishing her oil and flour. In the midst of Baal’s territory, Yahweh provides bread for his prophet and for the widow who supports him. In faith, the woman puts bread upon the waters and receives an abundant return.

The greatest test is the last. After Elijah saves the widow and her house from starvation, after Elijah brings new life to the house, suddenly death invades the house. The widow blames Elijah, and we can hear the disappointment and dismay in her accusing question: “I thought you were coming to save me and my son, but you’ve come to kill. I thought you came as a mediator of life, but you come instead with death.”

This complaint raises a climactic challenge. Yahweh crosses into the wilderness and gives life; he gives life in Baal’s territory. But can he cross the boundary to rescue a boy from Sheol? Yahweh is the lord of life: but is he the lord of death? Again, the answer is yes.

Elijah brings the widow’s accusation to Yahweh and then prays that the Lord will revive the boy. Yahweh listens to Elijah’s voice and restores the boy’s soul to his body. Yahweh is not only superior to Baal, the Canaanite god of fertility and life, but also greater than Mot, the Canaanite god of the underworld, snatching the dead boy from the grave (Provan 1995, 132).

 

©2006 by Peter J. Leithart. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

The Weekly Hit List: August 28, 2015

Cover ArtJonathan Grant’s Divine Sex was reviewed at Christianity Today.

By providing such a thoughtful, well-rounded, and compelling account of our society’s view of sex, Grant provides the resources we need to challenge, deconstruct, and ultimately subvert it. After all, if our vision of sexuality gives rise to a parade of horribles—a hypersexualized culture, sexual dissatisfaction, rampant porn use, unhappier marriages, and young men who deny, with a straight face, that sex has any mystery—then why would we keep it?

Peter Leithart, author of Traces of the Trinity, was interviewed at Books at a Glance.

The Father is in the Son but never becomes the Son; the Son is in the Father, but never becomes Father. That is part of the beauty and mystery, the fascination, of the Trinity: That three Persons are utterly united and yet utterly distinct.


Quick Hits:

Matthew Skinner wrote On Why (Some) People Don’t Give Money to Their Church for The Huffington Post, which drew from his forthcoming Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel.

 

 

Lectionary Reflection for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

This excerpt comes from 1 & 2 Kings (BTCB) by Peter J. Leithart, commenting on 1 Kings8:[1, 6, 10-11], 22-30, 41-43:

One key moment in the dedication ceremony occurs when Solomon transfers the ark from the fortress of Zion to the temple mount. During David’s reign, the palace and the tent for the ark are both in this portion of the city, but in 1 Kgs. 8, the Zion system of worship is incorporated, with the Mosaic tabernacle (8:4), into the temple (Leithart 2003a). Solomon reunites the divided worship of Israel into a single location.

Starting from 1 Sam. 4, the story of the ark is a story of death and resurrection: the “body” of the tabernacle is divided and then reunited, and this points to the ultimate tabernacle of God in the flesh of Jesus, who is torn on the cross before he is raised and ascends to the “house” of his Father in heaven. The emphasis on the ark and the tablets of the law inside demonstrates the continuity between the order of Solomon and the Mosaic covenant (l)r#y ynb-M( hwhy trk r#)) (1 Kgs. 8:9).

The temple becomes an architectural emblem of the nation and the individual with the Torah of Yahweh written on his or her heart. Once the ark is in the temple, Yahweh descends in a cloud and consecrates the temple as his holy place. The temple is the place of Yahweh’s enthronement, again pointing to the human temple at the center of the Father’s kingdom.

Though highlighted in the dedication, the ark hereafter disappears from 1–2 Kings and is not even listed among the furniture seized by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kgs. 25) or among the furnishings brought back from exile. It is apparently lost at some point in Israel’s history, since Pompey found the most holy place empty when he came to the temple. The understated treatment of the ark in 1–2 Kings seems to indicate that its role is already envisioned to be temporary.

If its loss is a tragic mistake, one would expect some mention of the tragedy, but there is none. The ark serves as the transportable throne of Yahweh until he takes his rest in the temple, but once there the temple itself is seen as the “throne” of Yahweh. Jeremiah makes this point in Jer. 3:11–18, where he refers to the days after the exile when the ark will be forgotten. Instead of the ark serving as Yahweh’s throne, the entire city of Jerusalem will become a throne.

 

©2006 by Peter J. Leithart. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

This excerpt comes from 1 & 2 Kings (BTCB) by Peter J. Leithart, commenting on 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14:

In large part, the historical discussions miss the point of biblical wisdom. Augustine assumes something like a Platonic epistemological dualism of sensible and intelligible that rests on the metaphysical dualism between the world of forms and the world of experience, while Thomas’s conception, though preferable in many ways, remains too intellectualist to capture the biblical conception.

In Scripture, wisdom is often more closely associated with the skill of the woodcutter than with the ecstasies of the mystic. The Hebrew word for wisdom (hmkx) often means “artistic skill” (Exod. 28:3; 31:3; 35:31; 1 Kgs. 7:14), and even where the reference is not directly to art, the esthetic and practical dimension is not left behind.

A furniture maker displays wisdom in craftsmanship, not only by knowing “causes” but by excellence in the sheer physical activity of the craft. A musician displays wisdom in making music, a parent in training and guiding children. There is a craft or art to these endeavors, and overall Proverbs is a book of instruction concerning skillful living, teaching how to construct a life that is attractive, fitting, and beautiful.

Jesus, the incarnate wisdom, is wisdom in just this sense, the one who embodies, as Nicolas of Cusa said, the art of the Father, the craftsman who shapes the raw and ruined matter of this world into the kingdom of God, the teacher who instructs his disciples how to build well (Matt. 7:24–27).

First Kings 3 is one of the great biblical treatments of wisdom and sets wisdom firmly in this practical—and in this case political—context.

 

©2006 by Peter J. Leithart. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

The Weekly Hit List: July 31, 2015

Cover ArtJ. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, was interviewed on the Compassion Radio Podcast. You can listen to part 1 here, and part 2 here.

Todd Billings was living his dream. As a professor, husband and father, all of his ambitions in life were lining up. Then enters a word incongruent with his dreams – CANCER. Most men would buckle down and focus on nothing else than fighting the disease. Todd is not most men. He’s finding grace and hope in ever-increasing measure and paying it forward. In the process, he’s bringing hope and even joy to thousands. You’ll find out how, today and tomorrow.”


Quick Hits:

Kuyperian Commentary shared an excerpt from Peter Leithart’s Traces of the Trinity.

Wesley Hill’s Spiritual Friendship was reviewed at The Republic.

The Weekly Hit List: July 24, 2015

Traces of the TrinityCover Art, by Peter Leithart, was reviewed by Matthew Levering at Reformation 21.

“We cannot help but be enriched by Leithart’s magnificent vision, presented with such broad erudition and winsome prose. If, in dark moments, we wonder whether the world has really been created by the triune God, we can remember what Leithart has shown and be strengthened in faith. In its fundamental fabric, this world is exactly as Scripture’s teaching about our triune Creator would lead us to expect.”


Quick Hits:

Craig Blomberg’s Can We Still Believe the Bible? was reviewed at Brave Daily.

Wesley Hill responded to some questions raised by a recent review of Spiritual Friendship.

The Weekly Hit List: June 26, 2015

Traces of the TrinityCover Art, by Peter Leithart, was reviewed by Andrew Stout at The Englewood Review of Books.

The theological propositions here are bold, far-reaching, and endlessly suggestive. Leithart creatively and entertainingly illuminates the traditional concept of perichoresis at the same time that he extends the scope of its application. He deftly intertwines, philosophical, theological, and literary allusions as he articulates a vision of the world that is given shape by Scripture.

At Jesus Creed, John Frye discussed the vice of Lust, as part of his series on Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung’s Glittering Vices.

Our culture expects lust to deliver only what love can deliver. Thus, more sexual encounters build up and the more empty men and women feel. Physical pleasure, whether eating and drinking or sexual intercourse, cannot in themselves meet our spiritual needs..


Quick Hits:

Matthew H. Young, at First Things, read James K. A. Smith’s Letters to a Young Calvinist.

Jonathan Grant’s Divine Sex was reviewed by Conrade Yap at Panorama of a Book Saint.

Stephen J. Bedard reviewed Nonviolent Action by Ron Sider.

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.