Review: Delivered from the Elements of the World

26598227Peter J. Leithart is President of Thepolis Institute for Biblical, Liturgical, and Cultural Studies in Birmingham, Alabama, and adjunct Senior Fellow of Theology at New St. Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. Leithart is ordained in the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches. He has earned an M.A.R. and a Th.M. from Westminster Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Leithart has written numerous books on a wide range of biblical and theological topics. Most recently, Leithart has provided an up-to-date, well-researched, and thoroughly documented investigation into the unique nature and function of the Atonement for everyday life—Delivered from the Elements of the World: Atonement, Justification, and Mission.

Delivered from the Elements of the World is primarily concerned with repositioning the dialogue of atonement towards a more practical and applicable social theory. It is here that Leithart offers a helpful approach that detaches the abstractness of the doctrine and shines a fresh light of practicality into the contemporary conversation. The process of developing this reality is founded in Paul’s letter to the Galatians (specifically Paul’s words “the elementary principals of the world” in Galatians 4) and provides the reader with a host of biblical-theological themes that will cultivate deeper reflection. For Leithart, the person and work of Christ has brought about a required social change that challenges every corner of society, as the world is no longer bound by “elementary principals” but the lordship of Christ—a reality that affects all mankind (p. 203), including Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews (p. 239-257).

Delivered from the Elements of the World will be recognized as controversial despite Leithart’s efforts to stay within the confines of orthodoxy. Nevertheless, while there were a few disagreements here and there, I found the overall intention and approach of Leithart’s work to be rather refreshing and creative. It isn’t often that you come across something new and exciting when it comes to the atonement. It tends to be the same conversations and the same debates using the same points of argument and the same biblical references. Leithart’s work is different. It was practical and inviting, and yet scholarly and well-researched. Leithart hypothesizes about the implications of the atonement in such a way that the reader will be challenged more deeply to live within the reality of Christ’s atoning work—and, for that reason alone, Delivered from the Elements of the World: Atonement, Justification, and Mission is a book that should be read and pondered by all. It comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this books in exchange for and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Review: God the Trinity

25802620God the Trinity: Biblical Portraits  by Malcolm B. Yarnell III is one of the most important works on the Trinity in recent decades. The book is divided into eight chapters. Each chapter paints a portrait of God through the exegesis and examination of eight specific Trinitarian passages: (1) Matthew 28:19, (2) 2 Corinthians 13:14, (3) Deuteronomy 6:4-7a, (4) John 1:18, (5) John 16:14-15, (6) John 17:21-22, (7) Ephesians 1:9-10, and (8) Revelation 5:6.  Furthermore, each of these chapters more narrowly converge on a single word from the passage that Yarnell uses to unearth and construct a clear biblical portrait of the trinity. These eight chapters are sandwiched between a prologue—which presents the necessity of the study—and an epilogue—which provides a succinct portrait of the triune God framed by ten Trinitarian theses in three categories: (1) Trinitarian Reality, (2) Trinitarian Hermeneutics, and (3) Trinitarian Economy.

There is much to be praised in this volume. First, and probably foremost, Yarnell is a first-rate scholar, and God the Trinity echoes serious and seasoned reflection on the subject matter. Second, there is a lot of excellent information in this book that will expand the reader’s understanding and knowledge of the biblical portrait of the trinity. Still, the exegesis of the biblical passages therein is where the real benefit of this volume surfaces. Yarnell is clear, articulate, and judicious in his presentation, and the reader will benefit with every turn of the page. This is a volume that is both rich with depth and accessible and easy to digest. Third, the organization around the “portrait” concept of the Trinity does well to display the biblical revelation concerning the triune God. The only true critique, and this is more of a desire than a critique is the lack of interaction within the Old Testament portrait of the Trinity. Yarnell spends nearly all of his time in the New Testament, and most of that time in the Gospel of John. It would have been good to see more canonical representation, but the limitations of such are understandable.

God the Trinity: Biblical Portraits by Malcolm B. Yarnell III is a timely and welcomed defense and articulation of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. From the approach to the delivery, Yarnell has provided a volume distilled in seasoned scholarly reflection and research. The depths of this volume are deep, and the insights are accessible. Malcolm Yarnell has easily delivered one of the most important works on the Trinity in recent decades. It comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: Visual Theology

26309271Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding the Truth About God by Tim Challies and Josh Byers provides a perfect blend of theological faithfulness with cultural sensitivity. As the back cover acknowledges, “we live in a visual culture, increasingly relying on infographics and other visuals to help us understand new and difficult concepts.” The visual dependence of the twenty-first century has thus necessitated a theological approach that will both captivate and instruct, and Challies and Byers have delivered something timely to this visual age.

The theological content of this book is exceptionally helpful as an introduction to the Christian life. The book is divided into four major sections thematically oriented towards becoming and living as a Christian: (1) Grow Close to Christ, (2) Understand the Work of Christ, (3) Become Like Christ, and (4) Live for Christ. This is not the theology textbook that most may assume. In fact, it is much different content-wise than I initially thought—more content than visuals and less theological depth than practical application.

The visuals are very well done. They were created with the contemporary audience in mind. I found them helpful both in connecting the reader to the text, as well as standalone images for reflection. That said, for a book titled “visual theology” I would have assumed more “visuals” would have been present. Moreover, some of the visuals are rather difficult to decipher, and the connection and/or intent of the visual to the text isn’t immediately obvious. However, I wouldn’t discount the usefulness of the book because of such instances.

There is much to be praised about Visual Theology. First and foremost, I appreciate that the emphasis of the book isn’t merely head knowledge. I think the authors did an excellent job assuming that the target audience would need assistance in connecting the head and the heart, and it is here that they sought to make such connection. This is by far the most useful and praiseworthy aspect of the book. Second, despite the above, the visuals are overall all very well done and ultimately accomplish their intended task. Lastly, the organization of the book does well in bringing the reader full-circle with little problem or interruption. It is a visual journey of theology as theology—truth and instruction about God for the benefit and edification of his people.

Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding the Truth About God by Tim Challies and Josh Byers is an excellent book that will hold a lasting impact. I foresee this book being used by churches and small groups around the world to better equip the people of God to live for Christ amid the daily grind of everyday life—something I may be doing in the near future. Despite some unexpected shortcomings, I recommend this volume with joy!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Review: Arminian Theology

9780830828418Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities by Roger E. Olson has bridged a much-needed gap in the theological community for nearly a decade. This is especially the case for those who are deeply engaged in the age-old discussion between Calvinists and Arminians. As is frequently the case in these sorts of discussions, the two sides of the debate tend to approach the subject matter without a preexisting desire to accurately understand the other’s theological system. This reality has unfortunately brought about a countless number of myths and misunderstandings on both sides of the discussion. It is here that Olson has provided an exploration that promises to find relevancy for readers of all theological persuasions.

The book begins with a brief introduction to set the stage. Olson does well in turning the reader towards the historical narrative of Arminian theology and allows the observation of its rootedness in the history of Christianity to become the foundation of the content that follows. Olson’s purpose is, “to correctly delineate true Arminian theology and to begin to undo the damage that has been done to this theological heritage, both by critics and friends” (43). This attempt to provide clarification to Arminian theology is separated by 10 myths commonplace within the overall conversation among Calvinists and Arminians. Each of these 10 myths are addressed in detail, and an affirmation of Classical Arminianism is established and explained.

The tone of this book is exceptional and set forth properly in the introduction, as Olson explains, “the purpose of this book is not persuasion (except to a fair understanding of Arminian theology) but information” (43). This desire should resonate with all readers. On a personal note, I was admittedly suspicious about reading this book because of some of Olson’s other books I found to be less than helpful on the same topic. This book, however, was a breath of fresh air in many respects. Olson’s explanation and approach to each of the myths is both charitable and appropriate, and while there is considerable overlap throughout the book as each myth is addressed individually, I continually found the content presented therein to be insightful and informative.

The predominant weakness of the book, and one that I would have liked to have seen be a strength rather than a weakness is the lack of clear documentation concerning the various myths presented. That is, while Olson does provide documentation, it would have been helpful had he attempted to further substantiate the various myths (generally prorogated by Calvinist, although he does mention some Arminian blunders as well) with documented support. This doesn’t mean that I think Olson’s list of myths is wrong or incorrect, quite the contrary. Rather, simply that I would have liked to see more documentation to further evaluate his claims. Additional, while I necessarily wouldn’t consider this a weakness of the book, it must be stated that not all readers (myself included) will find Olson’s defense of such myths to be persuasive and/or representative of Arminianism as a whole.

Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities by Roger E. Olson is a unique example of why clarity and understanding matters in a theological debate. Olson rightly identifies an ongoing problem and sought to bring a much-needed resolution. This is an important book that you will want to read regardless if you are an Arminian or a Calvinist, or neither. It is a book that brings much transparency and thoughtfulness to a discussion that sometimes feels like a dead horse, and something that can’t be continually beat if a dialog is going to progress forward. If you value accurately representing the position that you are arguing for or against, then Arminian Theology is a book that will make that desire into a reality. I don’t know why it took me this long to read it. It comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: Rethinking Hell

21998685The nature and duration of Hell have been a point of theological controversy for centuries. The majority of Christians today understand Hell as a place where, upon death, the unsaved are eternally damned to be tormented and punished day and night. This is a tough pill to swallow. More recently, with the work of Edward Fudge (though Fudge was certainly not the first to rethink these issues) and others, many Christians today have begun reconsidering the doctrine of Hell. The above-mentioned pill gets easier to swallow as opinions grow further and further from Christian orthodoxy. Still, for many, a balance of biblical and theological faithfulness has come to rest on a positioned known as Conditional Immortality (or Annihilationism).

Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism edited by Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, and Joshua W. Anderson brings together a fascinating collection of excerpts from well-respected evangelical thinkers concerning the nature of Hell and Conditional Immortality. The contributors of this volume include Edward W. Fudge, John R. W. Stott, Clark Pinnock, John W. Wenham, E. Earle Ellis, Anthony C. Thiselton, Roger E. Olson, Ben Witherington III, and much more. While it should be said that there is nothing presented in this volume that is inherently new, either by way of argument or article, the convenience of having such an exemplar roster of contributors under a single roof and the scope of material presented makes this volume indispensable to the ongoing conversation.

The book is comprised of six major sections: (1) Rethinking Hell, (2) Influential Defenses of Conditionalism, (3) Biblical Support for Conditionalism, (4) Philosophical Support for Conditionalism, (5) Historical Considerations, and (6) Conditionalism and Evangelicalism. These six sections provide a good sense of the overall scope of the book. Moreover, there are a number of standout articles in this volume that are worth mentioning, including, “New Testament Teaching on Hell” by E. Earle Ellis, “Claims about ‘Hell’ and Wrath” by Anthony C. Thiselton, and “Conditionalism in the Early Church” by LeRoy E. Froom. I could easily list more articles but these are definitely among the top three. The only hesitancy that I have with this volume, apart from not being fully persuaded by the Conditionalist claims, is the overstated identification with Evangelicalism. Many of these authors should not be considered as evangelicals. But, then again, what is the definition of evangelicalism today anyways?

Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism edited by Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, and Joshua W. Anderson is an excellent introduction to Conditionalism. The editors have brought together some of the most influential articles from some of the most well-respected contributors to the conversation. This is a volume that will challenge your understanding and make you think long and hard about your traditions. It presents an important conversation that needs to take place more often, and I believe that this book will help that need become a reality. It comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: Four Views on Hell

26309268The topic of Hell is easily one of the most theologically revealing conversations of our present day. Still, the landscape of the conversation has taken a slight shift from that of previous generations. It seems like now, more than ever, the traditional understanding of Hell is being thrown aside by a sizable percentage of evangelical Christians as they look to investigate its biblical veracity against other viable options. It is here that the reader will discover the usefulness of this much anticipated second edition of Four Views on Hell (edited by Preston Sprinkle) and its ability to function as an introductory entrance ramp onto the main stage of the conversation.

For this second edition, Zondervan has enlisted a new roster of contributors. This decision by the publisher, in my opinion, helpfully displays the conversational shift that has taken place since the first edition. The contributors include Denny Burk (traditional view), John G. Stackhouse Jr. (annihilationist view), Robin Parry (universalist view), and Jerry L. Walls (purgatory view). Those who are acquainted with the previous volumes in the Counterpoints series will be on familiar ground here. Each contributor has written a positive presentation defending their position (roughly 26 pages per essay), followed by a brief response from the other three contributors (roughly 5 pages per response). This interactive format does well to cultivate civility within the conversation and present each position for proper evaluation.

Each of the major essays included in this volume are unique in that all of the contributors offer explicit acknowledgement of the existence of Hell. Each contributor also claims the title “Evangelical” when constructing a framework for the conversation, but the actuality of such is debatable. Burk does well in grounding the traditional view in Scripture and spend the majority of the essay making exegetical observations of the key passages. Stackhouse shows that the arguments typically championed by the traditional view are not as “cut and dry” as some would like the think. His essay was certainly the most thought-provoking. Parry does well in presenting a Christocentric view of universalism, but fails, in my opinion, to provide sufficient biblical warrant for such convictions. Walls provides an exciting essay on purgatory from a protestant perspective, but like Parry, offers insufficient interaction with the biblical text.

This second edition of Four Views on Hell, edited by Preston Sprinkle and featuring all new contributors, is a book that will make you think long and hard. The topic of Hell doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Moreover, as unfortunate as it may be, I think it is safe to assume that the majority of Christians today have failed to think critically about many of the issues at hand when it comes to the nature and duration of Hell. I see the contribution of this volume encouraging positive change within that reality, and I am confident that the interaction that is presented therein will do well to guide that process towards a productive end—the reading and evaluation of the Scriptures. For that, this volume comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 

Review: Karl Barth’s Infralapsarian Theology

9780830851324Shao Kai Tseng is assistant professor of Systematic Theology at China Evangelical Seminary in Taipei, Taiwan. Tseng has a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford and has authored a number of books and scholarly articles in both English and Chinese. Much of Tseng’s ongoing research has centered around the theology of Karl Barth. Tseng brings an interesting perspective to the current trends within Barth studies, and the present volume is a clear example of keen reflection and distilled scholarship.

Karl Barth’s Infralapsarian Theology: Origins and Development 1920-1953 is made up of two major sections: (1) Reappraising Barth’s Lapsarian Position and (2) Barth’s Lapsarian Position in Development, 1920-1953. The first portion of Tseng’s investigation provides some definitional groundwork for the lapsarian problem. Tseng explains, “what defines supralapsarianism in general is the thesis that in election-reprobation God considers humanity as unfallen, while what defines infralapsarianism is the view that eternal double predestination—before the actual creation of the world—God conceives of fallen humanity as the object of election-reprobation” (p. 61). It is here that Tseng then reevaluates Barth’s position and his self-identification with the former lapsarian position.

Still, Barth’s lapsarian convictions are far more complex than that allowed by a simple ascription to a supralapsarianism position. For Tseng, the complex and dialectical nature of Barth’s lapsarian thinking, along with his doctrine of election outlined in CDII/2, could be described as basically infralapsarian (p. 79). Thus, the second portion of Tseng’s investigation seeks to establish this conclusion further by chronologically examining the development of Barth’s lapsarian position from Römerbrief II (1920-1921) to CDIV/1 (1951-1953). This latter section comprises the majority of the book and Tseng does well in guiding the reader to his intended conclusions. Tseng concludes that regardless of Barth’s avowed sympathy for the supralapsarian ordering of divine decrees, “Barth’s Christocentric doctrine of election . . . has in fact been a robustly complex scheme in which supra- and infralapsarian theological incentives and patterns of thinking . . . have been dialectically interwoven” (p. 290). In other words, a simple ascription to a supralapsarianism in Barth’s theology is just that—simple.

Those familiar with the landscape of Karl Barth and Barth studies will be able to examine the investigation of this book with more scrutiny than others. This is not a book written with a general readership in mind. It is both technical and dense, but rich with insight and theological reflection. If anything the reader will walk away encouraged that new explorations in theological studies are possible, which makes this title a perfect fit for the series in which it resides. This is a book that I can recommend for those interested or invested in Barth studies. It is a new page turned in the complex study of one of the twentieth centuries most influential figure. Still, for those who are looking for an entrance ramp into the conversation, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: The Unseen Realm

25077593Michael S. Heiser is Scholar-in-Residence at Faithlife, the creators of Logos Bible Software, and has a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Heiser has written a host of peer-reviewed articles for Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Journal of the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament, Themelios, Tyndale Bulletin, Bible Translator, and much more. Heiser also contributed a number of articles in the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets (IVP, 2012), and the Lexham Bible Dictionary. Most recently, Heiser has made waves with his new book The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible (Lexham Press, 2015).

The Unseen Realm begins with a brief introduction into Heiser’s personal journey as a Hebrew student and his encounter with Psalm 82. This background provides the premise for the investigation that then unfolds in the coming pages. The book is divided into eight parts: (1) First Things – the stage is set with some preliminary rules for engagement; (2) The Households of God – attention is directed towards the initial biblical patterns, namely that God has a divine family, a heavenly assembly, or council, of elohim in which he is superior over all others; (3) Divine Transgressions – attention directed towards the arrogance of the nachash (the Serpent) and his transgression that fractured the human-divine relationship; (4) Yahweh and His Portion – attention is directed towards Yahweh’s acts of intervention amid his people, especially when in conflict or threatened by gods or men; (5) Conquest and Failure – the readers are guided through the intended results of the conquest under Moses and Joshua, and the divine backdrop that motivated therein; (6) Thus Says The Lord – attention is directed towards the theological intentions that undergird the monarchy’s history, and the reader is guided through the prophets and into the realization of the kingdom already, but not yet; (7) The Kingdom Already – the exploration enters into the realm of the New Testament and the anticipation and inauguration of the King, and the New Testament dependence on Old Testament motifs therein; and (8) The Kingdom Not Yet – the investigation comes full-circle and further establishes the supernatural worldview of the context within the closing climax of the Christian Bible.

There are a number of exciting aspects of this book that make it a must-read. First, I think that Heiser does an excellent job guiding the reader through some of the more commonly discussed issues of critical scholarship concerning the unseen realm of the ancient Near East, and yet does so in such a way as to keep the tenor of the conversation understandable and clear for the reader. Second, it is clear that Heiser is sensitive to the fact that the content being presented is likely to shake the foundation of many personal traditions. His awareness of such, I believe, makes the reader desire to follow his investigation further as oppose to abandon it. Third, Heiser does well in his overall organization of the topic. Each chapter has various subsections that build upon each other and allow the reader to digest smaller chunks of text and ideas. Finally, the overall thrust of the book is executed well and I think the reader will appreciate the attention to detail, but it is the content that makes the book so incredible. Admittedly, I did find myself in disagreement with Heiser at times, but he is generally fair in his understanding and presentation of the text—especially when it comes to Genesis and the Old Testament—and he does well in guiding the reader to his conclusion rather than making a bunch of empty statements.

The Unseen Realm is breathtaking. Heiser presents a vision of God and the supernatural world that untangles much of the complexity that has historically plagued the reading of passages such as Psalm 82, Genesis 1:26, 6:1-4, Judges 6, Daniel 7, and much more. Having already been familiar with Heiser’s work, I knew in large what to expect with this book. But, I must say, The Unseen Realm has delivered much more than I anticipated. This doesn’t mean there aren’t areas of concern or disagreement that I have with Heiser’s hermeneutic at part, but rather that his arguments are well-presented and persuasively met with a keen awareness of the ancient Near East. Heiser will make you think outside your traditional bubble as he ushers you through the ancient Near Eastern world with confidence and wonder. He carefully guides the reader through difficult waters of ignorance and unearth an undeniable theme penetrating the biblical narrative. Students of the Bible will do well in reading this book closely. It will change the way you read and study your Bible, and for that it comes highly recommended!

Also, for those wishing to investigate further, Douglas Van Dorn has compiled an excellent companion volume, The Unseen Realm: A Question & Answer Companion. This volume is saturated with Scripture references and useful beyond words. I wouldn’t buy one without the other!

 

I received a review copy of these books in exchange for and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: Theology as Discipleship

9780830840342Keith L. Johnson is Associate Professor of Theology at Wheaton College. Johnson has an M.Div. from Baylor University, a Th.M. from Duke Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Johnson has authored or co-authored a number of books, including Karl Barth and the Analogia Entis (T&T Clark, 2010), and published numerous articles related to various theological topics. Most recently, Johnson has published this timely and important volume, Theology as Discipleship (IVP Academic, 2015), that seeks to build a bridge between the study of theology and the Christian life.

Theology as Discipleship argues, “that the discipline of theology and a life of discipleship to Jesus Christ are integrally related because the practice of theology is one of the ways we participate in the life of the triune God” (p. 12) The goal of Theology as Discipleship is to show how the study of theology actually enriches the Christian life and how faithful obedience to Christ rightly enables the learning of theology. Thus, it is a reciprocal relationship that functions best when both aspects are equally involved.

Johnson rightly recognizes the contemporary dilemma that characterizes most Christians today. For Johnson, the study of theology has become so divorced from the everyday endeavors of the Christian life that it has become difficult, even for intelligently committed Christians, to figure out how the two relate. Accordingly, Theology as Discipleship opens with an important chapter that helps the reader identify what went wrong and how it can be effectively reconstructed. It is this reconstruction process that dominates the following chapters of the book.

As an educator in the context of the local church, I understand that the problem that Johnson seeks to address in Theology as Discipleship is more prevalent than many are willing to admit. In fact, I actually just taught a six-week course that aimed to address the very issue raised by Johnson here, and I wish I had his book prior to that endeavor for a number of reasons. First, Johnson is consistently Christ-centered in his approach and application. Second, his approach does more than provide a hypothetical solution to the problem. Third, his approach and solution are beneficial to both scholars and students.

Theology as Discipleship concludes, appropriately so, with nine characteristics that distinguish the life of the Christian who practices theology faithfully within the context of God’s saving work in Christ and the Spirit (p. 156). For example, Johnson rightly argues, we practice theology as disciples, “when our thinking stays within the limits of our faith in Jesus Christ” (p. 158), and, “when we pursue both truth and unity” (p. 176). This last chapter practically and carefully shows the necessity of theology for the Christian life, and why as Christians we should be quick to engage frequently in theological dialog and thinking.

It is difficult to correctly articulate the importance of Theology as Discipleship by Keith L, Johnson. Not only is the book well-written and engaging, but the content is challenging and intentionally aimed. In fact, to say that this book is necessary for the contemporary church would run the risk of being an understatement. Johnson has produced a timely and important volume that exemplifies a personal pursuit of faithfulness in the discipline of theology. If you are a Christian educator, pastor, or simply a Christian seeking to live faithfully in all aspects of your life, Theology as Discipleship is a must read book—sooner than later.

 

I received a review copy of these books in exchange for and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.