Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Building a Library.

Some years ago God spoke to my friend Pete and I about the vital importance of building a library. We have sought to obey that word and follow in the tradition of Dr Ern Baxter - not just buying books that will bolster our theological beliefs but books that will challenge us, books that will not agree with us and will have the benefit of "iron sharpening iron". When I first starting buying books in somewhat youthful zest I would buy anything but I began to realise that the Puritan Thomas Brookes was correct in lamenting that the Christian market is full of books that quite frankly are not always worth the money. I have tried to hone the books I buy to ones that are going to fuel my passion for God and stir me to create openness in my life for the Holy Spirit. Here are a few that we have to look forward to this year:

"Battling Belief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure" by Dr John Piper.

To be released February 2007!

The book description is as follows; "Conquer Life's Greatest Struggle - You have the faith that first saved you. But now you struggle to apply that faith in everyday circumstances. You are battling unbelief , fighting lies with the purifying power of God's truth. Popular pastor and bestselling author John Piper will equip you to live by faith in future grace and demolish the struggles that stem from anxiety, pride, impatience, bitterness, lust, and more".

"Pauline Christology - An Exegetical-Theological Study" by Professor Gordon Fee.
To be released January 2007!

The description of this book contains a word that makes my mouth water; "Exhaust". It says this; "An exhaustive study of Pauline Christology by noted Pauline scholar, Gordon Fee. The author provides a detailed analysis of the letters of Paul (including those whose authorship is questioned) individually, exploring the Christology of each one, and then attempts a synthesis of the exegetical work into a biblical Christology of Paul".

Here is an extract from Prof Fee's introduction: "Anyone who has read even a smattering of Paul's writings recognizes early on that his devotion to Christ was the foremost reality and passion of his life. What he said in one of his later letters serves as a kind of motto for his entire Christian life: 'For me to live is Christ; to die is [to] gain [Christ]' (Phil. 1:21). Christ is the beginning and goal of everything for Paul, and thus is the single great reality along the way".

"Believer's Baptism: The Covenant Sign of the New Age in Christ" by Thomas R Schreiner.

The release of this book is particularly encouraging and interesting for me as I have been slightly confused at the intense discussion about the role of women in the Church seeming to be placed as higher importance than the issue of baptism which has been relegated to non-discussion "for the sake of unity". I am glad that this scholarly book is out and look forward to reading it.

The book description is as follows: "Believer's Baptism begins with the belief that believer's baptism (as opposed to infant baptism or other faith proclaiming methods) is the clear teaching of the New Testament. Along the way, the argument is supported by written contributions from Andreas Kostenberger, Robert Stein, Thomas Schreiner, Stephen Wellum, Steve McKinion, Jonathan Rainbow, Shawn Wright, and Mark Dever".

"The Blank Bible" by Jonathan Edwards.

Out Now!

Well I didn't get it for Christmas or my birthday so it remains on my must-have list. A cool 1472 pages of Edwards. How can anyone resist? You never know - I remain in hope that my good friend Luke Wood might get hold of a few copies and offer it at bargain prices over at Newgen Books!

I'm always interested in new books so if anyone knows any that should be added to this list then do contact me!


Baxter's Boy said...
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Anonymous said...

Ah the issue of baptism - a fascinating one and I am glad that it has been brought back to the fore. I remember when immersion in water was a fundemental doctrine. After all it was baptism in water that sealed the doom of many early Christians! It was them standing up for what they had confessed with their mouths. And yet the climate change in the Christian church has shifted and suddenly we are asked not to make it an issue of debate for the sake of "unity".

How do we decide what is and what is not hills to die upon? I am going to stick my neck out and suggest that it is an over-dependence on academic scholars that is partly to blame here. Academics have the luxury of focusing on one subject and one alone to their leisure. Yet the calling of the Church is to preach the whole counsel of God surely?

By avidly following said scholars we become unbalanced in our views and far too focused. I am not against scholars and academics! I am very grateful for them. But surely we should see them as useful aids to the great mission that the Church is on. It is the Apostles and Prophets after all who have been anointed to see which way the Spirit of God is moving and to go with it - not the academics.

DR S A J Burgess

Baxter's Boy said...

That's an interesting point that I hadn't really thought of before Dr B. I think that we have spent so much time trying to establish the validity of Ephesians 4 Ministries that we haven't given much room to developing their role and in particular to the guiding of the Church.

I am trying to think off the top of my head in terms of the role of academics - Paul of course mentions Gamaliel so there is a place for them, but you are right. The academics do indeed have the luxury of a singular focus if they so desire it. I know that Grudem in particular developed the Systematic Theology but it's clear that Manhood and Womanhood is a focus that he holds to. Is that healthy? Well we need that input and wealth of expertise but I guess if that becomes a church's focus then it is off-balance.

I am really hopeful of a "going deeper" in the Training Track sessions at Brighton this year. Terry Virgo has made room for these subjects to be dealt with in far greater depth and I am so expectant of the riches that we can learn. It's time to start moving on from just arguing for the existance of aspects that have been restored and start putting them to use!

Jerry said...

Paul's mention of Gamaliel or rather the fact that Paul was taught by Gamaliel was by no means an endorsment for us putting such a strong emphasis on Bible College, Seminaries, etc., Paul was also the one who penned 1 Cor.1:26-31; ending with "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

It is interesting to note that most of Paul's Gentile converts were probably unducated, most unable to read, yet it was of such stock as this that 1st century churches were birthed and prospered. (Most of the Roman population were slaves and uneducated)

In Acts 13-14 we find that Paul and Barnabas would start a work and sometimes being forced out of town would leave them to the grace of God with no set "pastor" in place and stopping by on their way back to Antioch would set in elders who matured with no visabe sign of any ascension gifts being present (Acts 13-14 especially the story of Pisidian Antioch 13:14-52).

Can you imagine someone planting a work today and leaving no one in charge? Our modern day apostolic movement couldn't blow the fuzz of a preach as Ern would say. We have paid pofessionals preaching to pew sitters. We need to rid ourselves of all the stuff and get back to basic New Testament church where there is no big I and little you. do away with the man made clergy laity destinction and fully embrace the priesthood of all believers. Where the ascension gifts do what they're called to do equip the saints and not focus on their networks and buildings, God is not in that!

Sorry got on my soapbox again!