Jesus & Paul

July 13, 2009

One of the really cool perks to being a Research Assistant to a NT scholar is that I occasionally get whatever books he either 1) has read and no longer needs, 2) has extra copies of, or 3) doesn’t want. One of the 3 books that I received today was Michael F. Bird’s Introducing Paul. Besides being one of my favorite bloggers, Michael Bird is a great scholar who is really engaging in his writing [and by the way-I didn’t receive the book b/c it wasn’t any good or b/c this particular professor did not like it, in case you are reading Michael!].  His material is extremely relevant and lucidly presented, and this book (intended as an introduction to Paul for college students) is no exception. Below is an awesome (& rather hilarious!) tidbit that I came across today concerning the strangeness of Paul’s claims to first-century hearers. We would all do well to remember how unusual the claims concerning Christ are. It is easy for us to this side of 2000 years of Christian history to see the Christian claims as “old hat.” Bird writes:

Imagine you are walking through your local university or college and hear in the quad an elderly man from South America telling people loudly about God’s love and salvation. He announces the ‘good news’ of Carlos Hernandez. He recounts hous Carlos was a Peruvian peasant attestedy by man might deeds of power and miracles and who proclaimed the end of the world. But the chief men in the city of Lima feared his popularity with the peasant class, falsely accused of being an Al-Qaeda terrorist and had him killed by electrocution. But a week later, this Carlos was raised from the dead and was seen by several American tourists. Then the man declares that ‘this Carlos was electrocuted for your sins and salvation is found through faith in him’. And then, to make matters worse he starts singing:

Carlos was there on that horrible chair

They tied him down with bolts and then zapped him with 40,000 volts

It was for you our saviour fried and died

Despite the fact that his chair caught on fire, this one is God’s true Messiah

The wisdom of the world has been refuted because Carlos was electrocuted

He is my saviour and my lamp, because he absorbed every deadly amp

Now I know that God does care, ’cause he sent Carlos Hernandez to the electric chair


Currently Reading…

July 7, 2009

Render to Caesar by Christopher Bryan-Ben Witherington said this was one of the best NT books of the past 10 years.

Christianity Beyond Belief by Todd Hunter-Todd has been influenced by N.T. Wright and realizes that Christianity is not about Sin and going to heaven. He is also great at making theology very practical for preaching! This is a good read for someone who has not read much of Wright.

The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins-Awesome book! This is a must read for any student of Christian History!!!


Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart-Just read the first chapter of this book. It is looking like this will be one of my top 10 books of the year!!!

Sacramental Life: Spiritual Formation Through the Book of Common Prayer by David A. deSilva-Have not begun this yet…but the intro made it sound really good. If it is anything like any of his other books, it should be pretty good!

Our greatest sin: Apathy

June 12, 2009

I have often heard Dr. Douglas Groothuis (prof. of Philosophy at Denver Seminary) voice that one of the most prominent and dangerous problems of our generation is apathy.  President of World Vision, Richard Stearns, has now written an entire book claiming the same.  See the Christianity Today interview here.  His book entitled  THE HOLE IN OUR GOSPEL, sounds like a must-read!

Introduction to Philosophy textbook

March 11, 2009


My philosophy professor from college, Dr. Steven B. Cowan, has a new book coming out with James Spiegl of Taylor U.  It is a christian intro to philosophy textbook entitled The Love of Wisdom. If the content in the book is anything like Dr. Cowan’s lectures, then I am sure that it will be a very helpful and engaging work.

Short book note: _Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective_

April 10, 2008

Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective.
Ed. by Fred Sanders and Klaus Issler. Baker, 2007; 244 pages.

Fred Sanders and Klaus Issler have compiled six outstanding essays in Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective. The book begins with a well-written introduction to Christology (by Sanders), which focuses on the orthodoxy established in the early creeds, especially Chalcedon. “Each of the remaining chapters in this book approaches the task of doing Christology in a way that is informed by trinitarian thought and Chalcedonian categories” (p. 36).

Chapter two focuses more explicitly on the Trinity, specifically Jesus’ place within it. Arguing for an “eternally ordered social model” for understanding the Trinity, this chapter emphasizes the equality of the divine nature, while affirming a “distinction of roles within the immanent Godhead” (p. 76). The next two chapters discuss the person of Christ. The first is a fine exploration of the fifth-century Christological controversy, commending Cyril of Alexandria as the most important contributor to the debate. Given the general ineptitude among Evangelicals regarding historical theology, this is a welcome essay. The next chapter is a rigorous philosophical investigation into the Incarnation. In dialogue with Medieval philosophical theology, a “contemporary monothelite” model is offered.
The latter half of the book addresses the work of Christ, beginning with a chapter on Christ’s atonement “as a work of the Trinity,” arguing that “without the Trinity there could be no atonement and hence no salvation” (p. 156). The sixth and final chapter (by Issler), discusses Jesus’ genuine example for “how to live the Christian life beyond the limitations of an average human life” (p. 189). For example, “Jesus walked by the Spirit, and so it is possible for us to do so as we yield in dependence on God” (p. 214).
Though the contributors do not shy away from precise (and sometimes technical) language, they are careful to thoroughly explain themselves. Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective is geared for advanced undergraduates or beginning seminary students, but can certainly be read with great benefit by any determined reader.

Why did Hume use the form of dialogue for his _Dialogues_?

March 1, 2008

As Pamphilus remarks to Hermippus in the opening paragraph of Hume’s Dialogues, the form of dialogue “has been little practised” and “has seldom succeeded…in the hands of those, who have attempted it” since the ancients.[1] In fact, among philosophers since Plato and Cicero, only David Hume and George Berkeley have employed the dialogue with any real success. The vast majority of philosophical writings are characterized by the straightforward, exact presentation and defense of some premises leading to a conclusion. So, why did Hume consider the seemingly unnatural form of dialogue, and not the usual argument structure, most appropriate for this book? Read the rest of this entry »

NDPR Review of Merricks’s _Truth and Ontology_

February 22, 2008

Read the review here.

HT: Prosblogion.