THE ELEVENTH DAY OF NOVEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN.
David Matthew is a British Bible teacher, Christian leader, blogger, and long-time gracEmail subscriber with whom I frequently share identical theological perspectives and a common approach to reading, interpreting, and applying the Bible. David’s website is located at: www.davidmatthew.org.uk
Below are David’s own lead-ins and links to some of his recent book reviews, which I commend to you most heartily for your enjoyment and edification.
Concerning The Life You’ve Always Wanted, by John Ortberg, David writes:
How the author knows what kind of life I’ve always wanted, I can’t imagine! I don’t care much for Christian ‘how to’ books, so I read this one just to keep in touch with the genre. It has some good things to say, is well illustrated by incidents from the writer’s own experience and is very practical. If you are a fan of the genre, you’ll like this a lot, I think. It didn’t cut the mustard for me, but we’re all different!
Read David Matthew’s full review at: www.davidmatthew.org.uk/rvthelifewanted.html
Concerning Surprised by Scripture: Engaging With Contemporary Issues, by N.T. Wright, David writes:
Another book from the prolific pen of good old Tom Wright. This one is a bit different in that it started as a series of lectures, given mostly in the USA, that he has edited into written form. It tackles a wide variety of issues, including theodicy, the ordination of women, the historical Adam, the end times, and the science/religion divide.
As always, he writes with lucidity, balance and wisdom. The ‘surprised’ in the title comes from his observation that, in looking to see what light Scripture shone on his chosen topics, he was more often than not surprised. If you’re a Wright fan, don’t skip this one.
Read David Matthew’s full review at: www.davidmatthew.org.uk/rvsurprisedbyscrip.html
Concerning Disarming Scripture . . . Learn To Read The Bible Like Jesus Did, by Austin Fischer, David writes:
This one gets my Outstanding Book accolade, so if you have to choose one book out of the current selection, let this be it. It looks at the way Jesus approached the OT writings and how selective he was in deliberately turning away from those parts that deal with God’s violencelike the ‘vengeance’ passages in the Prophets. Hence the word ‘disarming’ in the title. The author suggests that we should take the same approach ourselveswhich will have profound effects on the ‘mix’ of our overall message and the gospel we preach.
I personally found his approach deeply challenging as it furthered the hermeneutic-assessment process that I’ve been involved in for some time. Life’s a journey, and this book has for me been a stimulating companion along the latest stretch of the way.
Read David Matthew’s full review at: www.davidmatthew.org.uk/rvdisarmingscript.html
Concerning A New Heaven And A New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology, by J. Richard Middleton, David writes:
This book is a fatal knock on the head for several connected beliefs endemic in most current evangelicalism: the ‘go to heaven when you die’ belief, the ‘whisked away at the rapture’ idea, and the notion that, in the meantime, our primary purpose is to worship God.
The author trawls the Scriptures, both OT and NT, to show convincingly that the future we should expect is much more this-worldly than other-worldly and that, while worship remains important, it is in fact a subset of our calling to exercise godly dominion over the created order to move it here and now towards what it will become at the dawn of the age to come. Good, robust exegesis and a wake-up call to the ‘heaven beckons me’ brigade.
Read David Matthew’s full review at: www.davidmatthew.org.uk/rvnewheavenearth.html
Concerning Half The Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision For Women, by Carolyn C. James, David writes:
There are more than enough books on the role of women in the family, the church and society, so it takes something special to make any one of them stand out. I suggest that this is such a book. It contains no unhelpful ranting, nor does it raise a banner for either of the two polarised positions commonly touted around. You end up with no doubts at all as to where the author’s sympathies lie, but she manages to get you there without badgering you.
Read David Matthew’s full review at: www.davidmatthew.org.uk/rvhalfthechurch
Concerning The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity, by William P. Young, David writes:
This famous book first came out in 2007. I read it then but (friends have insisted) I failed to grasp its theological message, so I felt it was time for a second run, and I found it immensely insightful and encouraging. Its forte is its treatment of the Trinity, which, it turns out, has huge implications for the kind of gospel we preach and live. One friend told me, ‘It turned the whole way I thought of God on its head.’ Maybe it will do the same for you.
Then, for a deeper examination of its underlying theology, I read Baxter Kruger’s book, The Shack Revisited. It’s the perfect partner to the original and I would recommend that, if you read the one, you should certainly go on to read the other.
Kruger answers many of the questions raised, but left unanswered, by Young. His grasp of Christian history and of the over-arching story of Scripture enables him to put the central truths into a balanced perspective that challenges some of the fundamentals of some evangelical ‘systems’, notably Calvinism. Together, these two books are a truly dynamic duo.
Read David Matthew’s full review at: www.davidmatthew.org.uk/rvtheshack