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Book Displays: February 2015

Paul and the New Perspective

Thinking through Paul : A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology – Todd D. Still and Bruce W. Longenecker

The Apostle Paul is a prominent figure in the New Testament. The story of his missionary journeys takes up about half of the book of Acts, and his epistles make up about half of the books of the New Testament. The prominence of Paul’s epistles in the New Testament inevitably means that no student of the New Testament can avoid Paul for long. Unfortunately, Paul is not always easy to navigate through. Many of his epistles are long and contain deep and complex theology that is not always so clear to the reader, especially one reading them nearly 2000 years after he wrote them. There is often Thinking through Paulmuch confusion for students about what Paul was trying to say, and often, upon only a cursory study of Paul, the student does not have a thorough understanding of Paul and his theology.

Mastering the breadth and depth of Paul and his theology can be a daunting proposition for anyone studying the Pauline epistles. That is why Todd Still and Bruce Longenecker have undertaken the task of writing Thinking through Paul : A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology. Still and Longenecker contend that “if … we approach the study of Paul with the goal of acquiring only a superficial familiarity with the basic features of his life and writings, the process is unlikely to be exciting, challenging, or life-changing” (10).

The book is divided into three parts. The first part reviews the life and ministry of Paul, the second part gleans a better understanding of Paul by evaluating each of his 13 epistles, and the last part evaluates Paul’s theology from different aspects. These three parts make it easier for the student to better understand how Paul “ticked,” helping not only to better know who Paul was as a person, but also to better understand the basis for Paul’s theology. This book is is an invaluable resource for students of the New Testament, not just as a classroom textbook, but also as a text for self-study. Still and Longenecker explain that “you will have the textbook that we would have wanted available to us in earlier days — that is, a practical and user-friendly guide to Paul’s life, letters, and theological discourse” (12). If you are looking for a clear, readable book about the life, epistles, and theology of Paul, this book is perfect.

Other Titles:

Paul’s Witness to Formative Early Christian Instruction
Christ Absent and Present : A Study in Pauline Christology
Grace and Agency in Paul and Second Temple Judaism : Interpreting the Transformation of the Heart
Paul and the Vocation of Israel : How Paul’s Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to Romans
Paul in Acts and Paul in his Letters
Ancient Perspectives on Paul
Philippi : How Christianity Began in Europe : The Epistle to the Philippians and the Excavations at Philippi
Outlaw Justice : The Messianic Politics of Paul
Paul and the Miraculous : A Historical Reconstruction
The Death of Jesus : Some Reflections on Jesus-Traditions and Paul
Paul and Judaism Revisited : A Study of Divine and Human Agency in Salvation

Presidents’ Day

The True Mary Todd Lincoln : A Biography – Betty Boles Ellison

Every year on Presidents’ Day, we are reminded of the great men that have led our country over the years. But what about the great women who stood beside them every step of the way? There is possibly none more well-known — at least in Illinois — than Mary Todd LinTrue Mary Todd Lincolncoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln. Most probably remember her for her abrasive personality and her stint in an insane asylum near the end of her life. But is there more to Mary Todd Lincoln than is often credited to her?

Betty Boles Ellison thinks there is. She has set out to give Mary Todd Lincoln a fair appraisal, evaluating Mary not just on her unpleasant qualities, but on her praiseworthy qualities as well. Ellison sets out to challenge the common misconceptions about Mary’s “extravagant” spending, her supposedly excessive purchases to refurbish the Executive Mansion, and her mental health and well-being. Ellison has exonerated Mary from many of the unfair and derisive accusations that have been leveled against her. This book paints a clearer and more accurate picture of Mary as the “sassy, politically savvy, sophisticated, sarcastic, intelligent, temperamental, sensitive, attractive” woman that she was (5). With its superb research and excellent argumentation, The True Mary Todd Lincoln is an invaluable contribution to the history of the Lincoln family. It is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the history of America’s Presidents and the incredible wives who stood by them and supported them.

Other Titles:

The Gamble : Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election
Change They Can’t Believe In : The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America
Morning in America : How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980’s
Presidents and the Dissolution of the Union : Leadership Style from Polk to Lincoln
Conservative Internationalism : Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan
John Tyler, the Accidental President
Creatures of Politics : Media, Message, and the American Presidency
Who Are the Criminals? : The Politics of Crime Policy from the Age of Roosevelt to the Age of Reagan
Barack Obama’s Post-American Foreign Policy : The Limits of Engagement
Not Even Past : Barack Obama and the Burden of Race
Watergate : A Brief History with Documents
The Politics of Presidential Appointments : Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance
Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State : Why Americans Vote the Way They Do

Liberation and Black Theologies

Liberation Theologies in the United States : An Introduction – edited by Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas and Anthony B. Pinn

Any student of the Bible and theology has at least heard of liberation theology, but for many of them there is confusion about exactly what liberation theology is and how it affects Christianity. One of the things that makes liberation theology so difficult to completely grasp is that there are many theologies that fit under the rubric of liberation theology. What began as a response to the poverty, mistreatment, and marginalization throughout Latin America has grown to include those around the world who find themselves in a similar albeit unique situation of their own. The book often refers to these theologies as “contextual” theologiesLiberation Theologies in the US because of the unique social context from which these theologies arose.

Many of these contextual theologies have either taken root in or migrated to the united States. Liberation Theologies in the United States : An Introduction provides a thorough description of the various forms of liberation theology found within the United States – some of them well-known, others more obscure. For instances, black, gay and lesbian, and feminist theologies are somewhat familiar, yet Asian-American, native feminist, and Latina theologies are not as well known. It is important for the students to strive to understand and to interact with these theologies, especially those who intend to pastor a church. A pastor should be prepared to answer questions and engage in discussion about these theological ideas, explaining liberation theology and how it relates to traditional theology. If you are a bit unsure of what liberation theology is all about and you are interested in educating yourself, this is good place to start.

Other Titles:

The Divided Mind of the Black Church : Theology, Piety, and Public Witness
Esotericism in African American Religious Experience : There is a Mystery…
Indigenous Black Theology : Toward an African-Centered Theology of the African American Religious Experience
The Forgotten Prophet : Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and the African American Prophetic Tradition
The Commercial Church : Black Churches and the New Religious Marketplace in America
African American Religious Experiences : A Case Study of Twentieth-Century Trends and Practices
Representations of Homosexuality : Black Liberation Theology and Cultural Criticism
Experiencing the Truth : Bringing the Reformation to the African-American Church
The Poor in Liberation Theology : Pathway to God or Ideological Construct?
The Reemergence of Liberation Theologies : Models for the Twenty-First Century
Urban God Talk : Constructing a Hip-Hop Spirituality
The Black Church and Hip-Hop Culture : Toward Bridging the Generational Divide
Heart and Head : Black Theology : Past, Present, and Future
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Book Displays: January 2015

Homosexuality and Gay Marriage

Is God Anti-Gay? And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible and Same-sex Attraction by Sam Allberry

In recent years, the issues of homosexuality, same-sex attraction, and gay marriage have come to the fore. Many churches and even denominationsIs God anti-gay have been torn apart over their stances on these issues. The controversy surrounding homosexuality has raised many questions for Christians about what the Bible says about homosexuality. There is a huge body of work dedicated to this issue, so it can be difficult to get straight answers about homosexuality and the Bible in a clear and concise way. Sam Allberry’s little book, Is God Anti-Gay? And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible and Same-sex Attraction, tackles these questions plainly and succinctly. Allberry addresses some of the biggest questions that Christians ask themselves, including whether the Old Testament prohibition of homosexuality is still applicable today and whether Jesus had anything to say about homosexuality. Allberry also briefly addresses how we as Christians should respond to homosexuality not only in our church, but also within society and culture. The size and content of the book is perfect for anyone who is looking for a manageable read that will help them become more familiar with what the Bible says about homosexuality and how Christians can remain true to Scripture while still reflecting the love and compassion of Christ.

Other Titles:

EFCA Conference 2015

The Lost World of Scripture: Ancient Literary Culture and Biblical Authority by John H. Walton and D. Brent Sandy 

The doctrine of inerrancy has recently become a hot topic among evangelicals. While evangelicalism affirms inerrancy of the Bible, there has been a push against traditional views of inerrancy not only from outside of evangelicalism, but also fromLost World of Scripture within. In order to address this situation and discuss the importance of affirming the inerrancy and authority of scripture, the theme “The Doctrine of the Scriptures” has been chosen for the 2015 EFCA Theology Conference, hosted by TIU later this month. The conference has set out to address the importance of providing churchgoers with a firm foundation of biblical inerrancy. Following the lead of the EFCA conference, one of our monthly displays provides a selection of books on biblical inerrancy and other topics that the conference will feature, such as Calvinism, Arminianism, Luther, evangelical theology and Christian doctrine. We also have e-books available on these issues. Among them is The Lost World of Scripture: Ancient Literary Culture and Biblical Authority by John H. Walton and D. Brent Sandy. Walton and Sandy explore the history of the oral and written transmission of the biblical text and what implications it might have for inerrancy, inspiration and the authority of scripture. The first two parts of the book review the history of written and oral communication of information in the Old and New Testaments, respectively. The third part of the book discusses the various literary genres that were typical of the biblical world, and the final part concludes with a discussion on the reliability and authority of the Scriptures. A 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards Honorable Mention, this book is certainly worth a read if you are interested in learning more about the Bible’s transmission, reliability and authority.

Other Titles:

MLK and Civil Rights

Misremembering Dr. King: Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by Jennifer J. Yanco 

When one thinks of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it is difficult not to think of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he speaks out against racial discrimination in the United States, is well-known. King gave his life for the Civil RightsMisremembering Dr. King movement, and his life and death have had an enormous impact in the United States. But what about the other contributions that Martin Luther King made? Why doesn’t anyone ever remember King’s “giant triplets” – militarism, materialism and racism? Jennifer Yanco attempts to rectify this disproportion in her book Misremembering Dr. King: Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Yanco argues that King’s other interests have been overshadowed by his role in the Civil Rights Movement. She contends that over time successive generations have left out, or “misremembered,” crucial elements of King’s legacy. Few are aware of King’s concern for the effects of a culture caught up in greed and materialism or his firm stance against militarism and nonviolence in the heat of the Vietnam War. Yanco does not deny the importance of King’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, but she is mainly concerned with emphasizing King’s contributions in other areas in order to reveal more fully who Martin Luther King Jr. was and what he stood for. This book is a great read for those who are interested in learning more about King’s ideals and values and why they are so important to remember alongside his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.

Other Titles:


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Book Displays: October 2014

Medieval Theology

Thomas Aquinas’s “Summa Theologiae”: A Biography, Bernard McGinn

mcginnPerhaps no medieval theologian is better known than Thomas Aquinas, and without a doubt his most influential book was his Summa Theologiae. Written between 1266 and 1273 (a mere seven years), the volume spans 3,500 pages — and that’s only because Aquinas died before he could complete it. Aquinas intended it to be an educational aid for all the key theological teachings of the Catholic Church, and it follows a cycle: the existence of God, creation, humanity, humanity’s purpose, Christ, the sacraments, and back to God.

While Aquinas’s Summa numbers over 3,000 pages, McGinn’s biography is (thankfully) only a fraction of that length. In 273 pages, he takes readers through the world of Aquinas’s time, his own background, his reasons for writing the Summa, a basic tour of the Summa itself, and then an examination of the Summa‘s reception over the ensuing seven centuries.

Other Titles:

Military History: World War I (Centennial Anniversary)

The Great War: Myth and Memory, Dan Todman

todmanThe way we interpret history after cataclysmic events can often shift over the years. Heroes become villains, formerly sidelined events take front stage, and motivations are assumed where previously none may have been thought to exist. World War I is not exempt from this pattern. The new style of warfare, the brutality of the attacks, the massive numbers of casualties — in retrospect, it’s easy to chalk it up to the “futility of war.” However, Dan Todman argues that this wasn’t necessarily how everyone who lived through the era understood the events. Pride and patriotism were dominant themes of the era, and the “armchair generals” that we decry in the 21st century were actually regaled for their professionalism and effectiveness in winning the war. Todman takes a hard look at the ways the narrative has shifted over the past century, and offers an alternative view.

Other Titles:

Biblical Inerrancy

Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy, Albert Mohler, Peter Enns, Michael F. Bird, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, and John R. Franke

vanhoozerFor many evangelicals, the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is a central element of their faith — for some, even the central element. But what exactly do we mean by that term “inerrant?” And how central is it to the Christian understanding of the nature and character of God? These five evangelical scholars (one of whom is on faculty here at TEDS and will be leading the library’s Table Talk about this very topic) have come together in a written dialogue about the concept. Their perspectives are:
– When the Bible Speaks, God Speaks: The Classic Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy
– Inerrancy, However Defined, Does Not Describe What the Bible Does
– Inerrancy Is Not Necessary for Evangelicalism Outside the USA
– Augustinian Inerrancy: Literary Meaning, Literal Truth, and Literate Interpretation in the Economy of Biblical Discourse
– Recasting Inerrancy: The Bible as Witness to Missional Plurality

Other Titles:


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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Theologies

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Basic Description of Theologies

Generally speaking, one can divide theological reference tools into three broad categories.

Systematic Theologies – Seek to present theological material systematically according to specific categories that frame the discussion, e.g., the nature of God, the work of the Spirit, the essence of sin, etc.

Biblical Theologies – Seek to present theological material according to categories more directly related to those of the Biblical authors, books, and corpuses; seek to give special attention to the progressive unfolding of this theological material across Biblical history and the Biblical canon.

Historical Theologies – Seek to present developmnent of Christian theology throughout church history and spanning various theological traditions. Some are organized according to historical period while others are organized topically.

Sample of Systematic Theology

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), pg. 1109. * Click image for larger view.

Key Systematic Theologies

Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine – Prominent evangelical systematic theology.

Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology – Prominent evangelical systematic theology.

Normal Geisler’s Systematic Theology – Prominent evangelical systematic theology.

Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way – Prominent evangelical systematic theology.

Gordan Lewis and Bruce Demarest’s Integrative Theology – Brief evangelical systematic theology.

Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology – Standard Reformed sytematic theology.

Charles Hodge’s Sytematic Theology – Standard Reformed systematic theology.

A. H. Strong’s Systematic Theology – Standard Baptist systematic theology.

Thomas Oden’s Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology, Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 – Standard Arminian systematic theology.

Rodman Williams’ Renewal Theology – Pentecostal systematic theology.

L.S. Chafer’s Systematic Theology – Classical Dispensational systematic theology.


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Book Displays: September 2014

Welcome back to campus! As the fall semester comes into swing, we invite you to swing by Rolfing and check out our Recommended Reading displays — or open our e-books directly from this page!

Asian Theological Education

Policy and Practice in Asian Distance Education, edited by Tian Belawati and Jon Baggaley

Policy and Practice in Asian Distance Education

With a current population of almost 4.5 billion and an area of over 17 million square miles, Asia is a prime candidate for the benefits of non-traditional and distance education. However, negotiating the logistics of such a task is a gigantic undertaking. In order to help educators (theological and otherwise) in their task, the PANdora Task Force (made up of representatives of Pakistan, China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Cambodia, Philippines, Bhutan, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Hong Kong) has created a guidebook for Open and Distance Learning in a specifically Asian environment. The 23 chapters in this volume are modular in format, so that educators can use only what they need in their specific contexts.

Other Titles:

History of American Missions

Native Americans, Christianity, and the Reshaping of the American Religious Landscape, edited by Joel W. Martin and Mark A. Nicholas

amindThe history of Native Americans and Christian missionaries has been a long and complex one. The interplay of the two cultures has produced both blessing and bloodshed, with positive engagement and painful misunderstanding taking place on both sides. Joel Martin and Mark Nicholas bring together authors from a variety of disciplines and contexts to add to a robust discussion of both the historical and the ongoing interactions between these groups of people, and how they have shaped what it means to be both an American Indian and an American Christian.

Other Titles:

Academic and Professional Writing

Exploring College Writing: Reading, Writing, and Researching Across the Curriculum, Dan Melzer

explWhat is “college writing?” How is it different than the writing you did in high school, or the writing that you do in your spare time? What’s involved in crafting this style of communication? How do different academic disciplines go about understanding and undertaking this task? In this textbook, Dan Melzer seeks to help undergraduate composition students (and anyone who could use a refresher) navigate this territory. He uses real-world examples of student writing to highlight the important attributes and key strategies of effective college writing, and guides readers through crafting their own work.

Other Titles:

 


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July Book Displays

God-of-LibertyI was immediately drawn in as I began reading the introduction to Thomas Kidd’s God of Liberty. The Baylor University history professor has written an exceptional volume that’s received a number of very positive reviews. If the religious dimensions of  America’s birth as a nation are of interest to you, this is a well-researched and very balanced presentation of all the complexities involved and, I think, without the agenda typically seen in contemporary discussion. It is written at a level accessible to all readers and not encumbered with overly-academic language. There are 47 pages of notes that include a number of primary sources. If you’re researching or like to utilize a book’s index, unfortunately you’ll have to track down the printed edition since the page numbers are absent from this e-Book (at least they were for me).

Modern-Just-War-TheoryMichael Farrell’s Modern Just War Theory is a must-have if you’re interested in the ethics debate on violence and war. It is a robust research guide with several hundred pages devoted to a detailed annotated bibliography. Split into two parts, the first part contains a comprehensive introduction to the entire topic, complete with detailed definitions of terms and examples of the different ethical positions used in contemporary debate. The second part is your tool for research as you can browse hundreds of pages of annotated bibliography and find the resources you need. Whether you’re reading up on just war theory or doing your own academic research, this is a great and comprehensive starting point.

world of the NTThis last book I cannot recommend enough! Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald are the editors of The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts, published in August 2013. It is widely recommended for New Testament studies and includes a host of experienced and emerging scholars in its 641 pages. This volume is rich in research but not exclusive to the academic community. I highly suggest that, at the least, you consult this book for your sermon preparation or New Testament courses. Since we so often place a high value on context in Biblical Studies, this is an opportune resource!

 


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June Book Displays

The summer is ripe with opportunities both relaxing and fun. I can think of few better things to do in the summer than sitting outside (usually at a Starbucks) on a  sunny day with a good cup of coffee and one of these great e-books on my Kindle. If only I had the day off to do it! Whether you’re taking summer courses, working, or exploring the great outdoors, check out an e-book from Rolfing to enjoy in your free moments.

porter_how we gotStanley Porter’s How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation is worth a read, especially during these summer months. It is based on a series of lectures from 2008 at Acadia Divinity School. At just 241 pages, it is a reasonably readable length for students and educated laypeople and the complicated material is written in understandable language. It is introductory in scope and offers a broad yet thorough understanding of the text, transmission, and interpretation of the New Testament. However, reading this volume will require familiarity with New Testament Greek and textual criticism.

Schreiner_King in his beautyThomas Schreiner’s The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments is a hefty 735-page volume — but don’t be intimidated! It’s a book-by-book biblical theology of both the Old and New Testament, so the page count is actually low considering the subject! Schreiner’s argument is that, although no one theme adequately captures the entire message of Scripture, “Kingdom of God” is fitting as the Bible’s central theological theme. You can learn more about this book by checking out a brief interview with Dr. Schreiner or reading Josh Hayes’ review.

detwiler_iGodsIf you’re up for an interesting read on tech-giants Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, and want to consider your spiritual life in the omnipresent technological age, then dig in to Craig Detweiler’s iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives. He tells the creation narrative of these companies using theological labels and discusses how these “iGods” can become major distractions. It received a mixed review in Christianity Today but has also received national praise for its address of emerging cultural issues wrapped up in technology.