Saturday, February 03, 2007

Reading for January 2007

  • Lost Christianities- Bart D. Ehrman: 2003.

Ehrman explores the writings of the early church and the light this sheds on the diversity within the early church. He begins discussing some recently discovered forgeries, from the early common era and a possible modern forgery, the secret gospel of Mark. After discussing some literary remains, he then discusses the major beliefs of some of the prominent groups in early Christianity. He concludes with a discussion of how the proto-orthodox theology gained ascendancy over the other competing expressions. The data, and much of the analysis offered by Dr. Ehrman is solid and needs greater attention in the church, particularly in regards to the prevalence of diversity and the serious struggle for orthodoxy. A major concern apparent throughout the book regards tolerance of other forms of Christianity in light of the early diversity, and at times lack of charity and honesty on the part of those engaged in theological struggle.

  • Armageddon- Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (Book 11) 2003.

This volume marked the death of several prominent members of the Tribulation Force. In the final months before the Second Coming, Caparthia plans for his attack against Jerusalem marshaled at Armageddon while the Tribulation Force responds. Chloe was captured and beheaded by the Global Community, and Tsion was killed in the fighting in Jerusalem. The book ended with the mortal wounding of both Rayford and Buck, and the death of one of the two. As the books approach their conclusion, they become less and less imaginative, and the sermons and the expected dispensational theology begin to dominate.

  • “A Holy Book is Not Enough” New Horizons (December 2006)

The feature article concerned the incarnation and the uniqueness it grants Christianity. The second article concerned images of Christ. The author argued, based on the Confession and its interpretation of the second commandment, that all images of Christ, for any use are forbidden. The argument of the article was weak in not addressing clearly the distinction between liturgical use and artistic and offering a clear demonstration of the forbidding of the latter. The final main article deals with the need for ministers in the OPC due to the age and impending retirement of many current pastors. Two significant book reviews concerned a reading guide for the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by Leland Ryken and Marjorie Lamp Mead and He Came Down from Heaven: The Preexistence of Christ and the Christian Faith by Douglas McCready.

  • Perelandra- C. S. Lewis, 1944.

The second book in the Space Trilogy takes Dr. Ransom to Venus to combat with Dr. Weston. In the book, Ransom must defend the new world against the agent of the devil as he seeks to recreate the fall. Through great struggles, spiritual, mental and physical, Ransom protects the Green Lady and her world from repeating the fall of the human race. Lewis does an excellent job in this book exploring the goal of mankind’s creation and the possible result of Adam’s victory in his probation.

  • Reaching the Unreached:The New-Old Challenge- Edited by Harvie Conn, 1984.
A compilation of essays stemming from a conference held at Westminster Seminary in 1983 to discuss strategies of reaching people-groups untouched by the Gospel. The opening essays define the terms of people-groups and what is an unreached people-group, as well as outline the history of missions and explain the focus on this idea. The basic definition shared by the authors of an unreached people group is “a people-group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group without outside (cross-cultural) assistance.” Throughout, the focus is on people-groups rather than political nations and their boundary markers. Attention is devoted to the variety of people-groups which can be contained within a single nation. It was also noted that people-groups are not confined by national borders. Other essays focused on strategy of reaching these groups, and struggled with the theological struggles which can arise especially when well-established, confessional churches seek to plant churches in foreign cultures. The final essays consider adaptation by both mission boards and seminaries to focus on reaching the untouched people-groups of the world.

1 comment:

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