BOOK REVIEWS

Who Moved My Pulpit?

By: Thom Rainer

 

Change is hard.  As humans, we tend to thrive in the consistency and security of routine.  Though some may consider themselves adventurous in certain aspects of life, humanity tends to stick to things they are comfortable and familiar with rather than experimenting with change.  However, everyday we wake up is a day we are one day different than we were yesterday.  This change occurs, not just in the individual, but with society as a whole.  Though we can take great comfort in knowing the Bible and Gospel truths never change, we must also acknowledge that our understanding of those truths change constantly (if we are genuinely seeking to understand them), and the society we are trying to impact with the Gospel message is constantly changing as well.  So how do we wed the never changing Gospel truth with a constantly changing community?  This is the main question Thom Rainer is wrestling with in his most recent release, “Who Moved My Pulpit?”

 

Rainer, the President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, created this work with the express purpose of creating a resource for the pastor or church leader that is attempting to work through a change...

 

 

Family Worship

By: Donald Whitney

 

Today I have finished reading a book by Donald Whitney called "Family Worship."  I first became aware of Dr. Whitney's ministry through his pivotal writing on discipleship, "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life."  I have also recently enjoyed reading his "Praying the Bible" that was released earlier this year.  Dr. Whitney has been an inspiration a provided a challenge to my spiritual growth, and did not disappoint in his most recent release on the importance of family worship.

 

In his introduction, Whitney shows findings from a recent Barna Research Group survey that shows:

 

Eighty-five percent of parents with children under age 13 believe they have primary responsibility for teaching their children about religious beliefs and spiritual matters.  However, a majority of parents don't spend any time during a typical week discussing religious matters or studying religious material with their children...

 

Rediscovering Discipleship: Making Jesus' Final Words Our First Work

By: Robby Gallaty

 

Gallaty describes the ultimate end goal of discipleship as "to be conformed into the image of Christ - to talk the way he talked, walk the way he walked, and respond the way he responded" (Gallaty, 2015, p 79).  Christian, are you making it your ultimate goal to accomplish this task with your time?

 

In the foreword, Ed Stetzer calls the reader to reflect on personal engagement by asking: "are we seeking God in prayer, spending time in his Word, and surrounding ourselves with people who will challenge us to grow in our spiritual lives?" (Gallaty, 2015, p. 11).  In Rediscovering Discipleship, Gallaty first calls his readers to know Jesus before going on mission, and then outlines a method for making disciples.  Stetzer affirms this call to know Jesus by commenting, "Too many of us are so focused on what we're supposed to do for Jesus that we lose focus on Jesus himself" (Gallaty, 2015, p. 12).  In fact, Gallaty mentions his purpose for writing the book was as a "clarion call for cultivating a deeper walk with Christ" (Gallaty, 2015, p. 15)...

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer through the lens of Erik Erikson's 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development

An EdD Assignment

 

This paper will examine the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer focusing specifically on analyzing the review of Eric Metaxas’s biography of Bonhoeffer entitled, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, through the lens of Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development.

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a unique individual, born in Germany at the start of the twentieth century, experiencing both World War I and World War II.  His father was a scientist and his mother originated from a line of pastor-theologians.  This combination would prove formative for Bonhoeffer in regard to his worldview and approach to understanding things.  Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor, theologian, and founding member of the Confessing Church.  He is most known for his theological writings, most notably The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together.  Bonhoeffer is also known for being resistant to the Nazi dictatorship and their persecution of Jews, which eventually led to him being arrested by the Nazi’s in April of 1943 and executed by hanging in April of 1945...

Health, Wealth & Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ?

By: David W. Jones & Russell S. Woodbridge

 

The thesis of Health, Wealth & Happiness is "to address the failings of the prosperity gospel as well as give direction to disillusioned followers of prosperity theology" (p. 9)  The book is divided into two major sections.  The first portion provided a critique of the prosperity gospel by: establishing its origin in a history of the New Thought movement; defining the parameters of prosperity ministries; and exposing the erros of the prosperity gospel.  The second portion provided a correction to the prosperity gospel by: discussing the Biblical teaching on suffering; wealth and poverty; and giving by way of a Scriptural defense.

 

Health, Wealth & Happiness supported its thesis by detailing the flaws of the prosperity gospel, and also assisted to identify a solution for "disillusioned followers."  The work is adequately filled with facts and evidence to introduce a churchgoer, or "disillusioned follower," of the error of the prosperity gospel...

 

Sticky Church

By: Larry Osborne

 

One challenge to church membership and attendance in the twenty-first century is keeping people once they have attended a church.  There have been many books and theories written on how to close the back door and help retain the members of a church.  Larry Osborne offered his experience and formula for closing the back door in his book, Sticky Church.

Osborne's philosophy on retaining membership is driven by a stron small group ministry.  He believes that in order to be effective at keeping people, "our churches need to be stickier" (2008, p. 13).  This stickiness will lead to healthier churches by having members that will "not only draw in spiritual window-shoppers and lead them to Christ; they also grow them up to maturity" (2008, p. 13).  This method originated for Osborne through examinig the Great Commission passage, which calls Christians to make disciples.  Osborne reminds his readers that this task includes "baptizing people and teaching them to obey everything he commanded (2008, p. 13)...

Those Who Must Give an Account

By: John Hammett and Benjamin Merkle

 

Those Who Must Give Account, edited by John S. Hammett and Benjamin L. Merkle, focuses on developing a healthy definition of church membership and a healthy understanding on the significance of church discipline.  Their goal in developing Those Who Must Give Account is that as a result, there “will be churches that are closer to the goal of being radiant churches, without spot or wrinkle or blemish, churches that will bring glory to God.” (4).

            The purpose of this book is to give church leaders, “guidance on how they should receive and minister to those for whom they will have to give an account.” (1) The title of the book is based on Hebrews 13:17 where church leaders are to give an account.  As the book develops, it focuses on the importance of church membership as a boundary for a leader’s responsibility and inevitably as a form of accountability to the member.  Church discipline is set in place as a measure of defining that accountability in the hope of restoration and repentance...