Archives For Book Reviews

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3, NIV).

A number of years ago, C. S. Lewis framed the Liar, Lunatic, Lord argument that asserted that Jesus could not possibly have been merely a good teacher–either he lied about his own identity which would make him not good, he was deluded about his own identity (also not good) or he was truthful in his claim to be the Lord of all. An unintended consequence of that argument is that we may deprecate Jesus standing as a teacher in our efforts to assert his Lordship.

Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage Of Wisdom by Ben Witherington III (Fortress Press, 2000).

In Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage Of Wisdom Ben Witherington III brings Jesus as Teacher and Jesus as Lord together in his exploration of Wisdom writings and how these influenced Jesus himself, and how they influenced the view of Christ, or Christology of the earliest Christians and the New Testament writers. Continue Reading…

A Review of Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Zondervan: 2014)
By David H. Leonard, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics, Luther Rice University, Atlanta, GA

It might be tempting to think that productivity is a topic more suitable for business leaders and entrepreneurs, for whom it’s essential to “get things done” as efficiently as possible.  As Matt Perman argues in What’s Best Next, however, productivity is mainly about loving others by putting their needs first.  Such an emphasis results not only in greater productivity, but is also consistent with a Christian view of such matters.  Indeed, the implication is that all Christians, regardless of their vocation, are called to excel in their productivity.  To achieve that goal, it’s not sufficient that we’re merely aware of the relevant skills of productivity; rather, our employment of these skills must be motivated and informed by a proper theological foundation.  In this regard, Perman’s book offers readers a unique and insightful perspective on the topic of productivity, explicitly informed by the Christian faith.

Christian scholars, in particular, ought to take seriously Perman’s insights on productivity, for the ideas and principles he develops have direct relevance for the quality of their teaching and research.  Whereas Andreas Köstenberger, for example, has challenged scholars to pursue their work with excellence, in terms of demonstrating boldness amidst the pressures of “academic respectability” and displaying integrity in their scholarly activities, Perman highlights for readers the practical steps that might be taken to clear the way for such excellence to be achieved.  Continue Reading…

Perhaps I’m stating the obvious but most discussions of origins seem to generate far more heat than light. They preach to the choir of those who agree, fail to engage those with whom they disagree on their own terms and perpetuate the unfortunate notion that Christianity and science are at war with each other. Gerald Rau’s Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything (InterVarsity Press, 2012) is a notable exception to that trend in that it is intended to promote understanding and conversation rather than more controversy.

Gerald Rau takes a novel approach in this book. Rather than taking a side, he lays out six different models that may be found in the current discussions. This itself is important because most of the coverage of this issue assumes two very diametrically opposed options: naturalistic evolution, that there is no god and the universe and all life arose simply through physical causation, and young earth creationism, which treats Genesis 1 as a literal account of how God created the world in six literal days, a world that is approximately 10,000 years old.

Rau identifies four other models and their proponents: Continue Reading…