From time to time it is important to mention a book that is important and influential even though I have to disagree with its content.This is not an easy task because there are many good things that I have read and appreciated by the author even though Idisagree with him on a number of issues;justification being one. Read this book, carefully, discerningly, and with much caution.
I agree with J. I. Packer. When I read Why We Love the Church, I wanted to stand up and cheer. I have been reading so many books and blogs from people who do not speak a love language regarding the church or organized religion. Granted, there are blemishes and spots and things that need correcting regarding the church but as the bride of Christ, whom he loves, we too must love the church, and you cannot separate the organism aspect of the church from the organized as many are trying to do.
As the lead article in this issue indicates there has been great confusion regarding the broad issue of God and politics, especially as it relates to the frequently heard church and state separation issue and the united states Constitutional position. on the one hand you have the secularists who want to exclude God from all public discourse, especially politics, and on the other hand you have some Christians who claim that America was founded on Christian principles; therefore, the church cannot be left out of the state or politics. Hunter Baker suggests both tend to over state their case.
The title drew me to this book written by Ben Witherington, Professor of New Testament, Asbury seminary, and faculty in the doctoral program at st. Andrews university in scotland. Being less than 100 pages, I thought this would be an easy read. I found that while it was easy to read, it required some thinking, checking scripture references, and playing around with some of the end questions. Consequently, I underlined a lot.
The main thing that underscores our being the image of God is namely our ability and capacity to think. How tragic when we do not. People in general, but Christians in particular, face some extremely serious, complicated, and complex issues. The need to know how to think from a Christian perspective has never been more urgent.
Jerram Barrs has given us a good sequel to his earlier book, The Heart of Evangelism. This book is more focused in dealing with how Jesus approached the subject we would call evangelism. I agree with David Wells. “This is not a book about evangelism technique but about doing evangelism biblically.” In one sense we can say that Jesus did not have a particular methodology in doing evangelism; yet on the other hand, there are certain aspects that are a common thread in his approach. We perhaps should say that Jesus always had an objective in mind, though it was always applied by situation or context.
Along with The Christian Mind, this book is among the list of several books that I recommend using in making kingdom disciples, or those who know how to think God’s thoughts after Him and apply them to life or how to think with a transformed mind. Blamires deals with the necessity of the concept of the Christian mind while Stott is more hands on with the topic by looking at issues we are facing today.
Whether you feel competent to pray or not, it is always beneficial to rethink prayer – what it is, how to pray, and how not to pray. It is also good to be reminded that the number one object of our prayers is God Himself and His will. R. C. Sproul, in his usual manner of making difficult issues relating to theology and the Christian life accessible to us, has done a good thing in these ten chapters on prayer, focusing on the model prayer we know as the Lord’s Prayer.
The book is clear. It is not about any kind of Christianity but Calvinism because Boice believed that Calvinism was good for the church and its abandonment usually led to liberalism. Ryken’s comment in the preface gives you an idea of what the book is all about. From chapter eight, which Ryken calls the most important chapter in the book, Boice wanted to portray a kind of Christianity that was biblically based and theologically rigorous Calvinism but also practical and warm hearted. Ryken said, Boice so “earnestly wanted to convey the warmth and vitality of true Reformed spirituality.”
The book reminds us that when we speak of man being in the image of God, it not only applies to his healthy state but his sick one as well. Christians should read and study this book. The church should be challenged to think about its role as it is called to embody the love and grace of God to its members.