Social Connects

 

books
Mar
10
2014

How Not to Worship a Black Hole: A Review of Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed by Austin Fischer

Author: Austin Fischer
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Cascade/Wipf & Stock (2014)
Language: English
ISBN: 9781625641519

Amazon

Official Website

Over the last 15 years, I’ve engaged in far more discussions, “debates,” and arguments over the subjects of election, predestination, free will, determinism, foreknowledge and the like, than I’d actually be comfortable admitting. Some Christians care very little for these subjects, not simply because they are anti-intellectual or want to avoid conflict, but because they don’t understand what they have to do with their picture of God’s character. For me, however, these subjects have been critical. I’ve heard it said regarding theology that for many people—but perhaps particularly for certain personalities—one’s head and one’s heart have to agree, in order for that person to genuinely worship God. When it comes to these subjects, that has always been my desire: to worship God with my whole self. That is why I have never been able to either stomach emotionally nor substantiate intellectually the God constructed by Calvinism. I both cannot find it taught in Scripture, nor can I love and worship the portrait of God it paints.

That is not to say that I don’t recognize that many millions of Christians can and do. In the process of honing my own views, I have learned a great deal about Calvinism from Calvinists themselves. I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy many long-term relationships with Calvinists, including mentoring and professorial relationships. The vast majority of the Calvinists I’ve interacted with in person have been thoughtful, godly people. (Some unfortunately have not been). Online, however, I cannot say the same. The vast majority of the Calvinists I’ve interacted with through the medium of the internet have come across as arrogant, militant, and intellectually dishonest. That is perhaps why I continue to read books on this subject. A part of me is still deeply puzzled by the phenomenon of New Calvinism 1. In fact, it surprised me that I was not aware of this book sooner. While I’m normally one of the first to hear of books rebutting Calvinism, I didn’t know this book existed until a Facebook friend named Taylor Scott Brown began posting quotes from it as he was reading it. A few weeks later, my friend Erik Merksamer (aka "Mixmaster Merks") read the book and lent it to me. So now that I’ve read it myself, I’d simply like to outline the book for anyone who might read this review before making a decision about reading it, add some of my own thoughts here and there, and give it my hearty recommendation.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Jan
06
2014

Conquer Like the Lamb: Cruciform-centrism in Revelation (For Everyone) by N. T. Wright

For Christmas I was gifted with N. T. Wright's "For Everyone" commentary set on the New Testament thanks to my wife and members of the New City Covenant church plant. (THANK YOU!!!) I've wanted this set of commentaries for my library for several years now, and it's clear now that it was well worth the wait. Just as soon as all the shredded wrapping paper was collected and recycled, I was hard at work digesting the first book from the series I pulled from the shelf. I decided to start with Revelation. For one reason, I recently read Reversed Thunder by Eugene Peterson and loved it. 1 Also, having read a fair amount of Wright's other work, I felt that Revelation might be where his theological insights would shine brightest—and I think I was right.

Wright's commentary on Revelation is excellent! It's accessible, thorough yet brief, and clearly organized. Wright remains true to his signature areas of insight, expounding on the historical-cultural, as well as the socio-religio-political, contexts of the book; the Person of Jesus in relationship to Israel's God (including, obviously, a healthy dose of insight from Second Temple Jewish theology); the nature of the Jesus Movement out of which this text emerges; and the nature of the 'salvation' this book (and the rest of the New Testament) proclaim. Wright's unique perspective on justification makes a few important appearances, and his hallmark critique of Platonic dualism in Western visions of the afterlife also shows up from time to time. Even his now common exposés of violence and systemic injustice make their way into the book. This commentary has all the things which have made N. T. Wright one of my favorite theologians to read.

Above all, Wright's commentary on Revelation is most praiseworthy for its explicit Cruciform-centrism. 2 Five discernible themes in Wright's exposition of Revelation make this clear:

  1. Jesus is the Lamb at the Center of God's Throne;

  2. The Powers War Against the Lamb, the Followers of the Lamb, and God's Good Creation;

  3. The Lamb is Victorious Over the Powers in and Through the Cross;

  4. Jesus's Bride Conquers Like the Lamb—Through Self-giving Love;

  5. God is Faithful to His Covenant Through the Lamb, the Followers of the Lamb, and New Creation

As Wright plainly states upfront: "…the whole point of the book. Jesus himself won the victory through his suffering, and so must his people." - p.10

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Dec
31
2013

10 Books I Read in 2013 & 10 Books I Want to Read in 2014

In 2013, I actually read more books than I can remember—literally. I went back and tried to create a list (so I can be cool like Larry Garcia!) but it kept getting longer and longer and I realized I wouldn't have this post done before 2014 comes. So, instead, I'm just listing 10 of the best (or most interesting) books I read this past year, and 10 books I'd like to read in 2014.

2013:

1. Mañana - Justo González
I really loved this book and González instantly became one of my new favorite theologians. I'm going to try to read more of his work in the coming years. This book is short and profound!

2. Benefit of the Doubt - Greg Boyd
If you're familiar with Greg Boyd's writing or preaching ministry, little in this book will surprise you. However, this book will be a breath of fresh air for any folks wrestling with Christian faith, or those who have walked away from it. Boyd has a gift for making complex theology accessible.

3. The Real Jesus - Luke Timothy Johnson
This book was assigned reading for a New Testament course, but I really loved it. Not only is LTJ hilariously snarky, he's also a deeply committed scholar. That's a fun combo!

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Dec
31
2013

10 Transformational Books: A Pilgrimage in Christian Thought

I don’t often participate in Facebook status memes, but I’m a sucker for a walk down book-reading memory lane. So I recently re-posted the 10-books-that-affected-you status. Since these books have had a profound effect on me, here I thought I’d make some brief comments on each one.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Jul
26
2013

Mere Discipleship and Dialogue: The Priestly Calling to the Ministry of Reconciliation

Years ago now, I read Mere Discipleship by Lee Camp with a small group I started made up mostly of seminary students called "Tanks to Tractors", but I never did review the book here on Theological Graffiti. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in what it means to be a disciple (i.e. follower, student, imitator) of Jesus. Camp is an excellent writer, he draws from many important sources, and the second edition of the book includes a study guide for groups.

The first members of New City Covenant Church's "launch team" will be reading and dialoguing around the subjects in the book for the remainder of the summer as well as putting what we're learning into practice by serving our neighbors in the South End/Lower Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. (If you live in the Boston metro area and are interested in joining us, you can find out more at the church's website.) So my wife suggested it might be appropriate for me to write not only about the book here, but also about the approach we're taking to learning from this book and one another. That is why in this post I'll be describing both: Two of the key theological concepts from the first chapter of the book—"Social Location" and the "Constantinian Shift"—as well as the Dialogue model of engagement we'll be practicing. In the weeks to come, I hope to provide a post like this one (minus the part about dialogue) to describe more of the concepts and arguments Camp covers in the book.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

May
04
2012

10 of the Most Formitive Christian Books

Eugene Cho recently wrote down his top 10 book recommendations. So I thought I'd go ahead and write mine down too. (Not in order of priority)

  • Mere Christianity - C. S. Lewis
  • Trinity and the Kingdom - Jürgen Moltmann
  • A Testament of Hope - Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The Politics of Jesus - John Howard Yoder
  • God of the Possible - Greg Boyd
  • (The Cost of) Discipleship - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Jesus and the Victory of God - N. T. Wright
  • Let Justice Roll Down - John Perkins
  • Exclusion and Embrace - Miroslav Volf
  • Resident Aliens - Stanley Hauerwas

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Jun
17
2011

You've Been Reading Genesis Wrong: A Review of The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton

Author: John Walton
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Intervarsity Press (2009)
Language: English
ISBN: 9780830837045

Buy it at Amazon

I received a copy of The Lost World of Genesis One as an early Father's Day present. It's been on my reading list since it was published. And I'd been anticipating its publication since I watched a video lecture of professor John Walton explaining his view from a Wheaton classroom years before. So in short, I was very excited to read this book. And it didn't disappoint.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

May
24
2011

So, Then, That Happened…

I've been holding back from posting because I didn't want to interrupt my series on the Evangelical Covenant Church's six essential Affirmations—which will require one more preliminary post on Evangelicalism and Pietism (coming soon!)—but alas there has just been too much happening. 

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Mar
21
2011

Guess Who's Getting Into Heaven: A Review of Love Wins by Rob Bell

Author: Rob Bell

Format: eBook

Publisher: HarperCollins (2011)

Language: English

ISBN: 9780062049636

 

 

 

Background on Love Wins: The Tweet Heard Round the Internet 
(well, by American Evangelicals at least)

In case you haven't heard, Rob Bell (@realrobbell) made some waves recently with the release of a new book entitled Love Wins. His name even trended momentarily on Twitter thanks in part to a blogger by the name of Justin Taylor who wrote a scathing indictment of Bell and the book on a blog called "The Gospel Coalition." Normally, I'd say Taylor is entitled to his opinion, no matter how biased it is. But this post by Taylor wasn’t simply biased, it was outright alarmist. He didn't just accuse Bell of teaching false doctrine and heresy, he had NOT READ THE BOOK!!! Shortly thereafter, and also without bothering to read the book, John Piper (who, like Bell, is also famous for his dramatic flair) tweeted "Farewell Rob Bell" and the Interwebs were nearly instantly set ablaze with the flames of a thousand "theotweets" (copyright 2011 T. C. Moore). This all led up to the actual release of the book, which brought with it its own set of reactionary reviews. So, there was that.

But before I add my review to the pile, a brief confession: I've been mostly ambivalent about Rob Bell. I heard him speak in person once a few years back when his Drops Like Stars tour came through Boston, and a year ago I listened to Mars Hill's sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount. I enjoyed both experiences, but I've never read any of Bell's books prior to this one, and to be perfectly frank, before all the hubbub over Love Wins I wouldn't have called myself much of a fan nor a detractor. But after reading the hatred and vitriol being spewed all over Bell by the folks over at The Gospel Coalition, I began to think this Bell character and his book might be worth a second look. Someone The Gospel Coalition hates this much must be writing shocking and appalling things worth examining. Which brings me to this review after finishing the book.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Welcome to TheologicalGraffiti.com

T. C. and Tyson Moore

Theological Graffiti is the offical blog of T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, urban church planter @NewCityCovenant, designer @NewCityPro, teacher, student, and friend. Discussion is welcome, so long as it is conducted in a spirit of charity. First and foremost, this blog is for self-expression—then community. More About.Me

New City Productions  

Books I'm Currently Reading:

Facebook Page

Follow This Blog

 
 

Member: MennoNerds

Browncoats Biblioblog Network

We Aim to Misbehave!

 

Recommended Books