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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Obedient Faith

At long last, it’s finally here: P. Andrew Sandlin & John Barach, eds., Obedient Faith: A Festschrift for Norman Shepherd (Mount Hermon, California: Kerygma Press, 2012).

Preface — P. Andrew Sandlin

Tributes — John H. Armstrong, John M. Frame, Charles A. McIlhenny, Michael D. Pasarilla, Steve M. Schlissel, Jeffery J. Ventrella, Roger Wagner

1. Growing in Covenant Consciousness — Norman Shepherd

2. The Whole Counsel of God: The Abandonment of John Murray’s Legacy at Westminster Theological Seminary — Ian Alastair Hewitson

3. Original Righteousness — Ralph F. Boersema

4. The Glory of the Man: Women, Psalms, and Worship — James B. Jordan

5. Faith’s Obedience and Israel’s Triumphant King: Romans 1-5 Against Its Old Testament Backdrop — Don Garlington

6. Mother Paul and the Children of Promise (Gal. 4:19-31) — Peter J. Leithart

7. Sola Fide: True and False — P. Andrew Sandlin

8. The Reformed Doctrine of Justification by Works: Historical Survey and Emerging Consensus — Rich Lusk

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HOT OFF THE PRESSES!

Peter J. Leithart & John Barach, eds., The Glory of Kings: A Festschrift in Honor of James B. Jordan (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011).

Foreword — R. R. Reno

Introduction — Peter J. Leithart

PART ONE: BIBLICAL STUDIES

1. The Glory of the Son of Man: An Exposition of Psalm 8 — John Barach

2. Judah’s Life from the Dead: The Gospel of Romans 11 — Tim Gallant

3. The Knotted Thread of Time: The Missing Daughter in Leviticus 18 — Peter J. Leithart

4. Holy War Fulfilled and Transformed: A Look at Some Important New Testament Texts — Rich Lusk

5. The Royal Priesthood in Exodus 19:6 — Ralph Allan Smith

6. Father Storm: A Theology of Sons in the Book of Job — Toby J. Sumpter

PART TWO: LITURGICAL THEOLOGY

7. On Earth as It Is in Heaven: The Pastoral Typology of James B. Jordan — Bill DeJong

8. Why Don’t We Sing the Songs Jesus Sang? The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of English Psalm Singing — Duane Garner

9. Psalm 46 — William Jordan

PART 3: THEOLOGY

10. A Pedagogical Paradigm for Understanding Reformed Eschatology with Special Emphasis on Basic Characteristics of Christ’s Person — C. Kee Hwang

11. Light and Shadow: Confessing the Doctrine of Election in the Sixteenth Century — Jeffrey J. Meyers

PART FOUR: CULTURE

12. James Jordan, Rosenstock-Huessy, and Beyond — Richard Bledsoe

13. Theology of Beauty in Evdokimov — Bogumil Jarmulak

14. Empire, Sports, and War — Douglas Wilson

Afterword — John M. Frame

The Writings of James B. Jordan, 1975–2011 — John Barach

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Now available at Amazon: Bible Matrix by Mike Bull

From the publisher’s overview:

“The Bible is one story told over and over again, with many variations on the same theme. This structure is the Bible’s DNA. This basic seven-point pattern is the heartbeat of the Creation. It is the cycle of a human day and a human life. It is the pattern of the Tabernacle. It is the process of agriculture. It undergirds the speeches and Laws of God. It orders the rise and fall of nations and empires. It is also the structure of our worship. It is the rhythm of Christ, and it will open the Bible for you like never before.”
(more…)

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Good New SF

1. The current issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction includes a good fantasy novella by John C. Wright, who since his conversation has been writing Christianly. This is a fine fantasy with nods to C. S. Lewis and Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and probably Gene Wolfe as well. The issue is only sale only in April, so get yours now if you are interested. Also included in this issue is a reprint of Thomas Disch’s classic “The Brave Little Toaster” (made into a movie a few years ago).

 

2. Perhaps of even more interest is The Best of Gene Wolfe (Tor, 2009). Here are 464 pages of short stories and novellas by today’s greatest SF writer, a devout Christian. Included are the two stories Christians most often refer to: “Westwind” (a short homage to Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday) and “The Detective of Dreams” (a Poe-esque homage to the Greatest Storyteller of all time). Short remarks by Wolfe are found at the end of each of the 31 stories here. Some stories are charming; more are cautionary. Many require re-reading. If you need an introduction to Gene Wolfe, or if you want the best in one place, get this.

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Part One

Continuing through The Worship of the English Puritans by Horton Davies:

The author gives some of his own appraisals rather than immediately quoting Durel, even though that is how he began his chapter. In Davies’ opinion, while the Puritans would invoke their own interpretation of Scripture in order to condemn, say, Calvin’s Church in Geneva when a difference was pointed out to them, they were ultimately ignorant of the greatness of the variance between their own convictions and those of the Continental Reformed Churches.

They would probably have been surprised had they realized the extent of their divergence from the customs of the Reformed Churches. They would have been even more amazed that, in certain features of her worship, the Established Church in England approximated more closely to the Reformed Tradition than they did themselves (p. 38).

The main point here was the use of written prayers, as opposed to only extemporaneous prayers, in public worship. Some Puritans, such as Richard Baxter, had no such scruples against using written prayers. But many did. Their influence is seen in the Westminster Directory, which Horton Davies says, “brought Puritan practice nearer to Calvin’s” (p. 39), but couldn’t actually include written prayers to be read in worship.

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The Worship of the English Puritans by Horton Davies really valuable book for gaining historical perspective on the American Presbyterian scene. (I will note for the record that I don’t believe there is an objective definition for “puritan” and I wish historians would stop using it and instead speak of “English Calvinists” or “dissenters” or use some other label that actually designates a particular group by shared characteristics. But it is still a good book.) What is especially helpful is chapter 4: “Puritan Worship and the Continental Reformed Churches.”

Davies points out that it was “clearly the intention to bring English worship into line with Reformed practice” (p. 35). Furthermore, the Puritans would “appeal to the continental Reformed Churches for precedents.” Even the Separatists would do this.

Oddly, however, one John Durel, a Reformed pastor of a congregation in Savoy, France published an entire book arguing that the Anglicans were closer to the Reformed Churches than the Pruitans. It was entitled, A View of the government and Publick Worship of God in the Reformed Churches beyond the Sea (London 1662). On page 14 of that work, according to Davies, he wrote that the views held by the Westminster Assembly regarding the continental Reformed churches were, “mere Chimeras and Ideas; which, like the Utopia of Sir Thomas More, never existed but in their brain.”

Davies goes on in the chapter to examine Durel’s claims and evaluate them. As I have time I’ll post more about what he says on various practices and structures that the Puritans were advocating as “Reformed.”

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Writing and Thinking

During one of my AAPC lectures I read a portion of Richard Mitchell’s provocative little book The Underground Grammarian.  Here’s the portion I read:

The mind is a rudderless wanderer blown here or there by any puff of breeze. If I mention watermelons, you must think of watermelons; if giraffes, giraffes. The very rare genus can keep his mind on course for a while, perhaps as long as a whole minute, but most of us are always at the mercy of every random suggestion of environment. We imagine that we sit down and think, but, in fact, we mostly gather wool, remembering this or that and fantasizing about the other. In our heads we recite some slogans and rehash the past, often repeatedly. Even in this foolish maundering, we are easily distracted by random thoughts, mostly about money or politics but often about sports or sex. Left to its own devises, the mind plays like a child in a well-stocked sandbox, toying idly with trinkets and baubles and often doing the same thing over and over again until some slightly more interesting game presents itself.

If we want to pursue extended logical thought, thought that can discover relationships and consequences and devise its own alternatives, we need a discipline imposed from outside of the mind itself. Writing is that discipline. It seems drastic, but we have to suspect that coherent, continuous thought is impossible for those who cannot construct coherent, continuous prose (pp. 39-40).

Without external stimuli and structure we are unable to think clearly and cogently.

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