BA Books & Authors on the Web – September 19, 2014

Cover ArtAt The Englewood Review of Books, Jeanne Lehninger reviewed Roger Lundin’s Beginning with the Word.

“Lundin is a wonderful teacher who explicates clearly why contemporary thought regarding language and literature is what it is and what the implications are for the church. Not merely an academic treatise, Beginning with the Word both begins and ends in delight and wisdom. Best of all, Lundin answers the question of why it matters that words are more than symbols. That they are reflections of the Word made flesh makes them bearers of truth and grace.”

Also, Roger Lundin was interviewed about Beginning with the Word on the Christian Humanist Podcast.

At the Strong Towns Podcast, Charles Marohn interviewed Eric Jacobson, author of The Space Between.

Wyatt Graham, at Writings and Reviews, reviewed Stephen Hildebrand’s Basil of Caesarea.

Michael Allen, author of Justification and the Gospel, wrote “The Desire and Joy of the Gospel” for Good News.

At Philonica et Neotestamentica, Torrey Seland quoted from Jesus against the Scribal Elite, by Chris Keith.

Finally, Graham Twelftree, author of Paul and the Miraculous, gave a lecture entitled “The Historian and the Miraculous“.

Video: Michael Allen on Adoption, Justification, and Theological Interpretation

Marriage, Adoption, and Justification

Justification and Theological Interpretation

Using Justification and the Gospel in the Classroom

Cover ArtAbout the Book: Seeking to move beyond current heated debates, Justification and the Gospel offers a fresh, alternative approach to a central theological topic.

Michael Allen locates the doctrine of justification within the wider context of the gospel, allowing for more thoughtful engagement with the Bible, historical theology, and the life of the church. Allen considers some of the liveliest recent debates as well as some overlooked connections within the wider orbit of Christian theology. He provides a historically informed, ecumenically minded defense of orthodox theology, and demonstrates justification’s relevance for ongoing issues of faith and practice.

“The new debate on justification is getting interesting! Allen provides a lucid scholarly guide to the controversies….How little the classic fault lines still apply! How much less can the matter of justification be regarded as passe.” – Paul R. Hinlicky, Roanoke College

“With a keen eye and deft hand Allen plunges into the ever-changing discussion of the biblical teaching on God’s justification of sinners, practicing a truly inter-subdisciplinary examination that draws upon exegetical, historical, and dogmatic studies….This volume will fire fresh exchanges regarding the nature of the gospel and the definition and application of God’s justifying action in Christ Jesus.” – Robert Kolb, Concordia Seminary

For more information on Justification and the Gospel, click here.

Video: Justification, Dogmatics, and the pistis christou Debate

Why a Dogmatic Approach to Justification?

Faith of Christ vs. Faith in Christ?

Cover ArtAbout the Book: Seeking to move beyond current heated debates, Justification and the Gospel offers a fresh, alternative approach to a central theological topic.

Michael Allen locates the doctrine of justification within the wider context of the gospel, allowing for more thoughtful engagement with the Bible, historical theology, and the life of the church. Allen considers some of the liveliest recent debates as well as some overlooked connections within the wider orbit of Christian theology. He provides a historically informed, ecumenically minded defense of orthodox theology, and demonstrates justification’s relevance for ongoing issues of faith and practice.

“Allen shows how historic catholic and Reformation sources can illuminate a biblical doctrine of justification, moving beyond the caricatures of pre-Enlightenment theologians that have become common in recent debates…..[A] valuable work that will enlighten, provoke, and edify.” – J. Todd Billings, Western Theological Seminary

“When dealing with the explosive topic of justification, fair-minded communication and understanding between theologians, biblical scholars, historians, and practitioners are often hard to find….Allen’s study is logically sound, biblically informed, theologically nuanced, and relevant for the life of the church. Amid ongoing debates, we need this book.” – Kelly M. Kapic, Covenant College

For more information on Justification and the Gospel, click here.

Contemporary Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification – R. Michael Allen

The Contemporary Deconstruction of Justification

Cover ArtAbout the Book: Seeking to move beyond current heated debates, Justification and the Gospel offers a fresh, alternative approach to a central theological topic.

Michael Allen locates the doctrine of justification within the wider context of the gospel, allowing for more thoughtful engagement with the Bible, historical theology, and the life of the church. Allen considers some of the liveliest recent debates as well as some overlooked connections within the wider orbit of Christian theology. He provides a historically informed, ecumenically minded defense of orthodox theology, and demonstrates justification’s relevance for ongoing issues of faith and practice.

Justification and the Gospel is theology at its best: disciplined by the instruction of Scripture, attentive to the traditions of Christian thought and practice, filled with discriminating judgments, and eager to explain and commend the gospel of justification.” – John Webster, University of St. Andrews

“Michael Allen provides here a first-rate study of the doctrine of justification construed in the context of Christian theology as a whole. His review of contemporary debates and his awareness of biblical and historical sources are alike impressive. This is a book that challenges and provokes as well as informs.” – Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School

For more information on Justification and the Gospel, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – March 28, 2014

Cover ArtThe End of Apologetics by Myron Penner was reviewed by Thomas D. Tatterfield for the Englewood Review of Books.

“Modern apologetic reliance upon OUNCE [the ‘objective-universal-neutral complex’] is most evident in its vociferous attacks aimed toward postmodernism. To embrace the postmodern critique of modernism would be nothing less than to undermine the nature of Christian truth. It is this model of apologetics Penner is determined to renounce and it is from the very problems inherent within this approach that he seeks to launch a proposal for a postmodern solution.”

Joey Cochran shared a quote from R. Michael Allen’s  Justification and the Gospel.

Brain LePort started reading Graham Twelftree’s Paul and the Miraculous.

John Poirier reviewed Graham Twelftree’s  In the Name of Jesus for The Pneuma Review.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – March 14, 2014

Cover ArtWhy Study History? by John Fea was reviewed by John G. Turner in The Christian Century.

“[Christians] should follow Fea’s advice to examine aspects of the past that initially repel them. Fea tells of a student with progressive views who chose to write a thesis about Jerry Falwell and the rise of the Christian right. He also recounts the reactions of students who read the diaries and sermons of slaveholding American Christians. It is easier to devote ourselves to historical subjects that we like or imagine to be more like us. Fea reports that his students have cultivated their capacities for empathy and compassion and became “better Christians.” Such encounters, Fea maintains, remind us that we are “imperfect creatures in need of improvement and redemption.”

At Euangelion, Michael Bird reviewed R. Michael Allen’s Justification and the Gospel.

David Gowler recommended the Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters, edited by Marion Ann Taylor and Agnes Choi.

Richard Beck, at Experimental Theology, reflected on Christian formation in light of James K.A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom.

Tim Meadowcroft recommended John Goldingay’s three volumes on Psalms in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms, along with Richard Hess’s work on Song of Songs in the same series, in the Catalyst article “Building an Old Testament Library: Psalms — Daniel.”

James K. A. Smith recently spoke on Imagining the Kingdom at Spring Arbor University. You can watch his presentation here.

Justification in Hebrews – an Excerpt from Justification and the Gospel

Cover ArtThe following is an excerpt from Justification and the Gospel, by R. Michael Allen.

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Hebrews describes the life of the incarnate Son. God has spoken in many and various ways, but now he has done so in a Son (Heb. 1:1–2). This Son assumed genuine human form. “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17).

Not only a sacrifice but also glory is given: “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (2:10).  Athanasius highlights the double purpose of the incarnation: “The Word became flesh in order both to offer this sacrifice and that we, participating in His Spirit, might be deified.”

Hebrews fixes upon the death of Jesus. As it compares Jesus and the priests who came before, in the Old Testament era, it informs us that “the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places” (Heb. 8:1–2).

Like other priests, this one offers gifts and sacrifices. In this case, “he offered himself without blemish to God” (9:14; see also 8:3; 9:12–14)….In all these ways, the Epistle to the Hebrews sketches the shape of Christ’s sacrificial offering. In his incarnate life, his substitutionary death, and his atoning offering before God—upon the hilasterion—he offers himself not only as the great high priest but also as the final sacrifice. Thus, the people of God can have solid assurance that they, united to him by faith, will be kept by him.

©2013 by R. Michael Allen. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Justification and the Gospel, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – February 14, 2014

Cover ArtIn honor of the recently released seventh edition of D. A. Carson’s New Testament Commentary Survey, Matt Smethurst at The Gospel Coalition interviewed Carson about what makes a good commentary.

“Good all-round commentaries help readers think their way through the text—which requires adequate handling of words, sentences, flow of thought, genre, theological presuppositions, knowledge of historical setting, and, ideally, a commentary writer who is humble and of a contrite spirit and who trembles at God’s Word. But most commentaries do not do all these things (and other things—e.g., interaction with some other commentaries) equally well. That is one of the reasons one is usually wise to consult at least two or three commentaries with different emphases.”

At The Jesus Blog, Anthony Le Donne briefly reviewed The Theology of Augustine by Matthew Levering.

Also reviewing Levering’s The Theology of Augustine was Nate Claiborne.

Jennifer Guo, at Grace for Sinners, reviewed R. Michael Allen’s Justification and the Gospel.

Moschos Goutzioudis reviewed The New Testament by Donald A. Hagner, for RBL.

At Raw Christianity, David Gunner Gundersen reviewed The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations by Michael Holmes.

The Christian Century reviewed Reading a Different Story, by Susan VanZanten.

Steve Bishop, at An Accidental Blog, reviewed Christian Philosophy by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, and interviewed James Skillen about his forthcoming book The Good of Politics.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 3, 2014

Cover ArtAt Euangelion, Joel Willitts reviewed Bonhoeffer the Assassin?, and Scot McKnight named it one of the Jesus Creed Books of the Year.

“[A] book that will surely create conversations for a decade about whether or not Bonhoeffer was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler.”

Brett McCracken, Marc Cortez, and Tim Hoiland all named James K.A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom as one of their favorite books of 2013.

David Firth reviewed Invitation to the Psalms, by Rolf Jacobson and Karl Jacobson, for RBL.

Byron Borger at Hearts and Minds reviewed and recommended Christian Philosophy, by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen.

Justification and the Gospel, by Michael Allen; Reading the Gospels Wisely, by Jonathan Pennington; and Paul and the Early Jewish Encounter with Deuteronomy, by David Lincicum were all named in Mockingbird’s list of The Top Theology Books of 2013.

Graham Ware’s Top Reads of 2013 included J. R. Daniel Kirk’s Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul? and Craig Keener’s Paul, Women & Wives.

David Moore listed Why Study History? by John Fea  in his Favorite Books of 2013.

Matt Mitchell reviewed Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views, edited by James Beilby and Paul Eddy.

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Barth, Justification, and the Gospel – an Excerpt from Justification and the Gospel

The following is an excerpt from Justification and the Gospel, by R. Michael Allen.

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Cover ArtIn the modern era, Karl Barth has noted that talk of justification as the word of the gospel has occurred rightly in certain times. He lists four such occasions: Augustine’s opposition to the Pelagians, Luther’s attack on the sacramental practice of the late medieval Roman Church, the early nineteenth-century rejection of a secularized version of salvation in Enlightenment thinking, and in Barth’s own day, he proposes, when “humanistic religiosity” threatens in various ways.

Against each ideology, the justification of the ungodly is a “fully developed weapon with which to meet all these things.” However, Barth suggests a sense of proportion and order: “In the Church of Jesus Christ this doctrine has not always been the Word of the Gospel, and it would be an act of narrowing and unjust exclusiveness to proclaim and treat it as such.”  While “there never was and there never can be any true Christian Church without the doctrine of justification,” this is not the same as saying that it is always the pressing matter of the moment.

Suggestions that one must be all in or completely out present a false middle and fail to recognize the unique glory of this doctrine. “It has its own dignity and necessity to which we do more and not less justice if we do not ascribe to it a totalitarian claim which is not proper to it, or allow all other questions to culminate or merge into it, or reject them altogether with an appeal to it, but if we accept it with all its limitations as this problem and try to answer it as such.”

As in Paul’s presentation of it in Galatians, Barth sees the doctrine as of the essence of the gospel without calling it the entirety of the gospel: “The problem of justification does not need artificially to be absolutised and given a monopoly.”

©2013 by R. Michael Allen. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Justification and the Gospel, click here.