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Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions
Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions
by Craig L. Blomberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.24
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions, Feb. 6 2013
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Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions. By Craig L. Blomberg. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999, 300 pp., paperback.

Many people in the Church have ideas about money, but how many of those ideas are actually founded on principles developed through a solid biblical theology of the scriptures? This is an important issue, especially for Christians living in affluent societies such as, Canada, USA and much of Europe. In my city for example, I often struggle as I drive through downtown Ottawa and see the many homeless people with nothing while I drive by them in my nice car with heated seats, drinking a hot coffee, while checking email on my iPhone 5 etc... As a Christian, what actions should I take on behalf of the poor in my city? Blomberg masterfully answers these questions and many more through the lens of a global view of scripture.

Blomberg presents the subject of possession with a biblical and pastoral balance. The title of the book is borrowed from Proverbs 30:8 “Give me neither poverty nor riches.” As Blomberg notes the Bible mandates an avoidance of extreme riches, or extreme poverty. Blomberg’s point is clarified by verse 9; “Lest I be full and deny you and say, “who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of God.” Therefore, poverty or riches are not always bad. One can be exceptionally poor yet pious, or exceptional rich yet godly; the emphasis of condemnation is the impious impoverished and the unrighteous rich.

The introduction is much more than just an introduction. Blomberg sets the stage of the statistics regarding poverty. He brings out statistics that continue to elevate our wealth as North Americans.
• At least one billion out of the more than five billion people in our world fall below any reasonable poverty line.
• Two million children die every year from preventable infectious diseases.
• A survey of expenditures in the late 80s and 90s demonstrated that Americans spent annually twice as much on cut flowers as on overseas Protestant ministries, twice as much on women’s sheer hosiery, one and a half times as much on video games, one and a half times as much on pinball machines, slightly more on the lawn industry, about five times as much on pets, almost one and a half times on chewing gum, almost three times as much on swimming pools, approximately seven times as much on sweet, seventeen times as much on diets and diet related products, twenty times as much on sporting activities, approximately twenty-six times as much on soft drinks, and a staggering 140 times as much on legalized gambling
• And constantly, Americans with lower incomes give more of their earnings than those with higher incomes.
There is a real shock value to these statistics. I believe it shows us where our heart is. (Matthew 6:21) In this volume, Blomberg attempts to ground our Theology of Money on the whole console of God, and not on pop-culture teachings. In the introductions he also addresses the Issue of the prosperity Gospel. Blomberg explains that his type of teaching can only be developed by ripping text after text from its context and making applications that would seem ludicrous in most two-thirds world settings (page 25). He quotes John Stott saying, “We have to have the courage to reject the health-and-wealth Gospel absolutely, it is a false Gospel.”(Page 25)

For the rest of the book Blomberg faithfully and diligently works through all of the books of the Bible pulling on what they say about Material Possessions. His summary of the Torah is worth sharing, he says, “God created the material world wholly good but sin has corrupted it along with humanity. In the first stages of God’s plan for redeeming his creation, he chose a man (Abram) from whose family would come a uniquely chosen nation (Israel) which was to be a blessing to the entire world. (page 55) Blomberg continues through rest of the books of the Old Testament, drawing out truths that many people may not notice during a reading of the text.

The largest section of teaching is devoted to the New Testament. He surveys the teachings of Jesus on money and says, “in light of the larger pattern of Jesus’ teaching which we will observe, we dare not under estimate the potential deceitfulness of wealth to keep people out of the kingdom.” (Page 115) Jesus teaching of money is clear. The good news of the Gospel is consistently holistic. Materiel sustenance with spiritual salvation proves meaningless, but the liberation that God in Christ grants regularly included a physical or material dimension to it. Blomberg says, “It goes too far to say that one cannot be rich and a disciple of Jesus, but what never appears in the Gospels are well-to-do followers of Jesus who are not simultaneously generous in almsgiving and in divesting themselves of surplus wealth for the sake of those in need.

The most helpful sections on the book for me personally were his discussions on tithing. Having really started studying and reading in the past couple years, I have some of my views confronted by the truths of scripture. I have realized that things I have been taught have been based off of poor interpretation of scripture, or traditionally held beliefs with little or no scriptural basis. I had been taught in this regard about tithing and material possessions. This book challenged a lot of my thinking, but it did not leave my hanging, because through scripture it brought me answers. In the end, this is a fabulous book and I would recommend it to anyone interested in this subject. It is a must for anyone serving in ministry, especially those who preach or teach.

Who Do You Think You Are?: Finding Your True Identity in Christ
Who Do You Think You Are?: Finding Your True Identity in Christ
by Mark Driscoll
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.74
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Driscoll at his best!, Jan. 14 2013
Who are you? What Defines you? What is your identity?

How you answer these questions affects every aspect of your life. In Who do you think you are? Working his way through the book of Ephesians, Driscoll provides a long list of answers to this question of Who Am I?: I am in Christ, I am a saint, I am blessed, I am appreciated, I am saved, I am reconciled, I am afflicted, I am heard, I am gifted, I am new, I am forgiven, I am adopted, I am loved, I am rewarded, I am victorious. Each one is firmly grounded in Scripture. Each one flows from the good news of the gospel. This book strikes an important cord because many Christians, even those who have Christian for many years, do not understand their identity in Christ. I think a study like this is important for all Christians, but especially, new Christians to go through.

If you have ever listened to or read Mark Driscoll you know that his style is full of one-liners, and a level of crudeness not normally found in main-stream Christianity. However, this is not what I found in his newest book. I found Driscoll exhibiting a high level of pastoral care and maturity.The stories Driscoll shares to illustrate each point are powerful, and draw people toward the truth being taught. One thing I found special was that he dedicated the book to his daughter, Ashley. As a Dad to a beautiful young girl, I am always encouraged by Driscoll and his relationship with his daughter. He is a great example in this area.

I am especially thankful with any book that seeks to help believers ground their identity in Christ. As Driscoll says on page 3; You aren't whats been done to you but what Jesus has done for you. You aren't what you do but what Jesus has done. What you do doesn't determine who you are. Rather, who you are in Christ determines what you do. Many Christians I talk to struggle because they are stuck defining themselves by a bad childhood, a lost job, a broken marriage, a better future, the things the own, or their suffering. Driscoll goes a long way to draw people out of these and bring them to all that is theirs in Christ.

My copy of the book is full of highlights...much to many to share. But here are a few;

Our cultural differences may distinguish us, but they do not define us and should not divide God's people or allow them to accept the social structures and idols that wrongly divide people. In Christ, while we have great diversity, we ought to live in even greater unity because of how Jesus has reconciled us to God and one another. I encourage you to each and every day pray and contend for the unity that you have and that is found in Christ Jesus.

Paul was clear that if bitterness isn't exchanged for forgiveness, it escalates and becomes increasingly devastating to both you and others. He listed a pattern that proceeds from bitterness: wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice.

Paul wasn't afflicted because he sinned, but rather because others sinned against him.

My main concern is one that has been picked up by most other who reviewed the book. The book often repeats itself. Because Driscoll's books are often compiled from sermons each chapter can stand up on its own. My friend Aaron Armstrong said well in his review, " there’s a great deal of (arguably unnecessary) duplication of material, and a book that could have been around 150 pages comes in at close to 250 (for example, the chapters on reconciliation and forgiveness could have been merged since the two concepts are interconnected.)"

All in all, this books is a must read. I loved it, and will come back to it again. As a I said earlier, all Christians can benefit from the material, and I think the book could be utilized in a discipleship program for new Christians.

Go out and buy the book and let me know your thoughts.

Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families
Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families
by Douglas Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.07
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Note - Father Hunger, Dec 11 2012
This is my first exposure to Douglas Wilson in print. My first exposure was in his debates with Christopher Hitchens. I can hear Wilson reading the book aloud to me as I read. He writes like he talks. Father Hunger is a thorough and detailed expositions of the state of fatherhood and it related to masculinity and how it related to God. What I appreciated most about the book is it is real life. It goes beyond the home to the world. This is not an easy book, but it should be read by father who are serious about their God-given role.
I found it helpful to read this book along side The Masculine Mandate by Richard Philips. In the book, Wilson says, ““Fathers need to be masculine, and they need culturally assigned ways to express it profitably. In order to be biological fathers, they need to be masculine. Moreover, they need to be seen as being masculine. But before we press that point too much, perhaps we should spend some time defining what it means. And that means some debris clearing first — masculinity has some counterfeits out there” Reading The Masculine Mandate helps to clarify the idea of what it means to be “masculine”
I hope to interact more with content later. The book is very helpful and pertinent.

The Explicit Gospel
The Explicit Gospel
by Matt "Chandler "
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.87
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explicit Gospel., Nov. 29 2012
This review is from: The Explicit Gospel (Hardcover)
Matt Chandler has long been known to many in the Young Restless and Reformed movement as a powerful and convicting preacher of God’s word. He is also someone who does not only knows the truths of the Christian Faith, but he knows and has experienced them. Matt Chandler has faced death and it is with this urgency that he preaches, and it is with this urgency that he has written his newest book, The Explicit Gospel. Rick Warren said that this is the book to read this year if any… and he is right.
One issue prevalent in the church today is the assumption of different truths of the Gospel; not that we don’t believe in certain functions of the Gospel, but that we assume them, and do not state their functions explicitly in our preaching. DA Carson said, The first generation of Christians believes the Gospel, the second assumes it, the third rejects it. and this is what makes this book important. The problem comes when people who do not the Gospel hear our preaching, our exhortations to good works, to love our neighbour etc…instead of connecting it to the Gospel, they put together a type of therapeutic moralistic deism. The idea behind therapeutic moralistic deism is that we can earn favor with God based off of our good behavior. This idea is creeping into the church through many popular Christian books and is often how people apart from Explicit Gospel preaching assume they can be saved.
The book is divided into three parts. First, The Gospel on the ground, second, the Gospel in the Air, and third the implications and applications. The first section, the Gospel on the ground, talks about the Gospel and how it relates to God’s work of the Gospel in the lives of individuals. This section is broken down into four sub-sections; God, Man, Christ, Response. In this sections, in his usual style Matt Chandler knocks down previous held conceptions of the Gospel, and put us in the place of truly understanding the Gospel.
One great text is found of page 33,
Here’s my point: what if the Bible isn’t about us at all? What if we aren’t the story of God’s revelation?…
From the beginning to end, the scriptures reveal that the foremost desire of God’s heart is not our salvation but rather the glory of his own name. God’s glory is what drives the universe; it is why everything exists. This world is not present, spinning, and sailing into the universe, so that you and I might be saved or lost but so that God might be glorified in his infinite perfections.
The second part is the Gospel in the air. The Gospel in the air is the unpacking of the global vision of Salvation. The cord of redemptive history. Here is a quote from page 90 that summarizes well the section.
Some may argue that to pull back from the gospel on the ground is to love the real gospel, but what we see in the Bible is a grand story of redemptions that, yes, is about us, but is more primarily about God. If we hold to the gospel on the ground only, we commit the cardinal error of dismissing context. The context of the gospel message is not our benefit or our salvation; the context of the gospel is the supremacy of Christ and the glory of God.
This book comes at a key time in church history. So many Christians today cannot articulate the gospel and aren’t alarmed, so many Christians today aren’t growing into the image of Christ and aren’t alarmed. This book also confronts head-on the idea that our good works somehow rub the spiritual lamp that inclines God to give us the things we wish for and that our bad works send sickness and poverty. This is a huge issue in the church, and Matt Chandler has done a bang-on job addressing the issue. To come back to Rick Warren’s recommendation; “If you read only one book this year, make it this one. It’s that important.”
Thanks to Angie @ Crossway for providing a copy of this book for review.

The Hole In Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
The Hole In Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
by Kevin "DeYoung "
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.87
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!!!!!, Nov. 29 2012
Book Review: The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
By Kevin DeYoung
I have been following and reading Kevin DeYoung’s blog for some time. Then at Sola2011 (A Biannual Conference in Montreal) I had the opportunity to hear Kevin speak on the issues he presented in this book. At the conference he preached a sermon entitled; Spirit-powered, Gospel-driven, Faith-fueled effort. I was blown away by this message. The highlight was where is described the Holy Spirit as a light. He said, “The holy spirit is light to us in three ways.
He exposes our sin so that we can recognize it and turn away.
He illumines the Word so that we can understand its mean and grasp its implications.
He takes the veil away so that we can see the glory of Christ and become what we behold.
I was pleased to see the content of Kevin’s sermon expanded and turned into a book for deeper study. The idea of the book, or the hole in our holiness is that we don’t real care much about it. DeYoung finds that as Christians we focus on what we have been saved from (eternal torment in hell) and not what we have been saved to (becoming more like Christ).
One section of the book I found particularly helpful was his discussions on the hazards of moral equivalence. He tears down the mistaken notion that every sin is the same in God’s eyes. The sentiment is popular with many Christians. It is true that every sin is a breach of God’s Holy law and according to James says whoever fails to keep one point is guilty of breaking the whole law (James 2:10) But, the Bible teaches us again and again that some sins are worse than others. And DeYoung masterfully draws out implications that this mistaken view has on our pursuit of holiness.
Here is the problem: when every sin is seen as the same, we are less likely to fight any sins at all. Why should I stop sleeping with my girlfriend when there will still be lust in my heart? Why pursue holiness when even one sin in my life means I’m Osama bin Hitler in God’s eyes? Again, it seems humble to act as if no sin is worse than another, but we lose the impetus for striving and the ability to hold each other accountable when we tumble-down the slip-n-slide of moral equivalence. (Page 72)
DeYoung deals with many commonly held fallacies when it comes to holiness and sin and confronts them with the truth of the Gospel. This book should be read by all Christians who struggle with the issue of Piety, or fear Holiness is akin to legalism.
5/5 MUST READ!

Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation and the End of Poverty
Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation and the End of Poverty
by Aaron Armstrong
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.95
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Goal is the Glory of God, Nov. 23 2012
In the October 2011 release from Cruciform Press Aaron Armstrong delivers a quick and concise biblical theology of poverty. A quote taken from the back cover summarizes the main message of the book;

Christians are called to serve the poor...generously, joyfully, by grace, to the Glory of God. But elimination poverty is a misguided and dangerous goal. Poverty is rooted in the fall of man and there is only one savoir.

The books starts by unpacking for us the root cause of poverty. We are not dealing with lack of financial resources, lack of proper education or lack of family support. Poverty is rooted in sin, and as long as sin reigns in our mortal bodies poverty will persist. For me, this was very helpful. To see poverty fundamentally as a spiritual issue and not a material issue helps me focus how I serve the poor in my community. Aaron says: Ultimately, poverty can only be addressed at the heart level, one person at a time, as salvation through the shed blood of Christ pushes back against the fall of man (46-47). And looking back to the end of Chapter 2 he explains that our motives must be nothing other than making God's name great.

A statement that is brought to light in chapter 3 really made me stop and think. Aarons writes, Sin thus not only causes poverty, but also poisons our attitude towards those suffering within it in (46) How often have I been walking downtown and had a homeless person asks me for change and I walk by and ignore them. Sometimes we don't give people in need the time of day, or how often do make a demeaning remark about them to our friends or say nothing when they do. Every person, even the homeless man who takes our money to buy drugs or alcohol needs to Jesus Christ through the Gospel, and our ministry to them must lead them to the Gospel. We need to remember our state apart from Christ. We were enemies of God, but it was while we were enemies of God that Jesus Christ died for to reconcile us to himself.

In chapter 4 Aaron shares with us what Jesus taught is the greatest commandment--Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength, and love your neighbour as yourself. If we separate those two commandments, we fail to obey either one. Loving out neighbour in real tangible ways is a much a proof of our salvations as anything else. How we relate to God directly affects how we relate to others. Unfaithfulness to the Lord will lead to lack of concern for our neighbour--but the opposite should also be true. I really appreciate this point, I have heard this taught many times and I have studied these words many times, but I have never made the connection serving the poor.

We cannot separate what we believe from what we do. Aarons backs this point with an outstanding quote from William Wilberforce, the famous abolitionist, Christianity calls on us, not merely in general to be religious and moral, but especially to believe the doctrines, and imbibe the principles, and practice the precepts of Christ." It is not enough for Christians to just be good moral people. We are called to believe the doctrines, drink deeply of the principles, and practice fully the precepts of Christ. Again and again Aarons brings us back to the greater goal of our helping the poor--the glory of God.

Awaiting a Saviour is definitely a homerun! It is insightful, biblically grounded and has really helped me develop a Gospel-centered understanding of poverty and my role in alleviating it(not resolving it) until the Return of Christ when he will put an end to sin, suffering and death as he brings about the new creation. Even as I am writing I am tempted to continue interacting with the ideas from the book and share them with you. But, it is probably better to read the book for yourself. Finally, Kudos to Cruciform press. Firstly, for finding great authors and secondly, for packaging the books in such as accessible format.

The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
by F. F. Bruce
Edition: Paperback
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review : The New Testament Documents Are They Reliable?, Nov. 23 2012
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As many of you reading this blog are aware I am a part-time seminary student. I am doing my studies with SEMBEQ in Montreal. My next course is on Bibliology with a professor named Rene Frey. I am looking forward to the course. Although I believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of the Bible I have not spent much time studying the specific doctrines. I have started reading some of the books for the course which I have picked up in English. I have just finished reading my first book. The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? – F.F. Bruce. This book is considered a modern classic in the field of New Testament studies. At only 120 pages He doesn’t have a lot of room to really unpack everything in detail. But, he does leave me with a hunger to study and learn more. I was very encouraged by I read.
Below I would like to interact with the ideas in the book. My hope is that you may to ecouraged to read the book.
F.F. Bruce was Rylands professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester. He has written more than forty books that are still widely used and referenced today. Bruce starts the book by emphasizing the importance of the historic roots of Christianity. He gives us an example from the apostle’s creed which states, Jesus Christ, his son our Lord…suffered under Pontius Pilate, the sections of the creed fixes the revelations of God to a specific time in history. I think the historicity of the New Testament is important because the Bible is our only source to learn about the influence of Jesus’ character.
The next chapter in the book deals with the dating of the New Testament documents. I found this chapter especially interesting. The process of the dating the documents, by noting the timing of specific events within them, and also looking for other works where they are quoted to establish dating is very interesting, and will require a lot more study to fully comprehend and put together. One interested section of this chapter talks about the number of manuscript copies available for the New Testament. Bruce states, The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater that the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning. And if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt. It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament records than have many theologians. It is true, we live in a day when many people within the church do not trust the New Testament records even though they are apparently for God.
Chapter 3 was also quite intriguing. Bruce deals with the Canon. He goes into a lot of detail which is worth careful study but, what really caught my attention in the chapter was what he said about canon formation,
The New Testament books did not becomes authoritative for the church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary the church included the in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, recognizing their innate worth and generally apostolic authority, direct or indirect.
The church decided it was important to develop a canonical list because of circumstances within the church. They needed to determine which books carried divine authority and should therefore be read in church services or settle doctrinal disputes. And on a more practical level, they needed to know which books could be handed over to the imperial police in times of persecution without incurring the guilt of sacrilege.
The rest of the book is spent dissecting and proving the historicity of the different sections of the New Testament. I would encourage anyone who at all has any doubts about the historicity of the New Testament to read this book. At only 120 pages it is a quick read even if you read it slowly. It will serve a good introductions and launching pad for further study. The author has included a topical bibliography to help point you in the right direction for further study.

The Deep Things Of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything
The Deep Things Of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything
by Fred "Sanders "
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.60
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Deep Things of God, Nov. 23 2012
It is not often that a theology book is written that is as applicable to our Christian life as Fred Sanders has done with The Deep Things of God. He does a fantastic job at weaving the doctrine of the trinity through our experience of salvation and sanctification. He says early on in the book, “Christian salvation comes from the trinity, happens through the trinity, and brings us home to the trinity.” (page 10) A lot of Christians are stuck trying to understand the complexities of the doctrine of the trinity apart from what they know experientally about the trinity. Many Christians present analogies of the trinity—such as God is like water or God is like a man who is Father, Husband and Police officer—illustrate the trouble they have in comprehending the deep mysteries of this central doctrine. This is why this work is so crucial. Studying theology for the sake of studying theology is useless. Theology has too many practical implications for us to leave in a classroom or in great big heavy books. The doctrine of the trinity makes all the difference in practical things such as salvation, spirituality, prayer, Bible study, and church life.

In Chapter three Sanders nails home the point of theological study and all Bible Reading—that it be connected clearly and directly to the Gospel of salvation in Christ. (page 97) Sanders continues the chapter wonderfully articulating the Gospel. One section I appreciated was found on page 106.

A gospel which is only about the moment of conversion but does not extend to every moment of life in Christ is too small. A gospel that gets your sins forgiven but offers no power for transformation is too small. A gospel that isolates one of the benefits of union with Christ and ignores all others is too small. A gospel that must be measured by your own moral conduct, social conscience, or religious experience is too small. A gospel that rearranges the components of your life but does not put you personally in the presence of God is too small.

The following chapter Sanders draws out the unique role of each person of the trinity in relation to our salvation—the father purposing redemption, the son securing it and the Holy Spirit applying it. Chapter 5 is a very helpful chapter. He talks about the trinity’s role in our sanctification. The chapter starts with a very relevant quote from Francis Schaeffer,
When I accept Christ as my saviour, my guilt is gone, I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and I am in communication with the Father and the Son, as well as the Holy Spirit—the entire Trinity.

Sanders continues this chapter petitioning us to be Christ-centered, but not Father-forgetful or Spirit-ignoring. Christians always talk about inviting Jesus into their hearts without making reference to the Holy Spirit’s role as the direct agent of indwelling. But, the dominant message of the Bible is that we are in Christ, not that Christ is in us; and on those few occasions when Christ is said to be in us, the work of the Spirit is nearly always mentioned. (page 169)

This book is definitely a must read! It is a theological work that moves beyond head knowledge to understand that the doctrine of the trinity is practical real world terms. This book moves us from trying to formulate clever anecdotes for understanding the trinity to applying it to the Christian life.

The doctrine of the trinity really does change everything.

God's Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit In The Old And New Testaments
God's Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit In The Old And New Testaments
by James M. Hamilton Jr.
Edition: Hardcover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James M. Hamilton.God’s Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Old & New Testaments, Nov. 23 2012
My first exposure to James Hamilton was with his book, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgement, and since that point I have been hooked on his writing. His writing is clear, clever, well researched and very insightful. The issue presented in God’s Indwelling Presence is not a topic I had considered much before picking up this volume. In the book, Hamilton seeks to understand and articulate the role of the Holy Spirit in the faithfulness of believers who live both before and after the exaltation of Jesus.

Throughout the book Hamilton works on developing the case for a separation in the understating between indwelling and regeneration. He draws out this point through a quick study in the Old Testament, but most of his time is spent in John. One particular helpful insight is offered on page 118.

The thesis of this section is a central tenet not only for this chapter but for the argument of this study as a whole. John’s distinctive contribution to the biblical promise of eschatological Spirit was that the Spirit was expected in the messianic age would be received only after Jesus was glorified (John 7:39)

For me, the Goldmine of study in this book is offered in Chapter 6. Chapter 6 is well worth the price of admission. Hamilton starts by expounding the teaching of regeneration and indwelling in John. These studies are important, because as Hamilton showed earlier in the book; individual indwelling was not possible before Jesus was gloried. But, the questions stands, what changed in the hearts of Old Testament believers to cause them to believe.

To summarize the main points of this sections, while some reject the use of the term “regenerate” to describe Old Testament saints, since the term is not used in the Old Testament, I view this metaphor as being equivalent to “circumcision of the heart.” Further, the reality signified in the term “regeneration” is a theological necessity if those who lived under the old covenant were dead in sin and became believers…

Surprisingly, this is not where the book stops. Hamilton continues for another 50 pages expanding on temple imagery to further this point.

Overall, this book is highly recommended. I would recommend it to Scholars, Pastors, students of the Bible, and anyone who is interested in going deep in the issue. Overall, the book is very accessible and has convincingly and scripturally made its point.

The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology For Pilgrims On The Way
The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology For Pilgrims On The Way
by Michael Horton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 38.24
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review – The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology For Pilgrims On The Way, Nov. 23 2012
Being a big fan of Louis Berkhoff’s Systematic Theology and Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Docmatics, I was quite excited about the release of Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith. I do think that Horton’s work may be the finest systematic theology since Berkoff’s theology was written in 1938. The Christian Faith is written with passion, life, vibrancy, but most of all, a passion for the glory of Christ. While reading it, I did not find myself struggling to get through the chapters, but it truly read like a page-turning novel and by the end my copy was quite marked up with underlines and notes of insights gained.

In each chapter Horton weaves together biblical, systematic and historic theology beautifully.

Why is their evil in the world?
Is there a God and how can I know him?

The biggest questions, demanding the most rigorous intellectual analysis, are really doctrines that arise from a particular story that we either assume or embrace with explicit conviction. The Christian answers these big questions by rehearsing the story of the triune God in creation, the fall of the creatures he make in his own image, the promise of a redeemer through Israel, and the fulfillment of all types and shadows in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Jesus Christ. (page 14)

For Horton the Christian faith really is first and foremost an unfolding drama. Throughout the whole book Horton aims to show readers that doctrine, separated from an understanding of its dramatic narrative, becomes abstract, like mathematical axioms. But, that if we focus only on the story we miss crucial implications of the plot and the inner connections between its various sequences. Horton emphasizes this aspect through how the book is organized.

Unlike most systematic theologies, which organize like a reference source, Horton has arranged The Christian Faith to tell the story of redemption.

Knowing God: The presuppositions of Theology
God who lives
God who creates
God who rescues
God who reigns in grace
God who reigns in glory

A Christians Faith by Michael Horton is a must read systematic theology for pilgrims on the way. His goal is not only teaching understanding of theological truths, but helping the reader gain an understanding on how each doctrine fits into the big picture. Highly recommended!

Rating : 5/5

Reading Level : Intermediate. Pastors, Bible students, Christians who haven’t been to seminary

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