Review: Timothy Keller’s Romans 8-16 For You

Romans 8 saved me. The Spirit awoke my heart to the glories of God’s love for me. I had spent years wavering until that powerful chorus in chapter 8 sunk into my heart—no condemnation. Keller says the concerns addressed in this chapter are “the central question of the Christian life”—“Is there anyone or anything that can separate me from Christ’s love for me?” (Kindle Locations 717-719). He’s right!

The second half of Romans has some complex doctrines—election, Israel, the Church, women in ministry, and Christian obedience to name a few. Keller handles these complex doctrines with precision, clarity, and winsomeness. I love the balance as well with touching the hard truths, but still staying connected to the everyman voice of the For You series. This volume will be my go-to introduction for discussing these truths with new believers—especially election in Romans 9.

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Review: Donald M. Lewis & Richard V. Pierard’s Global Evangelicalism

In North America, evangelicalism is almost synonymous with Christianity. In some parts, evangelicalism is used interchangeably with fundamentalism. Edited by Donal M. Lewis and Richard V. Peirard, Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History and Culture in Regional Perspective, evangelicalism provides a definition, a timeline history, and a world wide scope to evangelicalism. Some of these details and stories are familiar to Western Christians. The stories from other regions of the world present a deeper and wider movement that reveals the trajectory of Christianity.

Through three sections, Global Evangelicalism presents theoretical issues (chapters 1-3), ground level regional studies (chapters 4-8), and cultural issues (chapter 9-10). Written with “college, university, and seminary students” in mind (13), the presentation can be tedious. Ogbu Kalu’s chapter on Africa (chapter 5) is a prime example. Though loaded with historical details and exceptional insights the chapter drags and is dry. In contrast, C. Rene Padilla’s chapter on Latin America (chapter 6) explores complex issues but the delivery engages. Both chapters represent the amazing resource Global Evangelicalism can be for patient and enduring readers. But this type of writing will turn away non-students and the average laymen.

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Review: Paul A. Rainbow’s Johannine Theology

In both the church and the academy, the Johannine corpus stands in the shadows of the Pauline. From the pulpit, preachers proclaim Paul’s primacy having composed one-third of the New Testament. I’ve wondered why the same voices didn’t marvel at John’s contribution of one-fifth. In the scholarly literature, it may seem like books and articles dealing with the New Perspective on Paul alone surpass the treatments on Johannine theology.

Not only did John contribute as much to the canon as Paul, but the former’s biblical writings span three different genres (gospel, epistle, and apocalypse) whereas all of Paul’s are epistles. This is not to downplay the Pauline corpus or to pit the two against each other. They both are the inspired Word of God. Both are profitable to the soul and necessary to study. It does point out the surprising disparity in attention. Whereas treatments of Pauline theology that deal with his entire corpus abound, the same cannot be said of Johannine theology. In contemporary New Testament scholarship, a Johannine theology covering the entire corpus is missing.

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Review: Mike Cosper’s The Stories We Tell

Some Christians are allergic to the surrounding culture whether that’s books or tv’s or movies. Before Mike Cosper submerges the reader into the pursuit of understanding these cultural artifacts, in the Foreword Tim Keller says,

[In] the end, learning this discipline—of seeing God’s story in the stories we tell today—will be a way for us to deepen our own understanding of and joy in the gospel we believe. (12)

That’s what most Christians must understand before they might be willing to give this kind of cultural handiwork a fair hearing. Knowing the cultural stories you are already submerged in assists in seeing God’s story with clarity. Cosper calls stories “a great gift from a great storytelling God” (25 also see 216)—and he’s right. That’s the heart of what Cosper is striving for and what he achieves.

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