Category Archives: Book Review Pending

Don McKim has a New Book Coming out November 1: ‘Everyday Prayer with John Calvin’

It’s titled ‘Everyday Prayer with John Calvin‘.

Drawing from the Institutes and Calvin’s Old and New Testament commentaries, Donald K. McKim comments on Calvin’s biblical insights on prayer and intersperses his short readings with Calvin’s own prayers. Reflection questions and prayer points help you to meditate on Scripture, understand Calvin’s teaching, and strengthen your own prayer life.

Jennifer Powell McNutt likes it-

Everyday Prayer with John Calvin offers a helpful and thought-provoking guide to better understanding the purpose and practice of prayer in the Christian life. . . . There’s no better way to encounter Calvin at his best than in the reverence that he showed for the practice of prayer.”

The publisher has kindly sent along a review copy and I’m keen to dive in.  In fact, I’ll be taking it with me to Hong Kong in two weeks to read on the plane.  Stay tuned.  More anon.

Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth

Two thousand years ago, 967 Jewish men, women, and children—the last holdouts of the revolt against Rome following the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple—reportedly took their own lives rather than surrender to the Roman army. This dramatic event, which took place on top of Masada, a barren and windswept mountain overlooking the Dead Sea, spawned a powerful story of Jewish resistance that came to symbolize the embattled modern State of Israel. The first extensive archaeological excavations of Masada began in the 1960s, and today the site draws visitors from around the world. And yet, because the mass suicide was recorded by only one ancient author—the Jewish historian Josephus—some scholars question if the event ever took place.

Jodi Magness, an archaeologist who has excavated at Masada, explains what happened there, how we know it, and how recent developments might change understandings of the story. Incorporating the latest findings, she integrates literary and historical sources to show what life was like for Jews under Roman rule during an era that witnessed the reign of Herod and Jesus’s ministry and death.

Featuring numerous illustrations, this is an engaging exploration of an ancient story that continues to grip the imagination today.

Of it Eric Cline writes

“Internationally renowned archaeologist Jodi Magness plunges the reader directly into the story of the fall of Masada, unpacking the dramatic tale as told by Josephus. She also recounts the fascinating adventures and misadventures of the region’s explorers, from the nineteenth century through the 1960s, and compellingly describes the excavations there, including her own, providing a welcome tour of the site.”—Eric H. Cline, author of 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

Jodi has graciously arranged a review copy, so more once I’ve read through it.

NIV Life Application Study Bible, 3rd Edition

I’ve been sent along a copy of the new 3rd edition of Zondervan’s NIV ‘Life Application Study Bible‘ for review by the good folk at Biblegateway.  In due course, I’ll let you know what I think of it.  In the meanwhile, I’m obliged to tell you that I received the bible with the understanding that it 1) costs me nothing and 2) I should review it here, and 3) that I am free to offer my opinion unencumbered by any requirement to make the publisher happy (but of course that’s always true of reviews here, isn’t it?).  Ok cool.  I am also reminded that I need to include the hashtag #BibleGatewayPartner which, naturally, I am happy to do.

I’ve also been asked to point out that there is an interview with the general editor of this edition right here.  You may find it helpful.

More, as we say, anon.

John’s Letters

A new series from Kregel Academic, Big Greek Idea provides all the relevant information from the Greek text for preaching and teaching the New Testament. Each New Testament book is divided into units of thought, revealing a big Greek idea (the author’s main idea in the passage), and individual clauses are displayed visually to illustrate their relationships, portraying the biblical author’s logical flow. Greek clauses are accompanied by an original English translation.

Additional commentary explains how the syntax and vocabulary of each verse clarifies the biblical writer’s intended meaning. The authors of each volume have scoured major reference works and commentaries on each book, saving readers countless hours of research. The series is ideal for busy pastors consulting the Greek text for sermons, instructors preparing lectures, and students looking for supplementary study aids.

A review copy has arrived.  More soon.

Challenging the Spirit of Modernity: A Study of Groen van Prinsterer’s Unbelief and Revolution

I appreciate the good people at Lexham Press sending a copy of this new volume for review (without any expectations for the tone or the outcome of that review).  And for also sending this work (which of course is the precursor of the new volume and its presupposition).

Dutch politician and historian Groen van Prinsterer’s Unbelief and Revolution is a foundational work addressing the inherent tension between the church and secular society. Writing at the onset of modernity in Western culture, Groen saw with amazing clarity the dire implications of abandoning God’s created order for human life in society. Groen’s work served as an inspiration for many contemporary theologians, and he had a profound impact on Abraham Kuyper’s famous public theology.

In Challenging the Spirit of Modernity, Harry Van Dyke places this seminal work into historical context, revealing how this vital contribution still speaks into the fractured relationship between religion and society. A deeper understanding of the roots of modern secularism and Groen’s strong, faithful response to it gives us a better grasp of the same conflict today.

And

Groen van Prinsterer’s Unbelief and Revolution is a foundational work addressing the inherent tension between religion and modernity. As a historian and politician, Groen was intimately familiar with the growing divide between secular culture and the church in his time. Rather than embrace this division, these lectures, originally published in 1847, argue for a renewed interaction between the two spheres. Groen’s work served as an inspiration for many contemporary theologians, and as a mentor to Abraham Kuyper, he had a profound impact on Kuyper’s famous public theology.

Harry Van Dyke, the original translator, reintroduces this vital contribution to our understanding of the relationship between religion and society.

I am going to treat these two works as a two volume set and review them together.  More anon.

Gospel Allegiance

Is faith in Jesus enough for salvation? Perhaps, says Matthew Bates, but we’re missing pieces of the gospel. The biblical gospel can never change. Yet our understanding of the gospel must change. The church needs an allegiance shift.

Popular pastoral resources on the gospel are causing widespread confusion. Bates shows that the biblical gospel is different, fuller, and more beautiful than we have been led to believe. He explains that saving faith doesn’t come through trust in Jesus’s death on the cross alone but through allegiance to Christ the king. There is only one true gospel and one required response: allegiance.

Bates ignited conversation with his successful and influential book Salvation by Allegiance Alone. Here he goes deeper while making his acclaimed teaching on salvation more accessible and experiential for believers who want to better understand and share the gospel. Gospel Allegiance includes a guide for further conversation, making it ideal for church groups, pastors, leaders, and students.

Baker have sent a review copy.  More soon.  By the way, my review of Bates’ earlier work is here.

Luther at Leipzig

On the five-hundredth anniversary of the 1519 debate between Martin Luther and John Eck at Leipzig, Luther at Leipzigoffers an extensive treatment of this pivotal Reformation event in its historical and theological context. The Leipzig Debate not only revealed growing differences between Luther and his opponents, but also resulted in further splintering among the Reformation parties, which continues to the present day. The essays in this volume provide an essential background to the complex theological, political, ecclesiastical, and intellectual issues precipitating the debate. They also sketch out the relevance of the Leipzig Debate for the course of the Reformation, the interpretation and development of Luther, and the ongoing divisions between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.

Brill have graciously sent a review copy.  More anon.