Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful

Monday, February 1st, 2010

by Gary A Parrett and S. Steve Kang

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The Art of Biblical Poetry

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

As per request, a brief shout out for Robert Alter’s companion book to his popular and well-received The Art of Biblical Narrative (BTW – I also recommend reading this book before 2nd year. So does Reuben, and also Chris).

This volume is differently structured than his previous. Whereas in the first volume a chapter is devoted to some device or structure or feature or such, here, the first three chapters outline the basics of how Biblical poetry works, and the rest are essentially an extended series of worked examples covering most of the extant genres of Biblical poetry. You’ll get the basic idea with those three chapters, but those worked examples are where the real payoff lies.

I heartily recommend this book. With Psalms coming up in second semester, this will probably be as useful as the other volume.

Old Testament Theology by Robin Routledge

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I don’t aim to give a comprehensive critical review of any kind here. Then again, unless marks or heresy are on the line, I generally don’t.

This book is fairly new. It was published last year by IVP. The book is essentially an overview of theological themes in the Old Testament. Although it goes to a little over 300 pages, about 50% of the page text is in footnotes (of which many of these are references). The result is that a straight-through reading will give you a readable summary of themes in the Old Testament.

The treatment of the Biblical text is fair, solid, orthodox. You won’t find any googlies here. You also won’t find anything really controversial in the synthesis either. The range of topics is comprehensive. The references give much scope for further research if that becomes necessary for you, though right now I have little need.

This is not a book for finding all the different approaches people take. It doesn’t really deal a lot with differing views, focusing on giving a straight-down-the-line overview. If that’s what you’re after, then that’s what you’ll get. But if you want to argue with others, you’ll probably need to dig the footnotes.

It’s a fairly affordable $28.95 or something like that. Useful for a lay or first-year introduction, or as a refresher for every other year.

The God who risks … is not The LORD

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

I’ve read a lot of junk in my life, but sometimes, you just read something that takes the cake.
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Ad majoram dei gloriam

Friday, March 6th, 2009

I like books that don’t try to be pretentious. Or obscurantist.

There are a few things I don’t like about Bruce Ware’s God’s Greater Glory, but one of the things I do like is his honesty and sincerity. He wants to glorify God, and for you to do that too.
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The witness of the Student Christian Movement by Robin Boyd

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Like I said before, I’m fascinated by stories. In particular, I like to know the whys and wherefores. Questions like those have this tendency to linger in the back of my mind, and then when opportunity comes to find the answer I leap. One of those questions was “Where the heck is the SCM? Why, in Australia anyway, do we see AFES still going fine, and EU lasting so long, and yet the SCM nowhere to be seen?” In my hunt to find histories for IFES and AFES, I found this book, and my interest was piqued.
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Anglicans In Australia by Tom Frame

Monday, December 29th, 2008

I’m quite fascinated by history. I think it’s related to my love of stories – it’s narrative and context. You might see more of that in the next post that comes up.

Earlier this year I got this book to read. I finally got around to it on holiday at the Central Coast a few weeks ago.
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Spectating World Views

Monday, September 10th, 2007

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Let’s get a few things straight:
1) I fit the “engineering” stereotype
2) I didn’t really pay attention during the compulsory ethics course (this may or may not have been the lecturer’s fault …)
3) I’m not going to read anything top heavy on the train to and from work.

It is with this in mind that I picked up and figured I’d instantly like this book when I got it at the Word bookstore which is conveniently close to my office. The book is a handy size, and it won’t take overly long to get through it. More than that, it is a useful, intelligently written and compiled exploration of the major worldviews that are prevalent in our society today.

The book has contributions from such noted Australian Christian writers John Dickson (just plain famous in Sydney Christian circles), Greg Clarke (formerly Matthias Media, formerly director of CASE, now at MCSI), Kirsten Birkett (formerly Matthias, now somewhere in the Old Country), and Andrew Cameron (lecturer at Moore), to name but a few. The writing varies amongst the different authors, but overall, I found it easy to read, and the topics were well explained. For example, I quite liked how Greg Clarke was able to explain Post-Modernism as not being Relativism (and oft-fallen trap for those who didn’t do Arts). Also, I now have a better understanding of Utilitarianism thanks to Andrew Cameron’s chapter on the subject.

Each chapter after the first features discussion questions which would suit group study – indeed the material seems to be aimed either at later high school and/or uni students. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book was picked up for a SoCM*-esque type activity.

You’ll probably find this book particularly useful to help with evangelism, but I think the book should be read to get a better idea of the gist of what’s going on in the world (more intellectual people may use the concept of the Zeitgeist perhaps, but I myself am not sure if this is the right word to use).

Thoroughly recommended.

More info at Youthworks with ordering information

* SoCM – School of Christian Ministry, which in my day was basically the training part of the CBS activities, now replaced with CBS CORE (which in my day was a CBS engineering group name …)