I wanted to post some brief thoughts on 4 particular books – one title that can be purchased for very cheap right now, one book I’ve begun reading this week, and 2 books that come from the Counterpoints: Bible and Theology series.
1) Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright.
This book is currently on sale for $1.99 in the Kindle format (though I’m not sure how long it will stay at this price). That’s about $15 cheaper than the hard cover. And, if I might add, it is a fantastic book! Hence why I’m posting about it here. While I never posted an official review, I did post many quotes from the book: post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4, post 5. In this book, Wright addresses particular topics such as the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of believers, the kingdom of God, heaven, hell, paradise, purgatory, the soul and the body, the second coming, and how this all should practically affect the mission of the church.
2) Jesus and the Victory of God, Volume 2 of the Christian Origins and the Question of God series by N.T. Wright.
This is a pass 700+ page book. This is a more academic text, so others might enjoy the more popular level How God Became King and Simply Jesus. I review both books in this post.
The Amazon description of Jesus and the Victory of God gives this short summary:
Wright begins by showing how the questions posed by Albert Schweitzer a century ago remain central today. Then he sketches a profile of Jesus in terms of his prophetic praxis, his subversive stories, the symbols by which he reordered his world, and the answers he gave to the key questions that any world view must address. The examination of Jesus’ aims and beliefs, argued on the basis of Jesus’ actions and their accompanying riddles, is sure to stimulate heated response. Wright offers a provocative portrait of Jesus as Israel’s Messiah who would share and bear the fate of the nation and would embody the long-promised return of Israel’s God to Zion.
3) Show Them No Mercy: 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide.
This book takes up a very popular framework in giving an introduction to particular biblical-theological issues – laying out 4 or 5 differing views from 4 or 5 differing theologians. Each theologian lays out their particular view, while also interacting briefly with the other views given in the text.
The product description summarises the book this way:
A discussion of various contemporary evangelical views of genocide in the Old Testament. Christians are often shocked to read that Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, commanded the total destruction—all men, women, and children—of the ethnic group know as the Canaanites. This seems to contradict Jesus’ command in the New Testament to love your enemies and do good to all people. How can Yahweh be the same God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? What does genocide in the Bible have to do with the politics of the 21st century? This book explores, in typical Counterpoints format, the Old Testament command of God to exterminate the Canaanite population and what that implies about continuity between the Old and New Testaments. The four points of view presented on the continuity of the Testaments are: * Strong Discontinuity — C . S. Cowles * Moderate Discontinuity — Eugene H. Merrill * Spiritual Continuity — Tremper Longman III * Eschatological Continuity — Daniel L. Gard The Counterpoints series provides a forum for comparison and critique of different views on issues important to Christians. Counterpoints books address two categories: Church Life and Bible and Theology. Complete your library with other books in the Counterpoints series.
4) Five Views of Biblical Inerrancy.
This book isn’t actually released until 26th November 2013. It also takes up the popular framework as the previous book listed.
The product description states this:
There is little doubt that the inerrancy of the Bible is a current and often contentious topic among evangelicals. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy represents a timely contribution by showcasing the spectrum of evangelical positions on inerrancy, facilitating understanding of these perspectives, particularly where and why they diverge. Each essay in Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy considers:
- the present context and the viability and relevance for the contemporary evangelical Christian witness;
- whether and to what extent Scripture teaches its own inerrancy;
- the position’s assumed/implied understandings of the nature of Scripture, God, and truth; and
- three difficult biblical texts, one that concerns intra-canonical contradictions, one that raises questions of theological plurality, and one that concerns historicity.
Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy serves not only as a single-volume resource for surveying the current debate, but also as a catalyst both for understanding and advancing the conversation further. Contributors include Al Mohler, Kevin Vanhoozer, Michael Bird, Peter Enns, and John Franke.
Matter of fact, in regards to these last 2 books that I mentioned, if you are interested in this kind of format on differing theological issues, I encourage you to check out this page at Zondervan books where all of these Counterpoints: Bible and Theology books are listed. In the end, these books become introductions to particular topics, given a little more framework for further discussion if one so desires.
Thanks for your summary. A couple of these are definately interesting. Where do you go to find out the best books / latest books on contemporary Christian thought?
Hi Jonathan –
To find out about new book releases, I just stay up to date on some of the Christian blogs out there, and these people normally put something up on Facebook and/or Twitter as well. That might not be as helpful as one website, but that’s how it works for me. 🙂
I finished reading _Show Them No Mercy_ Thursday and was shocked that there was only one view that didn’t attempt to justify genocide. Three out of the four views called genocide “holy” and “righteous” while quickly adding that they would condemn genocide in today’s world. For them, genocide in the Bible is special I guess. A number of the contributors also sought to make Jesus genocidal in the eschaton. Their theory is that the Jesus of the Gospels and his victory on the cross are incomplete. The *real* victory only comes when Jesus chops heads off. DUH!!
I can’t lie, the hypocrisy of these views was infuriating. But C. S. Cowles’ essay and responses to the other essays was worth the price of a used copy in good condition from Amazon.
Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I saw you post a pic on Facebook. This is one area I’ve begun to rethink. I don’t have all the answers, but as I think you lean, I see that God’s intention and purpose is ultimately summed up in Jesus. And I personally cannot imagine Jesus saying: Kill those [enter in any people group]! I think there is a part of the OT framework coming from the ancient near eastern mindset. I believe God must bring judgment, to which judgment is ultimately about making things right. But that any person or group finds themselves as the ordained group by which God judges, that is very difficult to swallow. And if it is true today as we look at Christ, and God is unchanging in nature, then I suppose it would have been the same thousands of years ago.
Yes, you’re correct. I too see God’s ultimate purpose summed up in Jesus. In fact, I would say that to qualify God’s self-revelation in Christ with prior revelation in the Hebrew Bible is not a Christian approach to knowing God. For the Christian, God’s self-revelation in Jesus is definitive, supreme, and final.
I’m particularly looking forward to Greg Boyd’s upcoming book _The Crucifixion of the Warrior God_ (But don’t hold your breath… we’re still waiting for _The Myth of a Blueprint_) 🙂