Book Review: Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change by Paul David Tripp (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2002.  348 pp) Paul David Tripp is a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation in Glendale, Pa. and a lecturer in practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. How People Change vs. Instruments As a review of How People Change has already been written on this blog, I felt it necessary to review its companion Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands.  The first thing that is needed to be said is that if you read How People Change, you should have read this book instead. How People Change focuses on the hard circumstances in life and how… Read More →

Book Review: A Generous Orthodoxy

A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional + Evangelical + Post/Protestant + Liberal/Conservative + Mystical/Poetic + Biblical + Charismatic/Contemplative + Fundamentalist/Calvinist + Anabaptist/Anglican + Methodist + Catholic + Green + Incarnational + Depressed-Yet-Hopeful + Emergent + Unfinished Christian by Brian McLaren (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. 352 pp) Brian McLaren, born in 1956, graduated from the University of Maryland with B.A. and M.A. degrees. He taught English before serving as the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church. Apart from his church duties, McLaren is known for his contributions to the emerging church movement. Time has named McLaren as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals. He is married to Grace McLaren and they have four adult children. A Seminary Kind… Read More →

Book Review: The Law of Love and the Law of Violence

The Law of Love and the Law of Violence by Leo Tolstoy; translated by Mary Koutouzov Tolstoy (Mineola: Dover Publications, 2010; originally published in 1948. 128 pp) Leo Tolstoy is a late nineteenth century Russian novelist known best for War and Peace and Anna Karenina. In his youth, Tolstoy studied law at Kazan University. Tolstoy gained massive wealth from his fictional writing, and as a result, developed into a social reformer and Christian anarchist in his later years. Tolstoy died in 1910. Letter from Birmingham Jail Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” represents the most influential document from my undergraduate years. Read in conjunction with an ethics class, King’s words resonated in ways I had previously never felt…. Read More →

Book Review: The Orthodox Way

The Orthodox Way: Revised Edition by Bishop Kallistos Ware (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1995. 164 pp) Kallistos Ware is an English bishop within the Greek Orthodox Church. Born Timothy, Ware went to Westminster School in London and later to Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1966, Ware was ordained to the Greek Orthodox priesthood and received the name, “Kallistos.” Ware lectured on Orthodox Studies for 35 years at the University of Oxford, retiring in 2001. Ware’s most popular publications are The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way, both intended for lay people. Burn the Heretics Whenever my grandfather discusses Greece, he mentions his singular experience in the Greek Isles. Visiting an Orthodox Church with my grandmother, an Orthodox priest graciously administered… Read More →

Book Review: Acres of Diamonds

Acres of Diamonds: All Good Things Are Possible, Right Where You Are, and Now! By Russell H. Conwell and Robert Shackleton (Lexington: Feather Trail Press, 2009; originally published in 1915. 92 pp) Born in Massachusetts, Russell Conwell attended Yale University and Albany Law School. Conwell founded Temple University and pastored The Baptist Temple in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An Inspiring Story  For some reason, the simplicity of the standard “success story” conjures the hopeful sentiment that such accomplishments could occur in any life. Truthfully, most successful stories begin with an idea, a notion of which all human beings are equally capable. In Acres of Diamonds, Russell Conwell utilizes positive and negative narratives in order to inspire productivity in his community. In Defense… Read More →

Book Review: A Theology for the Social Gospel

A Theology for the Social Gospel by Walter Rauschenbusch (Mansifeld Centre: Martino Publishing, 2011; originally published in 1918. 290 pp) Walter Rauschenbusch was the leading proponent of the Social Gospel Movement whose mission was to reform society to meet the social needs of the poor through the ministrations of the institutional church. PBS recently called him “one of the most influential American religious leaders of the last 100 years.” The Nature of Sin and Salvation  When attempting to manufacture a systematic theology, the nature of sin and salvation becomes integral components of the position. Slight changes in these core beliefs cause vast differences externally. Having previously labored toward the notion of “the social gospel,” Walter Rauschenbusch writes A Theology for… Read More →

Book Review: Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century

Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century: The Classic That Woke Up the Church by Walter Rauschenbusch; edited by Paul Raushenbush (New York: HarperOne, 2008. 400 pp) Walter Rauschenbusch was the leading proponent of the Social Gospel Movement whose mission was to reform society to meet the social needs of the poor through the ministrations of the institutional church. PBS recently called him “one of the most influential American religious leaders of the last 100 years.” Paul Raushenbush, great-grandson of Walter Rauschenbusch, was associate dean or religious life and the chapel at Princeton University and current religion editor at the Huffington Post. He has served as an associate minister at the Riverside Church in New York City and… Read More →

Book Review: Good News to the Poor

Good News to the Poor: John Wesley’s Evangelical Economics by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990. 236 pp) The current Professor of Biblical and Constructive Theology at Chicago Theology Seminary, Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. earned his A.B. from Duke University in 1964 and both his B.D. and Ph.D. from Emory University in 1967 and 1971 respectively. Jennings has served as a local pastor and taught for three years at the Methodist Seminary in Mexico City. He has served as a consultant with the United Methodist Church on issues related to commitment to the poor. His research interests include Christian doctrine, biblical theology, gay studies, contemporary late modern philosophy and deconstruction. The Relationship between Wealth and Piety Similar to… Read More →

Book Review: Second Treatise of Government

Second Treatise of Government by John Locke, edited by C.B. Macpherson (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1980; originally published in 1690. 124 pp) Widely known as the Father of Liberalism, John Locke’s work in epistemology and political philosophy has influenced countless nations. Born in 1632 in England, Locke attended Westminster School in London earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Having fled to the Netherlands to escape suspicion of an assassination plot, Locke began publishing his writing upon his return to England. With his writing gaining widespread influence, Locke died in 1704. He never married nor fathered children. C.B. Macpherson was born in Toronto, Canada in 1911. From 1935 to his death in 1987, he taught primarily at the University of Toronto… Read More →

Book Review: God of the Possible

God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God by Gregory A. Boyd (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000. 176 pp The founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church, Greg Boyd received his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, his M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and his B.A. from the University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching at Bethel University, Boyd founded Christus Victor Ministries, a nonprofit organization that promotes Boyd’s writing and speaking. He is a recognized theologian and author of numerous books including best-seller, Letters from a Skeptic. Married to his wife Shelley for 28 years, Gregory resides in St. Paul, Minnesota. When Bible Study Becomes Scary When I was young, my parents hosted a… Read More →