Book Reviews

Kathy Keller on Rachel Evans

If you want a satisfying response to Evans, look no further. As Keller concludes:

Rachel, I can and do agree with much of what you say in your book regarding the ways in which either poor biblical interpretation or patriarchal customs have sinfully oppressed women. I would join you in exposing churches, books, teachers, and leaders who have imposed a human agenda on the Bible. However, you have become what you claim to despise; you have imposed your own agenda on Scripture in order to advance your own goals. In doing so, you have further muddied the waters of biblical interpretation instead of bringing any clarity to the task.

As a woman also engaged in trying to understand the Bible as it relates to gender, I had hoped for better.

Fourth Review of The Church-Friendly Family” by Craig Hurst

They just keep coming…and they are extremely positive. This latest from book reviewer par excellence, Craig Hurst.

Third Review of “The Church-Friendly Family” by Luke Welch

Review of The Church-Friendly Family

The Church-Friendly FamilyIs the church is a ministry to families? Should Godly families steer clear of the world? What is the point of the family? And what is the point of the church? Pastors Randy Booth and Rich Lusk aim us in the right direction as their new book, The Church-Friendly Family, compels us to rethink these questions through a Biblical lens.  God has a family and that family is the church.  Our own families are pictures of the church.  The church reaches out to the world through families. The authors show us that the Body of Christ is primary in God’s plan, and this does no harm to our own families; rather, it gives them strength, blessing and purpose.

Many times over Randy Booth and Rich Lusk offer us wise and pastoral insight into ways that churches and families can mature for the sake of the kingdom.  They offer correction, encouragement and vision for families, and churches, and especially for fathers and husbands.  Booth explains the major shift we need to make: “We must come to see the Church as the primary family and our individual families as outposts of the Church.”  The Trinity is a community.  So is the church.  So is the family.  But sometimes we allow our families to become insular, hiding from the world in the church, and sometimes even hiding from the church in our homes.  When we open our families to being modeled on the church, and being changed for and through worship, then we become effective outposts for God’s mission.

Randy Booth also encourages us that we will have to die and be resurrected to get to the proper place in God’s work, allowing God to clean and heal us of the way we operate in family, church and world:

Following Jesus begins with forsaking our relationships with other people, ourselves, and our possessions. All of these relationships are corrupted by sin. As soon as we come to Him, He sends us back to all those relationships, to ourselves, and even to all our material possessions to truly love them as new men in Christ.

A resurrected view of how our own families work as part of the church affects parenting. We form our children’s identity as part of the church and as ambassadors of Christ’s church for the world. We want them to grow up to remain vitally connected to the body of Christ, and to be both free and strong enough to draw the world into the church as well.

Parenting is missional says Rich Lusk, looking at Jeremiah 29.  It is God’s way of growing the church.  Not because high birth rates are a natural way of growing church rolls, but because God saves the world through godly families settling into the surrounding world to bless it. Referring to Psalm 127, Lusk asks us what the point of a full quiver of straightened arrows is.  Is it to be decorative and out of the way of war?  No.  Families are to have children, to make and keep them Godly , and to show them how to go out into the war for the hearts of the world.  Our children will then direct men back to the church, to meet with Christ there.

But godly child rearing requires several things: Fathers need to take responsibility for how they love and listen to their wives.  How they honor them.  How they find their own wives to be their own lady wisdoms (as seen in Proverbs).  Beyond loving our wives well, we must also view our children as God views them – Psalm 128 tells us that our children are covenant members – olive shoots around the family table.  We are to believe that they own the kingdom, and treat them as Christians, (that is, as family members) from the beginning.  This means understanding our families and even our children as having their proper identity in Christ.

Not only do families need to be stretched (in a way dying to be reborn in God’s image), but churches need to be transformed as well.  Churches can also be insular, fearing that worldliness may corrupt their holiness. But God calls us to imitate the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good works, and who was seen enjoying God’s creation (food and drink) with people unfit for the Synagogues.  We need to let the world in, practicing hospitality, but without compromising the word of God.  There is plenty, Lusk argues, that we can concede to make the gospel available to non-believers without losing biblical worship or holiness.  We may, however, have to die (to comfort), and be raised again as a church truly interested in reaching and saving our neighbors.

So I commend to you this book. It is a fount of Biblical wisdom deep and wide.  I found myself amazed and convicted and encouraged. I believe it will bless many.  The Church-Friendly Family could be a truly transformative book for churches and for families if it is taken seriously as it deserves to be.  May we all grow to know who we are in Christ, and what he wishes to do through each family, and each church.

A Second Review of “The Church-Friendly Family” by Matthew Sims

By Matthew Sims

If you’re not careful your mind may play tricks on you. After receiving the book, I kept thinking and writing The Family-Friendly Church. The authors though have been intentional with the title. In our seeker-sensitive saturated churches making the church more user friendly for families seems more natural but what Booth and Lusk argue is that the family must orient itself around the church. It’s an emphasis the church and families has lost over the last hundred years. In the foreword Uri Brito sets the stage,

The family is in trouble, and the good news is that the family can be restored in Christ. Salvation is not individualistic. Jesus did not die simply so that certain individuals could be forgiven and restored to new life. He died so that relationships could be restored, so that every aspect of life, including our families, might be healed and made new. . . .

Our families are not ultimate, and they will not be restored and glorified by an exclusive focus on the family. In fact we make our family and its well-being our highest priority, we sow the seeds of our family’s destruction. Rather, our families must be placed in the context of the family of God. The nuclear family does not simply need more advice or exhortation; it needs Jesus and it needs His body. (p. xii)

These two paragraphs sum up well the thrust of The Church-Friendly Family.

TCFF emphasizes that the family of God reverses Babel. The Church brings all nations and tongues together. We see movement from the family of Adam to the adopted family of God (p. xvi,  xvii). They also argue that the family only fulfills its purpose when it aligns itself with the mission of the church. What they strongly argue against is any notion that the good Christian family tends to seclusion. They are not advocating for the back wood Christian home-schoolers who think everything outside is of the world and therefore evil. Rather they argue for robust for families who create, change, and redeem culture. Families who attack the true evils of the world and push it back. Families who align themselves with the church to do this. Booth says,

Within the context of the broader evangelical Church we can hear men honestly attempting to speak to a corrupt culture and calling people to repent, but there is frequently no solid biblical culture to replace it with (p. 8).

He places this failure and responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the men and fathers. We have not created a gospel culture in our own home so how should we expect to create one in the community at large? Booth again sees two errors: either parents who are apathetic or “over-zealous” (p. 15). The latter is a father who sees the problem mentioned earlier but instead of creating genuine culture starting at the top he force feeds his family (ibid). We must rather create the gospel culture by living in light of the gospel as leaders in the home. We do that by loving and serving. I will add that it might do well to pause arguing with egalitarians about headship in the home and start living it out. Stop talking about loving leadership and start serving. Confront the bullies. Decry the abusers. Humbly serve our wife and children. When people see this, they will hopefully respond, “Seems like that guy is willing to die for his family.  I can tell because he’s serving them in every other possible way. He’s prioritizing them over himself.” More

The First Review of “The Church-Friendly Family” by Colt Nipps

Reviewed by Colt Nipps

In our time, a “family-friendly church” is touted as being necessary to making any cultural impact at all.  Randy Booth and Rich Lusk have turned that phrase on its head with, “The Church-Friendly Family.”

Wow, what a necessary resource!  The timing of this little volume is perfect because the family is being attacked from outside and within.  It is an easy read (111 pages), but it is packed with scripture and seeped in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It covers a wide range of topics: family, culture, worship, marriage and more.  Yet, the Lord Jesus and our union with him is presented as the tie that binds them all together.

This is a must-read for fathers!  I really appreciate the clear, concise language and the logical format of the book.  It is filled with biblical and practical wisdom with actual ideas to be implemented.  I am always dismayed about would-be “wisdom” with no guidance on how to get started.

Above all, I was excited about the optimism in this work.  Many in our day don’t actually know God’s story, much less how to find themselves in it.  It highlights how Jesus is actually reigning in and through his church and what that means to the family.  Christians can labor with confidence, knowing that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.  We are a part of something bigger than our families.  By God’s grace, we are in the middle of God’s creation-wide redeeming process.

The Church-Friendly Family

After three years of editing, The Church-Friendly Family is finally available for purchase.

You can purchase the book from Covenant Media:

PhotoOf the making of books about marriage and the family, there is no end. The family is in trouble today―and has been since the sin of our first parents. But the rescue of the family requires more than just good advice, helpful as that can be. It requires more than just a focus on the family. It requires that the family be brought into the church of Jesus Christ. In The Church-Friendly Family, Randy Booth and Rich Lusk set marriage and family in the context of the church, showing how putting the church first enables the family to bear a rich harvest in culture, education, missions, and more.

Essays Include:

The Family and Culture –Randy Booth

 The Family and Worship –Randy Booth

The Family and Education –Randy Booth

The Family Table –Randy Booth

Missional Parenting –Rich Lusk

What is Marriage For? –Rich Lusk

The Blessed Family –Rich Lusk

Study on the Book of Revelation

Welcome once again to our study of David Chilton’s Days of Vengeance. I am Uri Brito and I blog at apologus.wordpress.com.

We are going to delve briefly into Chilton’s introduction. There are two important elements in understanding Revelation, and they are to know the author and the date of the book. Concerning the author there is virtually unanimous testimony that it was the same John who wrote the Fourth Gospel (1). John, according to Chilton, writes in an “authoritative, “apostolic” style, not to individuals merely, but to the Church” (1).  There is little to no dispute John wrote this letter. In fact, Revelation uses Johannine language like the expression Lamb of God, which is distinctly used by John in his gospel.

The same question is a lot more complicated. When did John write Revelation? This is a highly disputed question, because once you come to a conclusion on the date, you will most likely be led to a particular hermeneutic; and that hermeneutic will drive your view of the entire book. Chilton’s premise is that Revelation was written before the destruction of the temple in AD 70. This position is typically called Preterism. Preterism means past. That is, the events of Revelation are not primarily futuristic–though there are many principles we can apply to our context– but primarily, Revelation has the first century audience in mind. If you have the energy to pursue this topic further, Kenneth Gentry has written a lengthy and scholarly work entitled Before Jerusalem Fell, which makes a strong case for a pre-AD 70 reading of this book.

David Chilton offers a few reasons as to why he believes John, the Apostle, wrote this letter to his first century audience:

First, as we referenced in our first video, Chilton argues that Revelation is a book about worship. Naturally, the book is full of liturgical allusions; and it actually contains minute details. Who could have known of these details unless he were intimately familiar with the actual service in theTempleitself. John fits the bill. John, as Chilton argues, was a priest. If this is the case, John was writing about aTemplestill in existence, which would lead to a pre AD 70 letter.

Second, Chilton argues that there is an a priori teaching from Scripture that all special revelation ended by AD 70. The argument is that Daniel’s prophecy in chapter 9:24-27 of the seventy weeks would end at the destruction ofJerusalem. And what would happen then, according to Daniel? That period would seal up the vision and prophecy. In other words, the sealing up of vision and prophecy referred to the Word of God, which would be completed before the destruction of the temple. Revelation was not a late first century book, but actually written closer to the other books in the New Testament canon.

Finally, there are time references in chapter one that lead us to conclude that the book is an early book. John says these things will happen “soon,” “quickly,” etc. These are time indicators proving that John was intentional about his language. Soon meant within that generation, not two thousand years later. For John, Revelation was the final judgment on apostateIsrael. It would mark the transition from an old world to a new world with a new Lord, Jesus Christ.

We will stop here, but feel free to leave a comment or any question both here on the youtube page or on my blog apologus.wordpress.com. We will continue our look at Chilton’s introduction next time. Peace be with you.

Days of Vengeance by David Chilton, Review, Part I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Ressurectio et Vita. You can find my blog at apologus.wordpress.com.

I have been tweeting about doing a series of posts on David Chilton’s commentary on Revelation called Days of Vengeance. Chilton died in 1997, but Gary North put out another edition in 2007, which includes a lengthy preface by North himself on the history of the book, and an introduction to postmillennial thinking. North claims that Chilton’s commentary in many ways began this modern revival of biblical optimism. The preface is worth the read.

At the heart of Chilton’s exposition is his premise that the book of Revelation teaches that Christians will overcome all opposition through the work Jesus Christ. It is certainly filled with all sorts of mysteries; mysteries, which even the great expositor John Calvin did not dare to tackle, but central to it is the victory of Jesus’ kingdom on earth before the Second Coming.

Chilton has five main assumptions about this book, and they are:

First, that Revelation is the most Biblical book in the Bible. That is, it is bathed in Old Testament quotations. And because it is so rich with Old Testament theology, one can only begin to understand the book when he knows the Bible well.

Second, Revelation has a system of symbolism. In fact, it contains a particular language. The goal for the interpreter is to learn this language. Symbols in Revelation are not disconnected from the rest of Scriptures, but rather fully dependent on the Hebrew Scriptures.

Third, Revelation is about imminent events. If one accepts this premise, it will un-do virtually the entire evangelical eschatology industry. Revelation has primarily in mind those events in the first century; specifically, the destruction of the Temple in AD 70.

Fourth, Revelation is a worship service. The worship of God, says Chilton, “is central to everything in life.”[1] So, Revelation is highly ecclesiastical and liturgical.

Finally, Revelation is a book about dominion. Revelation is not about the terror of anti-Christ, but about the glory of Jesus Christ; He is the beginning and the end; the victory and Lord of all creation. Revelation spells victory for those united to the Son of God.

For those new to David Chilton’s Revelation commentary, I welcome you to this journey. Chilton argues that the Bible is more than a mere textbook, but it is a life-changing story about a King whose kingdom will endure forever.

Feel free to comment on the blog, and we will delve into the Introduction in the coming days. Pick up and read!


[1] Xii.

Andrew Sandlin and Westminster Seminary’s Breezy Response

Andrew Sandlin writes a devastating response to WTS’s (West) response to John Frame’s extensive analysis of the theology espoused by the WTS faculty.  Sandlin’s soberly concludes:

Young scholars and students, let this be a lesson to you: if you ever have the fortune of having your book reviewed by a world-renowned scholar, and you don’t like what he says, don’t respond by saying, “He didn’t understand a thing I said, and he perverted everything I said into its very opposite.”

Not, at least, if you wish to be taken seriously.

But implicitly accusing reviewers of either massive ignorance ormalevolent intent seems to be quite acceptable at WSC.  That’s not the way actual scholars interact with one another in the real world.

I myself am no great scholar and never claimed to be.  But I have read great scholarship for many years.  I know scholarship when I see it.

And, boys, this ain’t scholarship.

The New American Militarism by Andrew Bacevich

Front CoverI first heard of Andrew Bacevich about two years ago. I came across one of his interviews with Bill Moyers. Moyers always asked the right questions. His liberal bias was so obvious that it actually made for good television. I was so fascinated by his style that I bought one of his books and reviewed it. But it was that lengthy interview with Bacevich that consolidated my allegiance with the Old Right. Here was a Vietnam Veteran who laid out his presuppositions with intense vigor and who had personally lived the pain of the Iraq war in the death of his son. It has now been several years since that interview and recently I ordered a copy of Bacevich’s The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War. 

The preface to the book is quite stimulating since Bacevich lays out his background and what led him to interpret America’s wars through these lenses. After years, as a conservative political writer for Weekly Standard and National Review (both ardent neo-conservative voices), Dr. Bacevich began to dissolve his relationship with the conservative literary establishment (xi). In the end, Bacevich came to realize that “the Republican and Democratic parties may not be identical, but they produce nearly identical results (xi).”

Bacevich is a conservative with all the credentials, but his vast background (Historian, international relations expert and former US Army Colonel) has led him to different conclusions about the U.S. military pursuits around the world. His conclusions are bound to make both the left and the right uncomfortable.