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Best Reads of 2011

Several years ago I began keeping an annotated list of every book I read each year. It has been a very useful discipline and resource for later. As part of my own review of this past year I will post here what have been the best books I have read this past year. Included in […]

Noah, Action Hero

Brian Godawa, screenwriter of To End All Wars, has written a “speculative retelling” of the Noah story titled, Noah Primeval: Chronicles of the Nephilim Book I. I was contacted about reviewing the book and at first was not interested. “Hollywood re-envisions a Bible story” did not sound interesting. However, when I noticed Godawa has a […]

The Power of Symbols, Christmas

One of the best books I read this year was The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens (who writes incredibly well, like his recently deceased brother). As we approach Christmas I was reminded of his discussion of the Communist attempt to suppress any vestige of Christmas in Russia. Drawing […]

Thundering Knox Preached Grace

John Knox is known as a thundering preacher, and he was. However, it is easy for us to associate “thundering” with condemnation. Douglas Bond, examining one of only two surviving sermons from Knox (on the temptations of Jesus), concludes: “Knox labored to give confidence to his flock in their sanctification. There is no hint of […]

Historical Examples as Spurs to Perseverance

For me, there are times in ministry when I feel completely overwhelmed. The size, depth and number of the needs plus my own weakness and failures combine for a crushing despair. Many gospel  tools are needed for these situations, and one of these tools is the example of our forebears. It is helpful for me […]

Bond-voyage! A Hymns Tour of England & Wales

You may have noticed the ad recently inserted on the right hand side of this blog. It is for the tour led by my friend Douglas Bond covering great hymn writers in England & Wales. I can’t think of a better person to lead such a tour! My family has loved his Mr. Pipes books […]

2011 Bibles and Bible Reference Annual Survey

Each Fall I write an article for Preaching Magazine surveying the study Bibles and reference works that have come out in the past year. The 2011 version of the article has recently come out. Perhaps it will be useful as you make plans for sermon series in the coming year, and even as you request […]

C. H. Dodd on Paul’s Poor Writing & Defective Imagination

The Apostle Peter tells us that in Paul’s letters “there are some things … that are hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16). We are not surprised then to find passages which require work to understand. In these cases it becomes particularly clear whether one approaches the Scripture expecting it to conform to one’s own understanding […]

Mark Galli “Why We Need More ‘Chaplains’ and Fewer Leaders : What’s a pastor for?”

Mark Galli’s recent article in Christianity Today by this title is well done and resonates with the concerns of this blog. He begins by noting a typical website which suggested “chaplain” type pastors led to church decline and instead encouraged us to look for pastors with innovative ideas which would lead to “growth.” In fact […]