August New Releases: IVP

“Doing Philosophy as a Christian” (Christian Worldview Integration Series Christian Worldview I) Paperback

by Garrett J. DeWeese


What does it mean to be called to the profession of philosophy? What does it mean for the Christian in particular? And how should those called to the profession engage their tasks? Noting that philosophy literally is “the love of wisdom,” Garrett J. DeWeese begins with a discussion of wisdom from the Old and New Testaments before addressing the often misunderstood relation between faith and reason. DeWeese then elucidates the fundamental questions of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics, philosophy of mind and philosophy of science, finally making a case for the integration of philosophy and Christian spiritual formation.


“With graduate degrees in theology and philosophy, and years of deep reflection, Garry DeWeese is uniquely qualified to write on how to approach philosophy from a Christian perspective. And Doing Philosophy as a Christian does just that. In page after page, DeWeese offers fresh insight and deep reflection about how to honor Jesus as Lord in the task of doing philosophy. This is a must-read for all interested in worldview development and the integration of Scripture with the field of philosophy.” (J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology )

“Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics: An Introduction to Theories of Right and Wrong” Paperback

by Steve Wilkens


Ideas have consequences. And sometimes those ideas can be squeezed in to slogans, slapped on bumper stickers and tweeted into cyberspace. These compact messages coming at us from all directions often compress in a few words entire ethical systems. It turns out that there’s a lot more to the ideas behind these slogans–ideas that need to be sorted out before we make important moral decisions as individuals or as societies. In this revised and expanded edition of Steve Wilkens’s widely-used text, the author has updated his introductions to basic ethical systems:

  • cultural relativism
  • ethical egoism
  • utilitarianism
  • behaviorism
  • situation ethics
  • Kantian ethics
  • virtue ethics
  • natural law ethics
  • divine command theory

He has also added two new chapters:

  • evolutionary ethics
  • narrative ethics

With clarity and wit Wilkens unpacks the complicated ideas behind the slogans and offers Christian evaluations of each.

“Mind Your Faith: A Student’s Guide to Thinking and Living Well” Paperback

by David A. Horner


The university world can be a confusing place, filled with many competing worldviews and perspectives. Beliefs and values are challenged at every turn. But Christians need not slip into the morass of easy relativism. David Horner restores sanity to the collegiate experience with this guide to thinking and flourishing as a Christian. Carefully exploring how ideas work, he gives you essential tools for thinking contextually, thinking logically and thinking worldviewishly. Here Horner meets you where faith and reason intersect and explores how to handle doubts, with an eye toward not just thinking clearly but also living faithfully. This is the book every college freshman needs to read. Don’t leave home without it.


“How can the development of a faithful mind and a mindful faith lead to a virtuous character? This is not the first question Christian students are likely to ask their university to answer. But it should be. David Horner helps students–young and old–seek an answer that is based on sound reasoning and deep, faithful personal commitment to Christ. May this book live long and prosper, leading believers to thoughtful, faithful and virtuous lives.” (James W. Sire, author, The Universe Next Door )

“Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer” (Renovare Resources) Hardcover

by Richard J. Foster


“At the very heart of God is the passionate disposition to be in loving fellowship with you. . . . From the human side of this equation it is meditative prayer that ushers us into this divine-human fellowship.” Richard Foster, bestselling author and founder of Renovaré, writes these words as one who has experienced what they describe. And in this new book he will beautifully guide you in this transformational way, that you might come to know deeper fellowship with God. Weaving together quotes and stories from the lives of mothers and fathers of the faith as well as powerful encounters with God from his own life, Foster describes the riches of quieting your mind and heart in order to listen to and obey God more closely. Along the way, at perhaps his clearest, most practical best, he also provides the biblical teaching and step-by-step help you need to begin this prayer practice for yourself. The journey into meditative prayer is not easy, but it is essential. And, as Foster shows, it’s possible, even in the midst of the noisy, often chaotic world we live in. Your soul can become a sanctuary where you fellowship with the very God of the universe, who knows you and loves you deeply. These pages point the way.


“Richard Foster diagnoses this generation’s major threat to the mature life in Christ as distraction. In response he does again what he does so well: tunnels to the roots of our deep-rooted ancestors and makes us firsthand participants in the church’s practice of a life of meditative prayer.” (Eugene H. Peterson, translator of The Message )

“The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus: Luke’s Account of God’s Unfolding Plan” (New Studies in Biblical Theology) Paperback

by Alan J. Thompson


When the book of Acts is mentioned, a cluster of issues spring to mind, including speaking in tongues and baptism with the Holy Spirit, church government and practice, and missionary methods and strategies. At the popular level, Acts is more often mined for answers to contemporary debates than heard for its natural inflections. Instead of using Acts as a prooftext, Alan Thompson brings a biblical-theological framework to the account to expose Luke’s major themes as they relate to the book as a whole. With this framework in place, Thompson argues that Acts is an account of the ‘continuing story’ of God’s saving purposes. Consequently we find that Luke wants to be read in light of the Old Testament promises and the continuing reign of Christ in the inaugurated kingdom. Read in this way as a snapshot of God’s dynamic, unfolding kingdom, the book of Acts begins to regain the deep relevance it had in the first century.


BOOK REVIEW: “The Revolutionary Paul Revere” by Joel J. Miller

Miller’s biography of Paul Revere has been a great summer read.  I have spent many trips to the beach reading the book while my kids play in Lake Michigan.  While they were building sand castles and splashing in the water, I was sitting in my bag chair reading about Revere’s part in the history of the United States.

Why did I enjoy the book?

First, its length matches its subject.  Paul Revere is an important name in the history of the United States, but let’s be honest…he’s not George Washington.  Miller does a nice job of telling us what we need to know about Paul Revere, and not boring us to death with what we do not need to know about Paul Revere.

Second, it was fun to read!  Miller writes as if he enjoys his subject, and that makes it fun to read.  As I read I felt a hurried pace…and I might as well go after an obvious cliché: the book’s pace reminded me of the midnight ride Revere is famous for.

Finally, I felt like I learned something.  As I put the book down my brain started to think through the birth of the United States from new angles.  It has not always been my favorite period in history to study, but the book caused me to find new interest in the Revolutionary War.

I have one bit of critique.  I did not like the chapter summaries at the beginning of each chapter.  They were written to evoke excitement for the coming chapter, but I found they gave away too much and were a little hokey.

In the end I honored Miller’s book by giving it to my Dad.  I look forward to talking with him about Paul Revere once he is finished!

Just so you know, I got this book for free from Thomas Nelson for my review.

Trust me, if I didn’t like it you would know.

From the Back Cover: “A Certain Risk” by Paul Richardson (Zondervan)

Are you living at the Edge?

God created you to rest in the whisper of his voice and to be refueled by his passions.  He calls you to thrive on the far side of your fears, to awaken into his dreams, and to be infused with his creativity.  He beckons you to be immersed in his Spirit and to rise up and worship him through your responses to the dry, hurting, and fallen conditions in your world.

Paul Richardson draws on stories from his life as a change specialist in the world’s largest Muslim country to explore the inside story of faith.  Rather than offering a series of how-to steps, Richardson offers you a startling vision of what a Spirit-fueled life looks like – a vision that sees Christianity as a fluid, innovative call to live.


“(Paul Richardson) provides not only the creative spark to inspire you but the burning fire that very well may consume you.”  Erwin Raphael McManus, from the foreward

Author’s Bio

Paul Richardson was born and raised in a village carved out of the jungle in Dutch New Guinea, where his parents were missionaries.  With a background in educational leadership, Richardson is part of a group creating a network of state-of-the-art Christian schools in some of the most impoverished environments on earth.  He lives in Southeast Asia with his wife, Cyndi, and their three children.


A Certain Risk: Living Your Faith at the Edge

Top 5 New Books – June 29, 2010

A list of the top five new books I would buy this week…if I had an UNLIMITED budget!!!

5. The Structure of Sacred Doctrine in Calvin’s Theology by Frans H. Breukelman, 262 pages (Eerdmans)

“Rinse Reeling Brouwer has brought to the English-speaking world the erudite scholarship of Dutch theologian Frans Breukelman…Breukelman weighs in on controversies between Edward Dowey and T.H.L. Parker on proper interpretation of Calvin, and he assesses Karl Barth’s legacy as a Calvanist theologian.  Suprising and instructive insights are gleaned along the way on biblical narrative and the ‘historicizing’ of doctrine; the roots of Protestant modernism in older orthodoxy; and the relation of Calvin to Luther and Melancthon.  A rich resource for Calvin scholars!” Katherine Sonderegger, Virginia Theological Seminary


Another great resource from Eerdmans!  Most interesting to me is the last chapter of the book, entitled “Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics as a proposal to the hearing and teaching Church.”

4. Finding God in a Holy Place: Explorations of Prayer in Durham Cathedral by Chris Cook, 164 pages (Continuum)

From the publisher’s website: “This book explores prayer in holy spaces: physical places where we can go to be nearer to God.  It is focused on one particular place – Durham Cathedral – but it is designed to enable the reader to explore prayer in other holy places also.”


Let’s be honest.  The book mentioned Durham Cathedral and I thought “N.T. Wright!”  At the same time, the topic seems interesting, and I am not sure that I have ever read a book on this subject.

3. Crossway ESV Bible Atlas by John D. Currid and David P. Barrett (Crossway)

“This Atlas is a wonderfully illustrated tool to aid the layperson, student of the Scripture, or pastor who wants to dig deeper and gain new insights and appreciation of the setting context, and message of the Bible.  The text is easy to follow, pictures are brilliant, and maps are incredibly useful as the reader moves through the related narratives.  I highly recommend this marvelous resource.”  James K. Hoffmeier, Professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern Archaeology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


I’m a Crossway “homer” who reads the ESV Bible on his DROID Incredible.  When I read the Crossway description, which said “…up-to-date resource that blends technical sophistication with readability, visual appeal, and historical and biblical accuracy,” you “had me at hello.”

2. Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief by Rowan Williams (Author) and David Jones (Illustrator), 176 pages (Westminster John Knox)

From the publisher’s website: “Engaging the classic statements of the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams eloquently guides readers through the central statements of the Christian Faith.”


I’m always on the lookout for great books that act as an introduction to Christian beliefs!


1. The Glory of God (Theology in Community) by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, 256 pages (Crossway)

“The Westminster Shorter Catechism rightly tells us that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.  And yet, ‘glorifying’ God and living for ‘the glory of God’ can often seem mysteriously and ultimately disconnected from day-to-day life.  In this new installment in the Theology in Community series, Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson have pulled together a team that not only teach about God’s glory but in their very scholarship display ‘the visible splendor and moral beauty of God’s manifold perfections.’  As I read this book, I wanted to sing, ‘To God be the glory, great things he has done!”  Sean Michael Lucas, Senior Minister, The First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi (BTW, I wonder if Brett Favre goes to this church?)


Captain obvious strikes again!  This book looks great, and I can’t wait to read through it.  Here is a link to the publisher’s website: CLICK ME!


Jen and I have started reading  A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller.

As we were reading together this morning, the following section stood out:


“The difficulty of coming just as we are is that we are messy.  And prayer makes it worse.  When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how difficult it is to concentrate on God.  We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good.  Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer.

In contrast, little children never get frozen by their selfishness. Like the disciples, they come just as they are, totally self-absorbed. They seldom get it right.  As parents or friends, we know all that.  In fact, we are delighted (most of the time!) to find out what is on their little hearts.  We don’t scold them for being self-absorbed or fearful.  That is just who they are

Don’t try to get the prayer right; just tell God where you are and what’s on your mind.  That’s what little children do.  They come as they are, runny nose and all. Like the disciples, they just say what is on their minds.

We know that to become a Christian we shouldn’t try to fix ourselves up, but when it comes to praying we completely forget that.  We’ll sing the old gospel hymn, ‘Just as I am,’ but when it comes to praying, we don’t come just as we are. We try, like adults, to fix ourselves up.

Private, personal prayer is one of the last great bastions of legalism.  In order to pray like a child, you might need to unlearn the non-personal, non-real praying that you’ve been taught.

Challenging words!

BOOK REVIEW: “Exponential” by Dave and Jon Ferguson

BIG IDEA: You’re lucky you only have to pay $19 for this book.

In April of 2007 I joined the staff of a church plant in Traverse City, Michigan. My role on staff was to lead a team in implementing a multi-site strategy that would plant 10 churches in 20 years. Specifically, our goal was to plant churches in rural areas of northern Michigan.

As such, I attended the Exponential Conference in Orlando, FL (The conference took place over my wife’s birthday, and my wife is still ticked that I spent her big day in the Florida sun), and considering my new job, I signed up for a pre-conference track on starting multi-site churches. I had the great opportunity to spend that time learning much of what is in “Exponential” from Dave, Jon, and many others from the Community Christian Church team.

In sum,

You’re lucky you only have to pay $19 for this book. Dave and Jon have taken seriously the mandate to be plenipotentiaries of Jesus.

Church leaders need to take this book seriously.

Three thoughts:

1. Stewardship Leadership – I wish that the title said “How you and your friends can steward God’s vision for a missional church movement.” It’s not catchy, but my hope is that Christian leaders will think more about being caretakers of God’s vision for their communities. My guess is that this is a nuanced critique (aimed mainly at verbiage/phrasing), and that Dave and Jon both care deeply about following God’s lead for CCC. Perhaps I would suggest reading R. Scott Rodin’s “The Steward Leader” in addition to “Exponential.”

2. Copycat Syndrome – All who read “Exponential” must wrestle with how the strategies therein will work in their local context. It seems dumb to even mention this, but we all know that many people will pick up “Exponential” and try to copy everything in it.

3. Being – So what happened at the church in Traverse City? It all started at the Exponential Conference. I observed that the Lead Pastor (my new boss), who accompanied me on the trip, never opened his Bible for personal devotion. All church talk was strategy. And three months later he pulled me in a private room and said “My wife told me she will leave me if I don’t make some changes.” He left, the church split, and things in my life went crazy. Sadly, no churches were planted. MY POINT: It’s still about being. You can master all the skill and strategy, you can follow Malcolm Gladwell on Twitter, you can read “Good to Great” for devotions, but if you aren’t an apprentice of Jesus first…you’ve missed the BIG IDEA: Missional movements begin by becoming an apprentice of Jesus.

(This book was provided for review by Zondervan Publishing)