On My Nightstand
Walking With Jesus Through His Word by Dennis E. Johnson
What connects the whole Bible into one purposeful story?
Dennis Johnson takes readers of the Bible on a journey of discovery through the Old and New Testaments, pointing out a network of trails in the text. These are recurring themes that link different parts of the Bible to Jesus the Christ, the fulfiller of God’s promises and redeemer of God’s people.
Dennis emphasizes how each biblical passage must be read in its close and canonical contexts, revealing the Bible’s identity as a book about a relationship – the covenant between God and his people. This helps us to see Christ and his mission as a pattern that emerges naturally throughout the tapestry of Scripture.
God embedded in Israel’s history events, individuals, institutions, and offices that foreshadowed Christ, his saving work, and his church. Those landmarks point the way to Jesus, who reveals the Father, reconciles us by his sacrifice, and rules us by his Word and Spirit.
The Quest for the Historical Adam by William VanDoodewaard
Know someone who thinks Genesis 1-3 is nothing more than an Aesop’s Fable? After explaining that our own depravity is not the by-product of a fictional story someone once told (see #7) – you can recommend The Quest for the Historical Adam by William VanDoodewaard.
Was Adam really a historical person, and can we trust the biblical story of human origins? Or is the story of Eden simply a metaphor, leaving scientists the job to correctly reconstruct the truth of how humanity began? Although the church currently faces these pressing questions – exacerbated as they are by scientific and philosophical developments of our age – we must not think that they are completely new. In The Quest for the Historical Adam, William VanDoodewaard recovers and assesses the teaching of those who have gone before us, providing a historical survey of Genesis commentary on human origins from the patristic era to the present. Reacquainting the reader with a long line of theologians, exegetes, and thinkers, VanDoodewaard traces the roots, development, and, at times, disappearance of hermeneutical approaches and exegetical insights relevant to discussions on human origins. This survey not only informs us of how we came to this point in the conversation but also equips us to recognize the significance of the various alternatives on human origins.
The Church of Christ by James Bannerman
The New Testament places the church at the centre of its practical vision of the Christian life and at the heart of the Great Commission. A church-less Christianity is no real Christianity at all.
As we head into a world very similar to Paul’s own context, in which pluralism dominates and Christianity is regarded with intellectual and moral suspicion, it is vital that Christians have a clear understanding of what the church actually is.
James Bannerman’s The Church of Christ is one of the key historic texts of the doctrine of the church. Few will agree with everything the author has to say, but as Carl Trueman states in his foreword, ‘the great thing about the book is that it will stimulate the reader to reflect on the nature of the church in a profoundly biblical and historically sensitive way’.
After dealing with basic principles and distinctions, such as the contrast between the visible and invisible church, and between the local and universal church, Bannerman takes up the important and far-reaching question of the relation between church and state. But the body of the work is really a treatise on church power—the nature, limits and exercise of Christ’s power in the church in its connexional and local aspects. In what does the ordained ministry consist? Should the church micro-manage the lives of her members? To what extent should the church campaign for wider political or social causes? Is the church to be an agent for the transformation of society as a whole? What tools does the church have for making disciples and, if necessary, disciplining them? Answers to these questions can only come from a correct understanding of the nature of the church’s power.
Although Presbyterian in conviction, the author has undertaken a ‘comparative’ study of the various classic positions on each issue under consideration as these are expressed in the confessional symbols and standard authors. It is this method which makes the book so useful for all serious-minded readers. The appendix also contains valuable bibliographical material.
This is classic Scottish theology at its best, and those who take the time to digest it will be richly rewarded.