God, Marriage, and Family, Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation (2nd Edition)

Köstenberger and Jones have written what amounts to a textbook on marriage and the family, which they hope will point the way to return and rebuild the biblical foundation of marriage and the family (p. 16).  The catalyst for this expansive work is the authors’ belief that, “There remains a need for a volume that does not treat issues related to marriage and family in isolation from one another but that shows how human fulfillment in these relationships is routed in the divine revelation found exclusively and sufficiently in Scripture” (p. 19). The authors maintain a solid, conservative, biblical approach to marriage and family, exegeting Scripture well throughout.   Not only do they address scriptural teachings on family and marriage, but they also work through controversial cultural issues such as abortion (pp. 118-120) and human sexuality (pp. 199-222).  Of course evangelicals are not monolithic when it comes to the home,...

Messiah’s Coming Temple, Ezekiel’s Prophetic Vision of the Future Temple

This updated version of Messiah’s Coming Temple is exactly what it claims to be, an examination of the millennial temple as revealed through the prophet Ezekiel in chapters 40-48 of that Old Testament book. But it is much more, as it provides details of the first two Jewish temples, as well as the tabernacle, and lays out ten reasons why a study of Messiah’s temple is important (pp. 19-20). The authors take a literal view of Ezekiel 40-48, although they irenically explain the other prominent interpretations (pp. 100-101). They also ably defend literal sacrifices during the kingdom age, which is the primary objection of those who reject the literalness of the text (pp. 138-159).  Schmitt and Laney see the original purpose for Ezekiel’s prophecies as encouraging a disheartened Jewish community, both those in exile and those remaining in the land witnessing the crumbling of their nation. Ezekiel was telling...

Love Thy Body, Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality

Nancy Pearcey is a professor, scholar, apologist, and award-winning author. She received much of her early biblical training at L’Abri under the teaching of Francis and Edith Schaeffer. In her best known book Total Truth, she reintroduced to contemporary Christians the apologetic approach of the Schaeffers (see my review of Total Truth here: www.tottministries.org). In Love Thy Body, Pearcey is “uncovering” the worldview that drives the secular ethic (p. 9). Christians must understand the core principles of the secular worldview in order “to engage intelligently and compassionately on all of today’s most controversial moral challenges” (p. 9). Her thesis is that our society’s moral free-fall rests on a worldview that “doesn’t fit the real universe” (p. 11). We live in a moral wasteland, Pearcey claims, “Where human beings are desperately seeking answers to hard questions about life and sexuality. But there is hope. In the wasteland, we can cultivate...

The Death of the Grown-Up, How America’s Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization

Syndicated columnist, Diana West, has written a hard-hitting book to proclaim, and document, that Western societies are coming apart at the seams because adults have left the playground of our world and turned it over to the children. Worse yet, adults have become children and there is no one left to monitor the playground at all. She writes, “If The Death of the Grown-up tries to unravel the mysterious disappearance of adults in society, along with the manners and morals that once defined the lines and boundaries of ‘conventional’ behavior, it also examines what, over the past half century or so, has happened in their absence… we have lost our bearings (p. xi). She traces the shift not back to the Baby Boomers and the 1960s but to their parents, the so-called Greatest Generation. Before Baby Boomers had grown out of their diapers, their parents had stopped behaving as...

One Foundation, Essays on the Sufficiency of Scripture

One Foundation was published as a tribute to John MacArthur’s verse-by-verse Bible teaching for 50 Years. Thirteen authors each write a chapter, not in praise of MacArthur but in praise and defense of biblical inspiration, infallibility, inerrancy, and sufficiency. R.C. Sproul writes the lead article providing foundational definitions and necessary background. Voddie Baucham follows with an excellent chapter on why we can believe the Bible. The Grace to You staff inserted a classic study by MacArthur himself, exegeting Psalm 19:7-9. They consider it, “the best discourse on the sufficiency of Scripture we have seen since the Puritan Era” (p. v). That might be a stretch but, nevertheless, it is an excellent exposition of the Psalm and its praise of God’s Word. I deeply appreciated Steven Lawson’s teaching on 2 Timothy 1:13 (pp. 91-104), and Mark Dever’s overview of Psalm 119 is a marvelous example of solid biblical teaching in...

Scatter, Go Therefore and Take Your Job With You

Andrew Scott, President, and CEO of OM USA, unpacks a radical idea in Scatter. He is “convinced that if we are to see significant change in our world through the light of the gospel going out, we need to set a generation free to be all God has created them to be, using what He has given them to use for His purposes” (pp. 14, 65, 175, 195). His big idea is that Christians will never fulfill the Great Commission (p. 161), and in turn change the world, unless they fulfill the Cultural Mandate as well (pp 15-16 43-45, 47-49, 134, 150). The Cultural Mandate was given to the first couple before the Fall, commanding them to “be fruitful, and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). The author sees the Mandate still in force, even though it is not repeated anywhere in Scripture after...

The Sacred Enneagram, Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher L. Heuertz

The Sacred Enneagram covers much the same territory as other works on the Enneagram, such as a description of the nine types and its origins. As Heuertz sees it, “The paramount question plaguing humanity, has to do with identity. Who am I” (p. 16)? He believes the Enneagram is a valuable tool in self-identity because it “offers a sacred map for our souls, a map that when understood, leads us home to our true identity and to God” (p 26). That is because “it exposes nine ways we lie to ourselves about who we think we are, nine ways we can come clean about these illusions, and nine ways we can find our way back to God” (p. 25). Strangely, however, the author admits that “the Enneagram of Personality is clearly a modern invention in its infancy . . . it is no overstatement to suggest that we...

Richard Rohr and the Enneagram Secret, by Don & Joy Veinot and Marcia Montenegro

One of the rapidly growing fads within evangelicalism is the Enneagram of Personality. The Veinots, who lead the discernment ministry, Midwest Christian Outreach, joined by Marcia Montenegro, former New Ager, who ministers through Christians Answers for the New Age, have decided to address this movement. Their conclusions expose the Enneagram as emerging from occult and mystical sources, lacking biblical foundation, and spreading numerous errant theological views, including a false gospel and defective means of sanctification. This small volume is not a detailed study of the Enneagram. Only in the first chapter is much attention given to the Enneagram as a system, and only on page 40 is an attempt made to detail the meaning behind the nine types that make up the Enneagram. Rather, the contribution made by the authors focuses mainly on the origins, the promoters and the unbiblical claims made by supporters of the Enneagram. Concerning the...

Reenchanting Humanity, A Theology of Mankind by Owen Strachan

Owen Strachan, Associate Professor of Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a contemporary study on the doctrine of anthropology. The book is written with theologians, seminarians, pastors, and serious Bible students in mind (p. 6), although most of this material is accessible to the non-scholastic believer. While Strachan describes Reenchanting Humanity as a work of systematic theology (p. 6), it is not a typical systematic. Rather, the author wraps his study of humanity around nine themes or subjects, devoting a chapter to each. He believes the “major issue of our time is that of anthropology. Does the human person live in an ordered cosmos and have an appointed identity, or does he make his own identity in a world without God?…. My task is to equip the church to give an answer for the hope that lies within all who are in Christ” (pp. 3-4). Strachan previews...

When Heaven Invades Earth, A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles by Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson is the foremost promoter of the fourth wave of Pentecostalism, known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Strangely, in an interview with Christianity Today, Johnson denied being part of the movement but, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… When Heaven Invades Earth, although written almost two decades ago, still reflects well the main emphasis of NAR and how it differs from biblical Christianity. That is not to say that the author avoids Scripture – quite the contrary, he infuses scores of biblical references and a few quotes scattered between its covers. But Johnson consistently misuses the majority of these texts through eisegesis, out-of-context interpretation, or by simply ignoring their clear meaning and imposing his own. But of even greater importance is Johnson’s view that he and NAR are receiving revelation outside of, and, superior to the, inspired Scriptures. To Johnson, “the Bible...