Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Books: Review Copies (Part 2)

Part Two -

Along with my recent acquisition of 5 excellent books from the IVP Book Club, I have also received a few notable review copies. I'd like to introduce them to you now.

MissionShift: Global Mission Issues in the Third MillenniumFirst, is an exciting new publication from B&H Academic: Missionshift: Global Mission Issues in the Third Millennium edited by David J. Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer   .  This book has come at a great time for me since I have been involved in a Missions study group at my home church, and recently attended my first PCA missions conference.  Missionshift is set up similar to the counterpoints format.  There are three major essays highlighting missions past, present, and future.  Following each essay are four responses.  Ed Stetzer added a summary response to the first essay and four responders, and David Hesselgrave offers a final conclusion to the book.  Thus far, I've read the first essay ("'Mission' Defined and Described") and the four responses to that essay.  I found the back and forth style conversation to be very helpful as I thought through the essay.  Some responders sought to extend the conversation on a particular point while others sought to make a needed correction, or strive for a greater balance. So far, I have found this book to be an excellent addition to the literature on Mission, especially in bringing us up-to-date on a number of current trends and issues in missions.  I realize that some general readers will not enjoy the counterpoints-format of this book, but I believe that the mission-minded reader will find this exercise to be a rewarding challenge.

The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the MindAnother book that I have already finished reading was sent to me by InterVarsity Press.  It is The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind by Alister McGrath   .  I found this to be an excellent book for young theologians to read.  As I read part one, which is the foundation for the application presented in parts two and three, I was reminded of B. B. Warfield's The Religious Life of the Theological Student, Karl Barth's Evangelical Theology: An Introduction, and even N. T. Wright's The Challenge of Jesus.  Warfield addressed the inner life of the student more specifically while Barth and Wright address the inner life as well as the everyday practice of theology. The point that each of these authors makes, and McGrath articulates very well, is that theological studies are not an end unto themselves.  Rather, they are for the benefit of the Church and the world.  If we are not thinking deeply and specifically about how to apply the wonders of theology, then we are not really doing theology at all.

Some reviewers of The Passionate Intellect have criticized the inclusion of the second and third parts because they seem to be nothing more than miscellaneous essays crammed into a book that was "good enough without them."  I would argue that the presence of the "miscellaneous" essays in parts two and three are necessary to illustrate how one might work out the ramifications of part one.  McGrath models this wonderfully by applying the principles set forth in part one to two topics that are of great interest to him (science and the New Atheism).  This is a much appreciated volume.

Many thanks to these two publishers.  I recommend both of these books to you. I recommend the first especially to the mission-minded reader; and the second especially to theological students and pastors.

(Part One - IVP Book Club)
(Part Three - Bargains Along the Way)