New offerings from a Missourian, 2 theologians
I am in the middle of packing up my family in preparation for a move to Kentucky. In the nearly eight years I have been back in Missouri, we have gained two more sons (and a baby due in September), mountains of memories, a score of new friends in our church and Missouri Baptist life, and…books. Lots of books.
Are you reading more now than you were a year ago? In addition to continual consumption of God’s Word, are you putting new thoughts and ideas into your head from trusted authors? We cannot lead our families and flocks where we have not ourselves been – life experience and living books provide us with fresh wisdom for future ministry.
Not every book has been packed away yet, for I had to keep a few out for the reviews due while I am moving. Let me toss out on the table these three gems for your consideration.
First, a book by Missourian Vicky Hartzler provides a wealth of first-hand information for Christians on how to run for elected office. It is called, Running God’s Way: Step by Step To a Successful Political Campaign. Hartzler herself served as a Missouri State Representative for three terms and served as spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage.
This book contains practical information on how to raise money, deliver memorable speeches, write a winning campaign plan, and gather enthusiastic volunteers. It comes with endorsements from U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R) and former Sen. Jim Talent, and even includes campaign material from our own Missouri Baptist and State Rep. Brian Baker (R-Belton). One thing to remember when considering this book is that it is also useful for political campaigning for issues, such as pro-life and pro-family petitions and amendments.
The second book, The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World, comes from the pen of theologian David Wells. It is a capstone book to his four earlier works tracing the decline of theological conviction and teaching within evangelicalism. Wells argues that historic, classical evangelicalism is at risk by those who eschew doctrinal seriousness.
In contrast to those who seem driven by the vision of non-churched people as consumers, Wells would have us return to a confidence in the sovereignty of God who will grow His church to His glory. He says, “The church is not a business, not an experiment, not a product to be sold. It is an outpost of the kingdom, a sign of things to come in Christ’s sovereign rule, which is now hidden but will be made open and public. Then all the world will bow before Him in recognition of who He is.”
A third book for consideration today is D.A. Carson’s Christ & Culture Revisited. The word “revisited” draws attention to the ongoing 50-year influence of H. Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture. Carson interacts with Niebuhr, but in the end makes his own proposal. Carson takes a biblical-theological approach, proposing that “all the categories of biblical theology must be kept in mind simultaneously to inform the Christian worldview.” Tim Keller highly recommends the book, calling Carson’s proposal a piece of “sophisticated simplicity.”
Well, here are three more selections to keep you reading during the summer months. When I next write, I will do so from our new home in Louisville. Please keep us in your prayers as we pack and move, and for the Christ-honoring church family which brought me to St. Louis in the first place, Providence Baptist, St. Louis. (Scott Lamb is Director of Research for the President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is the ongoing book reviewer for The Pathway. To read about other books, visit www.AChristianManifesto.com.)