Reading for June-July 2016

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method by Sidney Greidanus
Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation by G.K. Beale
Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm by Mark Sayers
The Vertical Self: How Biblical Faith Can Help Us Discover Who We Are in an Age of Self Obsession by Mark Sayers
Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith by Jon Bloom
The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth by Mike Cosper
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

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Prophets & a Hopeful Future

Isaiah 43, 53, 65
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“Through Prophets, God promises the hope of future rescue.”

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Prophets & the Call to Return

Jeremiah 1-2
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“Through Prophets, God inserts his voice into the Story and calls us to return.”

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The Promise

Genesis 3-22
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“From the beginning of the Bible, we encounter God’s gracious promise of redemption.”

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Reading for May 2016

God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades by Rodney Stark
Trinity, Revelation, and Reading: A Theological Introduction to the Bible and its Interpretation by Scott Swain
Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience by Mark Sayers
He Gave Us Stories: The Bible Students Guide to Interpreting Old Testament Narratives by Richard Pratt
The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion by Robert Spencer
Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson
Unashamed by Lecrae Moore

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“Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”

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“Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” – Understanding Sharia and Jihad

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“What Does the Qur’an Teach?”

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“What Does the Qur’an Teach?” – What Christians Should Know About Islam’s Holy Book

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“What is Islam?”

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“What is Islam?” – Muslim Beliefs & Practices

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Reading for April 2016

Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes by Nancy Pearcy
Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung
Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide by Cameron Cole & Jon Nielson, et al
The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation by Thom Rainer & Jess Rainer
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

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New Creation Ministry: Eschatological Implications for Ministry in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

It is said that in 2 Corinthians we get a unique glimpse into Paul’s heart. He makes himself more personally accessible to his readers in this letter than in any other. He “wears his heart on his sleeve and speaks without constraint, hiding neither his affection, nor his anger, nor his agony.” On the other hand, “it would be equally true to say that he never wrote a more theological letter.” However, when one considers the theology of Romans, the affection in Philippians, and the forceful rebuke found in Galatians, these claims might seem overstated. While Paul’s recounting of his hardships as he boasts in his weaknesses in 2 Corinthians 11 certainly conveys gripping vulnerability, is it accurate to describe this as his most theological letter?

Central to the argument in Paul’s correspondence with the Corinthians, nevertheless, is a deeply theological claim. Paul grounds his heartfelt defense and affectionate appeal to this congregation in an eschatological understanding of redemptive history. In responding to the charges of his opponents, Paul distinguishes his methods and aims in ministry from the so-called “super apostles” (11:5; 12:11). He renounces their “disgraceful, underhanded ways” and refuses to “practice cunning” (4:2). Why? Because the coming of Jesus has brought a new state of affairs into the world that transforms how we should view and relate to one another. This eschatological perspective surfaces throughout the letter but finds clear expression in his classic New Creation text in 5:17.

Paul’s already/not-yet framework of redemptive history influences his method and goals for Christian ministry, as well as his standards for evaluating success or failure in ministry. Specifically, Paul’s understanding that the New Creation has begun in the resurrection of Christ shapes how he approaches calling people to conversion and caring for believers as participants in the New Creation. As a result, he targets the transformation of the heart rather than the conformity of outward behavioral appearances.

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