The SBC in the 21st Century

Does the title of this book arouse your curiosity? If you are a Southern Baptist, it should. If you are a Christian and follow the world of Christianity, it should. Serving as a Southern Baptist pastor, it sure piqued my interest. What’s this volume all about – projection, prediction, propaganda?

First, let’s get into the basics of the book. The formal title is The SBC in the 21st Century: Reflection, Renewal, & Recommitment. It is written by an all-star cast of Southern Baptists. You know – the likes of seminary presidents and professors, SBC presidents (former) and a few other SB luminaries. It was edited by Jason K. Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and published by B&H Academic, a division of Lifeway.The SBC and the 21st Century

The volume is sectioned off into three distinct divisions with an Introduction and Conclusion (those written by the editor). The first section, “Southern Baptist Convention and Cooperation,” is historical both in prose and statistics. If you have a numerical interest in Southern Baptist history, Thom Rainer, currently in charge of Lifeway, contributed an essay analyzing the historical numbers of the SBC. It is highly informative.

Section two is “Southern Baptist Doctrine and Distinctives.” It is this section I found most appealing, particularly the essays by Christian George, “Downgrade: Twenty-First-Century Lessons from Nineteenth-Century Baptists,” and Owen Strachan, “Steel-Toed Birkenstocks and Doctrine-Loving Christians: Southern Baptist Witness and Ethics in the New Sexual Age.” George is the curator of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern and make a compelling comparison between Spurgeon downgrade challenge and the present day. Strachan takes on the issue of sexuality in the church in today’s culture.

The third section is entitled “Southern Baptist Ministry and Mission.” In summary, it’s a “What’s Up” and a “What’s Going to be Up” series of essays. Pay attention to the entries by Jason Allen concerning the training of new Christian workers and by Tony Merida on Southern Baptist preaching in the 21st century.

I will admit I was pleasantly surprised that there were only hints of propaganda in the book. It is rich in history and how we as Southern Baptists can draw from that history to present the Gospel in the 21st century. The overall emphasis presents a challenge. If you are at all involved in ministry or leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention, The SBC in the 21st Century is a volume that should must be read. If your pastor is unaware of the book, do him a favor and buy him a copy.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by B&H Academic for a fair and honest review.

Going Deeper with New Testament Greek

Perhaps the most efficient method to review this book is to expound on a couple of thoughts that arose during a perusal of the book. But first a few basics.

Going Deeper with New Testament Greek: An Intermediate Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the New Testament is the full title. The book is a combined effort of Andreas J. Kostenberger, Benjamin L. Merkle and Robert L. Plummer, all New Testament professors at Southern Baptist Seminaries. B&H Academic is the publisher.Going Deep with NT Greek

This volume is a Greek Geeks delight. My thought here is that one must be a devoted student of New Testament Greek to truly appreciate this volume and get the maximum use from it. That’s not to say that it cannot be appreciated by all who have an interest in New Testament Greek. My only caution is that this is not a “Beginner’s Grammar.” You will definitely need to know some Greek basics before making proper use of this book.

The volume is much more than an intermediate grammar. It is a text book. It is a Greek grammar. But above all it is a motivator. It is designed to be a reference but also to be read and studied. It is loaded with charts and vocabulary aids as well as practical exercises. Included also (Chapter 1) is a brief summary of “The Greek Language & Textual Criticism” which aids in the one’s appreciation of the complexity of compiling the Greek New Testament.

Going Deeper with New Testament Greek stands as unique volume to aid the aspiring Greek New Testament student. It is definitely worth having in one’s library if you are interested in the Greek New Testament and have a previous knowledge of the language.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by B&H Academic for a fair and honest review.

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the OT & NT

Since these two volumes were provided as a set and since they have a common theme and format, I thought it best to review them in one review.

Like all other subject areas of the Bible there is no shortage of Old Testament and New Testament Introductions. Most serious Bible students likely have a couple on their shelves. Introductions primarily concentrate on historical issues such as authorship, date, purpose, textual questions and the like. Generally there is also a synopsis of the book’s content. These two volumes include that material.A Biblical-Theological Intro OT

Let’s begin with the proper titles. One is titled A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised and the other A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized. The OT is edited by Miles V. Van Pelt and the NT by Michael J. Kruger. All of the entries are written by current or former professors of the Reformed Theological Seminary who have done extensive study on their subject matter. All the contributors have a reformed theological viewpoint; however, I found that perspective not to be blatant or obtrusive.

The order of the books for the NT volume is the same as our English Bibles while the OT order follows the Hebrew Bible. (Consult the “Introduction” to the OT for the reasoning.) Concerning format each entry follows an identical pattern of Introduction, Background Issues, Structure and Outline, and Message and Theology. Under each of these headings the authors were free to discuss matter appropriate to the understanding of the book. There is also a Select Bibliography at the end of each chapter that is valuable for further reference.A Bibical-Theological Intro NT.jpg

Bear in mind that these books are likely not to be read straight through but rather used as a reference. With that in mind as an example, I “referenced” the Psalms written by Mark Futato, a leading scholar on the book. I found his discussion instructive and fascinating and is an essential for anyone preaching or teaching the Psalms.

These are two volumes that absolutely must be in the library of every individual who preaches or teaches the Word of God. You will undoubtedly be able to find much of the information in other introductory volumes, but I found these to be written in such a manner that everyone, layman to scholar, can quickly digest and extract the information easily and readily.

Disclaimer: These two volumes were provided to me by Crossway for a fair and honest review.