Great Reviews of What Christians Ought To Believe

I’m really stoked with how What Christians Ought To Believe has done in a short time. It’s done fairly well in sales already and there’s been some great reviews. Here’s a few examples:

Over at TGC, J.T. English reviews it:

I’m thankful that What Christians Ought to Believe provides insightful and deep plunges into the history of the Christian faith. It’s my hope that books like this will be widely adopted by evangelicals as we seek to continue in the faith we’ve received … Without question, my favorite chapter in What Christians Ought to Believe is on the article, “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.” In my short time as a pastor, I’ve been surprised by how many Christians have a different view of God than what’s revealed in Jesus Christ. Bird reminds us that, as Christians, we believe in “the God who is revealed in the man of Jesus of Nazareth” (74). The Bible is clear on this point. He is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:1–3). Bird is therefore right to proclaim, “Jesus is our window into the mystery of God” (75).

Over at Got Doubt, Brent P writes glowingly:

In What Christians Ought to Believe, Bird has put together a transforming, challenging and educational examination of the Apostle’s Creed that ties it directly to the greater story of hope and redemption that all Christians already freely profess and proclaim. Even for someone like myself, largely allergic to liturgy and creeds, it invigorates and breathes new life into one of the oldest Christian creeds.

Over at Monday Morning Theologian, JK commented approvingly:

This book is a depth of riches. It is a must-read for every Christian, whether new or lifelong believer, pastor or laity. It should be given, by the church, to every new church member or professing believer, as well as the basis of a Bible study, Sunday School class, or even sermon series (or at least a reference). Additionally, you should buy a copy for any questioning/curious unbeliever that you may know. It will become more and more important that believers are grounded in the historic faith of the church, and this is an important first step.

Over at Christian Cognition, Mike writes:

My favorite chapter was chapter 8: “Believing in the Offence of the Cross”, where Bird explains, whereas we have grown accustomed to wearing a cross as jewelry, the real “cross tells us what God is like.”  It offends. Period.  Bird writes on p. 117, “For critics of Christianity … the cross is the epitome of religion gone crazy … the cross is shameful, affronting, absurd, nonsensical, and plain unjust.”  But in all reality, the cross is, indeed, all of those things.  It doesn’t make sense to the human mind.  But “upon the cross we encounter the depth of God’s mercy for those who were once children of disobedience and his love for those once enslaved to the present evil age”. Rating: I give What Christians Ought to Believe 5 stars out of 5.  I appreciate several facets about the book, namely Bird’s deep-diving approach.  He is an excellent writer, and a sound Bible expositor.  Well done, Mr. Bird!

Thanks to all the very generous reviewers!

N.T. Wright’s New Book on the Atonement

N.T. Wright's forthcoming book is about the atonement and it is called The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus' Crucifixion (New York: HarperOne, October 2016).I've read some parts of this and it is a terrific read. Interestingly Wright has changed his mind on a few things like hilasterion and this book documents why and how.Here is the publisher's blurb: In The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright once again challenges commonly held Christian beliefs as he di … [Read More...]

Book Notice: John Christopher Thomas and Frank Macchia on Revelation (THNTC)

John Christopher Thomas & Frank Macchia Revelation THNTC; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016. Available at Amazon.comThis is a lengthy (670 pages) but thoroughly enjoyable commentary on the Book of Revelation in the Two Horizons series by two Pentecostal scholars in Chris Thomas (NT) and Frank Macchia (Systematics). I was hooked on the first line when Thomas described Revelation as "the most sensual document in the NT, filled with references to thinks seen, heard, smelled, touched, and … [Read More...]

Why Robert Jenson Believes in the Devil

I've just finished reading Robert Jenson, A Theology in Outline: Can These Bones Live? (Oxford: OUP, 2016). I really liked his comments about why he believes in the Devil or Satan: The existence of a tempter (i.e., Satan, the Devil, Lucifer, the Old Serpent, etc.) is an ongoing conviction not just … [Read More...]

Wesley Hill on Homosexuality, Celibacy, and Spirituality

Wesley Hill is Anglican, a New Testament scholar, gay, and celibate. At the invitation of Ridley College, he is visiting Melbourne in July/August to speak at a series of seminars on pastoral responses to people with same-sex attraction. See details here.What is more, Hill has has just published … [Read More...]

James Dunn on John’s Logos Christology and Subordinationism

An interesting quote from the venerable James Dunn about how John's Logos christology relates to his Son christology: That is, various aspects of the Son Christology should not be read independently of the Logos Christology, but rather as intended to serve the Logos Christology. I am thinking not … [Read More...]

Fleming Rutledge on Substitutionary Atonement

Fleming Rutledge, in her book The Crucifixion, makes one of the most robust and concerted defenses/explanations of substitutionary atonement in recent years (even "penal" substitution in a sense, though heavily qualified). All the more interesting because she is a mainline Episcopalian and outside th … [Read More...]

Mary Eberstadt: It’s Dangerous to Believe

I'm reading through Mary Eberstadt's It's Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies which makes for a concerning read. On the one hand, I am a bit sceptical that Christians are a persecuted minority in the USA. Let's be real, every president at least makes the effort to feign some kind … [Read More...]

Brian Wright’s Article on the Roman Acta and its Relevance to Early Christianity

My soon-to-be former PhD student Brian Wright has a great article on: "Ancient Rome's Daily News Publication With Some Likely Implications For Early Christian Studies," TynBul 67.1 (2016): 145-160.He's the blurb: A detailed study on ancient Rome’s daily news publication is currently`absent in ea … [Read More...]

Pistis as “Faith” or “Faithfulness” or even “Loyalty”

There are a stream of books and articles coming out that address the question as to whether the Greek word pistis denotes/connotes faith, faithfulness, or loyaltyTeresa Morgan, Roman Faith and Christian Faith: Pistis and Fides in the Early Roman Empire and Early Churches (Oxford: OUP, 2 … [Read More...]

Eugene Boring on Understanding Parables

I've just finished teaching a week long course on the Gospel of Mark for Malyon College in Brisbane. I'm pretty up on my Marcan literature, but I found David Garland's A Theology of Mark's Gospel (BTNT) and M. Eugene Boring's Mark (NTL) to be excellent reads to catch up on stuff. Any way, Gene Bor … [Read More...]

Scott Swain on Trinity without Hierarchy

I'm reading through parts of Christian Dogmatics, in particular, Scott Swain's essay on the "Divine Trinity," where he notes: The Father is the fontal source of the Son and the Spirit, and these relations manifest his distinct personal perfection. However, the Father's identity as fontal source of … [Read More...]

Derwin Grey talking about reconciliation and multi-cultural churches

I highly recommend the latest episode of the Kingdom Roots podcast  where Scot McKnight interviews Pastor Derwin Grey on reconciliation and multi-cultural churches, especially in light of the recent spate of racially motivated shootings in the USA.Listen to it! … [Read More...]

The Single Most Important Talk You Need To Hear About Religious Freedom

Last night I spoke at a forum on Religion and Freedom of Speech at Mentone Baptist Church in Melbourne. The two speakers were myself and Tim Wilson.In my talk, I basically described the current conflict about religious freedoms vis-a-vis sexual minorities in the USA and Australia, and offered my … [Read More...]

Book Notice: Christian Dogmatics

Michael Allen and Scott R. Swain (eds.) Christian Dogmatics: Reformed Theology for the Church Catholic Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016. Available at Amazon.comThis is a terrific book covering the major theological loci by a venerable cast of contributors. Importantly, the book shows how … [Read More...]