Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Books...

I've recently bought some books and I'm trying to decide which one to read first. Here's the list...

I've heard a lot about Shane Claiborne so I figure I should check his book out. He appears to be a man who lives out his faith in a radical yet beautiful way. Bringing the kingdom to all he meets. Should be a good read.

I came across this guy Steve Crosby when I was recommended to read his thoughts on Todd Bentley's healing revival in Lakelands Florida (perhaps more on that in a later post). His review was very very good so I figured I'd buy his book. It appears as though his main premise is a careful synopsis of the apostolic movement which can sometimes focus on the leader and the man at the top. I'm climbing this mountaing so you need to climb it too or leave my church. Instead of I'm climbing this mountain, but I see your climbing another one, what can I do to help you accomplish this kingdom vision while I also stay true to mine.

Another Steve Crosby book - he better be good!! This is a book about overcoming legalism and performance based religion. Oh how we need this. Churches these days STINK of religion, rather than faith and freedom and the kingdom of Jesus.

Can't remember where I saw a good review of this book, but it looks interesting. Again I think it flows from Crosby's book on being aware of leaders in spiritual positions and how they need to be incredibly aware of their influence and effect that they have on people. This book I think helps the reader identify abusive churchs and how to break free from it's destructive legalism. So often places of shelter and encouragement can become abusive if leaders begin to use their authority to meet their own needs for importance, power or spiritual gratification. Apprantly "this book has what you need to recover a grace-filled relationship with God and His church as it is insightful, practical and solidly grounded in Scripture"

This book was recommended by Greg Boyd here, so as I am a big fan of Boyd I figure I should check it out. Ellul's basic thesis is that the Kingdom Jesus inaugurated with his life, death and resurrection has been subverted -- converted into its opposite, in fact -- in the religion of Christendom. Ellul shows that Christianity has been subverted by: Success; Money; Morality; Religion; Pragmatism; Violence & Politics. He's French so I'm sure he's a difficult read. The only other French author I've read is Jaque Lacan and he was very difficult. Anyways, hopefully I'll understand it and learn from it.

I've also bought some "Four Views on..." books that look very interesting. The premise is that four notable theologians write an essay on their point of view and the other participants respond to it, noting points of agreement and disagreement. It's a really good idea and gives the reader a very good platform to study it for themselves.

Most of us acknowledge the doctrine of hell, but we'd rather not think about it. I know I don't like to think about how the unbelieving are punished. However, it is a reality and I'd like to have an opinion on it. The four views discussed are the literal, metaphorical, conditional and purgatorial views. Is hell to be understood as a place of eternal smoke and flames? Or are such images metaphors for a real but different form of punishment? Is there such a thing as "conditional immortality", in which God annihilates the souls of the wicked rather than punish them endlessly? Is there a purgatory, and if so, how does it fit into the picture? I reckon for me it'll come down to a choice between the literal and the conditional view.

This is something I'm very much interested in. The question of the nature of God's foreknowledge and how it relates to human freedom has been pondered and debated by Christian theologians for years and it's not going to go away anytime soon. It is something that can go right to the core of our relationship with Jesus. The four views are the open theism view, the simple-foreknowledge view, the middle knowledge view, and the augustinian-calvinist view.

The Eternal God has created the universe. The universe is time-bound. How then should we best understand God's relationship with our time bound universe? The four differing views in relation to this are; divine eternity should be construed as a state of absolute timelessness; God's eternity is more plausibly understood as relative timelessness; a hybrid view combining timelessness and omnitemporality; and finally a doctrine of unqualified divine temporality. This could either bore me to death or be philisophically fascinating.

I'm really looking forward to reading and understanding the points made in this book. The four views are the Christus Victor view; the kaleidoscopic view; the healing vew; and the penal substitutionary view.
I love the Christus victor view but I want to learn more about the other views, especially the penal substitutionary view, as this is what most christians would hold to. I believe that Christus Victor gives a more thorough and exegetical platform for the death and ressurection of Jesus Christ. Hopefully I'll learn more about all this views and either solidify what I think or change it completely for the sake of a true reflection of my saviour.