2010 Reviews

Here are the books I’ve reviewed in 2010:

Top 5 Reads of 2010 (Plus: Favourite Movie!)

Jesus and the Powers by Richard Horsley (Part 1, 2 and 3) – As a Classics Major working towards my degree, Richard Horsley’s book was right up my alley. It places Jesus in his historical context and suggests that – with the Covenant of God as a backdrop – Jesus’ central message was the Kingdom of God in the face of Imperial Rome. The only word of caution is that Horsley downplays the resurrection as an unnecessary things since the “Jesus Movement” was well underway as a result of it’s martyred leader.

Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation by Carl Bangs – This book should be required reading of all who claim to follow in the tradition of Jacob Arminius; all who resist Arminianism ought to read this book to know precisely what it is they are resisting, and anyone interested in the era of the Reformation, or who has done a serious study of Luther or Calvin, needs to read this book and hold it on par with them. (Read the Review)

Wesley and the People Called Methodist by Richard P. Heitzenrater – As someone who follows in the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition, I figured it was time to look into the person of John Wesley and, by the portrayal in this book, was disappointed.

The Passionate Intellect by Alister McGrath – This book was my first read by McGrath, and I was not disappointed. It challengers the reader to leave the severe of “theory” and change the world. If what you believe has no greater impact then in matters of the theoretical, there is something wrong.

Jungle Warfare by Christopher A. Cunningham – As a marketing manager I can say that I did appreciate this book though, unfortunately, I don’t do well with business-style, non-theological, non-academic books. Still, Cunningham’s approach to sales in this book is unique.

Lukan Authorship of Hebrews by David Allen – Allen presents a very persuasive argument that Luke wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. I remain a tad bit skeptical but doubt that any could form more evidence for Hebrew authorship then is presented here.

Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer – The impression in this book is that Michael Spencer (the Internet Monk) wishes to be the pastor of those who left the church. Good. But is it absolutely necessary to disrepute, lambaste, and slander formal Christian gatherings around the world at every stage in the book? (Spencer is sadly deceased.)

Inspiration and Incarnation by Peter Enns – This book will challenge you, of that I have no doubt. Enns boarders on heterodoxy and the controversy around this book brought on the writing of G.K. Beale in response.

The Lord’s Supper: 5 Views – This was a good primer on the some of the different traditions of the Lord’s supper. I found the most impressive articles to be the Catholic perspective and the Pentecostal perspective, and I was greatly disappointed with the Luther author.

Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola – despite a certain amount of apprehension going into this book, I really loved it. I found it to be rich in theology, especially that central bit we call Union with Christ, which is such a key to my own developing theology.

Jesus and the Feminists by Margaret Kostenberger – Anyone interested in the history of the feminist movement in general, or as it pertains particularly to Jesus, will find this book an enjoyable and informative read. Kostenberger is coming from a complementarian perspective.

Plan B by Pete Wilson – In plan B, pastor Pete Wilson explores the real and pastoral-sensitive issue of “life”, particularly how things never seem to go the way we planned. Good book filled with illustrations and broad enough to meet the needs of almost everyone. Unfortunately, in my mind, the theology of Plan B presented loads of unresolved tension and some inconsistencies.

Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos – Loved this book! Hilarious through and through, but never the inept. Matt is intentional and gifted with the ability of delving into deep spiritual, theological and practical issues with humor and sensitivity.

The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster – Loved/hated it. Perhaps that’s what made it so good/bad for me. I gave it a negative review because of how Foster antagonizes traditional Christianity as being “gnostic” for not taking Jesus’ words literally by becoming vagabonds. Prefers to quote Buddhist monks and pits Jesus against Paul (practice vs. doctrine).

Paul Was Not A Christian by Pamela Eisenbaum (Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Conclusion) – A challenging book from a Jewish (non-Christian) scholar on Paul. Some good insights but I feel many of her conclusions need to be rejected since her premise is that Jesus was not God, and Paul never said he was (being the good monotheistic Jew that he was).

What Does the Future Hold by Marvin Pate – A defense of Premillennialism, Pate does a really good job of caricaturing the Postmillennial and Amillennial positions (btw, that’s not a good thing), and fails to make a distinction between Historic Premillennialism and Dispensationalism, which is misleading. Negative review.

Pioneer Scholars – These are books which I found and read of scholars who seem to have broken new ground in certain areas of theology and who’s work have influenced by thoughts: Paul Among Jews and Gentiles, Christ and Time, Ordination, and Christus Victor.