One can never have too many books (ask anyone who knows me), but even I have trouble keeping up with the professors at our local Christian colleges.
And many of their books would make great Christmas gifts, especially if purchased from Regent College Bookstore – one of the finest theological bookstores in the world.
Here are some of the books published over the past year, or just about to be published, by scholars from Regent College, Vancouver School of Theology, Trinity Western University, Corpus Christi College / St. Mark’s College and Carey Theological College. (Write-ups are from Amazon, Goodreads or the publisher.)
- Matthew J. Lynch: Portraying Violence in the Hebrew Bible: A Literary and Cultural Study (Cambridge University Press)
Most studies on violence in the Hebrew Bible focus on the question of how modern readers should approach the problem. But they fail to ask how the Hebrew Bible thinks about that problem in the first place.
In this work, Matthew J. Lynch examines four key ways that writers of the Hebrew Bible conceptualize and critique acts of violence: violence as an ecological problem; violence as a moral problem; violence as a judicial problem; violence as a purity problem.
These four ‘grammars of violence’ help us interpret crucial biblical texts where violence plays a lead role, like Genesis 4-9. Lynch’s volume also offers readers ways to examine cultural continuity and the distinctiveness of biblical conceptions of violence.
- Iain Provan: Seeking What is Right: The Old Testament and the Good Life (Baylor University Press)
The question of the good life – what it looks like for people and societies to be well ordered and flourishing – has universal significance, but its proposed solutions are just as far-reaching.
At the core of this concern is the nature of the good itself: what is right? We must attend to this ethical dilemma before we can begin to envision a life lived to the fullest.
With Seeking What Is Right, Iain Provan invites us to consider how Scripture – the Old Testament in particular – can aid us in this quest.
- W. Ross Hastings: Theological Ethics: The Moral Life of the Gospel in Contemporary Context (HarperCollins/Zondervan)
In Theological Ethics theologian, pastor and ethicist W. Ross Hastings gives pastors, ministry leaders and students a guide designed to equip them to think deeply and theologically about the moral formation of persons in our communities, about ethical inquiry and action, and about the tone and content of our engagement in the public square.
The book presents a biblical perspective and a gospel-centered framework for thinking about complex contemporary issues in ways are life-giving and that will lead readers into greater flourishing as human persons in community.
Ross Hastings, who holds PhDs in organometallic chemistry (Queen’s University, Kingston) and theology (University of St Andrews, Scotland) and was pastor at Peace Portal Alliance Church, is now Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology at Regent College. Theological Ethics is due out early in the new year.
- Jason Byassee: Surprised by Jesus Again: Reading the Bible in Communion with the Saints (Eerdmans)
No one expects to be surprised. Yet biblical interpretation can do exactly that. Christians expect to see Jesus as they read the Bible, but when and how Jesus actually speaks through Scripture can still surprise us!
Drawing on the early church’s theological giants – Origen, Augustine, Gregory the Great and more from the historical cloud of witnesses – author Jason Byassee models how we can recover ancient Christians’ multiple ways of reading the Bible to our benefit.
As Byassee says, God himself is Jewish, Catholic and Pentecostal – so much larger than our own little corner on the truth – and this book offers readers a refreshingly enhanced vision of the Bible and of Jesus himself.
- Jason Byassee: Northern Lights: Resurrecting Church in the North of England (Cascade Books)
You may have heard that churches in Europe are vanishing. Yet church growth in London has been steady for decades, fueled by such innovations as Alpha and Fresh Expressions. What about outside the capital?
Some, both inside and outside the church, say churches “cannot grow.” But here they are – growing churches – in the north of England of all places. This is not only a story about England. It is about growing churches wherever you’ve heard they “can’t” grow. God is always up to something precisely where (we think) God shouldn’t be.
Jason Byassee is Butler Chair in Homiletics and Biblical Interpretation at Vancouver School of Theology, where he teaches subjects as various as preaching, biblical interpretation, leadership, church history and writing.
- Jens Zimmermann: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christian Humanism (Oxford University Press)
Jens Zimmermann locates Bonhoeffer within the Christian humanist tradition extending back to patristic theology. He begins by explaining Bonhoeffer’s own use of the term humanism (and Christian humanism), and considering how his criticism of liberal Protestant theology prevents him from articulating his own theology rhetorically as a Christian humanism.
He then provides an in-depth portrayal of Bonhoeffer’s theological anthropology and establishes that Bonhoeffer’s Christology and attendant anthropology closely resemble patristic teaching. The volume also considers Bonhoeffer’s mature anthropology, focusing in particular on the Christian self.
Jens Zimmermann earned PhDs in Comparative Literature (UBC) and Philosophy (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany) and taught at Trinity Western University before becoming J.I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College.
- Michael WIlkinson & Linda M. Ambrose: After the Revival: Pentecostalism and the Making of a Canadian Church (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
Early Pentecostal revivals swept through Canadian communities, big and small, in the early 1900s. Following these revival meetings, Pentecostals organized, built churches, and expanded across the country, while many churches were beginning to decline.
How did these Pentecostal “holy rollers” move from the fringe to take centre stage in Canada’s religious landscape? Why is a religious group rooted in the early 20th century, tied to Methodism and the Holiness movement, still so popular among followers from all walks of life, especially Indigenous peoples and new Canadians?
In After the Revival Michael Wilkinson and Linda Ambrose ask these and other questions, arguing that the answers are tied to Pentecostalism’s continued organizational efforts. While Pentecostalism sometimes reflects broader cultural trends and at other times resists them, the PAOC (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) has grown steadily to become one of the largest evangelical denominations in Canada.
Michael Wilkinson teaches at Trinity Western University. He is Professor of Sociology; Director, Religion in Canada Institute; Coordinator, Canadian Pentecostal Research Network. (Linda Ambrose teaches history at Laurentian University.)
- David A. Falk: The Ark of the Covenant in its Egyptian Context: An Illustrated Journey (Hendrickson Publishers)
Although much has been written about the Ark of the Covenant, few authors engage the wealth of information available that pertains to Egyptian material culture. The Ark of the Covenant in Its Egyptian Context: An Illustrated Journey is the first book to explore the complex history of sacred ritual furniture in Egypt that predated the ark by hundreds of years.
Key points and features:
• A groundbreaking work of scholarship – the first of its kind to connect the Ark of the Covenant with its ancient Egyptian context.
• High-level scholarship is paired with straightforward text, making it an accessible volume for students and curious laypeople, as well as experts in the field.
• Includes dozens of full-color photographs and graphics depicting ancient Egyptian artifacts and art.
David Falk is Research Associate, Old Testament, Ancient Near Eastern Religions and Ritual at Vancouver School of Theology. He holds a PhD in Egyptology (University of Liverpool) and three masters degrees with concentrations in the Bible and the Ancient Near East.
- James M. Houston: Memoirs of a Joyous Christian and a Worldly Exile (Cascade Books)
This book traces personal memoirs to encourage others in their personal sense of insecurity to be freed by God’s grace, to become bold “in Christ.” It binds memoirs of the inner self with one’s opportunities of public service.
Two highlights are recorded: how three Soviet leaders as Christians negotiated with three American Christian leaders, to prevent a nuclear holocaust; and how crowds saying the Lord’s prayer, as they marched into Romanian towns, overcame the dictatorship. The Western press has never recorded either of these events.
James Houston, now 98, taught at Oxford University before coming to Vancouver to co-found Regent College.
- Michael W. Higgins & Kevin Burns: Impressively Free: Henri Nouwen as a Model for a Reformed Priesthood (Paulist Press)
Some 20 years now since Nouwen’s death, it is instructive to see him in a new light: a postconciliar prophet of a reformed presbyteral model. Nouwen is, in other words, an exemplar of a priesthood that is contemporary, nonclerical, enabling and effective. His is a ministerial priesthood in keeping with the ecclesial vision of Pope Francis.
The authors explore the genesis and evolution of Nouwen’s multilayered understanding of priestly ministry, and in the process we have discovered how this most self-revealing of 20th century spiritual writers created a redeeming notion of priesthood that could serve as a creative and hopeful trajectory for reform and revitalization in a time of identity turmoil.
MIchael Higgins became President of Corpus Christi College / St. Mark’s College this summer. (Kevin Burns lives in Ontario.)
- Paul Chamberlain & Chris Price: Everyday Apologetics: Answering Common Objections to the Christian Faith (Lexham Press)
Objections to the Christian faith are not new. The ability to boldly proclaim the old faith to a post-Christian culture is.
In an era where access to objections and arguments is easier than ever, everyday Christians need to be prepared with strong, clear responses. In Everyday Apologetics, readers will be equipped with answers to some of Christianity’s most difficult objections: Why is the God of the Old Testament so violent? Are science and faith in fundamental conflict with one another?
The contributors [most of whom are also local] take up these questions, and more, helping Christians be strengthened in their faith, while also providing powerful answers to opponents of the Christian faith.
With a clear, inviting, winsome style, Everyday Apologetics is for everyone: Christians, skeptics, seekers, and everyone in between.
Paul Chamberlain is professor of apologetics, ethics and philosophy of religion at Trinity Western University, as well as the director of the Institute of Christian Apologetics. Chris Price is a pastor at The Way Church in Vancouver and before that with Calvary Baptist Church in Coquitlam.
- William H. Brackney & David P. Gushee, editors: In the Shadow of a Prophet: The Legacy of Walter Rauschenbusch (Mercer University Press)
Walter Rauschenbusch’s thought made an indelible and enduring impact on the Christian world and beyond. Scores of books and hundreds of articles have rediscovered the implications of his work in church history, ethics, politics, gender studies, international relations, German American cross culturalism, Christian spirituality, Baptist religious identity and the Liberal and evangelical theological perspectives.
His writings made an immediate impact upon publication, and have been reprinted over the years since by many different disciples. A roster of distinguished and younger scholars plumbed the depths of Rauschenbusch’s impact on the Christian Tradition.
William Brackney was teaching Baptist theology and ethics at Carey Theological College when this book came out earlier this year, though I believe he is no longer teaching there.
- Sheryl Reimer-Kirkham, Sonya Sharma, Rachel D. Brown& Melania Calestani: Prayer as Transgression: The Social Relations of Prayer in Healthcare Settings (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
A compelling account of the ways that prayer shows up in public healthcare.
Healthcare settings are notoriously complex places where life and death co-exist, and where suffering is an everyday occurrence, giving rise to existential questions.
The full range of society’s diversity is reflected in patients and staff. Increasing religious and ethnic plurality, alongside decades of secularizing trends, is bringing new attention to how religion and nonreligion are expressed in public spaces.
Sheryl Reimer-Kirkham is Dean of the School of Nursing at Trinity Western University. (The other three editors do not live in this area.
- Steven Garber: The Seamless Life: A Tapestry of Love and Learning, Worship and Work (IVP Books)
We all want to make sense of life, of who we are and why we are, and to know that what we do – day in and day out – matters. But the daily demands – work, eat, sleep, repeat – often lead to a life that feels void of meaning and disjointed from our deepest beliefs about faith, hope, and love.
Steven Garber challenges us to move beyond our fragmented sense of reality and began to see all we are and all we do – our work, our play, our relationships, our worship, our loves – as significant to God and to what God is doing in the world. Once we discover that there is no chasm between heaven and earth, and begin to see the truest truths of the universe woven into the very meaning of life, labour, learning and liturgy, we are able to understand the coherence of the work of God and of our lives in the world.
Steven Garber served at Regent College from 2017 – 2020 as Professor of Marketplace Theology and Leadership and as Director of Regent’s Master of Arts in Leadership, Theology and Society.
- Andrew Perrin & Loren T. Stuckenbruck, editors: Four Kingdom Motifs Before and Beyond the Book of Daniel (Brill)
The four kingdoms motif enabled writers of various cultures, times and places, to periodize history as the staged succession of empires barrelling towards an utopian age. The motif provided order to lived experiences under empire (the present), in view of ancestral traditions and cultural heritage (the past), and inspired outlooks assuring hope, deliverance, and restoration (the future).
Four Kingdoms Motifs Before and Beyond the Book of Daniel includes 13 essays that explore the reach and redeployment of the motif in classical and ancient Near Eastern writings, Jewish and Christian scriptures, texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, depictions in European architecture and cartography, as well as patristic, rabbinic, Islamic and African writings from antiquity through the Mediaeval eras.
Andrew Perrin is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies; Co-Director of Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at Trinity Western University.
- Harry O. Maier, Katharina Waldner, editors: Desiring Martyrs: Locating Martyrs in Space and Time (De Gruyter Oldenbourg)
Martyrs create space and time through the actions they take, the fate they suffer, the stories they prompt, the cultural narratives against which they take place and the retelling of their tales in different places and contexts.
The title “Desiring Martyrs” is meant in two senses. First, it refers to protagonists and antagonists of the martyrdom narratives who as literary characters seek martyrs and the way they inscribe certain kinds of cultural and social desire. Second, it describes the later celebration of martyrs via narrative, martyrdom acts, monuments, inscriptions, martyria, liturgical commemoration, pilgrimage, etc.
Here there is a cultural desire to tell or remember a particular kind of story about the past that serves particular communal interests and goals. By applying the spatial turn to these ancient texts the volume seeks to advance a still nascent social geographical understanding of emergent Christian and Jewish martyrdom. It explores how martyr narratives engage pre-existing time-space configurations to result in new appropriations of earlier traditions.
Harry O. Maier is professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies at Vancouver School of Theology.
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