Separating genuine disagreement from assumption, and maybe starting a dialogue in the process. . . .
Gregg R. Allison. 40 Questions about Roman Catholicism. 336p., $23.99, Kregel Academic.
The Roman Catholic faith is one of the world’s most widespread religious traditions, yet the unique aspects of Roman Catholicism elicit perennial questions from adherents and outsiders alike. Such questions tend to fall into three major categories: historical backgrounds, theological matters, and personal relationships. Using Catholic Church documents and the writings of Catholic scholars, Baptist systematic theologian Gregg R. Allison distills the teachings of Catholicism around forty common questions about Catholic foundations, beliefs, and practices. The accessible question-and-answer format guides readers to the areas of interest, including:
- Where do Roman Catholic and Protestant beliefs differ?
- What happens during a Roman Catholic Mass?
- How does Roman Catholicism understand the biblical teaching about Mary?
- Who are the saints and what is their role?
- How can my Roman Catholic loved ones and I talk about the gospel?
40 Questions About Roman Catholicism explores theology and practice, doctrine and liturgy, sacraments and Mariology, contributions and scandals, and many other things, clarifying both real and perceived differences and similarities with other Christian traditions.
Studying the truth about who you are. . . .
Phil Largent and Bill Stewart. 35 Realities: Thirty-Five Realities God Provides Every Believer in the GIFT of Eternal Life. 186p., $3.99 (Kindle), IMD International.
We are living in a day of the uprooting of the faith. So many, it would seem, in the churches have very shallow and very few roots as believers. Some churches and believers have fake or false roots—attraction, emotionalism, tickling-of-the-ear teaching, Sunday rallies equal spiritual growth, etc. Believers know little of Jesus Christ beyond Sunday school stories. Their knowledge of the Christ-life seems little more than Christian platitudes—statements used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.
The pressures of society are pushing in against the body of Christ, hindering its witness and its disciple-making purposes. So many in the Lord are caving into this outside pressure. They cannot stand up firmly because they lack roots in Christ.
The Word of God puts forth all we need in Christ to stand firm—above all, to stand in Christ The gift of eternal life in Christ comes with at least 35 realities—meaning the state of things as they actually exist. These 35 realities need to be known, firmly grasped, and applied in our Christ-life. These 35 realities act as deep, strong roots, enabling each believer in Christ to hold to Christ in these latter days. We can also see them as steel rods (rebar) that run through the concrete foundation of Christ. These 35 realities are a great stabilizing force in the lives of believers. When we know and trust these 35 realities, we will not be shaken or uprooted in our Christ-life.
(BTW, IMD International is in the process of uploading all its past training manuals—most of which I’ve worked on—so keep an eye out and go fetch.)
A look at both the historical roots and living branches of evangelism . . .
Timothy K. Beougher. Invitation to Evangelism: Sharing the Gospel with Compassion and Conviction. 432p., $34.99, Kregel Academic.
What exactly does it mean to “evangelize” in a Christian sense? And how is such evangelizing supposed to be done? Longtime pastor, evangelist, and professor of evangelism Timothy K. Beougher answers these questions and more from theological, historical, and practical perspectives. Beougher demonstrates God’s goodness in evangelism through relatable anecdotes, Bible teaching, and encouraging instruction. Invitation to Evangelism welcomes believers into the experience of stepping out in faith of behalf of people God loves.
Most Christians know that they should be sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with nonbelievers, and most also know they aren’t witnessing very well, or even at all. They need help internalizing the content of gospel proclamation and identifying the best way to go about making evangelism a natural part of their lives. Invitation to Evangelism guides readers through the essential issues of the gospel message, evangelism methods, and witnessing models so they are ready and excited to move out in faith as everyday evangelists.
Beougher’s biblical, theological, historical, and practical teaching revolves around following essential aspects of being an evangelist:
- Having compassion as the motivation for evangelism
- Understanding the good news of Jesus Christ
- Seeing lost people as persons God loves
- Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit
- Paving the way for new believers to share their faith eagerly with others
Moving past theology and into the heart of God. . . .
Sean A. Nolan. Searching for God in Christianity. 320p., $16.99, Deep River Books.
This book helps Christian and secular culture alike understand the true heart and message of both Jesus Christ and His followers. It seeks a ‘reformation’ within our culture of what Christianity actually is. Namely that Jesus’ message is one of love and not division, the Church an institution that protects and does not harm, the Gospel is a truth that is essential to daily life and spirituality, not irrelevant.
Using Augustinian and Barthian theology this book presents the truth that just like you and I are composed of flesh and blood, God is literally composed of love. This eternal nature of love is revealed in the name Jesus Christ and this self-revelation of God is the message, mandate, and mission of the Church.
In the quest to give an antidote to the identity crises plaguing modern Western Christianity, this book illuminates afresh and anew the classic Gospel message. Searching for God in Christianity translates theology into English, into the everyday, and in the process brings clarity and confidence to people’s journey with God.
Some blasts from the past, as well as profiles of evangelists and disciplers who’ve been a direct influence in my own life (and even one whose material I worked on). . . .
Thomas P. Johnston. A History of Evangelism in North America. 368p., $23.99, Kregel Academic.
A History of Evangelism in North America guides readers on a tour through circuit riders and tent meetings to campus evangelism and online ministries. Academic research combines with gospel faithfulness and love for the lost in this historical survey. Encountering these prominent evangelism movements will inspire innovation and courage in the call to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
Few Christians recognize the historical backgrounds of various evangelistic ministries, their theological traditions, or their guiding principles. A History of Evangelism in North America explores evangelism methodologies and legacies from the early 1700s to today. Experts deliver current scholarship on twenty-two evangelists and ministries, including the following:
- John Wesley and itinerant preachers
- The camp meeting movement
- The American Bible Society and Bible distribution evangelism
- The Navigators and personal discipleship
- Billy Graham and crusade evangelism
- Campus ministries
- The Jesus Movement
- 21st-century evangelistic approaches
A History of Evangelism in North America promises to have lasting value for those who study evangelism, missions, Christian history, and the church in North America.
Literally digging into the history surrounding Jesus. . . .
Paul L. Maier. The Genuine Jesus: Fresh Evidence from History and Archaeology. 432p., $33.99, Kregel Academic.
In this richly illustrated volume—formerly titled In the Fullness of Time—Paul Maier visits the origins of Christianity, taking the reader back to the first Christmas, the first Easter, and the first Christians. His impressive research and brilliant insights correlate history, archaeology, and the New Testament to bring alive the true drama of earliest Christianity.
This skillful narrative sheds a brilliant new light on the life of Jesus and the adventures of the courageous men and women who carried His message throughout a hostile empire. A host of magnificent color and black-and-white photographs recreate the world, the mood, the people, and the events with an immediacy that sweeps readers into the exciting first years of Christianity.
It is what it says it is. . . .
John D. Massey, Mike Morris, and W. Madison Grace II. Make Disciples of All Nations: A History of Southern Baptist International Missions. 360p., $22.99, Kregel Academic.
For more than 175 years the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has been sending missionaries around the world to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has also developed strategies and methods that have been adopted by numerous other missions groups. Make Disciples of All Nations tells the story of this groundbreaking organization, including its most recent developments.
Besides recounting its historical development, the contributors to this volume critically evaluate the IMB’s strategies and methods, as well as examine its controversies, regional developments, and organizational changes. The concluding chapter explores how Southern Baptist missions can best adapt to an era of global Christianity.
Students, missionaries, and those involved in supporting them will be informed and encouraged by this account of one of the oldest and largest missions organizations in the world.
The story of one man’s pilgrimage(s) . . . and maybe it’ll inspire you to take your own. . . .
Ron Williams. Lost and Found along the Way: Stories for Your Faith Walk from the Camino de Santiago. 400p., $16.99, Deep River Books.
The Camino—or The Way—to Santiago is a five-hundred-mile, thirty-three-day walk across Spain’s extreme conditions to reach the beloved Cathedral of Santiago. Ron “Willie” Williams walked The Way two and a half times, a total of twelve hundred miles. Why? It is less about what he gains, and more about what he loses along The Way—old behaviors, unforgiveness, and a tendency to play God. Journey with Willie through the chapters of Lost and Found along The Way, as he sheds these tendencies, and in doing so finds a renewed, richer, and deeper faith.
Willie also learned to share this strengthened faith with those he met who had lost their own faith, and now he is teaching others to do the same. Lost and Found along The Way offers believers faith-sharing advice using a unique approach: the hybrid of two genres—historical fiction and personal memoir.
The first few chapters are narrative historical fiction portraying James in Acts 12:2 facing his execution along with supposed reactions from his loved ones. At the end of this narrative, we transition back to nonfiction with the discovery of James’ gravesite some eight hundred years after his martyrdom. Willie then explains how the Camino pilgrimages began along the Camino, also known as The Way.
The following chapters, and the bulk of the book, follow Willie’s own Camino journeys, presented from three unique perspectives:
- “The Camino” contains vivid descriptions of the geography on the trail and historical background. These descriptions incorporate the reader with the text, almost like a firsthand experience.
- “My Camino” includes stories of the author’s gritty life experiences that surface while traveling the Camino, his personal reflective prayers, and the spiritual insights that God awakens.
- “Our Camino” provides guidance on how the reader can dig deeper into their spiritual life and get outside their comfort zone. These each end with true and dramatic faith walk stories that hook the reader and demonstrate God’s hand in people’s lives.
The final chapter of Lost and Found along The Way instructs fellow sojourners in how to follow Willie’s example to strengthen their own faith and share it with those who have lost their own faith—no hiking boots required.
Guidance for getting the truth straight. . . .
Robert L. Plummer. 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible. 2nd edition. 368p., $25.99, Kregel Academic.
40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible, now in a revised second edition, probes the most pressing problems encountered by churchgoers and beginning Bible students when they try to read and understand the Bible. Using feedback received from pastors, professors, and Bible teachers, New Testament professor Robert L. Plummer includes updated information about Bible translations, biblical interpretation, and Bible study technology and streamlines previous portions to make room for a handful of new issues.
This second edition, updated regarding Bible translations, biblical interpretation trends, and Bible-related technology, will continue to serve professors, pastors, and Bible study leaders as a go-to guide or textbook. New Testament scholar Robert L. Plummer covers historical, interpretive, practical, and theological matters such as:
- Were the ancient manuscripts of the Bible transmitted accurately?
- Why can’t people agree on what the Bible means?
- How do we interpret the Psalms?
- How can I use the Bible in daily devotions?
- Does the Bible teach that God wants Christians to be healthy and wealthy?
40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible provides crucial assistance for students ready to engage with biblical scholarship and for teachers eager to lead Bible studies with confidence.
Rediscovering God in the middle of brokenness. . . .
Ralph Edward Plumb. All Who Wander: Rediscover God’s Purpose on Your Journey. 210p., $16.99, Illumify Media Global.
How will you respond when “it” happens?
Most people chart a course for their lives.
Career. Marriage. Children. Prosperity.
Then “it” happens.
Financial loss. Divorce. Death of a loved one. These unexpected twists in the road leave us disoriented, overwhelmed with unexpected doubt or uncertainty, and sometimes feeling far from God.
In All Who Wander, Ralph Plumb reflects on his extensive travels around the world, and shares how he re-discovered his God-given purpose after a period of wandering, when he ran into his own crucible events. In the process he answers questions like:
• Is what I am doing more important than who I am?
• How do I reach a place of forgiveness and healing?
• In the end, what really matters?
If you’ve lost your way or you’re unsure about the future, don’t worry. God is still by your side and you can find your way again.