You can’t say they weren’t warned . . . or that this isn’t illustrated. . . .
James K. Hoffmeier. The Prophets of Israel: Walking the Ancient Paths. 400p., $44.99, Kregel Academic.
In The Prophets of Israel, Old Testament scholar and longtime field archaeologist James K. Hoffmeier explores the biblical prophets through their ancient settings. Readers gain a more accurate and comprehensive understanding through many practical components:
- Full-color photos and images of historical and cultural importance
- Focus on the geopolitical contexts of the prophets
- Clear explanations of the prophets’ provoking messages
- Discussion questions for Bible students or instructor use
These features and photos vividly illustrate the biblical narratives and the prophets’ concerns, helping readers better comprehend each text’s message and make informed theological applications.
The biblical prophetic tradition extends far before and far after the Major and Minor Prophets. Yet all biblical prophets—including recognizable figures like Moses and Elijah, lesser-known prophets like Huldah and Micaiah, and the New Testament prophets—ministered in distinctive cultural and historical circumstances. Hoffmeier draws on his extensive knowledge of ancient Near Eastern culture, geography, political realities, and the Old Testament message to locate the prophets in their worlds. This approach illuminates prophetic messages and ministries with a theological clarity that basic history and literary interpretation cannot achieve.
People struggle. The church shouldn’t be a place that adds to that struggle. . . .
T. Dale Johnson, Jr. The Church as a Culture of Care: Finding Hope in Biblical Community. 176p., $17.99, New Growth Press.
We all know people in our world are struggling—eating disorders, addictions, depression, sexual issues, marital problems—the list goes on and on. Can the church help or is that an outdated concept that no longer fits modern problems? In The Church as a Culture of Care, biblical counselor Dale Johnson explains that the church is still the primary place where those who struggle can receive lasting hope and healing.
Pastors and lay leaders in the church often feel inadequate to address certain needs and are unsure of how to help. This book is designed to help erase the stigma of “mental health issues” in the church and to present the church as the primary haven for answers to deep-seated human problems. Readers will learn that God has designed every function of the church to be an integral part of soul care. God has provided the church with the necessary resources for us to care well for one another. Prayer, the Word, the work of the Holy Spirit, and Christian community are God’s provisions to lead all of us to Christ—even those with the deepest struggles.
Counselors, ministers, and lay leaders will be empowered to have confidence in God’s purpose for the church, the power of his Spirit, and the sufficiency of his Word for soul care.
Forgiveness is hard. This book can help make it easier. . . .
Brad Hambrick. Making Sense of Forgiveness: Moving from Hurt Toward Hope. 160p., $15.99, New Growth Press.
Clichés, glib answers, and quick solutions are shared all too often with those who are struggling to forgive or embrace forgiveness. We know Jesus calls us to forgive, but it can be hard to know what that looks like in complicated, messy relationships. Pastor and counselor Brad Hambrick helps readers to understand that forgiveness is the start of a journey that doesn’t erase the past, but honestly confronts hurt and clears the way for a hope-filled discussion on how to move toward healing.
Too often forgiveness is viewed as the culmination of a journey, but when someone says, “I forgive you,” they are not saying, “Things are all better now.” They are saying, “I have decided to relate to your offense towards me differently.” Hambrick helps readers make sense of forgiveness biblically and relationally by addressing a variety of common questions that arise when we have been hurt: Does forgiveness mean restoration of trust? Am I supposed to “forgive and forget”? What is the role of biblical wisdom and boundaries on the road to forgiveness?
Making Sense of Forgiveness speaks to those who are struggling by acknowledging the seriousness of their pain, explaining the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, and helping readers understand the relationship between forgiveness and emotional freedom. The author explores the characteristics of God’s forgiveness toward us and how that shapes our own forgiveness.
Teaching the good news out of experience. . . .
Michael O’Dowd. The Gospel: A Redemption and Restoration Story. 272p., $16.99, Deep River Books.
All great stories have certain elements that resonate within. These are echoes of the ultimate story, the greatest story ever told—the Gospel, which is our story through faith. The Apostle Paul says: “I am eager to preach the gospel to you… It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:15-16). Author Michael O’Dowd uses the power of story to lead us through the epic message of good news beginning in Genesis where it all started, continuing all the way to Revelation, where this amazing story ends and all things become new.
Packed full of scripture and depth yet made understandable through the author’s own experience and explanation, The Gospel: A Redemption and Restoration Story describes doctrinal truth in story form, where God is the hero, and we are being saved. This book will help pastors and congregants alike understand the biblical details of the gospel that saves us—and keeps saving us.
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.