Naselli, Andrew David and J. D. Crowley. Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ. Wheaton: Crossway, 2016. 157 Pages. Paper. $15.99.
Danker, Ryan Nicholas. Wesley and the Anglicans: Political Division in Early Evangelicalism. IVP Academic, 2016. 304 Pages. Paper. $26.00. https://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=5122 (UN)
Köstenberger, Andreas, Thomas R. Schreiner, Editors. Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Third Edition). Wheaton: Crossway, 2016. 415 Pages. Paper. $30.00. https://www.crossway.org/books/women-in-the-church-tpb/
Cherry, Constance. The Music Architect: Blueprints for Engaging Worshipers in Song. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2016. 272 Pages. Paper. $22.99. www.bakeracademic.com (Unsolicited; also observed in CTSFW bookstore)
Today's summaries are a little longer than usual but should be still quick enough for you to make an informed judgement about each resource.
First, we discuss the conscience.
Christian, meet your conscience.
What do you do when you disagree with other Christians? How do you determine which convictions are negotiable and which are not? How do you get along with people who have different personal standards?
All of these questions have to do with the conscience. Yet there is hardly a more neglected topic among Christians. In this much-needed book, a New Testament scholar and a cross-cultural missionary explore all thirty passages in the New Testament that deal with the conscience, showing how your conscience impacts virtually every aspect of life, ministry, and missions. As you come to see your conscience as a gift from God and learn how to calibrate it under the lordship of Jesus Christ, you will not only experience the freedom of a clear conscience but also discover how to lovingly interact with those who hold different convictions.+/ Luther's conscience was captive to the Word of God (passim.). This is an interesting title, one that will provide some insights to those who read a book on such a necessary topic. I recommend that it be read in parallel with Luther's book On the Bondage of the Will. The authors raise thoughtful questions to prepare a Christian for confession and absolution as well as preparing for interactions with other Christians. Regarding the former, Lutherans always want to hear more Gospel comfort. Regarding the latter, I would love to see the authors expand upon the topic in cases of clear departure from Holy Scripture, that which kept Luther's conscience captive. Recommended.
Andrew David Naselli (PhD, Bob Jones University; PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is assistant professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
J. D. Crowley (MA, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) has been doing missionary and linguistic work among the indigenous minorities of northeast Cambodia since 1994. He is the author of numerous books, including Commentary on Romans for Cambodia and Asia and the Tampuan/Khmer/English Dictionary.
Our next title arrived unsolicited. We read about Wesley and the Anglicans.
Why did the Wesleyan Methodists and the Anglican evangelicals divide during the middle of the eighteenth century?
Many would argue that the division between them was based narrowly on theological matters, especially predestination and perfection. Ryan Danker suggests, however, that politics was a major factor throughout, driving the Wesleyan Methodists and Anglican evangelicals apart.
Methodism was perceived to be linked with the radical and seditious politics of the Cromwellian period. This was a charged claim in a post-Restoration England. Likewise Danker explores the political force of resurgent Tory influence under George III, which exerted more pressure on evangelicals to prove their loyalty to the Establishment. These political realities made it hard for evangelicals in the Church of England to cooperate with Wesley and meant that all their theological debates were politically inflected.
Rich in detail, here is a book for all who seek deeper insight into a critical juncture in the development of evangelicalism and early Methodism.
/ My rating of this title is largely due to its irrelevance to most Lutherans I know. However, I was fascinated by the controversy over sacraments (175ff), because our LCMS convention this summer passed a resolution phasing out Licensed Lay Deacons in our midst, a practice adopted in 1989 opposed to Augsburg Confession XIV in our confessional documents. (The Synod did not address so-called District Lay Deacons, however.) Most heartbreaking to me was the discussion of Wesley at Aldersgate (59, et al). If only he had heard/read the rest of Luther on Romans, then he probably wouldn't have confounded law and Gospel so regularly and would never have told his lay preachers, "We are no gospel preachers" (68). Danker appears to be fair in his presentation, but this title will be appreciated mostly by historians as well as readers in the greater Wesleyan and Anglican traditions.
Back at the seminary, the first edition of Women in the Church was highly recommended. I finally got to fill out this part of my pastoral library in time for the second edition. Here is the new third edition.
The role of women in the church is highly debated, with Christians on all sides using Paul’s teachings in 1 Timothy to justify their positions. Now in its third edition, this classic book edited by Andreas Köstenberger and Thomas Schreiner offers a robust exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:9–15, looking at the passage’s background, syntax, grammar, and enduring significance. Featuring updated essays and fresh contributions based on the latest research—including an in-depth discussion of the meaning of the phrase “exercise authority”—this volume stands as the most comprehensive exploration of this contested passage to date.Essentially, what we have here is an almost entirely new volume on the same topic, a third edition from Crossway that belongs on the shelf next Concordia's Third Edition of Women Pastors? (Harrison/Pless) and an available first or second edition (published by Baker and edited by these authors and their previous co-editor H. Scott Baldwin). Highly Recommended!
Andreas J. Köstenberger (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is senior research professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is a prolific author, distinguished evangelical scholar, and editor of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. His books include The Heresy of Orthodoxy, God, Marriage, and Family, The Final Days of Jesus (with Justin Taylor), and God's Design for Man and Woman (with Margaret Köstenberger). Dr. Köstenberger and his wife have four children.
Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds an MDiv and ThM from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and a PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has published a number of articles and book reviews in scholarly journals.
Al Wolters fills the theological shoes of Baldwin with his new article on authentein (20, 65ff). Rigorous scholarship fills this volume. I particularly appreciated the roundtable discussion chapter (297ff).
Some folks seem to go out of their way to doubt Divine Scripture, like Christians for Biblical Equality, in particular their 2014 special edition journal. That's not the case of the editors/authors of our book review title above, but among the co-authors of that journal, even some raised in my church body, the LCMS. Dear J. W. Wartick and Chaplain Don Muchow, stop trying to change the confession of church body. If you want the ordination of women and bow to an idol of the age, leave the LCMS already and please leave her alone. I'm not afraid of scholarship, as evidenced by the titles we review at LBR. I despise so-called scholarship that justifies a predetermined politically-correct position.
We turn to another unsolicited title.
Guidance for Leaders Seeking a Richer Way to Employ Worship Music/ In July, while visiting Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN, I saw a copy of this title in the campus bookstore. While possibly quite helpful from a practical perspective and sharing ideas not incompatible with a Lutheran theology of worship, I don't have to like that the author is a female minister. My church body and I oppose the ordination of women to the pastoral office. She does put her experience as a Christian musician to good use here.
Leading worship expert Constance Cherry offers comprehensive guidance to Christian leaders seeking a deeper, richer way to employ worship music in engaging ways for twenty-first-century worshipers. Instead of worship being driven by the pursuit of fast-changing musical styles, says Cherry, leaders should pursue a musical language that helps to facilitate a worshipful conversation between God and people.
Following the author's successful book The Worship Architect, this work helps Christian leaders think theologically and act pastorally about worship music in their churches. It addresses larger issues beyond the surface struggles of musical styles and provides tools to critically evaluate worship songs. The book is applicable to all Christian traditions and worship styles and is well suited to both the classroom and the local church--serving as a welcome resource for not only musicians but also pastors and other church leaders. Each chapter concludes with suggested practical exercises, recommended reading, and basic vocabulary terms.
1. Becoming a Pastoral Musician
2. Pouring the Footing: God-Focused Song
3. Laying the Foundations: Music's Role in Worship
4. Selecting Songs for the Movements of Worship: Creating Logical Flow
5. Evaluating Worship Music: Creating a Canon of Song
Interlude: Introduction to Shorter and Longer Song Forms6. Maximizing Shorter Song Forms
7. Maximizing Longer Song Forms
8. Discovering the Congregation's Worship Voice: An Alternative Vision for Musical Style
9. Leading Congregational Song: Practical Guidance from the Trenches10. Participating in Song as the Body of Christ: Helping Worshipers to Engage through Singing
11. Forming Disciples through Song: Worship as Spiritual Formation
12. Pursuing Spiritual Leadership through Excellence
Appendix A: Assessing Your Canon of Song
Appendix B: Antiphon for Congregational Use
Constance M. Cherry (DMin, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of worship and pastoral ministry at Indiana Wesleyan University and a founding faculty member of the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. She speaks and teaches internationally and is a regular adjunct professor at several seminaries. Cherry has also served local churches as a minister of music/worship and as a United Methodist pastor. She is the author of The Worship Architect and The Special Service Worship Architect. (Publisher's website)
I do wish to be fair to the author in recognizing good content in this volume: definition of terms (passim.), vocation (6), introducing ancient prayer forms and patterns to readers unfamiliar with them (46ff), the concept of a stable canon of song (114), and a summary of metrical psalms (158). If you find a copy of this title available to you, consider the good it could teach you, for it is an unique presentation on worship practice. I'm eagerly anticipating the hymn and liturgy reference volumes for Lutheran Service Book.
Thanks for reading this set of quick summaries. Given tight budgets, the choice title of this group is Women in the Church.
Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School and Immanuel Academy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Education Chairman and Editor of Lutheran Book Review. A graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Rev. Cain is a contributor to Lutheran Service Book, Lutheranism 101, the forthcoming LSB Hymnal Companion, and is the author of 5 Things You Can Do to Make Our Congregation a Caring Church. He has previously served Emmanuel, Green River, WY and Trinity, Morrill, NE. He is married to Ann and loves reading and listening to, composing, and making music.