Tag Archives: Broadman and Holman Academic

Mission Shift Edited by David J. Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer

Missionshift:  Global Mission Issues in the Third Millennium.  Edited by David J. Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer.  Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010.  314 pp.  $26.99.  Purchase at Amazon for $17.63.

Introduction

Dr. David Hesselgrave is professor emeritus of mission Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  He also served as a missionary to Japan for a dozen years and was the executive director of the Evangelical Missiological Society.  Ed Stetzer is president of LifeWay Research as well as the missiologist in residence.  He has a Ph.D. in Missiology. You can read Ed’s blog and thoughts on missions here.

Contributors include Charles Van Engen, Andreas J. Kostenberger, Norman L. Geisler, and Avery T. Willis, Jr. as well as many, many others.

Summary

Missionshift is divided into 20 chapters.  Three of these are position essays with five response essays.  The first essay is Charles Van Engen’s definition and description of “mission.”  There are two response essays to Van Engen and then a response to all three of these essays with Stetzer responding to all four (when you are the editor, you can do that).  The second essay is written by Paul G. Hiebert and looks at the gospel in human contexts.  Here, the discussion looks at the oft misunderstood concept of contextualization.  Again, the introductory essay is responded to in like fashion above with Ed Stetzer offering the summary essay.

Chapter fourteen looks at the future of evangelicals in mission.  This essay is written by Ralph D. Winter.  Yet again, the same format of response and summary response is followed.  David Hesselgrave offers a fascinating conclusion to the entire work.

Review

I greatly enjoyed the style of this work.  To have one essay followed by numerous essays responding to one another was extremely helpful.  In editing the work in this manner, the reader will see missions from an extremely broad, albeit biblical, brushstroke.  The mixture of contributors greatly added to the flavor of the book.  Most of the contributors are (or were) professors at the seminary (or above) level with most, though not all, having extensive missionary experience.

Perhaps the one negative (and it is not quite a negative as much as it was noticeable to me) was Ed Stetzer offering the final essay in each section.  While Ed is an excellent writer, thinker, and theologian, it would have been nice to have someone else offer the final essay.  Having Ed do all three in addition to the introduction can give the appearance of giving him (and consequently, the SBC) complete control over the concepts being shared in the book.

That being said, I want to make it very clear that Ed did not push an agenda nor did he run ‘roughshod’ on any of the contributors.  Rather, he offered genuine reflections and clarity to the subject matter.

Recommendation

If you are interested in engaging in missions work, regardless of your Christian denomination, Missionshift, offers a wonderful starting point.  The truth is, we are living in an ever changing world.  We need to know how to take the same gospel message from 2,000 years ago to the men and women of the world today. This resource offers wonderful insight into that endeavor.  The 21st century promises to be exciting times in the Kingdom of God and I believe Missionshift will help us to understand our various roles in the spreading of that Kingdom.

The Great Commission Resurgence Edited by Chuck Lawless and Adam Greenway

The Great Commission Resurgence: Fulfilling God’s Mandate in Our Time.  Edited by Chuck Lawless and Adam W. Greenway.  Nashville: Broadman and Holman Academic, 2010.  430 pp.  $26.99.  Purchase at Amazon for $17.63 or less.

Introduction

In the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), there is a concern for the effectiveness in which the SBC is ministering to those who are lost and in need of the gospel.  Co-editor Chuck Lawless states it succinctly, “Somehow, we have stood faithfully for a message that we have chosen to keep to ourselves.”  What follows is a series of essays from leaders, young and old, within the SBC.

Summary

The editors divided this book of essays into five parts with an introduction and conclusion bringing to light the reality of where the SBC is as a denomination.  The first section lays the foundation of where the SBC finds herself today.  Stetzer paints a somewhat bleak picture of the decline in membership–a topic which used to be a skeleton in the closet of the SBC.  In this section, we are treated to a short history of the SBC and the Great Commission from Nathan Finn as well as a look to the future by R. Albert Mohler.

Section two looks at the use of the Bible in the SBC.  Russell Moore gives an apologetic for the need of theology in the local church while David Platt offers a perspective from outside the SBC.  Thomas Ascol’s submission regarding God’s work and ours in the Great Commission is excellent reading for anyone regardless of denominational affiliation.

The third part looks at the SBC’s interaction with the world.  The reader is here challenged by the need to reach the world with the gospel.  Even more so, the reader is challenged to reach out those in North America.  Perhaps Al Jackson’s chapter entitled The American Dream or the Great Commission Resurgence? offers the best summary and challenge found in the Great Commission Resurgence.

“Via the church” is the title for section four.  In this section, we see how the individual is more effective in reaching the world when s/he comes together with like minded believers.  The challenge (gauntlet?) is issued to the pastor to be the leader of the Great Commission Resurgence from the pulpit and to create an atmosphere in the local congregation that leads to mass evangelism without the program.

The fifth and final section offers a map for moving forward in the era of renewed interest in reaching the world with the gospel.

Review

It is important to note that this book is written explicitly for those who find themselves in the Southern Baptist Convention.  The criticism of one’s own denomination can come off as ruthless oftentimes, but that is not the case in this resource.  Since most of the contributors are from the academic realm of the SBC, this book naturally leans toward being a more academic work.  In other words, most of your everyday Southern Baptists would 1) not care and 2) not completely understand.  That is precisely why I think this resource is invaluable.

While many disagree with (or even mock) the SBC, it cannot be said that they are not above criticizing themselves.  With conviction of a need to change, each writer offered sound, biblical reasons for the need to change from within given their specific topic.  Each chapter can stand alone, but to bring them under the umbrella of one common goal–the Great Commission Resurgence–the reader quickly sees that the SBC is unified and charting the course to more effectively reach the nations with the gospel.

Recommendation

While I am a pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, I have intentionally kept this website evangelical rather than Southern Baptist in perspective.  That being said, the question is then begged, can I recommend this book to all?  I believe the answer is yes.  In this era of The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel, I believe all Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation, can benefit from this resource.  Yes, it is written specifically for the SBC, but the principles are rooted in Scripture and therefore offer themselves to all Christians looking to better reach the world with the gospel.  If, however, you are a Southern Baptist Pastor, I would highly recommend you become conversant with this book as we are right now seeing some of the early ramifications of the thoughts underlying these essays.

Three Perspectives on Family Ministry by Timothy Paul Jones

family-ministry Perspectives on Family Ministry: Three Views. Ed. by Timothy Paul Jones. Nashville: Broadman and Holman Academic, October 2009. 213 pp.  $19.99.  Purchase at Amazon.

Introduction

Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, the editor of this book, served for fourteen years in vocational ministry. He is now an Assistant Professor of Leadership and Church Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His passion is to see the church come alongside families and teach them how to fulfill the commandment given in Deut. 6:7, “You shall teach them (God’s words) diligently to your children.”

He recognizes that there is a movement within evangelical churches to better minister to families. He has aided our understanding of this movement through the contributions of three pastors serving “in the trenches.” The format of the book was argument for, two responses against, and a final response in favor for each of the three models.

Paul Renfro, pastor of discipleship at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, writes concerning the Family-Integrated Model. Brandon Shields, minister to high school students at Highview Baptist Church in Kentucky and Indiana writes of their use of the Family-Based Model. Finally, Jay Strother, minister to emerging generations at Brentwood Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, writes in favor of Family Equipping Ministry.

Family-Integrated Church, Paul Renfro

The family-integrated model jettisons all age-graded ministries. Those who adhere to this model view each family unit (single or married, with or without children) as one “block” that comprises the local church. That is, they view the church as a family of families. They view the church’s purpose as equipping the parents, primarily the fathers, to evangelize and disciple their children.

Some difficulties to this model include that a “family of families” cannot define the church which is defined as the “body of Christ” in Ephesians 4. There seems to be an inability to reach public school families as well as the non-traditional families that are prevalent today. Finally, there is still the challenge of equipping the children to engage the culture with their faith.

Family-Based, Brandon Shields

The are two values that are foundational to this philosophy, Brandon is careful to use this term over and above “model,” are flexibility and balance. Flexibility is essential because every church is different and therefore every church must adapt to their culture. Balance is also necessary because not every family in the local church is a “traditional” family. There are many challenges with blended families, single families, and other situations that must be handled with care when discipling the family. They do not see a need to radically reorganize and restructure the present ministry model. The key concept is the philosophical shift wherein the activities and programs are used to draw the families closer together.

Some problems with this particular model include the appearance that there is a greater concern for being culturally relevant rather than biblical. Some believe this model does not go far enough in addressing the disconnect between the church and the home. It is still too programmatic and does not really offer clear training to the parents to disciple their children.

Family-Equipping, Jay Strother

Pastor Jay explains in a diagram that the family-equipping model of ministry has a three-pronged approach. First, there are the catalysts. These are the parents who are primarily responsible to disciple their children and then the small group leaders in the church who lead Bible studies that reinforce the spiritual truths taught at home. Second, the content of what is being taught is intentional so that as the child grows, he meets certain “milestones” in his spiritual training at the church. Finally, the context of the model is found in worshipping Christ through small-group discipleship and serving in the church and community for the sake of the gospel.

Objections to the model include the parents simply do not have the time to disciple their children which then begs the question of how to confront parents who are not discipling their children. Also, the reasons offered for leaving other models were simply not convincing enough and therefore does not warrant a wholesale change of mindset. Finally, the question of strategy is too limited in scope and need not be the cause for the adoption of this ministry model.

Conclusion

This volume offers much to think about in the way of how the church should minister to the family. All three models are rooted in Scripture and all three models are driven by a love for the church and the family. Each pastor is passionate about seeing our world impacted by the church with more efficiency and more zeal. More importantly, each pastor writes and ministers with an urgency to change the landscape of the home through their respective views of family ministry.

The formatting of this book—with the point, counterpoint, and response method—offers the reader a balanced perspective. This book will be a great tool for church leaders who want to better address the family unit in their ministry. I highly recommend this book. Many Evangelical churches are shifting paradigms; this book will help you make sense of these new approaches.

Evangelicals Engaging Emergent Edited by Adam W. Greenway and William D. Henard

Henard, William D. and Adam W. Greenway. Evangelicals Engaging Emergent: A Discussion of the Emergent Church Movement. Nashville: Broadman Academic, 2009. 344 pp. $24.99.  Purchase at Westminster for $16.24.

Introduction

In the last decade or so, there has been a fresh, bold movement in Christianity. This movement is commonly called the “emergent movement” and is usually depicted as some guy preaching from a stage sans pulpit wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt with props strewn about the stage. The music in the service has a rock flavor to it and the absence of time-honored hymns is noticeable. Most of the congregation tends toward the 20-something crowd most with piercings and tattoos and also wearing blue jeans and t-shirts.

Fair or not, that is the stereotype of the emergent church at the surface level. For many in leadership in the local church, the issues are much deeper than that. The issues drive to the core of the faith. Who was Christ? What must we do to be saved? Can we believe the Bible? Greenway and Henard have edited a book that seeks to take on these questions from a historical biblical perspective.

Summary

Evangelicals Engaging Emergent actually sets out to tackle the seemingly impossible. It is extremely difficult to define the emergent church movement is extremely difficult because no one inside the movement has actually defined it. The term “emergent” is being used to define those who are asking tough questions that need to be asked but giving answers that lie outside a historical understanding of orthodoxy. The editors are not looking to attack this movement; rather, they are seeking to dialogue with it.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part looks at the view of the Bible. In this section, the emergent’s view of the nature of Scripture is discussed as is their hermeneutic (biblical interpretation) and their understanding of the nature of truth. Part two looks at the theology found within the movement. From Christology (who is Jesus Christ?) to the nature of salvation and the role of the church in the kingdom, we learn that the emergent church quickly falls outside the realm of orthodoxy. Finally, part three looks at the practical side of the emergent church. This section includes discussions on ethics, preaching, and evangelism.

Critical Evaluation

The various writers, for the most part, achieve the goal of being a discussion with and not an attack on the emergent church. They are to be commended for their efforts as this has not always been the case. It is easy to attack a movement or the face of a movement that is “different from the rest of us.”

Taking an honest look at the movement through the lens of the scriptures helps the reader to understand the fads from the heresies. For example, Jim Shaddix warns that the preaching fad of the emergent church will more than likely fade away when the new and greater fad comes along…if it has not begun to do so already. Yet Robbie Sagers, in his chapter on salvation, warns that we should call a spade a spade and renounce the false teachers in the movement (and really in Christianity in general) while listening humbly to those who point out legitimate deficiencies with the modern church’s understanding and application of the doctrine of salvation.

While the contributors to the book are very solid both in theology and orthodoxy, I personally wish there would have been a larger denominational pool from which they came. Of the fifteen contributors, nine are Southern Baptist, two are from Dallas Theological Seminary and two from Southern Evangelical Seminary. There is one contributor each from Beeson Divinity and Biola University. I am unashamedly Southern Baptist, but in a book that is seeking to engage such a widespread movement as the emergent church, having so many Southern Baptists involved in the discussion seems to work against the idea of evangelicals as a whole wanting to engage the emergent.

Instead, one almost feels as though the Southern Baptists are leading the charge and trying to get others to join in when appropriate. I am sure this is not the case, but being so weighted with Southern Baptist contributors does not really give the idea that all evangelicals are willing to sit down at the table as was the case of the councils throughout Christian history. What it does give the appearance of is one denomination wanting another denomination (can you call the emergent church a denomination or does that violate the definition of the movement?) to fall in line when it comes to doctrine and practice.

As has been stated by many, another unhelpful aspect of this book is found in Akin’s chapter on ethics. His chapter is excellent and keeps on task right up to the point he wants to talk about alcohol and the emergent church. Of all the ethical “dilemmas” to pick out, why in the world does he have to choose the issue of alcohol?

I am not sure why “one cannot examine the ethics of Emergent without dealing substantively with the issues of alcohol” (276). It seems that there are far more ethical dilemmas to choose from when examining the “ethics of Emergent” like abortion and gay marriage. From the beginning of this section, Akin sets up an emotional appeal to the use of alcohol. He cites historical precedents and moral reasons for affirming abstinence and then moves into the biblical reasons for practicing abstinence.

Note the change of language. He affirms abstinence based upon Baptist history and morality and then, after establishing precedents apart from the Bible, moves into biblical reasons to practice. It is my opinion that his evidence to practice evidence actually leaves a biblical argument and moves into a philosophical argument. Ultimately, I agree that leaders should not drink alcohol, but I do not believe that one can stand on the Bible in this case unless they are going to use the “higher standard” applied to the preacher/teacher unilaterally in all areas of living. For some reason, gluttony comes to mind in this instance.

Recommendation

Akin’s chapter notwithstanding, the editors have compiled a wonderful resource for the layperson and the pastor/teacher in Christendom. There is much written in denominational papers and in the blogosphere that have confused the issues. Some have even resorted to name calling which is never helpful or does it show Christian love. Evangelicals Engaging Emergent does much to set the record straight regarding what is and what is not at issue. The contributors help us all to see what we should be concerned with as opposed to what we should let slide.

Evangelicals Engaging Emergent has started the discussion using previous writings from emergent leaders. Unfortunately, to date, the emergent leaders have not responded. I highly recommend that every Christian read Evangelical Engaging Emergent due to the wide influence of this movement. More than likely, you have already come across some of these issues and did not know how to handle the claims being made. This book will change those encounters.

This was an assignment–I purchased the book.

John A. Broadus – A Living Legacy by David Dockery and Roger Duke

Dockery, David S. and Roger D. Duke. John A. Broadus: A Living Legacy Studies in Baptist Life and Thought, ed. Michael A.G. Haykin.  Nashville:  Broadman and Holman Academic, 2008.  260 pp.  $19.99.

Introduction to John A. Broadus – A Living Legacy

This book is first in a series of books that looks back at the history of Baptist life and thought.  The series editor is Michael Haykin who is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality as well as the Director of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

This particular book is edited by David S. Dockery and Roger D. Duke.  Dr. Dockery currently serves as the president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.  Dr. Duke is assistant professor of religion and communication at the Baptist College of Health Services in Memphis, Tennessee and is an adjunct assistant professor at Union University.  More importantly, Dr. Duke is a new contributor to Said at Southern Seminary. Continue reading John A. Broadus – A Living Legacy by David Dockery and Roger Duke