Book Review: God's Plan For Salvation
- Written by: Neil Walthew
Gps: God's Plan For Salvation
Allan Chapple Aquila Press 2014 ISBN 9781922000965
Reviewed by Neil Walthew
Allan Chapple's book, 'GPS - God's Plan for Salvation’ is a guidebook or map to the whole sweep of salvation history presented to us by God in both the Old and New Testaments. It is the product of many years of teaching the big picture of the Bible and as such is a very accessible book for the person who has never read the Old Testament in detail and who wants to know more so as to understand the New Testament better, through to the person who would want to use the book as a resource to teach others.
In the introduction Allan makes it clear that he sees the Bible's centre of attention is Jesus. The Bible is the word of God about the works of God. Three words to sum up the Bible are Creation, Covenant and Christ. So having set the centre, Allan's book now begins by taking the Old Testament, literally in your hands, and showing the relative parts that make up the Old Testament, later Allan will do the same with the New Testament. He then makes a simple diagram of the Old Testament using events around entering and leaving the land either from or to Babylon/Assyria and Egypt. The books of the Old Testament, significant Old Testament figures and dates are then placed on this diagram.
Book Review: Christ Died For Our Sins
- Written by: Ben Underwood
Christ Died For Our Sins
Edited by Michael R Stead ISBN 9781921577185
Barton Books, 2013
Reviewed by Ben Underwood
This book of essays on the atonement has been produced by the Doctrine Commission of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia. As Philip Freier remarks in his introduction, 'The Doctrine Commission reflects the theological diversity of our church’ (2), and if that leads you to expect some theological tussling in the book, you would not be misled. However, in publishing these essays the Commission wishes firstly to highlight the unanimity shared by its members on substantial points regarding the atonement (2). And the points of agreement articulated are substantial: that the atonement is grounded in God's love, not his wrath; that Father and Son are united in the atonement; that sin makes the atonement necessary, that the atonement demonstrates God's justice; that it depends on more than Christ's death; that no single image is sufficient to encapsulate it (2-3). The commission wishes also to identify clearly points of difference and to model respectful dialogue over those differences (142).
The most contentious point is penal substitutionary atonement, the idea that Christ's suffering and death was our deserved punishment diverted onto him by God, and this disagreement is the subject of a dialogue between John Dunnill and Peter Adam in a dedicated chapter of the book. Aside from the debated differences over penal substitution, there are also conflicting views expressed about the universality of the benefits of Christ's atonement, and whether the wrath of God has any proper place in an account of God's action in the atonement.
- Written by: Marty Foord
Marty Foord reviews Michael Bird's Evangelical Theology.Zondervan 2013. 912 pages. ISBN 0310494419
Michael Bird writes books faster than I can read them! In his latest publication, Evangelical Theology, Bird has turned from his usual work in NT studies to the discipline of systematic theology. It arrives amidst the release of several other significant systems of theology by the likes of Michael Horton (The Christian Faith), Gerald Bray (God is Love), and John Frame (Systematic Theology). Bray and Frame have produced their systems of theology late in their career, whereas Bird has authored his early on in his career.
Putting ‘Evangelical’ Back Into Theology
Why has Bird written Evangelical Theology? In his words, “I do not believe that there is yet a genuinely evangelical theology textbook” (11). Quite a claim! For Bird, a truly evangelical theology is one “that has its content, structure, and substance singularly determined by the evangel [Gospel]” (11). This is magnificent. Not only is it evangelical more importantly it is Scriptural. Bird’s desire for a Gospel-centred theology follows in the vein of the Gospel Coalition, recent theologians such as John Webster and Peter Jensen, and ultimately goes back to Martin Luther who said the Gospel is the “principal article of Christian teaching, in which the knowledge of all godliness is comprehended”.1
But what, for Bird, characterises a Gospel-centred system of theology? He uses a five step method (81-82). Firstly, Bird provides a careful and helpful definition of the Gospel as the proper subject of theological prolegomena. Secondly, he seeks to show how the Gospel relates to the traditional topics in a system of theology. Thirdly, each of the major topics is then elucidated via a “creative dialogue between the sources of theology”, which he has defined as Scripture, tradition, nature, and experience (62-76). Next, the elucidated topic is then to be practically applied; the topic is to be lived out. And finally, the Christian is then encouraged to go back and follow the same five-step process in light of what has been learned by living out the doctrine.
Another Reason to Keep on Preaching the Scriptures
- Written by: Steven Daly
Book Review by Steven Daly
Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization . Thomas Nelson 2011. ISBN 9781595555458
The Book That Made Your World is a thoroughly enjoyable, thoroughly un-put-downable, thoroughly encouraging look at what makes Western civilization so very different to all the others.
Vishal’s purpose is not to uphold Western civilization as faultless or the model to be emulated. He is nevertheless crystal clear that our Western European intellectual-social-political heritage carries with it some astonishing advantages when compared to any other historical civilization or human culture; and that these advantages are all plainly the inheritance of generations of people who have taken the Bible seriously.
Some other books on Indigenous life and ministry
- Written by: Dale Appleby
Four books that connect with Peer Sutton’s Politics of Suffering.
Diane Austin-Broos, A Different Inequality. The Politics of Debate About Remote Aboriginal Australia. Allen Unwin 2011 ISBN 9781742370491
Professor Emeritus in the Dept of Anthropology at the University of Sydney, Diane Austin-Broos brings perspectives from central Australia that reinforce the kind of concerns expressed by Peter Sutton.
Marcia Langton, Boyer Lectures 2012: The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the
Resources Boom. Harper Collins 2012. ISBN 9780733331633. Also available as podcasts from the ABC. Terrific set of lectures.
Noel Pearson, Radical Hope: Education and Equality in Australia. The Quarterly Essay 2009. ISBN 9781863954440.
Here is a radical rethink about education, especially as it applies to indigenous communities, from one of Australia’s leading intellectuals.
Noel Pearson, Up from the Mission. Black Inc 2011. ISBN: 9781863955201
Biography and essays including essays on the apology, welfare dependency, politics, alcoholism and more.
Three books that connect with the story of Gumbuli.
Gumbuli of Ngukurr
- Written by: Joy Sandefur
Book review: Joy Sandefur
Gumbuli of Ngukurr. Aboriginal elder in Arnhem Land. By Murray Seiffert Australian Christian Book of the year 2012. Published by Acorn press. 414pp. ISBN 9780987132925
I warmly commend this biography of Rev Gumbuli Wurramara, AM, of Ngukurr. I first met Gumbuli in 1976 when I went to live at Ngukurr and work in what was to become the Kriol Bible Translation Project. He has remained a significant figure in my life ever since. I was delighted and surprised when he made the trip to Darwin to present me at my ordination as a priest in 2006.
This warmly written biography gives an insight into his life moving from his childhood on remote islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria to his move to Ngukurr in South East Arnhem Land as a young man, his later significant contribution to the Anglican Church in the Northern Territory and his leadership in the community at Ngukurr.
Have you ever wondered how the gospel came to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory? Why were missions established? Is it true that the missionaries destroyed the local culture and language? What was the reason for the missions to be handed over to the Government? How did the Indigenous churches and clergy emerge? What are the reasons for today’s high unemployment rates, passive welfare, high death rates and other social problems? This carefully researched biography of Gumbuli Wurramara will give you some insight into these issues as the story unfolds.