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New Books (and DVDs) You Should Know About

By Matthew Barrett–

Dispatches from the Front

A new series of DVDs has been released calling Dispatches from the Front, taking you across the world to see first hand how pastors and missionaries are spreading the gospel, many times in very dangerous places. Here is a clip from A Bold Advance: Albania, Kosovo & Montenegro.

Westminster Bookstore is selling this DVD series for 60% off until Friday! You can also download a free study guide.

And here are some endorsements as well:

Dispatches from the Front is a series of DVDs which show first-hand the work of missionaries and pastors in some of the tougher parts of the world. I have just watched the episode on Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro. The low-key presentation enhances the drama and the beauty of the stories told. But be aware: this is sobering stuff. I came away ashamed of my own lack of zeal for the Lord’s work and my ingratitude to him for all of the material comforts I enjoy. This is not a celebration of the pyrotechnic entertainment of the American church; it is an account of genuine works of God. It will convict you of your own sin, drive you to Christ, and encourage you to pray for Christians working on the front lines of the Kingdom and to reassess your own priorities wherever you are. ”
—Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History and Paul Woolley Chair of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary

“Beware of watching these Dispatches if you don’t like being moved and inspired and shaken out of the ruts of your life. My wife and I were riveted in watching the frontline reports of God’s work recorded in the Dispatches from the Front. This is the sort of information that builds faith in the present providence of God over his mission, and stirs up action for the sake of lost and hurting people near and far. I would love to see thousands of people mobilized as senders and goers for the sake of the glory of Christ and the relief of suffering on the frontiers, especially eternal suffering.”
—John Piper, author of Desiring God; Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis

Dispatches from the Front is a thoughtful, moving, understated, and ultimately convicting series of videos depicting the work of the gospel in some of the most challenging corners of the world. Far from glorying in celebrity missions, the stories in these videos depict the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes in the teeth of virulent opposition. Here are brothers and sisters in Christ who in God’s grace display faithfulness and transcendent joy, unflagging zeal to share the gospel, and an unfettered allegiance to King Jesus. To watch the kingdom advance in the teeth of these challenges is to learn humility and rekindle contrition, faith, and intercessory prayer.”
—D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; President and Co-founder, The Gospel Coalition

Mapping Modern Theology: A Thematic and Historical Introduction. Edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Bruce L. McCormack. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012.

Here is a new introduction (a thematic and historical one) to modern theology by a host of contemporary theologians from a diversity of backgrounds. Some of the chapters I am looking forward to reading include:

“Divine Attributes,” by Stephen R. Holmes

“Anthropology,” by Kelly M. Kapic

“The Person of Christ,” by Bruce L. McCormack

“Atonement,” by Kevin J. Vanhoozer

“Soteriology,” by Richard Lints

“Eschatology,” by Michael Horton

And here is Kapic talking about why this book is set apart from previous textbooks on modern theology.


Biblical Hebrew: A Compact Guide. By Miles Van Pelt. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Are you taking your second year or semester of Hebrew but over the break have forgotten some of what you learned in your first year or semester? If so, then you may want to pick up this little guide to refresh your memory before class starts. This short guide is meant to be a companion to the larger volume, Basics of Biblical Hebrew, by Gary D. Pratico and Miles Van Pelt.

Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture. Edited by James K. Hoffmeier and Dennis R. Magary. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.

Here is a large volume by a host of scholars defending inerrancy. The publisher writes,

Is historical accuracy an indispensable part of the Bible’s storyline, or is Scripture only concerned with theological truths? As progressive evangelicals threaten to reduce the Bible’s jurisdiction by undermining its historical claims, every Christian who cares about the integrity of Scripture must be prepared to answer this question.

Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? offers a firm defense of Scripture’s legitimacy and the theological implications of modern and postmodern approaches that teach otherwise. In this timely and timeless collection of essays, scholars from diverse areas of expertise lend strong arguments in support of the doctrine of inerrancy. Contributors explore how the specific challenges of history, authenticity, and authority are answered in the text of the Old and New Testaments as well as how the Bible is corroborated by philosophy and archaeology.

One of our Credo bloggers, Michael A.G. Haykin, has contributed a chapter called, “Fundamentum et Columnam Fidei Nostrae: Irenaeus on the Perfect and Saving Nature of the Scriptures.” Other chapters that caught my eye include:

“The Peril of a ‘Historyless’ Systematic Theology,” by Graham A. Cole

“God’s Word in Human Words: Form-Critical Reflections,” by Robert W. Yarbrough

“A Constructive Traditional Response to New Testament Criticism,” by Craig L. Blomberg

You can view sample pages here.

Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible. By Vern S. Poythress. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.

There are many defenses of inerrancy. But Poythress has written a worldview-based defense of inerrancy. The publisher writes,

Though the Bible presents a personal and relational God, popular modern worldviews portray an impersonal divine force in a purely material world. Readers influenced by this competing worldview hold assumptions about fundamental issues–like the nature of humanity, evil, and the purpose of life–that present profound obstacles to understanding the Bible.

In Inerrancy and Worldview, Dr. Vern Poythress offers the first worldview-based defense of scriptural inerrancy, showing how worldview differences create or aggravate most perceived difficulties with the Bible. His positive case for biblical inerrancy implicitly critiques the worldview of theologians like Enns, Sparks, Allert, and McGowan. Poythress, who has researched and published in a variety of fields– including science, linguistics, and sociology–deals skillfully with the challenges presented in each of these disciplines. By directly addressing key examples in each field, Poythress shows that many difficulties can be resolved simply by exposing the influence of modern materialism.

Grudem and Frame commend Poythress:

“I can think of no one in the world better qualified to write a defense of biblical inerrancy than my lifelong friend Vern Poythress. This book is no ordinary defense of inerrancy that merely focuses on proposed solutions to several difficult verses (though it does examine some of them). Rather, it is a wide-ranging analysis that exposes the faulty intellectual assumptions that underlie challenges to the Bible from every major academic discipline in the modern university world. I think every Christian student at every secular university should read and absorb the arguments in this book. It is profoundly wise, insightful, and clearly written, and it will surely strengthen every reader’s confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible as the very words of God.”
Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Bible and Theology, Phoenix Seminary

“Vern Poythress has written what I consider to be definitive books on many subjects, including biblical interpretation, language, science, and sociology. In Inerrancy and Worldview, he brings his insights from these disciplines and more together to address the relation of biblical inerrancy to worldview. He shows quite convincingly that the issue of inerrancy is not just a matter of asking whether this or that biblical passage is factual. Rather, our attitude toward the claim of biblical inerrancy depends on our general view of how God is related to the cosmos and to us as individuals and societies. And that general view, in turn, depends on our relationship to Jesus Christ. The book gets deeper into the question of inerrancy than any other book I know.”
John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida

Also, you can listen to a lecture by Vern Poythress entitled Hermeneutics and Inerrancy (Westminster Theological Seminary).

Commentary on Jeremiah (Ancient Christian Texts). Translated by Michael Graves. Edited by Christopher A. Hall. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011.

The Ancient Christian Texts series from IVP is a series of new translations into English of significant texts from the early church. In this new volume, Michael Graves and Christopher Hall bring us Jerome’s commentary on Jeremiah. Jerome (c. 347-419) was one of the most skilled Hebrew and Greek linguists in the Western Church. Jerome completed his Latin translation of the OT in 405, a translation that was based on the Hebrew text. Next, he completed commentaries on Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and then Jeremiah, though he only got to chapter 32 before his death.

Matthew Barrett (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University. He is also the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine. Barrett has contributed book reviews and articles to various academic journals, and he is the author of several forthcoming books. He is married to Elizabeth and they have two daughters, Cassandra and Georgia.

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