Book reviews for Spring 2019
Creation Care / The New Elder’s Handbook / Jesus in Jerusalem
Creation Care: A Biblical Theology of the Natural World
Douglas J. Moo and Jonathan A. Moo (Zondervan, 2018). 250 pp.
Douglas and Jonathan Moo, New Testament professors at Wheaton College and Whitworth University, write to “help Christians understand the role of the created world in God’s plan for the universe.” The father and son team give solid answers as to how we should think biblically and theologically about creation. The heart of the book centers on biblical themes that demonstrate how we should live in the world that God has created. They explore the place that we have as members, rulers, and keepers of creation: “If we are to rule wisely and well in creation, we need to learn all we can about the earth and other creatures for whose care we bear some responsibility” (p. 80). They discuss how creation is subjected to frustration because of human sin and at the future of creation with a careful study of Romans 8:19-22.
The final section of the book looks at specific ways to care for creation. They claim that “there is no conflict between gospel and creation care” and that “care for the created world is a necessary implication of the gospel” (p.176). But I am not sure what this means as they state earlier that “creation care is part of the gospel itself” (p. 172). They detail challenges creation is facing, including biodiversity loss, loss of the world’s forests, the plight of the oceans, and a changing climate.
The final chapter shows how we can care for creation and worship the Creator. They use the acronym AWAKE to summarize how we can live out a biblical theology of creation care:
- Attentiveness—to the community of creation where we live.
- Walking—a way to connect with our local community.
- Activism—working together to face environmental challenges.
- Konsumerism (intentionally misspelled)—a challenge to our culture of consumerism.
- Eating—remembering that our choices can help the environment.
This book is full of biblical wisdom and practical ways to care for creation.
Reviewer rating is 4.5 of 5 stars ★★★★½
The New Elder’s Handbook: A Biblical Guide to Developing Faithful Leaders
Greg R. Scharf and Arthur Kok (Baker, 2018). 192 pp.
Scharf, professor emeritus at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Kok, director of training for the Orchard Network, have written a practical training program to help raise up future leaders for the church. The book consists of 75 theological and practical questions for new or prospective church leaders. They cover issues of church practice, doctrine, godly living, and biblical worldview. Church leaders need to have clear, succinct, biblical answers to questions like how legalism differs from gospel obedience, how to receive criticism, how to address conflict, and how to articulate a Christian worldview. They give Scriptures to work through and resources for further study. They also have a thematic resource for discipling others with questions and assignments along with recommended reading. This book is a rich resource for developing the next generation of leaders.
Reviewer rating is 4 of 5 stars ★★★★☆
Jesus in Jerusalem: The Last Days
Eckhard J. Schnabel (Eerdmans, 2018). 680 pp.
Schnabel, a German theologian and New Testament professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, traces the events of Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem. He focuses on the people mentioned (72 individuals and groups), the 17 places that Jesus visited or was taken to, and the timelines that help us understand the progression of events. His longest chapter details the 24 events that took place during the final week, and the last chapter looks at the significance of these events for the followers of Jesus. This is a book for all who want to learn more about the passion of Jesus. Schnabel’s careful and detailed work will help every reader better understand the gospel accounts of Jesus’ last week and what it means to be a follower of Jesus.