Posted tagged ‘Book Preview’

Book Alert: Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption

June 4, 2008

Title: Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption
Joel Beeke
Reformation Heritage Books
Release Date: June 3, 2008
Pages: 134
Format: Hardcover
ISBN 13-digit: 9781601780409
Retail Price: $13.00
Table of Contents: YES (below)
Intro: YES

From RHB:

The Puritans have gotten bad press for their supposed lack of teaching on the doctrine of spiritual adoption. In Heirs with Christ, Joel R. Beeke dispels this caricature and shows that the Puritan era did more to advance the idea that every true Christian is God’s adopted child than any other age of church history. This little book lets the Puritans speak for themselves, showing how they recognized adoption’s far-reaching, transforming power and comfort for the children of God.

RHB for $10.00
Amazon for $10.00
Monergism Books $9.88
Westminister Bookstore $9.88
CBD for n/a

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction: Correcting a Caricature
2. The Greatness and Comprehensiveness of Adoption
3. Adoption Compared in the Two Testaments
4. What Adoption is Not
5. The Westminster Assembly’s Definitions of Adoption
6. The Transforming Power of Adoption
7. Pastoral Advice in Promoting Adoption
8. The Marks of Adoption
9. Transformed Relationships in Adoption
10. The Privileges and Benefits of Adoption
11. The Responsibilities or Duties of Adoption
12. Motives for Pursuing the Consciousness of Adoption
13. Warning, Invitation, and Comfort

Scripture Index


Calling for Truth recently had a show on “Together for Adoption” where Joel Beeke, along with Russell Moore and Dan Cruver were guests. You can download (MP3) the show by clicking here.


“Dr. Beeke is well-known for his landmark work setting the record straight on the Puritan doctrine of assurance. Now he comes to our aid again with a superb treatment of the Puritans on adoption. I welcome his expert entry into this important field, and commend his keen insights and careful analysis to all who are interested in knowing ‘what the Puritans really said’ about adoption.”

Ligon Duncan

“In this short but spiritually substantive book, Dr. Beeke—a wise and careful ‘pastor theologian’ in the best sense of both words—introduces us to the Puritans’ comforting and transforming work on spiritual adoption. More than just historically informative, this volume should be warmly welcomed by all Christians who want to learn more about this crucial aspect of our identity as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ.”

Justin Taylor

About the Author:

Joel R. Beeke is pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and a prolific author.

Book Alert: Engaging the Doctrine of God

January 25, 2008

Title: Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspectives
Bruce L. McCormack
IVP Academic
Release Date: February 2008
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
ISBN 13-digit: 978-0-8010-3552-4
Retail Price: $26.99
Table of Contents: No
Intro: Yes
Sample Chapter: No

From IVP:

Traditionally, evangelical theology has been committed to a position of classical theism, emphasizing God’s immutability and omniscience. Of late, traditional affirmations have been challenged by theologians who affirm a more christological focus (often drawing from Karl Barth’s theology) and by those who affirm a theology of “open theism.”

The essays gathered in this collection give evidence of the depth and creativity of contemporary evangelical theology as well as the variety of positions held by those within the movement. Part one focuses on New Testament studies and the earliest development of a Christian doctrine of God. Part two considers two figures who have widely influenced evangelical theology. Part three considers opinions on the cross, the suffering and sovereignty of God, and the contemporary debate, and part four concludes with a chapter on theology and pastoral care.

Both scholars and clergy will find that these essays represent the entire range of thought within the evangelical tradition. The contributors provide readers with a stimulating guide to the contemporary debate.

Buy @:

InterVarsity for $21.59
Amazon for $17.81
CBD for $17.99

Table of Contents:

1 Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference Sermon: The Lamb That Was Slain – David F. Wright

Part 1: New Testament and Early Christian Origins of the Doctrine of God
2 Christian Origins and the Question of God – N.T. Wright
3 The Wrath of God – D.A. Carson

Part 2: Historical Perspectives
4 John Calvin and the Hiddenness of God – Paul Helm
5 Jonathan Edwards’ God: Trinity, Individuatio, and Divine Simplicity – Oliver Crisp

Part 3: Theological Perspectives
6 Life in and of Himself: Reflections on God’s Aseity – John Webster
7 God and the Cross – Henri Blocher
8 The Compassion of God: Exodus 34:5-9 in the Light of Exodus 32-34 – Pierre Berthoud
9 The Sovereignty of God – Stephen N. Williams
10 The Actuality of God – Karl Barth in Conversation with Open Theism – Bruce L. McCormack

Part 4: Practical Theology Perspectives
11 The Doctrine of God and Pastoral Care – Donald Macleod

Initial Thoughts:

These chapters were initially lectures given at the 11th Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference in 2005. What you will find in these chapters is not a consensus or stated orthodox position on the doctrine of God, but as McCormack explains in the introduction, the approach is exploratory. Having said that, there will inevitably be chapters in which I (and likely others) will disagree while interacting with their presuppositions. Nevertheless, this intermediate level treatment on theology proper comes with well-credentialed scholarship on a first-order doctrine. Throughout history, the character of God has been central to the minds of philosophers and committed theologians alike, and such a study is a worthy endeavor, especially in light of recent developments in Protestant thought.

About the Editor:

Bruce L. McCormack (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary; Dr. theol. h.c., Friedrich Schiller University) is the Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a world-renowned Barth scholar and the author or editor of several volumes, including Justification in Perspective, Engaging the Doctrine of God, and Orthodox and Modern.

Book Alert: Faith Comes By Hearing

January 17, 2008

Title: Faith Comes By Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism
Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson
IVP Academic
Release Date: March 2008
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
ISBN 13-digit: 978-0-8308-2590-5
Retail Price: $23.00
Table of Contents: Yes
Intro: No
Sample Chapter: No

From IVP:

The debate swirls and feelings run deep. What is the fate of the unevangelized? The traditional position–that apart from an explicit faith in Jesus no one is saved–seems to have fallen out of favor with many evangelicals. Here is a passionate but irenic response to the arguments of those who believe that the unevangelized can (or might) be saved apart from knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Building on the insights of others, nine scholars introduce readers, even those with little background, to the ongoing discussion. Key questions–Is general revelation sufficient? Are other religions salvific? Do holy pagans exist? Must faith be explicit? Is exclusivism unjust?–are probed and answered from a biblical, theological and historical perspective.

The book’s positive thrust is summed up by editors Robert Peterson and Christopher Morgan : “God is passionately engaged in gathering people to know, love and worship him from every tribe, language, people and nation. And he has called us to join him on this mission.”

Buy @:

InterVarsity for $18.40
Amazon for $15.64
CBD for $16.99

Table of Contents:

1 Introduction by Robert A. Peterson
2 Inclusivisms and Exclusivisms by Christopher W. Morgan
3 General Revelation: Sufficient or Insufficient? by Daniel Strange
4 Exclusivism: Unjust or Just? by William Edgar
5 Other Religions: Saving or Secular? by Eckhard J. Schnabel
6 Holy Pagans: Reality or Myth? by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
7 Saving Faith: Implicit or Explicit? by Stephen J. Wellum
8 Inclusivism versus Exclusivism on Key Biblical Texts by Robert A. Peterson
9 The Gospel for All Nations by Andreas J. Köstenberger
10 God’s Zeal for His World by J. Nelson Jennings
11 Answers to Notable Questions by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson

Initial Thoughts:

The issue of inclusivism is one that I have invested a great deal of time and study, and I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to read the essays from the contributing authors. Undoubtedly, there will be some essays stronger and more substantive than others, but that is the nature of an edited work. I will go ahead and tell you now, however, that the price of the book is redeemed in Dr. Wellum’s essay alone. It is superb. Also check out Strange’s essay as I believe he has the most convincing critique of inclusivism, in particular Clark Pinnock’s pneumatological inclusivism. The issue of “holy pagans” (also called noble savages or pagan saints) is a key argument for inclusivists, so I am intrigued to see whether Kaiser can definitively address the arguments posited by proponents of inclusivism. Whether you are an exclusivist or inclusivist, this book will certainly be a resource you will refer back to for years to come. Hopes are that there will be continued scholarship and treatment on this subject matter as the perennial debate is one found on the lips of skeptics and scholars alike.


“The fate of those who have never heard the gospel is one of the great mysteries of our faith. Christians have long speculated about whether and how God may have spoken to those who have not been exposed to the church’s preaching of salvation through Christ alone. This book deals respectfully with the different views of the subject which are found among evangelical believers while seeking to remain faithful to the teaching of Jesus himself. It is a model of how we should discuss such a delicate matter and come to a decision which upholds the uniqueness of the one and only Savior of mankind.”
—Gerald Bray, Research Professor, Beeson Divinity School

“A helpful, scholarly critique of inclusivism by various evangelical authors.”
—Donald G. Bloesch, Professor of Theology Emeritus, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa

“No greater challenge faces the church of Jesus Christ than religious inclusivism–the belief that sincere people of many religions have enough truth to be saved from spiritual ruin. In an age of tolerance for all that does not seem to hurt or inhibit, no note sounds more discordant than an exclusivistic requirement of faith in Jesus Christ. Yet–with patience, respect and biblical rigor–Morgan, Peterson et al. show such an exclusive claim is in the Bible. Nothing could be more insensitive and arrogant than repeating this claim–unless it is true. Then, nothing could be more gracious and necessary than this book’s message.”
—Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary

“For those who are more interested in faithful alignment with what Scripture says than in sentimentality on this extraordinarily challenging subject, this is now the book to read. Courteous in tone yet thoroughly engaged with those who take contrary positions, the contributors lead us with exegetical care, theological poise and pastoral sensitivity through a thicket of common objections. I warmly recommend this book.”
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“These thoughtful, irenic and informed essays provide an important response to more ‘inclusivist’ perspectives on the question of the destiny of the unevangelized. This is a helpful contribution to a complex and controversial set of issues.”
Harold Netland, Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism is a refreshing voice in an increasingly confusing evangelical literary output on matters pertaining to human religions. This timely book is a very helpful guide to Christians who want to seriously examine the biblical and theological issues for themselves. Useful to specialists and nonspecialists.”
Tite Tiénou, Dean and Professor of Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Additional Related Resources:

The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism by D.A. Carson
The Possibility of the Salvation of the Unevangelized: An Analysis of Inclusivism in Recent Evangelical Theology by Daniel Strange
Is Jesus the Only Savior? by Ronald Nash
Who Will Be Saved? Defending the Biblical Understanding of God, Salvation, and Evangelism edited by Paul House and Gregory Thornbury
Is Jesus the Only Way? by Phillip Graham Ryken
The Population of Heaven: A Biblical Response to the Inclusivist Position on Who Will Be Saved by Ramesh Richard
What of the Unevangelized? by J. Oswald Sanders
“Restrictivism” by Ronald Nash in What About Those Who Have Never Heard? edited by John Sanders
“A Particularlist View: An Evidentialist Approach” by R. Douglas Geivett and W. Gary Phillips in Four Views of Salvation in a Pluralistic World edited by Dennis Okholm and Timothy Phillips

Book Alert: The Future of Justification (for $5)

October 24, 2007

Title: The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright
Author: John Piper
Release Date: November 1, 2007
Pages: 240
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN 10-digit: 1-5813-49641
ISBN 13-digit: 978-1581349641
Retail Price: $14.99
Table of Contents: No
Intro: No
Sample Chapter: No

From Crossway:

N.T. Wright, a world-renowned New Testament scholar and bishop of Durham in the Church of England, has spent years studying the apostle Paul’s writings and has offered a “fresh perspective” on Paul’s theology. Among his conclusions are that “the discussions of justification in much of the history of the church—certainly since Augustine—got off on the wrong foot, at least in terms of understanding Paul—and they have stayed there ever since.”

Wright’s confidence that the church has gotten it wrong for 1,500 years, given his enormous influence, has set off warning bells for Christian leaders such as John Piper, a pastor and New Testament scholar. If Wright’s framework for interpreting the New Testament text and his understanding of justification find a home in the church, not only could the doctrine of justification be distorted for generations to come, but the New Testament writers’ original intent could be silenced. So Piper is sounding a crucial warning in this book, reminding all Christians to exercise great caution regarding “fresh” interpretations of the Bible and to hold fast to the biblical view of justification.

Buy @:

Desiring God for $5.00 (through Oct. 31, 2007)
Crossway for $14.99
Amazon for $10.19
CBD for $11.99
Wal-Mart for $12.74

Select Online Books by John Piper:

Desiring God
The Pleasures of God (ch. 1-3)
Future Grace (ch. 1-3)
A Hunger for God
Don’t Waste Your Life
God Is the Gospel
What Jesus Demands from the World
When I Don’t Desire God
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ
The Passion of Jesus Christ
Counted Righteous in Christ
Sex and the Supremacy of Christ

Initial Thoughts:

One of the things I have long admired about John Piper is not only his passion for the gospel, but how this passion propels him to bring a massive offense (the mobilization of missions and evangelism) and a robust defense. Over the years, we have seen Piper defend the gospel from inclusivists and open theists alike and has written on other important issues including abortion, homosexuality, and gender roles. Regarding the issue of justification, Piper is no novice (go here and here for evidence), and it is quite telling that a book that has yet to be released already has a sales ranking of 3,416 on Amazon. However, it is not the popularity of the book or the height of the controversy or even the profundity of Piper’s argument that one should consider; rather, all Christians on whatever side of the debate should consider his gentility and gravitas, his passion and precision, and his due consideration and criticism. In a day where controversies and debates are thriving, perhaps an unintended outcome would be not only a tome of the future of justification but also a manual for Christ-like conversation.


“The so-called ‘New Perspective on Paul’ (NPP) has stirred up enormous controversy, especially, but not exclusively, in the English-speaking world. The issues are so complex that it has taken time to mount a careful evaluation. During the last decade many have undertaken the task, often with helpful contributions. John Piper’s work may not be the last word on the subject, but it brings to Christian leaders everywhere five enormous strengths: (1) By focusing on N. T. Wright, by far the most influential writer of the NPP, Piper brings to bear a badly needed focus. (2) Despite the interlocking complexities of the debate—Tom Wright has an amazing capacity to move theological and exegetical pieces around, creating such a new tableau that words have shifted in meaning and theological notions their conceptual location—Piper has written with admirable clarity. (3) Better yet, John has engaged Tom with simultaneous depth and courtesy. That is a rare but wholly admirable combination. (4) Certain parts of John Piper’s book have quietly broken new ground—not least his handling of “righteousness” and “justification,” their connection with the “gospel,” and his careful insistence that making the words mean different things for the Judge in God’s law-court and for the defendant in that law-court really cannot be sustained in the light of Scripture. (5) John Piper sees the moral and spiritual implications of what he is seeking to explain. Are men and women saved, on the last day, on the basis of the whole life lived? But if not, what is the nature of the connection between justification and good works? The issues are not secondary, and, pastor that he is, John Piper will not allow believers to put their trust in anyone or anything other than the crucified and resurrected Savior.”

— D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL

In this captivating and marvelously clear book John Piper defends the truth that justification is the heart of the gospel. Contrary to Wright, justification does not merely declare who is saved. Rather, justification is a doctrine about how we are saved. As Piper rightly emphasizes, justification is about being right with God, receiving the forgiveness of our sins, and being counted righteous in Christ. One of the striking features of the book is that Wright’s views are presented with scrupulous fairness. No cheap or straw-man arguments here. Nor is there even a whiff of animosity against Wright personally. What animates Piper is the stunning beauty of Christ and the crucial importance of the gospel. Piper reminds us, as Luther and Calvin did during the Reformation, that we have no assurance of forgiveness apart from a right understanding of justification. Further, the truth that our righteousness is in Christ gives God all the honor in our salvation, and comforts us with the truth that God is for us. I found this book to be not only doctrinally faithful but also to be spiritually strengthening.

— Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

Tom Wright’s challenge to the traditional understanding of justification by faith has stirred the church into rethinking one of its most fundamental beliefs. John Piper has taken on the task of examining Wright’s views, which he answers in a gracious but firm manner. This book is a model of how theological disagreements should be handled and the reader is reminded time and again to what extent the Gospel itself stands or falls on this issue. In comparing the works of Tom Wright to the text of the Apostle Paul’s letters Dr Piper lifts us above the controversies of the moment and shows us again how the glorious mercy of God was revealed to us in Jesus Christ. It is essential reading for every pastor and theological student and will be a major contribution to our understanding of what the great Apostle really said.

— Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Theology, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

A good biblical dialogue needs two good conversation partners, who work hard to understand each other and make their case biblically. Piper’s look at justification does this with a superb tone and a careful presentation of his case. He and Wright exchanged communication before this book went public. Piper appeals to the wisdom of the ages on justification, a wisdom deeply rooted in Scripture. Wright argues his approach is also deeply rooted in Scripture as seen through a fresh appreciation of the first century context of Paul’s writing, a context we too often underestimate. This dialogue is important for the church; Piper has put us in a position to hear both sides of the debate and understand what is at stake. He has served us all well by enabling the reader to be put in the place of considering what Scripture says as he or she listens to this conversation and to our God. Iron sharpens iron, and Scripture is a sword that cuts between the soul and Spirit. Be prepared to be sharpened by a careful dialogue about what justification is.

— Darrell Bock, Research Professor of NT Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

John Piper writes with a scholar’s pen, but he’s driven by a pastor’s heart. He feels deeply about the purity and clarity of the gospel, yet he is gracious, deferential, and obviously respectful of N. T. Wright. Still, his clarion call of what the gospel is, needed to be sounded forth. This book is timely, insightful, balanced, and compelling. And it shows that Wright’s version of the New Perspective is, in some respects, hardly different from the Old Perspective of Rome.

Not everyone will agree with all that Piper says, but the meticulous care with which he researched Wright’s views, and the careful nuancing in his treatment of the same, are a model of Christian grace and scholarship—all motivated, at bottom, by a concern for the health of the sheep and the honor of the Master Shepherd.

— Daniel B. Wallace, Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, Executive Director, Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, Co-author of Dethroning Jesus

“This book is clear, careful, meticulous, and honest. In a day when too much theological debate is spent loudly praising Diana of the Ephesians, it is refreshing to see a book tackle a subject of controversy in this way. I commend it highly.”

— Douglas Wilson, Pastor, Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho

“Biblical commentators since Augustine have struggled with how to understand the relationship between justification by faith and judgment by works. The advent of the New Perspective on Paul has further heightened this tension in recent days with several authors such as N. T. Wright placing more stress on the role of a transformed life as the basis of justification at the final judgment. In light of this, John Piper provides a constructive and critical engagement with the work of N. T. Wright, and Piper convincingly shows that justification, in its present and future tense, is anchored exclusively in the work of Christ and not in our obedience nor in works inspired by the Holy Spirit. Piper’s case possesses exegetical rigor, theological acumen, and pastoral sensitivity. Piper invites us all to marvel at the glory, the magnificence, and the grace of the God who justifies the ungodly through faith in his Son. This book is not a rehearsal of old dogmas, nor a polemical rant, but it is a fresh articulation of the gospel that Paul preached and it is written with a conviction and verve that will inspire young and old preachers to faithfully set forth the whole counsel of God to their flock.”

— Michael F. Bird, New Testament Lecturer, Highland Theological College, Scotland, Author of The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification and the New Perspective

As part of a wider concern that “the doctrine of justification is being blurred” in many of the contemporary debates, John Piper’s challenging yet courteous book takes issue with Bishop Tom Wright’s major theses regarding Paul’s teaching on justification. The Bishop of Durham’s views on God’s righteousness as covenant faithfulness, the relationship of justification to the gospel, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, as well as present and future justification are subjected to lengthy, searching yet sensitive critique. Dr. Piper recognizes that Bishop Wright is “a disciplined, thoughtful, rigorous handler of biblical texts and a lover of the church.” Moreover, he has sought to come to grips with everything Wright has written on Pauline justification, which is no small feat. He cites the bishop at length in order to “treat him with meticulous care.” Yet Piper believes that this fresh perspective disfigures the Pauline gospel. This is a serious critique of one of the foremost representatives of the New Perspective on Paul and deserves to be read by all who want to understand more fully and rejoice in God’s righteousness in Christ and his justifying the ungodly.

— Peter T. O’Brien, Senior Research Fellow, Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia

Additional Related Resources:

>> Interview with John Piper on Wright
Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven
>> This Man Went to His House Justified (important for context of book)
>> The Sufficiency of Christ’s Obedience in His Life and Death
>> When Does God Become 100% for Us?
>> Whose Death and Obedience Brings About the Fact That God Is Totally For Us? (part of Piper’s conclusion)