Monday, July 25, 2016

Book: Ordinary Saints

Theologian and ethicist Robert Benne addresses the Christian life in its religious and moral dimensions by writing about the vocation of the Christian in daily life.  With clarity and authority, he discusses Christian identity, the call of God, moral development, and marriage and family life, among other topics. This fully revised edition includes a study guide for use in classrooms and church study groups.

Contents

  1. Our fragmented world
  2. The Call of God - the divine initiative
  3. The Call of God - Christian nurture-filling the cup of being
  4. The calling of a Christian - spilling the cup:  Places of Responsibility
  5. The calling of a Christian - spilling the cup:  Moral Development
  6. The calling of a Christian - spilling the cup:  The Christian's calling toward Theonomy
  7. The callings of a Christian:  Marriage and family life
  8. The callings of a Christian:  Work
  9. The callings of a Christian:  Public Life
  10. The callings of a Christian:  The Church


Small Catechism apps

The Small Catechism is available in a number of apps:

GOOGLE PLAY
Augsburg Fortress version
CPH version
Triglot Concordia version
Public domain version
Indonesian (Batak) version

APPLE ITUNES STORE
Augsburg Fortress version
CPH version

if you are aware of other versions please email richardschwedes@gmail.com

Book and lecture: The myth of religious violence

The idea that religion has a dangerous tendency to promote violence is part of the conventional wisdom of Western societies, and it underlies many of our institutions and policies, from limits on the public role of religion to efforts to promote liberal democracy in the Middle East. 
William T. Cavanaugh challenges this conventional wisdom by examining how the twin categories of religion and the secular are constructed. A growing body of scholarly work explores how the category 'religion' has been constructed in the modern West and in colonial contexts according to specific configurations of political power. Cavanaugh draws on this scholarship to examine how timeless and transcultural categories of 'religion and 'the secular' are used in arguments that religion causes violence. He argues three points: 
1) There is no transhistorical and transcultural essence of religion. What counts as religious or secular in any given context is a function of political configurations of power; 
2) Such a transhistorical and transcultural concept of religion as non-rational and prone to violence is one of the foundational legitimating myths of Western society; 
3) This myth can be and is used to legitimate neo-colonial violence against non-Western others, particularly the Muslim world.




Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bible: Jesus centred bible

Encounter Jesus in a Fresh Way Throughout the Entire Bible
Blue lettering highlights more than 600 passages in the Old Testament pointing to Jesus—references and promises that show God’s love story for your life.
You’ll see where Jesus appears, cover-to-cover, in every book of the Bible. Distinctive blue lettering helps you quickly and easily discover what’s most important in the Bible: Jesus.

The Jesus Centred bible helps you build your understanding—and your faith in Jesus—with these unique features:

  • Jesus in Every Book introductions to Old and New Testament books, written by prominent Christian leaders, show how each book in the Bible points straight to Jesus.
  • "Get to Know Jesus" one-chapter-a-day Bible-reading plan helps you spend time with Jesus every day.
  • Reframing Jesus Break-Outs give you “aha” insights into the people, places, and social forces that framed Jesus’ ministry.
  • Jesus Questions draw you closer to Jesus as you ponder the purpose of his words and actions. And these provocative questions are great discussion starters for small groups, family devotions, outreach—anywhere you want to launch a compelling conversation about Jesus.
  • Jesus’ spoken words and references to Jesus are highlighted with red letters in the New Testament.
  • Names of Jesus are highlighted throughout the New Testament, giving insights into Jesus by examining how writers of the Bible referred to Jesus.



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Book: What Christians ought to believe - the Apostles Creed

Modern Christians have often hesitated to embrace the ancient creeds because of our “nothing but the Bible” tradition. In What Christians Ought to Believe Michael Bird opens our eyes to the possibilities of the Apostle’s Creed as a way to explore and understand the basic teachings of the Christian faith.
Bringing together theological commentary, tips for application, and memorable illustrations, What Christians Ought to Believe summarizes the basic tenets of the Christian faith using the Apostle’s Creed as its entryway. After first emphasizing the importance of creeds for the formation of the Christian faith, each chapter, following the Creed’s outline, introduces the Father, the Son, and the Spirit and the Church. An appendix includes the Apostles’ Creed in the original Latin and Greek.
What Christians Ought to Believe is ideally suited for both the classroom and the church setting to teach beginning students and laypersons the basics of what Christians ought to affirm if they are to be called Christians.

Reviews
The Apostles’ Creed is chiseled in stone in the chapel of Beeson Divinity School, and every candidate for admission is asked to write an essay on it. Thank you, Michael Bird, for a fresh exposition of this classic expression of our Christian faith. Thank you for reminding us of what too many Protestants, evangelicals no less than liberals, have forgotten: Creeds matter! -- Timothy George, , founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

You know what I love about Michael? He writes in a colorful, accessible, and engaging way even though he is a scholar of epic proportions; he writes to regular people like me. I’m going to take the Staff of Transformation Church through What Christians Ought To Believe and I will use it introduce new Christians to the faith. -- Derwin L. Gray, , Lead Pastor Transformation Church, author of The High Definition Leader

We all have a tradition through which we read Scripture, and Michael Bird argues that the Apostle’s Creed ought to be that tradition. Far from competing with the Bible, this ancient summary of the faith is an aid in rightly understanding the Bible. Bird approaches the creed as a syllabus for teaching basic Christian belief, and like the experienced professor that he is, guides his readers through the creed by highlighting the contours of the narrative and the convictions of the faith. Mike’s books have been a constant source of encouragement for me, and in this one, the Bird soars high in showing the sweeping narrative of Scripture and the core beliefs that emerge from it. I’m grateful that because of this book many will be able to say with more conviction and clarity: 'I believe.' -- Jeremy Treat, , Pastor at Reality LA; professor at Biola University; author of The Crucified King

The genius of this book is the way in which it makes profound truth a pleasure to read. The general reader will be both engaged and richly encouraged by Bird’s winsome exploration of the Apostle’s Creed. His direct and even chatty style makes you feel as if you are visiting an ancient Cathedral in the company of a friendly and yet knowledgeable tour guide. I would commend What Christians Ought to Believe to study groups and to individual Christians looking to deepen not just their knowledge of the Christian faith but their knowledge of the Triune God. -- Rev Dr. Michael P Jensen, , St Mark’s Anglican Church, Sydney

Michael Bird has done a huge favor for those whose traditions need to be reacquainted with the Apostles’ Creed as more than a pedantic statement. He uses the creed as it was intended to be used – to teach and form Christians in the living way of Jesus! Well-researched and engagingly written, Bird’s volume will prove valuable in both church and academy, for those considering Christian faith as well as seasoned saints. His wit, clarity, and scholarship reflect the inherent winsomeness of the theological task and of a creed-contoured faith. I’m already looking for ways to use it. -- Don J. Payne, , Associate Professor of Theology and Christian Formation, Denver Seminary

What Christians Ought to Believe is more than a clear, concise exposition of the essential tenets of faith informed by the very best of biblical and theological scholarship. With deep-rooted evangelical conviction and his trademark wit, Professor Bird also makes a compelling case that even committed biblicists can appreciate the beauty, instructional value, and fidelity to Scripture found in the ancient creed. -- Rhyne R. Putman, , Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary