Book Review: The Lord’s Supper as the Sign and Meal of the New Covenant

The Lord's Supper as the Sign and Meal of the New CovenantThe Lord’s Supper as the Sign and Meal of the New Covenant by Guy Prentiss Waters
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This short book devotes a lot of space to covenant theology. It’s a typical Presbyterian treatment—covenant as the controlling theme of all scripture, two-covenant theology, etc. the actual treatment of the Lord’s Supper was decent, but basic.

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Book Review: Church Planting is for Wimps: How God Uses Messed-Up People to Plant Ordinary Churches That do Extraordinary Things

Church Planting Is for Wimps (Redesign): How God Uses Messed-Up People to Plant Ordinary Churches That Do Extraordinary Things (9marks)Church Planting Is for Wimps (Redesign): How God Uses Messed-Up People to Plant Ordinary Churches That Do Extraordinary Things by Mike McKinley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every pastor or preacher needs to read this book. Of those, especially the young preacher/pastor should read it. The older, experienced preacher/pastor should read it. The middle aged pastor/preacher should read it. Church members should read it to.

McKinley gives a view through his own eyes of the work of church revitalization. I don’t know the stats, probably most churches in this country are in a state of decline. Some recognize it and are happy to change things, just as long as the church continues doing everything the way it’s always been done and adding nothing new. Some don’t recognize it and will committedly go down with the ship. Others recognize but don’t know what to do or how to do it. As a young preacher who will eventually become a pastor, you will get one of those churches. This book will be a help to you.

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Book Review: Subversive Meals: An Analysis of the Lord’s Supper under Roman Domination During the First Century

Subversive Meals: An Analysis of the Lord's Supper under Roman Domination during the First CenturySubversive Meals: An Analysis of the Lord’s Supper under Roman Domination during the First Century by R. Alan Streett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book presents an informative and interesting study of the Graeco-Roman background of the first century churches’ communal meals, including the Lord’s Supper. It would have been good to have had some treatment of the Jewish background and influence on the early ekklesiai, and especially that of the synagogues. This approach to the New Testament suffers from a similar problem some have with Old Testament interpretation and the precise role of ANE mythopoeia. We certainly cannot ignore the Graeco-Roman milieu of the first century churches, but neither should we politicize the New Testament as though it were written entirely to subvert the Roman Empire. Egalitarian theology, two-age theology, and continuationism are a few problem theologies for the biblical interpretation in the book. With all that said, the Roman banquets and the extent of their influence on early churches hasn’t received enough attention.

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Book Review: Understanding the Congregation’s Authority

Understanding the Congregation's Authority (Church Basics)Understanding the Congregation’s Authority by Jonathan Leeman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m a firm believer in congregationalism as the only biblical model, but any attempt to build the case for congregationalism from the Old Testament is going to be problematic. First, the church is not in the Old Testament, but is a mystery revealed by Christ in the New Testament. That is not the same thing as saying the Old Testament has no relevance for the church. Leeman’s approach suffered from a covenant theology that has been developed theologically and not exegetically. He places the church at the end of the line of historical redemptive development as though the church is ultimate—Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Christ, church. He actually made the church out to be another Adam, which confuses the churches’ purpose and mission. There is only the first Adam and the last Adam, which is Christ. There is the first Adam and the second Adam is Christ. Leeman puts the church in a universal, invisible kingdom where the church is another Adam taking dominion of the earth. This is an over-realized eschatology where the church supersedes Israel and serves as a second priesthood. More could be said.

Where Leeman actually addressed congregational authority from the New Testament, he did a good job. There’s definitely good in this book, but it’s a shame it’s in such a mixed bag.

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Book Review: The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper

The Mystery Of The Lord's Supper (Vintage Puritan)The Mystery Of The Lord’s Supper by Thomas Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Watson is probably my favorite Puritan to read. I’m not a big Puritan fan altogether, and I am especially not a fan of modern Puritan wannabes. His approach is more theological and allegorical than exegetical, which is not unusual for Puritans. He is Christ-centered, devotional, and practical, which is where the book shines.

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