Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: Abusing Scripture: The Consequences of Misreading the Bible By, Manfred Brauch IVP Academic



Abusing Scripture: 
The Consequences of Misreading the Bible [Paperback]



Manfred Brauch 

  • Publisher: IVP Academic (March 17, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0830825797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830825790


This is one of the best books on the topic of Biblical Misrepresentation I have read. Braunch has a definite way of putting into clear context sections of scripture that have for years been pulled out of context and form fitted to someones doctrinal idea of a "truth". Many times preachers will unknowingly pull a sentence or two out as a sermon illustration or as a topic starter thinking there is no harm in this, but what happens when we begin adding to The Word ends up belittling the truth of scripture. Its not our job to make scripture fit our sermon or our notes, but rather our duty to make sure our sermons and notes fit the truth of Scripture. After Reading this book I have to agree with the very appropriate and concise review given by George P. Wood the Director of Ministerial Resourcing for the Assemblies of God.

 Brauch is past professor and president of Palmer Theological Seminary (formerly Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary), as well as the author of Set Free to Be and Hard Sayings of Paul. The seminary has been described as "conservative, yet progressive" because of its combination of theological orthodoxy and social activism. The primary example of this conservative progressivism is undoubtedly Ron Sider, Palmer's best-known professor. Brauch is also an able exponent of that tradition.

Abusing Scripture offers a sixfold taxonomy of ways evangelicals (including us Pentecostals) are guilty of "doing violence to" Scripture:

  •  The abuse of the whole gospel through a failure to address human need for salvation in both "personal and social dimensions"
  • The abuse of selectivity, which "is not an outright distortion of the meaning of given texts" but rather entails "ignoring or rejecting...other parts or passages of Scripture that support a different teaching, or present an alternative perspective, or advocate an opposing view"
  • The abuse of biblical balance by means of "emphasizing certain biblical doctrines, perspectives, teachings, themes or mandates, while ignoring or minimizing the equal, or even greater, importance of complementary ones"
  • The abuse of words, "when words and expressions are decoded (by teachers or readers) in ways that are not in keeping with the original encoding [by the biblical authors]"
  • The abuse of literary and theological context, in which the meanings of specific passages are not derived from "the immediate textual materials that surround them" or from "the overarching theological concepts in broader literary contexts"
  • The abuse of historical situation and cultural reality, which is really a failure to discern between "those things in Scripture that are culturally or historically relative, and, therefore, limited in their inspired authority to the people and situations addressed at that time, and the things that are transcultural and transhistorical, where the authoritative Word of God ins binding for all Christians at all times and in all cultures"

Throughout his discussion of this taxonomy, Brauch returns to three illustrations of these kinds of abuses in practice: "(1) the use and justification of force and violence in human affairs; (2) the relationship between men and women in home, church and society; and (3) the concern for justice and the sanctity of life in all areas of human relationships, institutions and culture."

Source: http://www.amazon.com/review/R23U6F0YQUQT7C/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0830825797&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain (Paperback) IVP


God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain 

Chad Meister (Editor), James K. Dew Jr. (Editor)


  • Publisher: IVP Books (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830837841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830837847



This book is a very good resource for an individual looking into this topic either for the first time or are relatively new to the argument.

I am impressed with the large number of essays covering a vast number of topics, its great to see so many different individuals contributed to this book thereby attempting to reduce bias. While the majority of the contributors are Evangelical Christians, the number of scholars and theologians compiled in one volume are generally not available outside of a costly text book.
I am always hesitant to promote any one book, but rather I recommend gathering a number of books on the same topic, so as to be able to get a wide range perspectives, however this book does a good job of making those perspectives available.
I am also very glad to see the debate between William Lane Craig and Michael Tooley available in print, I wish there were more of these types of resources available.
In all I would recommend this for an individual who is learning about the topic of evil, its not overly heady, but does give a good basis of comparison.
While no one volume could possibly cover all points of this ever changing and hotly contested topic it's a good book, in true InterVarsity Press form this book is well thought out with highly credible contributors to create a very timely book.
There are a number of recent situations that have occurred where the question of how to reconcile God and evil or pain. This topic is certainly needing a few more good in depth studies but I am happy to say that this book does a good job of giving well thought out answers to the questions.

We must be mindful of overstating or over expecting any single volume to cover all sides of an argument. The most we should logically expect is that a volume worth reading (and buying) will have a good coverage. I firmly believe that this book qualifies.