Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Book I'm Most Anticipating in 2012

It's an embarrassment of riches, really; we live in an age where great resources for understanding the Bible are plentiful. What a blessing. Or, what a distraction! With the glut of resources, I'm constantly being reminded that I am simply not able to read all of the great books that are being published. As I get intentional about what I read, the need for good practical books remains. For example, my wife and I are currently reading Tim Keller's book on marriage out loud to each other, and it's been amazing. Likely the best book on marriage either one of us have ever read! But the focus of my reading is usually on what I might call 'tool books,' or books that are really tools to help me better read and understand the Bible for myself. I spend the weight of my time there, because these books help me to dig for myself into God's Word.

Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants

For me, then, the most anticipated book release of 2012 is "Kingdom Through Covenant," by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum. In this book, an Old Testament Professor(Gentry) and a Systematic/Biblical Theology Professor(Wellum) team up to examine what they call the backbone of both testaments. Here is the publisher's description:

Many theological discussions come to an impasse when parties align behind either covenant theology or dispensationalism. But Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum now propose a significant biblical theology of the covenants that avoids the extremes of both classical systems and holds the potential to break the theological impasse. Kingdom through Covenant is not a system-driven work, but a careful exposition of the covenants as key to the narrative plot structure of the whole Bible. 
Kingdom through Covenant emphasizes the importance of the covenant concept throughout Scripture, showing that crucial theological differences can be resolved by understanding how the biblical covenants unfold and relate to one another. Rather than looking at covenant as the center of biblical theology, the authors show how the covenants form the backbone of Scripture and the key to understanding its overarching story. They ultimately show that the covenant concept forms a solid platform for systematic theology. 
By incorporating the latest available research from the ancient Near East and examining implications of their work for Christology, ecclesiology, eschatology, and hermeneutics—Gentry and Wellum present a thoughtful and viable alternative to both covenant theology and dispensationalism.

Canadians can pre-order it at a hefty discount here.

Americans can get an even better discount here.

Buy it and read it!

(Did I mention that both of these professors are Canadians? From my neck of the woods? The potential blessing of reading it just multiplied tenfold!)


  1. Ian, I have read the Kellers book as well. Wow. It's the kind of book that you want everyone to read, so rich with insights. Truly excellent. I want to give it to my Pastor to read, as he speaks into so many lives through counseling. But I hardly know him, as I have only been at the church a few months. Speaking from your experience, how would you react to a member of your congregation giving you a book to read?

  2. Hi Maureen,

    These are great thoughts. I have a two thoughts, the latter of which likely applies to your situation.

    1) If a person is giving a pastor a book b/c they are not so subtly dissatisfied with his ministry and they want to correct it, they should not give their pastor a book. They should either submit to his imperfect leadership or go to a different church.

    2) I get the sense from your comment that you appreciate your pastor, and that your heart is for him...that you want to encourage him. This is great. Speaking from experience, when people in my congregation have bought me books with this attitude, I've been almost universally encouraged. At the same time, though (to be honest), I often find it hard to get the time to read those books because I'm so intentional with what I read. I often have a plan, have certain issues I'm currently working on, etc. I'd simply catch your pastor after a service, tell him how much you appreciate his ministry, tell him there is a book you've been reading that you've been so encouraged by you want to bless him as well, and ask him if he'd like to have it if you bought it for him. But that's just my opinion. Or you could just by him the book and in a week or a year or in 20 years he could read it and be encouraged...or never read it and simply be encouraged that you thought to buy this for him.

    How is that for garbled non-advice?

  3. Thanks Ian, that is actually good advice. Bottom line is, what have I got to lose? And there is much to be gained if he ever did read the book. He is a good man, and loves his sheep I know. I don't think he would find it presumptuous of me, only as you say, he likely has lots of books recommended to him. But then, if God wants him to read it, he will do so at some point!