Posts Tagged ‘Tim Tennent’

I set out this year to read some books from outside my normal genre, biblical studies (especially commentaries), in order to broaden my horizons a bit.  I read a number of books I thought were excellent, some of which have been reviewed (click our “Book Reviews” tab and check them out).  But, I thought I’d point out my favorites from this year.  Note well: these books may not have been published in 2008, but I read them this year for the first time (hence the title “New Reads” rather than “New Books”).  Here they are, in no particular order.

Jesus Made in America, by Stephen J Nichols

I loved this book.  I certainly had some disagreement- the Puritan lovefest, some (but not all) of his criticisms of modern Christian music and movies- but overall Nichols succeeded in showing how American views of Jesus have shifted throughout the generations, often influenced by culture rather than the Bible.  I came away from this book challenged about my own understanding of who Jesus was/is, and not so confident of our own ability to understand Him without cultural baggage making its way into the process.  Jesus Made in America has catipulted Nichols into my “authors I must read” category (in fact, I’m finishing another book of his right now).

An Old Testament Theology, by Bruce Waltke

I’ve been working on a multi-part review of this book for some time, due partly to its massive size and partly to my busy schedule.  Don’t let my last review of this book deceive you, it’s an excellent read and a learning experience well worth the time.  Students of the OT won’t be surprised by this, however, as Waltke’s reputation precedes him.

Neither Poverty Nor Riches, by Craig Blomberg

I’m getting to this book about 10 years later than I should have.  Blomberg, as usual, was informative, challenging and enjoyable.  For anyone interested in ministering to the poor, this is a must read.

Worship Matters, by Bob Kauflin

I’m not a worship leader.  I have no musical gifting whatsoever.  But I’m convinced that worship through music is an integral part of the teaching aspect of the church, so as a Bible teacher I’m fascinated with how we can better use worship to teach people about God.  Bob Kauflin helps us in this area, and gives tons of great insight in practical matters for worship leaders as well. 

Theology in the Context of World Christianity, by Timothy Tennent

This is the only book on this list I haven’t reviewed.  Full disclosure: Tennent was one of my professors at Gordon-Conwell, and one of the finest lecturers I’ve ever heard.  I can’t think of anyone more qualified to write this book.  Tennent is a top-notch missiologist with a strong concern for a theologically grounded approach to missions.  I remember in classes how he would plead for us to listen to the non-Western church and learn from how they “do theology.”  This book helps us do that very thing, by letting us see theology through the eyes of the global church.  This has impacted me in a powerful way; I felt like I never really understood hermeneutics until I studied missions.  It has made me a better student of the Bible.  Anyone interested in theology and/or missions ought to read this book.  I look forward to his next project, a Trinitarian Missiology.

Okay, I’ll stop there.  There were other good ones, to be sure, but these stand out for me.  As for 2009, I have a number of books I’m looking forward to reading, but especially G K Beale’s We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry.  I’ve been jonesing to read this book since I first heard about it, and thanks to Adrianna at IVP, I now have a copy and will be writing a review sometime in the future.  I’m getting excited just thinking about it!

What about you?  What have been your favorite books of 2008?

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Tim Tennent easily makes my list of the top 5 academic lecturers I’ve ever heard.  I had the pleasure of taking his Introduction to World Missions class in the winter of 2006, and much of his teaching still echoes in my head today.

Dr. Tennent has several classes up on BiblicalTraining.org, some of which are yet to be completed (e.g., missing lectures from Buddhism).  The content here is excellent, with a few limitations intrinsic to the medium:  (1)  The audio quality can be muddled from time to time, and it’s next to impossible to hear any questions from the class.  (2)  Some of these lectures (e.g., Buddhism) appear to have been recorded on tape, as such, there is an obvious point where the engineer had to switch tapes, resulting in some gaps in the lectures.  (3)  You’ll miss out on any visuals that Dr. Tennent provides.  This can be disappointing, since we all know the value of a picture to describe something (e.g., Buddhist iconography)  You’ll have to dig through Wikipedia or the like for visual aids.  (4)  Since there are no handouts, you’ll have to guess on the spelling of certain principles and beliefs, and doubly-so since there are often many variations on tranlisteration of foreign languages.

Please don’t let the shortcomings above scare you away, however.  Any one of these lectures is still immensely informative.  Tennent lectures with all the relevance, clarity and humility that make him one of my all time favorites.  I especially appreciate his ability to keep his lectures from mere academic exercises. He  always grounds his material in practical matters; what you’ll see every day “on the street,” as it were.

All this, and the price of admission is simply your time, which will be well-spent indeed.  Check him out, and send me your thanks later :)

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