The Best 100 Theological Works & Commentaries

Last year, I put together my 100 Best Christian Books Ever Written List. To my pleasant surprise, each day people are purchasing books from this list.

I also made a special audio for it called Building Your Spiritual Library: Thoughts on Christian Books.

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Sometime later, I created a Kindle version of the 100 Best Books List.

Following that, I created my 100 Best Christian Academic Christian Book List. This list includes theological and scholarly works as well as New Testament commentaries.[Continue Reading...]

Where Do You Retreat?

Last year I wrote a post entitled The Secret to Recharging Your Creativity. In it, I talked about the need for re-creation and recharge.

When we examine the life of Jesus, we discover that He would sometimes retreat from the crowds, and even from His disciples, to recharge spiritually.

“He departed to a solitary place . . .” (Mark 1:35)

“He departed to a mountain . . .” (Mark 6:46)

“Jesus went to a desert place apart . . .” (Matt. 14:36)

The word “depart” in Greek means to leave, go away, or retreat.[Continue Reading...]

The Missio Dei

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

~ Matthew 6:10

As long as I’ve been a Christian, I’ve noted two things that believers routinely get riled up about. One is the role of the Spirit vs. the role of the Scriptures. Christians seem to fall off one side of the horse or the other on this issue.

Over the years, I’ve watched countless fruitless Word vs. Spirit debates that descended into noise. They are fruitless because both the Scriptures and the Spirit work together. And what God has joined together shouldn’t be separated. When I watch people debate this issue today, I quickly begin yawning.

In the same way, I’ve watched countless Christians get roped into fruitless outreach vs. inreach debates. Some maintain that the church exists for outreach (these churches tend to have a rather thin and spiritually shallow community life). Others object that the church exists for community (these churches tend to be insular and ingrown).

The outreach vs. inreach debate is fruitless because it virtually always ignores two things. (1) That an authentic church will pass through seasons (I’ve discussed the seasonal nature of the ekklesia at length in Finding Organic Church), and (2) There are four chief aspects of the church’s mission on earth, all of which are vital.[Continue Reading...]

Beyond Evangelical: Part IV

“The desperate need today is not for a great number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”

~ Richard Foster

Note: The entire “Beyond Evangelical” series (including this post) has been compiled into an 80-page eBook with many new chapters added. Click here to learn more about the eBook.

***

In this post, I want to provide a platform for the sentiments of those who have moved “beyond evangelicalism” (or whatever you wish to call it).

Countless Christians I’ve met have uttered these statements in face-to-face conversations, over emails, over coffee at conferences, and on this blog. I’ve compiled them all, editing them slightly for consistency. Together, they form a collective confession of sorts reflecting the thoughts and feelings of those of us who have moved beyond evangelicalism.

*We have grown tired of the media routinely characterizing “evangelicals” as if we were all part of “the Religious Right.”

*We have become weary of Christian progressives deeming themselves to be the “new evangelicals” in reaction to the Religious Right.

*We are turned off by the left vs. right posturing and the left vs. right political/theological debates.

*We’ve looked to the right and do not wish to venture there. We’ve looked to the left and do not wish to venture there either. The direction we feel pulling our hearts is above and forward.[Continue Reading...]

God’s View of a Woman

What follows is the transcript of a spoken message I delivered to a church in Chile. Keep in mind that the Chilean culture tends to have a very low view of women.

After tonight’s message, if this recording gets out of this room and someone hears it in your country, I will be declared a heretic. I may even be in danger of my life.

Further, after tonight’s message, some of the men in this room may not want me to come back. The women, however, will want me to move here!

Note the following passages:

And THE WOMEN also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the tomb, and how His body was laid. (Luke 23:55)

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with THE WOMEN and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren. (Acts 1:14)

Let’s take a trip back to ancient Israel and look at how women were viewed before Jesus came. Generally speaking, the Jews had a dim view of women. Jewish women were not allowed to receive an education. Hence, they were largely uneducated. Their only training was in how to raise children and keep house.[Continue Reading...]

The Next Reformation: Free Online Seminar

Beginning Friday, February 3rd, all Email subscribers of this blog will receive my new “Next Reformation” seminar as a free gift. So if you are an Email subscriber, keep an eye out for a special Email from us.

The seminar covers a lot of new ground with a battery of updated statistics on the state of the body of Christ and the shifting streams within Christianity today.

The seminar is not for sale nor is it for public consumption.

The only way to receive it is by subscribing to this blog via Email (RSS feed subscribers will also have to subscribe by Email in order to receive it). The seminar is our gift to our loyal Email subscribers.

The other advantage of subscribing by Email is that you won’t miss any posts. Not a few of you have expressed disappointment after missing some of my special promotion blog posts. Subscribing by Email will prevent that from happening.

For instance, sometime in February, we will be having “Shameless Promotion” day. This is when I will invite each of my readers to promote their own blog or website. In this way, we will all be made aware of each other’s online work.[Continue Reading...]

Unveiling Christ

After reading Deep Ecclesiology, Jesus Manifesto, or Finding Organic Church, numerous young men who are in ministry have asked me the following question (no women have asked me so far):

“Frank, you talk a lot about preaching Jesus Christ as opposed to preaching ‘things.’ This really resonates. I’ve never heard you speak yet, so can you give me examples from your own preaching of what ‘preaching Christ’ looks and sounds like?”

I’m posting my answer here as I believe it will be of interest to some of you. What follows are five examples. Each message seeks to unveil the staggering glories of the Lord Jesus Christ. The messages are also available on iTunes, Mp3 download, via Google Reader, RSS feed, etc. Just look at the top left-hand side after you click on each link.

Epic Jesus: The Christ You Never Knew

Diary of a Desperate Samaritan Woman: Telling the Story Differently

Remember Peter: Rethinking the Love Christ

Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ

The Eternal Purpose of God in Christ

On a related note, I’ve had many conversations with preachers (and teachers) in which they’ve complained that they often “run out” of things to preach. And thus they’re always on the look-out for new “sermon material.” [Continue Reading...]

Rethinking the Gospel

As a young Christian, I was taught that the gospel is a plan—”the plan of salvation.” Some Bible teachers used to frame that plan into “Four Spiritual Laws” and “The Romans Road.”

In the first-century Roman world, however, the word “gospel” was used to describe the announcement that a new emperor had taken the throne. “Heralds” would be “sent” throughout the Roman Empire to announce this “good news.”

Their message was, “We have a new emperor. His name is Tiberius Caesar, adjust your life and bow the knee.” Interestingly, the Roman emperor was also called “Savior” and “Lord” and was regarded as the one who would establish “peace” in the Empire.

In addition, the Roman emperor was expected to bring justice, peace, prosperity, and blessings to the world. He was also called “Pontifex Maximus” which means “chief priest.” The Romans also believed that when an emperor ascended into heaven, he was enthroned as being divine. Thus the emperor (at his death) was also called “son of God.”[Continue Reading...]

Rob Bell

Whatever one wishes to say about Rob Bell, he’s a marketing genius [Frankie V. tips hat to Robbie B]. Last year, Bell wrote a monster best-seller on the subject of hell called Love Wins. He set it off with a masterful “bait-and-hook” video trailer. The bait was taken, and the book caught fire . . . both kinds!

I have gone on record saying that if you’re a Christian author and you want to sell a non-fiction bestseller, you’d be wise to write on one of three topics: (1) Hell (2) Heaven (3) Christians are Too Lukewarm – They Aren’t Doing Enough to Preach the Gospel, To Make Disciples, To Make the World a Better Place – So They Need to Get Off Their Lazy Duffs and Get to Work (that title is a tad long, but you get the idea).

Write a book on those topics and you’ll have a very good chance at hitting the NY Times Bestseller List.

I’m being cereal. Dead cereal.

Anyways . . . since the release of Rob Bell’s book on hell, many have asked me what I thought about the controversial volume. (I’m always surprised by questions like that since [cough] hell isn’t one of my passions or specialties.)[Continue Reading...]

Beyond Evangelical: Part III

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Note: The entire “Beyond Evangelical” series (including this post) has been compiled into an 80-page eBook with many new chapters added. Click here to learn more about the eBook.

***

My interview with N.T. Wright yesterday added some spice to our present series. Since the last post in this series, there have been some interesting reactions around the blogosphere. Consequently, I’d like to do two things in this post. First, highlight someone’s comment from last week. Second, interact with some of the other remarks I’ve received.

A Comment Worth Underscoring

I was encouraged to read so many insightful comments on the posts I’ve published since my return to blogging. So many of them were excellent and helpful. But there was one in particular that stood out. It was from Jonathan Cottrell. He wrote it in response to Beyond Evangelical: Part II. Here’s what he said:

Christ is all. My wife and I have been having a conversation of late that revolves around how people would summarize their faith in one word. That one word speaks more than a thousand words, if you ask me. I imagine that the groups would summarize as:

Group 1 [Systemtizers]: “Grace” or “Truth”
Group 2 [Activists]: “Love” or “Mission”
Group 3 [Emoters]: “Spirit” or “Power”
Group 4: [Beyond Evangelicals] “Jesus” or “Christ”

Is there any word that should summarize our common faith other than His Name? I think not.[Continue Reading...]