Review of Brown's Biography of Augustine of Hippo

I first read Peter Brown’s magnificent Augustine of Hippo: A Biography in 1974, while preparing to write my dissertation on Augustine’s sermons on John’s Gospel. Like everyone else, I was struck, even stunned, by the sheer brilliance of this detailed “life and times” of Augustine. Leaving virtually no stone unturned, Brown presented to us a truly great man whose life was bound up with the tumultuous events of the late Roman Empire, and whose career – especially his writings – both transformed that world and laid the foundation for Western civilization.

A Theology for House Churches

Over the past sixty years, the Protestant church in China has grown exponentially. Most of this increase in numbers has taken place in what are often called “house churches,” which take their name from the practice of meeting in believers’ homes. Even today, when many of these congregations meet in large buildings, they are often called “house churches.”Therefore, there is a debate going on about whether it is better to meet in smaller groups in the homes of believers, or to join together as a large group in a larger venue. In the West, also, a growing house church movement has begun to challenge the traditional church-based model of doing church, and millions are meeting in homes instead.

The Crash of 2008: Peace Amidst the Storm

As the worldwide financial crisis develops, one word keeps recurring: PANIC.If not stated that strongly, the emotion millions now feel is variously called fear, anxiety, or worry, and it comes with scary questions: What is going to happen to me and my family? How will I have enough money to live on? Where will I live? Is my job safe? Can I get another job? What about retirement? Is all hope gone with the wind?

Helpful, But Misleading: A Review of 20th-Century Theology: God & the World in a Transitional Age

This widely-used textbook on 20th century theology contains much useful information about some influential theologians of the past century, and is therefore somewhat helpful. On the other hand, anyone interested in a balanced treatment of modern theology will have to look elsewhere, for 20th-Century Theology is fatally marred by omissions and distortions.

From Defeat to Victory: Overcoming Past Failures

Yesterday in church the preacher spoke on Psalm 3, composed by David as he fled from his rebellious son Absalom. He rightly emphasized that David was dealing with the consequences of his past sin, including adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah the Hittite (Psalm 3, superscript; 2 Samuel 12; 15:13-17.) Afterwards, I was discussing the sermon with a young man, to whom I said, “It only gets worse as you grow older. Your sins are more serious and they affect more people.” “How, then,” he asked, “do you handle the consequences of your faults?” Someone else came up as I was about to reply, but I have pondered his question since, and have come up with a few suggestions for overcoming past failures and bringing victory out of defeat: - Acknowledge your grief. Pretending not to care, or trying to hide or forget, won’t work. The wound will only fester. Thus, David cried out in pain to God in many psalms. See also Psalm 119:28: “My soul melts from heaviness [grief].” - Admit your guilt. When Nathan exposed David’s crimes, he said, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 51:4). - Ask for God’s forgiveness. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your lovingkindness” (Psalm 51:1). - Accept God’s pardon. “I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5}. - Acquiesce in God’s discipline. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-6). - Affirm God’s sovereignty. “All things work together for those who love God” (Romans 8:2). In some way unfathomable to us, He allows us to sin – though He abhors the wickedness of it – and can bring good out of even the most heinous crime, as He wrought our salvation from the unjust crucifixion of Christ. We make foolish choices, but God makes no mistakes! - Advance! Forget what lies behind; press on towards “the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). “Strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather healed” (Hebrews 12-13). Relying on God’s grace alone, ask for Him to supply the Holy Spirit to work miracles in your broken life (Galatians 3:5).

The China Study

How would you like to – Eat all you want and yet keep your optimum weight? Keep yourself from getting heart disease; most types of cancer; diabetes; and kidney, eye, brain, and other diseases? Perhaps even cure these diseases if you already have one of them? And all without taking pills or undergoing surgery? Dr. Colin Campbell shows how all this is possible in his book, The China Study.