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Shepherding God's Flock: Biblical Leadership in the New Testament and Beyond
Shepherding God's Flock: Biblical Leadership in the New Testament and Beyond
by James M. Hamilton Jr.
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.11
21 used & new from $10.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Presentation of Polity (particularly Baptist) and Encouragement to Pastors, April 21, 2015
Shepherding God's Flock is an ambitious book indeed. The work, in some sense, desires to be a one stop shop for all things polity. In its pages you will find historical (Chapters 1, 5, and 6), New Testament (Chapters 2 and 3), polemical (Chapters 7, 8, and 9) and systematic (Chapters 10 and 11) theology, all aimed at giving the reader a robust understanding of how the church should be governed. In that sense the title might perhaps be adjusted for accuracy by adding "How Should We Go About" before the current title.

Perhaps the feature which most readers will find somewhat odd about Shepherding is that the title, which features chapters on Catholic, Presbyterian, and Anglican polity, is written exclusively by confessing Baptists. However, this matter is presented in the introductory material in an upfront fashion, thus serving the reader through an honest presentation of presuppositions.

In an attempt to put my own biases on the table as a reviewer, I too am a confessing Baptist. Furthermore, it was with particular delight I received the notification that this book was being brought to market as (A), I am something of a polity wonk, (B) one of the editors, Tom Schreiner, is a favorite author of mine, and (C) I have a pastoral interest in Baptist ecclesiology.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I find the arguments made in Shepherding to be entirely convincing - and even compelling. I specifically found the chapters touching on the polity held by other Christian traditions, specifically Presbyterian (written by Nathan A. Finn) and Anglican (written by Jason Duesing), fair and irenic.

The one point I found a bit of quibble I have with Shepherding, however, comes up in this specific section - Finn seems to argue that it is a unique feature of Presbyterian polity to differentiate between "teaching" and "ruling" elders (based on 1 Timothy 5:17), asserting that Baptists have historically rejected this distinction. While it is true, as best I am aware1, Baptists have historically found no room for an elder who cannot teach (as Finn asserts) I also think it may be too great a reduction to say this text is merely functional or about compensation (pgs. 216-217).

I believe Andrew Davis' chapter (11: Leading the Church in Today's World: What It Means Practically to Shepherd's God's Flock) would be useful and encouraging to any church leader, regardless of their final conviction on polity.

I recommend Shepherding to anyone interested in broadening their understanding of how God's word provides care for His people through human leadership. Furthermore, anyone thinking through or examining the Baptistic perspective on ecclesiology will come away with a developed understanding of the positive assertions and nuanced disagreements the separate Baptists from other Christian traditions. This is a strong work and I believe churches will be well served when and if their leaders give Shepherding a serious read.

1And far be it from me to challenge Finn on the subject of Baptist history.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I solicited this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an unbiased review. I disclose this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Pilot
Pilot
DVD
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Nearly As Good As The Books - And That Says A Lot!, February 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bosch Season 1 (Amazon Video)
As a long time reader of the Bosch books I couldn't be more pleased with this series. The world of Bosch, filled with the dark side of his fictional Los Angeles, is recreated in a way that stays very true to the character. The character - particularly his uncompromising moral code - is reproduced faithfully by Titus Welliver. I have been plowing through the episodes and hope deeply that Amazon brings this excellent cast and spot-on series back for Season 2 and on!


[Apple MFi Certified] AYL® Lightning to USB Cable (6.6 Feet / 2 Meter) Extra Long with Ultra-Compact Connector Head - Made For iPhone, iPad , iPod - OFFICIAL LICENSED PRODUCT
[Apple MFi Certified] AYL® Lightning to USB Cable (6.6 Feet / 2 Meter) Extra Long with Ultra-Compact Connector Head - Made For iPhone, iPad , iPod - OFFICIAL LICENSED PRODUCT

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than OEM, April 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The cable is thicker, the length is longer, and the performance is (at least) identical. Really, an upgrade from OEM.


Hitachi EC89 4-Gallon Portable Electric Twin Stack Air Compressor
Hitachi EC89 4-Gallon Portable Electric Twin Stack Air Compressor
Price: $162.64
5 used & new from $119.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Compressor!, December 30, 2012
This compressor packs a lot of punch for its weight. I use it regularly and it always delivers.

I've seen several reviews on here that talk about it being hard to start in cold weather. I live in Middle TN where winter days can get below 20 degrees and I've yet to have a problem. One, don't store it outside in the open cold (obviously). Two, keep the right weight synthetic oil in it (5w50). Three, keep it on the right power supply and/or extension cord (12 gauge). No problems. In fact, I just got done using mine and the temp is 30-something degrees right now.


NCAA Men's Tennessee Volunteers Playbook Fleece Orange Hoodie (Orange, XX-Large)
NCAA Men's Tennessee Volunteers Playbook Fleece Orange Hoodie (Orange, XX-Large)

5.0 out of 5 stars Right Fit, Right Price, November 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got this item at a pretty deep discount so the price I paid affects my satisfaction. Having said that, I'm very satisfied with this hoodie. It's high quality in terms of stitching and not so heavy as to make it impractical when the temps are not super low. I'd buy another for sure - if I could get the price I initially got. :)


NBA Men's Chicago Bulls Playbook Hood II (Red, XX-Large)
NBA Men's Chicago Bulls Playbook Hood II (Red, XX-Large)
Offered by MjibSports
Price: $39.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Fit Right, Good Quality, November 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got this item at a pretty deep discount so the price I paid affects my satisfaction. Having said that, I'm very satisfied with this hoodie. It's high quality in terms of stitching and not so heavy as to make it impractical when the temps are not super low. I'd buy another for sure - if I could get the price I initially got. :)


The Atonement
The Atonement
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Rich Content, Skillful Delivery, November 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Atonement (MP3 Music)
I'm a very jaded consumer of "Christian" music. I'm also a fan of rap music. The rap music I grew up on from the Christian community (basically anything from Grapetree) was either enjoyable to listen to or fairly Orthodox, never really both. This, in combination with some other factors, led to a year long drift from music associated with Christianity. It was this artist and this album who led me back. I honestly wish every Christian would familiarize themselves with this album; the genre and style lends itself to memorization and the content is so good the memorization would be of immense spiritual value. This is a pinnacle example of doing art well to the glory of God. I couldn't recommend this album more.


513189 New Front Wheel Bearing Hub Assembly Fits Chevy Equinox, Saturn Vue
513189 New Front Wheel Bearing Hub Assembly Fits Chevy Equinox, Saturn Vue
Offered by jkdautoparts
Price: $43.90

2.0 out of 5 stars Great... for a while., March 6, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Like the other reviewers on here I was thrilled to find this part for the listed price. However, I only got about 30k out of this bearing. It might very well be the exception to the rule and, in fairness, I paid very little for the part compared to other options. Having said that, had I the opportunity to do it over again, I would spend the extra to get a part that would last longer. Pulling these out is no picnic and having to do it twice in such a short period of time (or pay someone to do it) ruins the advantage of the low price.


Motorola Micro-USB Home and Travel Charger (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Motorola Micro-USB Home and Travel Charger (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by Amazing Closeout
Price: $5.99
15 used & new from $3.81

1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware, February 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I recently purchased two of these thinking that the price would give me cheap back ups to the charger provided with my phone. Only one worked and that for only a short time. I recommend you stay away.


Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
by Mark Driscoll
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.05
264 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the Whole: Helpful, January 24, 2012
It turns out that writing about Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together ends up being very similar to talking about Mark Driscoll's ministry.

Here's what I mean by that: when Driscoll became nationally prominent (at least in the circles I run in) I started getting cautious questions from acquaintances that were some variation on "So... what do you think about this Mark Driscoll guy?" I'm sure my little corner of the world wasn't the only one filled with people who had heard Mark be clearly and winsomely faithful to what the Bible actually says and then heard about him doing something that appeared to be controversial just for controversy's sake or plain foolish.

My answer then about Driscoll's ministry is pretty close to my current take on Real Marriage: taken on the whole it's largely a good thing. Yes, there are parts I'm uncomfortable with. There are certainly some things that I think are clearly not consistent with scripture (more on that in a bit). However, most of what I find in Driscoll's ministry or his latest book is really faithful and helpful Biblical teaching. When one views Driscoll through they eye Christian charity - namely that none of us get it all right - I'm ultimately very thankful for what Driscoll is doing. That qualified endorsement obviously doesn't equate to wholehearted embrace across the spectrum of what Driscoll produces but it also means a wholesale dismissal of Driscoll is a serious case throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

To specifically deal with Real Marriage I'll say that the criticism coming at Driscoll's latest book is something I can understand and appreciate. I cannot imagine any scenario where I would need to discuss specific sex acts from the pulpit. However, I realize that what I will or will not touch on in the pulpit does not mean that questions like the ones answered in Real Marriage won't arise among Christians. (In fairness I should also say that I certainly disagree with the ridiculous idea that reading this book is somewhat akin to drinking out of a toilet.)

The truth of the matter is that not only do these questions arise (dare I say often) as people think through marriage and sex as Christians but also - and this is central to the value of Real Marriage - they will go somewhere for the answer. In our sex-saturated culture there are no end to sources for answers to questions like "What can a married man and woman do within in the context of their marriage." Very few of those sources are intentionally connected to God's self revelation of Himself.

I was working on this review before Driscoll issued a post on CNN's religion blog about why Real Marriage is taking such heat in Christian circles but he hits on exactly this same issue:

"Many Christians, because of upbringing and past church experiences, view sex as gross and something that should not be talked about in public.
Unfortunately, this view is pervasive in the church. Many couples have honest questions about sex and various sexual acts but struggle to find a pastor willing to teach on these topics.
With nowhere else to turn, these couples find wrong and damaging answers in magazines, television, movies, porn and more.
The practical result is that couples divorce their sex from their spirituality, talking to their pastors about "spiritual" issues and ordering their love life around advice from "secular" sources.
Next time you're in line at the grocery store, read the headlines on the women's magazines that are shouting at little kids standing in line with their parents. Our culture has made the wrong answers about sex far easier to find than the church has made the right answers to find."

This book is largely pastoral. While I bemoan the fact that a lot of people who reach out to this book will be doing so as a means to avoid having these conversations within the context of a local church I am thankful a Biblically-informed voice is available for them to hear.

That isn't the only reason to commend Real Marriage. The book does a good job of modeling for readers the necessity of taking every issue of life to the Word of God in order to find God's revealed will. It also does a pretty good job of walking readers through how to apply the clear teaching of scripture to areas of human experience that aren't explicitly addressed in Scripture. These are all very good things.

Of course, there is a pervasive form of legalism that sees Christian morality as a line and approaches the subject of ethics from a desire to see just how much wickedness someone can participate in without crossing that line into sin. That mentality will seize on the "Can We...?" chapter with delight and bend it to sinful ends. I would argue that rather than accusing the Driscolls of feeding that mentality we should acknowledge that good things can be turned to wicked ends.

The major weakness I see in Real Marriage is directly connected to an element that should be a strength. The key model for marriage presented by the Driscolls is friendship. At first blush that is great: marriage is in fact friendship. It's just that marriage isn't only friendship and the Driscolls door a poor job of letting their readers know that. There is only a passing glance given to Ephesians 5, a text that should be central to any Christian book on marriage. To leave readers thinking that marriage is just about friendship rather than presenting friendship as one component of the way marriage models for humanity the Christ's love for His church is to strip marriage of the lion's share of it's dignity. If I can illustrate my point I would say this reduction of marriage to friendship is akin to reducing Jesus to merely a good teacher - calling someone a good teacher is only an insult to someone who is infinitely more than that. In similar fashion reducing marriage to being mostly about friendship is an insult to an institution that is so much more than that. This failure to put the beauty of Ephesians 5 in front of its readers is a much more grievous fault on the part of Real Marriage than the "Can we...?" chapter, at least to my mind.

At the end of my book reviews I like to make a recommendation (either to read or stay away) to any who read the review. Would I recommend Real Marriage? Sure, with some qualifications. One - anyone who isn't at least engaged has no need to read this book. In fact, I would strongly recommend they stay away. Two - if this will be the first book you've read on marriage then I recommend you pass Real Marriage until you read some more foundational treatments of this subject (to be named in just a moment). Three - if direct talk of a sexual nature will scandalize or offend you then stay away.

I will still recommend When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage as the first book about marriage anyone should read. The second that should be read is The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God. For most people reading those two titles will make reading Real Marriage superfluous. However, for those who want to supplement what they've read about marriage after reading Harvey and Keller then Real Marriage would be a fine option.

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Originally posted at [...]

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2012 9:03 PM PST


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