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Profile for Robert P. Odle > Reviews


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Robert P. Odle RSS Feed (Richmond, VA USA)

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Glass Girl
Glass Girl
by Laura Anderson Kurk
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from $0.02

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not JUST for Teenage Girls!, April 17, 2010
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This review is from: Glass Girl (Paperback)
Of course the book will appeal - and speak profoundly - to teenage girls. In fact, every teenage girl in the world should read this book. But, if this book gets pigeon-holed as being JUST for teenage girls it will be a real shame. The story touches on themes much too large for such a narrow audience.

Meg suffers a devastating blow at an early age. She experiences grief in all of its ugliness and power. She enters the process without faith, with a deep-seated anger toward God and others, an uncanny ability to repel love, and the understandable instinct to isolate herself from the cruelty of life.

It takes the wisdom, tenderness, and patience of an extremely mature (superhuman? perhaps, but very believable and certainly someone we all hope still exists somewhere - maybe even within us) young man of character, depth, and faith to walk along side her as she learns for herself that she is not as fragile as she thinks she is.

Is she the glass girl? Of course she is. Her big brother Wyatt (her idol) told her so. The question is, What kind of glass is she made of?

Will her grief destroy her like a fragile, weak, brittle window when it is hit with a baseball? Or is she the other kind of glass girl? the amazingly strong, beautifully transparent, deeply sensitive and completely renewable kind?

Kurk takes us on a journey to find out. Along the way we learn a little about glass, a little more about love, a lot about grief and the terrible toll it can take on a human life, and something about ourselves. In the midst of all the ugliness, we see men and women as they were designed to be - as we all want to be. More than once along the journey I found myself recommitting to being the person I know God made us all to be - the person we can be by His Grace.

An amazing debut. A glorious journey and a very worthwhile read - for everyone. Not JUST teenage girls.

Peter 1 Hermeneia (Hermeneia: A Critical & Historical Commentary on the Bible)
Peter 1 Hermeneia (Hermeneia: A Critical & Historical Commentary on the Bible)
by Paul J. Achtemeier
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $55.01
38 used & new from $46.88

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best commentary on 1 Peter available, September 20, 2007
Dr. Achtemeier has compiled the best commentary on 1 Peter by a pretty fair margin. I agree that the price is on the high end but, considering what you're getting, it is well worth the price.

It appears to be out of print right now (September, 2007). I contacted the publisher and they informed me that there are some errors in this printing that are being corrected in a new printing and that it will be back on the market by Thanksgiving.

Again, well worth the money and the wait. (I am not impressed with the profiteers trying to capitalize on the lack of supply. $233.75 for a $50.00 book is nothing short of outrageous).

When it does become available in the new, corrected printing, by all means get a copy of this commentary. You will not be disappointed.

The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3:1-4:11 (The Biblical Resource Series)
The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3:1-4:11 (The Biblical Resource Series)
by Richard B. Hays
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.09
44 used & new from $14.07

43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! A Possible Solution to a Troubling Dilemma, November 11, 2005
Richard B. Hays argues that the passage in Galatians (2:16) translated into English as, "... a [human being] is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ ..." can be, and should be, translated differently.

Hays argues that the passage should be translated as it is literally given in the original koine Greek: "... a [human being] is not justified by the works of the law but through [the] faith OF Jesus Christ ..."

Of course, such a translation all but destroys the popular Protestant doctrine of "justification by faith only." The emphasis of most evangelicals is that it is OUR faith that saves us and that no "work" we perform can, in any way, contribute to our salvation.

Reasoning from this conclusion most of Protestantism has jettisoned water baptism as having any role to play in a person's salvation whatsoever. The fellowship through which I came to the Lord as a teenager, however, teaches that a person must be baptized in water to be saved. This has always confused me.

For years I have listened to the wrangling and agreed (secretly) that baptism could be considered a "work" if understood as a human work. On the other hand, if a human being is saved by "faith only" then I have never been able to understand why water baptism has played such a large role in Christian conversion through the centuries. What is the purpose of water baptism if a human being is saved by faith only?

Hays, if he is correct, solves the dilemma. His argument helps me see why water baptism has been the central initiation rite within Christianity from its inception.

If we are going to be consistent in our translation of the verse then the faith Paul is describing is as much "of Christ" as the works Paul is describing are "of the law." The grammatical construction of the two phrases is identical.

Paul uses the identical construction in Romans 3:21-22 to say, "But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through [the] faith OF Jesus Christ unto all them that believe...."

Again, the righteousness Paul is discussing is "of God" (genitive). That righteousness of God has been made available to human beings through the obedient faith OF Jesus Christ (also genitive)! It is the righteousness of God that is transferred into us as "believing ones."

Water baptism, then, makes a whole lot more sense. Three chapters later, in Romans 6:3-4 (as well as in other places in the New Testament) Paul says that at the point of our baptism - a passive act on our part; one in which God is the one doing the work - God transfers us INTO CHRIST!

Human redemption has been secured by the perfect, obedient faith of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. My faith does not produce my salvation; my faith leads me to submit to God's commandment and, at my baptism, God places me into Christ, where the redemptive work He accomplished is passively imputed to me as I am passively transferred into Him! All by the power and work of God!

So, neither is faith a human work nor is baptism a human work - both are my appropriate response to the completed work of God. And, because of the perfect faith of Jesus Christ, God can, and does at my baptism, transfer me into Him where the righteousness of God becomes mine!

Richard B. Hays, you're a genius. Thank you!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 31, 2013 12:22 PM PST

One New People: Models for Developing a Multiethnic Church
One New People: Models for Developing a Multiethnic Church
by Manuel Ortiz
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.00
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Toward a True Multiethnic Church, May 24, 2005

Ortiz argues that the mission of the church is to reach people with the gospel. To be faithful to its mission, the church must be reaching the people who live in the United States as well as the thousands of people who immigrate here each year. The church, in order to be honoring to its Lord and obedient to His Word, must ultimately become multiethnic or at least be moving in that direction.

Ortiz first summarizes the immigration data and identifies the various groups coming to this country. He then argues that an adequate definition of multiethnic church must include both quantitative and qualitative dimensions. There must be more than a mere smattering of another race within a church before it can claim to be multiethnic. Furthermore, a true multiethnic church is more than a variety of cultures meeting together under one roof. The life of the church and the organization of its ministry must genuinely reflect the diversity of the membership. There must be authentic reconciliation between the various groups. This is unnatural. Therefore, it will take time, hard work, and the Grace of God to achieve.

Ortiz argues for a multiethnic church but admits that language barriers may make the multi-congregational church the best option. The multi-congregational church forms an umbrella church and ministers to several different ethnic groups clustered in multiple congregations beneath it, each composed of a specific ethnic group. In most cases the congregations share facilities but do not fully integrate with one another. This distinction as a separate, autonomous congregation is usually for language reasons but can also be for racial or ethnic reasons.

Following his discussion of the multi-congregational church, Ortiz returns to his thesis that only a true multiethnic church honors God adequately. He argues that the key to developing a true multiethnic church is leadership. Ortiz argues that this normally means the senior pastor must receive the vision, cast the vision, and stick it out until it is realized. Most successful pastors are formally trained, have a strong commitment to the authority of Scripture, and have a burning commitment to missions. They are also deeply committed to spiritual formation and rely heavily on prayer and fasting.

The church's task is to neither destroy nor maintain ethnic identities. The church's task is to replace all former identities with a new identity in Christ. Therefore, the church of Christ must move toward developing a new humanity in Christ, a humanity that will express itself in the multiethnic church.

Outstanding Strengths:

Ortiz is obviously a gentle and humble man. His research is extensive and his conclusions valid. Ortiz distills the principles of true biblical reconciliation and then illustrates them with real-life examples.

Outstanding Weaknesses:

The structure and flow of the book could be improved. It moves back and forth between ideas instead of presenting them in a clear, logical, and complete progression.

The book could also be improved by adding a "how-to" section on the development of adequate leaders to move our churches from homogeneous churches to true multiethnic churches.

Who Should Read the Book:

The book is not highly technical; therefore, it is very accessible to anyone interested in ministering or witnessing in a multiethnic context. I believe that certainly anyone in a leadership role in a church in the USA should read the book. I also believe that any Christian interested in reaching our nation with the holistic gospel would benefit from reading the book.

Power through Weakness: Paul's Understanding of the Christian Ministry in 2 Corinthians (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series)
Power through Weakness: Paul's Understanding of the Christian Ministry in 2 Corinthians (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series)
by Timothy B. Savage
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $139.99
32 used & new from $53.50

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, penetrating, insightful, profoundly helpful, November 1, 2004
Paul's claim, "When I am weak, then I am strong," appears to be a clear absurdity. It attempts to harmonize two mutually exclusive terms. Christian ministry as comfort experienced through suffering, glory manifested through shame, life working through death, riches won through poverty, and power expressed through weakness borders on gibberish. It at least presents a paradox. In the book Dr. Savage seeks to make sense of this paradox.

Dr. Savage argues that it is this paradox-a paradox finding expression in a number of different antitheses-that drives to the heart of what it means to Paul to be a minister (diakonoi) of Christ. To fully comprehend the paradox Dr. Savage argues that we must first understand the background to Paul's paradoxical teaching. Unfortunately, this background is notoriously illusive for two reasons: (1) first, the letter we call 2 Corinthians was directed to "the intruder" (7:12) about whom we know very little, and (2) second, the letter was written to a community of faith enmeshed within a cultural setting about which we know very little.

Dr. Savage is a meticulous scholar. But, not only is he an impressive scholar he is also a skilled, insightful, and precise analyst. His insights into the Corinthian culture generally help explain the probable character traits, or at least the tendencies, of the recipients of the letter. Although it is merely alluded to in passing in a few places in the text, under Dr. Savage's meticulous examination it becomes obvious that Paul's paradoxical teaching emerges out of a specific conflict between the apostle and his converts. This conclusion opens the way for a more precise inquiry into the details of that conflict. It is in the pursuit of this inquiry that Dr. Savage makes his most useful contribution to our understanding of 2 Corinthians.

It is the radical disjunction between the secular prejudices of the Corinthians and the apostle's own conception of Christ that spawns the paradoxical description of Christian ministry. What we witness in 2 Corinthians is a clash between value systems. The Corinthians were clearly products of the times-secular to the core and intoxicated on the outlook of their world. Paul, on the other hand, was attempting to conform everything he had and everything he did to the story of the cross. Dr. Savage does an outstanding job of framing the difficult teaching of the letter within this all-too-familiar context: secular v. kingdom values.

Dr. Savage is able to enumerate the often multiple viewpoints of modern scholarship on the issues he discusses without producing a large, cumbersome commentary (the entire book is less than 200 pages). In addition, Dr. Savage not only explains the multiple alternative viewpoints but he also critiques them offering a logical, coherent alternative without ever coming across as argumentative or demeaning.

What results from these profoundly helpful and rare scholarly characteristics is one of the most useful commentaries on 2 Corinthians available. Once the reader has absorbed the information garnered from Dr. Savage's thorough research and seen the point of Paul's letter under his penetrating analysis, what may have previously been a patchy, obscure, and difficult New Testament letter suddenly becomes a masterpiece of persuasion. Not only that, but it also emerges as a living document that powerfully speaks to the core of who we are as a culture in North America.

The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation
The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation
by Leland Ryken
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.33
90 used & new from $0.01

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critical, Informative, Yet Not Reactionary, April 4, 2004
At the risk of being presumptuous (I'm not really qualified to review this book), let me merely add my two cents to the other excellent comments that have been made about this very helpful book.
The fear I have, as a preaching minister who loves the Word of God and what it accomplishes in the lives of hurting people, is that people will listen to the debate over translation and then be afraid to read modern translations of the Bible. I have read treatments of the translation issue that leave me afraid to open anything short of witnesses to the original MSS (in Hebrew and Greek) for fear of being corrupted by false teachers and their false teaching.
Dr. Ryken does an excellent job of exposing the issue, demonstrating the alternatives taken by the literal translations and by the dynamic equivalent translations, and then making his case for the literal approach. His greatest contribution to the debate is that he does so without being or sounding like an alarmist.

Hebrews: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching
Hebrews: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching
by Thomas G. Long
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $29.69
58 used & new from $3.63

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Commentary for Preaching and Teaching!, February 11, 2003
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Start with the text, then move to a standard, scholarly commentary like that of Koester (Anchor) or Lane (Word) but DO NOT start to write your sermon or Bible Class lesson until you have read Long's treatment of the text! He takes the heart of the message and puts it into words that will preach! His structural outline of 7:1 - 10:39 (page 82) ALONE is worth the price of the commentary. I can't imagine how many hours of preparation time Dr. Long saved me by helping me see this structural framework for the Preacher's Christology.

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