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Short Notes

Reviewed by Paul Beasley-Murray.

Traces of Glory:  Prayers for the Church – Year B (SPCK, London 2014; 151pp; £8.99; ISBN 978 0 281 07121 0), by David Adam, is an inspiring collection of intercessions. David Adam writes: “For the prayers of the church to be enriched, it demands a praying people. I believe that the best preparation for Sunday worship is to use the readings for the coming Sunday throughout the week as an inspiration for prayer and worship”. This is a book to buy!

The Good Shepherd: a thousand-year journey from Psalm 23 to the New Testament (SPCK, London 2015; 288pp; £12.08 (Amazon); ISBN 978 0 281 07350 4), by Kenneth Bailey, is a delightful read as the author draws upon his lifetime’s experience of Middle Eastern culture to expound nine key passages: Psalm 23; Jeremiah 23.1-8; Ezekiel 34; Zechariah 109.2-12; Luke 15.1-10; Mark 6.7-52; Matthew 18.10-14; John 10.1-18; and 1 Peter 5.1-4. For instance, commenting on the call of Peter to the elders of his day not to ‘domineer over those in your charge’, Bailey writes: “The good shepherd does not direct his sheep with a stick and a bag full of stones gathered to arm his sling and drive them in the desired direction. Rather he leads them from the front with a gentle call, inviting the sheep to follow him. The trail he chooses brings them to green pastures and quiet waters, and provides security even in the valley of death”.

Hidden but now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery (Apollos, Nottingham 2014; 392pp; £16.99; ISBN 978 1 78359 176 3), by G K Beale and Benjamin Gladd, is one of a number of recent scholarly IVP publications which will be of interest to the theological student and scholar, but will be seen to have less relevance to most pastors. Ten chapters are devoted to the use of ‘mystery’ in Daniel, Early Judaism, Matthew, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation. There are also two chapters on ‘Mystery without Mystery in the New Testament’, and ‘The Christian Mystery and the Pagan Mystery Religions’. There are, however, practical implications to this impressive scholarship: “The church possesses a completely different way of evaluating the world. Instead of embracing our reputation and fame, the biblical worldview places the mystery of the cross as its centre. This knowledge should revolutionize our behaviour, as we embody the very wisdom that the earliest Christians grasped”.

Revelation: A Shorter Commentary (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids 2015; 562pp; £23.99; ISBN 978 0 8028 6621 9), by G K Beale with David H Campbell, is a distillation and a development of Beale’s 1999 commentary on the Greek text which amounted to over 1300 pages! References to Greek, to secondary literature and to Jewish interpretations of the Old Testament, have been removed, but the heart of the commentary is still there. Somewhat unusually interspersed throughout the commentary are more than sixty sets of ‘suggestions for reflection’ helping readers to better grasp the relevance of Revelation to their lives and our world today, which in turn makes the volume a useful tool for preachers.

Lectio Divina: From God’s Word to our Lives (SPCK, London 2015; 106pp; £10.68 Amazon; ISBN 978 0 281 07334 4), by Enzio Bianchi, rests on the conviction that “when we read prayerfully, we draw out of the biblical text the living Word that calls us to live full and rich Christian lives, even if that Word’s work in us remains mysterious”. In the first place this is a book that challenges Roman Catholics, but it also challenges us all.

First published by SPCK in 2000, Christian Thinkers: A Beginner’s Guide to over Seventy Leading Theologians through the Ages (Hendrikson, Peabody, Massachusetts 2014; 159pp; £11.99; ISBN 978 1 61970 271 4. Available in the UK through Alban Books), by Colin Blakely, is a lively and often highly amusing introduction to past giants which would interest not just theological students, but lay people too. 

First published in English in 1954, Life Together (SCM Press, London 2015; 96pp; £12.99; ISBN 978 0334 04976 0), by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has been published yet again, this time with a preface by Samuel Wells who rightly describes this almost timeless book as “possibly the finest handbook available for Christians on how to live life together”. Wells highlights in particular Bonhoeffer’s statement: “In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable… Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of the fellowship”. My one complaint is that the official price is steep for a book of this size!

God has spoken: a history of Christian theology (Apollos, Nottingham 2014; 1260pp; £34.99 hardback; ISBN 978 1 78359 162 6), by Gerald Bray, is in every sense a ‘weighty’ volume. Theological students will find this account of the way in which Christian theology developed invaluable. For working ministers, this tome also provides substantial grist for the intellectual mill, for as Bray concludes: “As long as the Christian church continues to exist there will be theological reflection because, without theology, the Bible and its message cannot be preached or understood, let alone applied, as it must be if the gospel is to be surely implanted in the hearts and minds of believers”. IVP are to be congratulated for keeping the price down of this formidable hardback.

First published in 2011, UK Church Statistics 2: 2010-2020 (Tonbridge, Kent, 2nd edition 2014; £27; ISBN 978 0 9566577 7 0. Available from Brierley Consultancy, Tonbridge TN10 4PW), by Peter Brierley, has been updated and gives a range of fascinating statistics. While it shows that church numbers across the UK continue to decline, the good news is that the rate of decline has lessened significantly, and that some of the dire predictions will now most likely not be evident until 2025!

In Framing Paul: An Epistolary Biography (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids 2014; 468pp; £25.99; ISBN 978 0 8028 7151 0. Available in the UK from Alban Books of Edinburgh), Douglas A Campbell of Duke Divinity School controversially argues that the basic sequence of Paul’s letters is: 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians (c. 40 AD); Laodiceans (‘Ephesians’), Colossians and Philemon (51 AD); 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians and Philippians (51 AD), and possibly Philippians and Romans (52 AD). Of interest to scholars, but less so to practitioners.

Dying to Live: A Theological and Practical Workbook on Death, Dying and Bereavement (SCM, London 2014; 212pp; £27.99; ISBN 978 0 334 05240 1), by Marian Carter, is packed full of information, and would no doubt form a useful textbook for theological students. It is, however, somewhat bland and lacks creative ideas for working ministers.

Interpreting the Prophets (SPCK, London 2015; 173pp; £16.99; ISBN 978 0 281 06904 0), by Aaron Chalmers, an Old Testament teacher in South Australia, is a really good introduction for ministerial students. I particularly appreciated the helpful down-to-earth advice contained in the final chapter entitled ‘Guidelines for preaching from the prophets’.

Yet another volume has appeared in ‘The New International Commentary on the Old Testament’: The Book of Psalms (Eerdmans, Michigan, Grand Rapids 2014; 1051pp; £40.99 hardback; ISBN 978 0 8028 2493 6. Available in the UK through Alban Books of Edinburgh), by Nancy deClaisse-Walford, Rolf A Jacobson and Beth LaNeel Tanner, is a delightful combination of accessible scholarship and theological reflection, and has much to offer the preacher. For instance, commenting on Psalm 23, we read: “It is noteworthy that it is precisely in the middle of the crisis (‘the darkest valley’) that the psalm shifts from credal affirmations about God to trusting prayer to God. It is in moments of crisis that the Lord moves from an abstract concept (a ‘he’ about whom one has memorized doctrinal statements) to a living God with whom one has a relationship (a ‘you’ in whom one trusts, to whom one speaks, on whom once can rely)”. This is a commentary to buy.

What Old Testament Authors Really Cared About: a survey of Jesus’ Bible (Kregel Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2013; 496pp; £29.99 hardback; ISBN 978 0 8254 2591 2), edited by Jason S DeRouchie, is a beautifully produced popular guide to the Old Testament, which disappointingly fails to note, let alone address, any difficulties of interpretation.

Organic Mentoring: A mentor’s guide to relationships with next generation women (Kregel, Grand Rapids 2014; 218pp; £9.99; ISBN 978 0 8254 4333 6. Available in the UK through Alban Books of Edinburgh), by Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann, does not seem to really connect with culture in the UK. The penultimate paragraph gives a flavour of the book as a whole: “Too many young women feel like they are drowning, and in their terror may look like they are putting up a fight, but down deep, they really do want to know hoe to develop a real relationship with God. They want to know how life works, and they are wide open to learning from an older woman who loves, understands, and respects them. To rescue them, we must swim out to where they are, wrap life jackets around them, and bring them to shore”.

Gordon D Fee has produced a revised edition of his monumental commentary on The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, revised 2014; 982pp; £43.99; ISBN 978 0 8028 7136 7. Available in the UK through Alban Books of Edinburgh) in ‘The New International Commentary on the New Testament’ series. First published in 1987, it immediately became the best commentary on 1 Corinthians. Although other good commentaries have appeared – not least that by Ciampa and Rosner, published by Apollos – this new edition, which takes into account developments in scholarship over the past 25 years, is still a ‘must’ for every preacher wanting to engage in expository preaching. In spite of the price, it is a good ‘investment’.

Covenant and Commandment: works, obedience and faithfulness in the Christian life (Apollos, Nottingham 2014; 185pp; £12.99; ISBN 978 1 78359 166 4), by Bradley Green of Union University, Jackson, Tennessee, deals with the tension for the heirs of the Reformation of affirming the necessity of obedience while simultaneously affirming passionately ‘sola fide’. Published in the ‘New Studies in Biblical Theology’, this ‘earnest’ book spans the disciplines of New Testament and systematic theology.

First published in 1973 and 1975 respectively in the Tyndale Old Testament commentary series, Psalms 1-72 (IVP, Nottingham 2014; 277pp; £11.99; ISBN 978 1 78359 182 4) and Psalms 73-150 (IVP, Nottingham 2014; 144pp; £9.99; ISBN 978 1 78359 183 1) have now been reprinted in the ‘Kidner Classic Commentaries series. Derek Kidner was a well-loved warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge, and combined scholarship with a warm devotional style. At the same time IVP has published the latest Tyndale Old Testament commentary on the Psalms (Nottingham, 2014; 479pp; £14.99; ISBN 978 1 78359 163 3), by Tremper Longman III, which takes account of advances in scholarship since Kidner first wrote his commentaries. If the truth be told, Kidner and Longman complement one another!

The Spirit of Grace (SPCK, London 2015; 115pp; £9.99; ISBN 978 0 281 06839 5), published in the ‘Christian Belief for Everyone’ series, by Alister McGrath, looks at what the Apostles’ Creed means when it speaks of ‘the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, and the forgiveness of sins’. Full of helpful illustrations and quotations, this is a good book to lend to people new to faith.

Church for Every Context: an Introduction to Theology and Practice (SCM, London 2012; 490pp; £30; ISBN 978 0 334 04369 0), by Michael Moynagh (with a chapter on ‘Contextual Churches in History’ by Philip Harrold), is a truly excellent and highly readable book, which every minister needs to read, whether or not they are involved in new forms of church; it is also a great textbook for ministerial students. Michael Moynagh is an Anglican evangelical and a member of the Fresh Expressions Team with responsibility for drawing together learning about the theology and practice of new forms of church – and this all-encompassing guide is the result. I particularly appreciated the clarity of style as the author describes the various ‘tributaries’ which come together under this umbrella term and are made up of Christian communities that serve people mainly outside the church, belong to their culture, make discipleship a priority and form a new church among the people they serve. I appreciated too the rigorous way in which the author engages with the Scriptures.

Thomas Merton: Selected Essays (Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York, paperback edition 2014; 493pp; £25.99; ISBN 978 1 62698 092 1. Available in the UK through Alban Books of Edinburgh), edited by Patrick O’Connell, contains 33 essays on a wide range of subjects. The very first is a thought-provoking autobiographical essay entitled The White Pebble, in which Merton wrote: “No man enters heaven all by himself. We either bring others in with us or we are brought in by others…. The grace that is given to me must pour out into your heart through works of love, through prayer, through sacrifice. The more fully one enters into the Christian life, the more he feels the necessity of communicating that life to others, if not by word, then by prayer and by the deep sweet anguish of desire, the craving for souls that burns in the depths of the heart of the priest”.

First published in the USA in 1948, but in England only in 1975, Thomas Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain, has been through many reprintings, but this time it appears in the SPCK’s Classics series to mark the centenary of his birth (London 2015; 423pp; £20; ISBN 978 0 281 07366 5). Alas Merton had nothing good to say about the Church of England (“Its strength is not in anything supernatural, but in the strong social and racial instincts which bind the members of this caste together”), English public schools (‘the harrowing of hell’) nor indeed of Cambridge University (which he describes as “dark” and “sinister” in atmosphere)! A captivating read.

Previously published as Elders in Congregational Life, Elders in the Life of the Church: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership (Kregel, Grand Rapids 2014; 256pp; £11.99; ISBN 978 0 8254 4272 8. Available in the UK from Alban of Edinburgh), by Phil A Newton and Matt Schucker, is a disappointment for, as the bibliography makes clear, it fails to engage with developments by New Testament scholars in the last 25 years or so. The reality is that, although in the New Testament churches leadership was always shared, patterns of leadership varied from church to church.

Readings for Funerals (SPCK, London 2015; 232pp; £12.99; ISBN 978 0 281 07180 7), by Mark Oakley, is a collection of Bible readings, hymns, and ‘poems and reflections’.   The choice of readings and hymns is fairly standard, but the choice of poems and reflections is of more interest. I enjoyed, for instance, the anonymous quotation: “Tears are proof of life. The more love, the more tears. If this be true, then how could we ever ask that the pain cease altogether? For then the memory of love would go with it. The pain of grief is the price we pay for love”. The price, however, for this relatively short book (there is a good deal of blank space) is somewhat steep!

A Director’s Cut (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2014; 290pp; £7.99; ISBN 978 0 232 53061 2), by Simon Parke, an Anglican priest for over 20 years, is another welcome Abbot Peter ‘mystery’. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read – just the book when one wants to switch off from the pressures of ministry!

Last year Hendrickson of Massachusetts published two thought-provoking volumes by the Jewish scholar, T A Perry: Jonah’s arguments with God: the honeymoon is over (250pp; £16.99; ISBN 978 1 61970 489 3) and Wisdom in the Hebrew Bible: Exploring God’s Twilight Zone (208pp; £16.99; ISBN 978 1 61970 491 6), both of which are available in the UK through Alban of Edinburgh. Both books are characterised by a freshness of approach, from which preachers could benefit, although a good deal independence of thought of required from the reader!

Enriching Ministry: Pastoral Supervision in Practice (SCM, London 2014; 234pp; £25; ISBN 978 0 33404 956 2), edited by Michael Paterson and Jessica Rose, consists of thirteen wide-ranging essays on what has become a key discipline in ministry. I particularly appreciated ‘Pithead time for pastors: training in pastoral supervision’ by Margaret Bazely and Ruth Layzell.

The Wisdom of the Spirit: Gospel Church and Culture (Ashgate, Farnham 2014; 216pp; £60; ISBN 978 1 4724 3565 1), edited by Martyn Percy and Pete Ward, is a fascinating collection of essays, honouring Andrew Walker by exploring his interest in house churches, charismatic renewal, culture and faith. I particularly enjoyed Martyn Percy’s contribution entitled ‘Symbiotic Alchemy: Mapping the Future of English Revivalism and Evangelicalism’ – his analysis should be compulsory reading for all evangelical leaders. I loved his comment that “in fundamentalistic, conservative and evangelical congregations, it is not the Bible that has the final authority, but rather the interpreter”. The conclusion to James Heard’s essay on ‘Exploring Alpha’ was also challenging: “The Alpha course’s future depends upon its willingness to embrace risk, creativity and innovation by way of attempting a thorough revision of the course, and whether it is willing both to wide its horizons to encompass the whole of the Christian faith and allow greater flexibility for local adaptation”. I was interested too to learn more of Andrew Walker’s own faith journey in his interview with David Hilborn. Get your local library to buy a copy and then borrow and read!

Pope Francis: Life and Revolution. A biography of Jorge Bergoglio (Darton, Longman and Todd, London 2015; 312pp; £9.99; ISBN 978 0 232 53164 0), by Elizabetta Pique, a correspondent for Argentina’s main newspaper, who is based in Rome, who had become a friend of the Pope long before his 2013 election, is lively, detailed portrayal of the present Pope, which will be of interest to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I loved the quotation from Pope Francis about how important it is for ministers to be ‘pastors’ rather than just ‘managers’: “The priest who doesn’t go out of himself, who mixes little with people, loses the best part of the people, the part that is able to activate the deepest part of our priestly heart. He who doesn’t get out of himself, instead of becoming a mediator, gradually becomes an intermediary, a manager… That is the explanation for the dissatisfaction of some who end up being sad and transformed, as it were, into collectors of antiques or novelties, instead of being shepherds smelling of sheep, shepherds in the middle of their own flock, and fishers of men… I ask you: be shepherds smelling of sheep, they must be smelled”!

Johannine Theology: The Gospel, the Epistles and the Apocalypse (Apollos, Nottingham 2014; 496pp; £26.99 hardback; ISBN 978 1 78359 174 9), by Paul A Rainbow, a professor of New Testament at Sioux Falls, Seminary, claims to be “the only English-language textbook on John’s theology that aims to be both critical and comprehensive”. Theological students will be delighted with this scholarly work, but it will have less appeal to preachers and pastors.

Evangelicals, Worship and Participation: Taking a Twenty-First Century Reading (Ashgate, Farnham 2014; 301pp; £70 hardback; ISBN 978 1 4094 6919 3), by Alan Rathe, proved to be a disappointment, because it is an examination of North American evangelical liturgical positions and practices. Although inevitably many of the hymns and songs British churches sing originate from North America, the fact is that evangelical church life in the UK is on the whole radically different from the USA. What would be much more interesting – from a British perspective – would be for there to be an analysis of the state of evangelical worship in the UK! As it is, this particular volume may well be of interest to some British academics, but has little relevance to British pastors.

Using the Jesus Prayer: Steps to a Simpler Life (BRF, Abingdon 2014; 102pp; £6.99; ISBN 978 1 84101 778 5), by John Twisleton, is an enthusiastic commendation of the ancient prayer, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner’. Rightly or wrongly, I confess that I do not share this enthusiasm.

The Second Letter to the Corinthians (Apollos, Nottingham 2014; 535pp; £29.99; ISBN 978 1 78359 161 9), by Mark A Seifrid of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, is yet another splendid addition to the Pillar New Testament Commentary. Detailed exegesis is combined with theological analysis. Any pastor wanting to engage in expository preaching will find this a great help. This is a book to buy!

First published in 1986, this third ‘centenary’ edition of A Universal Heart: the Life and Vision of Brother Roger of Taize (SPCK, London 2015; 204pp; £10.99; ISBN 978 0 281 07357 3), by Kathryn Spink, tells the story of a charismatic leader who lived and breathed forgiveness and reconciliation. This edition adds an epilogue encompassing the major developments of the interim years, which ended with the murder of Brother Roger by a mentally disturbed Romanian Woman on 16 August 2005. 

Advancing Practical Theology: Critical Discipleship for Disturbing Times (SCM, London 2014; 159pp; £25; ISBN 978 0 334 05191 6), by Eric Stoddart, is a book for pastoral theologians rather than for pastors, and describes the development of pastoral theology as a discipline for professionals. It is very much a product of the Scottish context.

First published in 2007, and subsequently reprinted in 2008, 2010, and 2011, The Living Church: Convictions of a lifelong pastor (IVP, Nottingham 2014; 192pp; £9.99; ISBN 978 1 78359 179 4), by John Stott, deals with such issues as worship, evangelism and ministry. Sadly, Stott is now becoming increasingly dated.

New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional (IVP, Nottingham 2014; £14.99 hardback; ISBN 978 1 78359 177 0), by Paul David Tripp, director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas, consists of a page of devotional thoughts for each day of the year. Strangely, these thoughts do not arise directly from Scripture. Instead, at the bottom of each day there is a Scripture given for ‘further study and encouragement’.

More Perfect Union? Understanding Same-Sex Marriage (Darton, Longman and Todd, London 2014; 172pp; £9.99; ISBN 978 0 232 53125 1), by Alan Wilkinson, the Anglican bishop of Buckingham, is a well-written contribution to the debate on same-sex relationship. In this book Wilkinson charts his own theological journey, which has now led him to believe that “rejoicing with gay people who marry, supporting them wholeheartedly, no longer seemed to me a concession to secular modernity, but sharing the good news of the Kingdom”. His exegesis of the biblical texts should cause even the most conservative of Christians to ponder, as will his repeated statement that only 30% of same sex relationships involve anal sex.

First published in 1997, Reflecting the Glory (BRF, Abingdon 2014; 248pp; £8.99; ISBN 978 0 7459 3556 0), by Tom Wright, consists of a series of Bible readings, mostly taken from Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth – and reflections for Lent and Easter. It is a stimulating devotional tool.

Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity. Volume I: A-Da (Hendrickson, Massachusetts 2015; 400pp; £16.99; ISBN 978 1 61970 460 2. Available in the UK through Alban Books of Edinburgh), edited by Edwin M Yamauchi and Marvin R Wilson, is the first of three volumes which make up a Bible dictionary with a difference which, instead of keying into words occurring in the Bible, is based on “an anthropological grid of human society”, which systematically and comparatively surveys different aspects of culture, whether highlighted in the Bible or not. As a result, we have entries on such issues as abortion and contraception, aphrodisiacs and cosmetics. This work of accessible scholarship is much to be welcomed, and abounds with insights and illuminating quotations from ancient sources.

In 2014, Authentic Media of Milton Keynes published two further biographies, both priced at £7.99, in their popular series of ‘Lessons from Remarkable Lives’: William Wilberforce: Achieving the Impossible (ISBN 978 1 78078 063 4), by Mark Williamson; and Amy Carmichael: A Life Well Placed (ISBN 978 1 78078 062 7), by Joanna E Williamson. Unusually, each chapter has ‘key learning points’ for today’s leaders.

Two of the latest ‘inclusive church resources’ from Darton, Longman and Todd are Poverty (London 2014; 112pp; £8.99 – but only 198 x 126mm in size. ISBN 978 0 232 530681), by Susan Durber; and Sexuality (London 2014; 128pp; £8.99 – ditto size; ISBN 978 0 232 53067 4). Both books contain thought-provoking personal experiences, and theological and practical resources.

Hendrickson of Peabody Massachusetts are publishing twenty four guides to ‘spiritual practices’, all 83pp in length and £5.99, in their series ‘Everyday Matters for Bible Studies for Women’. Guides now published include Prayer and Confession (ISBN 978 1 61970 440 4), Justice and Submission (ISBN 978 1 61970 438 1), Faith and Worship (ISBN 978 1 61970 437 4), and Fasting and Stewardship (ISBN 978 1 61970 442 8), all available from Alban Books of Edinburgh.

Recent booklets from Grove of Cambridge, all 28pp in length and priced at £3.95, include:

Engaging with Muslims: Building Cohesion while Seeking Conversion (Evangelism 107, 2014; ISBN 978 1 85174 911 9), by Phil Rawlings, who has served for almost 20 years in a large Muslim area in central Manchester. This is a ‘must’ for any church seeking to reach out to Muslim neighbours.

An Introduction to Marriage Preparation: the Opportunity of a Lifetime (Pastoral 138, 2014; ISBN 978 1 85174 904 1), by Andrew Body, makes the interesting point that with so many couples now living together before marriage, the term ‘preparation’ could seem somewhat patronising, and instead argues for the term ‘marriage exploration’. 

Challenging Images of Young People: Towards A Biblical Understanding of the Young (Youth 35, 2014; ISBN 978 1 85174 905 8), in which Robin Rolls suggests that Jesus was “the ultimate youth worker”!

Indoctrination and Youth Ministry: Choice of Coercion (Youth 36, 2014; ISBN 978 1 85174 914 0), by Peter Hart, in which he argues that “evangelism and discipleship become indoctrinary when they deny people the opportunity to develop, whether cognitively, morally, in identity or in faith”. 

Forming a Missional Church: Creating Deep Cultural Change in Congregations (Pastoral 139, 2014; ISBN 978 1 85174 913 3), by Patrick Keifert and Nigel Rooms, is a ‘solid’ but not very exciting piece of work on an important theme. 

Leaving Well: Exploring Aspects of Moving from One Ministry to Another (Leadership 17, 2014; ISBN 978 1 85174 908 9) by Andy Piggott, who offers some very practical advice to ministers considering leaving their present post. 

Leading Community Projects: Keeping a Missional Focus (Leadership 18, 2014. ISBN 978 1 85174 917 1), by Fran Beckett, is full of helpful ideas. She sounds a ‘cautionary note’ when she writes: “Whatever model of mission is pursued, remember the importance of building a missional congregation and not letting the community project be the church’s sole expression of mission”. 

Doing Evangelism Ethically (Evangelism 108, 2014; ISBN 978 1 85174 920 1), by Gavin Wakefield, looks at the ‘abuse of power’ in some approaches to evangelism, and argues that ethical evangelism will be done “by virtuous witnesses, grounded in the love of God and seeking to become ever more Christlike disciples, by living out virtues such as presence, patience, courage, humility and hospitality”.

Mentoring and Young People: a relational, flexible, holistic approach to discipleship (Youth 37, 2014; ISBN 978 1 85174 923 2), by Joel Toombs, is an enthusiastic guide to mentoring as the key to discipling young people, which concludes wondering if the input of traditional teaching methods will one day no longer be necessary!

The Wise Pastor: Learning from Gregory the Great’s ‘Pastoral Rule’ (Pastoral 140, 2014; ISBN 978 1 85174 922 5), by Gavin Wakefield, is a selective commentary on the much longer (50,000 words) 6th century papal guide for monks. In spite of a very different context, the call to ‘watch yourself’ is still relevant!

Paul Beasley-Murray

Senior Minister of Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford<br>and Chair of Ministry Today

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You are reading Issue 63 of Ministry Today, published in April 2015.

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