Saturday, April 9, 2011

Books I've Recently Finished Reading

I was recently reading the Rev'd. Dr. Thomas J. Oord's site, For the Love of Wisdom and the Wisdom of Love.  It would be presumptuous of me to refer to Tom as my friend or as my colleague, but we did go to seminary together at Nazarene Theological Seminary (he graduated the year after I did, but I'll not divulge the years, so as to not "date" either of us!).

Tom has a very nice site (which he must spend quite a lot of time keeping up, posting in various categories).  I recommend that you check it out.   (It is listed in my blog roll, to the left.)

Anyway, looking through his blog, I noticed that he recently gave a list of books he has been reading, or has recently read.  And, since I have just finished reading two books that I thoroughly enjoyed, I thought I would follow his lead, and pass them along.

Yesterday, I finished reading Crucified with Christ: The Life and Ministry of William Marvin Greathouse, by William J. Strickland and H. Ray Dunning (Trevecca Press, 2010). 

Of course, the occasion for reading this book is obvious (cf., the post, below).  I had planned on purchasing the book, last year, when it was first published.  I don't recall why I didn't.  Perhaps, I was on campus and the bookstore was closed.  Perhaps they were not taking orders, but only in-store purchases, at the time.  Whatever the reason, upon Dr. Greathouse's home going, I called the bookstore at Trevecca (Nazarene University) and made my order.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  I do wish that Drs. Strickland and Dunning would have gone into some details about some of the issues that Dr. Greathouse faced or was involved in.  I'm sure that there was considerable restraint which they likely imposed upon themselves, perhaps out of Christian charity, but it would have been nice if those situations could have been more thoroughly explored.  Nevertheless, the book not only provides insight into the histories of Trevecca Nazarene University, Nazarene Theological Seminary, and the Church of the Nazarene, it is also quite inspirational.  Even as we may look to the lives of the saints to help us in our spiritual walk, this book provides us with a contemporary saint whose life's story fills us with a hunger for God.  In reading this book about Dr. Greathouse, I am reminded of St. Paul's instruction, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1, NRSV).

I recommend the book to Nazarenes, as well as others in the larger Wesleyan-holiness tradition.

Another book I recently read is A Teacher's Guide to Understanding the Sacraments, by Samuel M. Powell (Beacon Hill, 2011). 

This is a short, little book (71 pages, including the glossary).  It is in a series of "A Teacher's Guide" books written by Dr. Powell.  It seems to be designed for Sunday School teachers or pastor's teaching a Sunday School class or small group.

If you are interested in knowing more about the sacraments, especially from a Wesleyan point of view, but do not want to read a full sacramental theology, this is a great little book. 

I have submitted a short Book Review for this book to Sacramental Life (a practical journal published by the Order of Saint Luke), so I do not want to reproduce that, here.  However, let me say that Powell writes in a way that is not argumentative, but rather inviting.  There are a couple of things, of course, that I would have done differently.  However, I found it to be a very exciting contribution to the sacramental awakening in the Church of the Nazarene.  My prayer is that pastors and laity will read it and teach from it and that it will bear much fruit.

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