This Strange and Sacred Scripture: Wrestling with the Old Testament and Its Oddities

Matthew Richard Schlimm (Baker Academic)

Most Christians don’t consciously oppose the Old Testament, says Schlimm, a professor at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, but they do tend to keep it at arm’s length. “We treat [it] less as an enemy and more as a stranger, a mere acquaintance, or a superficial friend.” This Strange and Sacred Scripture teaches tentative readers to view the Old Testament as a “friend in faith”—albeit a “quirky” one. That friendship will never get off the ground “if we are suspicious of it or somehow biased against it.” But if we patiently bear with the Old Testament, studying it slowly and carefully, we’ll grow in companionship not only with its characters but also with its Maker.

Outposts of Hope: First Peter’s Christ for Culture Strategy

Douglas D. Webster (Cascade Books)

Themes of suffering and persecution figure prominently in the Epistle of 1 Peter. Yet Webster, who teaches pastoral theology and preaching at Beeson Divinity School, says these themes often fail to resonate with readers in the contemporary West, where Christianity—despite pockets of intense disfavor—peacefully coexists with secular culture. Outposts of Hope asks whether 1 Peter’s perceived lack of relevance can help us examine the depths of our obedience to Christ. “If the messianic community lived the way Peter expected Christ’s followers to live,” asks Webster, “would they experience social ostracism, mockery, and abuse similar to that experienced by the first recipients of Peter’s letter?”

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