Friday, February 25, 2011

Biblical Theology by Michael Lawrence

This is neither a new idea, nor a new book, nor a new idea about a new book.

Biblical Theology by Michael Lawrence was released in 2010 as a 9Marks product (Crossway: Wheaton IL, 2010). Many others have proposed to blog through a book as they read it, so my attempt to do so is not a novelty.

So, there is nothing new to see here, except for my take on things, so if I haven't successfully persuaded you to stop reading and go to a better-looking site with a younger, hipper blogger, then read on, my friend.

Lawrence writes generally to propose how biblical theology leads directly to effective -- some might say "faithful" -- pastoral ministry in the church. He even proposed that he is writing a "how-to" book, and that learning "to do biblical theology will help you learn how to pastor well" (p15).

Expanding on this idea, Lawrence says "our theology determines the shape and character of our ministry. Theology is how we move from the text of Scripture to how we should live our lives today. This is a book about theology. But it's really a book about ministry, because I'm convinced that if we want our ministry to have a lasting impact and our churches to be healthy we must first do our theology well."

Lawrence refers to this approach as "word-centered ministry."

Indeed, for any congregation of Christ-followers, ministry should be nothing but word-centered. As Lawrence suggests, a gospel minister isn't simply reciting a washing machine manual, but is delivering the life-giving, life-changing Word of God.

This Word is powerful to actually change people. I fear that in some respect we as believers have forgotten this, or don't truly believe it. I must confess that though I engage in ministry with a Word-centered frame of reference, and trust God's Word to accomplish his purpose in changing the lives of men, I am still -- in my sinful and doubtful condition -- surprised when I observe that what God promised and what I profess to believe actually happens.

Yet it is better to be pleasantly surprised at the efficacy of God's Word than to avoid opportunity for God's Word to be efficacious.

Hopefully, Lawrence's book will be a much-needed corrective to ministry centered on things other than the Word.

Join me in finding out.

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