NIV Zondervan Study Bible

Review by S. Craig Sanders

The emergence of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible raises the question: Do we really need it? For every translation there appears to be at least three study Bibles, each more colorful and more in-depth.

With legendary scholar D.A. Carson at the helm, the NIV Zondervan Study Bible quickly dismisses its skeptics and places itself as the crowning achievement among its competitors. In size, it is reminiscent of the ESV Study Bible, but in content, it models The Apologetics Study Bible with a concentrated focus on its theme: biblical theology.

Whether or not you’ve bought into the translation philosophy of the NIV 2011, this study Bible offers no shortage of beautiful illustrations and rich articles from theologian-pastors like Tim Keller, SBTS professor James M. Hamilton Jr., and SBTS alumnus Greg Gilbert. Purchasing this resource also comes with free digital access to the study Bible.

Mormonism 101: Examining the Religion of the Latter-day SaintsReview by S. Craig Sanders
In a revised and expanded update to their book Mormonism 101, researchers Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson remain focused on their original goal: “to take the authoritative claims of the Mormon leadership and see how they compare with the teaching of the Bible.”

With more than 15 million members, the Latter-day Saints present a major challenge to evangelicals as Mormons themselves seek to identify one of the world’s fastest-growing religions with the Christian faith. McKeever and Johnson explore the history of Mormonism and the evolution of its doctrines in order to examine how the religion compares to biblical Christianity.

The “Mormonese” section opening each chapter is one of the more remarkable features, explaining what Mormons mean with terms that might appear familiar to many Christians. This book is perfectly accessible to anyone interested in sharing the gospel with Mormons.

Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel 

Review by S. Craig Sanders

The easiest reader response to books on culture wars is despair. But it’s nearly impossible to read ERLC President Russell Moore’s Onward and not come away with a reinvigorated boldness and sense of mission.

Moore’s manifesto for evangelical Christians does not try to reclaim the false concepts of the Bible Belt and a moral majority but rather to embrace a “prophetic minority” that seems “freakish” and “strange” to American culture.

“Our call is to engaged alienation, a Christianity that preserves the distinctiveness of our gospel while not retreating from our callings as neighbors, and friends, and citizens,” writes Moore, formerly dean of the School of Theology at Southern.

Moore envisions an understanding of kingdom and culture that sends Christians on a mission for “justice and justification” with a message of convictional kindness. Press onward and take this book with you.

Church with Jesus as the Hero 

Review by Annie Corser

In Church with Jesus as the Hero, David E. Prince, assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Seminary, focuses on Jesus to provide churches with a starter kit for Christ-centered ministry.

Filled with practical applications, Church with Jesus as the Hero offers a four-step process of seeing the gospel in specific biblical texts. Step one, find the bad guy — that’s you. Step two, find the heroic example pointing to Jesus. Step three, find the hero: Jesus. Step four, obey Christ in faith.

“One of the problems many people have in rightly interpreting and applying the Bible is that they immediately attempt to identify with the hero,” Prince writes, “not the bad guy.” Prince, who pastors Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky, explains that identifying with the bad guy and seeing the heroic examples in the text as sinners rightly places Jesus as the ultimate, perfect hero. Once we reflect on Jesus, we are able to follow in obedience through faith.

Prince also provides a few chapters of excerpts from Baptist theologian Andrew Fuller. He uses Fuller to address some questions and objections that are raised in his seminary classes such as “What if my sermon text is focused on a moral truth and not on Christ?” and “If I preach Christ in every sermon text, will not every sermon begin to sound the same?”

This book will equip churches as Prince explains how focusing on Jesus as the hero changes church ministry and everything in our lives as we become the “community of the kingdom.”