Book Celebration 2023

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - 4:00-5:30 pm - Fine Center (First Free Methodist Church)

Join us as we celebrate books recently published by our SOT Faculty. We will enjoy reviews from local pastors on each book.

Workshop of the Holy Spirit: An Invitation to Theological Education
Authored by Doug Strong and Jess Bielman
Reviewed by Rev. David Sim, Pastor of Renew Covenant Church

Workshop of the Holy Spirit invites students into the exciting adventure of theological education. Many aspects of modern theological education have their historic roots in the ideas of the Enlightenment. This foundation creates compartmentalized structures and frameworks that may not lead to the thriving of theological students. In contrast, Pietist leader P.J. Spener asserted in 1675 that theological schools should be ""nurseries of the church"" and ""workshops of the Holy Spirit""--a formative environment that enhances intellectual, spiritual, and missional growth. Using the medieval workshop as a helpful metaphor for us today, and writing at the intersection of the student-faculty relationship, Strong and Bielman describe the components both in and out of the classroom that enhance fruitful ministry preparation. This book engages theological education in our changing religious context. It offers fresh questions for students, highlighting emerging, innovative, and alternative models of training for life in the Spirit. Each chapter contains relevant stories from theological education students, while including descriptions of the history of theological education.

The Radiance of God: Christian Doctrine through the Image of Divine Light
Authored by Douglas M. Koskela
Reviewed by Rev. Scott Dudley, Pastor of Bellevue Presbyterian Church

The image of God as light abounds in Scripture and the Christian tradition. In The Radiance of God, Douglas M. Koskela explores the theme of divine radiance across the span of Christian doctrine. The book develops a constructive account of the Christian gospel that traces the journey from darkness into the marvelous light of God. Drawing on an ecumenical range of voices in the tradition, Koskela frames the discussion in terms of three central concepts: allure, movement, and joy. The image of divine radiance suggests the sheer beauty of God that captivates the attention of God's creatures in wonder, love, and praise. The brilliance of this light initiates a process of movement toward it as the Holy Spirit transforms us in the image of Christ, the light of the world. The culmination of this journey is inexpressible and unending joy as we are immersed in the divine light. By following this threefold pattern through the classic loci of Christian doctrine, this volume offers a sustained and coherent treatment of the economy of salvation from creation to consummation.

Making Christianity Manly Again: Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, and American Evangelicalism
Authored by Jennifer McKinney
Reviewed by Rev. Rose Madrid Swetman, Pastor Emerita of The Practicing Church

Mark Driscoll, the founding pastor of Seattle's Mars Hill Church, indelibly impacted American evangelicalism. Driscoll's brash, authoritarian, and profanity-laden leadership grew Mars Hill Church into one of the fastest growing, most innovative, and most influential churches in the country--not an easy task in one of America's most secular cities. Driscoll's gender theology put men at the forefront of American Christianity, rebranding Jesus from a "gay hippie in a dress" to a sword-carrying, "robe-dipped-in-blood" warrior. This type of rhetoric paved the way for evangelicals' embrace of hypermasculine Christianity, priming the pump for their unprecedented support of Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 Presidential elections.

Making Christianity Manly Again places Driscoll's gender theology in its social and historical contexts and analyzes the contemporary social patterns that explain how a hypermasculine theology helped create a megachurch empire. By addressing the rhetoric of Driscoll's movement through his sermons, along with narratives from former Mars Hill Church members, sociologist Jennifer McKinney leads us to a better understanding of the dynamics of the evangelical impulse to reclaim and glorify men's power. These dynamics, as McKinney shows, have fueled a growing Christian nationalist movement, with enormous implications for religion and politics in America.

AI, Faith, and the Future: An Interdisciplinary Approach
Authored by Michael J. Paulus Jr and Michael D. Langford
Reviewed by Rev. Doug Kelly, Pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church

Artificial intelligence is rapidly and radically changing our lives and world. This book is a multidisciplinary engagement with the present and future impacts of AI from the standpoint of Christian faith. It provides technological, philosophical, and theological foundations for thinking about AI, as well as a series of reflections on the impact of AI on relationships, behavior, education, work, and moral action. The book serves as an accessible introduction to AI as well as a guide to wise consideration, design, and use of AI by examining foundational understandings and beliefs from a Christian perspective.

This event is free, and does not require RSVPs. 

Posted: Thursday, March 30, 2023