Pastors' Library

The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues

Stephen Bloom, Living Ink Books, 2008, ISBN 9780899570310, 184 pages, $12.99, softcover.

Steven Bloom advises and teaches on stewardship and the economics of social issues. His legal calling is geared toward Christians who must often face conflicts between the law and their Christian profession.

The author gives practical advice on a number of issues: Christians suing others to protect their rights, divorce and its alternatives, the inadvisability (most of the time) of entering into prenuptial agreements, and the Christian's rights when he or she has been charged with a crime.

Bloom advises caution when one considers estate planning, living wills, and Medicaid asset planning. Bankruptcy for a Christian should be a last resort after all other alternatives have been tried, he urges.

Christian business owners must be morally and legally honest in dealing with their employees and with the government.

Finally, when a Christian is considering suing, the writer urges him or her to consider conciliation services rather than taking the matter to court.

Glen H. Jones

Target: All
Type: Legal Advice
Take: Highly Recommended


Headship, Submission and the Bible

Jack Cottrell, College Press Publishing,, 2008. ISBN 9780899007922, 334 pages $24.99, soft cover.

Jack Cottrell examines the role of submission and leadership in the home. His thesis is that the husband has been appointed by God to be the leader in the home. His wife submits to his leadership because she realizes God has appointed the husband to be head of the wife. This leadership/ submission couplet is based on love for each other and love for the divine order. The husband's authority cannot be based on cruelty and oppression because that contradicts the image of Christ as Head of the church.

Egalitarians (those who believe in elimination of all role distinctions between men and women) counter that the New Testament command for wives to submit to their husband was a cultural expedient that has outlived its purpose and is no longer valid. The role of husbands and wives today, they say, should be mutual submission or shared authority. Furthermore, the New Testament affirms that all believers should submit to each other.

The writer carefully examines pertinent biblical passages such as Ephesians 5:21-6:9 and Colossians 1; 18; 2:10. He also carefully examines the passages that identify Christ as the head of the church. This headship, the author states, extends to the husband-wife relationship.

This scholarly and carefully written volume enforces the headship-submission teaching of the New Testament.

Glen H. Jones

Target: All
Type: Family Headship
Take: Highly Recommended


Preaching to a Post-Everything World (Crafting Biblical Sermons that Connect with Our Culture)

Zack Eswine, Baker Books, 2008, ISBN 9780801091940, 288 pages, $17.99, softcover.

If you, as a preacher, were asked by a member of your congregation if it would be all right for him to invite a friend-who happened to be a transvestite, operation and all-to church, how would you respond? Zack Eswine, who teaches homiletics at Covenant Theological Seminary, says that's a scenario that could happen in today's culture. (For the answer he would give to the posed question, see below.)

Eswine's goal as a teacher is to show the next generation of preachers how to transmit timeless gospel principles to a culture that is spiritually hungry but which has been indoctrinated to disbelieve in anything "old-fashioned," including God. Sample chapter titles: "Preach What Is Real"; "Preach What Is Redemptive"; "Remember Where You've Been"; "Handle the War Passages in an Age of Terror;" "Learn to Speak About Hell;" and "Cry Out for the Holy Spirit."

This reviewer believes Preaching to a Post-Everything World is a valuable resource for those seeking to reach the post-everything generation for Christ. The book, incidentally, also confronts the age-old question for pastors: "How does one reach people with the gospel without undoing the gospel?" (And Eswine's answer for the transvestite: By all means, bring him to church: where else will he hear the Good News of Christ?)

Ted Kyle

Target: Preachers
Type: Didactic
Take: Recommended


40 Questions about Elders and Deacons

Benjamin L. Merkle, Kregel Academic & Professional, 2008, ISBN 0825433649, 270 pages, $17.99, softcover.

Benjamin Merkle takes an insightful look into the biblical teaching on elders and deacons. He first identifies the three types of church government: 1) the Episcopal, 2) the Presbyterian, and 3) the Congregational. Major authority resides with the bishop in the Episcopal and with the Presbyterian. Only in Congregational-type church government does local church authority reside with the congregation. The author believes Congregational government is the pattern of the New Testament.

The writer proceeds to identify the two biblical offices of a New Testament church. The first-elders-are also called overseers. New Testament churches always had more than one elder, and the elders were charged with the spiritual oversight of the church. A pastor of a church should be an elder-sometimes be referred to as "first among equals." Merkle contends that the pastor should have no more authority than the other elders of the church, but he has the responsibility of leading the church.

Other questions Merkle answers: How many elders should a church have? How should elders be selected? Should elders be ordained? What should be done if an elder is caught in sin? The author also discusses: Should an elder be married? Can a divorced elder serve? May women serve as elders?

Concerning the office of deacons the writer asks, "What are the qualifications for a deacon?" "What is the role of a deacon?" "May women serve as deaconesses?"

Our writer makes a strong assertion by identifying only two New Testament church offices. Yet he makes the point without being abrasive and divisive.

Glen H. Jones

Target: All
Type: Church Offices
Take: Highly Recommended

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