• This is the first time I read a book by Ben Witherington III. I was interested in the topic of Rhetoric in the NT. Mostly this book talks about St. Paul and gives many new insights. Witherington III writes clear and this book did not become too technical, still, it is a good source for academic work. The work also provides many questions for the readers. As working through questions the reader can become well acquainted with the topic. Then the author gives interesting facts of the ANE, like writing tools. Next, this book gives new insights on the Theological discussion of Romans 7. "Quintilian says impersonation “is sometimes introduced even with controversial themes, which are drawn from history and involve the appearance of definite historical characters as pleaders” (Institutio oratoria 3.8.52). In this case, Adam is the historical figure being impersonated in Romans 7:7–13, and the theme is most certainly controversial and drawn from history. Indeed, Paul has introduced this theme already in Rom 5:12–21. One must bear in mind that this discourse would have been heard seriatim, which means the audience would have heard about Adam only a few minutes before hearing the material in Romans 7." Ben Witherington III, New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009), 132. With this and other parts, it stands against many of the Protestant and Calvinistic views, like Predestination and Saved by Grace Alone. With these I do not fully agree, still, it is good to know the other explanations on these topics. These topics can be extremely complex, which brought many discussions throughout Church History. Finally, this books learns you many new facts and insights and will be a great work for starting novel academic debates into the NT scholarly world.
    1. This is a short book, which shows the viewpoints of the atheist and other opponents well. Most great opponents against the theistic view were persons that were in one way or another connected with Judaism or Christianity. King James Bible They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1 John 2:19 I miss the persuasion in the writing of this work to defend the theistic view. Added to this, I think this book is way too short to cover a fast topic like this.
      1. Interesting, well explained and objectively written. By studying Church history you will always learn something new, which can deepen your love for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit throughout history.
        1. The introduction was a bit much about the author, still from listening to Steven Lawson sermons I know that he is a good and sincere preacher. This book was written in a bit either/or style. I think that the main point is correct in that Christ needs to be elevated in every sermon. However, this does not mean that rhetoric principals do not have their place. As seen in Ben Witherington III, New Testament Rhetoric: An Introductory Guide to the Art of Persuasion in and of the New Testament (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009). I love Theology which goes deeper than taking one example of St. Paul preaching and base an entire preaching method on it. For example, we can also look at Jesus and how he preached in the Gospels. Another example not to take St. Pauls as the golden rule is: "For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible (2 Corinthians 10:10)." Also, Moses had a hard time with public speaking. This does not mean we all should have this hardship, as some people are by nature better public speakers than others. I think Apollos was a real blessing for the Church and his speech was part of this blessing. "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6)." God can use in His manner. Another point is that this book is extremely short and is more for people who just start in their Christian life. Then the Christ crucified sermon is not the only one since Christ is also resurrected, is coming back and so much more. We need to look in the context of the Corinthian Church, as these people were non-believers. The Christian life is so vast in important topics that the preachers can endlessly preach. But in this Lawson is right, preachers always need to elevate and glorify Christ in their sermons. Especially all the three Persons of the Trinity. He clearly indicated the devastating effect of modern-day clown style preaching. Another good point are some of the strong illustrations he gives throughout his book. Do you want to learn how to preach then this book is not a practical one but more one for starting preachers and especially the preachers who glorify themselves instead of the Risen Lord.
          1. A beautiful book about a master Theologian. This work gives many insights into the life of Ernst Lohmeyer. The author spends a great time getting to know Lohmeyer. "If you ask an American kid who his or her heroes are, you will probably hear names from the fields of entertainment and sports. Had you asked a young person of Lohmeyer’s day—at least from his social stratum—you would have heard names from science, the arts, and literature. Lohmeyer was introduced to the cultured worlds of antiquity, classical languages, music, and the humanistic tradition early in life." (great thought about childhood and upbringing) Lohmeyer was a great type of scholar, the one we need back in the Church again. Many Christian scholars have great insight but miss the burning heart to make a real difference in the world. Edwards gives also great insights and theological views from Lohmeyer. This made the book more interesting. When you want to know more about the history during the WO2 and after that, this book will give you a better understanding. Many innocent Germans suffered greatly in this period. Like Loymeher which suffered a great deal, still, he kept the faith to the end, like a real hero. This book also made me more conscious about the terrible acts of communism, which can be even of greater horror than those of the nazis. As God designed humans he also knows which governmental type works best.
            1. If you want to know the history of the Pentecostal movement then this will be a great book to read or to consult. Important to see is that the holiness movement lies underneath the modern-day Pentecostal movement. The history of this church movement is quite complex as it is often chaotic. It seems like a movement that is always on the run. Then what we can learn from the early tongues is that it was almost always recognised as a known language. The book talks primarily about America and also touches quickly other parts of the world. Since the USA can be seen as the womb from which the movement was born. Pentecostalism is for many people an exciting religion with many signs and wonders. However, much is based on the subjective, while the Reformed teachings are based mainly on the objective point of view. This subjective aspect can be also responsible for the many heresies that sprung out of the movement. For example, what the book called the “Jesus Name” sermon. Explanation from the book on page 157: "According to Ewart’s view there was only one personality in the Godhead—Jesus Christ—the terms “Father” and “Holy Spirit” being only “titles” used to designate various aspects of Christ’s person. Therefore, the idea of a “trinity” was a mistake which had been foisted on the church by the Bishop of Rome at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325." The danger is that someone charismatic is getting a vision and declares with much power a heresy where many untrained members will blindly follow. As happened with the example above. Next, the book explains the theology well of the Pentecostals. Added that the Pentecostal movement later on also got much ground in the Catholic Church and many Protestant church denominations. Even David Wilkerson is related to the movement. The strange things for me are (for some churches) the prohibition of medicine, holy laughter, animal sounds, grabbing poisonous snakes and other manifestations. The author is himself a Pentecostal and I noticed a very positive note towards the movement. I think one of the strongest arguments Vinson Synan gives for the movement is the extreme growth it had and has. While, I missed the manipulative tendencies that often appear when doctrine has not the last word, but the pastor or prophets word. The movement also feels a bit like postmodernism, mixing what suits best and a low emphasis on the rational part of life. Still, Pentecostalism brings people to action and the movement has many sincere followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
              1. I think that we as Theologians need to be again more outspoken against wrong teachings. As the workers of darkness shout their ideas from the rooftops. This book learned me more about the Christian side of Hegel, still, I think it will take me much more time to figure this out in greater depth. If you want to learn about the wicked character of Marx this is the book. Many communist and socialist think from a material standpoint. This can be led back to their mammon god. I wonder if Tim Keller is also infected with cultural Marxism. I hope and pray not but we as Church need to be stick close to the Biblical manner of life. And not follow all winds of doctrine. The book showed that heresies are built on other heresies. Next, that Marx admired Luther and that he shaped wrong views about the crusades. He even praised the Muslims since some have anti-Christian sentiments. Added with the fact that Marx was racist and anti-Semitic, while he was a Jew. It is no wonder that even communism contains many religious aspects. I think that people need religious aspects to narrate their lives. This work is not for everyone especially the young ones as it graphically displays the devilish tortures of the communist. We must never forget the pains our brothers and sisters went through. I met in Bulgaria an older man that was put in prison for Christ. With this in mind, I ripped off two communistic posters advertising for a communist youth organisation. Then this book contains much history of the USA and communism and has on all its topics extensive research. This work also is mostly written from a Catholic point of view. I admired that act of the strong popes for standing firmly against communism. However, I think that Reformed preaching and living is even more important against heresies. Since it makes from all believers well thoughtful Christians that study and discuss the Holy Scriptures in great depth. Finally, this is a brave writer and this book is a must-read for people that want to stay free from suppression which proclaims freedom. We must stand up and fight for the Truth.