Capitol Hill Baptist Church associate pastor Michael Lawrence contributes Biblical Theology In the Life of the Church to the IXMarks series and centers on the practical importance of biblical theology to ministry. He begins with an examination of a pastor's tools of the trade: exegesis and biblical and systematic theology. The book distinguishes between the power of narrative in biblical theology and the power of application in systematic theology, but also emphasizes the importance of their collaboration in ministry.
Having laid the foundation for pastoral ministry, Lawrence uses the three tools to build a biblical theology, telling the entire story of the Bible from five different angles. He puts biblical theology to work in four areas: counseling, missions, caring for the poor, and church/state relations. Rich in application and practical insight, this book will equip pastors and church leaders to think, preach, and do ministry through the framework of biblical theology.
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Review 1 for Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church
Michael Lawrence has provided pastors and church leaders with a sometimes difficult, yet very rewarding for the one who perseveres through it, challenge for the incorporation of biblical theology within the ministry of the local church. The author's task was a monumental one and should in no way be considered the final word on the topic. Nevertheless, this book will force those who minister the Word of God to examine their current methods of preparation and presentation in order that they more ably build every sermon/lesson around the main storyline of the Bible. By the writer's own admission, the first five chapters of the book are hard to wade through. The effort to do so, however, better prepares the reader for the final two sections of the book, which are both illustrative and applicable. Lawrence prods ministers to not settle for "moral outcomes," but to link every text to the larger context of God's revealed Word. He points out that Jesus Christ is the key to doing this because all Scripture ultimately testifies to Him. It will take time for the serious reader to work through this volume (even though it is little more than 200 pages), but by the time he is finished he should be stretched in his approach to the text and broadened in his ministry among those whom he serves.
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Review 2 for Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church
Michael Lawrence offers a great book on the connection between ministry and theology. His premise is that "our theology determines the shape and character our ministry." Our ministry gives a better reflection of our theology than our words sometimes do. He goes into detail to show that our understanding of the Bible has a direct influence on how we minister. The first five chapters offer a great refresher or introduction of some of the basic tools needed to accurately think and speak about God as we encounter at the story of the Bible. The last few chapters deal with the themes that are woven throughout God's salvation story. Lawrence does a great job in this book at introducing his premise and offering a helpful foundation of Biblical theology. This book is by no means the end of the conversation but it will get you headed in the right direction. I highly recommend this book.I am a book reviewer for Crossway Books