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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pray Big for Your Child:The Power of Praying God’s Promises for Your Child’s Life by Will Davis Jr. (Revell, 2009)

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Baylor University graduate Will Davis Jr. has released another of his “Pray Big” series. In Pray Big for Your Child, the author urges parents to pray boldly, specifically and consistently for their children. The founding pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship contends that moms and dads should engage in “pinpoint praying” rather than “no-point praying.” He defines pinpoint prayers as those that have “clear purpose, direction and focus.” On the other hand, he characterizes no-point prayers as “too broad,” “too safe” or “too vague.”

In a series of sequential chapters, Davis moves the parent from foundational praying through specific praying for sons and daughters to praying for the child’s mission in life. The father of three laces modern illustrations with Bible stories and ties them together with prayer promises and verses to pray. He even answers tough questions such as, “Should you pray for your child to hit a homerun or ace a test?”

Pray Big for Your Child would be a great gift for any parent (or grandparent). The appendix, which includes a month of prayers and a plan for praying through the day, is alone worth the price of the book.

Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas
Waco, Texas

 

Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study by James Leo Garrett Jr. (Mercer University Press)

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Many Baptist pastors and professors who graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the mid-20th century look back fondly upon the professors who shaped their theological education. The constellation of theological luminaries was exceptional. The minds of such thinkers as W. T. Conner, T. B. Maston, John Newport and William Hendricks—to name but a few—shaped the theological vision of several generations of Baptists. To this list, we must add the name of James Leo Garrett Jr., the distinguished professor of theology emeritus at Southwestern who continues to shape the hearts and minds of Baptists far beyond his retirement.

Garrett has written numerous books, with his comprehensive two-volume Systematic Theology (Eerdmans: 1990) as the jewel of the collection. With this capstone, any career would be complete. Nevertheless, Garrett, a historical theologian of the first order, has added this crowning achievement.

Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study can only be described as a magisterial overview of the whole trajectory of Baptist theology. No other volume in publication comes close to this achievement. In this work, Garrett attempts—and succeeds, I might add—to summarize a lifetime of passionate study for the sake of Baptists today. Tracing the theological influences on Baptists from the earliest creeds through the Reformation to the Puritan Separatists, through the early General and Particular Baptists, the formative 19th century thinkers and finally to the work of contemporary Baptist academics and pastors, Garrett’s massive 743-page work illumines the theological diversity of Baptists. This is a “must read” for all Baptist professors and ministers. Although the hefty volume is replete with footnotes and scholarly language, it is accessible to the curious layperson through the addition of a valuable glossary at the front of the volume. Although some pastors, professors and other readers will take issue with the brevity of the portraits in the volume, taken as a whole, the book not only is immensely informative, but also an invaluable addition to understanding ourselves as Baptists.

Jay Smith, Assistant Professor
School of Christian Studies
Howard Payne University
Brownwood, Texas

 
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