Author Interview with Bryan Gregory

This week’s author inter­view is with Bryan Gre­gory. He is the author of Long­ing for God in an Age of Dis­cour­age­ment: The Gospel Accord­ing to Zechariah and Incon­spic­u­ous Prov­i­dence: The Gospel Accord­ing to Esther. Both of these books are part of the Gospel Accord­ing to the Old Tes­ta­ment series.

Gregory, Bryan

 

  • Ques­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self: where you’re from, fam­ily, job, per­sonal inter­ests, unique hob­bies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I’m orig­i­nally from Vir­ginia but live in Mis­souri now. I have a wife, Christy, who is from Cal­i­for­nia. We met in Yel­low­stone National Park and have a “hobby” of going to a national park every fall to hike. We have two boys, Joshua and Noah.

 

  • Ques­tion #2 — What inspired you to write this book, about this topic? 

My book on Zechariah (Long­ing for God in an Age of Dis­cour­age­ment) grew out of an Advent ser­mon series. Sev­eral of the GAOT books were already out and the book of Zechariah seemed to hold real promise for what the series was try­ing to accom­plish. My book on Esther (Incon­spic­u­ous Prov­i­dence) also grew out of a ser­mon series, though sev­eral years after the series was preached. Sev­eral peo­ple kept encour­ag­ing me to rework the ser­mon man­u­scripts into a book.

 

  • Ques­tion #3 — Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?

Among fic­tion books, my favorites are My Name is Asher Lev (Chaim Potok), The Power and the Glory (Gra­ham Greene), and The Diary of a Coun­try Priest (Georges Bernanos). As for non-fiction books, it would be too hard to nar­row down.

 

  • Ques­tion #4 — Do you have a favorite quote? What is it and why?

Karl Barth once said, “Only God can preach.” By that he meant that preach­ing really only hap­pens when God speaks into a heart. As preach­ers, we preach but it only becomes preach­ing when God him­self accom­pa­nies the words to make them effec­tive within peo­ple. As some­one who is pri­mar­ily a pas­tor that per­spec­tive is both empow­er­ing and liberating.

 


Visit his church’s web­site: http://www.brookdalechurch.com/


 

Author Interview with John Frame

This week’s author inter­view is with John Frame. He is the author of the fol­low­ing 14 P&R titles includ­ing the A The­ol­ogy of Lord­ship series and Sys­tem­atic The­ol­ogy: An Intro­duc­tion to Chris­t­ian Belief.

Frame, John

  • Ques­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self: where you’re from, fam­ily, job, per­sonal inter­ests, unique hob­bies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I was born in Pitts­burgh in 1939. Dad was a labor nego­tia­tor with West­ing­house Elec­tric, Mom a home­maker. Old­est of four sib­lings. In my early teens, God led me to fol­low Jesus. I’ve taught the­ol­ogy since 1968, first at Westminster/Phila (1968–80), then at Westminster/California (1980–2000), and since then at Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary in Orlando, FL. I’m a “teach­ing elder” in Cen­tral Florida Pres­bytery of the Pres­by­ter­ian Church of Amer­ica. I have been a church pianist, organ­ist, wor­ship leader and choir direc­tor from time to time. My wife Mary and I have five chil­dren. My spare time is mostly spent in writ­ing books and arti­cles, but I enjoy films and news media.

 

  • Ques­tion #2 — When did you first want to write a book?

In the 1970s I pro­duced a lot of lec­ture out­lines and study guides for the courses I taught. Releas­ing these in book form seemed like the next log­i­cal step. A num­ber of peo­ple, includ­ing some at P&R, encour­aged me, and my The Doc­trine of the Knowl­edge of God appeared in 1987. But through­out my adult life I have felt that the­o­log­i­cal books are an impor­tant min­istry. It was the books of Van Til, Mur­ray, and Young that led me to study at West­min­ster in 1961.

 

  • Ques­tion #3 — Which writ­ers inspire you?

Abra­ham Kuyper, Her­man Bavinck, B. B. Warfield, J. Gre­sham Machen, C. S. Lewis, Cor­nelius Van Til, John Mur­ray, Vern Poythress.

 

  • Ques­tion #4 — Have you always enjoyed writing?

Yes, since high school or so. Of course, writ­ing is hard work. But com­plet­ing a book and see­ing it released is one of my great­est pleasures.

 

  • Ques­tion #5 — What inspired you to write your upcom­ing book, His­tory of West­ern Phi­los­o­phy and Theology?

Like most of my books, His­tory of West­ern Phi­los­o­phy and The­ol­ogy is an expan­sion of my course lec­tures. I felt a need for a book that treated the sub­ject com­pre­hen­sively and with an explic­itly Chris­t­ian evaluation.

 

  • Ques­tion #6 — Do you have a spe­cific spot where you enjoy writ­ing most?

In front of my office computer.

 

  • Ques­tion #7 — What book are you read­ing now?

Peter Jones, The Other World­view, to be pub­lished by Lex­ham Press.

 

  • Ques­tion #8 — Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?

Gre­sham Machen, Chris­tian­ity and Liberalism.

 

  • Ques­tion #9 — Favorite food?

Lob­ster.

 

  • Ques­tion #10 — Favorite fla­vor of ice cream?

Pis­ta­chio.

 

  • Ques­tion #11 — Favorite animal?

Welsh Corgi dog (we’ve had sev­eral as pets over the years.)

 

  • Ques­tion #12 — If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?

First Corinthi­ans: it deals with many sub­jects I’m inter­ested in: epis­te­mol­ogy, church dis­ci­pline, ethics, wor­ship, apologetics.


 P&R titles by John Frame:

A Theology of Lordship Series


Want to learn more about John Frame?


 

Author Interview with Jonty Rhodes

This week’s author inter­view is with Jonty Rhodes. He is the author of Covenants Made Sim­ple: Under­stand­ing God’s Unfold­ing Promises to His Peo­ple.

 

Rhodes, Jonty

  • Ques­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self: where you’re from, fam­ily, job, per­sonal inter­ests, unique hob­bies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I was born on the south coast of Eng­land, but am descended from a fam­ily of north­ern­ers: mostly from the beau­ti­ful Lake Dis­trict that bor­ders Scot­land. I’m now pas­tor of Christ Church Derby, a Pres­by­ter­ian church roughly in the mid­dle of Eng­land. Pres­by­te­ri­an­ism in Eng­land (as opposed to Scot­land) is a rare thing, so we’re some­what of an endan­gered species. By way of illus­tra­tion, Christ Church is about four years old and with 75 peo­ple, we’d eas­ily be in the ten largest Pres­by­ter­ian churches in England.

My wife Georgina and I have one lit­tle girl Char­lotte and a sec­ond child due any minute…

 

  • Ques­tion #2 — When did you first want to write a book?

My mum recently found my first book. It’s called ‘A Rocket gows to spase’ (not hav­ing passed through the P&R copy-editors) and includes lots of aliens, lots of shoot­ing and some illu­mi­nat­ing crayon illus­tra­tions. So far, it’s still await­ing publication.

 

  • Ques­tion #3 — What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

In Eng­land covenant the­ol­ogy has really fallen by the way­side, at least as far as the major­ity of con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cal churches are con­cerned. There are some great books out there, but I couldn’t find one to give as an intro­duc­tion for some­one new to the topic. I also found that, unlike in the works some of our Puri­tan and Reformed fore­fa­thers, sev­eral books that do focus on covenant the­ol­ogy lay out a bib­li­cal the­ol­ogy with­out draw­ing sys­tem­atic con­clu­sions, or show­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of the covenants for every­day life. I wanted to try and show how, far from rely­ing on a hand­ful of favourite proof texts, the Reformed gospel we preach grows nat­u­rally out of the Bible’s story.

Another way to answer the ques­tion would be to say that I’ve so enjoyed read­ing the really clever guys — from Hor­ton, Palmer Robert­son, and Mur­ray back through Vos, Berk­hof and Bavinck and on to the Puri­tans – that I wanted to try and intro­duce some of their bril­liance to an audi­ence who might not be pre­pared to start with them.

 

  • Ques­tion #4 — Do you have a favorite quote? What is it and why?

There are two that would be tied for first place.

G.K Ches­teron wrote ‘If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.’ Like many quo­ta­tions it has now bro­ken free from its orig­i­nal con­text, but I find it help­ful as a reminder to accept your lim­i­ta­tions, not wait for per­fec­tion and press on doing the best you can in the time you have.

Then at the funeral of a won­der­ful man who had dis­ci­pled me for a num­ber of years as a stu­dent, the min­is­ter said ‘David taught us two things: firstly to take the gospel seri­ously, and sec­ondly not to take our­selves too seriously.’

 

  • Ques­tion #5 — Do you have a favorite book that you have written?

Hav­ing looked through the exten­sive back cat­a­logue, I’d have to say it’s almost cer­tainly now the rocket one.

 

  • Ques­tion #6 — Favorite sport to watch? Why?

Cricket – it’s like a sophis­ti­cated ver­sion of base­ball and lasts five days.

 

  • Ques­tion #7 — The Lord of the Rings or The Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia? Why?

It seems almost oblig­a­tory to say you pre­fer the Lord of the Rings, and talk about its greater depth, sub­tlety and scope. But if I’m only allowed one, I’m going to go for Nar­nia – I’m no lit­er­ary scholar and find the Chron­i­cles almost invari­ably spir­i­tu­ally refreshing.

 

  • Ques­tion #8 — What famous per­son (liv­ing or dead) would you like to meet and why?

I love his­tory, so can think of all sorts of char­ac­ters I’d like to meet. But as a less obvi­ous choice, one who springs to mind is Yuri Gagarin. To be the first man into space must have taken astound­ing bravery.

 


Want to learn more about Jonty?

Fol­low him on Twit­ter: @JontyGRhodes


 

Author Interview with Glenn Kreider

This week’s author inter­view is with Glenn R. Krei­der. He is the author of God with Us: Explor­ing God’s Per­sonal Inter­ac­tions with His Peo­ple through­out the Bible.

Kreider_Glenn

  • Ques­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self: where you’re from, fam­ily, job, per­sonal inter­ests, unique hob­bies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I grew up on a dairy farm in south­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia. My dad was a hard work­ing farmer; I was lazy and unim­pressed with the ben­e­fits of hard work. I did, how­ever, excel in school. After grad­u­a­tion from high school, I mar­ried my high school sweet­heart who increas­ingly has become my best friend. After sev­eral years as an insur­ance agent, I returned to school, com­plet­ing an under­grad­u­ate degree before attend­ing sem­i­nary where I com­pleted a ThM and a PhD. I have had the incred­i­ble priv­i­lege of teach­ing the­ol­ogy courses for over two decades.

We have two grown chil­dren, a son in law, and the world’s cutest grand­daugh­ter (born Jan­u­ary 2015). My wife and I enjoy trav­el­ing, read­ing, lis­ten­ing to live music, and watch­ing good movies.

 

  • Ques­tion #2 — What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

In God with Us, I explain how a short para­graph from a ser­mon changed the way I read the Bible. Cor­nelius Planti­nga asserted that Jesus’ humil­ity, his con­de­scen­sion to become human for the sake of rebel­lious human­ity, was not some new and never-before seen action of God. Rather, Jesus was act­ing like his Father, doing what the God of Abra­ham, Isaac, and Jacob has always done. As I began to read the Bible with this insight, I began to notice divine con­de­scen­sion every­where in the bib­li­cal story. I trace this theme through the canon in this book.

 

  • Ques­tion #3 — Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and why?

My doc­toral research focused on Jonathan Edwards and his the­o­log­i­cal method, par­tic­u­larly how he read and used the Scrip­tures in his the­ol­ogy. I return to the writ­ings of Edwards more than any other author. From Edwards’ His­tory of the Work of Redemp­tion, I learned to read the Bible as the story of God’s work of redemp­tion, as sal­va­tion his­tory. From his Reli­gious Affec­tions, I learned to appre­ci­ate the role of the Spirit in true spir­i­tu­al­ity. I learned how to eval­u­ate my growth in spir­i­tual matu­rity through the true signs. From Char­ity and Its Fruits, I learned that heaven is a world of love. From Sin­ners in the Hands of an Angry God, I learned that God is a gra­cious God who desires the wicked to repent and come to him in faith.

 

  • Ques­tion #4 — Do you have a favorite movie? What is it and why?

I have a long list of favorite movies. One way to illus­trate sev­eral favorites is with a favorite line from the movie.

From “Babbette’s Feast” — “There comes a time when our eyes are opened and we come to real­ize that mercy is infi­nite. We need only await it with con­fi­dence and receive it with grat­i­tude. Mercy imposes no con­di­tions. And lo! Every­thing we have cho­sen has been granted to us. And every­thing we rejected has also been granted. Yes, we even get back what we rejected. For mercy and truth have met together, and right­eous­ness and bliss shall kiss one another.”

From “Shaw­shank Redemp­tion” — “Remem­ber Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

From “The Vil­lage” — “She is more capa­ble than most in this vil­lage. And she is led by love. The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe.”

 

  • Ques­tion #5 — Do you have a favorite musi­cal artist? What is it and why?

I have eclec­tic music tastes but I par­tic­u­larly enjoy the late Rich Mullins, Andrew Peter­son, U2, and Switch­foot. What these four artists have in com­mon is that they are peo­ple of faith who see through the bro­ken­ness and tragedy of the fallen world into the hope of the world to come. I want to learn to see what they see when I look at the world. Jonathan Edwards wrote about a new way of see­ing, the spir­i­tual sense or the sense of the heart that comes to the believer through the Holy Spirit. These four artists inspire me to see the world with spir­i­tual eyes.

 

  • Ques­tion #6 — What has been the tough­est crit­i­cism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I tend to say too much and so I tend to write too much. An edi­tor told me one time that I needed to cut my man­u­script nearly in half if he was going to be able to use it. And he told me that he would not make the cuts for me. The result was a much stronger work than it would have been oth­er­wise. But it was painful to leave so much on the cut­ting room floor.

The best com­pli­ment I ever received was from a reviewer of God with Us. He wrote: “I found your writ­ing style to be unique. The book would make for a fine resource for any scholar, but it is equally acces­si­ble to any layper­son and quite uplift­ing for some­thing that can be used for research.” That was my goal, to write so that schol­ars would find it help­ful but also acces­si­ble to laypeople.

 

  • Ques­tion #7 — Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?

My dad was a base­ball fan. We did not have a tele­vi­sion so I grew up lis­ten­ing to Phillies games on the radio. When we moved to Texas, I became a fan of the Texas Rangers; in those days, the Rangers were not very good. In recent years, they have been much bet­ter, although we are still wait­ing for the first cham­pi­onship in Arling­ton. I moved to Dal­las as a fan of the Cow­boys; that has not changed.

 

  • Ques­tion #8 — Favorite food?

Texas BBQ; I will not name a favorite place since Tex­ans go to war over such things.

 

  • Ques­tion #9 — Favorite ani­mal? Why?

I am a dog per­son. We have res­cued mul­ti­ple dogs. We cur­rently have two pugs (Mardi and Jack Bauer), a Chi­huahua (Nef­tali), and a black Labrador Retriever named Chloe.

 

  • Ques­tion #10 — What famous per­son (liv­ing or dead) would you like to meet and why?

I regret that I never met Rich Mullins; I only saw him per­form once. Rich’s music has deeply impacted me, espe­cially in learn­ing how to see God in the “fury of a pheasant’s wings.” I con­tinue to hope that one day I will meet Bono, front man of the band U2. I have a list of ques­tions for him but I sus­pect I will not remem­ber any of them when I meet him. I am impressed by Bono’s lyri­cal bril­liance, his musi­cal excel­lence, and his con­cern for justice.

 

  • Ques­tion #11 — If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?

It is dan­ger­ous to answer such a ques­tion since the Bible in its entirety is God’s word to us. But I do find myself return­ing to Gen­e­sis and John again and again.

 


Want to learn more about Glenn?

Fol­low him on Twit­ter: @gkreider

Visit his fac­ulty page: http://www.dts.edu/about/faculty/gkreider/


 

Author Interview with Tim Chester

This week’s author inter­view is with Tim Chester. Tim is the author of You can Pray: Find­ing Grace to Pray Every Day.

 

  • Chester, TimQues­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self: where you’re from, fam­ily, job, per­sonal inter­ests, unique hob­bies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I’m mar­ried to Helen and we have two daugh­ters who are both at uni­ver­sity in the UK. I live in Sheffield, the most beau­ti­ful city in the world. We moved here in 2000 to start a church. But later this year my wife and I are mov­ing to North York­shire where I’ll be co-leading a rural church plant. In my spare time I love his­tory and walk­ing plus a bit of wild swimming.

 

  • Ques­tion #2 — When did you first want to write a book?

I wrote my first book 21 years ago. I know that because it came out in the same month my first daugh­ter was born.

 

  • Ques­tion #3 — Have you always enjoyed writing?

I didn’t so much dis­cover that I loved writ­ing as dis­cover that other peo­ple don’t love writ­ing! I just assumed every­one could write. It wasn’t until I’d writ­ten a cou­ple of books that I real­ized other peo­ple found writ­ing hard or painful. I think by writ­ing. So many of my books started with me wrestling with an issue. But I also love words and the way they work together. Often in idle moments I find myself com­pos­ing sen­tences in my head. Appar­ently this is not normal!

 

  • Ques­tion #4 — What book are you read­ing now?

Yes­ter­day I read a pre-publication copy of a great lit­tle book on Chris­t­ian growth by John Hind­ley called You Can Really Grow. Today I’m read­ing Life in the Trin­ity by Don­ald Fair­bairn. My bed­time read­ing at the moment is Clax­ton: Field Notes from a Small Planet by Mark Cocker – a nature diary based in the vil­lage of Clax­ton in Nor­folk, Eng­land. In the UK it gets dark at around 4:30pm at this time of year (the com­pen­sa­tion is it doesn’t get dark until 10:00pm in the sum­mer) so in Feb­ru­ary read­ing about nature is a good alter­na­tive to being able to go walking.

 

  • Ques­tion #5 — What advice would you give to aspir­ing writers?

When peo­ple tell me they’d like to write a book, I always ask, ‘What about?’ And if peo­ple don’t know then I dis­cour­age them. You have to have some­thing to say. It’s not so much that I choose to write a book as a book chooses to be writ­ten by me. That’s just a pre­ten­tious way of say­ing a topic grips my heart and then writ­ing about it feels like a com­pul­sion. I guess ‘call­ing’ would sound bet­ter, but ‘com­pul­sion’ is what it feels like!

 

  • Ques­tion #6 — Do you have an inter­est­ing writ­ing quirk?

I don’t know if this counts, but I often leave out neg­a­tives in a sen­tence (words like ‘not’). As typos go it’s about as bad as it gets because of course it com­pletely reverses the mean­ing of the sentence!

 

  • Ques­tion #7 — Favorite sport to watch?

That’s easy — cricket.

 

  • Ques­tion #8 — Favorite fla­vor of ice cream?

Don’t mess about with ice cream, giv­ing it wacky flavours or trendy names. Just give me vanilla.

 


Want to learn more about Tim Chester?