Author Interview with Geoff Ziegler

This week’s author interview is with Geoff Ziegler. He is the author of Free to Be Sons of God (Reformed Academic Dissertations).

Ziegler_Geoff             Free to Be Sons_black border

  • 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 and raised in Massachusetts in a small town one hour southwest of Boston, eldest in a family of four boys. My wife, Jennifer, and I are the parents of three boys, so boys seem to run in the family! Though I live in the Chicago area, where I pastor a PCA church, I’m still an avid fan of New England sports teams. I also like to do whatever my sons find enjoyable—disc golf, board games, Legos, and, of course, reading!

 

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

I was such a bookworm in elementary school! I told my parents that one day I would grow up to be an author. Of course, at that time, I was imagining me writing something about dragons or superheroes.

 

  • Question #3—Have you always enjoyed writing?

I have a love/hate relationship with writing. I enjoy how the process clarifies my thinking, and I also enjoy the work of improving writing through careful editing. But there are few things I like less than an empty white page before me and the awareness that I need to somehow fill it.

 

  • Question #4—Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?

I am quite eclectic in my tastes. In terms of theology, I am, like many, deeply impressed with John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. Again and again I find his writing both intellectually clarifying and deeply pastoral. I also have an irrational fanaticism for the “Thief of Attolia” series by Megan Whalen Turner. It’s been about a year since I read any of those books, so I’m probably due for a reread of them. They’re just so, so good.

 

  • Question #5—At what time of day do you write most?

Mornings by far are the most productive times for me. All of my best ideas seem to come between 7 and 10 AM.

 

  • Question #6—How do you deal with writer’s block?

This is a weekly question for me (given my preaching schedule). I’ve found that I need to be content with very mediocre writing when I first put pen to page and to believe that my subsequent editing can rescue my prose and make it at least somewhat coherent. Unless I have that mindset, my internal editor slows my writing down to a crawl, and it’s excruciating!

 

  • Question #7—Favorite animal? Why?

The wombat. I think that needs no explanation.

 

  • Question #8—The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia? 

LOTR. Narnia is great for sermon illustrations, but Middle Earth is a far more fully realized world.

 

  • Question #9—If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?

That feels a bit like asking which of your children is your favorite, doesn’t it? I will say that I keep coming back to the gospel of John, because it’s just so transparently full of Jesus.


How can readers discover more about you and your work?


 

Excerpt taken from Come to the Waters

 June 18

Jesus and the Devil

Matthew 4:1–11

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1

From the temptations of Jesus and how he overcame them, there is direct application for our lives when we are tempted and must stand against Satan’s wiles. Let me summarize by three statements.

1. We face the same battle. The devil is not omnipresent as God is. Satan cannot be everywhere tempting everyone at all times. He has probably never tempted you directly. But this does not mean we do not face spiritual battles every day. We do. Paul wrote about these battles in his letter to the Ephesians, saying, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). These battles are so fierce that Paul warned us to be ready for them by arming ourselves with God’s armor. We must be fully equipped for the struggle.

2. We have the same choice. As Jesus did, we have the choice of trusting God and sticking to the path he sets before us or distrusting God and seeking to win victories for God or ourselves in the world’s way. What will it be? Will we go God’s way? Or will we follow the world, the flesh, or the devil? Joshua challenged the people of his generation, saying, “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).

3. We can have the same victory. The Bible says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). What is that path to victory? The temptation of our Lord points the way: “It is written! . . . It is written! . . . It is written!” As Paul told the Ephesians, the only offensive weapon we have is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17).

Remember Christ’s example. Here is Jesus—the holy Son of the almighty God, the one in whom neither Satan nor man could find any wrong or gain even the tiniest foothold. Jesus’s eyes were always on the glory of his Father. He lived in the closest possible communion with him. But if Jesus, your Lord and Savior, needed to know Scripture in order to resist Satan and win the victory over him, how much more do you and I need it to win a corresponding victory!


Come to the Waters: Daily Bible Devotions for Spiritual Refreshment by James Montgomery Boice

Come to the Waters_photo 1

Author Interview with Charles Malcolm Wingard

We are starting up our weekly author interview section of our blog again and this week’s interview is with Charles Malcolm Wingard. He is the author of Help for the New Pastor: Practical Advice for Your First Year of Ministry.

Help for the New Pastor_photo 2_small

  • 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 serve as Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of Students at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi and as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Yazoo City. Prior to joining the RTS Jackson faculty in 2014, I spent 28 years as an ordained pastor in the PCA and OPC, serving congregations in North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Alabama. My hobbies include hiking, running, reading political and military history, and traveling with my wife, Lynne. We love the ministry of hospitality.

 

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

I had no interest in writing a book. In 2011, Lynne began encouraging me to write a book to help young ministers. I reluctantly agreed. I am more interested in doing ministry than writing about it.

 

  • Question #3—Which writers inspire you?

Apart from the writers of sacred scriptures: Augustine, John Calvin, numerous Puritan authors, David Wells, Paul Johnson, Jane Austen, and George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans).

 

  • Question #4—Have you always enjoyed writing?

My parents expected me to write letters. It became a habit, an enjoyable one. I write many letters each year, including to members of my congregation on their birthdays. For most of my ministry, I have written one sermon manuscript per week. The built-in deadlines mean that I face little in the way of writer’s block.

 

  • Question #5—What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

The first year of ministry is a critical time for new pastors. Young ministers want to arrive at their first church prepared for the daily challenges of the pastorate. I wanted to cover the primary duties of the minister – from sermon preparation and sacraments to visitation, counseling and hospitality. I fear that students may receive a theological education, yet still leave seminary ill-equipped for the daily work that faces them in their first church. Help for the New Pastor provides the tools they need to care for their congregations and lead with confidence.

 

  • Question #6—What book are you reading now?

Windsprints, Joseph Epstein; All That Is God, James E. Dolezal; The Seminarian: Martin Luther King Jr. Comes of Age, Patrick Parr; An Able and Faithful Ministry: Samuel Miller and the Pastoral Office, James M. Garretson

 

  • Question #7—Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?

The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan

 

  • Question #8—Favorite sport to watch? 

Any sports that the children of my congregation play. I root for their teams. I love the fellowship I have with my church families at the athletic field.

 

  • Question #9—Favorite food?

Lynne is a spectacular chef. So, whatever she’s serving.

 

  • Question #10—Favorite animal?

My two long-haired, miniature dachshunds, Jem and Scout. They are 13-years old, and I love walking them with my grandchildren and the children of my congregation.

 

  • Question #11—What famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?

John Quincy Adams. His extraordinary intellect, principled conduct, and breadth of public service alone make him an interesting figure. Moreover, because of the years he lived (1767-1848) and influential connections, he knew almost every major American leader from the American Revolution to the Civil War.

 

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

Whichever books I’m preaching, which currently are Exodus and Romans.

 


How can readers discover more about you and your work?


 

BOOK HIGHLIGHT — 7 Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind by Anthony T. Selvaggio

7 Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind by Anthony T. Selvaggio

128 pages | $11.99 | Paperback

About

The world is full of dangerous, toxic ideas that invade our thoughts, undermine our Christian worldview, and extend into our very behavior.

Unfortunately, Christians often live their lives unaware that they are adopting non-Christian ideas, because they are too busy focusing on behavior in the first place. Worldliness is too often equated with what we say and do, rather than the battle of our hearts and minds that it truly is. And when Christians are too concerned and distracted by behavior on the outside, it is easy for worldliness to slip into our minds and take hold.

This book examines seven particularly toxic non-Christian ideas that cripple the modern Christian mind, exploring each idea clearly and understandably. Discussion questions are included to help you pinpoint these toxic ideas in your own thinking—and deal with them.

Are these ideas already polluting your mind? Learn how to replace them with a Christian mindset.

Endorsements

“Anthony Selvaggio’s book should not be overlooked by thoughtful Christians.  He challenges the incorrect notion that “worldliness” constitutes merely overt behavior, and he rightly reminds us that our thoughts and ideas end up shaping our behaviors far more than we think.  He rightly uncovers seven common ideas/values in American culture that are contrary to the principles disclosed in Holy Scripture.”

—T. David Gordon, Professor of Religion and Greek, Grove City College

“We have a [hard] time spotting the seven modern idolatries that Anthony Selvaggio outlines for us . . . [but] 7 Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind helps us to spot those current tendencies and, with God’s grace, contain them.”

—Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-chief, WORLD Magazine

About the Author

Anthony SelvaggioAnthony T. Selvaggio (JD, The University of Buffalo School of Law; MDiv, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary) is an ordained minister, a lawyer, an author, a lecturer, and a visiting professor at Ottawa Theological Hall in Ottawa, Canada. Previously he was a visiting professor at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh and was Theologian in Residence at the Rochester Reformed Presbyterian Church. He edited and contributed to The Faith Once Delivered: Essays in Honor of Dr. Wayne R. Spear. He lives in Rochester, New York, with his wife, Michelle, and their two children, Katherine and James.


 

Knowing and the Trinity by Vern S. Poythress


Here are the 7 parts of Knowing and the Trinity: How Perspectives in Human Knowledge Imitate the Trinity by Vern S. Poythress


PART 1

WHAT ARE PERSPECTIVES?

We explain perspectives and then consider three kinds: spatial perspectives, personal perspectives, and thematic perspectives. A spatial perspective is a view of a visible scene from a particular vantage point in space. A personal perspective is the view that an individual person has concerning the world or some subject. A thematic perspective is a temporary thematic starting point for exploring a subject matter, with the hope of discovering more and growing in truth.

1. The Mystery of Perspectives

2. Spatial Perspectives

3. Personal Perspectives

4. Thematic Perspectives

5. Commonalities in Perspectives

PART 2

THE TRINITY

We consider the basic aspects of biblical teaching about the Trinity.

6. Basic Biblical Teaching about the Trinity

7. Coinherence

8. Analogies for Relations in the Trinity

9. Comparing Analogies for the Trinity

10. Knowledge of the Trinity

PART 3

PERSPECTIVES FROM THE TRINITY

Now we consider some triads of perspectives that originate from the Trinity.

11. Perspectives on Reflections

12. Perspectives from Trinitarian Analogies

13. Perspectives on Ethics

14. Perspectives on Lordship

15. Perspectives on Office

PART 4

CLASSIFYING PERSPECTIVES

We consider how we may classify the various triads that we have surveyed in the previous chapters.

16. A Triad for Revelation

17. Trinitarian Classification of Perspectives

PART 5

APPLYING PERSPECTIVES TO THEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS

Examples illustrate how the use of perspectives can illumine questions relating to theology.

18. Transcendence and Immanence

19. Attributes of God as Perspectives

20. God’s Acting in Time and Space

21. God’s Creating

22. A Mystery of Indwelling

23. The Third-Man Argument

24. The Generation of the Son

25. The Procession of the Holy Spirit

26. Classes, and the Problem of the One and the Many

27. Human Responsibility

28. Conceptual Growth

PART 6

THE NATURE OF PERSPECTIVES

We endeavor to clarify the nature of perspectives and reasoning that uses perspectives and analogies.

29. Distinctives of Perspectival Reasoning

30. Perspectival Knowledge in the Trinity

31. Personal Perspectives and Thematic Perspectives

32. Attributes of God and Perspectives on God

33. Classical Perspectives concerning God

34. Perspectival Context for Attributes of God

35. Challenges to Theological Reasoning

PART 7

DERIVING THEOLOGY

We explore how a few starting principles lead to and reinforce a wider area of theological truths.

36. Expanded Classification of Perspectives

37. Three Persons and Triads

38. Deriving Attributes of God

39. Deriving Perspectives