The Professor’s Bookshelf: Dr. Scott Hildreth

This series at Between the Times highlights Southeastern faculty members as they share about books which they are enjoying now, books which have shaped them personally, and books they consistently recommend to others.

This week, we interview Dr. Scott Hildreth.

Dr. Hildreth is Assistant Professor of Global Studies and is the Director of the Center for the Great Commission Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

What are some books you are reading right now?

I am reading Apostolicity by John Flett for the Southeastern Seminary journal, Southeastern Theological Review. I am also reading several books on the missions in the Reformation in preparation for our upcoming trip to Germany for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. For fun, I am reading G.K. Chesterton’s mystery novels about “Father Brown.”

What are some of the books which have had the largest impact on your life, thinking, or teaching?

The first time I read Michael Green’s Evangelism in the Early Church I was challenged in the idea of the importance contextualization in missions and this has become a major point of my research, writing, and teaching.

I have also been impacted by reading biographies of missionaries such as: William Carey, Hudson Taylor, and Jim Elliot, for example. These stories allow me to see how God uses different people and be encouraged by their faith

On the teaching front, Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman shapes my thinking. I see my classroom (and students) as those that will carry the faith forward and it is a disciple making process.

What are some of your favorite works of fiction?

One book that haunts me is John Grisham’s A Time to KillIt exposes the racial inequities in our country and also accidental racism in me.

I like C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series because of the insight into real life walking with God.

I am a huge mystery/thriller fan. Many of the books are not necessarily recommendations, but I enjoy the stories and I also enjoy watching authors struggle with evil and good through these novels.

Are there any books which you re-read on a regular basis and why?

One book that I read regularly is Eugene Peterson’s Under the Unpredictable PlantI do this because I am always challenged by his understanding of spiritual formation and the role ministry plays in growing in godliness.

I also come back to, though not regularly, Desiring God by John Piper, Knowledge of the Holy and The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, Knowing God by J.I. Packer, and other books that feed my soul with deep thoughts about God and spirituality.

What is one book which you would recommend to a church member and why?

Other than the books listed above, I would recommend all church members read Prayer: The Cry for the Kingdom  by Stanley Grenz. This book completely transformed my understanding of prayer. It is a theological discussion of a very mystical discipline.

What is one book which you would recommend to a seminary student to read beyond what they might encounter in class and why?

I wish all my students would read Elements of Style and How to Read a Book  (Ha Ha Ha!  Just kidding – kind of)!

Seriously, I love John Piper’s Brothers We are Not Professionals. Though it is written to pastors, I think all staff members and even laypersons can benefit from his insights on ministry.

Exploring Hope Podcast: Dealing with Textual Variants in the Bible

This week on Exploring Hope Podcast, Dr. Dew talks with Dr. Jake Pratt about the integrity of the texts we find in Scripture. Christians want to say some strong and very particular things about Scripture and its infallibility, inerrancy, authority, etc. Yet, we find that there are some textual variants among the canon of scripture that cause some to question, or even reject the idea that the bible is “true” in all that it claims. Dr. Jake Pratt helps us understand how these textual variants are few and far between, as well as rarely pertaining to important theological or historical issues. But, more importantly, he helps us understand the context and nuance of the issue and gives us a helpful and honest way to talk about the inspired word of God. Tune in to listen!

 

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In Case You Missed It

In a recent post at Facts and Trends, Aaron Earls discussed the ten worst countries for Christians in 2017. Aaron writes:

For the 16th consecutive year, North Korea tops the list of the most oppressive nations toward Christians.

Open Doors, a Christian persecution awareness ministry, published its annual World Watch List, highlighting the plight of Christians around the world who are arrested, harassed, tortured, and killed for their faith.

 

Dr. Bruce Ashford published an article at his personal blog which shares twelve important books about intellectual history and the Western mind.

Here are twelve books I recommend to persons who wish to better understand the rise and development of Western thought. Together, the books form a sort of “starter” course. I will describe each book and then rank its level of difficulty on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most difficult. Level 1 is the category for a book you could give to any friend or family member. Level 5 is the category for a book that might be required in a PhD seminar.

 

In a recent blog post, Eric Geiger shared three indicators you might love ministry more than God. Dr. Geiger writes:

Ministry is thrilling. Yes, there are deep and painful challenges, but we get to see the Lord change people’s lives. Ministry allows us to enjoy a front row seat to people grasping the gospel, to people being sent out on mission, and to the beauty of Christian community. Yes, there are plenty of people who throw stones and criticism, but there are also God’s people who offer encouragement and prayers and support to those who lead and serve. Because ministry is thrilling, it can be addictive. Because affirmations exist, we can long for more and more of them. We can, if we are not careful, love ministry more than the God who equipped us for it. If you love ministry more than God, these three things are true in your heart.

 

At The Center for Great Commission Studies, Dr. Scott Hildreth shared about the little things that make the biggest differences.

Over the years I have worked with missionaries, church staff, and students. These men and women have had passion in their hearts and a vision to changing the world for Christ. They launch into a ministry. Soon they are frustrated and ready to give up. They do not see the fruit or success they hoped for. They suffer from burnout or their family suffers because of an unhealthy work/ministry pace. The back half of this proverb quoted above contains some important tips for successful ministry/missionary life.

 

Trevin Wax posted at The Gospel Coalition discussing why Christians should care about ideas.

I can’t forget the shoes. Piles and piles of them filling the room. Of all the gruesome images I saw at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., the room filled with shoes from Jewish victims is the one thing I can’t forget. I think about the people who once owned those shoes, and I mourn the human lives lost in a vortex of unspeakable evil.

The tragedy of the Holocaust reminds me of something I heard as a high school student—ideas have consequences. Adolf Hitler did not come out of nowhere. Before there was the Holocaust, there were decades of philosophical theories advocating superior races, nationalistic laws, and the use of eugenics to weed out inferior peoples. Throw in a dash of “survival of the fittest” from Darwinism and perhaps the pursuit of raw power from Nihilism and eventually we arrive in the concentration camp—a horrifying concoction of various falsehoods.

Ideas do indeed have consequences. But sometimes those consequences are beautiful, as in the early days of Christianity when plagues would sweep through cities in the Roman Empire. While many Roman citizens chose to abandon family and friends and flee the city to escape contamination, early Christians stayed behind to nurse the sick. Because of their belief in a Savior who sacrificed himself for others, they were content to give their lives as well.

 

In a post at his personal blog, Dr. Danny Akin shared six ways preaching aids discipleship in the church. Dr. Akin writes:

Discipleship lies at the heart of the Great Commission, so it should be at the heart of all our ministry as well, including our preaching. Many churches struggle to disciple their people, but I want to suggest that the preaching ministry of the church can and should be one of the main engines of discipleship for the entire body. Here are six ways I believe faithful biblical exposition can help Christians grow to look more like the Lord Jesus and live well before Him.