Modern Cloister Interview: Fatcat Books

Check out the interview Mrs. MMT did with Natasha Kennedy and Todd Hains about there book series ‘Fatcat’, which includes children’s book on the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and Christmas (with more to come). You can watch the video below or listen to the Pod format (and download wherever you subscribe).

Interview with Todd Hains and Natasha Kennedy Modern Cloister

In this episode, we sit down with Todd Hains, editor, and Natasha Kennedy, illustrator, who together have shaped the creation and launch of a new children's books series called "FatCat" that aims to make the practice of catechism both accessible and engaging for children and families alike. There are three books in the series so far (Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, and King of Christmas) with more to come in 2023.  About FatCat Books  How can anyone, no matter how young or old, grasp the message of the Bible? The church’s answer has always been the catechism. Maybe “catechism” sounds like a scary word. But it shouldn’t! The catechism teaches us what the Bible teaches us: our faith. The church’s catechism is the central texts of faith—the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. The catechism is “fat.” It’s bursting at the seams with meaning, challenge, and comfort. It’s concise, but it’s also deep. Most importantly, it should be familiar. FatCat is a way of making the catechism approachable. And so this book has an actual fat cat hidden throughout. Search for him with your child as you enjoy this book together, and hide the words of the catechism in your heart. Learn more at the Lexham Press website.  
  1. Interview with Todd Hains and Natasha Kennedy
  2. Interview with Hannah Nation
  3. Soli Deo Gloria (God’s Glory Alone)
  4. Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
  5. Sola Fide (Faith Alone)

Book Review: The Beauty and Power of Biblical Exposition

My Rating: Put it on your list

Level: Easy read, some Biblical knowledge needed; moderate length (under 300)

Summary

As the subtitle indicates, the book is about preaching the genres of the Bible. It is written to pastors, but I think anyone leading a Bible study, or interested in getting a better understanding of genres can benefit. The book is broken into six chapters – The Greatest Story Ever Told (Preaching Narrative), Let Him Who Has Ears Hear (Preaching Parables), Love Letters (Preaching Epistles), The Beauty of Simple (Preaching Poetry), Words of Wisdom (Preaching Proverbs), And I Saw (Preaching Visionary Writings). Each chapter is broken into two parts, reading and preaching. Additionally, each chapter ends with resources for deeper dives into the genre. There is also an introduction and a conclusion. 

My Thoughts

This book is a great introduction to the genres (broadly defined) of the Bible. While it is geared toward preachers, with additional notes about preaching and parts of sermons in various chapters, it is still a helpful book for any Bible teachers or anyone interested in a better understand of the Bible. If you haven’t been exposed to literary aspects or genres of the Bible, this will help you read it well, and I think the book could also be used by itself as part of a study for a community group. People are generally familiar with narrative, you’ve probably heard a sermon/teaching on parables, but most people have not had much introduction to proverbs or visionary wittings, and certainly not much about poetry. The poetry chapter alone is probably worth the price of the book. 

The author does a good job of not being too narrow (explaining how much poetry is throughout the Bible, and looking into proverbs that aren’t just the book of Proverbs). This is especially true in the visionary writings chapter, while heavy on Revelation, the chapter didn’t focus on it only. The split of each chapter on reading, then preaching is valuable. The first part offers a great intro to the genre, with the second part being on preaching (or teaching). 

In some ways, it was odd that this is written for preaching, as I would expect most preachers/pastors to have learned these structures in seminary or somewhere else before preaching. That said, I think it is great that genre is getting some publicity, and it’s focus is getting to more people, especially those interested in teaching. Too many errors in interpreting various verses/chapters in the Bible come from not having even a basic understanding of literature. 

Overall, the book is valuable and a good place to start for those wanting to learn more about writings of the Bible, the end of each chapter gives additional resources (books) you can look into to expand your understanding. For those who aren’t preachers, it is still a book to add to your list. I’m not sure you’ll find a better intro to genres of the Bible. O’Donnell has a bit of a ‘preaching’ stick that gets a little long/redundant, but most points are still applicable to regular teachers and Bible study leaders. 

 

*I received a free copy of this book from Crossway, in exchange for an honest review.

Modern Cloister: Interview with Hannah Nation

Check out the interview Mrs. MMT did with Hannah Nation about her new book, Faith in the Wilderness. You can watch the video below or listen to the Pod format (and download wherever you subscribe).

Interview with Todd Hains and Natasha Kennedy Modern Cloister

In this episode, we sit down with Todd Hains, editor, and Natasha Kennedy, illustrator, who together have shaped the creation and launch of a new children's books series called "FatCat" that aims to make the practice of catechism both accessible and engaging for children and families alike. There are three books in the series so far (Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, and King of Christmas) with more to come in 2023.  About FatCat Books  How can anyone, no matter how young or old, grasp the message of the Bible? The church’s answer has always been the catechism. Maybe “catechism” sounds like a scary word. But it shouldn’t! The catechism teaches us what the Bible teaches us: our faith. The church’s catechism is the central texts of faith—the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. The catechism is “fat.” It’s bursting at the seams with meaning, challenge, and comfort. It’s concise, but it’s also deep. Most importantly, it should be familiar. FatCat is a way of making the catechism approachable. And so this book has an actual fat cat hidden throughout. Search for him with your child as you enjoy this book together, and hide the words of the catechism in your heart. Learn more at the Lexham Press website.  
  1. Interview with Todd Hains and Natasha Kennedy
  2. Interview with Hannah Nation
  3. Soli Deo Gloria (God’s Glory Alone)
  4. Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
  5. Sola Fide (Faith Alone)

Book Review: The Making of Biblical Womanhood

My Rating – If you are looking for something

Level – quick, easy read; relatively short (just over 200)

Summary

The book is broken into eight chapters – The Beginning of Patriarchy; What if Biblical Womanhood Doesn’t Come from Paul?; Out Selective Medieval Memory; The Cost of the Reformation for Evangelical Women; Writing Women Out of the English Bible; Sanctifying Subordination; Making Biblical Womanhood Gospel Truth; Isn’t it Time to Set Women Free? – plus an introduction that is a tough read if you’ve ever experienced church loss. 

The chapters are broadly congruent with the name, though there is overlap with each, and personal narrative as well. The first two chapters focus on early church context/history. The medieval (her specialty) is interesting as is the Reformation impact on women. The next two constitute the issues of the ‘Biblical Manhood/Womanhood’ movement and the final chapter is really more of a conclusion/call to action. 

My Thoughts

This book is incredibly popular and mostly well received (many of the negative reviews come from hardline complementarians), but honestly, I’m not sure why. The book could have been three different, more fully fleshed out books. Perhaps the issue is more editorial than Barr’s. The three parts are her personal story (and that of her husband’s, a Southern Baptist (SBC) pastor who changed on women’s ordination and was forced out of the church), what I’ll call historical/theological developments, and issues with the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). 

Her personal narrative is hard, it is always brutal to be fired/forced out/leave a church community under negative circumstances. The loss of community can be devastating and happens far more than we’d like to admit and too often people impact do not return to any church. It is truly unfortunate that she could not leave on friendly terms and was basically shunned, this is one of the damaging impact of the CBMW, making women’s ordination a first order theological issue. That being said, and this is an unpopular opinion, they are the ones that changed their view and could no longer subscribe to their church’s confession; the SBC uses Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M). While there should have been an amicable leaving of the church, I’m not sure what they expected to happen. This reminds me of those occasional news stories where someone sues a Catholic school for being fired for not agree with Catholic doctrine. I understand the urge to reform the church, but this is not a new issue, instead it is one that has been forefront in the SBC since before the conservative takeover. I have experienced the pain of lost community, but if your convictions change and are against your church, it is time to find a new church. It is with no sense of irony that she writes as an employee at Baylor. One of the departments at Baylor is  Truett Seminary, which is affiliated with the Texas Baptist Convention and the World Baptist Alliance, both of which supports the ordination of women. 

Which leads me to my next point, her Biblical/theological arguments for could use some work. There are number of fairly known ones that people use, include the Baptist groups above, and a few that require serious discussion and consideration. She did not use these; and I’m not sure why. Similar, while her discussion of medieval history or the history of women in the church was interesting, I don’t feel it made the point she think it made. I don’t think there is anyone who denies that there were women who preached/prophesied/had a following, I think there are just those who argue that they shouldn’t, and since most of her examples were condemned as heretics, this didn’t make a strong argument for her point. The idea that getting rid of monasteries/convents took away religious opportunities is an interesting and compelling one.

Finally, chapters six and seven cover some of the damage that has been done by groups like the CBMW who elevate ‘complementarianism’ to the Gospel. I think most of her critiques/conclusions are good, except she seems to be making the mistake of equating ‘Calvinism’ with CBMW. I guess because they are broadly reformedish (or at least ‘Calvinist’ in soteriology). In the Presbyterian strain of American churches, the largest, third and fourth largest of the five denominations ordain women as elders; in the Reformed grouping of churches, two of the three (with the largest included) ordain women as elders. In one critique, she is surprised that John Calvin writes on one theological topic the way he does, solely because she assumed he would disagree, I guess do to her misunderstanding of the various strains of reformed churches. I don’t want to digress too much, but this is a common problem when someone you disagree with says something basic and you find yourself ‘surprised to agree’, as if everyone involved didn’t at least agree on the basics of the Gospel. Similarly, she seems to confuse Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS) with Arianism. ESS is wrong, but more aptly described as unorthodox or heterodox than full on heresy, such as Arianism. Now, Grudem is wrong to support ESS (as are a few of the other presidents of CBMW), but I do think a distinction between ESS and modalism needs to be made. Criticism is valid, as one author (I forgot who) pointed out that if you have to change our view of the Trinity to support your view of women, your view of women may be wrong. 

Overall, it really depends on what you are looking for in this book. It is great as a personal narrative, but somewhat surprising in the theological category, especially with her department being adjacent to a seminary. If you want strong arguments for women ordinations I’d recommend Michael Bird’s book on the subject, or the compilations book ‘How I changed my mind on Women’s Ordination’, or go read the scriptural proofs as put forward by any of the denominations that ordain women. I much more coherent and pointed critique of the CMBW would be Aimee Byrd’s ‘Recovering From Biblical Womanhood’, which is excellent. I’d certainly say if you are pastor/leader in your church, regardless of the position you take, you may want to read this due to it’s popularity. This book has enters the discussion often on the topic of women, so that it interest you, you would put it on your list. 

Interview for Jesus and Gender

I am really happy about our first author interview. Mrs. MMT did a great job interviewing Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher about their new book Jesus and Gender, out now and available anywhere. I think it is an important book right now in the ‘gender wars’, calling everyone involved back to humility and Christ-likeness. It is also our first video cast, so I hope you enjoy. As always, comment below.

Modern Cloister – Interview with Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher

Interview with Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric SchumacherModern Cloister

In this episode, we sit down with Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher, co-authors of the new book Jesus and Gender: Living as Sisters and Brothers in Christ (released April 2022) to discuss their new book and the state of gender discussions in the church.   ** About the book Much teaching on gender relations, roles, and rules binds the conscience beyond what Scripture actually teaches. Gender has become a battleground for power. But God created men and women not to compete for glory but to cooperate for his glory. In Jesus and Gender, Elyse and Eric paint a new vision for gender―Christ’s gentle and lowly heart. Drawing from Scripture and experience, Elyse and Eric show how Jesus’s example speaks to all areas of our lives as men and women, including vocation, marriage, parenting, friendships, and relating to each other as sisters and brothers in Christ. Real-life testimonies from a variety of Christians―including Christine Caine, Justin Holcomb, Karen Swallow Prior, and others―show a variety of men and women freed to pursue their gifts for God’s glory. Learn more about Jesus and Gender. About the authors Elyse Fitzpatrick is a nationally sought-after speaker and author. She holds a certificate in biblical counseling and has an MA in biblical counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary. She has authored 23 books and lives in California with her husband, Phil. Learn more about her at elysefitzpatrick.com.  Eric Schumacher is a pastor, songwriter, and author. He earned an MDiv in Biblical and Theological Studies from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Eric and his wife, Jenny, have five children and live in Iowa. Learn more about him at emschumacher.com.

Playlist: Modern Cloister

Select an episode to play it in the audio player.

  1. Interview with Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher
  2. Reaction Episode: Rise and Fall of Mars Hill
  3. The Modern Cloister is ONE!
  4. Studying The Bible: Commentaries
  5. Studying The Bible: Study Bibles

2022 Reading List

Doing a reading list is a pretty lazy way for people who try to blog to get some extra content in. Anyway, here’s my 2022 Reading Goals:

If you saw my post from last year, you’d recognize three or four of the books that I didn’t get to. I actuallyPXL_20220108_184258782 still hit my goal as far as number of books, just didn’t read the ones I had planned, as I was sidetracked by the Five Solas series we read for the podcast (I’ve only gotten on review in so far, Scripture Alone). I have the same goal of 24 books, but have only called out 15 of them. You can see the Kindle in the pic, that is for Crossway Reviews, which seems to be on of the only active review programs left (not sure if Baker stopped, or just kicked me out).

Theology – I didn’t realize how many theology books I had planned to read until I was just looking at the picture. I’ve started Evangelical Theology, and hope to finally finish it in 2022; so far, it is probably my favorite Systematic. Biblical Theology and Practical Theology in the Classical Tradition are ones I’ve had on my lists for awhile, but never got around to. I read On The Incarnation during Advent, but wanted to try it out again, either same time, or maybe in Lent. Currently loaded on the Kindle is Tripp’s most recent book, Do You Believe?, which is supposed to be about Doctrines, so I guess it goes here, too.

History – Going to finally start the 2000 Years of Christ’s Power series, and having read On The Incarnation, I’ve been interested in reading more of the early church writings, so I picked up a survey on them called The Great Theologians (which has some medieval on early modern, as well).

Controversial – Jesus and John Wayne; Triumph of the Modern Self (not pictured, I hope I know where I left it); The Making of Biblical Womanhood. If you’ve heard of these, you get why they are on the list. I may also add Recovering From Biblical Womanhood, depending on the others.

Fiction – I do not read much fiction, but always somewhat plan to. I have two modern(ish) classics – Tale of Two Cities and To Have and Have Not

Non-Fiction – The Origins of Political Order has been on my list for awhile and is generally considered a major book on the topic, so I will hopefully get to it this year. A buddy gave me Tripp’s Lead, which seems like a good beginning of the year book. I’ve only read a few books on leadership, I don’t think any of them were ‘Christian’ based. Finally, I will continue to try to read some C.S. Lewis, not sure which book yet, but I’ll randomly pick on from the the anthology.

That is it for this year. Hopefully, I’ll get through them all and a few others. The hardest is part is deciding which ones to read first.

Update and Books

It has been about six months since my last post, which is probably the longest I have ever gone. Life has been a little off the past few month, so we haven’t done a podcast, nor have I written anything. So, we sat down and did a quick update, which you can listen to below.

I’m pretty behind on my books. I think I only read about 20 this year and I’ve only reviewed one or so of them. Hopefully, I’ll post more regularly next year and get back on track with the podcast.

Interview with Todd Hains and Natasha Kennedy Modern Cloister

In this episode, we sit down with Todd Hains, editor, and Natasha Kennedy, illustrator, who together have shaped the creation and launch of a new children's books series called "FatCat" that aims to make the practice of catechism both accessible and engaging for children and families alike. There are three books in the series so far (Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, and King of Christmas) with more to come in 2023.  About FatCat Books  How can anyone, no matter how young or old, grasp the message of the Bible? The church’s answer has always been the catechism. Maybe “catechism” sounds like a scary word. But it shouldn’t! The catechism teaches us what the Bible teaches us: our faith. The church’s catechism is the central texts of faith—the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. The catechism is “fat.” It’s bursting at the seams with meaning, challenge, and comfort. It’s concise, but it’s also deep. Most importantly, it should be familiar. FatCat is a way of making the catechism approachable. And so this book has an actual fat cat hidden throughout. Search for him with your child as you enjoy this book together, and hide the words of the catechism in your heart. Learn more at the Lexham Press website.  
  1. Interview with Todd Hains and Natasha Kennedy
  2. Interview with Hannah Nation
  3. Soli Deo Gloria (God’s Glory Alone)
  4. Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
  5. Sola Fide (Faith Alone)

Book Review: Reformation Anglican Worship

Reformation Anglican Worship: Experiencing Grace, Expressing Gratitude (The Reformation Anglicanism Essential Library, Volume 4)

My Rating – Put it on your list

Level – Short, mostly easy read (occasional Latin thrown in).

Summary

The book is generally what the title says. For those confused from the ‘Reformation’ part, I was, too. I’m not sure why the author(s, it is a series) didn’t use Reformed, as this seems to be what they are discussing. Canmer (who wrote the Book of Common Prayer, and was the main influence on Anglicanism) was heavily influenced by the Reformation and it’s new focus on Biblical reading in the vernacular and Justification by faith. 

Jensen focuses mostly on the Reformed, as opposed to Anglo-Catholic, side of Anglicanism. He makes a strong argument for it being the way Anglicanism started, but does a good job of putting things into a historical context as well as modern impacts. 

This is a short book broken into six chapters – The Heart of Christian Worship, Worship in the English Reformation, Reading and Preaching the Scriptures, The Gospel Signs: The Sacraments, Prayers of Grace, and Music: The Word in Song. There is also a brief introduction where he lays out his goal for the book. Chapter one, lays a basic theological groundwork on worship, based on the Trinity. The remaining five chapters are pretty clear by the title. 

My Thoughts

This was an interesting book to me. I am not an Anglican, but am in the Reformed tradition (though I understand there is a good bit of difference between the two). I’ve recently gained some interested in the Anglican tradition, mostly due to my recent discovery of the use of the Book of Common prayer. Jensen does a great job of weaving thoughts/writing from Cranmer and portions of the Book through each chapter (for those wondering why the BCP didn’t warrant its own chapter).

He doesn’t rely solely on Cranmer, but points to other Bishops at the time and even some writings from the royalty. I thought chapter three (Read & Preaching Scripture) was the most interesting. Knowing a good bit about the Reformation and continuing in the tradition, I was familiar with the focus on the Word Preached. Much less focused on, but apparently quite important in Anglicanism (especially as exhibited in the previous version of the BCP) is the direct reading of scriptures. This includes multiple readings from throughout the Bible at each service, as well as a reading plan that takes you through the OT once and NT three times a year; and the Psalms once a month. 

Sacramentalism is one of the divergent points between Anglicanism and Reformed traditions, but the chapter was interesting and informative. The Music chapter was the shortest, but was quite powerful. This is especially true if you are a member of church that freely uses ‘modern worship’. His critique is harsh, but completely accurate. He points out the irony of the fact (which I was unaware) that Reformation era churches were heavily focused on the performance of music, specifically coral music which can be hard to sing. Now, we’ve moved back to performance. The irony being, we fought to have the congregation be able to sing, to now, being focused on entertainment, with many songs that are not made for congregational singing (or are often hard to sign, but hey, guitar solo). 

The interest on this book would be fairly narrow, btu I do think everyone who cares about proper worship would benefit from this book. If you are interested in worship, you should certainly buy this book.  If you are Anglican, or Reformed, or have an interest in church history or the various aspects of the Reformation, put this on your list. 

*I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review. 

Modern Cloister: Wisdom and Kingship in the Psalms

Modern-Cloister-NEW

Interview with Todd Hains and Natasha Kennedy Modern Cloister

In this episode, we sit down with Todd Hains, editor, and Natasha Kennedy, illustrator, who together have shaped the creation and launch of a new children's books series called "FatCat" that aims to make the practice of catechism both accessible and engaging for children and families alike. There are three books in the series so far (Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, and King of Christmas) with more to come in 2023.  About FatCat Books  How can anyone, no matter how young or old, grasp the message of the Bible? The church’s answer has always been the catechism. Maybe “catechism” sounds like a scary word. But it shouldn’t! The catechism teaches us what the Bible teaches us: our faith. The church’s catechism is the central texts of faith—the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. The catechism is “fat.” It’s bursting at the seams with meaning, challenge, and comfort. It’s concise, but it’s also deep. Most importantly, it should be familiar. FatCat is a way of making the catechism approachable. And so this book has an actual fat cat hidden throughout. Search for him with your child as you enjoy this book together, and hide the words of the catechism in your heart. Learn more at the Lexham Press website.  
  1. Interview with Todd Hains and Natasha Kennedy
  2. Interview with Hannah Nation
  3. Soli Deo Gloria (God’s Glory Alone)
  4. Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
  5. Sola Fide (Faith Alone)

Part six and the final episode of the Modern Cloister series on the Psalms is out, you can find info on Part 1 – a Guide to Understanding the Psalms – here, Part 2 – How to Use the Psalms – here, and Part 3 – Praise and Thanksgiving in the Psalms – here, Part 4 – Lament and Confession – here or listen in the player below (I didn’t have a chance to do a write up on episode 5, but you can listen to it in the player.

In this Episode, we continue diving into different genres of Psalms. We have broken them into eight genres, and we cover Wisdom and Kingship, which are two genres people may not think much about. We also discuss the Hallelujah Psalms that end the book. 

Hope you have enjoyed the series. 

I’ve reviewed two of the best books out there (that aren’t commentaries) on the Psalms – How to Read the Psalms & Learning to Love the Psalms – if you are interested in reading more. 

You can listen to the Pod on the player below, or subscribe anywhere podcast are found. You can also listen at our YouTube Channel. Or, of course, come check us out at ModernCloister.com. Hope you enjoy, feedback is always welcome.