Many book ideas are never printed because having a book published through a major publisher costs money (books take thousands of dollars to market and produce). Some of these books may not be worth publishing, but some have a very select audience—may only run 15 copies—yet will significantly influence those who read them. These latter books will not be picked up by a major publisher yet are worth developing. Using CreateSpace printing, Teleioteti seeks to produce books that are tight in argument and research and can contribute in a significant way to the maturing of Christian disciples, even if they may only run a few copies.
Prevenient Grace: An Investigation into Arminianism (Published September, 2016)
By J. Alexander Rutherford
If a plant grows with shallow roots, the storms of a season will wither away and uproot it; like a house built on sand, a poor foundation will doom its fate. But this isn’t a book on botany, nor on architecture; foundations, good roots, are essential to thought structures as well as material structures. In theology, a bad foundation will produce results as catastrophic as bad roots or shifting sand. How we think about God and His work in the world will profoundly affect how we live and work out our Christian faith. This book evolved from the conviction that a prominent theological system rests on a fragile foundation. It is written as a small contribution towards refounding our understanding of God’s relationship with the world and our salvation on His Word.
The theology in question is Arminianism; the foundation is prevenient grace. Deep within Evangelical Arminianism lies the essential doctrine that God has acted in the life of all human beings, giving them enabling grace enough to respond or reject His offer of salvation. The contention of this book is that this doctrine has no biblical grounds and is rationally unfounded and that Arminianism itself stands or falls on this doctrine.
In order to establish the necessary groundwork for analyzing prevenient grace, I present in the first chapter a biblical theology and then systematic synthesis of the doctrine of total depravity. Then, after defining the doctrine of prevenient grace in Chapter 2, I consider every available argument in favour of prevenient grace, beginning with the biblical texts used to defend it in Chapter 3 and then the philosophical and theological arguments in Chapters 4 and 5. With the arguments for the doctrine considered, I then present theological, philosophical, and biblical arguments against the doctrine in Chapters 6-8. The weight of this offensive critique lies in the presentation of the case for the doctrines of unconditional election and the effectual call in Chapters 7 & 8.
The intended audience for the book is undergraduate students, lay theologians, and pastors, but the argument and analysis within will make it useful to the graduate student and scholar. To make it accessible to those just entering the debate over God’s sovereignty in salvation, frequent use is made of in-text and footnote definitions for technical terms, with a glossary of all obscure terms in the appendices.
This book is a fine piece of scholarship. Rutherford presents his arguments with admirable clarity. His intention is to offer guidance for pastors and teachers who may be faced with questions about whether human beings have the freedom to accept or reject God. The great strength of Rutherford’s book is his knowledge of biblical texts and an appropriate interpretation of them. He successfully shows that the claims of Arminianism with its view that prevenient grace allows an acceptance or rejection of God are not supported by biblical texts. Nor are they justified by philosophical arguments. They layout of the book and its careful treatment of arguments both for and against prevenient grace is a model of excellent writing. His chapters are supplemented by a Glossary that explains all specific terms and Appendices where detailed theological discussions are given. Most helpful is his Index of Scripture passages discussed.
I recommend this book highly as a compelling piece of scholarship.
Dr. Shirley Sullivan, FRSC (elected), Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of British Columbia
Purchase on paperback at https://www.createspace.com/5777742, Regent College Bookstore (Vancouver, Canada), and amazon or on kindle via amazon (also on Kindle Select). Prevenient Grace is currently available at the John Richard Allison Library at Regent College (Vancouver) and the Wolf Memorial Library at Pacific Life Bible College (Surrey, BC, Canada).
Believe the Unbelievable: A Study in Habakkuk (in the publishing process, expect 2018)
By J. Alexander Rutherford
What would we do if our prayers for justice, our prayers that God’s will be done in our nation, were answered with a vision of desolation, of devastation, of utter destruction? When Habakkuk prayed for salvation, a prayer for justice in the midst of chaos, violence, and suffering, that was God’s answer—the coming of the vicious armies of Babylon. God’s answer contradicted everything Habakkuk thought he knew; yet in the end, he praised God and trusted Him for this horrid salvation.
What do we do when God’s actions or words contradict our understanding, contradict what we have believed? The book of Habakkuk answers this question in the face of the Babylonian invasion of Judah. Habakkuk is a book of discipleship, a book written to bring its reader to a deeper faith in Yahweh in the presence of His unthinkable deeds. Using study questions addressing the text, theology, and application of Habakkuk and explanatory comments on difficult themes, Believe the Unbelievable seeks to realize this purpose for the contemporary reader.
“My good friend, James Rutherford, has given the church a gift. He has taken his love for God’s Word and focused it on an Old Testament book that most Christians know very little about. The result is a study in Habakkuk that brings together deep insight and real relevance. Habakkuk is a voice among the biblical chorus that believers need to hear today. Thank you, James, for helping us to hear it clearly and faithfully.”
Fred Eaton, Pastor, Christ City Church, Kitsilano
The Gift of Knowing – A Biblical Perspective on Knowing and Truth (in the editing process)
By J. Alexander Rutherford
How can we know anyting, have certainity, or trust the Bible? These questions are being raised throughout North America, both within and outside of the Church. Using the insights of Cornelius Van Til and John Frame, I show in this book that the Bible a sure ground for knowing and that without God’s Revelation certainty and truth are impossible to attain.