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Knocking on Heaven's Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer [Paperback]

By David Crump (Author)
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Item description for Knocking on Heaven's Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer by David Crump...

Articulates a cohesive New Testament theology of petitionary prayer based on careful attention to the contours and nuances of all the relevant New Testament texts.

Publishers Description
How are we to understand petitionary prayer? This is a key question for any thoughtful believer who desires to take both the Bible and experience seriously. Some believe God answers any prayer as long as the one praying has enough faith and/or persistence. Others conclude from experience that prayer is really for our benefit and has no impact on God's actions. According to David Crump, both views are extreme and potentially harmful.
While books that deal with prayer from a devotional or experiential perspective have their value, "Knocking on Heaven's Door "takes a different approach. Crump carefully studies every New Testament passage that has to do with petitionary prayer and draws conclusions that are both theological and pastoral to help us understand the great mystery of prayer.

From Publishers Weekly
Scripture is filled with examples of prayer and supplication. Many of these prayers teach us about God and our relationship to Him, and can be rich sources of sound theological teaching. Crump, professor of religion and philosophy at Calvin College and author of Jesus the Intercessor, brings together a series of insightful and deeply spiritual thoughts on some of the major petitionary prayers in the Bible, which he describes as "asking for an audience with the cosmic king, and then making our requests clearly known." He expresses some concern that incorrect teaching on petitionary prayer can lead to disappointment and a consequent loss of faith, and sees the solution in a rational and scripturally sound approach to understanding the prayer relationship between God and humanity. Crump carefully studies several of Jesus' parables, the Lord's Prayer and the Pauline writings, among others, as they explain and clarify God's intent in urging his followers to pray. Crump's exacting attention to the original languages and a diversity of scholarship, along with his clear writing style, provide a rich and rewarding study of petitionary prayer. Academics and general readers alike will find much to appreciate. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Knocking on Heaven's Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer by David Crump has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 04/24/2006 page 56
  • Books & Culture - 01/01/2007 page 8

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   345
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.04" Height: 1.01"
Weight:   1.09 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  080102689X  
ISBN13  9780801026898  

Availability  0 units.

More About David Crump

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! David Crump (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is professor of religion and theology at Calvin College. He is the author of Jesus the Intercessor: Prayer and Christology in Luke-Acts and Feeling Like God: A Spiritual Journey to Emotional Wholeness.

David Crump currently resides in the state of Michigan. David Crump was born in 1956.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Prayer

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > New Testament Studies > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Knocking on Heaven's Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer?

Exhuastive and Inspiring  Apr 22, 2008
Prof. Crump's book was the text used in a seminary course I audited. This text creates a different kind of course than one based on the writings of Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, Basil Pennington, Richard Foster, or other prayer "greats." I found Crump's theological approach to prayer the most refreshing study of prayer I have had. He tackles the tough issues that those of us involved in church leadership face so often when the new diagnosis has been given or in the conversation with someone torn as to what God's will is for his or her life. His exegesis keeps us honest, unable to offer the pat answer for the large questions.
Knocking on Heaven's Door  May 6, 2007
Often times even the most passionate and persistent prayers remain unanswered. This can leave one perplexed, disappointed, and frustrated as to why God would choose to ignore us or cause us to question what we said or did wrong. However, in Knocking on Heaven's Door author David Crump offers a biblical view of petitionary prayer that challenges many popular misconceptions regarding prayer held by the twenty-first century Christians. Woven together with an excellent balance of New Testament exegesis and personal anecdote, this book reminds us that "the Father who always loves us always hears our prayers and always responds in the best of all possible ways, at the best of all possible times." Knocking on Heaven's Door carefully examines instances of petitionary prayer found in the New Testament, including parables, the Lord's Prayer, and Pauline letters, in order to develop a biblical theology of prayer. Because of the author's academic background and wealth of knowledge of the subject, the book offers an incredible depth of insight. However, Crump does not allow this to become a barrier to those having less experience with an exegetical approach to biblical studies. While he utilizes original languages and historical interpretations to support his arguments, he also offers examples of real experiences relevant to each topic, reminding us that we are ultimately trying to connect biblical theology with our own lives. In addition, the book contains helpful summaries at the end of each major section, highlighting the major arguments discussed and their overall significance towards petitionary prayer. Though the topic of petitionary prayer is familiar to most Christians, numerous questions and misconceptions remain. As Crump affirms, "Knocking on heaven's door, asking for an audience with the cosmic king, and then making our requests clearly known is a mysterious enough activity for those of us consigned to inhabit the physical limitations of flesh and blood." For those who desire to know more about petitionary prayer from a biblical perspective, Crump's book is a great resource. The academic approach and personal style offer a depth which can be valued by both scholars and general readers. Through the examples of New Testament prayer studied, we learn that when we pray no fixed amount of faith or persistence is required and no formulaic rituals are necessary (nor are they effective in directing God's divine will). We can be encouraged to present our requests to God because we know that he hears us and responds in the best way at the best time.
Crump's KHD  May 6, 2007
David Crump is a professor of Religion at Calvin College; Grand Rapids, Michigan. The chief purpose of his book entitled "Knocking on Heaven's Door" is, by examining prayer in the New Testament, to seek to understand as much as possible about the nature of prayer, and especially of petitionary prayer. To that end, Crump examines the prayers of Christ - particularly the Lord's Prayer and the prayer in Gethsemane - and of the Early Church and of the Apostle Paul. He also brings to light various faulty beliefs about the nature of prayer. One poignant example of a belief that, by means of his own exegesis and superb argument, he utterly refutes, is that of "insufficient faith" - that is, if a petitioner does not receive whatever he has asked of God, the only possible explanation is that his faith as he prayed was not sufficient in volume or potency to bring about the desired effect. Crump spends an entire chapter dealing with this question, and soundly defeats it by means of two stories wherein Christ talks about petitions in prayer.
The discussion in this book is an excellent resource for that season in the life of any Christian which C.S. Lewis called a "trough of dryness" (Screwtape): a period of his life wherein he cannot see the hand of God, despite his own prayers for help and deliverance. The scriptural prayers discussed in this book, particularly those of Christ, provide superb insights on the proper Christian response to such a situation. This is an extremely worthwhile book to any who desire greater understanding on the subject of petitionary prayer. However, those who are not professional scholars of the New Testament should be warned that this book constitutes, to use the words of Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, "solid food" rather than "milk" (3:2), consisting largely of exegesis and either refutation of or agreement with other scholars who have expressed opinions on the topics at hand. This book will prove challenging to a reader without some New Testament background, but by no means an insurmountable one. It anticipates many questions and problems likely to arise within its own arguments and answers them admirably. Overall, this book is highly recommendable.

Worth Your Thoughts  Apr 29, 2007
In my experience, books written about prayer tend to gravitate toward two extremes: blindly inspirational and hopelessly scholastic. Where the former does its best to leave the reader feeling "powered up" without sharing much Bible or rationality to fuel the fire, the latter sacrifices accessibility and/or practical application for stuffy exegesis and word studies that most find superfluous.
David Crump's work, however, manages to interweave comprehensible, practical application and theology with serious scholarship - quite a refreshing combination! I highly recommend this book to those interested in prayer on a devotional or scholarly level, or best, both. Crump does not so much offer the reader a lens through which to view the Biblical text as he does point out important issues, and then guide the reader to a thoughtful, New Testament-based understanding of them.
When I began reading this book, I was skeptical. Other books on prayer which I had attempted to read had not much impressed me. However, my skepticism faltered when I began to read. Even having grown up in the church and having been well-educated in my faith at school, I have taken from this reading new perspectives that will positively alter the way in which I think about prayer, and, more importantly, the way I pray. For Crump, prayer is not simply "talking to God," as it is so commonly expressed today; it is presenting oneself to Him as a servant, willing above all to align oneself with His will, presenting requests of concern to God's kingdom. For Crump, "thy will be done" lies at the heart and soul of proper prayer, and it is this mindset that the Christian is to pursue. How else are we to serve, if not in the mindset of Christ, who was one with the Father? Prayer is not a Christian luxury, Crump shows; it is a necessity.
Crump's honest treatment of the Biblical text, combined with the quality of his scholarship have produced a work worth reading. Crump realizes that any useful foray into the area of petitionary prayer necessitates semi-tangential discussions of relevant issues - for example, the character of God and the responsibilities of Christians. Instead of making the book bulky and difficult to follow, these explorations of related issues often serve to strengthen the discussion at hand; they do not stand as obstacles to the continuing flow of ideas, but instead deepen the channel through which the ideas flow. This is accomplished partly by means of abundant footnotes - often several per page - which contain citations, as well as further explanation or discussion of points with which the reader may be unfamiliar or curious. The result is a comprehensive, well-reasoned treatment of the subject of petitionary prayer.

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