We live in a day where there is a wealth of old books being reprinted and new books without number. Not all these books merit a first read, let alone a second read.
The Banner of Truth is unsurpassed in published books that are worth reading once and then saving for a lifetime of reading and passing on to one's family or church. Here are four "keepers" just in time for Christmas!
Douglas Taylor, I SHALL NOT DIE BUT LIVE (Facing
Death with Gospel Hope)
For fourteen years, Douglas Taylor was the Assistant Editor of the Banner of Truth magazine, headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland. So many good volumes passed under his watchful editorial eye! He was not only an editor of great Puritan volumes, he enjoyed and savored the Puritans too. I SHALL NOT DIE is a book about his preparing for his own passing, given a death sentence by an acute terminal illness. This book is composed with many of the posts he prepared to help himself and others face death unafraid. It breathes a heavenly air.
Get one for yourself, your church library and for any terminally ill Christian you know.
H. J. Horn, THE PURITANS (Day by Day)--Puritan
quotations for each day of the year.
Any pastor, church secretary, or knowledgeable Christian would want to have and use this book because it contains gems and jewels for each and every day. Put them in the church bulletin, punctuates your letters or emails with them, meditate upon them and commit them to memory--they are that good.
Hugh Martin, THE SHADOW OF CALVARY (Gethsemane,
The Arrest, The Trial)
Westminster church historian and pastor Carl Trueman writes the forward to this treasure from Scotland, first published in 1875. Hugh Martin was himself one of the treasures that graced the pastorate of the Free Church of Scotland. Martin was a pastor and a theologian and a sweetly exercised Christian. He has the exegetical ability, the spirituality, the knowledge of church history and the warm theology that makes these familiar passages come alive and sink into the heart. In his forward, Professor and pastor Trueman writes that all pastors preach about the final week of our Lord's life but few do it as correctly and warmly and engagingly as Hugh Martin. See a Master in Israel at work!
Richard Rushing, ed; VOICES FROM THE PAST (Puritan
Devotional Readings); Volume 2
Volume One of Rushing's work has been a boon and its praise sung in all the churches. Volume 2 looks to be more of the same. While some devotional reading is about as substantial as Cotton Candy and just as substantial, these devotional volumes on the Puritans have good substance in a portable size. Great for family devotions if the participants are a bit older--say high school and above. Thank you Richard Rushing and Banner of Truth for promos tin the Puritans and keeping their legacy alive. We are the richer!
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Books are gifts that last a lifetime and can bless over and over again. As Pastor Ernie Reisinger once said, the alphabet has 26 good soldiers for Christ who never quit or react in a cowardly way. They always stay put and tell the story. Good Christian books are arrangements of the alphabet in words to bless the reader over and over again. Let me introduce you to some great books you can get and give at this Christmas seasons that will bless the reader with a first read and subsequent reads.
BOOKS FOR CHRISTIAN LAYMEN ON YOUR LIST:
Mike Horton, CORE CHRISTIANITY; Zondervan
One reviewer likens this book to John Stott's 1960's best seller, BASIC CHRISTIANITY. I think it is better than Stott's early book because it covers more and is simpler to read. You can give this to a non-reader or a non-Christian and it would do them good. Having read these winsome explanations of the basics of Christianity, a person cannot say they did not know or did not understand the gospel and its implications.
Sinclair Ferguson, A HEART FOR GOD; Banner of Truth
One of his best books and one that repays yearly reading! That is not an exaggeration. Dr. Ferguson, like
Dr. Packer, writes for the church and the thinking Christian, not the academy or the university. He cares about the spread of Christ's glory and not his academic reputation. A HEART FOR GOD takes the reader on a joy filled and awe-filled journey through some of the perfections (better term than ;attributes') of God. He begins with why we should know God better and better if we are a real Christian. Every chapter is outstanding!
Ryan McGraw, THE DAY OF WORSHIP (Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath); Reformation Heritage Books)
Confessional Christians, particularly Presbyterians and Baptists, hold that the 4th Commandment on the Christian Sabbath (and the Lord's Day) are still binding on believers today. McGraw shows us why that is so and the tremendous impact it makes on your life if you really life that way. It has glowing blurbs by two earlier authors on the Lord's Day, Joey Pipa (THE LORD'S DAY) and Walter Chantry (CALL THE SABBATH A DELIGHT).
Earl Blackburn, 50 WORLD-CHANGING EVENTS IN CHRISTIAN HISTORY; Christian Focus Publications
Christians discover to their amazement that they enjoy reading church history if it is not too dense and compacted and makes application today. Pastor Earl Blackburn has put us in his debt by putting together 50 events of Christ's churches that also had an impact on the surrounding world. It begins with the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to the Romans down to the Rise of Social Media! You will be surprised at how much the past influences the present. Try it--you will like it!
BOOKS FOR CHRISTIAN PASTORS AND ELDERS:
Charles Ross, THE INNER SANCTUARY; Banner of Truth
A classic from the 19th century comes back into print! Pastor know how difficult to preach through John's gospel because when you come to chapters 13-17 (our Lord's teaching in the Upper Room before his arrest, trail, death and resurrection) there is so much to think on and teach that most get bogged down. Charles Ross helps the reader not miss the riches of our Lord's teaching the night before His passion. Section headings include:
I. THE FOOT-WASHING AND THE TRAITOR REVEALED
II. THE DISCOURSE AFTER THE TRAITOR LEFT THE
III. THE STATE, DUTIES AND PROSPECTS OF THE
DISCIPLES IN THE WORLD
IV. THE INTERCESSORY PRAYER
There is so much goos stuff here that I can't cram it into a brief blurb. This is a precious and encouraging book.
Sinclair Ferguson, DEVOTED TO GOD (Blueprints for Sanctification); Banner of Truth
Dr. Ferguson puts us further in his debt by writing perhaps his best book--how Christians grow in grace and thus become 'sanctified'. DEVOTED TO GOD covers ten key passages in the New Testament that show how God wants us to grow in grace. His expositions of these key passages show the overall depth and balance of biblical teaching on sanctification. This should not be missed by pastors or elders or teachers!
Fred Sanders, THE TRIUNE GOD (New Studies in Dogmatics); Zondervan
For a few years now, the Bible's doctrine of the Tri-unity of God has been a hot topic as friends and foes o this cardinal doctrine have traded broadsides in blogs and books. Dr. Sanders, an expert on the doctrine of the Trinity [see his earlier, more entry level book, THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD (How the Trinity Changes Everything from Crossway)]. Dr. Sanders shows us how to study how the Bible unfolds the doctrine of the Trinity and teaches it as we seek to explain it to others. This book should be mastered by every pastor and elder and teacher!
T. J. Crawford., THE MYSTERIES OF CHRISTIANITY (Revealed Truth Expounded and Defended); Banner of Truth
This is a defense of classical Christianity showing that the revealed basis of Christianity is both historical (revealed in time and in Scripture) and supernatural.h
In eleven essays he covers 11 areas that are revealed
in Scripture as true but not always open to empirical verification. This is both a refresher course on basic Christian doctrine but a sturdy defense of how to teach it to others!
BOOKS FOR SENIOR SAINTS:
James Packer, WEAKNESS IS THE WAY (Life With Christ
As Our Strength) ; Crossway-
Learn how to finish well while losing your strength which is natural with advancing age but learning to lean on Christ and His strength.
James Packer, PURSUING OUR COURSE WITH JOY (Guidance From God For Engaging With Our Aging);
What are believers to do as they age, their powers wane, and they ponder the path ahead? Well known evangelical and Reformed theologian and pastor to pastors tells us how to keep on keeping on while walking with Christ. A gem to savor and reread again and again.
May the Lord bless your Christmas with a greater sense of Christ's glory and a heightened sense of love and zeal for Him.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Visit my website with over 1800 other devotionals on Scripture and Christianity:
May has become the big month for graduations in our culture. Back in the day, when I was in school, it was June. But times change and so I am giving you a head's up on great graduation gifts. I almost always give books as gifts because the biblical truth contained in good books changes lives. I know, for books changed me!
I was converted by the grace of God in 1969 during the middle of my junior year in college. I was ushered into a new world of which I knew so little. Pronouncing biblical names was hard enough but understanding the Word of God became paramount. I could find no evangelical, Bible believing, Bible teaching churches in my small Midwestern college town. What to do?
There was a vibrant parachurch ministry at another nearby college town and I traveled their each week for teaching, fellowship and evangelism. But as important as it was to rehearse the biblical truths of salvation, Bible truth that enabled me to grow became necessary.
Just across the street from my downtown apartment was a little hole in the wall Christian bookstore. And I would go there most weeks and cherry pick the best books I could find to help me. Now my limited maturity and the limited number of good evangelical books in 1969-1970 limited my choices. But I found enough books written for young Christians of all ages that I was very much helped to grow. As a brand new babe in Christ I did not need to try to digest Louis Berkhof, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, or John Calvin. That would come later. They showed me the meat of the Word.
But on the milk and pablum level, I found things that nourished me and pointed me to other authors. Books from Gospel Light, David C. Cook, IVP, and Zondervan became staples. Some books had "bones" that I learned did not jive with Scripture and I learned to spit out the bones while savoring the meat. Some books sadly were mostly bones and I found little meat in them. Some books on a first read seemed great but further reflection and study showed me they were mostly bones and I left them alone.
The books I have chosen today for graduates, high school or college or grad school, are picked because they are full of truth and connect with people 18-28. Here they are...
GENERAL BOOKS ON CHRISTIANITY:
Jerry Bridges, THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE; NavPress
(The best explanation of what Christ accomplished
on the cross for laymen of any age. I would make it
mandatory if I could that every gospel minister and
parachurch worker master this book and preach it to
Jerry Bridges, THE BOOKENDS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE;
Crossway (The best explanation of how the believer
is to apply the bookends of the Christian life to daily
life--that is, the imputed righteousness of Christ for
one's standing before God and the power of the Holy
Spirit to change my life day in and day out. Very
Kevin DeYoung, THE HOLE IN OUR HOLINESS; Crossway
Shows the rising generation the importance of a
neglected but vital truth--"no holiness, no heaven".
BOOKS FOR YOUNG WOMEN:
Mary Kassian, GIRLS GONE WISE (in a world gone wild);
Crossway--for years around Spring Break time,
commercials have hawked a lewd product on TV and
the Internet--videos of GIRLS GONE WILD sporting
drunk and ungodly girls doing ungodly things on
Spring Break around America. High school and
college students know about the phenomena. Mary
Kassian, professor at THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST
THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, writes to show the way to
biblical godliness and holiness. A great gift for girls
leaving home and going off into the world!
Michelle Graham, WANTING TO BE HER (Body Secrets
Victoria Did Not Tell You); IVP--InterVarsity staff
worker Michelle Graham writes to help women with
their self-perception of how they look and why it
matters too much in our culture. She even has a
special chapter for young African-American women
who grow up in a culture where white is beautiful
and black is second best. Young women receiving
this book have loved it and thanked me for giving it
Nancy Leigh DeMoss, LIES WOMEN BELIEVE (and the
truths that sets them free); Moody Press--popular
author and conference speaker shows how 21st
century women are being lied to in our culture and
she helps them recognize the lies and counter-act
them. Mothers and daughters could read this
together. And there is a book for teen girls, LIES
YOUNG WOMEN BELIEVE (and the truths that set
them free); Moody Press.
Courtney Reissig; THE ACCIDENTAL FEMINIST (Restor-
ing Our Delight in God's Good Design); Crossway
A young Christian woman recounts her learning that
while she did not set out to become a feminist,
nevertheless just breathing the corrosive air of this
culture brought her to embrace several feminist
tenets. Upon seeing them and examining her life
more closely through the lens of Scripture, she left
Elizabeth Prentiss, STEPPING HEAVENWARD; Calvary
Press--classic 19th century study of a young
woman's growth in mature Christian womanhood
and the lessons learned along the way. I know some
pastors who have given a copy of this treasure to
every woman and teenage girl in their congregation.
BOOKS FOR YOUNG MEN:
Wayne Mack, A FIGHT TO THE DEATH (Taking Aim at Sin
Within); P & R--a classic study of the Bible and
Reformed theology's teaching on putting off
(mortification) and putting on (vivification) sin. A
must for Christians wanting to grow in grace.
Jerry Bridges, THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS; NavPress
The best study of the Reformed doctrine of
sanctification in print. A classic!
Stuart Piggin and John Roxborough, THE ST. ANDREWS
SEVEN; Banner of Truth--seven young graduates of
the University of St. Andrews in Scotland who
dedicated their lives to missions and serving Christ
around the world.
Mark Chanski, MANLY DOMINION; Calvary Press
A great book to challenge men to be men of God,
not boys of God or girls of God but men of God.
What does it mean to be a man and to be a man of
God. Read it and find out. Single men will find this
most valuable too!
J. C. Ryle, THOUGHTS FOR YOUNG MEN; Banner of Truth
or audiobook. Classic study challenging young men
to live their lives for Christ in whatever He calls them
to do. But whatever they are, they are to live for
May your graduates find grace as they graduate to live for Christ the rest of their lives.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for hundreds of other articles on contemporary Christianity, church history and books!
It was 1976 and it was a rough year for me. I had become a Christian seven years before and was now married and laboring as a parachurch ministry leader doing evangelism and discipleship. I was overly tired,
sleep deprived and overworked. A good night sleep and a walk did not "fix" me. A dark depression settled over me and it was all I could do to get out of bed each morning and put one foot in front of another. I jettisoned everything I could of my ministry labors without losing my job. I was in the deep end of the pool just barely treading water. My friends were puzzled by what seemed to be unusual and "un-victorious" behavior. My dear wife was also wondering what in the world was happening to me. I did not know either.
The doctrine of the Christian life I had been taught began with the glowing words: "Every day can be an exciting day for the Christian who knows the reality of the Spirit-filled life and who lives moment by moment under His gracious control." This "exciting" life meant one was to turn over control of one's life to Jesus and let Him live the Christian life through you. Jesus would not sin, would He? Jesus, would not fail to believe and trust God, would He? The "secret" of the Christian life was Jesus living through the yielded, quieted believer.
If one failed to live this "abundant life", it was because there was either an unconfessed sin or an unyielded area of one's life. So a person scraped their inner psyche looking for that unyielded area, that unconfessed sin that was keeping Jesus from having full control. And true Christians would never have a bad day!
But I was not only have a bad day, I was having a bad month and a bad year! The highlight of each day was going to bed early--only to have deep, restful sleep elude me. I was barely functioning. And my learned doctrine of the Christian life was only making it worse!
Christians who knew the secret never had a bad day.
Christians should never struggle. Christians should never be depressed. As I met with the Lord each morning, I called out to Him to help me, teach me, mold me and change me. Not much seemed to be happening!
But as I daily walked with Christ and read my Bible, I began to see new things in the Scriptures I had not seen before. Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane cried out in desperation to His Father. He was not humming "Victory in Jesus". He was in agony! I could not imagine our Lord not knowing how to live the Christian life! There was a crack of light in my dark room--maybe struggle and depression and failure were God's instruments in His process of sanctifying me. Maybe they were not abnormal but the normal Christian life?!
Then in reading through Romans with the help of Donald Grey Barnhouse's EXPOSITION OF ROMANS,
I saw that my view of the Christian life was very small, cramped and man-centered. I also saw in Romans 6-8 that struggle was a part of the Christian life. I memorized Romans 6:1-14 and sought to meditate upon it each day. Slowly, gradually, almost imperceptibly,
the dark clouds of depression began to clear, sometimes with two sunny days followed by a cloudiness, then 3-4 sunny days followed by an brief darkness and then finally most sunny days with cloudy days interspersed.
What's more, I saw the sovereignty of God in salvation, in election, atonement, keeping and eventual glory. I had come to understand Romans! The doctrines I managed to cobble together gave me stability and strength and persevering grace. Then in 1978, Navigator leader Jerry Bridges published his first book, THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS. What a gem! In down to earth language he explained what I later learned was the Reformation understanding of salvation and sanctification. What was a patchwork quilt of doctrines in my little theology became a more full-orbed theology of the Christian life. My heart sung as I read this book, absorbed its teaching, noticed the men and books mentioned in the footnotes, and embarked on a life of study, worship, and the pursuit of holiness. It was through Jerry Bridges footnotes that I came to know Charles Hodge (the subject of my Master's thesis), John Owen (the subject of my seminary devotional reading),
Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield (also the subject of my seminary devotional reading).
As a pastor, I had Jerry preach and teach four times in my church. The churchmen loved him and deeply appreciated his teaching. It was truth for life and I shall always be in his debt!
Below is a listing of Jerry Bridges' major books and why you should read and study each twice, once for joy and the second time for mastering.
1978--THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS--the best short explanation of the Bible's and the Reformation's understanding of how Christians are to pursue holiness.
1983--THE PRACTICE OF GODLINESS--how Christians are to put on new habits of godliness even as they put to death old habits of sins. God has done many things to and for the Christian. This book explains what the Christian is to discipline himself to do. The bookend to THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS.
1985--TRUE FELLOWSHIP (lated published as THE CRISIS OF CARING, and then published as TRUE COMMUNITY in 2012). A great book to show believers how they are to live with one another in the family of God.
1988--TRUSTING GOD (Even When Life Hurts)--the 1st book in English in the 20th century on the biblical doctrine of God's sovereign, holy, infinitely wise and loving providence. A real sanity saver!--it should be mastered by all believers and preached on by all pastors!
1991--TRANSFORMING GRACE--Jerry stunned many of his readers by showing them that we are not only saved by grace but grow and are changed by grace too!
1994--THE DISCIPLINE OF GRACE--People were puzzled at how one should put together God's transforming grace and human responsibility in one coherent doctrine of sanctification. This book shows us how to put our effort and discipline together with God's in-working grace.
1999--THE JOY OF FEARING GOD--one of the most neglected doctrine of the Bible was brought front and center to help believers view and treat God as they should. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, then many professing Christians are not very wise!
2002--THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE--masterfully captures what Christ did for His people in the atonement. If I could I would make this book's mastery a mandatory responsibility for each American Christian, and certainly each pastor!
2003--THE CHASE--a shortened version of THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS for students.
2006--IS GOD REALLY IN CONTROL?--a shorted version of TRUSTING GOD for students.
2007--RESPECTABLE SINS--a bombshell on the playground of respectable, nice Christians.
2007--THE GREAT EXCHANGE--a blockbuster of a help to Christian laymen and pastors who have not fully grasped both halves of justification--"my sins exchanged for His righteousness". Please read and master this master book!
2008--HOLINESS DAY BY DAY--a daily devotional drawn from his previous works on holiness.
2009--THE BOOKENDS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE--the two bookends which keep our Christian lives from going into the ditch of despair or the ditch of self righteousness are (1) the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer; (2) the power of the Holy Spirit to change and keep changing the believer. The book is short by packed with practical dynamite!
2012--WHO AM I ?--learning that your identify is in Christ!
2014--GOD TOOK ME BY THE HAND--Jerry's life story with twists and turns of providence that constantly called on Jerry to trust God. A sweet read.
FORTHCOMING IN 2016--THE BLESSING OF HUMILITY (Walk Within Your Calling)--this is my estimate of Jerry to a T. There is no reason to believe it won't be a gem like all the others!
I honor Jerry Bridges, his ministry and his memory, as I owe him a debt of gratitude that can only be repaid by pursuing holiness in the power of the Spirit and trusting God for all His providential dealing with my life.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for many more reviews, articles and downloads of interest to growing believers.
A COURSE OF READING TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE
(A Baker’s Dozen of Books to Digest, in Order, Each Year for Three Years)
READINGS FOR THE FIRST YEAR:
1. R. C. Sproul, THE HOLINESS OF GOD; Tyndale
2. Kevin DeYoung, TAKING GOD AT HIS WORD; Crossway
3. Arthur Pink, THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD; Banner of Truth edition
4. James Packer, 18 WORDS (The Most Important Words You Will Ever Know); Christian Focus
5. Jerry Bridges, THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE; NavPress
6. James Packer, KNOWING GOD; IVP
7. Jerry Bridges, THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS;NavPress
8. Jerry Bridges, TRUSTING GOD; NavPress
9. James Packer, KEEP IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT; Baker
10. Fred Sanders, THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD (How The Trinity Changes Everything); Crossway
Michael Reeves, DELIGHTING IN THE TRINITY; IVP (2 count as 1)
11. James White, THE POTTER’S FREEDOM; Calvary Press
12. Iain Murray, THE FORGOTTEN SPURGEON; Banner of Truth
(2 books count as 1)
Iain Murray, SPURGEON VS. HYPER-CALVINISM; Banner of Truth
13. Iain Murray, MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (The First Forty Years, 1899-1939); Banner of Truth
READINGS FOR THE SECOND YEAR:
1. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, AUTHORITY (of Christ, the Bible, the Holy Spirit); Banner of Truth
John MacArthur, ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL; Crossway (2 count as 1)
2. Horatius Bonar , WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS:
P & R
Charles Spurgeon, THE SOUL-WINNER; Whitaker House (2 count as 1)
3. Tom Wells, A VISION FOR MISSIONS; Banner of Truth (2 count as 1)
Mark Dever, THE GOSPEL AND PERSONAL EVANGELISM; Crossway
4. James Packer & Mark Dever, IN MY PLACE CONDEMNED HE STOOD; Crossway
5. Thomas Watson, THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE; Banner of Truth
(3 books count as 1)
Sinclair Ferguson, THE GRACE OF REPENTANCE; Crossway
Tom Wells, FAITH: THE GIFT OF GOD; Banner of Truth
6. James Packer, “FUNDAMENTALISM” AND THE WORD OF GOD; Eerdmans
7. S. M. Houghton, SKETCHES FROM CHURCH HISTORY; Banner of Truth
8. Kris Lundgaard, THE ENEMY WITHIN; P & R
(2 books count as 1)
Kris Lundgaard, THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS; P & R
9. Iain Murray, THE OLD EVANGELICALISM; Banner of Truth
10. John Bunyan, THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS; various editions
11. Sinclair Ferguson, DISCOVERING THE WILL OF GOD; Banner of Truth
Kevin DeYoung, JUST DO SOMETHING (A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will); Crossway
Bruce Waltke, FINDING THE WILL OF GOD: Eerdmans
(3 count as 1)
12. Iain Murray, EVANGELICALISM DIVIDED (A Record of Critical Change in the Years 1950-2000); Banner of Truth
13. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION (Its Causes and Cures); Eerdmans
READINGS FOR THE THIRD YEAR:
1. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, REVIVAL; Crossway
2. Iain Murray, PENTECOST--TODAY?; Banner of Truth/Founders Press
3. Iain Murray, REVIVALS AND REVIVALISM (The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism, 1758-1858); Banner of Truth
4. Octavius Winslow, PERSONAL DECLENSION AND REVIVAL OF RELIGION IN THE SOUL; Banner of Truth
Sinclair Ferguson, DESERTED BY GOD?; Banner of Truth
5. Noel Weeks, THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE; Banner of Truth
6. Thomas Brooks, PRECIOUS REMEDIES AGAINST SATAN’S DEVICES;Banner of Truth
7. Jerry Bridges, THE GREAT EXCHANGE; NavPress (2 books count as 1)
Jerry Bridges, THE BOOKENDS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE; Crossway
8. R. C. Sproul, FAITH ALONE (The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification);Baker
R. C. Sproul, GETTING THE GOSPEL RIGHT; Baker (2 books count as 1)
9. Don Whitney, SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE; NavPress
Don Whitney, SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES WITHIN THE CHURCH; Moody Press (2 books count as 1)
10. John Hannah, OUR LEGACY (The History of Christian Doctrine); NavPress
11. Mark Dever, THE CHURCH (The Gospel Made Visible); Broadman & Holman Academic
12. Carl Trueman, THE CREEDAL IMPERATIVE; Crossway
13. Edward Donnelly, THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF HEAVEN & HELL;Banner of Truth
Bruce Milne, THE DOCTRINE OF HEAVEN AND HELL (The Bible Speaks Today); IVP
(2 books count as 1)
It has been a great privilege and honor to write book blogs and answer questions the past ten years. I hope you have taken advantage of the book counsel given out over this period.
Reading is being there by proxy! Readers are leaders! The best way to supplement your Lord's Day input from your church and pastor is to read the best books you can. In doing so may our Lord prosper your soul.
Your one-time book servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for hundreds more book related devotionals, downloads and articles.
I have said several times on this blog that there are a few publishers that you can depend on, who publish books that are truth to Scripture, the Reformed tradition and which speak to our churches in the North American culture of the 21st century. Presbyterian & Reformed (P & R) is one of those choice publishers.
When a person is fighting to defend the truth in a post-modern culture, when every facet of historic Christian theology is under attack, when gender, marriage and the family are being redefined, when siren voices entice the churches to marry the culture, historic Christian truth coming from faithful publishers is so badly needed. Into the fray steps P & R with its solid books and booklets.
Why not make your Christmas gifts books which can edify the recipient and be passed from friend to friend, parents to children, neighbor to neighbor?
Here is a short list of recent P & R tiles that you can give as gifts.
GENDER, SEXUALITY AND MARRIAGE:
Denny Burk and Heath Lambert, TRANSFORMING
HOMOSEXUALITY (What the Bible Says About
Sexual Orientation and Change); two experts on
marriage and the family and sexual abuse, write
clearly and warmly and most importantly biblically.
The power of God is in the gospel and God's new
birth from above for guilty and vile sinners does
change human beings to the core. People with homo-
sexual urges can change!
Martha Peace and Kent Keller, MODESTY (More Than a
Change of Clothes)--a long time biblical counselor
and a long time pastor who works with youth show
what modesty is and is not, why it is important to
God and should be important to God's people. This
book should be read by all parents, teens and
collegians, and pastoral staffs.
PASTORS, ELDERS, DEACONS, SEMINARIANS
Bryan Gregory, INCONSPICUOUS PROVIDENCE (The
Gospel According to Esther)--Pastor/scholar Bryan
Gregory gives us a stirring exposition of the
neglected Book of Esther. Some have thought that
Esther should not be in the canon of Scripture
because God and Christ are not specifically
mentioned. How should a believer live in a time of
exile, growing persecution, temptations to adopt
the larger, surrounding pagan culture. Gregory
shows how the hand of God in the glove of
circumstances orders the whole book.
David Apple, JUST A SOUP KITCHEN (How Mercy
Ministry in the Local Church Transforms Us All)
How does the grace of God transform a person who
has been the victim of childhood sexual abuse, a
near death skull fracture, suicidal thoughts, and
spiritual bankruptcy to lead the ministry of mercy
at a major downtown church? The gospel AND a cup
of cold water in Christ's name do go together! The
of a compelling testimony and guidelines for
diaconate ministry in the same book are a rare treat!
Greg Scharf; LET THE EARTH HEAR HIS VOICE
(Strategies for Overcoming Bottlenecks in Preaching
God's Word)--a self-diagnosing mechanism for
evaluating your preaching, pastor, and what might
be wrong with it, if anything. Good for seasoned
pastors and beginning pastors. I wish I had it 25
Justin Holcomb and Glenn Lucke, eds.; FOR THE WORLD
(Essays in Honor of Richard Pratt Jr.)
Richard Pratt taught Old Testament at Reformed
Theological Seminary at its Orlando campus. He left
traditional classroom teaching to give himself
entirely to teaching and training 3rd world pastors
and teachers FOR FREE through 3rd Millennium
ministries.He has already blessed Christ's churches
with his books, EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE (how to
teach Van Tilian apologetics to teens), PRAY WITH
YOUR EYES OPEN, HE GAVE US STORIES (the Bible
students guide to interpreting the Oldl Testament
narratives); 1st and 2nd Chronicles; 1st and 2nd
Corinthians and DESIGNED FOR DIGNITY. This
collection of various chapters authored by different
scholars pays witness to real and repeated
roadblocks to public speaking, especially preaching
David W. Hall and Peter Lillback, eds.; A THEOLOGICAL
GUIDE TO CALVIN'S INSTITUTES--in just under 500
pages of text, 25+ scholars take 20 chapters to
break down and analyze John Calvin's greatest work.
The best and the brightest in the Reformed world of
scholarship and theology give us their work in
opening up Calvin's magnum opus. Should be owned
and used by every Reformed pastor and elder.
Joseph Torres, ed.; APOLOGETICS (A Justification of
Christian Belief) by John Frame. Editor Torres has
gleaned material from previous works by John Frame
and compiled them into a single focus on apologetics.
Parts of CORNELIUS VAN TIL: AN ANALYSIS OF HIS
THOUGHT; THE DOCTRINE OF GOD AND SPEAKING
THE TRUTH IN LOVE. Additional content was gleaned
from "Transcendental Arguments" in NEW
DICTIONARY OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS. All this
brought together means it is an expansion and
redevelopment of Frame's earlier magnum opus,
APOLOGETICS TO THE GLORY OF GOD. This is the
book for the person who wants to gear up and learn
how to answer the deep and not so deep questions
of our time with biblical, theological and philosophical
sophistication and precision.
John Frame, A HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY
AND THEOLOGY--I can remember lying on the sofa
of our rented home in Indianapolis one winter in
1974 reading Francis Schaeffer for the first time. I
developed a headache and I was struggling to
comprehend what I was reading. Words like
epistemology, existentialism, metaphysics and
phrases like "the mannishness of man" and "true
truth" threw me for a loop! Though I had a liberal
arts degree in English, it took me a while to feel
comfortable in the concepts and ideas of Schaeffer.
Like learning a foreign language, it gradually got
easier and easier and before long I was sailing
through with few if any bumps in my reading. I
began to understand the world I lived in through
biblical and theological and philosophical eyes!
After reading Schaeffer came Van Til and his disciple,
John Frame. Professor Frame takes the reader on the
ride of his/her life through 2000+ years of the Bible
and its intersection with the philosophy of each
generation. How I wish I had this book in college or
graduate school. Just as one cannot live well in
another nation if one does not speak the language
or understand the culture, one cannot live for Christ
in the world without knowing something about how
mankind thinks and dreams and desire. This book
goes a long way to helping the reader understand
the times we live in today, how we got here and
what needs to change. Then there are 20 appendices
which are reviews of critical book, philosophical
arguments and such to further your understanding.
Thank you, P & R, for your contributions to our spiritual health, well-being, the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ and the protection of the churches.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for 1250+ further reviews, articles, free downloads, and more!
Often people have told me that they don't know what to give a pastor or elder or seminarian for Christmas. While socks and sweaters and gloves are more personal and a bit uncertain, books are almost always a good gift. If your pastor, elder or seminarian has given up reading, he is in a bad place spiritually and perhaps your gift of a book will bring him out of his doldrums. More likely, he will thank you for the book(s) and even if he already has what you give him, he can probably trade it in for another book he does not have.
May I suggest the following books for the spiritual leader on your Christmas shopping list? They have stood the test of time, are doctrinally orthodox (aren't all of the CVBBS.COM readers such?!) and spiritually engaged.
These books will fill your head with the best thoughts on the way to warming your heart and engaging your will.
John Brown of Haddington SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (A
Compendious View of Natural and Revealed
Religion); Reformation Heritage Books (Introduced
by Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson)
Some of you have heard of John Brown for it was a common name in Scotland (John Brown of Wamphrey was also famous). John Brown of Haddington grew up in dire poverty and grew up a shepherd boy. It took long years of the most arduous labor and discipline gained while shepherding that earned an education, including Greek! He was such a 'beaver for the Bible' that all his works were filled with copious Scriptural references. (E.g. THE TREASURY OF SCRIPTURE KNOWLEDGE, a tool around for a hundred years, is largely the texts gleaned from John Brown's work, though usually without accreditation!).
Brown was a shepherd, theology student, author, theologian, churchman, seminary professor and pre-eminently a lover of Christ. His dying words were "my Christ". This volume of his systematic theology contains all the major areas of theology as a science and discipline but is not dry or academic. His students asked for his lectures to be put into print for posterity. Brown was a deeply exercised Christian and an experiential Calvinist. He was the flowering of 18th century Scot's Presbyterianism.
BOOK 1--The Regulating Standard of Religion, Natural
BOOK 2--God, the Author, Object and End of All Religion
in His Perfections, Persons, Purposes and
BOOK 3--The Covenant Bonds of Religious Connections
Between God and Men
BOOK 4--Christ the Mediator of the Covenant of Grace
in His Person, Offices and States.
BOOK 5--The Principle Blessing of the Covenant of Grace
BOOK 6--The External Dispensation of the Covenant of
Grace by the Word and the Ordinances of God
BOOK 7--The Church or Society For and To Which The
Covenant of Grace is Dispensed
Wilhelmus A Brakel was the flowering of 17th century Holland's 2nd Reformation, something akin to the Puritan revival in the British Isles. A Brakel is different than you might think for though he was a careful and attentive to detail as any 'Reformed scholastic' he was also immensely practical, pastoral and experiential. He takes the reader by the hand and shows him/her the riches to be found in Christ and 18th century Reformed theology. He was a pastor, theologian, author and deeply engaged Christian. His praise is in all the churches!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THEOLOGY: THE DOCTRINE OF GOD
1. The Knowledge of God from Nature
2. The Word of God
3. The Essence of God
4. The Divine Persons
5. The Decrees of God--General Observations
6. Eternal Predestination: Election and Predestination
7. The Covenant of Redemption
8. The Creation of the World
9. Angels and Devils
ANTHROPOLOGY: THE DOCTRINE OF MAN
10. Concerning Man, Particularly the Soul
11. The Providence of God
12. The Covenant of Works
13. The Breach of the Covenant of Works
14. Original and Actual Sin
15. Man's Free Will or Impotency and the
Punishment Due Upon Sin
CHRISTOLOGY: THE DOCTRINE OF GRACE
16. The ''Covenant of Grace"
17. The Necessity of the Atonement by the Surety,
18. The Divinity, Incarnation, and Union with the Two
19. The Three Offices of Christ and Particularly His
20. The High Priestly Office of Christ
21. The Kingly Office of Jesus Christ
22. The State of Christ's Humiliation by Which He
made Atonement for the Sins of the Elect.
23. The State of Christ's Exaltation
ECCLESIOLOGY: THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH
24. The Church
25. The Duty to Jo0in and Remain with the Church
26. The Communion of Believers with Christ and
with Each Other
27. The Government of the Church and Particularly
the Commissioning of Ministers
28. The Offices of Minister, Elder and Deacon
29. Ecclesiastical Authority and the Use of the Keys
of the Kingdom of Heaven
SOTERIOLOLGY: THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION
30. The External and Internal Call
33. Distinguishing Marks of Saving Faith
35. 'The Adoption of Children
36. Spiritual Peace
37. Spiritual Joy
38. The Sealing of the Believer by the Holy Spirit
and by Means of the Holy Spirit
39. Holy Baptism
40. The Holy Spirit
41. The Practice of the Lord's Supper Consisting in
Preparation, Celebration and Reflection
42. The life of faith in Reference to the Promises
43. A Warning Exhortation Against Pietists, Quakers,
All Who in a Similar Manner Have Deviated to a
Natural and Spiritless Religion Under the Guise
SOTERIOLOGY: THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION (cont.)
44. Sanctification and Holiness
45. The Law of God: General Considerations
46. The First Commandment
47. The Second Commandment
48. The Third Commandment
49. The Fourth Commandment
50. The Fifth Commandment
51. The Sixth Commandment
52. The Seventh Commandment
53. The Eighth Commandment
54. The Ninth Commandment
55. The Ten Commandment
56. The Glorification of God
57. Love Toward God
58. Love Toward the Lord Jesus
59. The Fear of God
60. Obedience Toward God
61. The Exercise of Hope In God
62. Spiritual Strength or Courage
63. The Profession of Christ and His Truth
67. Sincerity (or Uprightness)
69. The Lord's Prayer Explained and Applied; and
the First Petition
70. The Second Petition
71. The Third Petition
72. The Fourth Petition
73. The Fifth Petition
74. The Sixth Petition
SOTERIOLOGY: THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION (Cont.)
77. Secret Prayer
78. Spiritual Meditation
79. Singing Spiritual Songs
81. The Practice of Reflecting Upon Previous
82. Love Toward Our Neighbor
89. Spiritual Growth
90. Regression of Spiritual Life in the Godly
91. Spiritual Desertion
92. The Temptation Toward Atheism or the Denial
of God's Existence
93. The Temptation Whether God's Word is True
94. Unbelief Concerning One's Spiritual State
95. The Assaults of Satan
96. The Power of Indwelling Corruption
97. Spiritual Darkness
98. Spiritual Deadness
99. The Perseverance of the Saints
ESCHATOLOGY: THE DOCTRINE OF THE LAST THINGS
100. Death and the Ensuing State of the Soul
101. The Resurrection of the Dead
102. The Last Judgment and the End of the World
103. Eternal Glory
As the discerning reader can tell, this four volume theology is full of great theology AND great application.
Spend some money on your pastor or elder or seminarian this Christmas. Buy them John Brown or Wilhelmus A Brakel's theology classics.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
As I mentioned in August, Crossway Books is one of the most reliable publishers for evangelical and Reformed believers today. They publish Bibles and books for every income bracket and most conceivable spiritual needs.
Here's whats new and available for Christmas!
ESV MEN'S DEVOTIONAL BIBLE--with 53 contributors for the 66 books of the Bible, this is a very good starter Bible for a young Christian man or a man who is just getting interested in seriously reading his Bible. Some of the Bible note contributors are Bryan Chappell, Michael Reeves, John Hannah, Christopher Ash, Paul House, Greg Gilbert, Robert Yarbrough, Philip Ryken, Kent Hughes, and Alistair Begg.
There are also 14 articles geared to men with contributors like David Powlison, Bryan Chappell, Kelly Kapic, Thabiti Anyabwile, Ray Ortlund and Ed Welch. Articles cover the basics of a man's life very well--The Message of the Bible; A Man's Identify; Communion with God; The Gospel and Daily Life; A Man's inner Life; Calling; A Man's Work; Singleness; Marriage, Fathering ; Leadership; Pornography and Doubt.
All in all a great first Bible for a young man or young Christian man just beginning to read his Bible. Highly recommended!
Greg Gilbert; WHY TRUST THE BIBLE ? A down to earth and easy to read but powerful study of why you don't have to put your brain on the shelf to believe God's Word. Chapters include:
Don't Believe Everything You Read
Lost in Translation ?
Copies of Copies of Copies of Copies?
Are These Really The Books You Are Looking For?
But Can I Trust You?
So Did It Happen?
Take It From the Word of a Resurrected Man
It includes a final chapter moving the reader from the facts to faith and a very helpful 'Resources for Further Exploration". Well done indeed!
Andreas Kostenberger & Alexander Stewart, THE FIRST DAYS OF JESUS (The Story of the Incarnation).
A couple of years ago, Kostenberger teamed with Justin Taylor to illuminate THE FINAL DAYS OF JESUS. This book shows us what happened when God became a man. Important reading that becomes devotional reading as you move farther and farther in.
Dennis Johnson WALKING WITH JESUS THROUGH HIS WORD (Discovering Christ in All the Scripture)--this gem shows us how Jesus might have interpreted the Scriptures and shows how Christ centered Bible study might be approached. I plan to use it myself as I study my way through my Bible!
Leland Ryken, LITERARY INTRODUCTIONS TO THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE--this should be in the library of every pastor and Bible teacher and faithfully used in their study of God's Word. It is a companion piece to the much smaller LITERARY FORMS IN THE BIBLE (also from Crossway and mentioned a few months ago in this blog). Over 40 years a professor English at Wheaton College, the stylistic editor of the English Standard Bible, author of the ESV LITERARY STUDY BIBLE; THE WORD OF GOD IN ENGLISH, and many more valuable volumes. This book is for a lifetime of study.
Christopher Catherwood, MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (His Life and Relevance for the 20th Century)--written by MLJ's oldest grandson and a student of history, this is a short but accurate, warm and inviting, astute and spiritually minded reminder of the man who was arguably the greatest preacher in English in the 20th century and influenced British and American evangelicalism and the Reformed faith around the world.
Leland Ryken, J. I. PACKER (An Evangelical Life)--this is a friendly portrait of the theologian who has impacted so many hundreds of thousands of evangelicals. It is not a 'warts and all' biography; it is not critical or overly evaluative. What it is is a historical biography that gives the reader all the basic details of Packer's long and productive life.
Gerald Bray, AUGUSTINE ON THE CHRISTIAN LIFE (Transformed by the Power of God)--some have argued that Christian theology has been just footnotes on Augustine! One of the half-dozen greatest gifted theologians the churches have seen, Augustine is ably covered and revealed for readers today. The placer to start for those wanting to know this giant of the early church better.
Matthew Barrett & Michael Haykin, OWEN ON THE CHRISTIAN LIFE (Living for the Glory of God in Christ)
Touted as the greatest of the Puritan pastor-theologians, this volume in the THEOLOGIANS ON THE CHRISTIAN LIFE series is top notch and what we need to make this giant more accessible. Sometimes pygmies have a hard time grasping the rarified atmosphere of giants--these have been grasped by Owen and show us the rich fruit of their labors.
THE CHURCH AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Mark Dever & Jamie Dunlop, THE COMPELLING
COMMUNITY (Where God's Power Makes a Church
Attractive) In 12 chapters, the authors have four main
points to tell about the local church--
A VISION FOR COMMUNITY
COMMUNITY AT WORK
Great for pastors, pastoral staffs, and small groups in
the local church grasp its potential and significance.
Collin Hansen, BLIND SPOTS (Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate and Commissioned Church)--shows the reader that differences between Christians and churches are not all bad but can be catalysts for good change and needed growth.
Courtney Reissig, THE ACCIDENTAL FEMINIST (Restoring Our Delight in God's Good Design)--the author came to see that she had become a feminist without really trying! Rather than being intentional about it, she has simply absorbed it uncritically from the surrounding culture. Here is how she woke up, what she did and where she stands today.
Leland Ryken, A CHRISTIAN GUIDE TO THE CLASSICS
Reader often hear about that 'much to be admired but seldom read" class of books called 'the classics'. What made them special? What makes them special today?
Professor Ryken shows us how to profit from the greatest books ever written.
THE PASTOR AND HIS WIFE:
R. Kent Hughes, THE PASTOR'S BOOK (A
Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral
Ministry)--a 'soup to nuts' guide for dealing with most of the many responsibilities pastors have. But does NOT address preaching and Bible teaching. Otherwise, quite a help!
Gloria Furman, THE PASTOR'S WIFE (Strengthened by Grace for a Life of Love)--Gloria's husband and the father of her four children is planting a church in the Middle East. She has written GLIMPSES OF GRACE and TREASURING CHRIST WHEN YOUR HANDS ARE FULL (of children). A sweet afternoon divinity for weary and worn and wondering pastor's wives. Especially good for younger pastors's wives.
Thank you, Crossway, for providing some of the best munitions for soldiers in the trenches of spiritual warfare! After 10 years of student ministry and 32 years of pastoral ministry, I so value those authors and publishers that produced the great tools of ministry that I could use to evangelize and teach and disciple men and women. My ministry was so much richer for resources like Crossway books.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for 1250+ devotionals, downloads, reviews and spiritually edifying material.
When I was converted by the grace of God in 1969, the ministries I was exposed to taught a scheme of the 2nd Coming of our Lord that made it seem imminent (it could happen any second). Their treatment of Scripture was tied to current events and speculative conjectures of who was the "Anti-Christ" and "the Beast". Some folks I knew could tell you who the Ten Toes for he image in the book of Daniel represented (but could not explain biblically justification by faith alone in Christ alone or the new birth/regeneration).
When the time came to study the Bible more, the zealous seminary president who taught us eschatology (the study of the last things) openly admitted that the dispensational interpretation of Scripture sprang from the 1840's and John Nelson Darby in Ireland and was popularized by C. I. Schofield and his Study Bible late in the 19th century. He had to admit that pickings were kind of slim before that when it came to finding dispensationalism in church history.
Other reading not required for the class convinced me that dispensationalism was not the biblical understanding of the end of days and that other options better lined up with Scripture. And because i came to see the doctrines of grace at the same time, I learned that Reformed or Augustinian Christians were not dispensationalists and were markedly against it as a way of interpreting the Bible. I left dispensationalism in 1973 and have not missed it but have only come to see more and more its many errors.
But dispensationalism is still hanging around in broad evangelicalism and exerts as much influence as ever. Dispensationalism believes in two peoples of God, Israel and the church. The church was Plan B when Plan A, Israel, rejected Christ's Messianic Kingship! The Moral Law/the Ten Commandments are not for Christians. They are strictly Old Testament laws.
Dispensationalism has never taught double imputation--the believing sinner's sins imputed to Christ; the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believing sinner (2nd Corinthians 5:21). This is classic Reformation theology of justification. This errant theology also taught that modern Christians did not have to repent (that was for 1st century Jews). Nor did they have to submit to the Lordship of Christ at conversion--that could come later in a negotiated settlement. Pastor John MacArthur lost many of his dispensational friends when he woke up to its errors and published THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS and THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE APOSTLES, exposing dispensationalism's basic flaws. There are other errors I won't mention at this time.
Recently a pastor in the Midwest asked me to name several resources to help new folks in his church coming out of dispensationalism. Here is what I recommended:
Arthur W. Pink, A REVIEW OF DISPENSATIONALISM;
Nicene Council/Apologetics Group--having learned dispensationalism as a young Christian, pastor and author Arthur Pink debunked it later in his life. This is a collection of his writings about what is wrong with the whole system.
DVD; LATE, GREAT PLANET CHURCH; Nicene
Council/Apologetics Group--see blurb on CVBBS
website--a most helpful DVD.
John Gerstner, PRIMER ON DISPENSATIONALISM; P & R-
a short treatment but cuts to the core of the main
problems with dispensational theology.
Richard Belcher, A JOURNEY IN DISPENSATIONALISM;
Richberry Press--another in the 15+ "journey in.."
series. Show what dispensationalism is in Baptist
circles and how it impacts churches and Christian
Sam Waldron, THE END TIMES MADE SIMPLE; Solid
Ground Christian Book
Sam Waldron, THE END TIMES MADE MORE SIMPLE;
Solid Ground Christian Books
Two clear and straight-forward dismantling of the
Bible study methods and conclusions of
Fred Malone, THE BAPTISM OF DISCIPLES ALONE;
Founders Press--the chapter on hermeneutics,
comparing dispensational, paedo-baptist and
Reformed Baptist handling of Scripture is worth the
price of the book alone.
Keith Mathison, DISPENSATIONALISM: RIGHTLY
DIVIDING THE PEOPLE OF GOD?--thorough critique
of dispensationalism and its teachings.
May the Lord give you discernment as you study these things.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
LIFE & MINISTRY OF MARTYN LLOYD-JONES;
Chpt. 11—“The Church Family”
“I want to go back to the discipline of the church—discipline for the minister as for the members—and to recapture the glorious conception of the Christian life, that men may feel that there is no honor which can be conferred upon them so great as their church member-
ship, and that ministers may feel that there is nothing in life to be compared with the preaching of this glorious and incomparable gospel.” (MLJ preaching on Matthew 16:24)
1. Conversion creates the unity of the Spirit. (Ephesians 4:1-3—“maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace”—maintaining means it is already there and is to be guarded and kept). Iain Murray points out the palpable unity and closeness of the Sandfields church family, though it was comprised by both new converts and older believers. None of the new believers knew how ‘do church’ but were enfolded in the larger church body. “…far from feeling strange in their new position, they were instantly conscious of belonging to a family. The unity which they now knew was instinctive.” (p. 229)
2. The on-going work of the Holy Spirit creates a
It was not clear to some observers that the Sandfields congregation was not simply composed of “sermon sippers” or religious people who just liked to go to religious meetings. The presence and power of the Spirit working in people’s hearts was “akin to the experience of the multitudes after Pentecost who continued daily in a unity of doctrine and fellowship.” (pp. 230-231)
3. Saturday nights ‘the Brotherhood’ met for spiritual
fellowship and Q & A.
Doctor Lloyd-Jones would ask for the question and then the men would discuss it, bringing up Bible verses and even more questions. MLJ would help guide the discussion and then sum it up and apply it with exhortation at the end. Why did MLJ target the men of the church for this weekly men’s meeting?
a. Godly men are created as men become Christians,
learn to become men of God, who walk with Christ,
depend upon the Holy Spirit, and live by God’s
b. Godly men are needed to lead truly Christian
homes, guiding their wives and instructing their
c. Godly men will be the future deacons, elders,
pastors and missionaries.
d. Godly men are needed in the commercial arena to
influence their workplace for Christ.
e. Godly men are needed in the areas of education
and government too.
4. Church history gives back the spiritual history that
revisionists have stolen! (Genesis 26:17-18)
a. Church history shows men the mighty acts of God
in the past that He can repeat in our lifetimes if He
so chooses! (Properly taught and understood,
church history enlarges our faith. The reasoning--if
God did it before, He can do it again!)
b. Properly taught and understood, church history
does not teach a record of ‘great men’;, rather it
teaches the record of a Sovereign God who calls
and uses men as He chooses for His own purposes.
(Review the story of Dick Lody; p. 232).
c. Outright unbelievers and ‘Liberals’ (skeptics in
church clothes) teach that God, if He exists at all,
is not sovereign and does not intervene in the
affairs of men and nations. There is no such thing
as the supernatural ‘new birth” and thus they do
not believe that through tens of thousands of
conversions “a nation can be born in a day”.
d. To what historical sites of spiritual interest in
Georgia could you take your men ?
5. MLJ realized that men need manly spiritual discussion
& Bible study to grow.
a. Most of what passes for “Men’s Study” is
embarrassing. It does not inform at any depth, it
does not challenge the men to get into the
Scriptures on their own, it makes no demands upon
their time. It is kept simple for simpletons. We
would not dream to challenge men to give up a
Saturday night for Bible discussion; it is NCAA
football/NASCAR night. (In MLJ’s time, it was pub
b. Boys learn by struggling to compete and to test
themselves against other boys. Men learn to think
biblically, think on their feet, express their thoughts
aloud, defend their position and not wilt when
shown to be wrong or misguided.
c. The Socratic method (guided Q & A) teaches men
to think spiritually/biblically.
6. MLJ spent time with his men purposely to help them
grow in grace.
a. Not having a car, he let other men drive who
eagerly wanted to accompany him.
b. Driving together gives the leader time to debrief
after the message and gain more insight into the
churchman’s spiritual discernment and present
c. Men can also see “their Pastor” in a new light, a
more biblical light, as a man himself as they drive,
eat, get lost and “have each other’s backs” on the
7. MLJ knew that spiritual help goes hand in hand with
physical & material help
a. What a testimony it must have been to the
community for J.J. to have a new house with the
backing of the pastor and church administrator! (p.
b. What a testimony it was to both believers and the
unchurched for Mark McCann to learn to read in his
late 50’s so he could read his Bible (pp. 240-241).
c. As the saints cared for one another like their Savior
had cared about them, they developed a burden
for the lost overseas and missions became a front
and center concern to them.
d. Could you/your wife read Mrs Robson’s prayer of
consecration as your own?(pp. 241-242)
8. For MLJ, evangelism is pre-eminently dependent upon
the quality of the true Christian life known & enjoyed
in the church. (A Note-worthy walk backs up our talk)
a. Isn’t the humble life & glorious funeral of William
Nobes a vibrant testimony? (p. 246-247)
b. Compare the glorious death bed scene of
‘Staffordshire Billy’ to so many today (p. 247).
This concludes our study of the early life and ministry of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I hope you read along with us as we learned from God's doing with His servant.
May the Lord bless you and may He raise up a thousand MLJ's to blanket our land with the gospel preached in the power and compassion of the Holy Spirit.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for hundreds of similar articles, reviews, downloads, and audio sermons.
As a young Christian I was privileged to hear Ron Dunn preach at our parachurch staff training. He was biblical, warm, funny, convicting and straight-forward. He deeply ministered to me and the other men who heard him in 1971-1972. I lost track of him personally but listened to his taped messages over and over again.
Then in the mid '90's I found him again. For both of us, our Christian lives had taken turns neither of us anticipated. Both of us had become Calvinists (Augustian theology; Reformed theology, doctrines of grace theology, etc.). God was huge and we had become very small. God had a mighty and eternal plan that included us--but it was not about us. Both of us had gone through times of suffering and pain.I have to admit that Pastor Dunn's was far worse. He had lost a son to suicide. Diagnosed as bi-polar after two excruciating years of confusion and pain, Ron's son was finally diagnosed accurately and on his meds went back to being the same sweet first born son. close to his parents and professing Christ. In fact, he was doing so well that as a Thanksgiving present to himself, he took himself off his meds--and committed suicide later that day. Coming home from the airport after a speaking engagement accompanied by his wife, Kay, he was told by an elder that he could not go home--Ronnie had taken his own life. Ron said that was the last good day he had for 10 years!
The painful and lasting lessons he learned during those ten years make up the bulk of his important book, WHEN HEAVEN IS SILENT; Christian Literature Crusade.
He learned that you can be trusting God and still be terribly hurt. He entered into grieving, anger, depression, confusion, self-pity and a host of destructive emotions. Out of that maelstrom of pain and despair comes this valuable biblical counsel in WHEN HEAVEN IS SILENT. (The title gets its name from the reality that the faithful teacher prepares the pupil for the test but when test time comes, question time is over and the teacher is silent. You take the test and see how you do!
Ron begins his journey in pain, suffering and learning the deep things of God by showing us how God has ministers prepared to minister to us but we do not recognize them as ministers because they are not dressed the way we think they should look. Ministers such as absolute failure, overwhelming negative circumstances, physical pain and suffering, divorce, death, sexual abuse, PTSD, etc, etc etc. His book is a generic study of how to approach the unthinkable times that come into our lives by the will of God.
Jerry Bridges wrote TRUSTING GOD--EVEN WHEN LIFE HURTS; NavPress. He wrote it in the late 80's when his wife was dying of cancer. As he poured over the Scriptures and the best of God's servants from the past--and walked the floors at night, he learned eternity's lessons about pain and suffering and good, wise, holy and sovereign God. And being a good NAVIGATOR, he makes us spend time applying God's Word to our hearts.
This and Ron Dunn's book above are the best two books in general on pain and suffering and our good God.
Other valuable books on various specific ways of suffering and affliction are as follows:
R. C. Sproul, SURPRISED BY SUFFERING; Reformation
Trust--the book begins with Dr. Sproul sitting on a railroad crash in the swamps of south Alabama. A freak accident had derailed his train, killed some, injured many and left him and others out in the dark and gloomy night to ponder their fate. Sproul notes that the apostle Peter notes that we should not be surprised by our suffering--we are called to it as Christians remade into the image of Christ.
Sinclair Ferguson, DESERTED BY GOD ?; Banner of Trust
Reformed pastor and theologian writes in the footsteps of the Puritans who knew that some people sometimes have experiences that leave them thinking that God has deserted them. This is his biblical and Puritan way of helping us through these rough patches.
David Murray, CHRISTIANS GET DEPRESSED TOO;
Reformation Trust--in the 60's and 70's, it was axiomatic to say that Christians don't get depressed. Or at least that they shouldn't get distressed. By now we know that all people are subject to all maladies and sins and pains. Professor Murray shows us the resources that Christians have in recognizing and dealing with depression.
Jim Winter, DEPRESSION--A RESCUE PLAN; Day One
Publications--pastor and counselor Winter shows us the biblical and theological resources to face, recognize and overcome depression. The chapter on using the Lord's Day as a source of help is alone worth the price of the book!
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, CHRISTIANS IN A AGE OF TERROR;
Kregel Books--master preacher, theologian, medical doctor preached these sermons right after World War II in downtown London, England. The threat of nuclear war with Russia hung in the air over England and Christians needed to learn how to emotionally recover from the last war and not live in dire fear of the next one. Masterful.
John J. Murray, BEHIND A FROWNING PROVIDENCE;
Banner of Truth--few things in life are as devastating as the death of your child. Observant readers will note that this profound booklet is dedicated to their daughter, Lynda Joan who died at age 13. Using excerpts from William Cowper's great hymn on providence, Pastor Murray show us in just a few pages the goodness of God.
Donald Howard, CHRISTIANS GRIEVE TOO; Banner of
Truth booklet--pastor Howard shares his pain and misery in the death of his wife to a lengthy bout of cancer. He writes that was prepared for her suffering but he was not prepared for his grieving. How he got help and got to deal with it.
John Greco, BROKEN VOWS (Divorce and the Goodness
of God); Cruciform Press--"I have come to know you over these past years and I have decided I don't want you in my life anymore and I don't want to be married to you". Could any words introduce more pain and loathing? John Greco helps us to work through this most painful of times and come to see and experience the goodness of God in the midst of the pain and hurt.
David Powlison, SEXUAL ASSAULT; CCEF booklet--it has
become an epidemic of evil in the land that so many women and children and even men are sexually assaulted each year. What is a victim to think or do? Counseling professor and theologian Powlison shows us the path to sanity and recovery.
John Piper, SUFFERING AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF
GOD; Crossway--eight authors contribute great chapters on this most important counseling and apologetic issue--how can a good God allow misery like this (you name it) to exist. Surviving and thriving after suffering involves understanding and embracing the big picture and also the counsel from God on my individual form of suffering. This is a most helpful book.
Deborah Howard, SUNSETS; Crossway--hospice nurse,
Deborah Howard, helps us all to walk through the pain and suffering of loved ones as they and we approach death.
Tim Keller, WALKING WITH GOD THROUGH PAIN AND
SUFFERING; Penguin--best selling New York City pastor and author shows us the big picture and the philosophical answers to our cries of anguished Why? and then walks us through the biblical answers to life's pain and suffering. Highly recommended.
C. S. Lewis, THE PROBLEM OF PAIN; HarperOne--noted author and professor Lewis struggled with the problem of pain--his own at losing his mother when young, on losing his wife at the end of his life, on fighting in the trench warfare of World War I. What was God doing?
These are his long meditated answers.
D. A. Carson, HOW LONG, O LORD?; Baker Books--
noted New Testament scholar and author Don Carson shows us his struggles with chronic disease and the purposes of God. Something of a modern classic.
Randy Alcorn, IF GOD IS GOOD (Faith in the Midst of
Suffering); Waterbrook--answers the perennial question about the so-called problem of evil in the world of a good God. Very helpful and pastoral.
Lindsay Holcomb and Justin Holcomb, IS IT MY FAULT ?;
(Healing For Those Suffering Domestic Violence);
Moody Press--long time counselors of women victimized by men in their lives, husband and wife team show victims that it is not their fault that they are heated by an abusive spouse.
William Bridge, A LIFTING UP FOR THE DOWNCAST;
Banner of Truth--lifting our souls by coming into the very presence of God. A Puritan classic.
Richard Sibbes, THE BRUISED REED; Banner of Truth--
taken from Isaiah's promises that the Messiah would not break a bruised reed or a smoldering wick he would not put out. When we are beaten down, bruised and left smoldering, how does God treat His people? Dip into this classic and be refreshed!
Nancy Guthrie, BE STILL MY SOUL; Crossway--25 classic
and contemporary readings on pain and suffering that lift up the soul of the sufferer!
Joni Eareckson Tada, DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST
CANCER (Life After Shock); New Leaf Press--noted sufferer and lay theologian Joni explores her own recent bout of breast cancer after the many pains and sufferings she had already gone through.
Johni Eareckson Tada, A PLACE OF HEALING; David C.
Cook Publishers--all sufferers will eventually get well--God takes His people to glory at their death or Christ's return and gives them new, perfect, pain free resurrection bodies. Learn about this ultimate healing.
John Piper and David Powlison, DON'T WASTE YOUR
CANCER; Crossway--diagnosed with prostate cancer and later joined in writing by Dr. David Powlison who was also diagnosed with prostate cancer, this booklet shows the cancer victim that this malady is too precious to waste. Here is how to profit from cancer!
Wayne Mack, DOWN, BUT NOT OUT; P & R--noted
biblical counselor shows those down and out that God is not through with them but has sovereign plans for our knocked down lives. We may fail many times, but God is not through with us--ever!
Robert Smith, FIBROMYALGIA (God's Grace for Chronic
Pain and Suffering); New Growth Press--a disease that came out of nowhere in the 80's but now frequently diagnosed, sufferers are almost never pain free. Himself a sufferer, Dr. Smith shows the grace of God in our pains and sufferings can be used by God for His good purposes.
James Bruce, FROM GRIEF TO GLORY; Banner of Truth--this short book packs a shallop of help for those who have suffered the death of a child. Today's sufferer will discover that down through church history, many of God's choicest servants have walked the same dark vale and came out into the son shine afterward.
Jerry Lelek, POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER;
P & R--Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, 9-11, the Vietnam War, a personal experience of evil and suffering--all kinds of things can put a person into a state of anger, fear, confusion, vulnerability and a lack of control. How to respond? How to lick it? This booklet has a good start.
Elisabeth Eliott, A PATH THROUGH SUFFERING; Baker
Books--she lost her first husband to cannibals; she lost her second husband to cancer; she knew suffering and pain and confusion and anger and self-pity first hand. This is how she learned the path through suffering.
Elyse Fitzpatrick, WILL MEDICINE STOP THE PAIN ?;
Moody Press--biblical counselor and author Fitzpatrick shows that while meds and pain killer can mask problems they often cannot cure them. What resourced do we have to go to the root of our heartaches, pains, suffering and depressions?
May the Lord guide you to the books that will most help you and make you into the man or woman He created you to be.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Churches that have good book tables profit from them greatly. For most of my 31 years of pastoral ministry, our church had a book table.
I began with books that any Christian could profit from and read with joy and understanding. I also had a couple of books of apologetics to give to unbelievers and skeptics. I had a couple of evangelistic books to give to unbelievers. I learned in a class in seminary that adults read to solve problems. Very few read for pleasure. But once they learn how much good can be gained from reading the best books, you can gain a life time learner.
Over time, I would add books pertinent to the season and issues in the culture that were 'hot buttons'. We are coming up on Reformation Sunday and the celebration of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Next year will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to the cathedral door in Wittenberg, Germany!
Let me make some suggestions to you about books you might start your book table and/or Reformation book table with.
REFORMATION BOOKS FOR YOUR BOOK TABLE:
Michael Reeves, THE UNQUENCHABLE FLAME
(Discovering the Heart of the Reformation); B & H
Baptist pastor and Reformed Theologian Mark Dever
has it right when he says that this book is a
contagious book to read--Michael Reeves could not
be boring if he tried. Why the Reformations started?;
what were the issues at stake?; who were the major
players?; what do we owe to the Reformation?
Roland Bainton, HERE I STAND; Hendrickson--the
outstanding biography of Martin Luther and the
beginning of the Reformation. Historically accurate;
a pleasure to read. This has been the standard
biography of Luther and why the Reformation
needed to happen and why Luther was the man to
begin it. Moving as well as informative. Nothing in
the Roman Catholic church has changed since Luther
first began what came to be called the Reformation
EXCEPT that you cannot buy indulgences, you must
work for them! Everything is exactly the same and
the need for Reformation was never greater!
R. C. Sproul, ARE WE TOGETHER? (A Protestant
Analyzes Roman Catholicism); Ligonier Ministries--
in the last 20 years some Protestant leaders have
blurred or rubbed out the differences between what
Protestans believe and what Roman Catholics
believe. Sproul shows what the issues really are and
why the differences are crucial to being faithful to
the Bible and Jesus Christ.
James Packer and O. R. Johnston, eds.; THE BONDAGE
OF THE WILL by Martin Luther; Baker Books
Two premier 20th century theologians translated and
edited Martin Luther's clarion call to believe what the
Bible says about the human condition versus what
the famous Roman Catholic Erasmus taught about
the human condition. Did mankind's fall into sin
leave humans well, sick, dying or dead? Luther
shows why our condition is so desperate that only
sovereign grace will do.
Terry Johnson, THE CASE FOR TRADITIONAL
PROTESTANTISM (The 5 Solas of the Reformation);
Banner of Truth--in Geneva, Switzerland there is the
mighty Reformation wall with the leading men of the
Reformation in statue form and the main doctrines
writ large--sola fide (salvation by faith alone); Soli
Christi--salvation by faith in Christ alone); Sola gratis
(salvation by faith alone in Christ alone by grace
alone) and Soli Deo gloria (to the glory of God
alone!). Pastor Johnson is a great communicator
and shows the immediate and long term fruits of
the Reformation for not only Europe but also the
Timothy George, THE THEOLOGY OF THE REFORMERS;
B & H--noted Reformation historian and seminary
president Timothy George does a masterful job
explaining the major Reformers whose teaching and
lives marked the Reformation forever--Martin Luther
in Germany, Huldrych Zwingli in German speaking
Zurich, Switzerland, John Calvin in French speaking
Geneva, Switzerland, Anabaptist leader Menno
Simmons in Holland and Bible translator William
Tyndale in England. Clear, concise, reliable.
Andrew Atherstone, THE REFORMATION (Faith &
Flames); Lion Hudson--English church historian and
theologian Andrew Atherstone could not be boring if
he tried. He is one of the few writers of history that
approaches Iain Murray's incredible gift at making
history come alive. The Reformation in England was
complicated, noble at times and brutal at times.
Atherstone gives you the feel of the times and what
it cost the early Protestants to stand for their faith.
R. C. Sproul, FAITH ALONE; Baker Books--explains the
Protestant understanding of justification by faith
alone in Christ alone which split western Christianity
and exposed the errors of the Roman Church. Sproul
explains how some Protestant leaders are losing their
grip on the truth and why we must stand firm not
only for our own salvation but for future generations.
Richard Bennett and Martin Buckingham, NEAR TO GOD,
FAR FROM ROME; Banner of Truth--the testimonies
of 50 priests who left the Church of Rome as their
eyes were opened to the truth of the Scriptures on
God's sovereign, saving grace.
Michael Hayking and Jeff Robinson, TO THE ENDS OF
THE EARTH (John Calvin's Missional and Evangelistic
Legacy); Crossway--once and for all puts to death
the lie that the Reformers (especially Calvin) were
not interested in evangelism or missions. Just the
James White, THE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES; Bethany Press
one of the best short treatments of justification by
faith alone in Christ alone by grace alone. Very clear!
Richard Newton, HEROES OF THE REFORMATION; Solid
Ground Christian Books--sermons for children on
various Reformation heroes.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Iain Murray, JOHN KNOX AND
THE REFORMATION; Banner of Truth--a booklet of
three chapters by two giants of the 20-21st century
Reformed faith shows the greatness of John Knox.
Steve Lawson, THE DARING MISSION OF WILLIAM
TYNDALE; Reformation Trust
Steve Lawson, THE HEROIC BOLDNESS OF MARTIN
LUTHER; Reformation Trust
Steve Lawson, JOHN KNOX: FEARLESS FAITH;
Steve Lawson, THE EXPOSITIONAL GENIUS OF JOHN
CALVIN; Reformation Trust
Robert Godfrey, REFORMATION SKETCHES (Reformers
and Confessions that Changed the World); P & R
Lively introductions to the main Reformers and
the Reformation confessions of faith that have
changed our world.
Stephen Nichols, THE REFORMATION (How a Monk and
a Mallet Changed the World); Crossway--how Martin
Luther and his 95 theses challenged the medieval
Roman church and still speak to our lives today.
REFORMATION HEROES FOR CHILDREN TO READ:
Simonetta Carr, JOHN CALVIN; Reformation Heritage
Simonetta Carr, JOHN KNOX; Reformation Heritage
Simonetta Carr, JOHN OWEN; Reformation Heritage
Simonetta Carr, LADY JANE GREY; Reformation Heritage
Simonetta Carr, MARY DURAND; Reformation Heritage
Joel Beeke and Diana Kleyn, REFORMATION HEROES;
REFORMATION HEROES FOR TEENAGERS TO READ:
Hope Marston, AGAINST THE TIDE (The Valor of
Margaret Wilson); P & R
Doug Bond, THE MIGHTY WEAKNESS OF JOHN KNOX;
Ernst Kroker, MOTHER OF THE REFORMATION (Katie
Luther); Concordia Publishing
This great selection should fascinate and inform your congregation for years. Why not buy one of each and put them in your church's library? Or your personal library?
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
The great books of the Christian faith are great because their content is biblical, honoring to the Triune God and edifying for the reader. They are not necessarily hard books to read. They are not called classics because they deal with obscure subjects or deal with hard to understand topics. They are classics for the reasons I mentioned above AND they have stood the test of time. Some books scratch an itch of one century that may not reoccur for another 500 years! Classic deal with timeless issues that are perpetually timely!
If you have not read the following list of "classics", you have undernourished yourself and denied yourself some wonderful spiritual food. Take your time with each volume, read it at your pace, ask God the Holy Spirit to make it understandable and helpful to you. And just enjoy it for the light it shines on Christ, on you, on living the Christian life, etc.
CLASSIC EVERY CHRISTIAN OUGHT TO READ:
Aurelius Augustine, CONFESSIONS; Whitaker House
One of the first great theologians of the church,
many have called Augustine "the theologian" of the
early church even as Calvin was "the theologian" of
the Reformation. The first great autobiography, this
tells of his life, his religious struggles, his bouts with
sin and the overcoming grace of God. A work for the
Roland Bainton, HERE I STAND; Hendrickson--I know, its
not BY Luther but ABOUT Luther. But it is written so
well and captures the medieval world of European
Roman Catholicism so well that you understand why
there had to be a Protestant Reformation.
Wonderfully written, it is a classic in its own right.
John Calvin, THE INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN
RELIGION (1540 edition)--not as big and bulky as
modern annotated editions that test your physical
strength and vocabulary. Written to commend the
'mere christianity' of Protestantism to the King of
France. He did not appreciate it but millions have
since its publication.
John Bunyan, THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS; Banner of
Truth--the trip of a lifetime or of eternity. Christian
leaves the City of Destruction and heads to the
wicket gate to find the way to salvation in Christ
and the Celestial City. It has sold more copies than
every other book but the Bible. It's that good!
Jonathan Edwards, CHARITY AND ITS FRUITS; Banner
of Truth--the 18th century American Puritan giant
opens up Christian love from 1st Corinthians 13.
This dispels the notion that he was a hell-fire and
damnation preacher. The last chapter, "Heaven--
a world of love" makes you want to go there
J. C. Ryle, HOLINESS; Banner of Truth--a classic study
of the Bible's teaching on holiness, its roots, its
causes, its hindrances, etc. In a clear and straight-
forward writing style, Ryle is never unclear or
unhelpful and always biblical.
J. Gresham Machen, CHRISTIANITY & LIBERALISM;
Eerdmans--when unbelief in the guise of "modern
religion" threatened to overwhelm biblical
Christianity, Princeton professor wrote this clear,
cool and devastating expose of the difference
between biblical Christianity and its counterfeit
which tried to fly under the radar as liberal faith.
C. S. Lewis, MERE CHRISTIANITY; Zondervan--former
atheist and Oxford professor wrote the greatest
apologetic for Christianity of the 20th century.
In a humble and logical fashion, Lewis shows what
"mere' or basic Christianity is all about.
James Packer, KNOWING GOD; IVP--one of the few
books that will stand the test of time from the last
half of the 20th century. Oxford trained professor
and author shows the world what it means to know
God and why you should want to. A great wordsmith,
Packer is a great theologian.
May the Lord of glory give you grace to persevere and along the way become greatly blessed.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Many if not most evangelical Christians have heard of revivals and may even have a rough idea of what is meant. The definition of the term has changed dramatically over the past 150 years under the wrong headed teaching of Charles Finney and friends during America's 2nd Great Awakening from 1790-1830 or so.
Prior to Finney and followers, a revival was a sovereign work of God in which at His timing and instigation a powerful work of the Holy Spirit did in the lives of hundreds or thousands what happens in the conversion of a single individual. Iain Murray did the churches a great service in his book, REVIVAL AND REVIVALISM: THE MAKING AND MARRING OF AMERICAN EVANGELICALISM, 1750-1858; Banner of Truth. He showed decisively that there was a sea change in how American Christians understood, prepared for and evaluated "revivals".
In his biography of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Murray has chapter 10 which shows a mini-revival or shower of blessing that occurred under the first ministry of Lloyd-Jones. Let's see what Murray includes in this chapter to give his readers some idea of what might be involved in a revival.
HOW DID MLJ VIEW REVIVAL? (pp. 203-204)
1. It is NOT something produced or worked up by
human effort. It is a major mistake to think men can produce a revival--or a single conversion.
2. When asked what he (or his church) could do for the slums with all of its problems, his answer was consistent--"Absolutely nothing. In the affairs of the soul and the spirit no man can do anything for them, no matter how dear and how near he may be to them, whether it be husband or wife, father or mother or child--no human being can do anything--but God can do everything!"
3. "The same sovereign and supernatural power which is essential to the saving of one individual is equally indispensable to the case of the multitude. Those who would 'rush' men into conversion and those who try to 'hasten' a revival have fallen into the same error."
4. The church has her great days and her ordinary days: 'There are not only the great experiences but also the ordinary, everyday experiences, and a church that is always prayer for a continuous revival is a church that has not understood her mission.
5. MLJ's early emphasis on the necessity of God's action, far from encouraging passivity, pointed men to the once source of true hope. And if conversion is God's work, then it is possible for a hundred or a thousand simultaneously as it is for one.
6. But MLJ wowed not have been in the ministry had he not also believed that God uses means to fulfill His purposes. Men singly or in multitudes are not brought to faith without hearing the Word of God. The Holy Spirit employs the truth in order to bring about conversion and He does so supremely by he agency of preaching.
WHAT WAS WRONG WITH SO MUCH CONTEMPORARY PREACHING IN MLJ'S DAY ? (p. 205)
1. In his judgment, much preaching was controlled, not by Scripture, buy by prevailing fashions of opinion, and especially the wishes of those in the pew.
2. He especially despised 'intellectual or learned preaching'. The greater the thinker, the clearer and more helpful will be his preaching. It will not appeal to intellectuals only.
3. Preaching which soothes, comforts and pleases those who have never been brought to fear God, nor to seek His mercy is not preaching which the Spirit of God will own.
4. MLJ was going back to evangelical basics (practiced by Spurgeon and other noted preachers) when he believed that "before men can be converted they must be convinced of sin" (p. 206).
5. Nothing was to he more prominent in MLJ's preaching than his insistence that before the gospel can do men good, men must be brought to understand the radical nature of sin. A large number of his sermons were preached with the specific intention of awakening spiritual concerns.
6. "Present day preaching does not even annoy men, but leaves them precisely where they were, without a ruffle, and without the slightest disturbance...the church is regarded as a sort of dispensary (pharmacy) where drugs and soothing mixtures are distributed and in which everyone should be eased and comforted. And the one theme of the church must be 'the love of God'. Anyone who happens to break these rules and who produces a disturbing effect upon members of his congregations is regarded as an objectionable person..."
7. Unless a person has come to see themselves as vile, helpless, full of wickedness and unable to help themselves, they are not yet in the right place of seeing themselves dead in trespasses and sins. "They that are whole need not a physician but they that are sick."
8. If we see something of the immensity of our own sins which brought us to Christ, we must pray for a compassionate view of the surrounding world and its lost and enslaves multitudes. A right understanding of sin and the gospel will lead to prayer for the Holy Spirit.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF PEOPLE BEING CONVERTED THAT WE CAN LEARN FROM IF WE WILL:
1.The experience of the Robson family, beginning with their daughter
2. The experience of Harry Wood in life and in death
3. The experience of Morgan Beddow of initial repugnance and absenting himself from church and
then awe and fear of God and then assurance of salvation.
4. MLJ addressed pride and ignorance as the chief reasons why men trust in themselves and will not turn to Christ. What in the sermon snippet on pp 214-215 shows how he addressed these twin enemies of the souls of men?
5.If the love of God did not attract self-righteous people, perhaps the terrors of hell will alarm folks to their true situation.
6. What do you make of MLJ's comment: "To aim at emotion is the surest way to produce counterfeit Christians" ?
7. The spiritual medium (palm-reader) who cancelled an evening seance because of sickness but suddenly felt well enough and curious enough to attend the burgeoning church down the street that had "clean power".
8. Mark McCann, the bare-knuckles boxer
9. Staffordshire Billy, the town drunk
HOW THE REVIVAL IMPACTED THE PRAYER MEETING:
4. Large number came and participated
5. People came straight from work or came in their work clothes so not as to miss the meeting.
AS PEOPLE WERE CONVERTED AND CHANGED, HOW DID THE OUTSIDE WORLD VIEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN ABERAVON ? (pp. 224-225)
WHAT WAS MLJ'S RESPONDE TO INCREASING FAME AND NOTORIETY ACROSS WALES ?
1. He never referred to what they had seen in their midst as a revival. Compared with the rain which the land needed, it was only a 'shower'. Yet they had experienced a glimpse of the glory and it left him more persuaded than ever that the supreme need of the church was to 'cease from man'.
2.MLJ experienced things in Sandfields of which he felt it was almost too sacred to speak. He preferred to suppress all information rather than to risk anything which gave glory to man.
3. When God is truly at work, not just one kind of person is appealed to or converted. All classes and kinds of people need Christ and can be born again.
I know that each time I read this chapter I cannot help but weep and pray that I might be a better man that I might be a more useful tool to the Master should He want to use me.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for thousands of devotionals, reviews, downloadable articles and such.
When I was born again in 1969, there was a small "Mom and Pop" Christian bookstore across the street from the downtown apartment I shared with a Christian brother. I learned to go there regularly and search out treasures that would help me grow. In Christianity and in life generally, ignorance is not bliss! I knew I was a baby Christian and I knew I needed to grow. More than that, I wanted to grow.
With God's kind providence and the suggestions of friends coupled with some hit or miss attempts at my own, I began to compile a pantry of spiritual food that would do me good. It was not yet anything like a library. I knew I needed to grow, I still have questions to be answered, regular witnessing brought many more questions to me by skeptical hearers of the gospel.
Here are some contemporary gems as well as older titles that still bear reading and pondering and treasuring as you proceed in your pilgrimage to the Celestial City.
R. C. Sproul, THE HOLINESS OF GOD; Reformation Trust
Makes so clear the essence of who God is and why
we must have a Savior from our sins.
R. C. Sproul, THE GOSPEL OF GOD: ROMANS; Christian
Focus Publications--the greatest book on Christianity
(Romans) by a master teacher.
Peter Jeffery, FROM RELIGION TO CHRIST; Calvary Press
Nicodemus was very religious, he was a Pharisee,
but he needed a supernatural change of life, a new
birth from above. This explains John 3.
R. C. Sproul, IF THERE IS A GOD, WHY ARE THERE
ATHEISTS?; Reformation Trust--a very insightful
study of Romans 1 and other texts as to why
atheists rant agains the God they say is not there.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, THE CROSS; Crossway--a classic
study of what Jesus did on the Cross to save us.
Peter Jeffery, BELIEVERS NEED THE GOSPEL; Calvary
Press--shows how to apply the gospel to your life
every day. We need the gospel every minute of
Peter Jeffery, WALK WORTHY; Christian Focus--the basic
habits or disciplines we must have as we grow in
Christ. Very valuable on things we might realize we
need to WALK WORTHY.
Don Whitney, SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES OF THE
CHRISTIAN LIFE; NavPress--a classic study that has
recently been updated.
Josh McDowell, MORE EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A
VERDICT; Thomas Nelson--you don't have to put
your brain on the shelf to be a Christian--McDowell
helps us to see why.
Kevin DeYoung, TAKING GOD AT HIS WORD; Crossway
Why the Bible is God's Word and true, trustworthy,
sufficient, authoritative and all we need for life and
Michael Reeves, DELIGHTING IN THE TRINITY; IVP--
you will never view the Bible's teaching on the Trinity
as useless lumber after you read this sure to be
classic study. If there was not the Triune God, there
would be no creation, no salvation, no incarnation!
Doug Kelly, IF GOD ALREADY KNOWS, WHY PRAY?;
Christian Focus--a good study to show us that
because the God of the Bible and reality is sovereign,
we can pray!
Earl Blackburn, JESUS LOVES THE CHURCH AND SO
SHOULD YOU; Solid Ground Christian Books--so
sweet and counter-cultural. We don't think we need
the church and don't value it--Jesus thought
otherwise. So whose wisdom runs your Christian life?
Alan Stibbs, ed.; SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES; IVP
For over 50 years this book has helped young
believers learn their Bibles. Going through the
whole Bible paragraph by paragraph it helps you
learn by asking questions of each paragraph and
makes you answer the questions. You will never
outgrow it. It was compiled from some of the best
Bible scholars in England and America the past
Ryken, Ryken, and Wilhoit, RYKEN'S BIBLE HANDBOOK;
Tyndale--a fine introduction to each book of the Bible
with suggestions and helps to grasp the main points.
S. M. Houghton, SKETCHES FROM CHURCH HISTORY;
Banner of Truth--we stand on the shoulders of 2000
years of brother and sister who have gone before us
and explained the faith, lived the faith, died for the
faith. Learn from them.
Michael Reeves, THE UNQUENCHABLE FLAME; B & H--
why are there Protestants and Roman Catholics?
What was the "protest" about? Is it worthy the
effort to learn about this and make a stand? An
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our God and His Son, Jesus and the fellowship of God the Holy Spirit.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for more
reviews, devotionals, downloads, and other goodies!