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PREPARING A BOOK TABLE FOR THE REFORMATION

09/24/2014

The last 24 years I pastored, we had a Reformation weekend Bible conference. Visiting speakers were invited to highlight some feature of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century. Sometimes it was just a Sunday--Reformation Sunday. We always had a Reformation Book Table to provide the best free materials for folks to read and study. When folks learn that reading can do them good, it encourages them to become readers. Here are my suggestions for a Reformation Book Table;

INTRODUCING THE REFORMATION TO BEGINNERS:

Michael Reeves, THE UNQUENCHABLE FLAME; B & H
An outstandingly clear and motivational study of
the great Reformation of the 16th century.

Stephen Nichols, THE REFORMATION (How a Monk
and a Mallet Changed the World); P & R--a great
book that is also easy to read.

Robert Godfrey, REFORMATION SKETCHES; Crossway
short bios of several of the Reformers

S. M. Houghton, SKETCHES FROM CHURCH
HISTORY; Banner of Truth--the best short history
of the churches and what God was doing. Easy to
read with great illustrations. Puts things in
perspective.

Roland Bainton, HERE I STAND; Hendricksen (the
best introductory life of Martin Luther)

Steve Lawson, THE HEROIC BOLDNESS OF MARTIN
LUTHER; Reformation Trust--inspiring account of
Martin Luther and his courage to speak and write
the truth.

Simonetta Carr, JOHN CALVIN: Reformation Heritage
A short book, brilliantly illusrated, which shows
the man to the whole family.

AMAZING GRACE DVD; leading modern pastors and
scholar explain why Reformation is needed and what
are the doctrines of the Reformation.

MIDDLE LEVEL STUDIES OF THE REFORMATION

Michael Horton, CALVIN ON THE CHRISTIAN LIFE;
Crossway--a great introduction to John Calvin's
writings

Terry Johnson, THE CASE FOR TRADITIONAL
PROTESTANTISM; Banner of Truth--why there was
a Reformation in the 16th century and why it needs
to be on-going today.

Andrew Atherstone, THE REFORMATION; Lion
Publications--outstanding treatment of the
Reformation with great photos, paintings and
applications

R. C. Sproul, FAITH ALONE; Baker Books--why
a person must believe in Christ alone by grace
alone through faith alone to be a real Christian.

R. C. Sproul, WHAT IS REFORMED THEOLOGY?
Reformation Trust--just what it says--by a master
communicator!

Timothy George, THE THEOLOGY OF THE
REFORMERS; B & H--the best overview of the
various Reformers and what they believed and
taught.

May the Lord bless your book table and all those who purchase books. May another Reformation get started by some of today's men who are jealous for Christ's glory and the repristination of Christ's church.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Come visit me at my website
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM
for more book information and a commentary on today's commentaries on the books of the Bible.

Posted: 11:28:00 AM :: permalink :: discuss ::


2 BIOGRAPHIES YOU NEED TO READ

09/15/2014

Biographies have played a large role in my growth as a Christian. Biographies are meant to give us insights by peering over a person's shoulder as their life is chronicled and learning from their victories and defeats, their strengths and their weaknesses, and the judgment of history. Arnold Dalimore's biography of the 19th century Scot's pastor, Edward Irving, goes a long way towards showing the weaknesses of he charismatic movement. It accomplishes this not through being preachy but by simply showing what happened to one man and one movement over time. It was a disaster not only to Edward Irving personally but also to the whole movement he spawned.

Other biographies can inspire men and women to aim higher, put more sin to death, trust Christ more, believe the Father for more than we have. Biographies of George
Whitefield, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, Francis and Edith Schaeffer, Corrie Ten Boom, Joni Eareckson, Rosaria Butterfield, Amy Carmichael, Elizabeth Prentiss, Dwight Moody, John Wesley and those who followed, and the list could go on and on.

Today I want to highlight two need biographies that I believe everyone should read. They are both very encouraging because they are the stories of ordinary men whom God chose to save and glorify Himself in doing so. Neither man is a famous athlete or politician, neither was in jail or led a Fortune 500 company. Neither came from wealth or privilege.

Jerry Bridges GOD TOOK ME BY THE HAND (A Story of God's Unusual Providence) from Navigators is a singular delight to read. Jerry bends over backwards to show that he was just an ordinary boy growing up in an ordinary (or below ordinary) Depression era home in Texas. Looking back at his life (and the Puritans said that God's providence was best learned the same way one learns the Hebrew language, from back to front),
Jerry takes us from his hardscrabble home on the wrong iside of the tracks, his near poverty, his strict upbringing, the death of his mother when he was 14, his physical defects which impacted his whole life, his stint in the Navy, coming to assurance of salvation by Christ,
early years with the Navigators ministry, learning and memorizing his Bible, practicing faithfully the disciplines of spiritual growth (Bible reading, prayer, memorization, meditation, church attendance, etc)--all give us insight into the man. But his interpretation of God's providence by the use of various verses which God applied to his life with power help us to gain his understanding of how God was leading him. There are successes and failures,
heartaches and triumphs, but through it all we see a faithful God. Jerry Bridges was God's ambassador to first show me the glories of the Reformed faith, particularly the Reformed doctrine of sanctification. I shall always be grateful. And the footnotes to his early books introduced me to the Reformed Hall of Fame--John Owen, John Calvin, William Bates, John Flavel, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Hodge, B. B. Warfield, and many others. This biography was so sweet and compelling that I read it in two afternoons!

The second biography I read was of a man I had never heard of, who has written no books, published no articles, graced no conferences--Douglas Higgins, a 100 year old Reformed believer from the Yorkshire dales of the United Kingdom. The Yorkshire dales or valleys of the United Kingdom are most familiar to Americans who have enjoyed the books and BBC adaptations of James Herriot's ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, the story of a Yorkshire veterinarian from the 1930's to the 1960's. Douglas Higgins has written no books nor was a TV series made about his life and adventures. What is so enticing about this autobiography is that Higgins is a humble and ordinary man who became a Christian and who persevered at walking with Christ from school age, through World War II, marriage, struggling to support his family and find a career in the post-war British depression, growing as a Christian, growing in usefulness to God, becoming a churchman, becoming a church officer, giving his life away to others, burying his wife, finding a surprising work among Chinese students, and on and on. An ordinary man with what outwardly seems like an ordinary life but one which points to the kind Father-care of his heavenly Father through the overarching providence of a life.Only 87 pages long, I read it in one delightful afternoon. In heaven we will discover that there are far more men like Douglas Higgins in God's Hall of Fame than George Whitefields, Martin Luthers, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, or other "great men". Like Mary at the feast and celebration of the raising of her brother Lazarus from the dead, she gave what she could though forgotten by most of us. Douglas Higgins was not a great man with great gifts and a great impact--he was an ordinary man who plodded faithfully and persevered and was faithful in the so-called "little things". May God give us more men like Douglas Higgins!

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 11:59:29 AM :: permalink :: discuss ::


INTRODUCING YOURSELF TO THE PURITANS

09/08/2014

If you are like me, the idea of first reading the Puritans can be daunting. Weren't they supposed to have been spiritual giants? Doesn't James Packer and Martyn Lloyd-Jones speak of them as God's giant redwood trees among the smaller trees in God's forest?
Who am I to approach a giant of the faith when I often feel like a dwarf or pygmy tree like a Japanese banzai tree than a strong, leafy tree in the yard?

C. S. Lewis disabused me from reading old books written by spiritual giants years ago. The reason why we should read older writers was because they knew our God deeply but they could also communicate deeply about knowing Him.

And few sub-groupings among Christians are more blessed than the Puritans, both in England and America.
In the ancient days before emails, phones, twitter and selfies and text messages, there was relative peace and quiet and time to think and meditate upon the great truths that God was teaching His people during the 17th century Puritan revival. Names like John Owen, Matthew Henry, John Bunyan, John Flavel, Matthew Poole, Richard Sibbes, and a galaxy of other Reformed luminaries graced the churches of England and its colony, America.

And few Puritans were more blessed and useful than Thomas Watson. The Banner of Truth is to be thanked for publishing most of the important works of Watson--THE BEATITUDES, THE LORD'S PRAYER, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, and a commentary on the Westminster Confession, A BODY OF DIVINITY.

Why is Watson a much read and much appreciated writer? He was biblical, warm, clear, full of metaphors and illustrations that stick in the mind, and thick with heart-tugging application. He could not be vague or boring if he tried. What's more, the great 19th century Baptist, Charles Spurgeon aided the modern rediscovery of Watson by himself editing of a couple of the volumes mentioned above. (I think I would be a much better writer if Charles Spurgeon was my editor!)

Like all the Puritans, Watson was not in a hurry. He wanted to do his best to master his subject and be mastered by it. So he takes no short cuts and rounds off no corners.He is thorough, and thoughtful and clear and biblical and takes the reader by the hand to make sure none of the message of God's Word can be missed if he can help it!

The Puritans understood that God had come to them in Christ and saved them to know Him deeply and make His glory visible in their generation. They pursued holiness and universal obedience; they were men of prayer; they studied and meditated upon their Bibles; they withstood persecution for the truth; they said Good-bye to their homes and livings when thrust out of the churches, they ministered when hirelings would leave the masses because of the black death that scourged 17th century Europe.

I enjoy reading them because like few others, they make me become more of a man of God. Too many of today's authors help me to become a boy of God, but few provoke me and teach me and entice me to become a man of God. All the Puritans provoke me to godliness and holiness. And I shall be eternally grateful.

Start out with the newly reprinted THE BEATITUDES (An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-10). After that try THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, then maybe THE LORD'S PRAYER. If you want to become a man or woman of God, you will not begrudge the effort expended in reading a Puritan and you certainly will not be disappointed with Thomas Watson.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Visit my website at WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for more book information.

Posted: 06:15:17 PM :: permalink :: discuss ::


WHAT IS THE "NORMAL" CHRISTIAN LIFE ?

09/04/2014

Each generation of Christians discovers that the next generation wants to re-invent Christianity and especially the "normal Christian life". The status quo is shown to be "defective and dishonoring to Christ" and a new paradigm suggested to replace the status quo. Eventually, that new paradigm is shown to be defective and another paradigm put forward to replace it. So it goes in broad evangelicalism...and to many Reformed Christians also.

John Piper rattled the cages of Christian by his book, DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFE. Why not consider missions?
Why not lose your life as a missionary in Burundi rather than plod along as a plumber in Cleveland or a computer programmer in Silicon Valley? I believe Piper was right to address the American cultural obsession with making money and living the affluent lifestyle (what Francis Schaeffer earlier named the culture of "personal peace and affluence"). But I believe he was seriously wrongly in making it seem that only those who lived on the edge and "pushed the envelope" were going to have lives that really counted.

Authors like Francis Chan followed with books like CRAZY LOVE which touted the extravagant ways of God and encouraged Christians to live out this view of God with a commensurate lifestyle.

The jackpot was David Platt's RADICAL which called upon Christians to shun the American dream and instead live a radical life for Christ. Leave the suburbs and move to the inner city! Leave comfort and personal peace for life on the edge in Zambia! More than a million copies of Platt's book were sold and countless more Christians left under the impression that Green Beret Christianity was the norm and they were sub-par believers if they did not do something radical.

Since the Middle Ages, when splinter groups tried to change the moribund Roman Catholic Church, there have been Christians who tried to call the church out of complacency in the culture and captivity to the status quo and to live more faithful biblical lives for Christ. In the Early Church and the Middle Ages, these various monastic groups were eventually absorbed back into the Church and little changed permanently.

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century gave lay Christians back the biblical understanding that living an ordinary life as a plumber or housewife or computer programmer or teacher in fellowship with Christ was not sub par but the normal Christian life. All Christians had a calling to walk with Christ, live a holy life and do all to the glory of Christ. All biblically lawful work was invested with dignity and purpose. All believers could serve Christ right where they were. Only some or a few were called to be ministers/missionaries.

These tensions are still with us today as evidenced by the titles I mentioned earlier in this article. Let's look at some other books available today which deal with these issues of the normal Christian life, calling (vocation), and living out the Christian life.

Matt Redmund, THE GOD OF THE MUNDANE; Kalos Press
A short but powerful book showing how wrong it is
to berate laymen for living a quiet existence in
fellowship with Christ. Redmund shows convincingly
that Christian are called to live quiet lives at home,
and not to fall prey to the scheme that only "radical"
Christian lives count for Christ.

Josh Kelley, RADICALLY NORMAL (You Don't Have to
Live Crazy to Follow Jesus); Harvest House
Publishers--though not Reformed in his theology,
evangelical Kelley has good things to say to keep
believers from beating themselves with false guilt.

Francis Schaeffer, NO LITTLE PEOPLE; Crossway--
sermons with a punch! Schaeffer's first sermon
powerfully shows that there are no "little people"
and no "little places" in God's Kingdom. Rather he
shows the importance of cultivating faithfulness
in communion with Christ.

John Frame, THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
in his THEOLOGY OF LORDSHIP SERIES from P & R
Publishing. Professor Frame's massive volume shows
what Christians ought to be doing in living out the
Christian life BUT shows little of the dynamic of
cultivating one's relationship with God the Father
and Son by the Spirit. It is very strong on the WHAT
but in the view of this reviewer, sadly short on the
HOW. Perhaps his volume on the CHURCH will show
more of how the means of grace, prayer, the
sacraments, etc.show what our participation in the
life of God looks like. Frame is especially strong on
the role of the Ten Commandments for the
Christian's life.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT;
2 volumes in 1; Eerdmans Publications
The premier preacher in English in the 20th century
Lloyd-Jones takes our Lord's primer on living in the
Kingdom of God (the Sermon on the Mount) and
thus shows what the normal Christian life is like to
Christ. Magisterial preaching by one of the truly
great men of God in the 20th century.

Other books on Christian living and calling to mark and read would be:

Lester DeKoster, WORK: THE MEANING OF YOUR LIFE;
Christian Library Press

Gene Veith, GOD AT WORK: Crossway

May our Lord help you to see that the calling of the Christian is not to be radical but faithful, not to be doing dramatic things but being faithful to what the Lord has entrusted us to do--our walk with Him, our marriage, our family, our job, and our resources--for His glory.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 10:55:37 AM :: permalink :: discuss ::


RESOURCES FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES, MENTAL ILLNESS, AND THE PAIN AND SUFFERING THAT COME WITH THEM.

08/21/2014

One of the largely overlooked aspects of the fall of humanity is the impact of God's curse on our bodies and minds. You have never met a "normal" person. You have never met a person who was not in some way twisted, bent and misshapen by the Fall. All of us in some way bear the mark of sin's curse. And some of us bear this mark more obviously.

Today I want to suggest resources to help those who have children or loved ones with disabilities--whether they show up at six months or six years or sixteen years or adulthood.

What resources are available to those whose calling is to care for disabled children of all ages? What help is available for parents and caregivers of children who are otherwise handicapped by serious mental, physical and emotional problems?

FOR LOVERS OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES:

Stephanie Hubach, SAME LAKE, DIFFERENT BOAT
(Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability);
P & R--designed to renew Christians' minds to think
biblically about disability. Important for every
church library and a beginning foundation for
leadership to rethink how they view the
handicapped & families with handicapped children.

Krista Horning, JUST THE WAY I AM (God's Good
Design in Disability); Christian Focus Publications--
John Piper introduces the book by saying: "For the
people in this book, the sovereignty and goodness
of God have become a sanctuary for the soul in a
life they did not expect to live. When they affirm
the goodness and wisdom of God in creating them
for short term disability and eternal superability,
they do not do so without tears. There is no glib
trifling with pain. They are learning the paradox of
"sorrowful yet always rejoicing". They are learning
how to be brought low and how to abound. They
believe in this fallen age, God's loved ones groan
along with the whole creation, waiting for the full-
ness of adoption, the redemption of their bodies..."

Greg Lucas, WRESTLING WITH AN ANGEL (A Story of
Love, Disability & the Lessons of Grace); Cruciform
Press--Greg, a police officer, husband, Christian
and Jake's Dad, tells the gripping story of being the
father of a severely handicapped son with both
physical and emotional challenges. As a policeman
and father, Greg hoped to "fix" things. That didn't
happen. But God is still God and this can especially
be seen in homes with handicapped people. See
what Greg saw, felt, learned and endured. See
Christ and His grace in action in one family!

BOOKLETS ON DISABILITIES:

Ed Welch, BI-POLAR DISORDER; CCEF

Michael Emlet, ANGRY CHILDREN; CCEF

Edward Welch, EATING DISORDERS; CCEF

William Smith, HOW DO I STOP LOSING IT WITH MY
KIDS?; CCEF

David Powlison, I'M EXHAUSTED; CCEF

David Powlison, RECOVERING FROM CHILD ABUSE;
CCEF

Paul David Tripp, HELPING YOUR ADOPTED CHILD;
CCEF

Rita Jamison, PARENTING YOUR ADHD CHILD (Biblical
Guidance For Your Child's Diagnosis); New
Growth Press

RESOURCES ON GOD'S GRACE IN SUFFERING AND HIS BIG-PICTURE PLAN OF REDEMPTION

John Piper and Justin Taylor, eds.; SUFFERING AND
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD; Crossway--a great
book on what God is doing in the midst of our
suffering. Why does a sovereign God allows misery
to happen? What can believers do about it? How
should they respond?

Jerry Bridges, TRUSTING GOD (Even When Life Hurts);
NavPress--outstanding study of God's supernatural
rule of all things for His glory and His people's good.
Deceptively profound study of God's holiness, love,
wisdom and sovereignty in life's hardest times!
This is no study by an arm-chair theologian. Jerry
wrote this while his first wife was dying slowly
from cancer!

Irene Howat, FINDING GOD IN THE DARKNESS;
Christian Focus Publications--Life hurts at times,
sometimes overwhelmingly so! Disability, illness,
betrayal, murder, imprisonment, miserable working
environment, loneliness, etc are all experienced
through this study of various people who found the
grace of God in life's toughest laboratory--suffering.

Mike Milton, SONGS IN THE NIGHT; P & R--beloved
pastor, professor, seminary president and author,
Mike Milton was born to a drunk and an insane
person; he was abused and abandoned at five; his
parents came from different nationalities. None of
these were determinative for who he became!
God intervened and made Mike a new man. But the
new man was terribly hurt and suffered too. How
do we stay sane, not become bitter and cynical?
Read this precious book of the grace of God.

Nancy Guthrie, BE STILL MY SOUL (Embracing God's
Purpose and Provision in Suffering); Crossway--
25 classic and contemporary readings on the
problems of pain and suffering.

Nancy Guthrie, HOLDING ON TO HOPE; Tyndale--
one woman's journey through grievous loss and
great emotional pain.

Nancy Guthrie, ONE YEAR BOOK OF HOPE; Tyndale
Readings for a year of hope for those who thought
all hope was gone!

Ron Dunn. WHEN HEAVEN IS SILENT;Christian Literature
Crusade; one of the very best books on suffering and
the ways of God with His children. Pastor Dunn and
his wife lost a bi-polar son to suicide at 17. Profound
but simply written; Dunn has a sweet sense of
humor which keeps the material from being maudlin.

Joni Eareckson, THE GOD I LOVE
Joni Eareckson, WHEN GOD WEEPS
Joni Eareckson, PEARLS OF GREAT PRICE
Joni Eareckson, PLACE OF HEALING
Joni Eareckson, DIAMONDS IN THE DUST
Joni Eareckson, HEAVEN
Paralyzed from the neck down since a tragic diving accident at age 16, Joni has had to face disability her whole life. She is now 65. Though a professing Christian, when she realized she would be crippled for life, she wanted to die. But God would not let her. And she has grown in grace and been a much used vessel in which to display God's glory. She has been the most invited guest on Larry King's radio program because he is obviously fascinated with this lovely woman who lost it all but who has it all from God. She is biblical, real,
compassionate, clear sighted and honest. She came down with breast cancer at age 63. That was after two years of the most excruciating pain she had ever endured. She walks closely with God and its shows. Come sit at her feet and learn.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 10:23:34 PM :: permalink :: discuss ::


BOOKS TO RENEW YOUR MIND (so that you think God's thoughts and have God's perspective)

08/18/2014

When I became a new Christian, I developed a real appetite for reading the Bible and Christian books. I did not know enough to pick which books were the most biblically faithful, and thus the most helpful. I just knew I needed to grow in the knowledge of God, His ways and His directions for life. Through trial and error and the guidance of well grounded Christian leaders, I began to know my way around the Bible and what it taught about God, reality, creation, mankind, sin, judgment, Old Testament Israel, Jesus, the cross and the resurrection, etc, etc, etc.

The more I read my Bible and books based upon the Bible, the more I came to see the sovereign grace of God and His covenant mercy in Christ. The more I read my Bible and grew in the grace God, the more I saw that God's grace was sovereign and pre-venient (He made the first move).

Over the 45 years I have been a Christian, the more God has graciously renewed my mind by the Spirit using the Word to conform my thoughts to Christ. Meditate on how our Lord's prayer in John 17:17 relates to Paul's teaching in 2nd Corinthians 3:18.

Today I wanted to give you some books to read to renew your mind and become more Christ-like in your thinking and subsequent actions. Remember good books place doctrines in the context of the whole Bible. A partial truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth! Paul told the Ephesians elders that he was innocent of the blood of all men because he did not shrink back from declaring he whole counsel of God to them. A good teacher should always place that day's teaching into the larger picture of the truth of God. The sacrificial system, the 2nd coming, the two natures of Christ, creation, etc. do not exist in a vacuum. The are all interconnected.

In the following books, faithful teachers interweave the truths of the Bible into a coherent whole. I will arrange them in ascending order of difficulty, beginning with the easiest. Each of them is Reformed in their theology of salvation, and while the authors represent different denominations with differing views of baptism, the Lord's Supper and church government, these issues do not enter into these studies of basic Christianity.


J. C. Ryle, OLD PATHS; Banner of Truth--a classic by he 19th century Anglican whom Charles Spurgeon described as the best man in the Anglican church! Why?
Ryle was Bible-believing, clear, straight-forward, Christ-centered, warm and loved Christ and sinners. What more could a growing Christian want in their pastor/teacher? Nineteen chapters as warm and clear today as they were 125 years ago.

Sinclair Ferguson, A HEART FOR GOD;Banner of Truth--basic truths of the Bible's teaching about God Himself.

Sinclair Ferguson, THE CHRISTIAN LIFE: A DOCTRINAL INTRODUCTION; Banner of Truth--the basic truths of
what the Bible teaches about what it means to be a real Christian.

James Montgomery Boice, FOUNDATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH; InterVarsity Press--sermons to the congregation of 10th Presbyterian church in Philadelphia. A master communicator makes the doctrines of the Bible come alive and shows their relevance for today's Christian. I know of at least one seminary graduate who said that seminary gave him bits and pieces of the puzzle but Boice put it all together for him.

A. A.Hodge, EVANGELICAL THEOLOGY (Lectures on Doctrine); Banner of Truth--the great Princeton theology of the late 19th and early 20th century, B. B. Warfield said that Archibald Alexander (hence A. A.) Hodge was the greatest teacher of deep theology for laymen. These were Friday night lectures on theology by a master in Israel.

A. A. Hodge, OUTLINES OF THEOLOGY; Banner of Truth
Hodge also published this theology which is a question and answer format. Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher from London, liked it so much that he used it (with an addition of a Baptist chapter on baptism) for his Pastor's College textbook.

James Packer, CONCISE THEOLOGY (A GUIDE TO HISTORIC CHRISTIAN BELIEFS); Tyndale--a fantastic guide to basic Christians doctrine, originally written and still found as the doctrine notes in the REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE. Compact and compressed. Packer by name and Packer by occupation!

James Packer, EIGHTEEN WORDS; Christian Focus--Originally published in the 80's as GOD'S WORDS, it is Packer showing us how to do proper word studies of Bible words using 18 prominent words and showing from the Bible what they mean. Foundational!

R. C. Sproul, EVERY ONE'S A THEOLOGIAN (An Introduction to Systematic Theology); Reformation
Trust--60 chapters and 340 pages of doctrine explained to the man or woman in the pew. This is an updating of his earlier work, ESSENTIAL TRUTHS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH.

Bruce Milne, KNOWING THE TRUTH (A Handbook of Christian Belief); InterVarsity Press--Bruce Milne was a lecturer in doctrine at Spurgeon's College in London and then pastor for many years at First Baptist Church of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is the author
of many helpful books on doctrine and this is no exception. A wholesome theology course in one volume.


May i suggest that you read each and every one of these books. Yes, there is overlap but even that will do you good. By the time you are through, you will be amazed how much more solid you are in your mind and your walk with God.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Come visit me at my personal website,
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM
for more good information on books.

Posted: 04:23:00 PM :: permalink :: discuss ::


TO HONOR MY WIFE'S FAITHFULNESS--RESOURCES FOR WIVES WHO WANT TO BUILD THEIR HOMES AND FAMILIES

08/12/2014

I was married on September 2, 1972. Cindy, my best friend, became my wife. She had graduated from a major Midwestern university with a degree in science but followed me first into student ministry and then the gospel ministry of the pastorate. We had two wonderful children and now six precious grandchildren. She sacrificed with me to go to seminary and receive the training I needed for a life of ministry. She worked faithfully to create a home atmosphere that was a magnet to come home to and a haven of rest and joy to live in. She saw her priority as keeping me in the pulpit so she cooked, cleaned, prayed, decorated, hosted, cooked, prayed, cleaned some more, prayed some more for these 42 years of marriage. Our home was a safe house for our family and a magnet to many others who talked, ate, cried, listened, ate, laughed, ate and argued and ate and saw glimpses of a Christian home full of joy and the Holy Spirit.

Sadly, too many women under 40 have drunk the Kool-Aid of our culture that a woman is just as good as a man (or better) and can do anything a man can do...and should. TIME magazine can run a cover story with a man and woman facing each other with the tag line: Men and Women--Are They Different? How incredibly sad and telling. Unless a woman is a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or at least sits on the Board of Directors, is a lawyer or doctor in a top practice, has a start up company worth millions or is a combat officer, she is little valued and even less praised.

But investing one's life nurturing the immortal souls and bodies of one's own family is now seen as quaint and even backward. Asserting oneself and establishing one's own name on the office door is more important than being a servant and making others successful. Christian values are just as right side up and controversial as they were in the 1st century Roman culture when servanthood was despised and Christians were fools to follow a Savior and King who said He came not be be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom many.

Today, as I was thinking about our wonderful home life together and the labors of my wonderful wife to make it so, I thought today's blog should be about the significant resources that my wife has used over the years to clarify, strengthen, mold and encourage her heart and mind. So as a tribute to my dearest wife, I list some of the many books that have shaped and developed my wife into being a great wife and mother and Christian hostess.

Edith Schaeffer, THE HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING;
Tyndale House--how one cooks, decorates, gardens,
sews and practices hospitality to the glory of God
as an expression of one's creative juices.

Edith Schaeffer, L'ABRI; Tyndale House--how a
husband's evangelism and apologetics and a wife's
hospitality changed hundreds of people for Christ.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss, LIES WOMEN BELIEVE (and the
Truth that Sets Them Free); Moody Press--how to
avoid getting sucked into the mold of the 21st
century American culture.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss, ed.; BECOMING GOD'S TRUE
WOMAN; Crossway--a distinguished list of women
contribute to a knock out book on what it means
to be a woman, of God, in this day and time.

James Dobson, WHAT WIVES WISH THEIR HUSBANDS
KNEW ABOUT WOMEN; Tyndale House--the 10
most frequent causes of depression in women and
what can be done about them.

James Dobson, DARE TO DISCIPLINE; Tyndale House
The blockbuster that openly exposed the fallacy of
the Dr. Spock generation of parenting and returned
to biblical discipline.

Jerry Bridges, TRUSTING GOD--EVEN WHEN LIFE
HURTS; NavPress--the first treatment of the
biblical doctrine of providence in the 20th century
(1988) and a real sanity saver.

Jerry Bridges, THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE; NavPress
Her favorite Jerry Bridges book, just nudging out
TRUSTING GOD. This classic study shows all that
Christ accomplished in His atonement. A wonder-
ful study that I would make mandatory for all
Christians to master, if I had the authority.

Jerry Bridges, THE BOOKENDS OF THE CHRISTIAN
LIFE; Crossway--avoiding the mirror ditches of
self-righteousness and despair by understanding
and applying daily the finished work of Christ and
the Great Exchange (My Sin for His Righteousness)
along with the power of the Holy Spirit to change
your life.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION (Its
Causes and Cures); Eerdmans--a spiritual clinic
and wellness clinic even if you don't feel sick!
A wonderful resource to revisit again and again.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT;
Eerdmans--what many believe to be the greatest
treatment in English in the 20th century of the
greatest preacher in the English speaking world.
From our Lord's most famous sermon.

Bethan Lloyd-Jones, MEMORIES OF SANDFIELDS;
Banner of Truth--the wife of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-
Jones recounts their early years of marriage and
his first pastorate and her first experience as a
pastor's wife. Sweet and encouraging.

Jerry Bridges, THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS; NavPress
The best treatment of the Reformed doctrine of
sanctification for laymen.

R. C. Sproul, THE HOLINESS OF GOD; Tyndale House
Everything depends upon the kind of Being who
our God Is. Sproul does a wonderful job getting us
started with this tour de force treatment of the
hub of the wheel of God's various attributes. You
will not understand or appreciate grace as you
should until you understand the holiness of God.

SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES; IVP--a team of excellent
scholars and pastors put together this study of
entire Bible that takes you through every
paragraph by asking you questions. Incredibly
helpful Bible study aid.

Don Whitney, SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES OF THE
CHRISTIAN LIFE; NavPress--a classic on how the
Christian learns to tie his/her shoes, get dressed,
make your bed, brush your teeth, hold your fork
and knife and feed yourself. NOT REALLY--but the
lessons taught are just as important and
fundamental to a healthy Christian life.

J. C. Ryle, HOLINESS; Banner of Truth--the great 19th
century writer and bishop who Charles Spurgeon
called the best man in the English Anglican church.
Warm, straight-forward, biblical and life-changing.

Arthur Bennett, THE VALLEY OF VISION; Banner of
Truth--collection of Puritan prayers to prime the
pump for your own prayers.

Jonathan Edwards, CHARITY AND ITS FRUITS; Banner
of Truth--Paul's ode to love, 1st Corinthians 13,
through the teaching lens of the great Puritan,
Jonathan Edwards.

Charles Spurgeon, MORNING AND EVENING; Christian
Focus Publications--the great preacher's morning
and evening meditations on Christ and the
Christian life for each day of the year.

Elyze Fitzpatrick, THE AFTERNOON OF LIFE; P & R--
The kids are grown and out of the house and the
last third of your life is before you. What does God
expect you to be doing?

Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock, BECOMING A WOMAN
WHO PLEASES GOD; Moody Press
Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock, DESIGNING A LIFESTYLE
THAT PLEASES GOD; Moody Press
Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock, PRACTICING HOSPITALITY;
Crossway
(For those who did not grow up in a healthy
Christian home or a Christian home at all, here
are three volumes that speak volumes to what it
means to be a faithful Christian wife.)

Many more resources might be named but this will get a person started.

May you too hear your husband and children rise up and call you blessed!

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 04:53:00 PM :: permalink :: discuss ::


THE SO-CALLED "NEW INTERPRETATION OF PAUL" AND WHY IT IS SO WRONG

08/05/2014

I can still remember my Saturday being ruined by getting the mail. I was half-way through typing out my sermon when I chose to take a break, get the mail, grab a bite of lunch and read the mail. One of my favorite religious magazines came and I sat down with relish to peruse the pages. Soon my joy went to gloom and then anger for an article was included that, if believed and preached, would undermine the biblical gospel of justification by faith alone in Christ alone!

The author, formerly an evangelical and Reformed New Testament theologian, taught that believers must add to Christ in order to be saved. What I was reading was my first exposure to what came to be called "the New Interpretation of Paul". The more I read, the more disturbed I became. This article was just the tip of a massive iceberg of heresy that floated just beneath the surface of this "new interpretation".

I came to learn that for the past thirty five years, there has been an increasing movement to re-interpret Paul. The scholars who have wanted the church to change its understanding of Paul have included been many, but the original leaders and on-going proponents have been Krister Stendahl, E. P. Sanders, James D. G. Dunn, and N. T. Wright.

To simplify, let me try to explain to the uninitiated this way. The so-called "New Interpretation of Paul"
teaches that the magisterial Reformers, Luther and Calvin, and their successors, wrongly read their own
tortured Catholic consciences into Paul's letters and gave a wrong interpretation. Paul was not interested
primarily in how a person could be right with God. Paul was interested in how to get Gentiles into the "covenant community" with Israel.

"New Interpretation" scholars also wrongly teach that first century Judaism was not legalistic but grace focused. They say we have read the Pharisees
wrongly since the Reformation--for five hundred years! What's more, the "gospel" that comes out of the "New Interpretation of Paul" is that we enter the covenant by sacramental grace at our baptism and we stay in the covenant by our own good works. (For the discerning reader, the last line just described the classic teaching of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.)

If Protestantism in general and evangelicalism in particular adopts this theology, and teaches it then in about a generation we shall be asking ourselves, "Why not reunite with Rome? Why shouldn't Protestant pastors all grow beards and join a branch of the Orthodox churches? We now believe the same things!". But as the real Paul would say, "God forbid!"

The following works are meant to give you the best rebuttal to the "new interpretation", alert you to its teachings so that you can recognize it when you hear it, and to arm Christian teachers to stand fast in the face of this latest assault on the true doctrine of salvation by faith alone by Christ alone.


INTRODUCTORY WORKS

A. T. Robertson, JESUS AND THE PHARISEES; Wipf & Stock--Robertson, the great Greek scholar who long taught at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and who wrote the great grammar of the Greek New Testament wrote an analysis of what the Pharisees believed when it was still believed the Bible was true and other books were weighed in the balance. What does the inspired New Testament actually say about the Pharisees and what they believed and practiced? Was first century Judaism biblical? Was it legalistic?
Reading the literature of 2nd Temple Judaism looking for scraps of truth is surely "By-path Meadow" when it comes to understanding the New Testament.

John Stott, "Preliminary Essay" in THE MESSAGE OF ROMANS (The Bible Speaks Today); IVP Academic; pp. 19-43. Stott shows what is wrong with the "New Interpretation of Paul" so succinctly. It is the best short summary of the "new interpretation of Paul" and what is wrong with it.

Gary Johnson and Guy P. Waters, eds.; BY FAITH ALONE (Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification); Crossway--excellent collection of essays
many addressing the errors of the new interpretation.

INTERMEDIATE WORKS

Guy P. Waters, JUSTIFICATION ADN THE NEW PERSPECTIVE ON PAUL (A Review and Response); P & R Publishing--perhaps the best, most succinct refutation of the 'new perspective'.

Seyoon Kim, THE ORIGIN OF PAUL'S GOSPEL; Eerdmans--updates, complements and expands Machen's early 20th century contribution.

Stephen Westerholm, PERSPECTIVES OLD AND NEW ON PAUL (The "Lutheran" Paul and His Critics); Eerdmans--one of the most stylishly written and to this reader, correct interpretations of Paul versus the "New Perspective".

Colin Kruse, PAUL, THE LAW AND JUSTIFICATION; Wipf & Stock--takes us back to the time before E. P. Sanders and Martin Luther to the text of the Bible to exegete the issues regarding the "New Perspective".

ADVANCED WORKS:

D. A. Carson, Peter T. O'Brien and Mark Seifrid, eds.; JUSTIFICATION AND VARIEGATED NOMISM (2 volumes); Eerdmans--the heavy-weight examination of the pro's and con's of the New Perspective.

As famous British commentator, John Stott, observed, it appears that so many writers on the
'New Perspective" do not know their Bibles nor human nature very well. The 'natural man' is naturally legalistic and self-confident that he or she can please God apart from grace. Every man-made religion in the world is works-righteousness centered, except biblical Christianity.

That is why of all the religions of the world, only biblical Christianity believes in salvation by grace alone through Christ alone by faith alone--to the glory of God alone!

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 11:00:06 AM :: permalink :: discuss ::


New Titles For your Consideration

07/28/2014

Kregel Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan has been a faithful evangelical and Reformed publishers for decades. Because they are not an exclusively Reformed publisher, Reformed readers tend to overlook them when it comes to expecting and finding really good books.

Today, I want to set the record straight and give you some great Kregel titles that may have overlooked.

BACKGROUNDS TO MANY OF THE HYMNS WE SING:

Kenneth Osbeck, AMAZING GRACE (2ND EDITION);
366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions)

Kenneth Osbeck, 101 HYMN STORIES (The Inspiring
True Stories Behind 101 Favorite Hymns)

Kenneth Osbeck, 101 MORE HYMN STORIES (The
Inspiring True Stories Behind 101 Favorite Hymns)

Kenneth Osbeck, BEYOND THE SUNSET (25 Hymn
Stories Celebrating the Hope of Heaven); balm for
earth weary, heavenly minded believers.

Kenneth Osbeck, SONGS FOR ALL SEASONS (25
Hymns Honoring God, Home and Country)

NEGLECTED SERMON SERIES BY DR. MARTYN LLOYD-JONES

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, THE CHRISTIAN IN AN AGE OF
TERROR--sermons preached during and right after
World War II and the nuclear scare immediately
to follow in England.

WORKS ON C. S. LEWIS AND J. R. R. TOLKIEN:

Colien Duriez, C. S. LEWIS (A Biography of Friendship);
C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends
and friendly rivals. Read about their amazing
friendship which made them both better men.

Colin Duriez, J.R.R. TOLKIEN: THE MAKING OF A
LEGEND

WORKS BY JAMES MONTGOMERY BOICE:

James Montgomery Boice, RENEWING YOUR MIND
IN A MINDLESS WORLD--one of the better
treatments of the Christian's need to renew his/
her mind and bring it into subjection to Christ and
His Word. Mature Christians have learned to think
"Christianly" that is, biblically and have the mind
of Christ.

James Montgomery Boice, STANDING ON THE ROCK
(Upholding Biblical Authority in a Secular Age)
Boice solidifies the believer's implicit confidence in
the Bible with this well crafted defense of biblical
infallibility and authority.

James Montgomery Boice, CHRIST'S CALL TO
DISCIPLESHIP; Christ calls His people to Himself
as Savior and Lord. Boice believed that a
generation of believers that practiced biblical
discipleship could change the world.

James Montgomery Boice, ORDINARY MEN CALLED
BY GOD (Abraham, Moses and David)--a good
follow up read to CHRIST'S CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP.

BOOKS ON or FOR THE MINISTRY:

Jeffery Arthurs, DEVOTE YOURSELF TO THE PUBLIC
READING OF SCRIPTURE (The Transforming
Power of the Well-Spoken Word)--a rare study of
something that is done every week in truly
evangelical churches but often done badly!

Andreas Kostenberger and Richard Patterson,
INVITATION TO BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION
surely will become a classic on how to rightly
handle the Word of God.

Andreas Kostenberger and Richard Patterson, TWELVE
RULES FOR UNDERSTANDING BIBLE WORDS;
a short treatment of how to do correct Word
Studies in the Bible.

Desmond Alexander, FROM EDEN TO THE NEW
JERUSALEM (An Introduction to Biblical Theology);
a leading evangelical British Old Testament
theologian gives us his best insights into the
theology of the whole Bible.

Benjamin Keach, PREACHING FROM THE TYPES AND
METAPHORS--a lifetime of study and reflection
went into this 17th century Baptist pastor/
theologian's work.

Patrick Fairbairn, THE TYPOLOGY OF SCRIPTURE;
another of the great works on Typology by the
great 19th century Scots biblical theologian.

Phil Newton and Matt Schmucker, ELDERS IN THE
LIFE OF THE CHURCH--one of the best studies of
how elders function in the New Testament and
should function in a local church.

Paul Pettit and Todd Mangum, BLESSED ARE THE
BALANCED (A Seminarian's Guide to Following
Jesus in the Academy)--a helpful book on a too
much neglected topic. It is sad how many seminary
students leave school in a worse condition than
when they entered.

Herbert Lockyer, LAST WORDS OF SAINTS AND
SINNERS; a most helpful accumulation of the last
words of the lost and the found.

CLASSIC COMMENTARIES: OLD AND NEW

Martin Luther, COMMENTARY ROMANS

Martin Luther, COMMENTARY ON GALATIANS

Martin Luther, COMMENTARY ON PETER AND JUDE

William Arnot, STUDIES IN PROVERBS (one time
titled, THE CHURCH IN THE HOUSE)

Marcus Rainsford, OUR LORD PRAYS FOR HIS OWN
(John 17)--CLASSIC!

Thomas Whitelaw, COMMENTARY ON JOHN

J. A. Alexander, COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH; the
linguistic pride of 19th century Princeton Seminary
and genius son of Archibald Alexander wrote what
was the best commentary on Isaiah from the
19th century.

Allen P. Ross, A COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS;
Volumes 1 and 2 are available and Volume 3 is
slated to appear this Fall. Ross has outstanding
commentaries on Genesis (CREATION &
BLESSING: How to Study and Preach Genesis),
Leviticus (HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD) and
Proverbs (EXPOSITOR'S BIBLE COMMENTARY:
PROVERBS); and a work on worship (RECALLING
THE HOPE OF GLORY: Worship From the Garden
to the New Jerusalem).

PICTORIAL HELPS:

Tim Dowley, KREGEL PICTORIAL GUIDE TO THE
TABERNACLE

Henry Soltau, HOLY VESSELS AND FURNITURE OF
THE TABERNACLE

Henry Soltau, THE TABERNACLE: ITS PRIESTHOOD
AND OFFERINGS

Robert Backhouse, KREGEL PICTORIAL GUIDE TO THE
TEMPLE

John Hannah, KREGEL PICTORIAL GUIDE TO CHURCH
HISTORY

And that is not all the great books Kregel has for those who look. I hope you found 1 or 2 you want to read
and perhaps more you need to read.

May the Lord bless your studies.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Visit my website, WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM
for more information about books, etc.

Posted: 12:21:00 PM :: permalink :: discuss ::


HOW TO KNOW THE RIGHT COMMENTARY FOR YOUR NEEDS ?

07/24/2014

Many readers of this blog have had the experience of walking into a Christian bookstore looking for help on studying or teaching a book of the Bible. Either they had little or no inventory to choose from or they had quite a few volumes but you did not know which one to choose. Many Christian bookstores buy sets of commentaries by a single author and you either choose one of those commentaries or go home empty.

[NOTE: If you buy your books through the on-line service of CVBBS.COM, you might not know that you can get expert advice about commentaries about the Bible.
You can click on the expert advice logo on the website and send your question directly to me and I will answer it pronto!]

Some publishers have also published books on commentary selections, recommended by a scholarly author. I want to highlight those today and give you my perspective on each of them. Each have at least one major strength and one has more than one!


OLD TESTAMENT COMMENTARY SURVEY:

Tremper Longman III; OLD TESTAMENT COMMENTARY
SURVEY (5th edition); Baker--Longman is a senior
evangelical and Reformed Old Testament scholar
who once taught at Westminster Theological
Seminary in Philadelphia but now teaches at
Westmont College in California. He is well abreast
of the latest scholarly perspectives but is not as
well anchored in the historical Reformed faith as
he once was. Many "critical" commentaries are
noted which the CVBBS.COM reader is NOT going
to want to use. Using those commentaries is
usually like eating a wheelbarrow full of sawdust
hoping to find a few M & M's at the bottom! For
example, Dr. Longman does not like nor cite
Dale Ralph Davis' expositions of the historical books
of the O. T. He did not like the illustrations or
humor. Yet there are very few better than Davis at
demonstrating how a pastor/teacher might do
their homework and preach the text of the O. T.
with clarity and power.

NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY SURVEY:

D. A. Carson, NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY SURVEY
(7th edition); Baker--Carson's survey has always
struck me as more Spirit and Word sensitive than
Longman on the Old Testament. Carson is
Calvinistic but not confessionally Reformed. At
times this shows in his comments. He too has
many critical commentaries noted that are more
of interest to scholars who must read everything
before they hazard a guess on a text. But at least
Carson has always seemed more spiritually minded
than Longman above.

COMMENTARY SURVEY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE:

John Evans, A GUIDE TO BIBLICAL COMMENTARIES &
REFERENCE WORKS; Doulos Press--a massive
work covering both testaments. Professor Evans
is a book sleuth, finding helpful texts from little
known publishers. His teaching context in Africa
gives him a refreshing take on things too. I found
him the best guide, in general, on the most books
with an overall evangelical and Reformed
perspective, while critical works are noted and
identified. Great for the pastor/teacher!

Charles Spurgeon, LECTURES TO MY STUDENTS;
Banner of Truth--the final section of this classic
work by Spurgeon is his COMMENTING ON
COMMENTARIES. Here Spurgeon's genius and wit
come together to give the reader Spurgeon's take
on the best (and worst) books available in the
1880's. His comments are still largely true today.
Entertaining and highly informative.

Steve Martin, 21st CENTURY COMMENTING ON
COMMENTARIES; E-pub available at
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM
(The author, me, took from Longman, Carson,
Evans and other book analyzers and spent
20 years gathering the best commentaries on
every book of the Bible for laymen and pastors.
I also evaluate books on Introductory matters.
It is graded by BASIC (little or no knowledge of
biblical languages; new to studying the test; good
for personal or family devotions); INTERMEDIATE
(some knowledge of the subject and/or biblical
languages; good for Sunday School, campus
or neighborhood Bible study); ADVANCED
(requires knowledge of the biblical languages and
the subject matter; great for pastors/teachers
and seminarian or anyone who has the calling
of studying, interpreting and teaching God's
Word.)

May the Lord help you to use tools well as you put in the time of studying and praying over God's Word.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 08:56:00 AM :: permalink :: discuss ::


THANK YOU, CHRISTIAN FOCUS, FOR THE

07/15/2014

As a pastor for 31 years, and now ministering to other pastors, I have sought Christian books that are biblically faithful, theologically faithful, and faithful to the local church and its health.

I have seen publishers come and go in their own faithfulness to the Bible and to the theology of the Reformation. Some publishers have "lost the plot" and gone the route of pragmatism--whatever sells, good or bad, orthodox or heterodox or heretical. Publishers I could trust in the late 60's I can no longer point to as faithful purveyors of biblical truth.

But other publishers have stayed the course. It is required of a steward that he be found faithful. Some publishers are faithful stewards. Today I highlight Christian Focus Publications from Scotland. For decades they have published some of the best material coming out of the British Isles and certainly out of the English speaking world. Today I am highlighting six of their books that could and should be either in your library, your pastor's library or your church's library!

Douglas F. Kelly, SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, Volume 2;
(Grounded in Holy Scripture and Understood in the
Light of the Church)--"The Beauty of Christ: A
Trinitarian Vision

Long the revered and cherished professor of systematic at Reformed Theological Seminary, first at Jackson and now at Charlotte, Professor Kelly is one of God's best gifts to the churches. A native of North Carolina, he is an expert in North Carolina history, particularly of his Scottish ancestors, who were deeded land by King George III. Professor Kelly is an expert in the early church fathers, and in French Reformed literature (he translated Calvin's sermons on 2nd Samuel for the Banner of Truth to publish!)
This second volume of his systematic theology, is
a work of love for Jesus Christ. Dr. Kelly himself describes how he came to write this volume: "In preparing this volume, I have at times been overwhelmed by the beauty of this Christ: Messiah of Israel, Creator and Redeemer of the world; Head of the Church, Savior, Lord and Friend! It is my joy to share with you some of the lovely and sparkling truths I have learned about him, in his eternal pre-existence, incarnation, holy life, atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into glory and his final return. I have done so in company with Christian believers from different centuries and different cultures and denominations. Certainly I write from a Reformed Protestant viewpoint, but always seeking to glean from many fields, and to fish in many waters. I pray that something of the glory of the Triune God may shine from these pages to all who are seeking, one way or another, to get a sight of the beauty above all other beauties."

Let me give you a glimpse of the Table of Contents.

Part One--The Trinitarian Context of the Person and
Work of Christ
Chapter 1--The Witness of the Old and New
Testaments to Christ
Chapter 2--Names and Titles of Christ in Old and
New Testaments
Chapter 3--Crucial Passages on the Lord's
Incarnation and Atonement
Chapter 4--The Hypostatic Union
Chapter 5--Questions Raised by the Hypostatic Union
Chapter 6--The Post-Critical Christ--The Continuing
Influence of the Epistemology and
Christology of Immanuel Kant

PART TWO--THE HUMILIATION OF CHRIST

Chapter 7--The States of Christ
Chapter 8--Christ's Active Obedience (His Sonship)
Chapter 9--The Humiliation of Christ in the
Sufferings of His Life and Death
Chapter 10--Seven Last Words, Burial, and Descent
into Hell

PART THREE--THE EXALTATION OF CHRIST

Chapter 11--The Resurrection of Christ
Chapter 12--The Ascension, Session and Return of
Christ

The endorsements are by outstanding Christian leaders and their comments go beyond the polite "this is a nice book" platitude. This is a uniquely Christ-centered, Bible-centered, Church-centered book.( I plan to read it a second time.)

Terry Chrisope, CONFESSING JESUS AS LORD

Terry Chrisope is professor at Missouri Baptist College and a Reformed theologian. Dr. Chrisope already did the church a great favor when he wrote an earlier volume on the Lordship of Christ which was also published by Christian Focus. In light of the Lordship controversy that erupted among American evangelicals in the late 80's, the first volume strongly supported the New Testament theology that we don' t divide Christ into Savior and Lord when we come to Him but we bow before both offices and address Him as Savior/Lord or not at all. This volume has some of that material but goes far beyond it.

This volume has four parts:

Part One--The Old Testament: Anticipation
Chapter 1--Beginnings: God's Lordship and the
Human Rebellion
Chapter 2--Redemption and God's Lordship: The
Old Testament Anticipation
Chapter 3--Redemption and God's Lordship: The
Messiah of Promise

Part Two--The Historical Establishment of Jesus'
Lordship
Chapter 4--The Prophetic Function of Jesus the
Messiah: Proclaiming God's Lordship
Through the Kingdom of God
Chapter 5--The Priestly Function of Jesus the
Messiah: Providing Atonement for
Human Rebellion Against God's Lordship
Chapter 6--The Kingly Function of Jesus the Messiah:
Serving as Agent of God's Lordship

Part Three--The Proclamation and Confession of Jesus'
Lordship
Chapter 7--The Apostolic Proclamation of Jesus'
Lordship: The Book of Acts
Chapter 8--The Apostolic Proclamation of Jesus'
Lordship: The Epistles and Revelation
Chapter 9--The Confession of Jesus as Lord: Its
Meaning and Significance
Chapter 10--Objections Considered

Part Four--The Implications of Jesus' Lordship
Chapter 1--The Practical Significance of the
Confession of Jesus as Lord
The volume closes with three appendices and a fine bibliography.

This is a rich volume about our Lord and goes well with
Dr. Kelly's treatment. It has rave reviews by Drs. John MacArthur and Al Mohler.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Come visit me at my blog,
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM and
check out my new e-book, 21ST CENTURY COMMENTING ON COMMENTARIES. It has over 2000
entries covering all 66 books of the Bible and introductory matters.

Posted: 11:02:00 AM :: permalink :: discuss ::


HELP FOR BATTLE WEARY CHRISTIANS

07/07/2014

HELP FOR BATTLE WEARY CHRISTIANS

Christianity is a realistic religion. Unlike the false promises of the peddlers of the health and wealth heresy, biblical Christianity promises that each true believer will face hardship, persecution and suffering on the road to glory. Christ's apostles even warned us "not to be surprised at the fiery trials" we go through as if "something strange and unusual" was happening to us. Trouble and heartache are the "normal Christian life".

Frequently, our heartaches are the result of spiritual battles. Our battles are not like worldly battles. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, the unseen forces of the malignant fallen angel, Satan, and his fellow fallen angels. We also face constant opposition from this fallen evil world, ravaged by sin and aligned with the purposes and actions of the devil, corrosive to faith and holiness. And thirdly, each believer has a 'Benedict Arnold' in his or her own bosom, remaining, indwelling sin, to clog our hearts and drag its feet at every aspiration for holiness and righteousness. Our own hearts would destroy us were it not for the greater grace found in the finished work of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is only by the grace of God that we overcome such spiritual opposition and make it to heaven.

Along the way to heaven, each Christian pilgrim is hurt, sometimes severely. Recuperation from the hurts can take time. Sometimes the hurts have a cumulative effect--one adds to another until a great
discouragement and spiritual depression temporarily sidelines the believer. Just as there is PTSD--Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in military combat, there is something similar in spiritual combat, leaving its victims dazed, confused, angry, dispirited and prone to give it all up or just sit huddled in the corner until Christ takes us home.

Today's blog is to help battle weary believers make it through their post traumatic battle weariness and its various symptoms and move on for Christ. The following resources are all worthy to be prayerfully read and digested and put into practice.

1. Maurice Roberts, "The Danger of Becoming Battle
Weary", in THE CHRISTIAN'S HIGH CALLING;
Banner of Truth. Long time pastor and conference
speaker and devotional writer speaks to the
point. I have taken my Elders through this material
and photocopied the chapter and given it out to
friends and fellow pastors in need.

2. Francis Schaeffer, NO LITTLE PEOPLE; Crossway--
the first chapter, "No Little People". is an all time
gem that should be read annually. I can remember
when I first read this chapter in 1976. It was a
bomb on the playground of our parachurch ministry.
We were regularly exhorted to find the biggest
position we could occupy SO THAT WE COULD
INFLUENCE MORE PEOPLE FOR CHRIST. Well you
may imagine how remaining sin in Twenty
Somethings responded. I was so shocked when I
read the chapter that I had to reread it again,
particularly Christ's parable about the wedding feast.
There are no 'little people' and there are no 'little
places' in Christ's Kingdom. Similarly, this chapter
should be photocopied and mastered by church
officers.

3. Kent Hughes, LIBERATING MINISTRY FROM THE
SUCCESS SYNDROME; Tyndale--speaks to one huge
underlying cause of battle weariness and is very
'liberating'. Kent Hughes, with help from his wife,
Barbara, left a growing church in Southern
California to pastor The College Church in Wheaton,
Illinois. He went from a good sized church in the
L.A. suburbs to a large church near the campus of
a major Christian college outside of Chicago. But he
first needed to learn that God's way of grading
His servants was very different from how the world,
even the Christian world, grades His servants.
Learn what true, biblical success is and find out
how liberating it is to embrace it! Again, buy it
and take your church officers through it.

4. Matt Redmund, THE GOD OF THE MUNDANE; Kalos
Press--a Presbyterian pastor addresses the false
idea that Christians must be "radical" and do daring
things in order to glorify God. Rather he shows
biblically that to be faithful Christians to God's
commands at marriage, parenting and our work
lives is far more important and more biblically
supported. He shows how recent authors have
taken commands for pastors and missionary
church planters and beaten laymen over the
head with false theology. Biblically this short book
provides a breath of fresh air in a stuffy elevator
going down!

5. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, AUTHORITY; Banner of Truth--
Addresses the issues of authority in the Bible
and the authority given to a preacher and a church
and why authority is lost and sadly men and
churches try to make bricks without straw. The
last chapter on the authority of the Holy Spirit is
unique and a "must read". Lloyd-Jones chronicles
the last 250 years of church history and how
myopic pastors and churches have sought to
replace the authority of the Holy Spirit with
advanced degrees and education, heavy duty
apologetics, a return to medieval liturgy, big
business techniques, etc, etc, etc. Pastors, read
this aloud and discuss it with all your office holders.

6. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION (Its
Causes and Cures); Eerdmans--shows the various
ways Christians become “spiritually depressed” and
biblically how to regain spiritual health. A classic
since it was first preached in the 1950's. Dr. Lloyd-
Jones was preaching his famous series on Ephesians
and got awoke him one night and gave him eight of
these messages in outline, one right after another.
They were later filled out with parallel messages
given to Lloyd-Jones at other times. Just the
Introduction to the volume about learning to talk
back to yourself rather than listening to yourself is
worth the price of the book alone. And the whole
book is gold.

7. Joel Beeke and Terry Slachter, ENCOURAGEMENT
FOR TODAY'S PASTORS (Help From the Puritans);
Reformation Heritage Books--a great boon to
discouraged pastors and novices. Let me show you
the TABLE OF CONTENTS and see how relevant the
book is and how valuable.

PART ONE: PIETY
1. Zeal for the Ministry of the Word
2. "In Sweet Communion, Lord with Thee"
3. Encouraged by God's Promises
PART TWO: SOVEREIGNTY
4. God Gives the Increase
5. Submission to God's Will
PART THREE: CLARITY
6. Taking Heed to Doctrine
7. Practicing What is Preached
8. The Calling of the Shepherd
PART FOUR: CREATIVITY AND COMMUNITY
9. History and Science
10. The Communion of Saints
11. A Cloud of Witnesses
PART FIVE: DIGNITY
12. "One Among a Thousand"
13. Doing the Work of Angels
14. The Urgency and Importance of Preaching
The Word
PART SIX: ETERNITY
15. The Reward of Grace
16. The Glories of Heaven

If you have served in the ministry very long, you
can tell how valuable this book is.

9. Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington, THE BOOKENDS
OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE; Crossway--R. C. Sproul
said that he thought Jerry Bridges was the best
writer of Reformed theology in laymen’s terms in
the world. Here Jerry deals with two problems that
must be mastered if we are to make progress in our
Christian lives, laymen or church officer. First, do
we understand and daily rely upon the finished
work of Christ and His imputed righteousness for
our standing before God? Secondly, do we look to
the power of the Holy Spirit to continue to change
us after our Conversion? (Jerry has written a
whole book on the first part of this one, THE GREAT
EXCHANGE:My Sin for His Righteousness.) Most
laymen and pastors still seem to live in the realm
of their own perceived righteousness or lack thereof
and have either fallen into the ditch of legalism
and despair or into the opposite ditch of self-
righteousness and pride.

10. IVP has two related materials to help relieve you
of the tyranny of the urgent--the clamoring
demands of people to fix all their problems and
the world's problems while you seek to live your
life, love your wife, raise your children, shepherd
the church, even sleep a bit.

Charles Hummel, THE TYRANNY OF THE URGENT;
IVP booklet

Charles Hummel, ESCAPE FROM THE TYRANNY
OFTHE URGENT; IVP book & workbook

He begins with the shocking prayer of our Lord in
John 17:4--"Father, I glorified you by accomplishing
the work that you gave me to do." Jesus did not
always please His family, His disciples, the crowds
or His enemies, but He did please His Father
always. Believers and shepherds alike need to
learn not to fill up their lives with other men's
appointed assignments but fill up their lives with
what God has clearly called them to do.

May the Lord give you peace of mind and joy of soul as you take the time to overcome your own PTSD and battle weariness and faithfully soldier on for Christ.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Don't forget that I have hundreds of other articles on books and spiritual themes on my website,
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM.

And check out my new e-book, 21ST CENTURY COMMENTING ON COMMENTARIES for just $12.00

Posted: 12:34:06 PM :: permalink :: discuss ::


NEW AND IMPORTANT BOOKS ON THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK

07/01/2014

In 1976, I, like many other American Christians, was shocked to read and hear that there was a "battle for the Bible". Seminary professor and Christian magazine editor Harold Lindsell had published THE BATTLE FOR THE BIBLE and named "evangelical" professors and institutions that had left behind the full inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures. I was shocked because I had come out of an unbelieving denomination and rejoiced in my salvation and the Bible as the trustworthy, life-transforming Word of God. Were evangelicals giving up the farm too and reducing themselves to the uncertainties of my liberal background?

I had been a Christian, by the grace of God, for seven years, being transformed while in college. I had only a small exposure to nominal Christianity via my background in a liberal, mainline denomination. I knew only the most basic outline of the facts about Christ that I gleaned from each Sunday's liturgy. I believed that George Washington was the first President of the United Sates, that Mickey Mantle was my favorite baseball player, and that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. And none of them made any difference to my daily life.

Then God intervened in my life out of the blue in 1969 and I was a different person. I had heard the gospel, been transfixed by its message and relevance, and was given grace to savingly trust in Christ alone for salvation. When I told my local priest that January afternoon that God had transformed my life and that I had been "born again" and was now trusting in Christ for my salvation, he told me that such teaching was dangerous and hoped I would "get over it". A former campus chaplain, he said that he had seen people really "messed up" by this kind of teaching. As I left his office that day, I knew he was not a safe guide for my spiritual life and perhaps he was the "messed up" person. (He left the ministry in the next few months to become a stock broker and make more money!)

In God's providence, at the time God chose to save me, I had been taking an obligatory religion class at my liberal arts college. My professors (from such prestigious schools at Yale, Princeton, Harvard Divinity School and the University of Chicago Divinity School) taught us that the Bible was unreliable. The Old Testament in particular was a collection of myths, pious sayings, ragged history, and outright fabrications.
At best it recorded the highest aspirations of pious Jews. I can remember sitting in class that Fall, yet to be converted, but wondering why these men had chosen a job of debunking what they were paid to teach. Why didn't they just go out and get real jobs positively standing behind SOMETHING!

My conversion in early January left me still a month until finals and time for a restudy of the Old Testament
materials. How amazed I was as a new Christian, now indwelt by the Holy Spirit, to read the Old Testament with new eyes. I certainly did not understand all that I was reading but I begin to understand a lot and I was given an inner witness by the Holy Spirit that this was the very Word of God. I grew to despise the liberalism that had kept the gospel from me when I was growing up and then attacked the Bible in class in college. To later find Bible believing Christians, and churches and student ministries beyond my college was a windfall beyond words. (After my conversion and subsequent spiritual growth, I recognized that I had seen first hand what "wolves in sheep's clothing" looked like.)

Back to 1976 and THE BATTLE FOR THE BIBLE. Now that I was involved in student ministries, I had begun taking classes in an evangelical institution and began to learn that the "battle for the Bible" goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. When the serpent said to Eve: "Did God really say...?" and "No, you will not die..." and flatly contradicted God, the battle for the Bible was in full display right there at the beginning of human history. My studies showed me that almost every generation sees some attack upon the Word of God and its inspiration, truthfulness, clarity, sufficiency, and authority.

Battles for the Bible for the past 35 years have revolved around its clarity and sufficiency (do we need psychologists to fix us; prophets to give us newer words from God; the insights of anthropology to do missions, etc, etc.?) [A good example of a text addressing specious attacks on the Bible is Noel Weeks, THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE; Banner of Truth.)

That brings me to today and my reviews of three new books displaying and defending the greatness of the Word of God.

FOR BEGINNERS:

Kevin DeYoung, TAKING GOD AT HIS WORD (Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me); Crossway Books

What a gem Pastor (and soon to be doctor) DeYoung has given us. It is refreshing and it is clear, accurate, encouraging, stimulating and correct. Christians today need to be taught or to learn for themselves through reading this book that the Bible is "more sure" than our experiences, that we critique our experiences by the Bible, not vice versa; that the Bible is enough, that we don't need psychologists, prophets, anthropologists, gurus or tongues and interpretations of tongues. The Bible is sufficient.

The Bible is clear, final and necessary. It is the unbreakable Word of God. DeYoung exhorts us to stick with the Scriptures and not be moved from our full confidence in the Word of God. Plus it has an excellent Appendix of some 30 of the "best books on the good book". With a large study guide available from Crossway, it would make a great and important Sunday School class, group study or church officer training study. Highly recommended. And kudos to Crossway in having DeYoung popularize so many issues and making the teaching of the Bible plain and for the masses.

FOR INTERMEDIATE READERS:

John Frame, THE DOCTRINE OF THE WORD OF GOD
(A Theology of Lordship, Volume 4); P & R

Reformed readers have probably heard of Professor John Frame though they may not have read any of his hefty tomes on theology. Don't let the size of this volume (650 pages) deter you from faithfully reading through the whole volume for it would be a tragedy of a wasted opportunity. Frame has the gift of writing clear, everyday English while writing on all kinds of theological topics. This may be his best volume!

Several trustworthy guides (e.g. J. I. Packer, Doug Kelly, and others) note that it may be the best current volume on the orthodox doctrine of Scripture. In the series, A THEOLOGY OF LORDSHIP, Professor Frame has already written on THE DOCTRINE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD (how do we know what we know and specifically, how does a human being come to have real and true knowledge of God). Then he wrote
on THE DOCTRINE OF GOD (who He is, what He is like and what that all means); and then THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. Professor Frame admits early on the all of these books are based upon the trustworthy and sufficient Scriptures and show the trustworthiness of Scripture as each doctrine is treated. This entire volume is meant to help the reader think through all the the Bible is and should mean to us.

The Chapter headings are as follows:

PART ONE: ORIENTATION
1. The Personal-Word Model
2. Lordship and the Word

PART TWO: GOD'S WORD IN MODERN THEOLOGY
3. Modern Views of Revelation
4. Revelation and Reason
5. Revelation and History
6. Revelation and Human Subjectivity
7. Revelation and God Himself

PART THREE: THE NATURE OF GOD'S WORD
8. What is the Word of God?
9. God's Word as His Controlling Power
10. God's Word as His Meaningful Authority
11. God's Word as His Personal Presence

PART FOUR: HOW THE WORD COMES TO US
12. The Media of God's Word
13. God's Revelation Through Events
14. God's Revlation through Words: The Divine Voice
15. God's Revelation Through Words: Prophets and
Apostles
16. The Permanence of God's Written Word
17. God's Written Words in the Old Testament
18. Respect for God's Written Words in the Old
Testament
19. Jesus' View of the Old Testament
20. The Apostles' View of the Old Testament
21. The New Testament as God's Written Word
22. The Canon of Scripture
23. The Inspiration of Scripture
24. The Content of Scripture
25. Scripture's Authority: Its Content, & Its Purpose
26. The Inerrancy of Scripture
27. The Phenomena of Scripture
28. Bible Problems
29. The Clarity of Scripture
30. The Necessity of Scripture
31. The Comprehensiveness of Scripture
32. The Sufficiency of Scripture
33. The Transmission of Scripture
34. Translations and Editions of Scripture
35. Teaching and Preaching
36. Sacraments
37. Theology
38. Confessions, Creeds and Traditions
39. Human Reception of Scripture
40. The Interpretation of Scripture
41. Assurance
42. Person-Revelation: the Divine Witness
43. Human Beings as Revelation
44. Writing on the Heart
45. Summary and Organizational Reflections
46. Epilogue

APPENDICES--There are 17 Appendices on top of this!

What a wealth of good things. I would commend church officers, seminarians, pastors and thinking lay people to read and master this book. Again, Frame writes to be understood, not to show off a turgid or academic prose. Laymen can understand this book.
Pastors and seminarians should understand this book.


FOR MORE ADVANCED READERS:

Peter Lillback & Richard Gaffin, eds.; THY WORD IS STILL TRUTH (Essential Writings on the Doctrine of Scripture From the Reformation to Today); P & R

Another "Aha!" moment regarding the battle for the Bible came in 1980. I was in seminary and my professor, John Woodbridge, had a seminar class evaluating a then new book by Jack Rogers and Donald McKim, THE AUTHORITY AND INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE (An Historical Approach). The authors purported to show that the so-called modern idea of the "inerrancy" of the Bible was invented by professors at late 19th century Princeton Seminary (A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield). Their thesis was that the normative view of the church had been that the Bible had errors but not such that people could not be saved or grow. They told us that the church for nearly 2,000 years had always believed in an errant Bible. So the position of their seminary in California, which had changed to embrace the errantist position, was in the mainstream of church history.

The seminar class took the Rogers & McKim volume and looked up every footnote in the book. We could volunteer to back check chapters and I chose the ones on Charles Hodge (my thesis subject) and the Puritans (a growing love). How shocked I was to discover that the footnotes, by and large, were doctored! Quotes were trimmed to leave out contrary comments;
secondary sources were conflated with primary sources leaving a completely different impression of what the original author was saying, sentences from the middle of a paragraph were made to say something that the whole paragraph did not say, etc, etc. It was hash job!

When the class came together and we discovered that the others had found the same discrepancies that each of us had found, we sat silently in amazement. The professor reminded us that we were all sinners and sometime professing Christians did unrighteous things to justify their conduct. So professors from a reportedly evangelical seminary, seeking to help keep their support base, rewrote church history to make
themselves seem kosher. (You can read the results
of this class in John Woodbridge, BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: A CRITIQUE OF THE ROGERS/McKIM PROPOSAL; Zondervan; 1982)

The battle for the Bible was still in process and now so-called evangelicals were adjusting the Bible to the dictates of contemporary scholarship. For the past 30 years I have seen the on-going skirmishes as once professed evangelicals lose their confidence in the Scriptures and jump ship, landing in all kinds of strange places with strange bed-fellows.

One of the newest books to thoroughly debunk the notion that the church has never believed in inerrancy is THY WORD IS STILL TRUTH. Several decades ago,
Westminster Seminary Old Testament scholar E. J. Young wrote, THEY WORD IS TRUTH. It strengthened a generation of young evangelical and Reformed scholars as to the truthfulness and trustworthiness of the Bible.
What Drs. Lillback and Gaffin have done is bring together the best sources from the 16th century Reformation down to today to show that Christ's church has always believed in a fully trustworthy and inerrant Bible.

Westminster Seminary had been embarrassed a decade ago when one of its Old Testament professors did not teach and publish in accordance with the Scripture or the Westminster Standards and had to be removed. The final section of the volumes shows what Westminster faced and how they are currently in line with historic, orthodox Reformation Christianity.

PART ONE: SOLA SCRIPTURA: THE REFORMERS'
REDISCOVERY OF THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD
--what Luther taught
--what Zwingli taught
--what Bullinger taught
--what Calvin taught

PART TWO: THE REFORMED CONFESSIONS
--almost all the 16th and early 17th century
creeds and confessions

PART THREE: EARLY REFORMED INTERPRETATION
--from Henry Bullinger to Jonathan Edwards

PART FOUR: THE DOCTRINE OF SCRIPTURE IN
REFORMED ORTHODOXY
--William Ames, John Owen, Francis Turretin and
Jonathan Edwards

PART FIVE: THE DOCTRINE OF SCRIPTURE IN THE
SCOTTISH AND DUTCH LEGACY
--John Witherspoon, William Cunningham,
Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, Louis Berkhof,

PART SIX: OTHER NINETEENTH CENTURY EUROPEAN
CONTRIBUTORS
--Louis Gaussen, Adolphe Monod, Ernst Wilhelm
Hengstenberg, and Charles Spurgeon


PART SEVEN: THE DOCTRINE OF SCRIPTURE IN THE
THEOLOGY OF OLD PRINCETON
--Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, Benjamin B.
Warfield, and Moises Silva


PART EIGHT: THE THEOLOGY OF SCRIPTURE OF THE
FOUNDING FATHERS OF WESTMINSTER
(SEMINARY)
--J. Gresham Machen
--Robert Dick Wilson
--O. T. Allis
--Cornelius Van Til
--John Murray

PART NINE: THE BIRTH OF BIBLICAL THEOLOGY
(at WESTMINSTER SEMINARY)
--Geerhardos Vox
--Ned B. Stonehouse
--Edmund Clowney
--Vern Poythress
--Moises Silva
--Richard Gaffin

PART TEN: THE AUTHORITY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
AND NEW TESTAMENT CANON OF SCRIPTURE
(AT WESTMINSTER SEMINARY)
--Edward J. Young
--Ned B. Stonehouse
--Richard Gaffin

PART ELEVEN: CHALLENGES TO THE REFORMED
DOCTRINE OF SCRIPTURE
--E. J. Young
--Sinclair Ferguson
--John Frame
--Raymond Dillard
--Bruce Waltke
--Peter Lillback

PART TWELVE: THE WESTMINSTER CONTROVERSY

PART THIRTEEN: CONCLUSIONS

This is no "ivory tower" dispute. This is no idle discussion by folks with too much time on their hands. I know what it is like growing up in a liberal denomination that has jettisoned confidence in Scripture and has nothing to say to a lost world. And the world has returned the favor by paying the church no mind.

The fate of Christ's church and the preaching of the gospel depends upon whether we have a sure Word of God. The churches of Europe were emptied in the late 19th century as the churches and preachers no longer believed "Thy Word is truth". Early 20th century Britain and modern America has seen the same things happen as denominations have lost 50 million adherents because their pulpits no longer blazed with "Thus sayest the Lord". When problems arise in Christian's lives today in these denominations, there is no longer a sure Word of God to turn to for answers.

Thank you Drs. Lillback and Gaffin and thank you to P & R for publishing so helpful a volume. May the Lord
bless it for the up-building of Christ's churches and the spread of the gospel.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin



Posted: 02:26:00 PM :: permalink :: discuss ::


CHRISTIANITY FOR THE 4TH OF JULY

06/25/2014

Christians, like most citizens, tend to think of their government when it is really frustrating and seemingly out of control. When Thomas Jefferson was elected in 1800 to the Presidency, evangelical Christians were openly despondent because Jefferson was known for his diminished view of Christ and the Bible. An open skeptic was now the 3rd President.

Christians today are frustrated and becoming afraid because Christianity's space in the public square is getting smaller and smaller. Will open persecution be far behind? Has Christianity come to the end of its run as the majority worldview of the western world? What world will our children and grand children grow up in?
Is our nation going down the same drain that so many other empires and once great nations went down?

Let me suggest some books about Christianity and politics and government. We are one of the few representative democracies left in the world and Christians can still speak up and they can still vote.
What, if anything, should Christians be going in government and politics? The following books give believers things to think about as they seek to put together some cogent thoughts on government.


Gary Scott Smith, GOD AND POLITICS (FOUR VIEWS
ON THE REFORMATION OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT);
P & R--Professor Scott's book has been around for about twenty years and is standing the test of time. Four major positions are championed by professing Christian authors. This is a good place to start.

Aurelius Augustine, THE CITY OF GOD-classic 5th
century argument that the Roman Empire fell
not because of the presence of Christians within
its borders (as the pagans alleged) but because of
the weight of its own sinfulness. There is the city
of God (inhabited by God's people) and the city of
man (that worldlings refuse to leave to fly to Christ)
and these two cities are ever in conflict until Christ
returns.

Wayne Grudem, POLITICS--ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE
(A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding
Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture);
Zondervan--a 660 page blockbuster of biblical
analysis of major issues and how government
should handle them. A major contribution by a
leading 21st century theologian.

A Christian Citizen, POLITICAL CHRISTIANITY: A CALL
TO ACTION; Tolle Legge Press--(from the books own
self-description--Our political situation is bleak: nation building, rising taxes, broken election promises, immoral legislation and legislators...the list goes on and on. But we've allowed thisto happen. For the last 150 years, throngs of American evangelicals have surrendered under the white flag of pietism, refusing to enter the "worldly" political arena. By default, Christians have allowed God and His word to be shut out of politics, enabling secularists to install a new western savior--the omnipotent state. Political Christianity is a manual to help establish a truly biblical approach to politics. Impressively thorough yet concise, this readable book covers a great deal: from political presuppositions to biblical principles of government. It even provides practical insight into the pesky "lesser-of-two-evils" voting dilemma."

John S. Hart, A BRIEF EXPOSITION OF THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES; Solid Ground Christian Books--a 19th century classic written to instruct young Americans about what the Constitution actually says.

Douglas Kelly, EMERGENCE OF LIBERTY IN THE
MODERN WORLD (The Influence of John Calvin on 5 Governments from the 16th though the 18th Centuries.); P & R--a classic that shows how 5 western democracies were impacted by John Calvin's theology and the social outworking of it.

Hunter Baker, A STUDENT'S GUIDE TO POLITICAL THOUGHT; Crossway--great place to begin to learn about politics and government and the Bible.

May the Lord guide you in your reading of the Bible and these books on God and government. May you be in prayer for our nation and its leaders. May God be merciful upon our sinful nation which has squandered its riches while rejecting the God who gave them the riches.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Come visit my website for more on books and good reading.

WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM and see also my new e-book, 21ST CENTURY COMMENTING ON COMMENTARIES.

Posted: 12:28:00 PM :: permalink :: discuss ::


WHEN YOUR HEART IS BREAKING

06/14/2014

Genesis 3 is the saddest chapter in the Bible and in all literature. It documents the Fall of our first parents into sin and in acorn form, all the other awful things that will happen in history on this planet are there. The best of parents try to shield their children from the realities of this fallen world but there comes a day when we all must face the hardships and heart aches of a sin-sick world under the judgment of God. And great hardships and heart aches produce great grief.

Christians are not immune from the terrible things that plague this world. Christians are struck down early with a terrible disease, their children die early from cancer, they lose jobs at critical junctures in their lives, and on top of these and countless other maladies, they are persecuted and martyred for their faith too. We would lose our sanity if we did not have a Savior who gently shepherds His needy sheep. His life on earth was full of heartaches and He was known as the 'man of sorrows'. He knows as only He can know what real heartache and misery are. He alone can fully sympathize with believers in their times of sorrow. 'Man of sorrows'--What a title for the Lord of glory!

Besides His indwelling Spirit to comfort and strengthen us, there is the reality that Christ intercedes for the saints in glory and His Father never says "No" to His Son. All who are Christ's will make it to glory. They are united to Him by His Spirit, they have the iron promises of His Word, and His pledge never to leave us nor forsake us.

Sadly for them unbelievers spurn their hopes of help by rejecting the Savior and thus rejecting their Shepherd, their Intercessor, their Pilot to see them through. Believers have resources undreamt of by unbelievers.

Some of Christ's best gifts to His church of suffering saints is the legacy left behind by saints who have suffered in the past and received the promised comfort from God (2nd Corinthians 1:3-11). They faithfully pass along to others what God has given to them. A comfort that stabilizes the mind, strengthens the will, makes glad the heart and puts a new song on the lips.

Below are some of Christ's best gifts to His people when they are undergoing affliction and heartache, suffering and agony. His Spirit comes alongside the suffering saint and steadies the breaking heart, strengthens that breaking heart, and brings fresh courage and joy to that breaking heart.



L. B. Cowman, STREAMS IN THE DESERT; Zondervan
A classic written by the wife of a missionary society who lost her husband early in her life and who herself faced many heartaches. This collection of daily readings was first published in 1926 and has been kept in print ever since because it is so good. A classic of comfort and peace to be read and reread many times. Highly recommended.

Sharon Betters, TREASURES IN DARKNESS; P & R
Sharon lost her son in an auto accident. This records her grief, pain, rage and struggle until finally settling down in the grace of God. When the fiery dart feels like a fiery harpoon, she has real and biblical help.

John Flavel, FACING GRIEF: COUNSEL FOR
MOURNERS; Banner of Truth--Puritan pastor/ theologian/counselor/author, Flavel excels at helping the believer deal with their grief AND NOT GIVE INTO EXCESSIVE GRIEF when the incident at hand does not become life defining. Highly recommended.

Donald Howard, CHRISTIANS GRIEVE TOO; Banner of
Truth booklet--Pastor Howard begins with the self-discovery that he was ready for his wife's passing, they had battled her cancer together for a decade. He was ready for her death. He was not ready for his own grief. This tells how he grieved and found help when it became too much.

James Packer, A GRIEF SANCTIFIED; Crossway--tells
the story of Puritan pastor Richard Baxter's grief at the loss of his dear wife and how he was helped to finally deal with it. A treasure by a past Puritan and a modern one.

Nancy Guthrie, HOLDING ON TO HOPE; Tyndale
Nancy Guthrie went through great loss and was at her wits end. What God taught her from His Word in the darkness she shares with us today. This awful thing need not be 'life-defining' but can be a means of growth in the grace and knowledge of God.

Nancy Guthrie, ONE YEAR BOOK OF HOPE; Tyndale
A daily devotional that helps the reader keep their eyes on Christ and His Word for a whole year.

Jerry Bridges, TRUSTING GOD (Even When Life Hurts);
NavPress--one could title this book, "Lessons I Learn Walking the Floor at Night While My Wife was Dying of Cancer". Jerry clearly and warmly shows that God is sovereign and nothing overcomes Him; God is omniscient and He misses nothing; He is holy and nothing sinful tempts Him to treat us badly and He is loving and all things work together for the good for those who are His. Meant to be savored and applied.
A real sanity saver!

Ronn Dunn, WHEN HEAVEN IS SILENT; Christian
Literature Crusade--on Thanksgiving Day, 1975, Ron and Kay Dunn's oldest son committed suicide. He confessed that that was the last good day he had for ten full years. And he was making his living as a conference speaker across the South and in other nations. He learned to stop asking the "Why?" questions and started asking the "What next?" questions. He learned that God prepared him for this great test and as any good teacher does, does not talk to the student when they are taking the test. You take the test and see what you have learned. Pastor Dunn reached the same conclusions as Jerry Bridges but walks longer in your shoes of misery before coming to the right answers.

May the God of all peace give you peace and joy again in believing.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Come Visit me at my website... www.thelogcollege.wordpress.com
...for more book info and to see my e-book, 21ST CENTURY COMMENTING ON COMMENTARIES.

Posted: 12:53:00 PM :: permalink :: discuss ::