The past two weeks I have tried to convince you that you need to read Francis Schaeffer. Every pastor, elder, and college student needs to read and digest Schaeffer. It will help you navigate through the culture and arrive safely at the other side. Though Schaeffer is dealing with ideas, books, plays, movies, art and culture issues that were rife in the 70's and 80's, they are still with us today even in a more entrenched form.
Where he said THEN that culture was going, he was right and it is here NOW. To understand how we got here, you need to read Schaeffer.
Today I wanted to go through Schaeffer's works and highlight what you will get out of each.
VOLUME ONE--A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF PHILOSOPHY
Book 1--THE GOD WHO IS THERE--analysis of the men, ideas, and cultural issues that have changed our nation over the past forty years.
Book 2--ESCAPE FROM REASON--ditto--or why post-modernism and "everything is relative" controls popular thinking today.
Book 3--HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT--how the Bible teaches we are to understand knowledge. How do we know what we know?
Book 4--BACK TO FREEDOM AND DIGNITY--the loss of the Christian worldview has meant the loss of what it means to be human and special before the Creator-God. We are now viewed as chance configuration of atoms with no meaning or purpose.
VOLUME TWO--A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF THE BIBLE
Book 1--GENESIS IN SPACE AND TIME--how all that we experience and know about reality is found in Genesis and how it must be read to be understood.
Book 2--NO FINAL CONFLICT--biblical interpretation and true science are not in conflict if they stay within their spheres.
Book 3--JOSHUA AND THE FLOW OF BIBLICAL
HISTORY--as the book of Acts connects the life and death of Christ to the apostles and epistles, so Joshua connects the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy) to the rest of the Bible.
Book 4--Basic Bible Studies--basics of the Christian life as interpreted through the grid of Francis Schaeffer.
Book 5--Art and the Bible--how to understand the gift of art through its proper biblical lens.
VOLUME THREE--A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF SPIRITUALITY
Book 1--NO LITTLE PEOPLE--a great book of sermons of which the first gives it s title to the book. Must reading for every Christian leader and worker. Clear and compelling biblical sermons on subject not always covered.
Book 2--TRUE SPIRITUALITY--the first book Schaeffer wrote but one of the last he published. He shares his own struggles as a young missionary pastor-husband-father-Christian who paid lip service to biblical doctrines but did not factor them into his life properly and how they ravaged his mind, heart, marriage, family and ministry until he came to grips with them.
Book 3--THE NEW SUPER-SPIRITUALITY--Schaeffer saw the 70's charismatic movement as a "new super-spirituality" that was unhealthy as well as unbiblical.
Book 4--TWO CONTENTS; TWO REALITIES--orthodoxy of doctrine must be paired with orthodoxy of community if we are to gain a hearing from the watching world. The world has had enough of talkianity--they want to see its reality lived out.
VOLUME FOUR--A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF THE CHURCH
Book 1--THE CHURCH AT THE END OF THE 20TH
CENTURY--Schaeffer's assessment of the needs and challenges facing the Christian churches.
Book 2--THE CHURCH BEFORE THE WATCHING WORLD
What the churches needed to do to gain back their credibility before the watching world.
Book 3--THE MARK OF THE CHRISTIAN--love for one another!
Book 4--DEATH IN THE CITY--what has happened in the 20th century to the church is like ancient Israel of Jeremiah's time (read Jeremiah 1-2).
Book 5--THE GREAT EVANGELICAL DISASTER--giving up inerrancy leaves the church without a sure base.
VOLUME FIVE--A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF THE WEST
Book 1--Pollution and the Death of Man--why there is an ecological crisis (dating back to the sins of Eden) and how Christianity is not to blame but autonomous man ("a law unto himself") is to blame.
Book 2--How Should We Then Live ?--the best overview of the last 2000 years of Christian history in the West and how ideas formed the culture we now live in.
Book 3--WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN
RACE ?--how abortion on demand and infanticide along with forced euthanasia of the elderly are the results of fallen man's wrong thinking.
Book 4--A CHRISTIAN MANIFESTO--a call to make a stand for Christ before it is too late.
Please read Francis Schaeffer. If you do not read him, plan not to "get" our culture. Missionaries going to a foreign country want to learn the language in order to communicate. Digest Francis Schaeffer helps you understand this culture you are trying to penetrate for Christ.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Visit WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for more book information and details on my new ebook,
COMMENTING AND COMMENTARIES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY.
Last week I told you that we were going to take an excursion into the works of Francis Schaeffer, the 20th century Presbyterian evangelist, apologist, author and founder of the L'Abri study centers around the world (Switzerland, Holland, England, the United States, et al).
I asked you to purchase his wife, Edith's, account of their early years, simply titled L'BRI (means THE SHELTER). You can learn about his growing up in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the working class part of south Philadelphia in a moral but unbelieving home. You can read about Edith growing up in China with Presbyterian missionaries as parents. You can read about Francis becoming interested in ideas, life, eternity and spirituality in late high school and subsequent conversion in reading in the Bible. You can learn about his college years, his matriculation at the young Westminster Theological Seminary and later transferring to Faith Seminary. You can read about his early pastorate in St. Louis and visiting Europe on behalf of his mission board to assess the spiritual needs of the war torn continent. You learn about their going to Switzerland, being forced to move because they were Protestants ministering in a Catholic canton (state). You can learn about their faith ministry and learning to trust God. You come to see L'Abri take shape as God shapes Francis and Edith Schaeffer. They were always a team. One observer noted that Edith'S hospitality and homemade cinnamon rolls won as many to Christ as Francis closely reasoned evangelism and apologetics!
Francis died in 1984; Edith died just last year in 2013. But their ideas and work live on in their books. (Edith was an author too--L'ABRI; AFFLICTION; THE HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING; THE TAPESTRY; LIFELINES; WHAT IS A FAMILY; CHRISTIANITY IS JEWISH; 10 THINGS PARENTS NEED TO TEACH THEIR CHILDREN; etc.)
I am having you read HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? next because it is fairly easy for a beginner to digest. His early books, THE GOD WHO IS THERE; ESCAPE FROM REASON; HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT, and BACK TO FREEDOM AND DIGNITY are more densely written. To make his ideas more readily available, he produced a movie (and later DVD series, HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?) which if you could purchase that (CVBBS.COM carries it) and watch it while reading the book, you would glean so much more understanding and application. It is like taking a helicopter ride over European and American history and philosophy (our way of thinking and looking at the world) from the 1st century to the 20th century. You can see how ideas came and went; ways of thinking changed and the culture changed with it. You can better see how and why we think the way we do at the beginning of the 21st century.
The book has art and photographs and charts to make things clearer. See why the Christian movement upset the thinking of the Roman Empire. Learn how the "Christianization" of Europe made for the Middle Ages. Learn about the rebirth of learning and the cry "Ad Fontes", back to the sources, that made the Renaissance a watershed in western intellectual history. Scholars went back to the original Greek and Roman works themselves rather than read Medieval discussions about them.
Learn about how the Renaissance set the stage for the rebirth of Christianity in the Reformation as Luther and Calvin knew their Bibles and the early church fathers better than the Catholic theologians. Read about how medieval thought caused a log jam in intellectual history that was broken up by the Reformation's return to the Bible as the source of authority and truth.
Schaeffer shows how the post-Reformation period gave rise to the Enlightenment--read "endarkment". Scholars in the West began to throw off the Bible as the source of final truth and placed man and his intellect on the throne as the supreme standard of truth and knowledge. It was not long before science, the handmaid of theology, threw off what it perceived to be the shackles of the Bible and struck out on its own, untethered by the Word of God. Scheaffer shows how science and philosophy began to have real problems because beginning with man himself, humanity could not come up with a way of knowing and seeing that worked and that was not destructive.
Schaeffer liked to use the example of the hundreds of small Roman hump backed bridges over streams and ditches all over Europe which stood for almost two millennia. They stood the test of time when it came to human road traffic and ox carts. But they were never designed to carry a modern 18 wheeled truck with its heavy loads. The bridges began to crumble and break apart under the great weight now being placed upon them. So the ideas and philosophies that rest upon man and man alone could not bear the weight of human life placed upon them. Modern philosophy and modern science began to break down under the stresses of their own arrogance.
Schaeffer, leaning on the work of Dutch Christian nd art critic, Hans Rookmaker, shows how ideas percolate down from the philosophers and educators to art, music, literature and cinema. Schaeffer is brilliant in showing how modern art, modern music, modern literature and modern cinema disseminated the ideas
of the philosophers and academics throughout western civilization.
Ideas have consequences. Western Society is the way it is because of the ideas spread throughout them by the "thinkers" and their disciples (the men and women who write and publish books, make movies, produce paintings and sculptures, make music and write novels. In reading Schaeffer one can come to understand how our nation changed from World War II until today. He even shows how the media often controls our perspective on reality by how it films and covers a story for the evening news.
Take the time, make the effort, turn off the TV and take out your earbuds and read HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE? and learn how we got into this mess and begin to pray that God would be merciful and changes multitudes of hearts before final judgment rains down upon us.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Visit me at WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM
He lectured and showed his movies in Indianapolis in 1976 and 1980. When not standing up front lecturing or proctoring his moves (HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE ? and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE ?), he sat in the front row next to his wife, Edith. My wife and I sat in the 2nd row and I was close enough to touch him. (But I did not.). But his work touched me deeply and permanently.
I never managed to screw up my courage to go and meet him. I was a young Christian student worker and he was the man who re-introduced me to the thought world of Western Civilization. I had studied philosophy and Western Civilization not that long ago in college. But there was no thinker or position that made himself or itself to seem to be true or compelling. I knew something of the lives and works of Kant, Leibnitz, Spinoza, Camus, Sartre and all the other big names in western thought, but I could never put their teachings and lives together and have them mean anything to me nor my world.
When I became a Christian in 1969 and had a year and a half of college left, the world began to make sense. Then coming to the doctrines of grace and the Reformed faIth in 1976, Christianity made sense. To use today's language, I learned the meta-narrative that made sense of everything. That is, I had an overarching way of making sense of not only the Bible but the history of mankind and that included western intellectual history.
Francis Schaeffer had become my teacher during 1974-76. After college, I read little that was substantial or mind-expanding. I had 12 books on my bookshelf and my co-workers thought that I was becoming an intellectual! Such was student ministry in the 1970's. But then the name and impact of Francis Schaeffer began to make itself known and I determined I needed to read what this man had to say. As I lay on my sofa each evening trying to read this new author with new words ("true truth", "the mannishness of man", "lower story", "upper story", et al.) and concepts I had forgotten since college (epistemology cosmology, nihilism, existentialism, et al.) I literally got a headache! My brain had gotten lazy and I had not stretched it for years and now it was responding to an author who was opening the world of thought to me. It was thrilling and head-aching at the same time.
It was not long before reading Schaeffer was not a chore nor a headache. And it remained exhilarating and educational. I grew to understand the world I lived in and moved in and had my being in. Schaeffer was a Presbyterian minister turned missionary to Europe turned apologist/evangelist to thousands of disoriented students who visited his little cluster of homes and dorms in a Swiss village so small it did not appear on most maps. But God drew the people there and they came to see two things demonstrated. First, there was Christian love worked out in warm hospitality and respect for others. Next there was the evening discussions and daily lectures, interspersed with working around the place, which opened to these students the wonders of Christianity, the gospel and why the world was the way that it was!
Hundreds of students became Christians and had their lives and outlook on the world changed forever.
While Francis Schaeffer did not coin the term "worldview", his works made the term a household term for reading Christians and taught us what it meant and why it was important. One cannot be a missionary unless one understands the language and thought forms of the people and culture you are seeking to reach with the gospel. So 21st century Christians cannot understand and reach the people of today without some understanding of how people think and what they understand. Francis Schaeffer, though he died in 1984, lives on in his writings.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will try to introduce you to the man and his teachings on Christianity, the Bible, the thought world of modern man and how it works itself out in daily life, motion pictures, art, music, drama, views of the unborn and the elderly, etc. You will learn about hot to put ambition to death, how to listen to music, how to view art, how ti discern the tragic weaknesses of the thinkers who have told us to listen to them and follow their ideas.
And you will come to see, perhaps for the first time, how only biblical Christianity, expressed in the evangelical and Reformed faith, makes sense of the Bible, the world and your life.
To begin, you will need to purchase two books:
L'ABRI by Edith Scheaffer--tells the story of how they met and married, went into the gospel ministry, and ended up in Switzerland with a ministry to students that eventually reached around the world. Shows their human side, living by faith in the promises of God, learning to trust God as they sought to peel back the layers of wrong thinking and show the truthfulness of the Bible and its realistic answers.
HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE ? by Francis Schaeffer
(available as an audio CD or as a paperback book). This is perhaps the simplest way into the works of Scheaffer and he works hardest to explain terms and use illustrations (and photos) to make his points come alive.
In later weeks, we shall look at other of his works and if you like what you read, save up and buy his complete works in 5 volumes from Crossway. (Thank you, Crossway, for keeping these volumes in print.) They are gold.
So, next week we will begin a several week excursion into the life and ministry and writings of Francis (and Edith) Schaeffer and if you stay with me, you will grow as a Christian and more effective tool in the hands of your Savior.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit me at my website,
As I have said in earlier BLOGS, I do not find great help in devotional books as a daily diet. I prefer to read the Scriptures and books of substance and then pray over them and think about them.
But I do use devotional books for my wife and I when we have our devotional time together. We each have our personal devotions at length each morning. But in the evenings we have them together (or during 'crunch time", we might have them anytime). At such times, certain "devotional books" have proven helpful.
For one thing, it is better that I not be the teacher all the time and share the "pearls of wisdom and deep spirituality" that flow from my being (hyperbole). In short, it is better that I too am under the teaching of the Word and not always in the position of being the perpetual teacher who had nothing to learn with my hearers.
So I read aloud the works of others and we discuss them and pray over them together. I have found the following very good.
FOR EVERYDAY READING:
Charles Spurgeon, MORNING AND EVENING; edited
by Alistair Begg; Crossway--this edition has the
advantage of being in updated English and it reads
more smoothly to modern ears. Faithful to the
Scriptures and Spurgeon. Very good. Since we only
read together at night, we can choose which
reading we want for that day.
Jerry Bridges, HOLINESS DAY BY DAY; NavPress--
very helpful readings by the best communicator
of Reformed theology for laymen in America--and
one of my personal heroes!
Richard Rushing, ed.; VOICES FROM THE PAST
(Puritan Devotional Readings); Banner of Truth--
great selection of readings from the cream of the
DAILY READINGS DURING HARD, DARK TIMES:
Charles Spurgeon, BESIDE STILL WATERS; edited by
Roy Clarke; Thomas Nelson--great selection of
Spurgeon to quiet and strengthen the soul during
the darkest of times
L. B. Cowan, STREAMS IN THE DESERT; Zondervan--
one of the most cherished devotional books by
those who are in a desert time in their lives. If you
or a loved one are going through it right now, both
this book and Spurgeon's would be advisable
reading to keep your head and heart above water.
Nancy Guthrie, ONE YEAR BOOK OF HOPE; Tyndale--
a grieving wife and mother found solace for her
soul and shares it day by day. Highly
recommended by those who have used it.
There are many other devotional books available, some better than others. There are books that take you through a particular author (Martin Luther, John Calvin, Martyn Lloyd-Jones) or sub-group (like the Puritans) that you can use. I wanted to share with you the ones I have found personally most beneficial.
May the Lord bless your devotional times with Him, your spouse, and/or your family.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit my website for more "book things" at:
WHY BOTHER TO STUDY THE BOOK OF REVELATION ?
What do you do with a book that promises a blessing just for reading it, even though you don't
understand it all. (Answer: Read it!) In an age when some can speak with confidence about the ten toes of the beast but not understand how the Ten Command-ments of God function today, or cannot explain justification by faith alone in Christ alone, these works shine as lights in the darkness.
INTRODUCTORY WORKS (Suitable for self-study, small group studies, Sunday School or campus studies)
Geoffrey Wilson, REVELATION; Banner of Truth--fine
place for beginners to study.
Matthew Henry, REVELATION (Crossway Classic
Commentary Series); edited and modernized by
Packer and McGrath. [Henry died when when
commenting on Acts and this along with every-
thing after Acts was done by Puritan peers. Still
Derek Thomas, LET'S STUDY REVELATION; Banner of
Truth--Both a Pastor and a Professor Thomas is
always good and this is a good series to be good in!
Leon Morris, THE REVELATION (Tyndale New
Testament Commentary Series); IVP--one of the
very best in the whole series--thorough, clear,
Richard Bewes, THE LAMB WINS! (A Guided Tour
Through The Book of Revelation); Christian Focus--
D.A. Carson highly recommends Bewes ability to
make the central theme clear and relevant.
Paul Gardner, REVELATION (The Compassion and
Protection of Christ); Christian Focus--Former
seminary lecturer and now pastor, Dr. Gardner
gives us beginners real help.
Michael Wilcock, THE MESSAGE OF REVELATION (The
Bible Speaks Today); IVP--very helpful treatment.
J. Ramsey Michaels, REVELATION (IVP New Testament
Commentary); IVP--one of the very best in this
series. Michaels understands how to treat and
Vern Poythress, THE RETURNING KING (A Guide to
the Book of Revelation); P & R--a helpful
introduction to the "recapitulation" view of
Amillenialism, popularized by William Hendrickson's
MORE THAN CONQUERORS.
Jay Adams, THE TIME IS AT HAND (Prophecy and the
Book of Revelation); Timeless Texts
INTERMEDIATE LEVEL HELPS ON REVELATION (for those who want to go deeper and gather more details and theology)
Marvin Pate, ed., FOUR VIEWS OF THE BOOK OF
REVELATION; Zondervan--contributions by partial-
preterist (Kenneth Gentry); Idealist/Amillenial
(Sam Hamstra); Progressive Dispensationalist
(Marvin Pate) & Classical Dispensationalist (Robert
Steve Gregg, ed., REVELATION: FOUR VIEWS, A
PARALLEL COMMENTARY; Thomas Nelson--surveys
historicist, preterist, futurist and ideal (amillenial)
William Hendrickson, MORE THAN CONQUERORS;
Baker Books (partial preterist amillenial)
Dennis Johnson, TRIUMPH OF THE LAMB (A
Commentary on Revelation); P. & R. --a fine
commentary with just enough details but not
enough to get really bogged down.
Craig Keener, REVELATION (NIV Application
Commentary); Zondervan--excellent help
for the communicator here. I am very keen about
Keener's work (Sorry, but I had to say it some
time. He is a very good evangelicaL scholar!)
Simon Kistemaker, REVELATION; Baker (amillenial)--
great on theology for the teacher.
Robert Mounce, REVELATION (NEW INTERNATIONAL
COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT);
Eerdmans (historical pre-millenial)
Alan Johnson, REVELATION (Expositors Bible
Commentary: Revised); Zondervan--a good
handling of Revelation in a small space. (Historical
George Ladd, REVELATION; Eerdmans (historical
George R. Beasley-Murray, REVELATION; Eerdmans
Phillip E. Hughes, THE BOOK OF REVELATION (PILLAR
COMMENTARY; Eerdmans (amillenial)
Mark Wilson, CHARTS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION
(Literary, Historical and Theological Perspectives);
James B. Ramsey, REVELATION (Geneva Commentary
Series); Banner of Truth--stopped by the author's
early death, it only covers the first eleven chapters.
Charles Hodge and Charles Spurgeon both liked
what they read. Hmmmm.
Andrew Fuller, "Expository Discourses on the Book of
Revelation", THE COMPLETE WORKS OF ANDREW
FULLER (3 vol.); Sprinkle Publications-- or one
volume, edited by Michael Haykin, Banner of Truth.
There are larger and more detailed commentaries (e.g. Greg Beale's REVELATION (New International Greek Commentary Series) and expositions (e.g. A. James Hamilton, REVELATION (The Spirit Speaks To The Churches) [Preach the Word Series]; Crossway--Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor/ pastor shows how we might preach Revelation to folks today.)
You should have enough to keep you busy and keep you in Revelation for some time.
May the Lord bless your studies.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit my website for more book and spiritual info:
Wow! How's that for promotion bordering on hyperbole! But I am dead serious. Reading the right things with the right attitude can truly change your life forever.
How does this happen? God the Holy Spirit uses the reading of the right books, on top of reading your Bible and hearing your pastor's sermons (with a humble, teachable attitude) as means to transform your mind.
Paul urges Christians to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1-2). Proverbs says that "as a man thinks in his heart, so he is". The mind is the captain of the soul. It is meant to guide and lead the believer. The informed mind enflames the heart. And the informed mind and enflamed heart move the will. Ideas really do have consequences, for good or for ill.
Some of you may already be wondering why I am not recommending "devotional books". Well, I whole-heartedly agree with C. S. Lewis that reading a book of biblical or systematic theology or applied theology with a pencil in one's hand (to take notes) and a pipe between one's teeth (optional in light of the Surgeon General's warnings about tobacco smoke) was the best way to grow and learn and be transformed by reading. Reading a "devotional book" may aim for your feelings (and a bit of your will) but by-pass your mind and only give you momentary feelings ("a quiver in the liver") and fleeting commitments rather that deeper transformation.
I challenge you to humbly, prayerfully read the following books in 2014 and see if you are not transformed in the process.
A YEAR'S WORTH OF READING FOR LAYMEN:
1. Geoff Thomas, THE SURE WORD OF GOD;
Reformation Heritage--a great primer on the Word
of God and its rightful place in our hearts and our
lives and our churches.
2. David Clodfelter, SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF A
GOOD GOD (Reconciling Divine Judgment and
Mercy) ; Moody Press--the author, a pastor,
explains how he came to see and embrace what
the Scriptures teach on the plight of all mankind
and the gracious God who sovereignly saves sinners.
A sweet and gracious presentation of biblical
3. Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington, THE GREAT
EXCHANGE (My Sin For His Righteousness);
Crossway--the great popularizer of Reformed
theology for laymen tracks the doctrine of
justification by faith alone by Christ alone through
the New Testament epistles. Sinclair Ferguson's
Forward is worth the price of the book!
4. Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington, THE BOOKENDS
OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE; Crossway--takes the
above cited book and applies it to everyday life
along with the power of God the Holy Spirit to
transform the believer. Ought to be mastered by
5. Geoffrey Thomas, THE HOLY SPIRIT; Reformation
Heritage Books--who He is and what He does and
why you should know this material thoroughly.
6. Jerry Bridges, THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE;
NavPress--shows what Christ did in His atonement
and its everyday applications which are so profound.
Should be mastered by every professing Christian,
laymen or pastor!
7. Kevin DeYoung, THE HOLE IN OUR HOLINESS;
Crossway--think of this book as an updating of
Jerry Bridges' THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS but
in more contemporary idiom. A fine book on the
subject that remaining, indwelling sin would never
have us study!
8. Paul Miller, A PRAYING LIFE (Connecting with God
in a Distracting World); NavPress--one of the half
dozen best books on prayer that exist. And the
seminar which you can bring to your church is
outstanding--think of it as jumper cables for a
cold heart! Imagine studying prayer that does
not so much produce guilt as it produces prayer!
9. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION: ITS
CAUSE AND CURES; Eerdmans--THE CLASSIC
WORK on why Christians get down and sidelined
and how to regain spiritual health. A masterpiece!
10. Jerry Bridges, TRUSTING GOD (Even When Life
Hurts); NavPress--the first treatment (in the 20th
century in English) and for my money the best
and most practical book on the providence
of God (the hand of the sovereign God in the
glove of my circumstances). A true sanity saver!
11. S. M. Houghton, SKETCHES FROM CHURCH
HISTORY; Banner of Truth--imagine a history
book that you will read, understand and enjoy!
It even has many excellent pictures and photos.
What happened to Christ's church after the death
of Christ's Apostles? How did we get from Paul to
today? Here's the best place to start.
12. Ted Donnelly, THE BIBLE'S TEACHING ON
HEAVEN AND HELL; Banner of Truth--contains
the most thrilling and the most sober thoughts
you may ever think! Heaven is seen to be
amazingly wonderful and hell is seen to be
unthinkably terrible. Such will be the reality for
the sheep and the goats at the end of time.
A YEAR'S WORTH OF READING FOR THE PASTOR:
1. Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson, eds.;
FALLEN: A THEOLOGY OF SIN; Crossway--
Presbyterian and Baptist theologians give us one
of the best treatments in print about sin--what it
is, where it came from, what it does, etc. Proper
diagnosis precedes faithful application of the cure!
2. Matthew Barrett, SALVATION BY GRACE (The Case
for Effectual Calling and Regeneration); P & R--
if God did not elect and call sinners there would be
no salvation. Revisit why the grace of God is
absolutely necessary if anyone is to be saved.
3. Robert Peterson, SALVATION BY THE SON (The
Work of Christ); Crossway--fall in love with the
Savior all over again!
4. David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson, eds.; FROM
HEAVEN HE CAME AND SOUGHT HER (Definite
Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological and
Pastoral Perspective); Crossway--for now THE
DEFINITIVE TREATMENT of definite or limited
atonement. Why its too simple to say: He got
what He paid for!
5. Mark Jones, ANTINOMIANISM (Reformed Theology's
Unwelcome Guest ?); P & R--what are the various
manifestations of antinomianism in history and
today and why they are exhibit a profound loss or
misunderstanding of the work of Christ.
6. Carl Trueman, THE CREEDAL IMPERATIVE;
Crossway--written for non-creedal churchmen
but still very applicable to churchmen from
confessional churches who don't quite get it.
As my church history professor said at the
beginning of our first church history class at an
evangelical seminary: "Arminians always go
liberal first--they are already down the road to
giving up the gospel" (paraphrase). And find out
why confessional Calvinistic churches are the devil's
keenest objectives to overthrown!
7. Brian Vickers, JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE THROUGH
FAITH (Finding Freedom from Legalism,
Lawlessness, Pride and Despair); P & R--just what
the title says. Do I believe these precious truths?
Do I practice these precious truths? Do I preach
these precious truths?
8. G. K. Beale, WE BECOME WHAT WE WORSHIP (A
Biblical Theology of Idolatry); IVP--THE DEFINITIVE
BOOK on how idolatry dishonors God, deceives
God's people and ruins men's lives!
9. Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson, eds.; THE
GLORY OF GOD; Crossway--a stellar selection of
noted scholars shows what the Bible teaches about
the glory of God and its personal, pastoral and
missional applications. You know the verse: "For all
have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"
(Romans 3:23). What does it mean?
10. Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson, eds.;
THE KINGDOM OF GOD; Crossway--again, the
editors give us gold as they gather several
Presbyterian and Baptist and free church scholars
to look at what Christ came to establish and which
requires the new birth to enter.
11. Kenneth Stewart, TEN MYTHS ABOUT CALVINISM
(Recovering the Breadth and Width of the
Reformed Tradition); IVP--confronts and confutes
four myths that Calvinists should not be
circulating, but are and six myths non-Calvinists
should not be circulating, but are. A very
important book for Calvinists and non-Calvinists
12. TWO SMALL PAPERBACKS COUNT AS ONE BOOK
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, AUTHORITY (of Christ, of the
Scriptures and of the Holy Spirit); Banner of Truth
a unique book of just three chapters. The authority
of the Lord Christ, the authority of His Word, the
Bible, and the authority of God the Holy Spirit
which He gives to preachers and churches (and
which can be lost). Ought to be read annually by
all church leaders!
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, THE PLIGHT OF MAN AND THE
POWER OF GOD; Eerdmans (Forward by Mark
Dever); Preached in Scotland to divinity school
students during World War II, Dr. Lloyd-Jones
shows fallen man's condition in Romans 1 and the
only cure according to the Word of God. This too
ought to be read annually by church officers!
May the God of all grace meet with you this year and transform you more and more into the likeness of Christ.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Visit me at my website for more information about
books, God and the glory of belonging to Christ:
It is a couple of days before Christmas and not even UPS is going to get your gifts to you in two days in this chaotic and cluttered time of the year. So I am recommending that you plan now to get your pastor or pastoral intern or seminary student or assistant pastor a gift in 2014. Why would I do this when you are thinking of ways to be creative to pay for your 2013 Christmas buying?
There are two reasons you should give your pastor (or one of the other men mentioned above) a good gift in 2014.
The first is that you owe so much to this man, your pastors, under God. We don't often see or think this. Why? American Christians, steeped in individualism and humming Frank Sinatra (or Elvis) singing, "I Did It My Way" (which by the way is the # 1 song on the jukebox in hell) have it backward in the following sense. Christianity is not about us. Christianity is about God and the Being that He is in Three-Fold Unity. Christianity is not about us BUT it includes us. We think our private devotional time with God is most important and the Sunday services of the gathered church are but icing on the cake. This is backwards. According to the New Testament (and the Reformers and the Puritans), the meeting of the gathered church on the Lord's Day is even more important than our private devotions. Why? In a faithful church. there is the preaching of the Word of God by a man called by God for just this purpose and also equipped by God to do it! The average layman is not going to see as much in his/her Bible as a called and gifted and trained pastor. On the whole, the faithful layman with their private devotional time does not as see as much of the riches of the Word of God as the faithful pastor. Nor will the truths be brought to bear on the hearts and lives of the all the saints as the faithful pastor will bring the Word to bear.
Second, the New Testament teaches that faithful pastor-teachers are God's good gift to His churches (Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 13:17). One way to express your faith and trust in God is to thank Him for the good gifts He gives to you, as you become aware of them (James 1:17). And surely one of his best gifts is a faithful pastor. He has probably spent years getting training to go along with his calling from God to be a shepherd of souls. He has spent tens of thousands of dollars getting trained in seminary for his calling--money that will not be repaid to him in this life. A faithful man thinks about you and prays for you during the week--not just when you have a crisis. Your understanding of God and His eternal purposes and where you fit in as a faithful churchman are so colored and filled in by your faithful pastor.
Having given faithful pastors a plug, let me give you some truly helpful and edifying books that you can give to your pastor (or other men in training).
Bryan Chappell, ed.; THE HARDEST SERMONS YOU
WILL EVER HAVE TO PREACH; Zondervan--25 sermons on the toughest situations one will face in the ministry at a funeral by many of the top evangelical and Reformed preachers today. A goldmine for the faithful shepherd. Awful things can happen in this fallen world and preachers are expected to bring the Word of God to bear upon them at funerals. A great idea faithfully carried out.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, AUTHORITY (of Jesus Christ, of
the Scriptures, and of the Holy Spirit); Banner of
Truth--the greatest preacher of the 20th century
shows in three short chapters where "authority"
in the pulpit comes from, how a preacher has it or
doesn't have it, how it is lost and how it is regained
Should be read every year by every minister of the
gospel ! It is an altogether unique book.
Michael Haykin, THE REFORMERS AND PURITANS AS
SPIRITUAL MENTORS; Joshua Press--Professor
Haykin has a heart for the church and the
academy. He teaches at The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary in Louisville. He teaches
Church History and Christian Spirituality. He is
rightly concerned to understand how Christians
relate to their God and how this relationship is
carried out. This book shows various Refomers and
Puritans and what they can teach the humble and
William Tyndale--father of the English Bible,
Thomas Cranmer--setting forth Christ's glory,
John Calvin--praising the Father, Son, H.S,
John Knox and James Ussher--regeneration and
Richard Greenham--Puritan soul care,
Oliver Cromwell--secret refreshment,
John Owen--teaching biblical piety,
Richard Baxter--how to grieve the loss of your
beloved wife and
John Bunyan--prayer in the Holy Spirit.
And the King James Bible can teach us too.
A most valuable book.
Iain H. Murray, HEROES; Banner of Truth--much
like the above mentioned book by Haykin, this book
both stirs the soul and instructs the teachable.
Valuable for ministers and missionaries and the
reading Christian. Some of Murray's heroes are
somewhat familiar to you, but some I bet you
never heard of. Heaven will be full of people like
the unsung pastors and missionaries Murray alerts
Arthur Bennett, THE VALLEY OF VISION; Banner of Truth--a priceless collection of Puritan and Evangelical Awakening preachers and pastors' prayers put in the form of a devotional. And what a devotional! Acclaimed by all and in three formats: paperback for yourself and leather to give as a gift. And audio CD's to listen to in the car--for yourself on the way to work and for your pastor too.
May the Lord give you discernment as to how much good you have gained from the gifted men he has put in your life and may you be big hearted and generous in giving them a lasting gift of thanksgiving.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit me at my website with other material on books and lots of devotional encouragements for pastors and elders and engaged laymen
At mid-20th century, no pastor or Christian leader was more quotable than Vance Havner. And one quote of his that lives on is "evan-gelly fish". That was his term for professing Christians, especially so-called "evangelicals" who had no doctrine and there for no skeleton for their body and therefore were formless like a jellyfish. Christians without a doctrinal skeleton are truly "evangellyfish"--formless beings without any shape or backbone.
The Christianity to be communicated on Sunday is not warm stories with a Monday morning take-away point! Of all the religions of the world, Christianity is the only one based on historical events and their factuality and truthfulness. Since the truthful Bible teaches in small books, with chapters and paragraphs and sentences, then it can be read and studied and known. These Bible truths, stated as propositions in a larger narrative, can be studied and arranged and put together in an over-arching paradigm--we call such works "systematic theology" books and articles and such.
We are blessed today with some wonderful introductory systematic works of theology for laymen to gain a foothold and busy pastors to check themselves for a quick review. It's not too late this Christmas shopping season to buy for those you care about a work of systematic theology and get it by Christmas.
Check these works out and give them away!
Sinclair Ferguson, THE CHRISTIAN LIFE: A DOCTRINAL
INTRODUCTION; Banner of Truth--suitable for high
school, college and lay readers, study groups, Sun-
day School classes--this is a fine piece of work by
one of our best contemporary theologians.
J. C. Ryle, OLD PATHS; Banner of Truth--theology for
the man or woman in the street who wants to know
the basics of Christianity and have it presented in a
straight-forward, warm-hearted way. Try it and see !
Ryle is always pure gold.
James Montgomery Boice, FOUNDATIONS OF THE
CHRISTIAN FAITH; IVP--one of the great Reformed
communicators of the 20th century gave us a
fantastic sermon series covering all the basics of the
Christian faith. (I know of at least one seminary
graduate of one of our large evangelical seminaries
who did not have an over-arching theology until he
read this book--after graduation! Used by man
study groups and highly recommended.
Bruce Milne, KNOW THE TRUTH (A HANDBOOK OF
CHRISTIAN BELIEF); IVP--similar to Boice above
only this is a handbook (brief when it could be
expansive) and not a sermon series. It is also Baptist
where such points matter as opposed to Boice's
Presbyterian positions. Milne was professor at
Spurgeon's College and then the much used pastor
of 1st Baptist Church of Vancouver, B.C. Here he
covers all the basic points of systematic theology in
highly digestible manner with excellent suggestions
for further reading.
James Packer, CONCISE THEOLOGY; Tyndale
Publishers--originally written as the theology notes
in the square boxes of the NEW GENEVA STUDY
BIBLE (later renamed the REFORMATION STUDY
BIBLE), these short chapters are models of
compressed excellence. Should be at hand for every
teacher and preacher to check himself on points of
theology. Highly recommended.
James Packer, 18 WORDS; Christian Focus--originally
published as GOD'S WORDS, Packer wrote this to
show us how to study biblical words in the Bible!
Words studies have been carried out for some time
but not always with biblical wisdom and according to
the tenets of biblical interpretation. These 18
WORDS are great examples and worthy of mastering
if one is to know one's Bible.
John Dagg, MANUAL OF THEOLOGY; Sprinkle
Publications--the first writing Southern Baptist
theologian, Dagg was simple, clear, warm-hearted
and Christ-loving. What's not to like about that?
How I wish Southern Baptists had not lost Dagg's
theology since the 1850's!
Archibald Alexander, BRIEF COMPENDIUM OF BIBLE
TRUTH; Solid Ground Christian Books--another 19th
century gem rescued from obscurity by Solid Ground
Christian Books. Alexander was the first President of
Princeton Seminary and as a pastor had seen revival
in his churches in Virginia. A warm-hearted
introduction to theology.
May our Lord give you strong convictions and a greater love for your Savior as you read, think about, pray over and grow in the truth of the Scriptures.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit me at my Blog for more book info:
With shopping time for Christmas giving coming quickly to an end, some of us have still not found the right gift for some people. Why not give them a book?
I know, you think not everybody reads books. Well, if you choose the right kind of book for that person, it will get read, even if they are not a reader. But the right book may help them become a reader when they discover that reading good books impacts your life and builds you up.
Let me cut to the chase and recommend books for different people on your list. (Books are easy to wrap, convenient in size and can pack a wallop.)
BOOKS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE ESTABLISHED IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST:
Iain Murray, EVANGELICAL HOLINESS; Banner of Truth--what a treat savoring this latest title from one of our best authors. Six sermons given over the year are put into print that can speak to each seasoned believer. A great gift for pastors, elders and deacons and long time believers.
BOOKS FOR CHRISTIAN LEADERS:
Garry Williams, SILENT WITNESSES; Banner of Truth--a dozen chapters on some of the great people and events in church history and how they can still impact us today. Each chapter stretched me and moved me. Current application is made using the best of God's people over the centuries to teach us today.
BOOKS FOR MEN OF ALL AGES WHO WILL READ:
Laura Hillenbrand, UNBROKEN (A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption); Waterbrook
Press--A national celebrity athlete from the wrong side of the tracks finds himself in a B-24 bomber spiraling out of control and into the Pacific Ocean, afloat on a small two man raft with two other men for 46 days without food or water--and then things get really nasty! They are rescued by the Japanese!! Men and women readers can't put this book down. Give it to men on your list and it will get read!
Dave Harvey, RESCUING AMBITION; Crossway--give this to the men on your list, the college students, the twenty-somethings and let them wrestle with the truth! This can have a profound influence on a men's study group or a collegian study group. AMBITION is not a dirty word if our ambitions are right. Read it and find out.
BOOKS FOR CHRISTIANS WHO ARE NOT "RADICAL":
Matt Redmond, THE GOD OF THE MUNDANE; Kalos Press--earlier in the year I strongly promoted this book because it is so important and its subject matter is overlooked or outrightly denied by some popular pulpits today. God is NOT calling all Christians to be radical, risk taking, extreme Christians. He is calling all Christians to be faithful to their calling as Christian husbands and Christian wives, Christian bankers and Christian plumbers, Christian homemakers and Christian factory workers, Christian students and Christian mechanics. Read it the first time for the shock value and the second time for its important content. Give it to friends who are tired of the Christian hype and steroid induced views of Christian Navy seals.
Jerry Bridges, THE BOOKENDS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE; Crossway--very simply Jerry Bridges shows you that there are two minimal things you must know to advance in your Christian life--the imputed righteousness of Christ to the believer AND the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to change your life into Christ-like holiness. (Pastor, your people would all read this book and you used Jerry's other book, THE GREAT EXCHANGE: MY SIN FOR HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, you could have a dynamite teaching combination!) Really helps believers avoid failing despair or triumphalistic pride.
FOR THE SERIOUS CHRISTIAN WHO WANTS TO GROW
Kevin DeYoung, THE HOLE IN OUR HOLINESS; Crossway--taking his cues from the classic Christian treatments of the past, Pastor DeYoung brings John Owen, James Packer, Jerry Bridges, John Murray and repackages them for the 21st century and the young, restless and Reformed crowd.
Iain Hamilton, THE FAITH SHAPED LIFE; Banner of Truth--eighteen short chapters about what faith looks like in everyday life. Very edifying reading.
BOOK FOR A CHRISTIAN WHO IS STRUGGLING:
Charles Spurgeon, BESIDE STILL WATERS; Thomas Nelson--365 devotions for believers who need to be encouraged, strengthened, pointed to Christ. A book every family ought to read through together at some time or another.
May the Lord keep your heart stayed on Him who is your life. May He be more precious to you in the New Year. May your gift books change lives.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit my website for more book and devotional information:
"Work while it is still day for the night comes when no man can work". So teaches our Lord. Do we believe that? Certainly our Lord knew that in A.D. 70, the curtain was going to come down on Israel and the nation would be destroyed, its capitol city, Jerusalem, and its temple torn down, stone by stone. Its people would be scattered for almost two thousand years. So our Lord's teaching that we ought to work when the opportunity is available. It may not always be opportune.
So this is my exhortation to buy the best books while they are available. Even if you do not read every one of your books right away, perhaps a time is coming in the not too distant future when Christian books will not be available, or purchasing new ones will be illegal. Not only do you want a stash of good books available to read for the long nights of winter, but you want to hand down to your children the best books for their heart and soul.
People ask me if I have read every book in my library. I tell them that I have read some of them twice or more! (But that is a humorous evasion.) I then tell them that a pharmacist does not take every pill on his shelves but he knows why they are there if he needs them! Some books are for reference. Some books are for study. Some books are for enjoyable reading. All books should be for your edification and upbuilding in the Lord.
So with these reminders and exhortations, let me recommend some of the new books that you should give to others and to own yourself.
BOOKS ON DOCTRINAL CHRISTIANITY:
John MacArthur, STRANGE FIRE--Thomas Nelson--
see last week's blog for a full review of this
Iain Murray, EVANGELICAL HOLINESS--Banner of
Truth--classic articles from the pen of the
founder of the Banner of Truth, grouped together
by the theme of "evangelical holiness".
David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson, eds.; FROM
HEAVEN HE CAME AND SOUGHT HER (Definite
Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological and
Pastoral Perspective); Crossway--an event to be
celebrated and a book to be consumed and
preached and a Triune God to be loved! Buy one
for yourself, one for your church's library and one
for your pastor! A book of major importance.
David C. Calhoun, ed.; PLEADING FOR A
REFORMATION VISION (The Life and Selected
Writings of William Childs Robinson); Banner of
Truth--a star of the southern Presbyterian
church that needs to shine brighter in our day.
Thomas Nettles, LIVING BY REVEALED TRUTH (The
Preached and Lived Theology of Charles
Spurgeon); Christian Focus--to be treasured and
savored by Baptists and all who loved sovereign
grace! A definitive work on Spurgeon's theology.
Joel Beeke and William Boekenstein, WHY CHRIST
CAME (13 Meditations on the Incarnation);
Reformation Heritage--a month's worth of
reading and contemplation for believers and
thought starters for busy pastors.
John Frame, SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (An
Introduction to Christian Belief); P & R--a long
awaited systematic theology by one of America's
most gifted and industrious Presbyterian
Peter Lillback and Richard Gaffin, eds; THY WORD IS
STILL TRUTH (Essential Writings on the Doctrine
of Scripture From the Reformation to Today);
P & R--a goldmine for you, your pastor and your
Joel Beeke and Derek Thomas, eds.; THE HOLY
SPIRIT AND REFORMED SPIRITUALITY (A Tribute
to Geoffrey Thomas); Reformation Heritage--
some of today's best men come together to
honor Baptist pastor and peripatetic preacher
Geoff Thomas of Wales. All who have heard him
preach or all who know him personally will want
to read and savor this volume. Congratulations
NEW COMMENTARIES FOR YOUR PERSONAL LIBRARY, CHURCH LIBRARY OR PASTOR:
Daniel Estes, JOB (Teach The Text Series); Baker
veteran evangelical Old Testament scholar gives
today's church a fresh treatment of the classic
study of suffering and the inscrutable will of God
R. T. France, LUKE (Teach the Text Series); Baker--
Veteran New Testament scholar and defender of
our Lord gives us a fresh look at Luke's account
of our Lord. (Dr. France also has commentaries
on Matthew and Mark which are excellent.)
BOOKS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED BUT SHOULD NOT
Michael Haykin, ed.; THE WORKS OF ANDREW
FULLER; Banner of Truth--this massive oversized
1015 paged volume is the first one volume
edition of the works of Fuller and a boon to
Baptists wishing to reconnect with their
Calvinistic heritage. Fuller helped Baptists out of
a hyper-Calvinistic mire and into the full light of
gospel grace. His impact on William Carey and
Charles Spurgeon was great and they hugely
appreciated his work.
THE ESV GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION STUDY BIBLE;
Crossway--If you appreciate your NEW GENEVA
STUDY BIBLE (later reissued as the
REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE) or your ESV STUDY
BIBLE, you will like this attempt to have
evangelical and Reformed pastors and scholars
write comments on each book of the Bible and
how the gospel of the grace of God in Christ can
be seen in each book of the Bible. And when
seen, it is meant to be enjoyed and applied and
THE ESV GLOBAL STUDY BIBLE; Crossway--this new
edition of the ESV Study Bible is geared for
internationals who read English. The study notes
on the text are unchanged but the introductions
to the books of the Bible and the preliminary
essays have been changed to reflect a global
audience, not just a North American context. If
you have Hispanics, Koreans, Russians, Chinese,
Singaporeans, Africans or any international in
your church or as your friend, consider this an
May the Lord give you wisdom and discernment and a big heart as you give books to others this Christmas.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit me at my website for more Reformed books, comments about books and Reformed devotional thoughts:
It was a grim day in my life as a pastor. Before me sat two women who through tears poured out a sordid story of false teaching, lies, heart-break and false guilt. It has been repeated to varying degrees over the years. But few say anything about it because in the cultural climate of America in general and evangelical Christianity in particular, "speaking the truth in love" or "truthing in love" as the Greek has it, is out of favor. God help the person, young or old, who tells the emperor that he has no clothes on.
Both of the women who sat before me were widows. The woman to my left had lost her husband the previous year. The woman to my right had her husband come to Atlanta from California to help with the funeral. Her husband was an Elder in a highly visible Foursquare Gospel Church in Van Nuys, California that boasted celebrity Christians in its membership and eldership. Since the funeral here in Atlanta, the Elder had returned to California to resume his life and church ministry. But cancer had intervened. The elders of that church confidently prophesied that the man would get well. He got worse.
They came back a second time and again prophesied that the man would get well. He continued to get worse. He came near death and they were called to lay hands on him again. They arrived too late, but no matter! They said he would be raised from the dead!!
He was not raised from the dead. They left after telling the wife that the man was not raised because she did not have enough faith. (Bottom line--his death and failure to be raised was her fault!).
Back again to my office here in the Atlanta suburbs. The widow said that she found herself screaming at the top of her lungs, "What in God's name is going on here?" She was angry, hurt, confused, grieving, betrayed, and felt a host of related emotions. It was sadly understandable. When she was through speaking, I gently tried to tell her that doctrine has consequences and false doctrine has terrible consequences. I told her that she had been a victim of false teaching for some time and "the chickens had come home to roost". She was experiencing what many more had already experienced and been shattered by. Her husband had probably taught and defended this false teaching himself until he fell victim to its ugly side effects.
The Pentecostal and charismatic movements have existed for over one hundred years. Since their genesis in Topeka, Kansas and Azuza Street in Los Angeles early in the 20th century, their false teaching has gone around the world. Speaking in tongues as the sign of the filling of the Holy Spirit, prophesying in God's name, healing in the atonement, the restoration of Apostles, frenzied and chaotic worship, "laughing, barking and other animal noises" as signs of the Spirit's presence, preference for the "fresh bread of the spoken word of prophesy over the stale bread of the
written Word of God in the Bible", etc, etc, etc.
I can remember a time as a young Christian when the Pentecostal paradigm of Christianity was regarded as the heterodox fringe of the faith, if not outright heresy. Now through the ministries of such men as Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Sam Storms, C. J. Mahaney, Mark Driscoll and others, the view that the supernatural gifts of the New Testament era were meant to continue on into today has been legitimized and entered much of the mainstream of evangelicalism. By naming these men's names, I am not saying they are not Christians or likeable men or evil workers. I am saying that they are wrong and despite all their good in other areas, they have brought the nose and head of the Pentecostal camel into the evangelical tent.
To be more clear, Wayne Grudem has a systematic theology book which is in many regards good. But he spends 100+ pages on the Holy Spirit--not in regards to preaching or revival but charismatic gifts and "signs and wonders". He dedicates his book to three men, including the Johnny Appleseed of the SIGNS AND WONDERS movement, John Wimber who taught Grudem how to have experiences with the Holy Spirit. Grudem's Ph.D. dissertation at Cambridge University has become the scholarly rationale for much of the current legitimacy of the charismatic movement. Grudem proposed the novel thesis that New Testament prophecy, unlike Old Testament prophecy, need not be perfect or orthodox. The prophet who was wrong in the New Testament just had to try harder next time! Sadly, fellow Cambridge Ph.D., Don Carson agreed with Grudem's exegesis and conclusions and lent the legitimizing power of his Cambridge Ph.D. to Grudem's.
John Piper introduced the Pentecostal 2nd blessing theology into his Baptist General Conference
church in Minnesota. He took his entire staff to Toronto, Canada to the Airport Vineyard Fellowship, the site of the laughing blessing and other charismatic phenomena. They were each slain in the Spirit except Piper who they worked on for half an hour personally to no avail. He remains a convinced to this day a convinced CONTINUATIONIST.
Sam Storms left CESSATIONIST evangelicalism and
entered the world of charismania. He sent out a long explanatory booklet to brethren he ministered among explaining his movement away from the historical understanding that the signs and wonders of the early church and the Apostles. He had come to believe in the continuation of the apostolic gifts and he aligned himself with the Kansas City Prophets (Mike Bickel and Paul Cain). Not until they were proven to be false prophets and sexual deviants did he leave his role as theologian in residence and have his own church again, but still somehow believing in the continuation of the apostolic gifts.
C. J. Mahaney was for a long time the leader of the ministry that started out being called PEOPLE OF DESTINY INTERNATIONAL, then P.D.I., then SOVEREIGN GRACE MINISTRIES. Coming to the doctrines of grace, Mahaney and Sovereign Grace tried to wed charismatic theology and worship with Calvinistic doctrines of salvation in a unique hybrid. I was disappointed but not surprised when I first visited the website for the ministry and saw that Mahaney was listed as the Apostle of the movement. My experience in watching other so-called "Apostles" was that the rarefied air of apostleship lead to ruin and a great fall. Mahaney no longer leads Sovereign Grace Ministries and no longer calls himself an Apostle. But his appearance in many evangelical and Reformed conferences has given a certain legitimacy to his charismatic theology.
Finally, Mark Driscoll, who once headed up ACTS 29 Ministries worldwide is a pastor in Seattle who believes he has successfully married charismatic theology and worship and views of the pastor as SUPER LEADER and near pope to the Calvinistic understanding of salvation.
He likes to shock and thrill his audience with gross language and lurid treatments of sex. He has spoken of his visions from God full of lurid and sexually explicit episodes. So prurient was his treatment of the SONG OF SOLOMON that John MacArthur publicly rebuked him for THE RAPE OF THE SONG OF SOLOMON. Speaking in his role as pastor to his congregation, Driscoll told the married women of his church to go home and have oral sex with their husbands! Enough said. His theology is so vague and unsettled that he has stood behind and defended as "brothers" heretical Oneness Pentecostal pastor T. D. Jakes and heterodox pastor James MacDonald.
All of this is brought out to say that John MacArthur is saying in public what faithful evangelical and Reformed pastors and theologians have been saying in private and on blogs for years. MacArthur finally was man enough to call out these men publicly and the false prophets and teachers who were even worse who I have not yet mentioned. There is a connection between the evangelical and Reformed "Continuationists" (Grudem, Piper, Storms, Mahaney, and Driscoll to name the best known) and the heretics who have gone further down the Continuationist road-- Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Robert Tilton, Peter Popov, Joel Osteen, Juanita Bynum, Kansas City Prophets, R. T. Kendall, Aimee Semple McPherson, Joyce Meyer, Reinhard Bonnke, etc, etc, etc.
Not only have these false teachers and false prophets mislead the multitudes, they have forsaken the gospel. Serious studies of the televised programs and books by these charlatans shows that they have lost the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ and substituted for it the so-called "health and wealth gospel" of material prosperity and full health. It is the number one export of the American church. Evangelical and Reformed leaders of the churches in Africa and South America have told for some time how the prosperity teachers have taken over the churches in Africa and Latin America and are defrauding multitudes while becoming filthy rich themselves. Standing before God on Judgment Day and pointing to one's supposed health and wealth without the full atonement of Christ and the imputation of His righteousness will not avail. Our Lord will say, "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity".
All of this to introduce an important new book by John MacArthur that I exhort all pastors and laymen to read and digest. And then to pray for your friends who have bought into this aberrant theology. And then prayerfully give them a copy of the book to hopefully free them from the false teaching and charlatans who plague the movement.
Here is the overview of the book.
John MacArthus, STRANGE FIRE (The Danger of
Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship);
Thomas Nelson; 300 pages
INTRODUCTION: For the Sake of His Name
PART 1--CONFRONTING A COUNTERFEIT REVIVAL
1. Mocking the Spirit
2. A New Work of the Spirit?
3. Testing the Spirits (Part 1)
4. Testing the Spirits (Part 2)
PART 2--EXPOSING THE COUNTERFEIT GIFTS
5. Apostles Among Us?
6. The Folly of Fallible Prophets
7. Twisting Tongues
8. False Healings and False Hopes
PART 3--REDISCOVERING THE SPIRIT'S TRUE WORK
9. The Holy Spirit and Salvation
10. The Holy Spirit and Sanctification
11. The Spirit and the Scriptures
12. An Open Letter to My Continuationist Friends
APPENDIX--VOICES FROM CHURCH HISTORY
May the Spirit of God give us the grace of illumination to see truth of Scripture and not be misled by hocus pocus exegesis and the contemporary need to be "nice" at all times. Let us be men and women of character and tell our Pentecostal and charismatic freinds, the "Emperor" has no clothes.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Visit me also at www.thelogcollege.wordpress.com
for more articles and things to ponder.
The name MATTHEW HENRY still lingers on the ears of evangelical and Reformed Christians some 300 years after his classic COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE first came into print. Any book, let alone six volume set of commentary must be pretty special to have stood the test of time. With all the intelligent and studied Christians who have written in the past 300 years, Matthew Henry's COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE has endured and is still relished. Why?
Matthew Henry was the son of a "dissenting preacher" in Puritan England. His father lost his pulpit at the time of the GREAT EJECTION (see the Banner of Truth classic SERMONS OF THE GREAT EJECTION which give sense and pathos to that great national tragedy). Henry died in the year 1714, the year George Whitefield, the great evangelist, was born. (Whitefield was to read through all six volumes of Matthew Henry's commentary three times, the last time on his knees!) Henry himself was one of the last of the Puritans and in fact died before he fully completed his commentary. He was commenting on Acts when he died, having also studied the rest of the books of the New Testament. Friends who were godly ministers finished the commentary from Henry's notes.
Why has Matthew Henry's COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE stood the test of time? It is biblical, warm hearted (he loves the Lord and its shows), spiritually minded (as opposed to academically oriented), he writes with flair and verve, he knows his Bible and the best of theology and its comes through constantly, he knows human beings as a faithful pastor must, and finally, he couldn't be boring if he tried!
So here are the two best editions of Matthew Henry's COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE. (Of course, the Bible edition of his day was the King James Version and his comments reflect that along with his knowledge of Greek, Hebrew and Latin.)
--6 volumes; Hendrickson--in modern, easy to
read modern type
--1 volume--Hendrickson--of smaller but still easy
to read modern
Because Henry was such a godly man and pastor, there is much else to savor of his life and writings
Allan Harman, MATTHEW HENRY: HIS LIFE AND
INFLUENCE; Christian Focus--a fine recent
biography by a Professor of Old Testament at
the Presbyterian Theologian College of
Melbourne, Australia. A great read!
James Packer, PURITAN PORTRAITS; Christian
Focus--9 Puritan giants are portrayed by
Packer with his typical historical, biblical and
spiritual insights. One is Matthew Henry and
Packer does a fine job explaining the man and
his work, THE PLEASANTNESS OF A RELIGIOUS
LIFE (see below)
Kelly Kapic and Randall Gleason, eds.; THE
DEVOTED LIFE (An Invitation to the Puritans);
IVP--twenty chapters on various Puritan greats
with a wise chapter by J. Ligon Duncan on
Matthew Henry and his work, A METHOD OF
PRAYER. (Duncan was so impacted by using
Henry's method of prayer that he edited the
Christian Focus edition below)
Matthew Henry, A METHOD OF PRAYER; Christian
Focus Publications (edited by J. Ligon Duncan)
Matthew Henry, A WAY TO PRAY; Banner of Truth
(edited by O. Palmer Robertson)
Matthew Henry, THE PLEASANTNESS OF A
RELIGIOUS LIFE; Christian Focus Publications
(introduced by James Packer)
Matthew Henry, THE COMMUNICANT'S
COMPANION; Solid Ground Christian Books
(meant for believers to keep at hand as they
prepare to meet their Savior at His Table)
Matthew Henry, FAMILY RELIGION; Christian
Focus Publications--how a godly family is
to be ordered and focused.
Matthew Henry, SECRETS OF COMMUNION WITH
GOD; Solid Ground Christian Books
Matthew Henry, EXPERIENCING GOD'S PRESENCE;
(2 editions of Henry's book on beginning, middling
and ending the day in intimate fellowship with
KING JAMES VERSION--MATTHEW HENRY STUDY
BIBLE; Hendrickson--a classic study Bible with
the study notes being adapted from Matthew
Henry's commentary. A great idea!
MATTHEW HENRY'S DAILY READINGS; Christian
Focus Publications--through the year with
daily readings by our hero.
Nigel Faithful (What a great name!), THOUGHTS
FIXED AND AFFECTIONS FLAMING; Day One
Publications--a selection of some of the best
quotations from Henry's works.
Henry has other works currently out of print but check back later for such titles as QUEST FOR MEEKNESS AND QUIETNESS OF SPIRIT, a great antidote to the
modern malady of being "full of yourself".
May the Lord prosper your soul as you learn from the greats of the past, particularly Matthew Henry.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit me at my website full of Puritan and Reformed helps.....www.thelogcollege.wordpress.com
Years ago John Stott said that pastors, as preachers and teacher of God's Word stood between two worlds--the world of the Bible and its time and the world today--the 21st century. The pastor-preacher-teacher has to understand the Word of God clearly (and the cultural context in which it is found) AND he has to understand the audience who sits before him and what their existential background is. A chaplain at a Marine base has an audience with different concerns (in many ways) than a speaker at a home school convention.
I can remember twenty some years ago preaching through Genesis and finding the first twelve chapters fairly straight-forward but it became clear that the long chapters of historical and theological narrative were going to be daunting. Then I came across Allen Ross' CREATION AND BLESSING and found a excellent exegete combined with a sensitive expositor. I saw how I could tackle these long narrative passages with theological faithfulness and pastoral sensitivity.
For years now, publishers have been coming up with expositions of Scripture that are faithful to the text and to 21st century America. Let me recommend the best of these.
PREACHING THE WORD SERIES; Crossway; edited by
R. Kent Hughes
Begun in the 20th century and coming to full fruition in the 21st century, this series is edited by R. Kent Hughes and is generally excellent. I have used several volumes for exposition and have always found them good at connecting the two worlds. Some of the better volumes in the series are:
EXODUS--Philip Graham Ryken
PROVERBS--Ray Ortlund, Jr.
ECCLESIASTES--Philip Graham Ryken
ISAIAH--Ray Ortlund, Jr.
JEREMIAH & LAMENTATIONS--Philip Graham Ryken
LUKE (2 volumes)--Kent Hughes
2nd CORINTHIANS--Kent Hughes
1st & 2nd TIMOTHY AND TITUS--Kent Hughes and
I have not yet come across any volumes that are sadly disappointing.
REFORMED EXPOSITORY SERIES; P & R; edited by Richard Phillips and Philip Graham Ryken
I have not used all the volumes BUT the ones I have used have been uniformly helpful. I can commend the following:
1st SAMUEL--Richard Phillips
1st KINGS--Philip Graham Ryken
JONAH & MICAH--Richard Phillips
THE INCARNATION IN THE GOSPELS--Daniel
Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken and Richard
LUKE--Philip Graham Ryken
GALATIANS--Philip Graham Ryken
1st TIMOTHY--Philip Graham Ryken
TEACH THE TEXT SERIES; Baker--edited by John Walton and Mark Strauss
Not as consistently Reformed or covenantal as the P & R REFORMED EXPOSITORY SERIES or as consistently Calvinistic as the PREACHING THE WORD SERIES from Crossway, Baker nevertheless has come up with a very helpful format and good expositions for preachers and teachers. The layout is very helpful and the balance between details and analysis is good too.
The series is just getting off the ground but I can commend the following volumes based upon the authors previous works:
EXODUS--T. Desmond Alexander--forthcoming
1st & 2nd KINGS--David W. Baker--forthcoming
JOB--Daniel Estes--in print
PROVERBS--Richard L. Schultz--forthcoming
MINOR PROPHETS--Douglas Stuart--forthcoming
LUKE--R. T. France--in print--we are indebted to
the late professor France for his earlier volumes
on MATTHEW in the New International
Commentary on the New Testament
(Eerdmans) and MARK in the NEW
INTERNATIONAL GREEK COMMENTARY SERIES
(Eerdmans). He has a profound understanding
of the gospels and holds to a partial-preterist
amillennial understanding of biblical prophecy.
1ST & 2ND THESSALONIANS; 1ST & 2ND TIMOTHY
AND TITUS--Philip Towner--forthcoming
THE NIV APPLICATION COMMENTARY SERIES;
Zondervan; edited by Dr. Terry Muck. This series
is not as uniform as some of the ones mentioned above but there are still riches to be plucked for your advantage. I can commend the following:
1st & 2nd CHRONICLES--Andrew Hill
JOEL/OBADIAH/MALACHI--David W. Baker
2nd CORINTHIANS--Scot Hafeman
2nd PETER AND JUDE--Douglas Moo
Certainly, there are other expositional series by fine preachers and teachers. One should always consult the writings of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, James Montgomery Boice, John MacArthur and R. C. Sproul for further expository insights.
Brethren, we have all the tools we need. May we use them to God's glory and the building up of Christ's Kingdom--and the flock that we serve.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
See me at WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS. COM
for more goodies.
John Bunyan should be known and read by all Christians today. Some Christians might think he was the giant north woods lumberjack who had a blue ox called "Babe". But that would be to confuse the Puritan giant with the woodsman of American myth, Paul Bunyan. The real JOHN Bunyan was a giant in a time of giants. When theologian James Packer came to title his book on the Puritans, he named it "AMONG GOD'S GIANTS". He likened the Puritans to the giant Redwoods and Sequoias of northern California. Like those trees, the Puritans towered over other generations of Christians in Packer's view.
And few Puritans were the equal of John Bunyan. His preaching gifts were so great and so used that once the other Puritan giant, John Owen, expressed that he would trade his gifts for scholarship for Bunyan's gift of preaching. Our Lord knows what He is doing and why He gifts some men with one gift and some men with other gifts. The great 19th century Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, held Bunyan as one of his heroes. He read or had read to him Bunyan's PILGRIM'S PROGRESS every Sunday evening to relax after a day of strenuous preaching. He estimated that he went through the book over 100 times!
What's more, Spurgeon said of Bunyan that if you pricked his finger, his blood would be bibline--that is, that Bunyan would bleed the Bible! Why is that? Because Bunyan was a man of the book. He read and reread and reread and reread God's Word. It was his library and his Kindle rolled into one. His gifts of imagination and as a wordsmith were wedding to a profound understanding of the Bible and its underlying theology. And his imagination and word crafting allowed him to reach a far larger audience than simply by being a knowledgeable theologian. There have been many theologians over the centuries but few are read and studied like Bunyan. A Reformed theologian in theology and a Baptist on church government and the sacraments, Bunyan is read by all Christians, even Christians who are not Reformed or Baptistic!
What should you read from John Bunyan? Let me begin with a basic list of Bunyan titles and why you should read them.
John Bunyan, THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS; various
editions and publishers--This is the 2nd best selling
book in the world after the Bible itself. More than
300 million copies have been published. Chinese
Christians published it in the size and color of
Chairman Mao's LITTLE RED BOOK. It is the story
of a man who wakes up to the reality that he is
under the wrath to come and sets out on a journey
from the City of Destruction to Heaven. The lessons
and doctrines of salvation and sanctification are
taught through the imagery of a pilgrimage.
Bunyan's gift of imagination and glittering
metaphors and names that identity the characters
makes this an unforgettable--and highly profitable
read. Considered the greatest allegory of all time.
(Editions are available which are edited so that
children can read the book with profit.)
John Bunyan, THE HOLY WAR--various editions--
considered the 2nd greatest allegory every written!
The town of Mansoul is under attack from Diabolus
and the Prince must rescue and hold the city
against its foes.
John Bunyan, GRACE ABOUNDING TO THE CHIEF OF
SINNERS; various editions--Bunyan's testimony
of God's saving grace in his life.
John Bunyan, THE GROANS OF A DAMNED SOUL
(sometimes published as THE LIFE AND DEATH OF
MR. BAD MAN. The chronicle of a man who never
repents and turns to Christ in faith and goes to hell.
John Bunyan, THE HEAVENLY FOOTMAN--running the
race to heaven. The devil, the world and indwelling
sin would destroy each of us if they could. We must
make it to heaven and Bunyan tells us how to run
to get there.
BUNYAN IN THE PURITAN PAPERBACK SERIES FROM THE BANNER OF TRUTH:
John Bunyan, THE ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE; Banner
of Truth--Psalm 51 and having a broken heart for
John Bunyan, ALL LOVES EXCELLING; Banner of Truth
John Bunyan, THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST; Banner
John Bunyan, THE JERUSALEM SINNER SAVED;
Banner of Truth--how God saves self-righteous
John Bunyan, THE COMPLETE WORKS OF JOHN
BUNYAN; Banner of Truth--3 volumes containing
almost all of Bunyan's works.
BOOKS ABOUT JOHN BUNYAN:
David Calhoun, GRACE ABOUNDING (The Life, Books
and Influence of John Bunyan); Christian Focus--a
warm-hearted introduction to all things Bunyan
from a Christian scholar who can make history live!
Marcus Loane, MAKERS OF PURITAN HISTORY; Banner
of Truth--English scholar whose speciality was
writing small biographies. Includes a chapter on
Kelly Kapic and Randall Gleason, eds.; THE DEVOTED
LIFE (An Invitation to the Puritan Classics); IVP
a goldmine of Puritan biographies to introduce you
to the men you will want to read. Has a great
chapter on Bunyan by James Packer.
James Packer, PURITAN PROFILES; Christian Focus
Has another fine chapter on Bunyan by Packer,
this time an introduction to THE HEAVENLY
Mark Deckard, HELPFUL TRUTH IN PAST PLACES (The
Puritan Practice of Biblical Counseling); Christian
Focus/Mentor--showing today's Christians how the
Puritan giants can help in our biblical counseling,
Deckard shows how Bunyan's PILGRIM'S
PROGRESS can help with "No one understands my
problems!" and related issues.
May the Lord prosper your soul as you read Bunyan and comes to know His God better and better.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit my website for more about books/ideas:
When a person becomes a Christian, God the Holy Spirit applies the victorious work of Christ to a dead sinner (John 3:1-10; Ezekiel 36:16-32; Ephesians 2:1-10). A new life in Christ has begun, a new creation is afoot. The joy experiencing the love of Christ shed abroad in one's heart soon gives away to an alarming discovery--something is still wrong with me! The saved sinner comes to discover that he or she is not a sinless person nor a sinless Christian. Sin has not been eradicated from the human heart by the new birth. Sin still exists in the human being, lurking about in the heart and mind and affections of the believer. The Bible says it no longer reigns (Romans 6:1-14) BUT it sure does like to throw its weight around!
Some have sought to honor God and help the saints by teaching that a believer can reach a state of either "perfect love for God and man" (John Wesley and faithful Wesleyan theologians) or "sinless perfection" (Charles Finney and certain types of charismatics). Faithful Bible students see that the New Testament knows nothing of sinless perfection or perfect love for God or man...in this life.
Faithful Bible students see in Scripture that the state of sinless perfection is not attained in this world of probation. Rather sinless perfection is reached in heaven where the believers receive a new, resurrection body akin to our Savior's resurrection body. Our new bodies will be without sin and perfectly righteous. To repeat, not until heaven do we become perfect.
What are we to do in the meantime? Grit out teeth and adopt a Stoic grimness about life and the Christian life in particular? Are we to listen to those who claim sinless perfection and who chide us that we settle for too little when we could be perfect? (Honest souls have to ask how realistic and honest these charismatic and perfectionist friends are in evaluating their own lives. Have their spouse's been interviewed as to their perfection? Do their children know their "perfectionistic parent" to be perfect?)
Real help for believers has come from the Puritan and Reformed churches through writers who take the promises of God and the indicatives of God (what God has said in His Word He has done or is doing for believers in and through Christ and the Spirit) and the imperatives of God (commands God gives His people based upon what He has or is working out in their lives--E.g. Philippians 2:12-13--"work out what God has worked in") very seriously. [I apologize for that long sentence with subordinate clauses but I wanted to keep the thoughts together!]
Puritan and Reformed authors have shown us that believers are to put to death their remaining sins while putting on their new life in Christ by the Spirit. This two-fold "putting on" and "putting off" are the prescribed means of believers gaining control over their remaining sins and seeing real progress in having them sharply diminished. Believers are to "by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the Spirit).
Today I wanted to gather together those Puritan and Reformed authors who can do you real good in explaining and illustrating how to put on who you are in Christ and put to death your remaining sins remaining in your fallen body. I emphasize that you must be alive in Christ before you can put your sins to death. Good works follow the new birth and conversion. Dead works dwell in the hearts of those who seek to earn favor with God on the basis of their own deeds.
Kris Lundgaard, THE ENEMY WITHIN; P & R Publishing
Missionary and pastor Lundgaard chews, swallow
and digests the great Puritan John Owen's works
on the subject at hand and then like a mother bird
with her hungry chicks, regurgitates food in a form
they can digest. Highly recommended.
Wayne Mack, FIGHT TO THE DEATH; P & R Publishing
A straight-forward manual on dealing with your
Brian Hedges, LICENSED TO KILL (A Field Manual for
Mortifying Sin); Cruciform Press--the next best
place to go. Clear, compelling and practical.
Stuart Scott, KILLING SIN HABITS (Conquering Sin
with Radical Faith); Focus Christian Publishing--
John Owen, INDWELLING SIN IN BELIEVERS (Puritan
Paperback Series); Banner of Truth
John Owen, MORTIFICATION OF SIN (Puritan
Paperback Series); Banner of Truth
John Owen, MORTIFICATION OF SIN (Study Guide)
by Rob Edwards; Banner of Truth
(Classic works of Owen that should be studied
together and prayed over together.)
John Owen, OVERCOMING SIN AND TEMPTATION;
edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor; Crossway
(The most thorough and helpful edition of Owen's
profound and helpful works on this subject.)
In a related vein, the believer is encouraged to read C. S. Lewis' portrayal of mortification in THE GREAT DIVORCE. A young man, wanting to go to heaven, is told by a fiery and none-too-cozy angel that the red lizard on the man's shoulder must be put to death. The ensuing discussion between the angel and the man and the man and the red lizard is a priceless retelling of how our remaining sins want to be spared and how we must depend upon divine power to put sin to death. It is also a good section to role play for family devotions with teens or with a class of adults.
In teaching the doctrine of mortification (putting to death the deeds of the flesh), Professor of Old Testament in 19th century Edinburgh, Scotland, John "Rabbi" Duncan told his class to go home and read and study Owen. But then he closed in adding: "Prepare for the knife!" What he meant was that Owen was not going to tell you how to coddle your sins but to put them to death. To name your pet sin "Cuddles", to give it a bath, spray it with Chanel and tie a pink ribbon around its neck is not going to change its essential nature. Sin will show itself. It cannot be played with, toyed with or managed--it must be put to death.
May the Lord give you and me grace to put our remaining sins to death--not by our feelings but by faith in the revealed Word of God by the power of the Spirit.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Come visit me at my website for more book info: