Letters to My Students : A Review

Letters to My Students: On Preaching by Jason K. Allen

 

Jason K. Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has contributed to the wide body of books on preaching one that will benefit both aspiring preachers and more experienced preachers.

In three sections Dr. Allen addresses the preparation of the preacher, the preparation of sermons, and growing as a preacher. In the first section Dr. Allen explores the importance of a right understanding of the call of God to be a preacher, developing understanding and ability in regards to preaching, and the vital importance of expository preaching. In the second section Dr. Allen makes what I believe to be his most important contribution in the twelfth chapter in which he argues that we avoid generic references to deity in our sermon and the biblical basis for being explicitly trinitarian in how we speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The final section provides helpful wisdom for those who are more experienced in the task of preaching. I found his advice on when and how to address cultural issues to be particularly helpful.

This book would be a blessing to any student aspiring to be a preacher or the more experienced preacher. Pastors do yourself a favor and get this book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Assured: A Book Review

Assured by Greg Gilbert

Greg Gilbert, senior pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church, has written a wonderful book on the important issue of assurance of salvation. I a time where so many either have a false sense of assurance or struggle with assurance of salvation this very valuable book.

In nine chapters Gilbert provides readers an understanding of the biblical basis for assurance. In the the second and third chapters Gilbert addresses the gospel and the promises of God as the driving sources of assurance, these do for the believer the foundation of assurance. In the fourth chapter Gilbert addresses the often neglected witness of the Spirit. The fifth chapter addresses the lies that serve to undermine assurance. The sixth address the fruits of salvation that can serve as a confirming source of assurance. The final chapters address misapplication of good works in regards to assurance, the relationship between besetting sin and assurance, and finally the need for perseverance.

I would commend this book to anyone struggling with assurance. If you’re involved in ministry this would be a valuable resource for your library.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

The Unsaved Christian: A Review

The Unsaved Christian by Dean Inserra

Having spent all of my time in ministry in the Bible belt I greatly appreciate Dean Inserra for writing this book that speaks to the challenges involved in bringing the gospel to those who hold to cultural Christianity and are unsaved, which is far too common in the South.

Throughout this book Inserra addresses how to break through the religiosity that often blind people in the Bible belt to the truth of the gospel. As Inserra points out in his first chapter many have a connection with Christianity that is based on family tradition rather than a relationship with Jesus. The difficult challenge faced is how to kindly challenge their unbiblical beliefs while confronting them with the truth of Scripture, which Inerra shows readers how to do. Inserra throughout this book challenges pastors and church leaders to address the systemic issues in the local church that have led to such vast amount of nominal Christians and to deal with those issues by raising expectations and returning the focus of the church to Christ and his gospel.

If you are a Christian in the Bible belt I would commend this book to you as it speaks so clearly and powerfully to the challenges the church faces.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

The Power of Christian Contentment : A Review

The Power of Christian Contentment by Andrew Davis

Drawing from the Christian classic The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment pastor and author Andrew Davis helps readers rediscover the biblical basis and importance of contentment in the life of the believer.

In the first section Davis explores the biblical definition of contentment with special attention given to the teaching of the apostle Paul. In the second section Davis addresses how we biblical find  contentment. In the the third section Davis explores all the ways believers profit from contentment regardless of their circumstances. In the final section Davis addresses the continued battle for contentment.

In a day and age where we are conditioned by our culture to be discontent with so much of life this book provides a helpful corrective. If you read this book you’ll definitely find much correction and encouragement.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Leading Small Groups: A Review

Leading Small Groups by Chris Surratt

One of the most important aspects of any local church is the area of small group ministry. Whether they occur in the context of members homes or in Sunday school small groups are an invaluable means of carrying out the work of the church. In Leading Small Groups author Chris Surratt walks the reader through the basic nuts and bolts of small group ministry.

The first section focuses on the basics of leadership and the nature of open and closed groups as well as their benefits and drawbacks. The second section walks the reader through how to launch a small group. The third section addresses practical steps in leading a small group. The fourth and final section addresses the importance and steps to multiplying groups, which is probably the best chapter in the book.

Overall this has been one of the best books I have read on small group ministry. Whatever model you use in your church this book would be a beneficial resource for any pastor or small group ministry leader.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

None Greater: A Review

None Greater by Matthew Barrett

Matthew Barrett has written one of the best and most accessible works on the attributes of God. Barrett provides clear teaching and defense of historic orthodoxy in relation to the attributes of God. In defending the truth Barrett ably demonstrates the dangers of many newer approaches to the attributes.

In twelve meaty chapters Barrett expounds upon all of the attributes of God. In his introduction Barrett rightfully reminds readers that the purpose of studying the attributes is doxological in nature, that we might know God better and praise Him in light of his divine self-disclosure. This book definitely lends itself to that as it delves into the perfection of God in all His attributes.

If this title doesn’t find itself on all the lists of best Christian book of 2019 I will be surprised. Barrett has provided for readers a much needed introduction to attributes. Whether you are a pastor or lay-member   I highly commend this book to you.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

The Simplest Way to Change the World : A Review

The Simplest Way to Change the World by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements

This title is one of the best books on hospitality as it relates to evangelism. In a time when many are becoming more isolated from others it is refreshing to see biblical correctives like this book.

In twelve chapters divided into two sections Willis and Clements point to the power of hospitality in changing lives and provide a plan for how to engage in biblical hospitality. In exploring the power of hospitality they address the current cultural climate of isolation, entertainment, relaxation, and busyness that make hospitality such a challenging activity. The authors root hospitality in the character of God and the New Testament practice of the church. In addressing the plan for hospitality the authors address the excuses and challenges people face in planning to hospitable and show how to address them. The authors then proceed to show how one can use hospitality to share the gospel.

Books like this are very much needed in our day and I would commend this to all believers who want to make an impact in their community and see God work through them.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Irresistible Faith : A Review

Irresistible Faith by Scott Sauls

This book focuses on how believers can be a witness for Christ in a a time when it seems many believers are failing to be a winsome witness for Christ. The New Testament clearly teaches that believers are to live lives that adorn the gospel and in this book Scott Sauls shows how believers can do that very thing.

In nine chapters, divided into three sections, Sauls begins first with the main thing which is abiding in Christ. He points to the plodding nature of sanctification in this first section and the importance of understanding the preciousness nature of life. In the third section he expands upon the importance of the being engaged in the gospel community that is the local church. In the final section Sauls explores the good works that believers walk in that adorn the gospel in their day to day life.

In a day where it seems some are trying to win the world with outrage Sauls book points readers to the better way which is commanded of believer in the New Testament.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible: A Review

ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible

As someone who regularly uses the ESV in my preaching and teaching ministry I was pleased to receive a review copy of this republication of the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible, which was initially released in 2013. This study Bible provides Christ centered study helps throughout the whole Bible.

The contributors to this Bible are some of the best pastors and theologians in evangelicalism today. Each book of the Bible comes with an introduction which addresses how each book points to the gospel of Christ as well as an outline of the book.  This republication adds to the rich study notes five articles on major themes related to biblical theology, covenants, and the relationship between New and Old Testament.

Whether the ESV is your usual Bible or not there is a wealth of resources in this study Bible that would make it a welcome addition to any believer’s library. I have benefited greatly from this study Bible in my personal devotions as well as preparing to preach and teach. I would highly recommend this as a resource for any pastor or Bible teacher.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Scrappy Church: A Review

Scrappy Church by Thom Rainer

In his latest title Thom Rainer former CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources provides a resource for the many churches in North America that are plateaued or declining. In studying churches that have turned around from a period of decline Rainer has discovered key characteristics that shape and define a scrappy church, that is churches that refuse to give up on reaching their communities for Christ.

The three main areas that Rainer addresses as being key to being a scrappy church are being outwardly focused, being welcoming to outsiders, and clear process for member retention. In the chapters of the book Rainer expands upon those key areas and how addressing them have helped churches in decline reach their community for Christ.

If you’re a pastor or church leader you will benefit from this book. With the majority of churches either plateauing or declining this book is a helpful reminder that there is hope for change.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.