Jesus’s Sermon On The Mount and His Confrontation With The World : A Review

Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World by D.A. Carson

Previously published as two separate books, Carson’s work on Matthew 5-10 has been republished in one volume. This section of Matthew is one of the most important sections of the gospel as it educates believers on how they are to live as disciples. In this work Carson helps a new generation of readers understand and apply Christ’s teaching to today.

In the first part of this book Carson expounds upon Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and while Carson’s work was originally published in 1978 it has stood the test of time. The second part of this book focuses in on the ministry of Jesus and the challenge that it confronts the world with.

This is one of the best expositions of The Sermon on the Mount that I have come across and would highly commend it to 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.

Advertisements

Always in God’s Hands (A Review)

Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards by Owen Strachan

A new year is just around the corner and this latest title provides a devotional resource that will introduce readers to Edwards’s God-exalting writings on a day by day basis. Owen Strachan ,who coauthored The Essential Jonathan Edwards and teaches at MBTS,  has given readers daily excerpts from the works of Edwards as well as Strachan’s reflections upon the various excerpts.

Strachan’s work in this devotion helps give an introduction to Edwards thought as well as providing contemporary reflection. This devotional will be a helpful resource in the new year, not just in introducing readers to the writings of Edwards, but also in thinking big thoughts about a big God.

Disclosure: I received a review 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 Storm-Tossed Family : A Review

The Storm-Tossed Family by Russell Moore

Russell Moore president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC has written in my opinion his best book to date. The Storm-Tossed Family provides readers with a realistic and biblical understanding of the family which is all the more important given the many forces and pressure working against the family.

In fourteen chapters Moore explores some of the most important realities of family. In the early chapters he helps readers to see the importance of the cross shaping our understanding of family life, the reality of spiritual warfare in family life, among many other important issues. Each chapter is thoroughly rooted in the truth of Scriptures and provide helpful correctives to misconceptions about areas of family life both inside and outside of the church. His chapters on parenting and aging are particularly helpful.

In recent years many accusations regarding the trajectory of Russell Moore’s views on issues particularly pertinent to the issues addressed in this book. Those making such accusations would be better served reading this book as it dispels the criticism many “discernment” bloggers levy against him. This book has application for every believer whether married or single. It has been particularly helpful to me this week in preparing to teach on the family from Ephesians 5 this coming Sunday. In short this is one of the best books on the family I have read.

Disclosure: I received a review 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 Call (A Review)

The Call by Os Guinness

The Call since its original publication 20 years ago has become a spiritual classic. In this work Os Guinness provides readers with a better understanding of the biblical teaching regarding the call of God.

In thirty chapters Guinness addresses the many different aspects of God as they are found in Scripture ranging from such topics as the call to be a distinct people in the world today to the final call of death in which believers are called home. This book is biblicaly rooted and gospel-centered. In every chapter one finds there is material for reflection and conviction. For instance in chapter 20 Guinness addresses the dangers of greed in relation to God’s exclusive call on our life. He points to the contrast of a calling economy and a commercial economy, pointing readers the fact that we are to live life for God’s sake. The chapters are short and this edition includes a study guide in the back to help readers reflect on the call of God. This book would lend itself well to either reading in a group study or as a daily devotional.

This book would prove to be beneficial to both believers and nonbelievers who are expressing interest in Christianity. I would heartily recommend this rich and engaging book to all readers.

Disclosure: I received a review 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 Essential Jonathan Edwards : A Review

The Essential Jonathan Edwards by Owen Strachan and Douglas A. Sweeney

In 2010 the five-volume Essential Edwards was published by the authors of this volume. The authors have compiled much of that work into this present volume, making it much easier to access their previous work. If you’re just discovering Jonathan Edwards this book would be a great starting point to understand his life and his work as one of if not the greatest theologian America has ever produced.

This volume is divided into five sections following the same structure as the five-volume series published eight years ago. The first section provides a biographical overview of his life. The second explores the theme of beauty which was a common theme in his written works and sermons. The third section traces Edwards understanding of the good life. The fourth section addresses the nature of true Christianity as opposed to nominalism. The final section traces Edwards’s understanding of heaven and hell and how that understanding shaped his life and ministry.

This year will mark the 260th anniversary of Edwards’s passing and after all those years his works are still in print and still relevant today. Edwards served his day as a model pastor-theologian a dying breed in our day. His love of God and his commitment to sound doctrine and true godliness are evidenced not just in his writings but in his life work. If you’re unfamiliar with Edwards you won’t go wrong with reading this book.

Disclosure: I received a review 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.

Supernatural Power For Everyday People: A Review

Supernatural Power For Everyday People by Jared C. Wilson

This book gets to the heart of a problem many professing Christians find themselves experiencing, the problem of a stagnant and boring spiritual life.Whereas we are often forgetful of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives as believers Wilson helpfully reminds readers of the crucial importance of the indwelling Spirit for the vitality of the believer’s spiritual and everyday life.

In the first chapter of this book Wilson addresses the problem which this book so ably addresses. In each of the following nine chapters Wilson explores how the Spirit serves as the divine provision for our problems. If I were to single out one chapter it would be the final chapter which addresses the baptism of the Spirit. In that chapter Wilson cuts through much of the confusion that shrouds peoples understanding of the filling or baptism of the Spirit and provides greatly needed biblical clarity.

For those who feel stagnant in their spiritual life this would be an encouraging and informing read. It is a helpful reminder pointing of the role of the Spirit in the Christian’s life.

Disclosure: I received a review 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.

Eschatological Discipleship: A Review

Eschatological Discipleship by Trevin Wax

In this book Trevin Wax addresses the task of discipleship in light of one crucial question. What time is it? Wax sets the Christian understanding on the world and history over and against the prevailing worldviews of progress, sexual revolution, and consumerism.

In the first section of the book Wax lays the foundation for understanding concepts of worldview and wisdom with a view to their relationship to the task of discipleship and understanding the times. In the second section explores the biblical foundations that support his understanding of eschatological discipleship drawing on both the Old and New Testaments. The third section explores Christianity and its relationship to the prevailing worldviews of our culture. The final section explores how eschatological discipleship can shape spiritual formation.

Not many books on the topic of discipleship address the philosophical and worldview issues addressed in this book. Wax’s book is helpful in addressing these neglected issues in the task of discipleship. As seen in the book when we are and where history is going are two important questions that must shape and inform our understanding of what it means to be disciples of the risen Christ. This book will help any reader understand how to live as a citizen of heaven in the present time.

Disclosure: I received a review 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.

A Reader’s Guide to the Major Writings of Jonathan Edwards: A Review

A Reader’s Guide to the Major Writings of Jonathan Edwards
Nathan A. FinnJeremy M. Kimble

Jonathan Edwards is considered the greatest theologian and philosopher America has produced, his writings have been in print since his life time, yet many can be daunted in where to start reading Edwards and how to read Edwards. This book helps to address both challenges.

This book draws on a wide range of church historians in addressing the major works of Edwards.  Each contributor helps the reader understand the background behind the writings of Edwards which is important for understanding Edwards’s thought. The contributions range from a general overview of how read Edwards by Dane Ortland to more specific overviews such as Nathan Finn’s chapter on Edwards autobiographical spiritual writings, Jeremy Kimble’s chapter on the revival writings, Michael McClenahan on justification, Gerald McDermott on Religious Affections, Rhys Bezzant on the Life of David Brainerd, Joe Rigney on Freedom of the Will, Robert Caldwell of Original Sin, History of the Works of Redemption by Sean Michael Lucas, Edwards’s Affectional Ethics by Paul Helm, and an appendix by a man who has does much to popular the work of Edwards today John Piper. Each of these provides valuable insight on the work of Edwards.

Personally I enjoyed most the chapter on the revival writings of Edwards as it provides great background information in regards to Edwards work as an apologist for the Great Awakening. I also enjoyed the chapter on The Life of David Brainerd a work that has had a profound impact on the history of Christian missions. If you’re looking at reading Edwards I would commend this book, if you’re wondering where you can find his works they are available in many print editions as well as here http://edwards.yale.edu/ .

Disclosure: I received a review 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.

Graciousness: A Review

Graciousness: Tempering Truth With Love Book Cover

Graciousness: Tempering Truth With Love by John Crotts

This book addresses one of the most important characteristics in the life of the believer and the local church, graciousness. One doesn’t need to look far to see that there is a great imbalance among Christian in regards to grace and truth. This book helps demonstrate the great importance God places on graciousness and calls the reader cultivate that quality.

This book begins with addressing the importance of graciousness in that it is essential to being a loving person. The author the provides a practical understanding of graciousness and its value in the believers life. Following that Crotts points to the examples of graciousness found in Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. In the fifth chapter we see the danger faced by ungracious churches as evidenced by the church in Ephesus and the warning given to it in Revelation. The final chapters of the book address provide practical ways of cultivating and practicing graciousness internally, individually, and corporately.

It’s my firm belief that the key cause of decline in local churches in America isn’t owing to the changes in our surrounding culture, it is owing to a loss of graciousness at both the level of the individual and the level of the local church. As Crotts points out the church in Ephesus was the supreme example of a church who was active and doctrinally correct but unloving. I heartily commend this book to all believers.

Disclosure: I received a review 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.

Theology, Church and Ministry: A Review

Theology, Church, and Ministry: A Handbook for Theological Education edited by David Dockery

In the past I have reviewed books directed at pointing pastors back to the importance of theology for pastoral ministry viewing the local church as primary sphere for theology. In this book edited by Dr. David Dockery the various contributors a resource that points to how theological education can be done in service to the church.

The first section of this book consisting of five chapters from five contributors provides an introduction to the basis and purpose of theological education in regards to preparation for ministry.  Michael Duduit’s chapter on theological education and ministry calling provides helpful insight into some recent trends in theological education as well as a reminder of the primacy of calling.

The second section addresses the content of theological education with chapters from experts in each area of theology. The authors of these chapters make clear there is no shortcut to theological education. I think the two most important chapters are on the two on biblical languages. Kenneth Matthews helps show the importance of the original languages of the Old Testament and the the value they have for ministry especially as pastors spiritual life is deepened in his reading the original Hebrew. Constantine Campbell’s chapter is equally helpful in regards to the importance and value of Greek.

The third and final section shows the importance of theological education for the ministry of the church from the work of the pastor to missions and its significance for the global church. Lawless’s chapter on theology, evangelism, and mission is significant for his attention to both the local church especially as in regards to preparing students to lead and equip congregations for evangelism in the future. I think the most important contribution in the whole volume is the chapter written by Dr. Daniel Akin, his axioms should in my opinion govern the actions and plans of all of our SBC seminaries.

We live in a time where two things have happened and continue to happen. One is the continuing lowering of commitment to theology among pastors, many pastors could care less about theology and this is wrong. The second is many in academia see theology as an engagement done for those in academia with no attention to the local church. This book is a helpful corrective in both areas. I hope that every faculty member of every SBC seminary gets this book and reads it. I would commend this book to those beginning their theological education as it will help show the value and importance of the task of theological preparation. Pastors who might have neglected their studies might be stirred from that neglect through this book.

Disclosure: I received a review 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.