TACTICS

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Copyright 2009

Gregory Koukl

I thought learning more biblical facts will help me to be better equipped to answer my critics — I was wrong.  Koukl provides believers will practical tactics to help defend and share our faith.  I have used some of his methods, and it has really helped so far.  It is an easy read but the tactics will take time to master.  It takes practice.  This book will benefit all Christians, but it is especially helpful for those who work and play around scholars and/or study among those in the science field.  Koukl provides a framework for argument, and most importantly, he flooded his book with practical examples.  A must read for students and young adults.  Read it and let me know what you think.

 

Brian (D.O.C.)

Prepared to Stand Alone

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Imagine —  curling up on a cold wintry snow blizzard day, with a big cup of tea, in a warm place with a good book.  Usually that would conjure up images of a fiction book, but I recommend Iain H. Murray’s biography of J.C. Ryle. The tea and warm place may energize your body, but that fiction book will probably not be as edifying to your soul as “Prepared to Stand Alone” will be.

I am always intrigued and amazed at how God’s saints (biblical definition) stood firm in their faith in spite of the ‘fiery trials.’  The setting of this biography was set in England, during the 1800’s.  This is a different time from our day with different challenges, but I was still encouraged that time period and distance did not erase the common faith and challenges I share with those believers from the past.  There were two things from this book that resonated in my soul at this particular time in my life

(1) The common faith: “Who does not know that spiritual religion never brings a man the world’s praise?  It never has done, and never does.  It entails the world’s disapprobation, the world’s persecution, the world’s ridicule, the world’s sneers.  The world will let a man go to hell quietly, and never try to stop him.  The world will never let a man go to heaven quietly — they will do all they can to turn him back.  Who has not heard the nicknames in plenty bestowed on all who faithfully follow Christ? — Pietist, Methodist, saint, fanatic, enthusiast, righteous, overmuch, and many more…” p. 67.  This reminded me of Hebrews 12:1.

(2) My own inadequacy as an Elder: “However eloquent or apparently knowledgeable a preacher may be, there will be something seriously lacking the man who is not to be found in the homes of his people.  Sermons which only come from the study are not likely to be messages which bind speaker and hearers together in a common bond of affection and sympathy.  A preacher must be a visitor and be ready to preach everywhere.”  During the two years of his seclusion there he acquired, it can be stated, an entire pastoral knowledge of every man, woman, and child, under his charge.”

May God help us to bring glory to our Lord and Savior

 

Brian L. Spivey (D.O.C.)

A Sad Departure

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181 pages, copyright 2001

In an age where things are not built to last; fixing something cost more money that buying a new one, and the average lifespan of newlyweds is three years, it seems more difficult to remain faithful. How difficult would it be to leave a local church? For many that would not be hard at all. And what about a denomination? That would probably be easier for many Americans. When ‘church’ is so easy to obtain with mega churches, online streaming and cell groups by Skype, remaining faithful to a denomination seems archaic at best. So it was a tough job for someone to write a book about how difficult it would be to leave a denomination and not vilify other Christians, but David J. Randall found a way. How could someone with a different background understand this? I was not raised in a denomination, I am not from Scotland, and so it is not my reality. But Randall was victorious. He captured the affective aspect of leaving a denomination that ia so woven in the fabric of that nation and families to the fourth and fifth generation. How do we hold strongly to our convictions and still behave in a way that honors Christ? Randall wrote the textbook. Read it. It will be time well spent.

Brian – D.O.C.

 

A Portrait of Paul

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Identifying a True Minister of Christ

© 2010

203 pages

By Rob Ventura and Jeremy Walker

Reformation Heritage Books

 

The authors of this book seek to draw principles from an in-depth study of the life of the apostle Paul to help church-goings and church leaders recognize the true marks of a Minister of Christ. Both authors are pastors. Both men did a sermon series from the book of Colossians, and this was the fruit of it.

I would highly recommend this book with one caution: this is an intense book! It could have easily been four hundred (400) pages. There are so many admonishments and cautions jam packed in this one book. Each chapter ends with a practical message to the “Fellow Christian,” and the to the “Fellow Pastor.” Each section was full of conviction because I am a church member and one who is aspiring to be a pastor. This is a great book for a small group to go through, but I would especially recommend it to a pulpit search committee. It is not the kind of book that Dave or Chad (other two others on this blog) would read next to a fireplace with a cup of coffee, it reads more like a workbook.

In the chapter entitled, “The Subject of Paul’s Ministry,” the first sentence of the “Fellow Christian” section states, “Are you sitting under a Christ-Centered, Christ-saturated, Christ magnifying ministry?” This is a question that requires a lot of thought and self-reflection, and this was only the first sentence. This was the first question, there are ten more in that section and that section is not even two pages! It’s a good book, but not a quick read. If you are considering reading this book as an individual or a group, let me know.

 

 

Brian L. Spivey – D.O.C.

Finally, Christians Can Come out the Closet

Kevin Deyoung’s book, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality will help many of us Christians come out of the closet.

In his introduction, Deyoung declares that the Bible is not a book about homosexuality but it does have something say about homosexuality. He unapologetically states, “This is a Christian Book with a narrow focus, defending a traditional view of marriage.” (p.15) This does not mean that it is not a book for those who have a different view, on the contrary, those who have a different view should read why most Christians feel so strongly about this issue.

Deyoung looks at most of the Scriptures that deal with homosexuality and defines the words in their cultural and theological context. The great thing about this book is though it explores the Greek language, it is not difficult to understand. You don’t need to know Greek to understand this book. Deyoung is able to write about this politically-charged subject with compassion and wisdom. He stayed away from the legal, political, scientific, cultural and educational controversies surrounding homosexuality…”(p.137) until the very end.

Christians in the closet? What? Why?

Yes, because of the supreme court decision to legalize, so-called gay marriage, because of the social pressure to fit in, because the governor of New York declared that those who believe in traditional marriage should leave New York, and legislation by President Obama to silence dissenting voices, Bible-believing Christians have jumped right into the closet and shut to door. Our voices silenced. But armed with this book, we can shout, “I’m Coming Out!”

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We think this book was so essential for understanding this subject that for a limited time, we are offering a free copy to any one who is interested in understanding the Christian perspective. Please let us know in the comment section.

 

Brian L. Spivey – Disciple of Christ

Welcome to The Story

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Welcome to The Story

Reading, Loving, and Living God’s Word

By Stephen J. Nichols

169 pages

© 2011

Stephen J. Nichols is research professor of Christianity and culture at Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School. He has written an easy-to-understand book about how a person can get the most out of their Bible reading. A lot people read the Bible as a jigsaw puzzle and ‘cherry-pick’ verses to help them with their problems. Nicholas encourages us to read the Bible with the plot in mind. There is “Trouble in Paradise” and there are four elements to the biblical plot: Creation, Fall, Redemption and Restoration. He begins with Genesis 1-3 and traces this plot line throughout the Scriptures. When one reads the Bible with these four elements in mind, the Bible is understood more like one grand story, than a bunch of stories that barely relate to one another. I wish I had read this book twenty years ago. I recommend this book but the best thing about this book is the practical guide to getting the most out of your daily Bible reading. Even after twenty-two years of walking with the Lord and hours of theological study, I still learned many things from this book. If you read it, let me know what you think.

 

Brian L. Spivey — D.O.C.

 

The Lost World of John H. Walton

John H. WaltonLydia McGrew from What’s Wrong with the World (an excellent blog, by the way) has done a three part review of John H. Walton’s The Lost World of Adam and Eve and a review of The Lost World of Genesis One.  They are well worth your time, clear, helpful, faithful to Scripture, well reasoned.  Let me know what you think.

The Lost World of Genesis One

The Lost World of Adam and Eve, part 1

The Lost World of Adam and Eve, part 2

The Lost World of Adam and Eve, part 3

C.M. Granger

Adam and the Unbearable Lightness of Non-Being

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The first two posts responding to Denis Lamoureux’s contribution to Four Views on the Historical Adam can be found here and here. Taking up where I left off, Dr Lamoureux cites a Barna Group study “Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church” in which it is stated, “One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity and science…” I believe that such research has value, and not having read the study I’m not in a position to respond to it. However, considering the way Dr. Lamoureux is using it to defend his thesis, if young adults are leaving the church because of this tension it’s because of something inherent in Christianity—it’s supernatural revelation. Isn’t there “tension” between creation ex nihilo and “science”, or between the Resurrection and “science”? Of course there is, and there always will be in this life. Supernatural events are square pegs that don’t fit neatly into naturalism’s round holes. The existence of a real Adam in time and space, created directly by God’s hand, is one of those square pegs.

Beginning on page 39 of the book, Lamoureux shares some of his personal testimony, how he came to know the Lord and some of the struggles he had as he pursued advanced degrees in theology and biology. He advises the reader that he was a thoroughly committed Young Earth Creationist and left medical school to become a Creation Scientist with the intention of disproving evolution. However, over the course of his studies he came to view the evidence for evolution to be overwhelming. In a short treatise like this, I don’t expect a detailed defense of this overwhelming evidence, but he could have at least addressed a few of the most common (and powerful) criticisms of evolution. Be that as it may, space constraints or a word limit may have prevented this.

Lamoureux concludes this section by asserting that he embraces the time-honored complementary relationship between Scripture and science, what he refers to as “God’s two divine books”–the book of God’s Word and the book of His Works. This, I suggest, is the point at which the author has veered off the tracks. God only has one book of special revelation in which He explains His works, such as creation, redemption, resurrection, etc. Whenever we place a second source on par with the Scriptures it is that second source which will take the place of preeminence—every time. It becomes the conduit through which we interpret Scripture, when in fact we should be understanding science in light of Scripture. God doesn’t give us scientific explanations, therefore the Bible isn’t a science textbook. However we do not interpret the sacred text via the modern spectacles of scientific consensus. Doing so narrows revelation to a handful of “theological points”.

For Lamoureux, Adam did not exist because according to our current understanding of “science” he could not exist. What are we to do with him then? Alter our approach to divine revelation? Assert that Jesus and Paul were wrong about him? Downplay or disregard his theological significance in the history of redemption? Make him nothing more than a shadow on the ancient pages of a divine story told long ago? A historical Adam isn’t a burden Christians are obliged to take care of, but an integral part of God’s plan and purpose.

We’ll examine this further in the days ahead.

C.M. Granger

 

Timely Bonus:  Comparing Blueprints

7 signs you’re reading a book by a prosperity preacher

On his blog, Blogging Theologically, Aaron Armstrong gives a light-hearted but true list of seven signs you’re reading a book by a prosperity preacher. Here’s an opening paragraph and the list (in brief).

Every so often we all stumble into prosperity theology, usually unwittingly. While occasionally you’ll get a nugget of helpful truth (in the same way that you’ll find some helpful things in your average self-help book), there’s a lot of goofiness which can make for a fun night of “Joel Osteen or Fortune Cookie.” So, how do you know if you’re reading a book written by a prosperity preacher? Here are seven signs:

1. A bright shiny smile that looks like it belongs on a poster for a dentist office.

2. The title makes it clear someone is really important—and that someone is you.

3. It’s advice that could easily be confused with the message from a fortune cookie.

4. There’s a proverb on the cover.

5. Someone’s caps-lock got stuck.

6. It may or may not be trying to cast wicked spells.

7. Seven is always the magic number.

I suggest you click through and read the whole thing HERE.

~ p d b

a857e3278d3ae29cbd5405bacbc57f8fPostscript — Aaron Armstrong himself has a great smile, but he does not put it on the cover of his books. 🙂 I have read his books, and they don’t meet the other criteria listed above. In fact, his writings are biblical, and very helpful — I recommend them, especially his book CONTENDING: DEFENDING TH FAITH IN A FALLEN WORLD!