Ever so often, there comes a book that forces you to think deeply about something that you may have taken for granted, something that you’ve grown accustomed to and maybe thus come to assume.
Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus by Jared C. Wilson is one of those books.
It prods you to take a deeper look at the gospel of Jesus Christ; to stare and be mesmerized by the numerous, wonderful aspects of the good news that is the atonement of our Lord and Savior. If you thought that the gospel was shallow, this book will make you think otherwise–the gospel is very, very deep and you have only skimmed the surface.
For example, in Chapter 1, Wilson goes through how the gospel reconciles us on multiple levels–a very helpful reminder for all of us who have not thought deeply about reconciliation. In the next chapter (Ch.2), Wilson uncovers three different “views” the gospel gives believers: a secure self, a redemptive view of place, and an epic view of God. A nice, surprising chapter is Ch.3 where Wilson reveals what it means to be “at play in the fields of the Lord” and really encourages readers to rejoice in the gospel and the true joy it brings.
I could go on about the other chapters of the book, but suffice to say, this is an important read for even the maturest of Christians. Its strength lies in its overall ability to force the reader to slow down and consider slowly, in detail, the vast and grand accomplishment of God in Christ. Some parts may seem like a refresher course for the well-versed disciple, but Wilson writes in a way that is thought provoking and unlike any authors in our day. I trust you’ll be quite encouraged after reading Gospel Deeps as much as I was.
In the new book, The Hole in Our Holiness (Crossway), Kevin DeYoung seeks out to promote and recover the necessity of a robust and strong pursuit of holiness, especially for those readers who are in the co-called “gospel-centered” camp.
After reading this short book, I was greatly encouraged that I could–and should–have a zealous pursuit of Christ-likeness and godward holiness. DeYoung reminds us that we ought not to shy away from using great efforts to be more holy; rather it is because we have been saved by God, declared made righteous by the blood of Christ that we can and should pursue holiness.
Chapter Two, “The Reason for Redemption,” is a very good and timely reminder of the purpose for which God saved us. Namely, God saved us by grace, so that we might be holy. Echoing Packer’s words, DeYoung contends that we were justified so that we might be sanctified.
Chapter Three is a highlight of this book: “Piety’s Pattern.” Here, DeYoung gives us some very practical examples of what holiness is and what it is not. The contents here are worth the price of the book, as it is a very helpful gauge that we can use to see how our growth of holiness is:
Holiness is not mere rule keeping.
Holiness is not generational imitation.
Holiness is not generic spirituality.
Holiness is not “finding your true self”.
Holiness is not the way of the world.
Holiness looks like the renewal of GOd’s image in us.
Holiness looks like a life marked by virtue instead of vice.
Holiness looks like a clean conscience.
Holiness looks like obedience to God’s commands.
Holiness looks like Christlikeness.
To be sure, Chapter Four “The Impetus for the Imperatives” is also an amazing chapter where DeYoung provides us with numerous Scriptural references of the different biblical reasons why we should obey the Lord. Chapter Six is titled “Spirit-powered, Gospel-driven, Faith-fueled Effort” and there you’ll find the heart of DeYoung’s argument; his reasoning is sound and balanced for a generation that may sometimes find itself too passive while living in the school of “grace”.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to young Christians everywhere, especially our current generation of youth who have a zealous love for God, as well as the “older” more mature Christians in our churches. Sometimes, through the thick and thin of our daily routines, we neglect this important necessity of following hard after Christ. Let us pick up this book and read, and meditate on it, lest we have a bigger hole in our holiness.
“Jonathan Edwards and Justification” (Crossway, 2012) is a short but substantial book on the theology of Jonathan Edwards. Edited by Josh Moody, it is a compilation of 5 chapter-length articles by theologians familiar with Edwards.
Reader beware, this is not a book for the faint at heart. It is theologically substantial and heavy, especially given that Edwards’s own words and language is quoted and hard to grasp at first reading. Most certainly, this is a book for the pastor-theologian or seminarian who desires a quick and succinct examination of Edwards’s position on justification.
In particular, it exmines Edwards’s view on justification. To be sure, Moody and company aim to uncover how Reformed is Jonathan Edwards’s beliefs about about our position in Christ. This is especially an important book for our time, when this issue of justification by faith alone is undermined by the ever-increasing friendship of Roman Catholics and evangelicals. And our theological-ecclesial climate is further exasperated by the recent work of E.P. Sanders and the New Perspective on Paul. Henceforth, this book finds itself in the unique position of offering a well-reasoned defence of Edwards’s Reformed position on justification by faith alone.
I found Moody’s opening chapter most helpful and a quick primer for myself, as one who has dabbed little into the works of Edwards. I appreciated Moody’s examination of Edwards’s “order of salvation” and the relationship between justification and sanctification. I now know I need to spend more time reading Edwards, and this book is a good little catalyst for any student of theology–especially in the vein of Edwards.
This anonymous message just arrived in my hands; it was dropped in the offering box & given to me by Church Admin Assistant. It was written on an old Church Bulletin, but was recently used to write this message:
For the past 2 weeks and this week, I noticed a few young ladies wear very short shorts. Please remind them this is not quite appropriate for the Sunday Service, and other Church activities.
Original Issue: Modesty of girls dress. Yes that is being addressed continually; individually & corporately.
Consequent Issue: How one communicates your concern with the original issue.
^ Whoever wrote this, I cannot tell WHO it is that has a concern with WHOM. Such a concern brought up anonymously just invalidated itself, being anonymous.
2. Speak to her parents personally.
3. Come speak to me directly, having done #1 & #2
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. (Matthew 18:15-17 ESV)
Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Let us be biblical & Christ-like even in responding to such issues.
Grace and peace,
Sent from my Mac
Justin Buzzard, a pastor in Silicon Valley, has written a highly accessible book on the Christian husband’s responsiblity in marriage.
Date Your Wife (Crossway, 2012) is written for the regular Joe Christian who probably does not read much books. At just over 130 pages, this book on biblical manhood is an easy read. It is written for men, married men, so women need simply be aware of this. Christian men everywhere, young and old, ought to get a copy of this for their “bros”.
One of the most helpful things about Date Your Wife is the emphasis on the man’s responsibility before God to care and cultivate his relationship with his wife. Considering the prevalent cultural problem of men neglecting to take responsiblity for their despicable marriage, Buzzard contends that at the core what’s wrong with the marriage is the man; “me” (ch.3). Grounding the marriage responsiblity on the man is taken straight from Genesis (ch.4).
Yet the foundation of Buzzard’s book is not of “self-help” or do-this-and-you’ll-fix-your-marriage; such is legalism and works righteousness. Buzzard is quick to proclaim that Christ and the gospel ought to be the solution and driving force of a healthy marriage (ch.7). Men everywhere ought to man up and pay attention to Buzzard.
I heartily recommend Date Your Wife to any brothers reading this. You’ll be glad to you read it; and it’s so short and simple yet important, that it’ll take time to really sink in. And when this message of biblical manhood sinks in, we shall be more quickly prone to date our wife.
Reading the Bible well can be a daunting task for many Christians, seasoned or young. That is why it is important to get the foundations of how the whole Bible fits together, how to read the different genres or kinds of Scripture, and how Jesus relates to it all.
Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well is a short, helpful new book published recently by Crossway that aims to help in this task.
To be sure, this book is a compilation of articles that would help readers in reading and interpreting the Bible. The individual chapter authors are renown biblical scholars.
Thankfully, the editors (Wayne Grudem, C. John Collins, and Thomas R. Schreiner) have compiled one very cohesive and concise book to address all the basic kinds of hermeneutical issues. Part 1 of the book is on the Old Testament, part 2 is on the Background to the New Testament, and part 3 is on the New Testament itself.
Helpful Time Lines
I found the last section of the book, Part 4, very helpful. These last few pages of the book contain Time Lines, and it gave me a really insightful look at the chronological history of the forefathers of the Jewish faith, the United Monarchy of the kings of Israel, the Divided Monarchy and exilic times, and the generations returning from exile.
Furthermore, the intertestamental events time line is a great resource for those Bible readers who did not know of the various historical and cultural events that predated the Bible, circumstances that affected the context of the New Testament. Consequently, the included New Testament Time Line is certainly an important chart to learn and be familiar with. When we understand the time of Jesus better, the more we can appreciate the significance of his atoning sacrifice for us and for our salvation.
Similarly, Part 2: Background to the New Testament is the most meaty and dense section of this book, and yet a section the seasoned Christian should consider studying carefully. The time between the testaments and the so-called “four hundred years of silence” is an era of Christian history that needs to be studied.
While in seminary at SBTS, I recall that this content was lectured and discussed in the first week weeks of my introductory New Testament class. I remember being very confused as to who the Sadducees were, and what the Esssenes were all about. Such historical facts were completely foreign to me, cultural artifacts that were never mentioned in my Christian life in the church. This is why every Christian will be aided in their understanding of Biblical history. When we develop greater perspective that the Holy Scriptures of our Christian faith came out of true, historical time periods and cultures, we get a better understanding of how amazing Jesus is. We will in turn discover why God’s redemptive plan for all mankind is so amazing: Jesus is the fulfillment of the whole Scripture.
I heartily recommend this small book to every Christian, young and old. If you are reading the Bible for the first time, or if you are reading through the Bible for the 40th time, you’ll be sure to find that this book is an excellent assistant to your biblical interpretation.