I recently found a very helpful, inspiring book on deep discount at CBD. Walter Kaiser’s The Majesty of God in the Old Testament is available for a short time at $5.99 as ‘slightly imperfect’. I have not figured out what flaws exist with the copy I received. Nothing on the cover, spine, or binding that I can discern.
Anyway, once I received the book I started to look through it. Kaiser grabbed my attention in the introduction with his infectious energy for exalting the greatness and majesty of God from numerous biblical passages. Those familiar with the YRR movement and its literature will find a familiar tune of intentional pursuit of the glory of God in Kaiser’s reflections. Not only does he stir up high thoughts of our great God, but he also lays out a practical framework to pursue preaching and teaching from ten specific passages which could be applied to numerous others. In other words, Kaiser not only paints a magnificent biblical portrait of God’s majesty, he provides you with brushes, tints, a pallet, and a theological artist’s eye to help you teach your people about our glorious God.
Kaiser also gives a brief reflection on and response to the Christocentric preaching model emphasized most prominently by Bryan Chapell. If you have never read Kaiser, here’s a solid and stirring work of deep theology that would benefit both you and those who hear you preach and teach concerning the majesty of our great God and Savior.
Come to Me! – An Urgent Invitation to Turn to Christ, Tom Wells, Banner of Truth, 113 pages.
This short book is packed with good news! Sometimes we get too wrapped up in intellectual theology to the neglect of the great truths of the gospel stated in everyday language. Wells glorifies Christ in the simplicity and clarity of the gospel he presents. Particularly beneficial are the three chapters: Come to Me as King, Come to Me Exclusively, and Come to Me Immediately.
The entire book is helpful for those who are not yet Christians and these three chapters are especially helpful to those who are already Christians. They are a great reminder of the glory, beauty, and uniqueness of Christ and His claim on every sinner.
Today’s Evangelism – Its Message and Methods, Ernest C. Reisinger, Craig Press, 163 pages.
This book lives up to its title. It is a good examination of the foundation of evangelism and the outworking of that foundation in our methods of evangelism. The late pastor Ernest Reisinger writes to the layman at his level and not to the academy. He utilizes a three-point evaluation: a right rule (the Word of God), a right end (the glory of God), and a right motive (love to God and love to man).
Why should we examine our methods of evangelism? Reisinger writes, “The question is not going to be ‘Does it work?’ but ‘Is it true?’ – ‘Is it biblical?’ The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ system works because they get converts, but is it true?” This book is a relatively quick read and it has lasting value. It’s a good dose of ‘true truth’ for all the Lord’s evangelists.
I finally finished my first reading of Pierced for Our Transgressions
by Jeffery, Ovey, and Sach. It is an excellent work and well worth the time. I hope to post a full review in a few days. The authors take the time to deal with many current objections to penal substitutionary atonement, explaining and exploring models of justice displayed in various positions, identifying and critiquing underlying presuppositions, and offering helpful advice on less-than-helpful illustrations which enjoy broad use within evangelical preaching.
This was a great volume to follow Morris’ The Cross in the New Testament. Morris explored the rich pallete of the atonement and responded more than adequately to positions which still hold sway in several branches of the church. Jeffery, Ovey, and Sach continue his analysis into current trends and echo the faithful work of Morris to our current generation of evangelical theologians.
James Alexander Haldane (1768-1851) lived in a day not unlike our own when men misunderstood the Bible. Two prominent authors had written works seeking to establish the doctrine of universal atonement. This brought confusion concerning the work of Christ to the church in Haldane’s time. Haldane set out to reply to their errors and to set forth a sound understanding of Christ’s work of particular redemption. I had benefited from Haldane’s insights in a shorter work, so I looked forward to reading one of his major books.
Haldane served as pastor to the same congregation for over 50 years. Throughout his life he wrote about the atonement. Obviously it was a subject near and dear to his heart. While he was not a controversialist by habit, nearly every book and tract he wrote on the atonement was in defense of truth and in response to specific errors put forth by his contemporaries.
The Doctrine of the Atonement was written to specifically reply to the errors of Drs Wardlaw, Jenkyn, and Payne. Haldane wrote The Doctrine of the Atonement well into his seventies yet displays a strong and active mind, both in general discourse and in seeing inconsistencies and weaknesses in the works he is contending with.
Generally speaking the book is helpful. Haldane looks at many aspects of the atonement, including its nature, extent, and effects. He explores the free offer of the gospel to all. He examines God’s love for mankind. Several controversial questions are toppled by the weight of Scripture.
And yet… it’s a struggle to read. Haldane writes with a very sharp razor. He doesn’t provide any background on his opponent’s arguments. He simply refers the reader to the page number in their works and launches into his reply. For the original audience this was likely not an issue since they had ready access to the opposing works. Not so in this day. Over the years I’ve wondered why this book of Haldane’s hasn’t been widely available. Now that I’ve read it, I understand why. There are other works on the atonement that are much more accessible.
I’m glad I read it, but can only offer a muted recommendation.
I finished reading Luther’s response to Erasmus last weekend. I had to smile and laugh a few times as the reformer painted vivid pictures in words. You might say Luther wrote with a scalpel or a hammer rather than a pen.
“I thought it outrageous to convey material of so low a quality in the trappings of such rare eloquence; it is like using gold or silver dishes to carry garden rubbish or dung.”
“Perhaps nobody will believe me when I say that Erasmus says these things. Let doubters read the Diatribe at this point; they will be surprised! Not that I am particularly surprised. A man who does not treat this question seriously and has no interest in the issue, whose mind is not on it and who finds it a boring and a chilling and distasteful business, cannot help uttering absurdities and follies and contradictions all along the line; he argues his case like a man drunk or asleep, blurting out between snores ‘Yes!’ ‘No!’ as different voices sound upon his ears!”
“Do you think the Diatribe was quite sober, or in its right mind, when it wrote this? For I will not put it down to wickedness and villainy – unless perhaps its intention is to bore me to death by its characteristic habit of always dealing with something other than its stated theme! But if the Diatribe has enjoyed itself by trifling on such a vital matter, then let me too enjoy myself by publicly exposing its willful stupidities.”
I’ve been reading a little paperback of J. Gresham Machen’s addresses. Love and courage are displayed clearly on each page. They are all out of proportion to the size of the book, writ large in the life and words of the author.
This is my first foray into Machen’s work. Please share any recommendations you might have for his other works.
I am about one fourth of the way through Tom Schreiner’s book
Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ. This is the first time I’ve read a Pauline theology. I’ve hesitated to tackle works like these. I have been reluctant because I thought that an academic book like this could be quite dry. To my relief, I have found it to be an engaging work that is very hard to put down. Schreiner is a good writer. He hasn’t kiln-dried Paul and made him dry as dust. No, Schreiner uses a broad Biblical brush and vivid life-tones to paint a very human picture of Paul. Paul’s life is a source of both courage and encouragement. A book like this helps focus our attention on the different aspects of the Lord’s ministry through Paul. Personally, I need help focusing. I’m thankful Schreiner put in the effort to write this book. I have several ideas to write about, as the seeds of Schreiner’s work fall from the pages.
I think I will need to make a few passes through the book to mine all the gold out of it. This first time through I am reading it fairly quickly.
One thing is obvious in the first 100 pages. Schreiner makes a very clear case concerning Paul’s suffering and the role it plays in his life and mission. For those of you who are Joel Osteen’ed to death, read this. Paul provides a much needed, and very obvious, correction to the ‘successful life’ model that is so terribly popular in evangelical circles these days.