The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful work written by a 17th-century Puritan, John Bunyan, from his prison cell in a time of persecution.
J.C. Ryle w...moreThe Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful work written by a 17th-century Puritan, John Bunyan, from his prison cell in a time of persecution.
J.C. Ryle wrote of this book, “I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim’s Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ignorant of Greek and Latin, will prove in the last day to have done more for the benefit of the world, than all the works of the schoolmen put together.”
The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful allegory of the beginning, progression, and conclusion of the true Christian life. Rich in Biblical theology, it tells the story of the trials, temptations, and triumphs of a man named Christian in his pilgrimage from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City and eternal life. Many of the events we read include universal tales about human struggles through hardship with which anyone can identify.
Some of the places through which we follow Christian in his pilgrimage include the Delectable Mountains, Hill of Difficulty, Palace Beautiful (an allegory of the local Christian congregation), Slough of Despond, Doubting Castle, Valley of Humiliation, Hill Clear, Vanity Fair, Valley of the Shadow of Death, By-Path Meadow, the dangerous Enchanted Ground, River of Death, etc.
Sin makes this world a dry and weary land. The road to the Celestial City is always an ascent (Psalm 24:3). However, the Lord Jesus Christ is a place of shelter and refuge. He is the Shelter from the storm of affliction and rain.
The Pilgrim’s Progress encourages me that by God’s grace, albeit whichever valleys through which I may pass, whatever slough into which I may have fallen, whatever rivers to ford, or whichever Hill of Difficulty I may climb in my journey … my Guide is ever watchful, my Deliverer unfailing, and He is indeed faithful in keeping and persevering His people till they arrive home at the Celestial City—that glorious, Heavenly City built not by the hands of man—whose Maker and Builder is God.
Every Christian can learn and be encouraged by the Biblical instructions from this story. (less)
This book provides helpful insight into a godly way of courtship in the modern world. At a mere 95 pages, it is a relatively thin book but the size is...moreThis book provides helpful insight into a godly way of courtship in the modern world. At a mere 95 pages, it is a relatively thin book but the size is deceiving. Doug Wilson is an eloquent and persuasive writer who wastes no words and shares godly advices on: preparing for courtship, qualities to consider in a mate, things to consider that would affect the relationship in marriage, criteria and principles of courtship, the parents' authority, etc.
The appendix titled "The Garden" (a story of a girl "tending her own garden") is brilliantly written! It is an allegory that powerfully illustrates the significance or virtue of purity, and compellingly encourages readers to keep themselves pure prior to marriage.
Some may believe not everything in this book is practical (especially if the parents are non-Christians or perhaps refuse to participate). While that may be true, I think the main thrust and focus of this book should really be more on principles rather than following a one-size-fits-all method of application, and as such there's much that can be gleaned from the book.
Note: This review reflects my opinions only toward this book, and not necessarily my agreement with the author's views on theological issues like "baptismal regeneration," "federal vision," etc.(less)
This "one sitting" book kept me turning the pages until wee hours of the morning. Few authors possess the keen ability to help readers come into a gra...moreThis "one sitting" book kept me turning the pages until wee hours of the morning. Few authors possess the keen ability to help readers come into a grasp of the nature of God's holiness, but through this book Dr. Sproul is able to help us better understand what God's holiness means and transport the reader into the presence of God.
We often hear many talk about how God is love, yet why do fewer ever speak of His holiness and justice? The Holiness of God reminds me yet again that my salvation (through Christ's propitiatory death) is an act of mercy and grace by God (not an obligation), since His absolute holiness demands only justice for my sins. Dr. Sproul helps readers dig deeper beneath a superficial surface of what it means that God is holy--bringing us into a deeper understanding and love of who God is, a greater awe for His absolute holiness, and reverence in worship. As the famous Reformed theologian Jonathan Edwards wrote over 200 years ago: "A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this."
One of my favorite chapters carries an intriguing title: The Trauma of Holiness. Why and how does holiness invoke trauma? Many other religions have invented god(s) who brought only comfort. Even Sigmund Freud espoused the theory that people invent "god" to help them deal with scary things, to serve as a "crutch," so to speak. Dr. Sproul draws a contrast by demonstrating how the one and only true God has certain characteristics distinct from those that would normally be attributed by the common man. Our true God possesses a uniqueness--an awesome "otherness". After Jesus miraculously calmed the storm in the Sea of Galilee, the disciples felt uncomfortable and terrified (yes, terrified) upon realizing that they, in their sinfulness, were in the presence of the Holy One. What a contrast to those popular man-made ideas of God invented only to bring comfort!
This book helps us to better see the God who is--who not only brings comfort in time of need, invokes our adoration and praise, but also in whose Holy presence drives us to our knees in reverential worship.(less)
In this book Douglas Wilson sets aside prevailing cultural standards and boldly addresses the Biblical standard of Christian marriage and the roles of...moreIn this book Douglas Wilson sets aside prevailing cultural standards and boldly addresses the Biblical standard of Christian marriage and the roles of Christian husbands and wives. He discusses headship and authority, different responsibilities or roles to be fulfilled in marriage, love, forgiveness, differences between men and women, pornography, faithfulness, bearing children, divorce, etc.
A chapter is devoted to the "roles" of a husband and a wife. They each have different roles, but one is not superior or inferior than the other. Just as the right shoe is not more important than the left shoe, neither the husband nor the wife is superior than the other. If the right shoe is exchanged with the left (or vice versa), neither can fulfill its role properly. The author explains how the husband and wife are equal in *worth* but differ in *role*, and they work together in love.
After reading this book, women no longer need to cringe when they hear that "s" word: submission. Mr. Wilson reiterates the Biblical concept of submission and explains what it means for wives to submit to their husbands as the leader and head of the family (Eph. 5:23-25). He also discusses the Biblical principle that husbands love their wife as Christ loves the church. (Most women don't have a problem submitting to a husband who loves them as Christ loves the church).
This book is helpful in equipping a Biblical understanding of a Christian marriage and the roles of husbands and wives.
[Please note this review reflects my opinions only toward this book, and not necessarily my agreement with the author's controversial views on theological issues like "baptismal regeneration," "federal vision," etc.](less)
Nancy Wilson is a "Titus 2 woman" who has written this book to "teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,...moreNancy Wilson is a "Titus 2 woman" who has written this book to "teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands" (Titus 2:3-5). She offers scriptural advice for Christian women to be a woman of the Word, who walks with God, who respects and submits to her husband as the head and spiritual leader of the family (Eph. 5:22-24), content in the assignments God gives them, takes her responsibilities in homemaking, and knows how to encourage her husband.
She also explains what Biblical submission looks like in the context of marriage and what it is not. Other issues addressed are finances, handling criticisms, etc.(less)
Do doctrinal differences between Roman Catholics and evangelicals matter? This book is an excellent introduction to the Roman Catholic-Protestant deba...moreDo doctrinal differences between Roman Catholics and evangelicals matter? This book is an excellent introduction to the Roman Catholic-Protestant debate and a good resource for laymen. Dr. James R. White is a profound author, gifted debater, and effective communicator with a love for God's truth. He's debated numerous leading Roman Catholic apologists over the years and is well-informed of the issues and views of both sides. This book is a careful look at the current issues of tradition and scripture, "sola scriptura," the papacy, purgatory, indulgences, Marian doctrine (e.g. immaculate conception, "latria," "dulia," etc.) and most importantly, the heart of the Gospel itself (how one is declared righteous in God's sight).
This book is not based on mere "feel good, warm, fuzzy" theology, but presents the Biblical arguments well. Many Roman Catholics claim the modern Roman Catholic church today is still the same true apostolic church that was founded by Christ 2,000 years ago. But do her teachings, as she stands today, pass the test of Scripture? Or has there been an evolution in her doctrines throughout the years? Dr. White carefully quotes official Roman Catholic church documents, well-versed Roman Catholic theologians, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other ecumenical Councils. But most importantly, he quotes Biblical passages for each topic at hand so the reader can compare and hence discern which views (the Roman Catholic's or evangelical's?) is in accord with the Scripture.
One of my favorite chapters in the book is on justification, where Dr. White beautifully and clearly explains the Biblical teaching of how one--who is inherently unrighteous--is declared righteous positionally in Christ. He illustrates that one day the Christian will be able to stand justified before the judgment throne of God--clothed not in his own supposed "righteousness," but rather in the pure spotless garments of Christ's righteousness alone. Our sins have been imputed and placed upon Christ on the cross; and in return, His righteousness are imputed (credited) to us by faith (Phil. 3:9; 2 Cor. 5:21). And while he emphasizes the biblical teaching of salvation by faith alone, Dr. White neither denies nor downplays the role and importance of good works in a believer's life. As he aptly put it: Faith alone saves, but a saving faith is never alone--it always produces good works.
This was the first book that helped me to understand better the true Gospel, the nature of saving grace, my utter hopelessness & helplessness apart from God's unmerited saving grace, and the importance of relying upon Scripture alone as the infallible & sufficient source of truth on matters of faith and life.
I would highly recommend this book for both Roman Catholics as well as evangelicals. One would be able to understand better "what" the doctrinal differences are between the two sides and also "why".(less)