If someone asked YOU "Why did Christ come?" what would YOU say? Could you share the why of the gospel message?
Why Christ Came is a wonderful, littleIf someone asked YOU "Why did Christ come?" what would YOU say? Could you share the why of the gospel message?
Why Christ Came is a wonderful, little book that I would strongly encourage every believer to read and perhaps even read often. It is a gem of a book that from start to finish focuses on the WHY. It isn't the only Christian living book that focuses on the why, of course. But it is concise and so Christ-centered that it may just be the BEST book you'll ever read about the why. (I'll amend that to read the best book outside the Bible itself.)
Why Christ Came could easily be considered a devotional book. There are 31 readings on WHY Christ came. One could easily read one a day in any month with 31 days and benefit from it using it as a traditional devotional. But it isn't only a devotional book. One could easily read it over a period of a day or two and benefit just as much.
You might be tempted that this is a seasonal book. That it is a devotional book for the month of December, perhaps, or maybe March or April--whatever month Easter happens to be. But, in my personal opinion, that would be silly--foolish--to think that the incarnation was relevant only once or twice a year. Every single day is a day to CELEBRATE the fact that Jesus came to dwell among us.
I think that believers should preach the gospel to themselves daily. Believers need to dine daily--find refreshment--from the gospel. The gospel may seem basic and simple at first, but, there is depth, substance, a certain RICHNESS to it that leaves one speechless.
Each chapter states one reason why Christ came. That one reason may be drawn from one text of Scripture--or several verses. Each chapter directs readers back to the heart of the gospel. ...more
The God We Worship is a collection of sermons preached at various conferences held by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals--the Princeton ConferencThe God We Worship is a collection of sermons preached at various conferences held by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals--the Princeton Conference. It includes sermons by Bryan Chapell, Charles D. Drew, Richard D. Phillips, Joseph "Skip" Ryan, Philip Graham Ryken, Michael Horton, Michael A.G. Haykin, R. Albert Mohler, and D.A. Carson.
From the preface,
All of these sermons explore and expound upon the nature of God--who he is, how he draws sinners to himself, how he is at work providentially, and how he is to be approached by us in worship. In a sense, the glory of these sermons is that they never begin with man as their subject. They are focused on the triune God revealed in the Bible: the Creator, the Redeemer, and the source of all that is true.
I definitely enjoyed reading The God We Worship. I enjoyed reading these sermons. While I was familiar with most of these preachers, one or two were new to me. I particularly liked the focus of these sermons: God. These are good and meaty sermons that any Christian can benefit from reading and reflecting upon. Each sermon is built around expounding particular scripture verses.
This bible commentary on 1 Corinthians is part of Crossway's Preaching the Word commentary series. I have read quite a few commentaries in the seriesThis bible commentary on 1 Corinthians is part of Crossway's Preaching the Word commentary series. I have read quite a few commentaries in the series now. I've read Isaiah, John, and Judges/Ruth. My favorite would probably be either the Isaiah one or the John. I loved, loved, loved both of those.
Stephen Um wrote the commentary for 1 Corinthians. Chapter by chapter, he takes readers verse by verse through one of Paul's longest letters.
This commentary series is more formal than say J. Vernon McGee's Thru the Bible series. But it isn't dry or scholarly either. Each chapter is essentially an expository sermon in print form. Each chapter also seeks to highlight how relevant the Bible still is for our lives today.
So don't expect Stephen Um, to address you as "MY FRIEND" every other page. (I do love that about J. Vernon McGee.)
So. 1 Corinthians covers a LOT of material on how to live a Christian life. What to do, and, what NOT to do. It's addressed to a church with issues. And that helps make a case for relevance, doesn't it?!
Four chapters are dedicated to unpacking all the wonderful-ness of 1 Corinthians 15. Three chapters are dedicated to covering 1 Corinthians 7. Most chapters of the book get one or two chapters.
I loved the focus on the resurrection, the cross, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. ...more
Lessons From A Hospital Bed by John Piper is a fantastic short book. How short is short? Just 80 pages. Yet for being so very little, it magnifies a BLessons From A Hospital Bed by John Piper is a fantastic short book. How short is short? Just 80 pages. Yet for being so very little, it magnifies a BIG GOD and declares some mighty truths.
The book is divided into two sections. The first part is "Ten Beliefs I Brought to the Hospital." Essentially these are ten oh-so-basic gospel truths that form the foundation of (Christian) living--in or out of a hospital. The first is "The Bible is the Word of God and should be trusted." The tenth is "Your life and your illness are not meaningless." The other eight are just as good, I promise.
The second part of the book is "Ten Lessons From My Hospital Bed." I know a little something about learning lessons from a hospital bed myself. I spent 12 days in the hospital in December 2015, 9 of those days in a cancer ward. (My tumor turned out not to be cancer like they first thought.) I learned a LOT, believe me. So I was curious what Piper learned and if we'd share any lessons in common. We did a few. His first lesson was "Don't murmor about delays and inefficiencies in the hospital when you are getting medical care that surpasses by a hundredfold what is available in 90 percent of the world."
I want to quote from this first chapter:
Instead of focusing on the fact that your nurse isn't responding or the man in the next bed is snoring or the intravenous device is beeping or the ice chips have run out, think about the fact that 150 years ago you would probably be dead by this point. And if not, you might be groaning in unrelieved pain with no morphine to help. And you may have no clue what's wrong with you or whether or not you are dying.
This thought occurred to me over and over again. How fortunate I am to be alive today; to be living at this time and to have faced this crisis in 2015 instead of 1915! I don't doubt that I probably would have died if I'd been living a hundred years ago or 150 years ago as Piper mentions.
He also mentions the importance of not grumbling or complaining.
Do you want to 'shine as a light' in the medical world? The Bible says, the bright of your shining is the absence of your grumbling. Amazing! Why is freedom from grumbling so bright and amazing? Because grumbling is the most natural thing in the world. When we grumble, we act like everybody else. You don't need the Holy Spirit to grumble. You don't need Christ to grumble. You don't need love to grumble. You don't need faith to grumble. All you need is your own entitled self.
I knew one thing that was very important to me personally. To NOT act like my grandmother did in the hospital. The first thing she did was make ENEMIES of all the nurses within minutes. It didn't matter how long or how short her stay. Nurses are your advocates, your helpers, you want them on YOUR side. Plus, I agree that you don't meet people accidentally.
He mentions in several chapters about how difficult and challenging it can be to focus when you're in the hospital. Both because you are in a lot of pain and you are surrounded by a lot of noise. The fifth lesson is "Realize that physical pain makes focusing on God's promises more difficult and demands greater concentrating effort." He writes,
It's not just the barrage of sounds that disorient our souls; it's the pain. I don't want this to blindside you. The very thing we need God for can blur our vision of God. At this point, it is so very important that you have in your heart some very simple, short biblical truths about God that you can declare to yourself. Long complex reasoning about God's sovereignty and goodness won't work in this situation, because the pain is too disorienting. It doesn't allow the mind to work at full capacity. What you need is this: "The Lord is my Shepherd." Period. "Christ gave himself for me." Period. "I will never leave you." Period. "Nothing is too hard for the Lord." Period. "Everything works for good." Period. These are like white stones with your name on them. And you hold them in your hand as you groan and wait.
This is one reason why Bible reading is so important. You need to have these truths stored away in your heart for you never know WHEN you're going to need them.
I especially loved the tenth lesson: "Pray that none of these hospital hours, none of this pain, none of these fears, none of these relationships, none of this life-altering season will be wasted." We may or may not have a choice on if we suffer, if we are in pain, if we face a long--or even a short--illness. But we can choose to glorify God through it all, no matter what. We can choose to rejoice, to praise God, to hold onto the hope that we have in Him, we can cling all the more to a Savior who KNOWS exactly what we need at any moment.
First sentence: IT WAS A DULL AUTUMN DAY AND JILL Pole was crying behind the gym. She was crying because they had been bullying her. This is not goingFirst sentence: IT WAS A DULL AUTUMN DAY AND JILL Pole was crying behind the gym. She was crying because they had been bullying her. This is not going to be a school story, so I shall say as little as possible about Jill’s school, which is not a pleasant subject.
The Silver Chair is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Narnia. (The first three are: The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.) It is an enjoyable installment in a wonderful fantasy series. It is neither my absolute favorite nor my least favorite. (Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe battle it out for top place. My opinion as to which is my favorite and my best varies depending on the day. The Last Battle is my least favorite simply because Lewis' weird theology sours the book.)
Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb find themselves unexpectedly whisked away to another country. After Jill "accidentally" tumbles Eustace off a cliff, she has a close encounter with a lion. This encounter with Aslan is one of my absolute favorites:
But her thirst was very bad now, and she plucked up her courage to go and look for that running water. She went on tiptoes, stealing cautiously from tree to tree, and stopping to peer round her at every step. But although the sight of the water made her feel ten times thirstier than before, she didn’t rush forward and drink. She stood as still as if she had been turned into stone, with her mouth wide open. And she had a very good reason; just on this side of the stream lay the lion.... And the thirst became so bad that she almost felt she would not mind being eaten by the lion if only she could be sure of getting a mouthful of water first. “If you’re thirsty, you may drink.” They were the first words she had heard since Scrubb had spoken to her on the edge of the cliff. For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again, “If you are thirsty, come and drink,” and of course she remembered what Scrubb had said about animals talking in that other world, and realized that it was the lion speaking. Anyway, she had seen its lips move this time, and the voice was not like a man’s. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way. “Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion. “I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill. “Then drink,” said the Lion. “May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill. The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. “Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill. “I make no promise,” said the Lion. Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer. “Do you eat girls?” she said. “I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it. “I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill. “Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion. “Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.” “There is no other stream,” said the Lion. It never occurred to Jill to disbelieve the Lion—no one who had seen his stern face could do that—and her mind suddenly made itself up. It was the worst thing she had ever had to do, but she went forward to the stream, knelt down, and began scooping up water in her hand. It was the coldest, most refreshing water she had ever tasted. You didn’t need to drink much of it, for it quenched your thirst at once.
After asking her where Eustace is--he knows, of course, having blown him to Narnia on his breath himself--he gives her a mission, a task.
And now hear your task. Far from here in the land of Narnia there lives an aged king who is sad because he has no prince of his blood to be king after him. He has no heir because his only son was stolen from him many years ago, and no one in Narnia knows where that prince went or whether he is still alive. But he is. I lay on you this command, that you seek this lost prince until either you have found him and brought him to his father’s house, or else died in the attempt, or else gone back to your own world.
She must learn the four signs that go along with the mission. She'll need to know them backwards and forwards and be able to recall them perfectly. And, of course, she'll need to share them with Eustace.
“I will tell you, Child,” said the Lion. “These are the signs by which I will guide you in your quest. First; as soon as the Boy Eustace sets foot in Narnia, he will meet an old and dear friend. He must greet that friend at once; if he does, you will both have good help. Second; you must journey out of Narnia to the north till you come to the ruined city of the ancient giants. Third; you shall find a writing on a stone in that ruined city, and you must do what the writing tells you. Fourth; you will know the lost prince (if you find him) by this, that he will be the first person you have met in your travels who will ask you to do something in my name, in the name of Aslan.”
She's confident that she can do it. How hard could it be, after all?! Knowing this, he warns her:
But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters. And now, daughter of Eve, farewell—”
Aslan then blows Jill to Narnia. She finds Eustace who arrived just minutes before. She tells him the signs, but, unfortunately he's already missed the opportunity of greeting an old friend--King Caspian. But the two will go on their mission all the same. They may not have the help of a king, but, they do have the help of some friendly owls. And it is through the owls that they meet one of my favorite, favorite characters: Puddleglum, a Marsh-wiggle. (The owls also tell them essentially everything they need to know about Prince Rilian and his mysterious disappearance). These three set off on a dangerous adventure quest together. And it's a memorable journey, I think....
Will they be successful? Will they find Prince Rilian? Will Rilian return to Narnia and be crowned king? Will they meet Aslan again?
Some additional quotes I loved:
IT IS A VERY FUNNY THING THAT THE sleepier you are, the longer you take about getting to bed; especially if you are lucky enough to have a fire in your room.
“How beastly one feels after sleeping in one’s clothes,” said Jill, sitting up. “I was just thinking how nice it was not to have to dress,” said Eustace. “Or wash either, I suppose,” said Jill scornfully.
“Good morning, Guests,” he said. “Though when I say good I don’t mean it won’t probably turn to rain or it might be snow, or fog, or thunder. You didn’t get any sleep, I dare say.” “Yes we did, though,” said Jill. “We had a lovely night.” “Ah,” said the Marsh-wiggle, shaking his head. “I see you’re making the best of a bad job. That’s right. You’ve been well brought up, you have. You’ve learned to put a good face on things.” “Please, we don’t know your name,” said Scrubb. “Puddleglum’s my name. But it doesn’t matter if you forget it’. I can always tell you again.”
“Well, I don’t know that you’d call it help,” he said. “I don’t know that anyone can exactly help. It stands to reason we’re not likely to get very far on a journey to the North, not at this time of the year, with the winter coming on soon and all. And an early winter too, by the look of things. But you mustn’t let that make you down-hearted. Very likely, what with enemies, and mountains, and rivers to cross, and losing our way, and next to nothing to eat, and sore feet, we’ll hardly notice the weather. And if we don’t get far enough to do any good, we may get far enough not to get back in a hurry.”
“The bright side of it is,” said Puddleglum, “that if we break our necks getting down the cliff, then we’re safe from being drowned in the river.”
However tired you are, it takes some nerve to walk up to a giant’s front door.
“Don’t you mind him,” said Puddleglum. “There are no accidents. Our guide is Aslan; and he was there when the giant King caused the letters to be cut, and he knew already all things that would come of them; including this”
Puddleglum was still fighting hard. “I don’t know rightly what you all mean by a world,” he said, talking like a man who hasn’t enough air. “But you can play that fiddle till your fingers drop off, and still you won’t make me forget Narnia; and the whole Overworld too. We’ll never see it again, I shouldn’t wonder. You may have blotted it out and turned it dark like this, for all I know. Nothing more likely. But I know I was there once. I’ve seen the sky full of stars. I’ve seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and sinking behind the mountains at night. And I’ve seen him up in the midday sky when I couldn’t look at him for brightness.” Puddleglum’s words had a very rousing effect. The other three all breathed again and looked at one another like people newly awaked.
Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland.
I have enjoyed reading a handful of J. Vernon McGee's Thru the Bible commentaries. Primarily I enjoy them because they are not overly scholarly, his wI have enjoyed reading a handful of J. Vernon McGee's Thru the Bible commentaries. Primarily I enjoy them because they are not overly scholarly, his writing style is casual, conversational, very reader-friendly. In fact, you can hardly go a few pages without him calling the reader--MY FRIEND.
The series focus in on the basics. The goal is on what you can take away from reading a particular book, chapter, or verse. It is by reading his commentaries that readers get to know McGee's theology: his thoughts on current issues, his conclusions on how we should live, etc. For example, in Hosea, McGee shares his thoughts on marriage, family, and "the home." And in Joel, McGee shares his thoughts on end-times prophecy.
Who was J. Vernon McGee? He was a minister with a radio show. Yes, was; he is among the "cloud of witnesses." He lived 1904-1988. On his radio show, he preached THRU THE BIBLE, giving attention to each book of the Bible, each chapter of the Bible. His programs still air on Christian radio, and, are available online as well in various places. The radio show covers the Bible--Genesis through Revelation--in five years. You can download individual books of the Bible.
Are his messages still relevant? I say YES. Any preach who holds onto absolute truth, holds fiercely to absolute truth, will always be relevant. That being said, do I believe 100% with each and every sentence he ever wrote or ever spoke. I wouldn't go that far. I don't know that I'd say that about *any* Christian minister or writer.
Favorite quotes from his commentary on Hosea:
Oh, my friend, what a picture this is of our Savior. He created us and we belong to Him. Then we were guilty of going from Him and giving our love, our affection, our time, to the things of the world. And while we were yet sinners, He came down to this earth and bought us in our ugly condition that He might make us His legitimate children. What love!
My friend, it is not enough to be correct in your doctrine and be active in your service for Christ. These are important and have their place, but the essential thing is love. Have you left your first love? Do you love him today?
My friend, when you turn your back on the one who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, you are not only doing something bad, you are not merely turning away in unbelief, you are committing the greatest sin of all. You are turning away from a God who loves you and died for you. There is no other sin equal to that.
I wish the pulpit today were a little stronger than it is. We all are trying to be very nice and, as a result, we sometimes do not speak as strongly as the Word of God does.
Those who teach that God is through with Israel either spiritualize or discount a great deal of the Old Testament. If you can strip the Old Testament of its literal meaning, that gives you liberty to do the same to the New Testament. Do you want to rob the Epistle of Romans and even John 3:16 of their literal meaning? You cannot do that with the New Testament, and I don't believe you can do it with the Old Testament either.
The greatest sin in all the world is to forget God.
Do you know that you and I are redeemed? The picture here is not very pretty--that is the reason it is not being preached more today. We hear a great deal in conservative circles about dedication, about commitment, and about turning your life over to the Lord. But, my friend, the first thing you need to do is to come as a sinner to God--He has to redeem you. Just as Hosea bought this harlot, that is the way God redeemed us. Until you and I see that, we can know nothing of real commitment to God.
Gomer wasn't worth it, and we are not worth the redemption price which was paid for us...He had to shed His blood; He had to suffer and die that you and I might be redeemed. Why? Because we were lost sinners, sold under sin.
And until we have come to God for salvation, you and I are dead in trespasses and sins. We have no life to commit to Him. Until the sin issue is settled--until we are born again and have received a new nature--we can do nothing that is pleasing to God.
IF a so-called church has a man in the pulpit who denies the Word of God, denies the deity of Christ, and denies that He died for sinners, it is not a church. It is a brothel--a spiritual brothel.
The message of chapter 4 is that Israel is guilty of lawlessness, immorality, ignorance of God's Word, and idolatry...I believe that you could interchange these same sins of Israel with the sins of our own nation.
My friend, if you are a Christian, the minute you get away from the Word of God, you are doomed to failure in the Christian life.
God says you do not get by with sin. He is judging sin, and He will continue to judge sin, my friend.
Today many are saying, "Out with religion," and I say, fine, let's sweep it out the book door, and let's invite Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, to come in.
In other words, the priests in refusing to give the people the Water of Life and the Bread of Life were actually committing murder. To be honest with you, I think that a minister who stands in the pulpit and does not give out the Word of God is guilty just as it is stated right here. I did not think that up--it is the Word of God which says that.
The most important business the church has is to get out the Word of God.
Love is not the basis of salvation, but it is the motive of salvation.
My friend, God has no other way to save you except by the death of Christ. You may think you have two or three different ways to save yourself, but God has but one way.
Favorite quotes from his commentary on Joel:
The Day of the Lord is a technical expression in Scripture which is fraught with meaning. It includes the millennial kingdom which will come at the second coming of Christ, but Joel is going to make it very clear to us that it begins with the Great Tribulation Period, the time of great trouble. If you want to set a boundary or parenthesis at the end of the Day of the Lord, it would be the end of the Millennium when the Lord Jesus puts down all unrighteousness and establishes His eternal kingdom here upon the earth.
To summarize, there is 1) man's day, the day in which we are living now; 2) the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He will take the church out of this world; then 3) the Day of the Lord beginning with the Great Tribulation Period.
My friend, the only way we can come to Him is to come as sinners wanting to turn from our sins. If you have been turning from God and now will turn to God, all you have to do is call upon Him and He will save you.
God is glorified when He judges sin just as much as He is when He saves a sinner. That is hard for us to believe; it is a bitter pill for man to swallow. God is holy, and a holy, righteous God is going to judge.
First sentence: Ann likes red. Red! Red! Red! "A blue dress, Ann?" "I like red," said Ann.
Premise/plot: Ann and her mom have gone shopping. Anne likesFirst sentence: Ann likes red. Red! Red! Red! "A blue dress, Ann?" "I like red," said Ann.
Premise/plot: Ann and her mom have gone shopping. Anne likes RED, RED, RED. What will she buy? Perhaps a RED dress, a RED hat, a RED belt, RED sandals!
My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one as a child. I did. I think I had the book memorized I read it so much. I was quite THRILLED to find a copy recently. Though I had forgiven my mom for giving *my* copy away, I am so happy to have found a new copy.
Yes, the book is simple: just sixteen words to tell the whole story. But apparently 16 words are more than enough to tell a GOOD story when you know what you're doing.
And I will admit the book has a very VINTAGE feel. Some might say dated, but I prefer VINTAGE.
Text: 5 out of 5 Illustrations: 3 out of 5 Total: 8 out of 10...more
First sentence: There was an old dragon who swallowed a knight. I don't know why he swallowed the knight. It's not polite! There was an old dragon whoFirst sentence: There was an old dragon who swallowed a knight. I don't know why he swallowed the knight. It's not polite! There was an old dragon who swallowed a steed that galloped around at a terrible speed. Oh, how the dragon wished it would stop, that clippity, clippity, clippity clop. He swallowed the steed right after the knight. I don't know why he swallowed the knight. It's not polite!
Premise/plot: A rendition of "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly" starring a fire-breathing dragon...
My thoughts: For the record, I just have to say that I loathe "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly." It is not a story or song that I particularly enjoy, and definitely not one that I like to see copied, adapted, parodied endlessly by other writers. But you might notice the five stars I gave it. Why? If I don't "like" the original, and if I usually don't like other renditions?! Because this one is fun, lively, and delightful. Half the book focuses on the 'old dragon' swallowing stuff--a knight, a steed, a squire, a cook, etc--and half the book focuses on the 'old dragon' burping all that stuff back up. Or does he?!
The text works--for me--because the rhythm and rhyme of it work. It is crucial for me to have it; it is that certain something that makes a book decidedly good. A picture book without a proper working of rhythm and rhyme, a natural flow--though not overly forced or it becomes embarrassingly unnatural and awkward--is just sad. A good picture book text should flow naturally enough that any one should be able to read it aloud easily and comfortably. Some books require a good amount of practice and experimentation and energetic effort to get the "reading aloud" just right.
The illustrations also work well for me. I love them. The illustrations were quite detailed and expressive. I loved the last spread.
Overall, I'd say this one was quite satisfying.
Text: 5 out of 5 Illustrations: 5 out of 5 Total: 10 out of 10...more
I would definitely recommend Justin Holcomb's Know the Creeds and Councils. This isn't the first book I've read on the subject of church history, thouI would definitely recommend Justin Holcomb's Know the Creeds and Councils. This isn't the first book I've read on the subject of church history, though I wish it had been! The book I read was thick, scholarly, and in my opinion, poorly organized. This one, on the other hand, was reader-friendly, well-organized, and written primarily to be UNDERSTOOD. In the introduction, he defines the four key terms used throughout the book: creeds, confessions, catechisms, and councils. He shares his purpose for writing the book: "to provide an accessible overview of the main creeds, confessions, catechisms, and councils of Christian history. It is an introduction to some of the most important theological declarations in the Christian tradition." He shares his method: "For each creed, confession, catechism, or council, I present historical background, a short summary of the content, and thoughts on contemporary relevance. At the end of each chapter are discussion questions and recommended reading for further study." The chapters are arranged chronologically, of course.
The definitions he gives are straight forward. For example, this is how he defines the term catechism: "A catechism is a book or document giving a brief summary of the basic principles of Christianity in Q&A form. Catechisms represent the practical, “on-the-ground” application of the main teaching agreed upon at church councils and expressed through creeds and confessions."
Chapter 1: The Apostles' Creed ca. 140 Chapter 2: Council of Nicaea and the Nicene Creed 325 Chapter 3: Councils of Ephesus 431, 449, 475 Chapter 4: Council of Chalcedon 451 Chapter 5: Athanasian Creed Late 400s to Early 500s Chapter 6: Councils of Constantinople 381, 553, 681 Chapter 7: Councils of Carthage and Orage 419 and 529 Chapter 8: Council of Trent 1545-63 Chapter 9: Heidelberg Catechism 1563 Chapter 10: Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion 1563 Chapter 11: Westminster Confession of Faith 1646 Chapter 12: Second Vatican Council 1962-65 Chapter 13: Modern Confessions: Lausanne Covenant (1974) and Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978)
What I appreciate is Holcomb's assessment of each. He is fair, kind, respectful, of course, and the goal is never to persuade readers to believe exactly what he believes. But he provides a solid grounding for understanding Christian doctrines. One feels that he is a true (tour) guide: he knows the path and can point out the sights along the way. He can tell you where to watch your step, where to be careful. And along the way, he can share interesting facts.
Let's play Did You Know!
Did you know...."the Apostles’ Creed has expressed the essentials of Christianity in a way that Christians of all stripes can rally around."
Did you know...."the Nicene Creed was the first creed to obtain universal authority in the church, and it improved the language of the Apostles’ Creed by including more specific statements about the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit."
Did you know that...."Without the truths that were expressed in the Definition of Chalcedon, it is difficult to see how our salvation was accomplished. If Christ were not fully human, or if he were not fully divine, he would not be able to serve as our mediator — as the God-man. He would be either just another man or God himself."
Did you know that...."According to Martin Luther, the Athanasian Creed was “the most important and glorious composition since the days of the apostles.”
Did you know that...."The Council of Trent aimed to remedy the problems within the Catholic Church that had contributed to the Reformers’ cries of protest. The reforms included correcting abuses of power by the clergy, clarifying the balance of authority between Scripture and church tradition, and issuing official statements on justification, the sacraments, and purgatory. All in all, the Council of Trent did not repair the fractures between the Catholics and Protestants, but it did succeed in clarifying the Catholic Church’s position on significant areas of doctrine and bringing moderate reform to the abuses of power against which the Reformers had revolted."
Did you know that..."Even 450 years after it was written, the Heidelberg Catechism remains an official statement of theology for most of the branches of the Reformed church worldwide today."
Did you know that...."the Thirty-nine Articles created a fertile ground for theological exploration while simultaneously identifying the potential pitfalls of heresy."
Did you know that..."The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) is a Reformed confession produced by that Westminster Assembly in London. Intended to set the doctrinal standards for the Church of England, it became a powerful force in the Church of Scotland and has influenced Presbyterian churches all over the world. Centuries later, numerous churches and denominations worldwide look to the Westminster Confession as their standard of doctrine, subordinate, of course, to Scripture"
While I would not want to be quizzed on what I remember from the book several weeks later, I do feel it was a helpful read overall. ...more