Longman's commentary is a great resource in studying the unusual book of Ecclesiastes. He includes the views of others along with his own to provide t...moreLongman's commentary is a great resource in studying the unusual book of Ecclesiastes. He includes the views of others along with his own to provide the reader with a rich understanding of the text. Detailed explanation is given for the English word he chooses when rendering the Hebrew. In studying Ecclesiastes I also used Michael Eaton's commentary from the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series. I found that when Longman and Eaton differed it was Longman's view and argument that were more persuasive. This would be the first resource I would use when studying Ecclesiastes.
This review is of the Logos electronic version of the book. (less)
I agree with the review from Scott that this is essentially Piper's Greatest Hits. The title of the book is merely taken from the first chapter and is...moreI agree with the review from Scott that this is essentially Piper's Greatest Hits. The title of the book is merely taken from the first chapter and is slightly misleading. The entire book does not talk about the professionalism trap. Rather the book is Piper reaching out to pastors and passing on the wisdom he has gained through a lifetime of labor.
I found the following chapters particular interesting:
Chapter 5: "Brothers, Beware of the Debtor's Ethic" Chapter 6: "Brothers, Tell Them Not to Serve God" Chapter 12: "Brothers, Bitzer Was a Banker" - Discusses the importance of using the original languages. Chapter 26: "Brothers, Sever the Root of Racism" - Piper talks about the recentness of racism evidenced by the 1920 Duluth Lynchings and James Byrd. He says: "Most of the Christians in the majority white culture never even think about the issue. That is not a sign of peace but of obliviousness". (less)
Goodreads says that 3 stars menas "I liked it" and that is how I did indeed feel about this book. I enjoyed reading it but I don't consider it a must-...moreGoodreads says that 3 stars menas "I liked it" and that is how I did indeed feel about this book. I enjoyed reading it but I don't consider it a must-read in general for others.
This collection of sermons and speeches by Mr. Müller reveals his heart for God, his desire that people trust in God, and his pleading with everyone who came within the sound of his voice to make sure they have been saved from the wages of their sin. We also see how he spoke to assemblies of the orphans in his charge. Above all he appealed to them to ensure that they put their trust in Christ.
An illustration of this is during one of his sermons to the orphans tilted "The Conversion of the Jailor". He talks about how it is all well and good to learn things such as arithmetic, history, geography, and so on.
All this is right and proper to enable you to fill respectable positions in life,—all very well for this life; but the most momentous matter is this, that your soul is safe. There is not a single child here, there is not a single person in this large city who may not have salvation if they seek it in God’s way, which is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He constantly entreated those who heard him to examine themselves and not go one more day without surrendering to Christ. They way he described what is required to be saved is I think interesting and quite different than the appeals made by the Church today:
Now put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; now pass sentence on yourselves, and condemn yourselves before God, and own you deserve punishment; but at the same time trust in the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this very moment you will be forgiven, this very moment you will be changed in heart, this very moment you will be brought on the road to heaven.
His great purpose in life was to show mankind that God is the same today as he was in years past. That God means what he says and that He is reliable:
And so my heart was at rest. I was satisfied with God. And all this springs, as I have often before said, from taking God at His word, believing what He says.
This is a very interesting book even though it has a poor title. It addresses the dangerous ideas of "easy believism" and "fire insurance" where you c...moreThis is a very interesting book even though it has a poor title. It addresses the dangerous ideas of "easy believism" and "fire insurance" where you can pray a prayer and think you will end up in heaven even though your life shows no evidence of change. It does not matter that you walked the aisle when the pastor extended the invitation, checked the box on the response card, prayed a prayer, or whatever else the Church does today. What matters is if you repented from your sin, trusted Christ to rescue you from the eternal consequences of your sin, and show evidence of the internal transformation Christ has done in you through a change in the way you live your life (Colossians 1:9-10).
Two quotes from the book that illustrate this:
"Praying the sinner's prayer" has become something like a Protestant ritual we have people go through to gain entry to heaven. As "gospel shorthand," it presents salvation as a transaction one conducts with Jesus and then moves on from rather than the beginning of a posture we take toward the finished work of Christ and maintain for the rest of our lives.
I want to be clear that what saves a sinner is a posture of repentance and faith toward Christ, and that alone. Any "sinner's prayer" is only good insofar as it expresses that posture."
An amazing story of a man whom God blessed with the gift of faith. This paragraph from page 321 nicely summarizes the purpose of the book as well as M...moreAn amazing story of a man whom God blessed with the gift of faith. This paragraph from page 321 nicely summarizes the purpose of the book as well as Mr. Müller's life:
"If Mr. Müller had any great mission, it was not to found a worldwide institution of any sort, however useful scattering Bibles and books and tracts, or housing and feeding thousands of orphans, or setting up Christian schools and aiding missionary workers. His main mission was to teach men that it is safe to trust God's Word, to rest implicitly upon whatever he hath said, and obey explicitly whatever he has bidden; that prayer offered in faith, trusting his promise and the intercession of his dear Son, is never offered in vain; and that the life lived by faith is a walk with God, just outside the very gates of heaven."
He set out to prove to men that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and that He can be relied on today to answer prayer and provide for His work. Mr. Müller provided a living example of trust in God and God's continual provision. In his life we see countless examples of how God is indeed rarely early but never late in answering prayer. We see how in practical ways God made known what it was He wanted Mr. Müller to do.
Read this book and see God at work. It will enlarge your view of God, change the way you pray, and change the way you make decisions in life. (less)
Chesterton's wit and clear thinking as he analyses the philosophical ideas of his day in comparison with Christianity was a joy to read. I particularl...moreChesterton's wit and clear thinking as he analyses the philosophical ideas of his day in comparison with Christianity was a joy to read. I particularly was intrigued by his point that Christianity explains even unexpected truths accurately. "It's plan suits the secret irregularities, and expects the unexpected." If something can predict the expected it is of no special value. But a single system that can explain both the expected and the odd unexpected things with perfect accuracy is something quite special.
Before this book I knew very little of preterism. It has opened my eyes to a different approach to various scriptures that in many ways makes more sen...moreBefore this book I knew very little of preterism. It has opened my eyes to a different approach to various scriptures that in many ways makes more sense that the futurist views I had before.
The timing of the events in Daniel 9 are particularly intriguing. The case Mr. DeMar lays out for the 490 years of Daniel's seventy heptads seems more logical that other explanations I have heard.
While I am not yet fully convinced that all the passages Mr. DeMar discusses have already been fulfilled I will continue study in this area.
My least favorite part of the book was the beginning where the constant attacks on LaHaye and the Left Behind series became wearisome. It is understandable though considering the time the book came out and the intense interest in Left Behind then. Ideally he would spend less time telling me LaHaye is wrong and more time telling me what he believes the correct understanding is. If a friend hadn't loaned me the book to read it is likely that the book's opposition to the theology of Left Behind would have peaked my interest enough to read it though so I can't be too critical in this complaint. (less)
This was my first TOTC commentary. I consider the commentary very good for the first half of Daniel but wanted more about the second prophetic half of...moreThis was my first TOTC commentary. I consider the commentary very good for the first half of Daniel but wanted more about the second prophetic half of Daniel which is considerably more complex. (less)
Every follower of Christ should read this. It is a wonderful book that I plan to re-read from time to time to refresh my understanding. This is the se...moreEvery follower of Christ should read this. It is a wonderful book that I plan to re-read from time to time to refresh my understanding. This is the second of Packer's works that I have read now and I am becoming very impressed with the thought that he puts into them and the clarity with which he explains sometimes complex subjects.
Two particular things stood out to me. First was the Christian's adoption into God's family and all that that means. As Packer points out, the answers to so many questions fall into place when we understand our adoption.
And second was Packer's explanation of the second commandment against making any image of any kind. Not merely idols of other "gods" but even images (icons, crucifixes, etc.) of Him are forbidden. These things all inevitably must hide more of God than they reveal of him and lead us to worship a false construct rather than the living God.
This collection of addresses given by Lewis contain stunning clarity of thought by a learned mind on subjects critical to Christian life and our under...moreThis collection of addresses given by Lewis contain stunning clarity of thought by a learned mind on subjects critical to Christian life and our understanding of spiritual matters. I will treasure this gem and return to be refreshed by it often. You would do well to read this.(less)
Bonhoeffer lived during a very turbulent time for a Christ-follower in Nazi Germany. He opposed the empty theology (and eventual Nazi takeover) of the...moreBonhoeffer lived during a very turbulent time for a Christ-follower in Nazi Germany. He opposed the empty theology (and eventual Nazi takeover) of the official church in Germany and helped create a breakaway denomination.
Privy to more knowledge than most people about Hitler and the Nazis due to his family connections he felt compelled by his convictions to become part of the conspiracy to assassinate Der Fuhrer.
After reading Mataxas' book I was left wanting to know more about how exactly he helped in the conspiracy beyond providing a moral justification to the act of assassinating an evil tyrant.
What is clear is that Bonhoeffer was a courageous and clear-thinking servant of God. I look forward to reading his works and learning more from this exceptional man. (less)
Sometimes the words flow from the page and meaning is so clear while other times I had to re-read sections to fully understand what Bonhoeffer was say...moreSometimes the words flow from the page and meaning is so clear while other times I had to re-read sections to fully understand what Bonhoeffer was saying. I think this is due to his style of communicating along with the fact that the original is in German so we are reading a translation.
That aside, this is a wonderful that helps us see ourselves in relation to God. It shows us what we must do as His disciples and how we must live. Highly recommended. (less)
The first thing I noticed about this book was that Lewis argues from logic and experience rather than from quoted scripture passages. He is much like...moreThe first thing I noticed about this book was that Lewis argues from logic and experience rather than from quoted scripture passages. He is much like Chesterton in this way. He is gifted in making analogies and examples that bring clarity and help the reader to understand his arguments.
His first chapter on faith (there are two) is intriguing. He defines faith as the art of holding on to what your reason has accepted regardless of the changing moods of your emotion. He points out that people who leave the church do not do so because they have been convinced Christianity is untrue through some logical argument but rather because they do not feed their faith. When we don't feed something it dies. Their changing moods and the innate rebellious nature which all have gradually take over and they drift away from what their reason at one time accepted.
Again in the chapter about faith Lewis points out that only those who resist temptation know its power. Those who give in “live a of sheltered life” that never knows “the strength of the evil impulse inside”. It is easy to think of temptation as being nothing to Jesus. After all, he was God Incarnate. Yet Lewis shows that only Jesus, who never gave in to temptation, knows the full power of temptation. This brings new understanding to the passages that talk about how He was tempted like we are.
And of course this book contains Lewis' famous argument about who Jesus was. Lewis points out that Jesus leaves us with only three options when deciding how will respond to Him:
“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Today we want to be “true to ourselves” and “find” ourselves. Lewis closes the book with a exhortation that flies in the face of that thinking:
“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
This is a wonderful work that is both informative and interesting to read. I dare say that it is a classic of Christian thought and should be read by every follower of Christ.
The book is a collection of on-air BBC speeches given between 1942 and 1944. As the forward says, the book "is a work of oral literature, addressed to people at war". This is most profound in the chapter talking about forgiving enemies. In the midst of World War II that idea becomes much more difficult. Yet it is just at this time that it becomes clear how important it is. (less)