American Christendom has birthed a disturbing new trend with today’s wave of ultra-hip pastors who unabashedly spew foul language from the pulpit and openly discuss various sexual acts in lurid detail with their congregations. Allow me to share a nugget of wisdom from Charles Spurgeon that all these shepherds of God’s sheep should heed.
We need the divine influence to keep us back from saying many things which, if they actually left our tongue, would mar our message. Those of us who are endowed with the dangerous gift of humor have need, sometimes, to stop and take the word out of our mouth and look at it, and see whether it is quite to edification; and those whose previous lives have borne them amoung the coarse and the rough had need watch with lynx eyes against indelicacy. Brethren, far be it from us to utter a syllable which would suggest an impure thought, or raise a questionable memory. We need the Spirit of God to put bit and bridle upon us to keep us from saying that which would take the minds of our hearers away from Christ and eternal realities, and set them thinking upon the groveling things of earth. – Taken from Lectures to my Students: Chapter 14 -The Holy Spirit in Connection with our Ministry.
“Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 3:18
“Grow in grace”—not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fulness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low, and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward—having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.” He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus, refuses to be blessed. To know Him is “life eternal,” and to advance in the knowledge of Him is to increase in happiness. He who does not long to know more of Christ, knows nothing of Him yet. Whoever hath sipped this wine will thirst for more, for although Christ doth satisfy, yet it is such a satisfaction, that the appetite is not cloyed, but whetted. If you know the love of Jesus—as the hart panteth for the water-brooks, so will you pant after deeper draughts of His love. If you do not desire to know Him better, then you love Him not, for love always cries, “Nearer, nearer.” Absence from Christ is hell; but the presence of Jesus is heaven. Rest not then content without an increasing acquaintance with Jesus. Seek to know more of Him in his divine nature, in His human relationship, in His finished work, in His death, in His resurrection, in His present glorious intercession, and in His future royal advent. Abide hard by the Cross, and search the mystery of His wounds. An increase of love to Jesus, and a more perfect apprehension of His love to us is one of the best tests of growth in grace.
I love to read. However, I am not a speedy reader. Christian bloggers such as Tim Challies can knock down a hundred or so books a year – and manage to to review them all, but I’m lucky if I read a dozen. Accordingly, I can lump all my reviews for the past year’s reading into a couple of manageable posts. Let me first begin with all the books I have my hooks into but have not yet finished.
Books in Progress
- Lectures to My Students by Charles Haddon Spurgeon – I put this one down last Christmas because of the influx of new books I received and was eager to tear into. Spurgeon gives some timeless wisdom for all prospective preachers and pastors in this wonderful volume. Though I’m not likely to get into full-time ministry, I found his knowledge insightful and useful, even for a simple Christian layman. I definitely will pick this one back up.
- The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen – Maybe the most difficult volume I’ve ever attempted to read. I grew exhausted about halfway through, though I actually did learn much from his treatise on Christ’s Particular Redemption of the elect. I have since read other works by Owen, carried along by a little helpful editing and modernization of the text that I found very readable. Is there a version of Death of Death similar to Justin Taylor’s and Kelly M. Kapic’s wonderful Overcoming Sin and Temptation?
- The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller – Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. He boasts nearly six thousand attendees in the very heart of Vanity Fair. This book is an Apologetic treatise answering seven of the most difficult questions non-believers pose about God and the Christian faith. It then delves into the reasons for faith in the one true God. I’m only a quarter the way through but so far this is one outstanding read.
On to the Reviews: Continue reading
Posted in Book Reviews
- Tagged A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, AW Pink, Charles Spurgeon, Foundations of Grace, Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin, John Owen, Lectures to My Students, Michael Horton, Putting the Amazing Back into Grace, Robert Reymond, Sovereignty of God, Steven Lawson, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, Wayne Grudem
I have a software recommendation for all Christian believers who take seriously the Apostle Paul’s admonition to ‘Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.’ (2Ti 2:15) I imagine for most Berean types, their adventures in Cyberspace have probably already landed them on the piece of virtual real estate known as E-sword.net. For those who may not be in the know, I cannot recommend this website enough. It is an incredible resource for serious Christian study. E-Sword is a bible software program that is remarkably diverse. You can download a multitude of various components; everything from commentaries and devotions to bible translations and dictionaries. The best part of it all… it’s ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! Well, most of it is free. Some components will cost you a handful of change, but there are so many free resources available, you just won’t have time to enjoy it all anyway. The program was created by a gentleman named Rick Meyers. He has done a magnificent work in helping to further the kingdom of God. It is apparent his driving motivation is not monetary profit but spiritual profit for the Body of Christ.
Permit me to insert a discernment warning, however. Many resources are available for your study but perhaps not all of them are beneficial. Before downloading components from teachers you aren’t familiar with, do a Google search and investigate the orthodoxy of their teachings. Although I realize on the internet every single teacher and preacher of God’s word is labeled a heretic or an apostate by some, please make the effort to plow through the rhetoric to verify the reliability of your sources. Keep your discernment radar active at all times! Continue reading
I actually read most of the best-selling book, “The Purpose-driven Life” a couple of years ago. At the time I thought it was a refreshing blast of gospel simplicity. I was thrilled at Rick Warren’s approach because, in hindsight, it was reflective of the way my church conducted service. It was a natural synopsis of the philosophies I had been raised upon in my first decade of spiritual growth. Of course I loved it! I heartily recommended it to a friend struggling through a divorce for encouragement, without a moment’s hesitation.
However, my suspicions concerning the state of the modern evangelical church continued to grow from that time until just over a year ago. It all came to a head in a prayer I voiced to God in the cool darkness of my backyard one late autumn night. My prayer went something like this: “Lord, my spirit is troubled over the church and the way it is handling the precious gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I fear that error is spreading like a plague through the churches of our land. More than anything, I desire to know the truth, and to live by that truth no matter the personal cost. Humble me that I may choose to follow you, Lord wherever it is you lead me. Open my eyes that I may perceive, unstop my ears that I may comprehend.”
Posted in Uncategorized
- Tagged Calvinism, Charles Spurgeon, Christian Testimony, Christianity, Church Growth, Kirk Cameron, Market driven church, Modern Gospel, Purpose-Driven, Ray Comfort, Reformed Theology, Religion, Rick Warren, Way of the Master