John Owen & The Christian Life

418qS8nkOIL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_I will say from the offset that this is not a book review since it will be far too short to do this book justice. I had the privilege over the holidays to read through one of the books in the Theologians on the Christian Life. While I have acquired a few of these volumes, I took the opportunity to read through Owen on the Christian life written by Matthew Barrett & Michael Haykin. The book was a great introduction to the theology of John Owen and Owen’s application of his theology to the Christian walk. Owen was a giant of the faith and Spurgeon was correct to call him “the prince of divines”. The book introduces the reader to Owen’s views on the Scriptures, Communion with God, his focus upon the glory of Jesus Christ, the atonement, how salvation is totally of the Lord, the doctrine of justification by faith alone,  the power of the Holy Spirit in the mortification of sin and prayer and finally Owen’s view of the nature of the church. What was remarkable about John Owen was that he could take the most deep theology and live it out! In our day, we have too many people who attempt to live a good life with little theology and too many theologians who live very little the scriptural teachings. Owen had a pastor’s heart and a care for the right teaching of scripture that I have seen in very few. I believe if more men followed the example of John Owen that the church would be in a far better state than it is today especially in North America.

While I would recommend reading Owen on the Christian Life, I would also suggest reading some of Owen’s own works. I thought I would list a few here that might be worthwhile taking the time to examine. Here’s where to start…

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Nehemiah Coxe on Biblical Elders & Deacons

The subject of leaders in the church has been a point of study for many Christians  for a number of years now and it has expressed itself in both biblically and through the opinions of various individuals. The bible speaks very explicitly of the qualifications and roles of the elders and deacons especially in the pastoral epistles. Monergism just released Nehemiah Coxe’s book titled Biblical Elders and Deacons which details the appointment of elders & deacons as well as the relationship that these leaders have with their congregation. This is a great little book and highly recommended for those who are interested in learning more about biblical leadership.

Free Bible Study Resources

images6XKT7K70I saw this was posted on Monergism and I felt it was worthy of sharing with my readers. We live on the shoulders of giants and we benefit from the studies of great men of God who pondered God’s word. Today with the benefit of the internet, we can access many of the best bible study resources available online in electronic format including various bible translations, commentaries, lexicons and plenty of seminary courses and sermons. In the above mentioned post, you will have a mixture of all these fantastic resources for free.

I would encourage Christians to use these resources and many others that are available online. Let’s prepare our hearts for a worthy study of the Word of God in 2015.

Greg Nichols on the 1689 London Baptist Confession

 

unnamedWe had written a post awhile back on the importance of confession of faiths. One of the points I made was that these confessions have a purpose of keeping us theologically accountable in understanding the teachings behind the scriptures. They are not equal with scripture nor are they a substitute for scripture. They are an expression of our beliefs which we confess in writing to the world. While many scoff at the idea of a confession, we believe that everyone subscribes to a confession of faith whether in written form or in an individual’s head.

Here are this website we adhere to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. We believe it is one of the most accurate expressions of biblical teaching available. We understand that it is not a complete rendition of the bible’s teaching but a faithful summary of major themes within Scripture.

Recently we stumbled upon a series of studies on the 1689 LBC by Greg Nichols. This is a 35 part series of talks that takes the listeners through the teaching of the confession in quite some detail. There are some real gems in these talks and we highly recommend them if you are interested in going through the confession of faith.

New Conference Messages from Ligonier Ministries Conference

ligonierI saw this resource posted on the Ligonier Ministries website and thought I would share with my readers. It is this years conference titled “We Would See Jesus” all available in both audio or video format. There were some great speakers including R.C. Sproul, Greg Beale and many more.

A Little Clarity on 5 Points

imagesCA264B16I know for many people that the concept of Sovereignty is foreign to their thinking. As we all know, we don’t live in a time where we are being ruled over by a king in our country and hence grasping the idea of a sovereign who sits on a thrown ruling with righteousness is clearly not something we can all relate to.

As a Christian and especially as a student of scripture, I have come to recognize that bible teaches unquestionably the sovereignty of God and for the most part Christians will agree with me. Where our disagreements tend to begin is to what extent God is sovereign. The problems begin when we begin to try to define what exactly God is sovereign over. When we begin to say that God is sovereign even over the salvation of men then we are stepping on the toes of many evangelical Christians. With that said, many have adopted a very incomplete understanding of what is meant by God’s sovereignty over salvation. This has lead to numerous misrepresentations of what we believe and has resulted in more heat than light.

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The Bondage of the Will

images90ZYPX8IAnyone who reads this blog will be familiar with a website called monergism. It is honestly the creme of the crop for online sound biblical resources. The sheer amount of articles, books, MP3, videos is remarkable. They also have a great blog and an online bookstore with reputable books on theology, commentaries and bibles as well as many more resources that can be purchased. Please take the time to search the website for any resources that might be useful to you.

The owner of the website, John Hendryx, is also converting many classic books to eBook format (Kindle, ePub,etc…) and also to PDF for those who don’t own an eReader. This includes many Puritan and Reformation classics as well.

martin_luther-bondage_of_the_will2I just saw that Monergism has made Martin Luther’s classic “The Bondage of the Will” available in eBook format. This book is a response to the famous Roman Catholic theologian, Desiderius Eramus, whom some might know as the man who gave us the Texus Receptus, on the nature and freedom of the will in regards to Salvation and sin. While many who want to know anything about the reformation will turn to a history book, there will be much missing from this approach. For those of you who wish to get a real sense of what the reformation was all about, please take the time to read this book carefully as it has had a far reaching impact on the nature of man, the extent of his depravity,  election, the atonement and the glory of justification. It will give you the real sense of the issues affirmed and fought against by Luther, Zwingli and Calvin.

Book Review: From Heaven He Came and Sought Her

heavenFrom Heaven He Came and Sought Her is a book that was released shortly before the end of 2013. It is a multi-author volume edited by David & Jonathan Gibson and published by Crossway. FHHCSH addresses the topic of Definite Atonement[i]. For those who are unfamiliar with Definite Atonement, it is the discussion of the extent, intent and effect of the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It deals with the questions for whom did Christ die, what did the Father and Son have in mind that the death of Christ would result in and what was that result after Christ’s death. The subject has been a controversial point amongst most Christian of the idea that the atonement was universal in its scope.

The book is an in-depth and rich look at the topic it addresses. It stands at close to 700 pages of actual materials spread out in 23 chapters and divided into four sections. The four sections are

  • Definite Atonement and Church History
  • Definite Atonement in the Bible
  • Definite Atonement in Theological Perspective
  • Definite Atonement in Pastoral Practice

I will give a brief overview of each chapter in the book and at the end of this review I would like to give a few general observations

Introduction

The foreword to the book was written by none other than J.I. Packer and anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy Packer especially his introductory essays. This portion was not disappointing to say the least and sets the tone for the rest of the book.

The opening chapter was an overview written by the editors David and Jonathan Gibson. They laid out some of the themes and topics that would be addressed throughout the book. I felt that they explained well by means of introduction to some of the arguments that would be laid out in future chapters as well as some opposing arguments that would be addressed. For someone who is not familiar with the whole discussion, this chapter will be essential.

Continue reading “Book Review: From Heaven He Came and Sought Her”