On Saturday, January 23rd, Faithful Servant Books officially closed its doors after 3 ½ years of being a Faithful Witness to the City of Moncton. The bookstore served as more than a Christian retailer but was held in high regard as a ministry that affected numerous people from all walks of life. Mike Steeves and his staff have been an encouragement to a number of Christians in this city and proclaimers of the gospel of our Lord Jesus to those who had yet to come to trusting Christ as their Savior. We had the privilege of hearing how many were blessed by the ministry and how valuable it was to glorify our precious Savior. We were able to meet many wonderful Christians who were contacts of Mr. Steeves that he had made through the bookstore. Needless to say, this city has suffered a great loss in the closing of this resource center. We pray for our Brother Mike Steeves and thank him for his contribution to the Christian Faith in our great city.
We thought it would be a great idea to have people comment on how Faithful Servant Bookstore and Ministry affected them. We would like to encourage you, our readers, to share any thoughts or leave a comment for others to see.
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…
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:10-13)
The apostle Paul was thrilled by the renewed care for him by the Philippians. Paul’s rejoicing however was in the Lord since it is in His providence that this concern found its root. Their provisions were gladly received by the great evangelist as a sign of their concern for him. In v.11, Paul begins with an emphatically negative statement in order to clarify that his interest was not in their provisions but in their concern for him. The term “for” gives the reason why he’s not thinking about the provisions. He is content in whatever circumstance that has been placed in front of him. Whether he was rich or poor, filled or hungry, having plenty or suffering need, Paul was a man who was content. Paul was not looking at what he could get but was happy with whatever he had. He knew that all that would be provided to him in both having his needs met or being without came from God. Paul learned that it would be God who would get him through every circumstance. Notice in the text that Paul mentions nothing about depending on himself or on the Philippians but it was God’s power to strenghten him to learn to live in whatever circumstance that would be his boast. The apostle was content with very little. He writes to Timothy If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. (1 Timothy 6:8). This was also Paul’s thinking with the question how we should view persecution. Paul writes Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10) The great apostle understood that in our tribulations Christ is at His most glorious to us since this is the time we cling on to Him more and seek Him.
Continue reading “Ecclesiastical Contentment”
Christians have adopted their own terminology throughout church history especially theological terms to define a multitude of doctrines and concepts found in scripture. One definition that has appeared in recent years in regards to defining a false group of Christians who teach other than the orthodox doctrines of Scripture is the term cult. The expression is especially used today to warn others of groups who may be a danger to the Christian faith. The general consensus amongst Christians is that a cult is a group or a sect that possesses teachings that are outside the scope of orthodox biblical theology. In short, these are groups who deny one or more fundamental biblical teachings about God, His Christ or salvation. Such groups would include the Watchtower Society, Latter-Day Saints, Seventh-Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, Christadelphians, Oneness Pentecostals and many more.
The term “cult” defined in this manner is perfectly o.k. even though it isn’t its original means. I wonder if the definition granted to cult today as a religion that is unorthodox or extremist is the most accurate. Could we be a little more particular in our usage of this term? Most people would not label the Roman Catholic Church as “a cult” because they are orthodox in their view of the Trinity and the Deity of Christ however many ignore their false teaching on the doctrine of salvation by their incorporation of a works based salvation through human effort including the mass, indulgences and a multitude of other religious activities. Are Roman Catholics a part of a cult? Well, it depends who you ask.
Continue reading “Defining a Cult”
It is with sadness that I have come to find out that the Faithful Servant Bookstore will be closing by the end of the month of April 2015. Mike Steeves and Faithful Servant have had a positive impact on the Christian community through providing solid Christian resources to the Moncton area but also as a ministry which has helped many people in all sorts of situations. I have heard many positive stories of people who have been affected by the ministry there and it is a terrible loss to the community. Here is the official announcement from the Faithful Servant Website:
Faithful Servant Books has now been operating for 3 years.
Despite a very promising start in our first year, we have been unable to attract enough business to make the store viable. It is therefore with great reluctance that we have decided to wind up the business and close the store, unless a buyer can be found soon.
We aim to stay in operation through Easter until the end of April, however we will not be able to accept special orders beyond Sat 28th March.
Our presence in the region is unique, and we have seen a positive, and sometimes dramatic impact on peoples lives who have patronized our store.
Please pray with us that a buyer can be found to continue the ministry in some form, and please feel free to contact either of us should you know of anyone who may be interested.
Yours, David Ford (Owner) Mike Steeves (Manager)
Dr. James White preached at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church over the weekend on the topic of the New Covenant. I thought this sermons would be useful to those who are perhaps wondering what Reformed Baptists believe in regards to who are the members of the New Covenant as well as how the ordinances are for believers only. Here are two sermons available for download.
While many this week will be getting dressed up in all sorts of frightful costumes and celebrating Hallow’s Eve, Christians who are Reformed in their understanding of scripture will reflect upon the 497th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
In 1517, Martin Luther, a young German monk, nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg challenging the great religious kingdom of his day in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a time of reflection on the story of those who took the word of God in their hands and brought it’s teachings to the common people. It was a time when God poured out His Spirit and lead men in different locations to rediscover the truths therein. These were men who stood for the principles laid out in scripture even under tremendousl persecution. The Protestant Reformation stands as a monumental time in Christianity to the extent that historian Philip Schaff could write that “next to the introduction of Christianity, it is the greatest event in history” . The spread of this movement reached the far regions of Europe and set the entire modern world into rethinking their faith and their allegiances. It brought about a focus on neglected biblical teaching including the five solas of the reformation.
While anyone today who possesses a bible in their hand has benefited from the Protestant Reformation, the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians have no idea what happened in this historical event or who was involved. Over the next 5 days I will be posting some materials on five of the most significant men who were part of the reformation movement in the 16th century. These will include Martin Luther, Phillip Melanchthon, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and Theodore Beza. Please join me in considering how God was moving in those days.
If anyone would like to get a head start and gain an tremendously full historical understanding of the Reformation, please take the time to listen to Dr. Trueman’s lectures on the Reformation.
I 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.
As a sort of follow up to my post this week titled A Slight Case of Reverenitis, I thought I would post this article that I saw on the Gospel Coalition website by Jason Holopoulos. Jason writes on the approach that makes for a good elder and in return for a strong church & Christian witness. I found his analysis of what makes for a good elder insightful and I would recommend to take a few moments to read over his thoughts .