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The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology
The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology
by O. Palmer Robertson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.21
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, September 14, 2015
Every year I make it a habit to read several times through the book of Psalms. I also read through select chapters of Psalms when I’m depressed or discouraged. Reading the Psalms regularly has been a practice of mine for some time. In seminary, I took a nine-week class on the book of Psalms and learned so much about this incredible book. When I saw The Flow Of The Psalms: Discovering Their Structure And Theology by O. Palmer Robertson, I was excited to read and explore the Psalms from a redemptive-historical perspective.

The book is broken down into ten chapters. In chapter two, the author explores the basic structural elements in the Psalms. Chapter three looks at the redemptive-historical framework for the Psalms. Chapters four through nine looks at the book of Psalms itself. The book concludes with some important observations about the book of Psalms. My favorite chapter was chapter three.

Over the years, I’ve read a lot on biblical theology. I spent most of my time in seminary focusing on biblical theology for the simple fact that I’ve always loved to read and study the Bible. In all my study though I haven’t read very many books that I remember that focus solely on the redemptive-historical connections in the book of Psalms. Dr. Robertson notes, “A doctrine of God, man, sin, salvation, and eschatology could be derived from the teaching of the various psalms” (23). Chapter four explores God’s Covenant initiating redemption, God’s covenant with Noah, God’s Covenant with Abraham and the Patriarchs, God’s Covenant with Moses, God’s Covenant with David, and more.

Reading this book was a true joy. While not for the average lay person, The Flow Of The Psalms is a serious exploration into the book of Psalms. This book would be good for serious Bible study on the book of Psalms, for pastors and teachers planning a sermon series on the book of Psalms, and especially for seminary students studying the Old Testament. This book will help readers to understand the redemptive-historical progression that develops across the five books of Psalms. With helpful charts, the author demonstrates why the Psalms are placed where they are, how Psalms fits within the redemptive story of the rest of the Bible, and the grouping of Psalms by topics.

Whether you’ve studied the Psalms before or not, the author will help you better understand the whole Psalter with the result that you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of each individual poem. I highly recommend this rich, deep, and practically helpful look at the book of Psalms.

God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied (Best of Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology)
God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied (Best of Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology)
by Richard D. Phillips
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.01
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, August 27, 2015
In recent days, many people have questioned whether Adam and Eve are really persons or not. Typically the people who question Adam and Eve also question whether the Bible is authoritative, inerrant and sufficient. Most of these people are scientists with no Bible or theological training and traditionally come to the Bible not to learn from its teachings but rather to impose their scientific findings upon the Bible. In 2013 there was a conference held by the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology under the title “God, Adam, and You” out of which comes the book God, Adam, and You Biblical Creation Defended and Applied.

The whole book explores one question, “What difference does Adam make?” The book takes a serious look at Genesis 1-3 with a view to defend the literal interpretation of the first three chapters of Genesis. Some people have abandoned Adam as a historical person who lived and died in real history. As the authors open the biblical text they help us understand not only how to respond to attacks on the first three chapters in the Bible but also what they mean. In chapter one Dr. Thomas looks at the Bible’s first word. Chapter two by Dr. Joel Beeke considers the case for Adam. Kevin DeYoung looks at two views of the human person in chapter three. Chapter four by Liam Goligher looks at Adam’s role in the Garden. Richard Phillips looks at the Bible and evolution. In chapter six Mr. Phillips also considers God’s design for Gender, Marriage, and Sex. Dr. Thomas in chapter seven considers differing views on the days of creation. Chapter eight is where Dr. Beeke considers Christ, the Second Adam. Chapter nine looks at God’s Garden to God’s city by Richard Phillips. Carl Trueman in the final chapter looks at original sin and modern theology.

The issue of whether Adam and Eve are historical persons is a vital issue because it has bearing on the believer’s biblical and theological understanding of God, the Bible, creation, marriage, sin, and salvation. The consequence of Adam and Eve not being historical persons is that the creation record in Genesis is undermined, the institution of marriage (which God established) defamed, and the reason Jesus came to die for sin torn from the biblical record. Those who advocate for the view that Adam and Eve are not historical persons minimize God’s Word which teaches that Adam and Eve were real people in real history. The issue of Adam and Eve is important, not only because ideas have consequences, but because the foundation upon which the scientists built their argument. A believer who believes in a biblical worldview understands that Adam and Eve are historical persons.

Ideas have consequences, and those consequences are evidenced in how one understands Genesis 1-3. A literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3 will help the believer to have a proper understanding of God, His Word, and the person and work of Jesus Christ. If one takes Genesis 1-3 any way other than literally, then it will result in a faulty understanding of the Bible and in asking the wrong questions, such as scientists are asking about whether Adam and Eve are real persons. Understanding Adam and Eve as historical persons is important because Paul explains in Romans 5:12-21 that Adam and Eve were, in fact, real persons.

God, Adam, and You is an excellent book that will help readers to understand the literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3 and how to respond to attacks on the Bible. In seminary, I wrote a research paper on the subject of the historicity of Adam and wish I had this book during my research and writing of that paper. This book would be helpful for pastors, Sunday school teachers, and Bible study leaders to use in their studies on Genesis, and Romans, among a whole host of other topics. I highly recommend this book and believe that as you read it you’ll learn the difference the historical Adam makes for us today, as followers of the second Adam, Jesus Christ.

Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit
Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit
by Sam Storms
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.10
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, August 25, 2015
J.I. Packer has arguably been one of the greatest theologians of the late 20th and early 21st century. His influence is felt from debates raging from the inerrancy of Scripture, to sanctification, and more. Over the past few years, I’ve read more of Packer books than I have at any point in my life. His biblical-theological, and practical theology continues to strengthen my faith. This is why when I saw the new title Packer on the Christian Life by Dr. Sam Storms in the Theologians on the Christian Life series I knew, I would greatly enjoy it.

In chapter one, Storm looks at the life of Packer, his influences, and his studies in Puritanism. The rest of the book consider Packer’s views on the atonement, the Bible, holiness, the means of sanctification, indwelling sin, the Holy Spirit, prayer, discerning the will of God, suffering, and more. The book has two appendixes the first of which helps the reader understand the man of Romans 7 as a Christian, and the final appendix explores a brief selected biography of the writings of J.I. Packer.

As I mentioned earlier Packer’s influence is felt across a great deal of evangelicalism. For me, personally his work on the inerrancy of Scripture, holiness, and sanctification has been particularly helpful. We live in a day where the authority of Scripture is under attack on a number of fronts and where many Christians have an underdeveloped view of holiness, and sanctification. This is why we need theologians like Packer to help us understand what theological words mean and how our theology intersects with daily life.

Perhaps you’ve never read a Packer book before. Reading this book will introduce you to Packer's life and his view on a variety of theological subjects. What stands out to me about Dr. Packer is his theology is firmly grounded in the text, is practically helpful, and thoroughly drenched in the gospel. Packer’s theology will stand the test of time because it stands firmly rooted in Scripture and in the best of the Reformed, and Puritan theological tradition.

Whether you’ve never read Packer or you’re a longtime fan of Dr. Packer, I highly recommend Packer on the Christian Life by Sam Storms. This book will help you to understand the life of J.I. Packer, his influences, how the Lord has worked in and through his life, along with his theology. I encourage you to go pick up this book and learn about Packer’s legacy and his insights into prayer, Bible, study, the sovereignty of God, the Christian’s fight against sin, and more. This excellent book will help you to learn from one of the greatest theologians of our times on why theology is not just for the ivory tower but for every Christian living under the gaze of our sovereign God.

Walking with Jesus Through His Word: Discovering Christ in All the Scriptures
Walking with Jesus Through His Word: Discovering Christ in All the Scriptures
by Dennis E. Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.57
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, August 20, 2015
Luke 24 is one of the most significant and important passages in the Bible as it pertains to what is known as redemptive history. In Luke 24, Jesus sets forth how all of Scripture is about Himself. From the front cover to the last page in the Bible, Jesus is the hero. In the past five years, we’ve seen a huge resurgence in books, articles, and more written on redemptive history. Added to the growing literature on this topic is Walking with Jesus through His Word Discovering Christ in All the Scriptures by Dennis E. Johnson.

One of the main criticisms about the emphasis on redemptive history is how some practitioners take a biblical passage and focus only on Jesus without considering the passage at hand. This book addresses this concern head on. Charles Spurgeon once said that every road in England leads to London, so every text in Scripture contains a path to Christ. We need to make sure we get on the right railways in order to move the train towards its intended destination. This is best done by engaging in sound biblical hermeneutics which focuses on making the point of the passage the point of the sermon. By locating the passage under consideration in the context of biblical writers theme, and in redemptive history, preachers, and Sunday school teachers can learn to faithfully handle and proclaim the message of the Bible in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In this book, Dr. Johnson shows us that there are established routes we can trust. Guiding us along the network of trails in the Old and New Testament, he points to the signs and markers that help us to identify roads to Christ. He surveys the Bible’s sweeping story that makes up the lay of the land and explores different landmarks—the central motifs in Scripture that give us our bearings as we seek out Jesus. This excellent book has six parts. In part one, the author considers walking through the Bible from Luke 24 and how it sets our lives on fire. Part two considers how to read the biblical text in their context. Part three considers types and their fulfillment in Scripture. Part four helps us get our lay of the land in three chapters by understanding the covenant fabric of the Bible, Jesus the Strong and faithful Lord, and Jesus the Submissive, Suffering Servant. Part five considers Jesus the final Prophet, our great High Priest, and Jesus the King of Kings. One of the more helpful aspects of this book is at the end of each part where the author helps readers understand how what he is saying relates to the preaching and teaching of the biblical text. This makes this excellent book not only great in theory but also in practice.

This helpful book will help preachers engaged in pulpit ministry to faithfully preach and teach the Word. This book will help Sunday school and Bible study leaders to navigate Scripture in light of its central purpose: to draw us in faith and love to our Prophet, Priest, and King Jesus Christ. Walking with Jesus through His Word should be required reading for every Bible college and seminary student to learn how to engage in faithful preaching and teaching of the biblical text with the goal of pointing people to Jesus. I highly recommend this very book and believe it will help enrich and deepen every Christian's daily reading of God's Word.

Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ
Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ
by Tony Reinke
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.48
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, June 17, 2015
John Newton has a massive impact on the history of the Church. His ministry influenced men like William Wilberforce who helped end slavery in England. His ministry continues to help people today through his articles and books, and especially through his hymn Amazing Grace. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading some of Newton’s writing over the years. When I saw there was a new book in the Theologians on the Christian Life series on Newton by Tony Reinke, I was excited and intrigued. In reading Tony’s book on Newton, I was not disappointed but rather deeply helped. This book is one of my favorites in the Theologians on the Christian Life series, and I’ve read all the volumes in this series so far.

Reinke covers a lot of ground in Newton’s life and ministry in his book Newton on the Christian Life To Live Is Christ. He considers the hymn Amazing grace, how Christ is all-sufficient, the discipline of joy in the Christian life, gospel, simplicity, indwelling sin, Christ-centered holiness, the growth chart of the Christian life, seven Christian blemishes, the discipline of trials, the goal of Bible reading, battling insecurity, victory over spiritual weariness and Mr. Self, and to die is gain.

The best part of this book is how Reinke approaches his subject. Reinke directly quotes Newton but doesn’t stop there. Instead, he offers his own thoughts and how they relate to what Newton is saying. This is what makes this book so good and why it’s one of my favorites in this series. Reinke is a gifted writer and has the ability to draw the reader into the unfolding narrative of Newton’s life. Not only this, but Reinke helps the reader understand the importance of Newton’s thought for today. While this work is not a biography it could be said that this book is a reflection on Newton’s life and thought by one whose taken the time to read his works and reflect on what they mean. In reading this book, what stood out to me was the obvious impact Newton’s life and thought has had on Reinke and how that bleeds into every page of his book. At least for me, this made me read the book a lot slower than I probably would otherwise and digest deeper the material the author covers in this book on Newton.

I really enjoyed the entirety of this book. If I have to pick a few chapters that stand out especially, I pick chapters three and seven. In chapter three, Reinke states, “If the Christian life is Christ, then looking to him is the great duty of the Christian life. Looking to Jesus marks the beginning of the Christian life; looking to Jesus is the end goal of the Christian life; and looking to Jesus is the daily privilege of the Christian life, which is Newton’s way of saying that we never outgrow the gospel” (69). He also states, “To look upon Christ in faith is a re-creation, an act of cleansing and sanctification. He helpfully notes, “To behold the glory of Christ is ammunition against unbelief and power for sanctification” (75). He continues elaborating, “Keeping the eyes of our mind focused on the glory of Christ is the sweet battle of the ministry and the hardest part of the Christian life” (76). This is just a sampling of chapter three. Chapter seven is also excellent and will help readers to understand the very neglected but important topic of Christ-centered holiness in the Christian life.

Whether you’re a new or seasoned Christian Newton on the Christian Life has something for you. First, this excellent book emphasizes the sovereign work of God’s grace from the beginning of the Christian life to the end of the Christian life, and everywhere in-between. Second, this book will help you to grow in your knowledge of the gospel. Reinke has written this book not just about the gospel but about how Newton’s life was impacted by the gospel. Third, this book will help you to grow in appreciation of Christ’s work on your behalf. Often times, especially if you’re a life-long Christian you can just walk through the motions where everything seems like it's okay when it really isn't. The Christian life is fueled by the gospel. As Spurgeon once said we have a great need for Christ and we have a great Christ for our need. This is what Newton explained in his writing and Reinke draws out so wonderfully in this book.

Finally, this is one of the best books in the Theologians on the Christian Life. Not only does this book examine the life and thought of Newton but Reinke masterfully blends his own thoughts-- not to take away from Newton but to build upon Newton’s work. I highly recommend this gospel-drenched and biblically-saturated book. This book will help you to grow in your walk with God by pointing you to the all-sufficient Christ who so won over Newton’s life that he dedicated his life to proclaiming and living by the gospel all his days. This book will help you to grow in your knowledge and understanding of the gospel which is something every Christian needs. Please go and pick up this excellent book book on Newton on the Christian Life you won’t regret doing so and in the process of your reading you’ll be encouraged, challenged, and grow more in love with your Savior—Jesus Christ.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2015 7:00 AM PDT

Living without worry
Living without worry
by Timothy S. Lane
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.72
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, May 22, 2015
This review is from: Living without worry (Paperback)
Many, many Christians struggle with anxiety and worry. Such struggles are not theoretical, they are very real. Worry and anxiety are struggles I know personally. Often times they can come on at the most inopportune time. Other times there are seasons where worry, anxiety, and depression come in like the tide and roll out with no fanfare. This is why when I read Living Without Worry How to replace Anxiety with peace by Dr. Timothy Lane I was greatly helped. Dr. Lane writes not only out of his considerable knowledge of this topic but also his many years as a biblical counselor, and professor.

The first six chapters look at worry—why not worry, what is worry, worry and your past, worry and your future, and worry and your present. Chapter seven looks at how to address worry in your own life while chapter eight helps readers to counter your worry with the gospel. Chapter nine helpful looks at how to cast all your cares on the Lord. Chapter ten looks at how Jesus viewed anxiety and worry. The book concludes with a gospel call to cast our cares on Jesus, the One who cares for us.

As I mentioned at the outset of this review, anxiety and worry are two issues I’m very familiar with. Life comes at us a million miles an hour. When these feelings come up in my own life rather than running away from them I run to Jesus with them. Part of being an emotional, and mentally healthy Christian is to take what we know in the Bible and apply it to our lives. When I feel feelings of worry and anxiety rather than dwelling on them I take seriously what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30 and what Paul teaches in Phillippians 4:6-8. The invitation of Jesus is to come to His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). This means that rather than dwelling on all my problems which only breeds more anxiety and worry, I take them to Jesus the One who is our High Priest and Intercessor. After all, Jesus knows and cares. His invitation in Matthew 11:28-30 is for rest from our burdens. We can cast our burdens on Jesus because He serves as our High Priest and Intercessor. All of this is a biblical way of taking what we know from God’s Word and applying it to our lives.

Whether you are having intense of not so intense seasons of anxiety, worry, and depression you need godly friends around you to listen and care for you. This is one reason the New Testament teaches us to one another each other. Living in community, under qualified godly pastors and elders is also important. Being open and transparent with those you trust in your local church is also vital. After all, they can pray with you and encourage you. They can see, how you communicate your words and wrap an arm around you and care for you. They can remind you of the truth of the gospel. I’ve found all of this to be vital in fighting off anxiety, worry, and depression.

Yet, sometimes I’ve noticed in counseling other Christians is that we are so focused on earthly circumstances that we can’t listen. Our ears are stopped to hear what others are saying. Sometimes that is because of our pride. Most of the time though in my experience it is because we’re so focused on earthly things that we cannot fill our minds with heaven. In this case rather than filling our minds with God’s Word which is living and active and able to help lift us up out of our depression, anxiety, and worry—we instead choose to focus only on our problems. In this case, we’re choosing to be so focused on earthly things that we cannot be used for heaven. God wants us to fill our thoughts with heaven so that we’ll be of earthly good. This is what Living Without Worry does so well. It points us to God’s Word. It provides the means of the gospel as the only help for worry and anxiety. Sure, we may also need medication in some extreme cases for chemical imbalance. We are to look up to Jesus. He is what we need more than anything else. Jesus is our peace. He is our treasure. We are to trust Him who knows what is best for us and know that He will see us through. These aren’t just words. We are to truly believe these truths and to do battle as God’s soldiers since He’s given us His Spirit.

I highly recommend this book. Whether you are struggling with anxiety or worry this book will help you by pointing you to your greatest need in Jesus Christ. Jesus does care for you. He loves you. Read this book and be encouraged, and stirred up once again by way of reminder of the precious truth that Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you.

On Being a Pastor: Understanding Our Calling and Work
On Being a Pastor: Understanding Our Calling and Work
by Derek Prime
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.07
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, May 2, 2015
Pastors have one of the most demanding and joyful jobs in the world. They get to be with people at the most critical times of their lives- from birth to death. They preach the glories of the gospel from the text of Scripture. They meet with people in their office, at coffee shops, and at their workplaces every week. They oversee the ministry of the church under the care of godly qualified male elders. They perform weddings and do funerals. As you can see being a pastor is hard but gospel work. In their book On Being A Pastor: Understanding Our Calling and Work by Derek J. Prime and Alistair Begg, seasoned Pastors help people who are seeking to be in vocational ministry and those in pastoral ministry understand that the ministry of being a pastor is not simply a job; it’s a vocation.

This book will help readers understand that the pastor’s responsibilities are unique, demanding that he not only that he must nurture his own spiritual life but also those whom the Chief Shepherd has put under in his care. To this end, the authors provide practical advice for both the spiritual and practical aspects of pastoral ministry. They delve deep into topics such as prayer, devotional habits, preaching, studying, and specific ministry duties. This is an essential book for those preparing for ministry and those in pastoral ministry looking for a primer on how to further increase their effectiveness in their ministries.

On Being A Pastor is a needed book especially for those in seminary or those new to ministry. In Bible College and seminary, you learn the basics that will help provide you with a knowledge base that will help young pastors to be able to preach and teach the Word. After seminary though is when the real work begins. Yes, you get hopefully a great orthodox education in the Bible and in theology in seminary but you need to realize this is only the beginning of your education. I’ve been out of seminary almost three years—in fact it will be three years this month. In that time, I’ve learned more than I ever did in seminary about suffering, hardship, and trials. What was known in the head has become enflamed in the heart. My convictions haven’t changed at all from seminary—they’ve deepened and I’ve hopefully become more thoughtful, loving, and gracious as the truth that was in my head has now taken shape in my heart and thus increasingly in my life. Pastors and young ministry leaders need books like On Being Pastor to be taught by seasoned Pastors on what pastoral ministry is all about. This is what this book does so well whether on the call and calling of pastoral ministry, life and character of a pastor, goals and priorities, prayer, devotional life, study, preaching, pastoral care, pastoral care, the conduct of worship, the responsibility to lead, delegation, family and leisure, and perils tempered by privileges.

Chapter nine was most helpful to me. Here the authors explains how to visit people in their homes, hospital visitation, and more. One person described to me seeing the senior pastor at my church go in and out of the hospital throughout the day. My pastor was visiting a member at our church. This person was impressed by our pastors shepherding heart. This was twenty years ago my friend told me and they’ve stayed at the church ever since. Often times it’s not the things we preach that have the most impact it’s seeing that our pastor is really a pastor—he truly takes what he says on Sunday seriously throughout the week. This is why chapter nine is so important it takes the pulpit into the pew and the Word and the gospel to the people. In other words, visitation is where we love the people in our churches by being the hands and feet of Jesus to them to care, love, encourage, and support them. I also appreciated that the first six chapters were about the life, character, and spiritual growth of the pastor. This is an often missed perspective in many pastoral theology books in my opinion.

It’s highly likely you won’t agree with everything in this book and that’s okay. You’ll do some things differently from your current pastor and the pastors who wrote this book. With that said we still need to learn how to care for people through the Word and in pastoral care. This is what this book does so well. I highly recommend this book and believe Bible College and seminary students will benefit immensely from reading it and thoughtfully applying its message to their life and ministries.

An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (B&H Studies in Christian Ethics)
An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (B&H Studies in Christian Ethics)
by David W. Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.99
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, April 30, 2015
I remember sitting in one of my philosophy classes back in the early 2000’s at a local community college in the Greater Seattle area thinking that one of the most neglected topics of Christian writing and thinking has to be the topic of ethics. In the past few years, this thesis has been overwhelming changed with the advent of blogs and social media. Now Christians comment more on ethical and contemporary issues than ever. A new book Introduction to Biblical Ethics by Dr. David W. Jones seeks to explain the relevance, coherence, and structure of the moral law as revealed throughout the Bible. Using as his guide the Ten Commandments, the author helps Christians understand the place of the moral law in the Christian life. With a particular focus on the moral law in the Christian life, this book will help readers understand it’s place and significance in the Christian life.

Chapter two looks at the nature of the law while chapter three looks at the relevancy of the law. Chapter four considers the coherency of the law and chapter five the structure of the law. Chapter six looks at the giving of the law. Chapter seven explores the first table of the law and chapter eight looks at the second table of the law.

Often times Christians misunderstand what Jesus means by He says He came to "abolish" the law in Matthew 5:17-20. Christians are no longer under the law but under grace (Romans 6:14). We have been released from the law (Romans 7:6) and its tutelage (Gal. 3). Christ didn’t come to abolish the law but to uphold it (Matthew 5:17), since He is the end of the law (Rom. 10:4). This explains why Christians are freed from the curse of the law through the finished work of Jesus.

The Ten Commandments provide a roadmap for how Christians ought to live. During Jesus’ ministry, He repeatedly talked about the Ten Commandments and their importance for ethical living. One example of this is in Mark 10:17-22, where He repeated the second table of the law to the rich young man. Other examples include the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:8-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-11. In addition to this in Romans 7:12 Paul taught that the commandments, even under the new covenant are holy, righteous and good. Jesus also taught that He is the fulfillment of all of Scripture (Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 24).

In the Old Testament, the people disobeyed God and treated His commandments as if they were just another perfunctory religious activity. As Christians, we can do the same if we don’t understand that we are saved from sin and to the Lord Jesus. What I’ve been describing shows up especially among some Christians who think that because they’ve been saved by sovereign grace, they can live however they want. The Apostle Paul counters this idea in Romans 6:1 by stating, “May it never be.”

As I noted earlier often times Christians misunderstand what Jesus means in Matthew 5:17-20. First, Jesus came not to destroy the law but to fulfill its demands. Through His sinless life and death on the cross, He fulfilled the civil, ceremonial and moral laws. Christians, today can obey the moral law by the grace of God. The only way for anyone to obey God is to be born again.

Second, Christians through the Holy Spirit are empowered to live by the truth of the Word of God. Jesus, the God-Man not only lived a sinless life by dying in the place of sinners and for their sins, but also perfectly obeyed the Law, performed miracles and gave His people the power to obey Him through the Holy Spirit. Through Him Christians can resist sin and put it to death by understanding how He resisted sin in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:1) and prayed in the power of the Spirit (Luke 10:21). The Holy Spirit convicts God’s people of their sin and points them to the finished work of Jesus. Jesus is now our High Priest and Intercessor before the Father. In this role, He functions as our advocate (1 John 2:1-2) while praying for us to stand strong in His grace.

Finally, seeing Jesus in all of the Scriptures helps us to understand not only the nature of the law, but its purpose or design. The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to proclaim the sinfulness of man (Romans 1-3) in order that they might make known to sinners how they can be declared not guilty through Jesus who transfers sinners from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. Through Jesus’ finished work, He makes a people who were once not His people, His people by giving them a new identity (Romans 6) through which they can fight indwelling sin (Romans 7) by realizing they will ultimately one day, as they grow in Him, become like Him (Romans 8). The only way believers are able to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments is because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection since He is the fulfillment, goal, and end of the law.

This excellent new book will help you to understand the place of the moral law in your Christian life. Regardless of if you’re a new or mature Christian reading Introduction to Biblical Ethics will help to challenge, and grow you in your knowledge of this critical doctrine. I highly recommend this book and believe as Dr. Akin said in his endorsement of this book that it will become the new standard textbook for biblical ethics.

Everyone's A Theologian
Everyone's A Theologian
by R. C. Sproul
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.44
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, April 28, 2015
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Many people, including Christians downplay the importance of theology in their lives. For example, it’s not uncommon to hear a Christian say, “I don’t have a theology”, or something of similar effect. This is not only untrue it’s dangerous. Doctrine comes from the Bible and the application of our doctrine is theology. Believing that theology is only for those who are in the ivory tower of academia who emphasize minute points of doctrine isn’t the point of theology. Everyone is a theologian—the question is whether they are a good one or a bad one. In Dr. Sproul’s new book Everyone’s a Theologian An Introduction to Systematic Theology he takes on many popular ideas of theology and seeks to help his reader understand not only what particular theological terms mean but also why they are significant to our lives. Written in his usual easy to read style, this book is a true blessing and treasure trove for the church.

The book has eight sections. Each section takes a major doctrine such as what is theology, Scripture, theology proper, anthropology and creation, Christology, pneumatology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology. As Dr. Sproul elaborates on these critical doctrines, he helps readers to understand, what the terms mean like any good teacher does. Then he moves to show where the teaching about the particular doctrine under consideration is in the Bible.

We live in an age where many Christians emphasize their feelings above the Word of God. Throughout the history of the Church men and women have valued the study of theology so highly that even non-academic people have dedicated their entire lives to the study. While we live in a changing age, we have an unchanging God. One area where theology can help us is in our daily lives such as in dealing with difficult people and difficult situations. This comes from a proper view of God who sees all and knows all—who reaches out to the broken hearted, redeems sinners, is sanctifying them, and will one day glorify them. Understanding the doctrine of God and the person and work of Christ is but one example of why theology is important today. To be “saved” from sin to Jesus is a doctrinal and theologically loaded concept that far too many Christians have sadly very little knowledge about. Yet understanding what we’ve been saved from, sin, and to the Lord Jesus Christ is to begin to grasp the critical doctrines of justification and definitive sanctification.

Whether you are a new or seasoned Christian, been to Bible college or seminary, this book has something for you. Everyone’s a Theologian will be a book I read and reference often in my various writing projects. I highly recommend this book and pray the Lord uses it in the life of His Church in powerful ways to the glory of the Risen Savior—Jesus Christ.

Honest Evangelism
Honest Evangelism
by Rico Tice
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.99
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, April 20, 2015
This review is from: Honest Evangelism (Paperback)
Over the years, I’ve read a lot on the topic of evangelism. When you read a lot of books on one topic over the course of a long period of time it’s often the case that authors repeat each other. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as the repeating is biblically sound teaching that helps the reader grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures. The topic of evangelism as a whole is one that many Christians would likely rather avoid. It’s tough to be turned down time after time. I know this well since when I lived in Seattle I had a ministry where I intentionally went out to minister on the streets of Seattle to homeless people and others. This is why as I read Honest Evangelism: How To Talk about Jesus even when it’s tough by Rico Tice with Carl Lafterton I was encouraged. I was encouraged to read an author who takes a relational approach to evangelism with the intention of not siting by idly but actually being intentionally in witnessing to the people.

What is unique about Honest Evangelism is the author’s emphasis. While many books focus on employing methods of evangelism to the reader, many of which readers may not be able to do or not work, Rico focus on growing in Christ. He focuses on addressing sin in our own lives with the result that we will want to model and share Christ naturally out of our own growth in Christ. This is a needed message and one the Bible sounds over and over again. In fact, the Apostle John in the Gospel of John takes this approach in his Gospel focusing on the content of the gospel and then how to share that content with people. Honest Evangelism focuses on growing in Christ with a view sharing Christ with others. Along the way, the author focuses on ­­­a relational approach to evangelism with the idea of being intentional to share Christ in that relationship. The author also sweeps away the idea that evangelism is a one stop thing where we just “share Christ” with someone and then walk away. Instead, the author calls us to the long haul and to work patiently with people.

Honest Evangelism is a short book at only one hundred and four pages. While the content is by and large solid, I would have liked to see some more development on the need to have a growing knowledge base while ministering to people. I don’t see this as a weakness per say in this book. The author does emphasize the importance of knowing doctrine in order to share the content of the gospel with people. I think many evangelism and apologetics books need to do a better job at being explicit on this point since it can be underemphasized in other Christian literature. The goal of knowing sound doctrine is to model sound doctrine in our lives. In other words, the reason we’ll want to share Christ with people as Rico rightly notes is because Christ is changing our lives. When we’re taking seriously our own growth in Christ we won’t be able to contain the joy that we’re experiencing from the Lord.

Honest Evangelism is a good book for every Christian. We need to be reminded continually as Christians that we have a great ongoing need for Jesus. We need to be repenting of our sin not just saying we’re sorry for it but genuinely turning from it and to Jesus. The end result of that is we will keep short accounts with God. Our fellowship with God will be sweet and unhindered. We’ll have a growing desire for holiness, a hatred of sin, which will result in wanting to share Christ with others who are lost and with Christians who are hurting. This is why I recommend Honest Evangelism. This book is realistic about the struggle to evangelism and it also helpfully points the reader to the finished work of Christ and the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit. If you’re struggling with engaging in evangelism, I recommend you read this book. If you like books on evangelism you’ll enjoy reading and adding this book to your collection of books on evangelism. This book would also be good for pastors and ministry leaders to read and then pass onto people they are ministering to. I recommend this book and believe those who read it will find practical and useful tools to overcome their fear of evangelism.

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