Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I.Packer

J.I. Packer has written a great book addressing the topic of evangelizing in the name of our sovereign God.
 
It is a great privilege to evangelize. It is exciting to be able to tell others of the love of Christ, understanding that there is nothing they need more then to know the saving grace of God. The world is full of people who are not aware that they deservedly sit under the wrath of God. It is urgent that we should try to arouse them, and show them the way to be free of our well earned punishment.
 
We can not convince our fellow man of the truth of Scripture. We can not hope to move men to obey the gospel by our words. Our approach to evangelism is worthless unless we have faced the fact that it is God that saves. You and I cannot make sinners repent and believe in Christ by our words alone. God works faith and repentance in men’s hearts by His Holy Spirit.
 
There is no magic formula in evangelistic methods, not even in theologically accurate methods. When we evangelize, our trust must be in God who raises us from the dead. Knowing that God is sovereign should impact our evangelism in three distinct ways: it should make us bold, it should make us patient, and it should make us pray.
 
Packer helps the reader to look at an evangelistic opportunity as a three-party conversation between the unsaved, the Holy Spirit, and us, and we are the least important character in that conversation.

Book Review: Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce

Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce by John Piper

John Piper has written a biography about a Christian pillar: William Wilberforce.  Wilberforce, who served in the British Parliament for 45 years, devoted his life to abolishing the African slave trade in Great Brittan.
 
While the politics of Wilberforce make a great story, it was his unwavering joy in Christ that is uplifting. In an era of stuffy, joyless Christians, Wilberforce embraced the love and passion that comes from comprehending our God given grace.
 
For 20 years, Wilberforce introduced legislation to abolish the slave trade, only to be defeated each attempt. On February 24, 1807 abolition finally passed. The emotional Wilberforce could only manage to sit, head bowed, tears streaming down his face.
 
This occurred at great personal expense to Wilberforce who was frequently slandered and received death threats. During his fight he had to attend to the death of a daughter, the banishment of a son, the needs of his sickly wife, and his own poor health.
 
John Newton, who wrote the hymn Amazing Grace, was Wilberforce’s Christian mentor. Newton guided him to a passion that resulted in Wilberforce reading Scripture or praying for 12 hours a day. Wilberforce demonstrated his understanding by authoring a popular Christian book titled A Practical View of Christianity. He was so dedicated to his church that he tithed 25% of his income, and even garnered his wife’s wrath when, one year, he gave away more money then he took in.
 
A feature film on the life of William Wilberforce, titled Amazing Grace, will be in theaters on February 23rd.

Book Review: Historical Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America

Historical Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America by Don ClementsA simple glance at the title may cause the reader to misconstrue that this book would be interesting only to members of the 1,400 churches that are affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). In fact, the weight of this volume is placed more squarely on the roots and heritage that makes up the PCA, and not simply the PCA itself. This is a church history book that starts in the 15th century and ends in the 1980s. You will likely find this book appealing if you have any interest in Puritans, the Reformation, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, PCA, PCUSA, OPC, EPC, CRC, Presbyterianism or Reformed theology.
 
Don Clements is an ordained Presbyterian Pastor. He was personally involved in many of the activates that make up the later chapters. Dr. Clements provides an excellent primer that covers dozens of very complicated and controversial periods within Christendom. The reader is taken on a chronological journey through some of the most important events in the history of our faith. Clements writes in a way that clearly demonstrates he has thoroughly researched his topic.
 

This book expands the reader’s knowledge of the sacrifice and service of the people that walked before us. It helps to provide a deeper appreciation of the tumultuous history that makes up modern Christianity. This is a great read for anyone that dares to be exposed to the struggles of our religious forefathers as they fought, and sometimes died, to promote the inerrancy of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, and His glory.

Book Review: Through Gates of Splender

Through Gates of Splender by Elisabeth Elliot

In 1955 a group of five missionaries entered the jungle in Ecuador to bring Christ to a violent and primitive tribe. They showered the natives with gifts and built an airstrip before being massacred by the very people they came to serve. Written by the wife of one of these martyrs, this story challenges the readers and forces them to ask, “How much would I give for the advancement of the kingdom of God?”
 
Elisabeth Elliot uses interviews, articles, journals and personal accounts to take the reader to primitive Ecuador. This book and these five men have done more to advance Christian missions then almost any event in the past 100 years. The 50s and 60s saw a swell of men and women willing to give their lives to Christ in the mission field. Even 50 years later, countless missionaries site this story as the catalyst for their own service in foreign lands.
 
These men and their families started out by giving no more than thousands of other missionaries give every day; their comfort, their wealth, their leisure and their normalcy. In the end these men paid a price that few dare imagine. Five decades later we see that the martyring of these five men purchased an army of missionaries and a generation of new Christians from the jungles of Ecuador.
 
The events of this book have been retold in numerous other books and a full-length feature film (End of the Spear). Few can touch this gripping tome by Elisabeth Elliot.

Book Review: What do Presbyterians Believe?

What do Presbyterians Believe? by Gordon H ClarkThe title of this book appears to be very focused on one corner of the Christian faith. With all due respect, I believe the book is poorly titled. A more appropriate title might be, “What is in the Westminster Confession of Faith”.
 
Gordon H. Clark, philosopher and theologian, provides a commentary on the Westminster Confession perfectly suited for individual study or group discussion. The author reprints the Westminster Confession, section for section, and provides a running commentary. Clark’s analysis of the Confession is periodically witty, regularly insightful and written in a way that will satisfy the theologian and the novice.
 
The author’s topic, the Westminster Confession, was completed in 1646. It is a doctrine of faith drawn up to clarify the beliefs of biblical Christian religion. Versions of it have been adopted by not only Calvinistic Presbyterians but also Congregationalists and Baptists.
 
This book draws from various perspectives to help the reader rap their brain around the most basic as well as the deepest issues of Christian religion. You will explore some of the political, historical and sociological implications of basic Christian tenants. Clark’s deeply analytical approach even provides several points where the authors may have erred.
 

Clark was ordained a Minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and was chairman of the Philosophy Department at Butler University for 28 years. He was a member of four different Presbyterian denominations in his lifetime. Clark, a prolific author of more than 40 books, writes with an quirky, yet refreshing style that meshes his theological and philosophical perspectives.