Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Essential Truths of the Christian Faith

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by RC Sproul

This book, written in 1998, was authored by R.C. Sproul. It provides clear and concise descriptions of over 100 key Christian doctrines. Dr. Sproul is a master theologian. However, this book is written in a way that an inexperienced Christian or nonbeliever could follow it.
 
Essential Truths of the Christian Faith spends three or fewer pages describing each of the 100 most intriguing topics in Christian doctrine. Dr. Sproul helps to easily describe the Calvinist or Reformed view point in a way that is comprehendible for all.
 
This work does not go into scholarly discussions about these topics. It is not intended for that. What it does do is provide an introduction or refresher on the issues. If you pick up this book thinking you will find weighty and in-depth arguments, move on. Dr. Sproul has written dozens of other books for that. This book is designed to provide overviews and basic understanding.
 
Don’t get me wrong. Sproul covers some very heavy topics like the Canon of Scripture, the Omnipotence of God, Jesus as Mediator, Predestination, Free Will, the Sabbath, Legalism and so much more. With every topic being no more then three pages, this book is a perfect resource for daily devotionals, Bible studies or family devotionals. In addition each topic concludes with summary statements and supporting Bible passages. There is also a very useful Scripture index at the end.
 
Sproul’s Essential Truths of the Christian Faith is a great work for any new believer or advanced theologian. It is something you will refer back to often.

Book Review: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

Huson Taylor's Spiritual SecretHudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret was written in 1932. Taylor was a pioneer missionary who spent the last half of the nineteenth century serving in China. More then a century before Richard Nixon reopened Communist China to the Western world, this young British missionary traveled to China.
 
He left for China at age 20 with no university degree and sent by no government. He arrived unexpected and unannounced. But, by the time he died, 50 years later, he had founded the China Inland Mission which consisted of 205 mission stations with over 800 missionaries, and 125,000 Chinese Christian converts.
 
Hudson Taylor provided an example of faith and prayer that was unequaled. He spent more time in prayer then any other activity. His level of faith in God was unshakable. Taylor knew that God would honor his work as long as Taylor continued to honor God. This book is worth reading if only to catch a flavor of the depth of faith possessed by Hudson Taylor.
 
Even when surrounded by circumstances that would have crippled another man, Taylor continued to seek God’s glory. While in China Taylor faced disease, a hostile government, and insufficient finances. He lost a wife, a child and numerous friends to death. Many people back home questioned his tactics even when his success was unparalleled.
 

This biography paints the picture of a man considered the beginning of a new era in mission work. He left a lasting mark on China and the rest of the world. Few in history have accomplished so much with so little.

Book Review: The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches

The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches by John NeviusThis is a short little book (104 pages) that was originally written in 1885 by John L. Nevius. Nevius was a seasoned, effective and groundbreaking missionary to China. This book was originally written as a pamphlet to instruct new missionaries in China. It was so insightful that some mission sending organizations, at the time, made this work a required reading before entering the field and even required the passing of a comprehensive test on the reading. Today, over 115 years after it was first publish, some mission sending agencies still have this book on reading list for new missionaries.

Nevius’ work changed the way many looked at foreign missions work. His respect for the indigenous people and their culture was not a frequently shared view. While his perspective was not prominent at the time it was not original to him. Nevius modeled his belief on missions after the Apostle Paul.

His message of treating indigenous people with respect and love was so effective that he experienced such a rapid rate of growth in church planting and converts that he could scarcely keep up. He trained new believers and raised up church leaders at a rate that does not exist today. He also trained new missionaries with a depth that few have duplicated. He was not afraid to plan big, and was regularly rewarded.

This brief paperback is a wonderful read for missionaries and those who support missionaries. It provides us with a century old example of what has passed the test of time and continues to glorify God today.