Archive for ‘Theology’

August 14, 2017

The Bondage of the Will

Bondage of the Will CoverThe Bondage of the Will is fundamental to an understanding of the primary doctrines of the Reformation. In these pages, Luther gives extensive treatment to what he saw as the heart of the gospel.

Free will was no academic question to Luther: the whole gospel of the grace of God, he believed, was bound up with it and stood or fell according to the way one understood it. Luther affirms our total inability to save ourselves and the sovereignty of divine grace in our salvation. He upholds the doctrine of justification by faith and defends predestination as determined by the foreknowledge of God.

This accurate translation by J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston captures the vitality of Luther’s treatise, thereby conveying its relevance to our lives today. The translators write, “Do we not stand in urgent need of such teaching as Luther here gives us – teaching which humbles man, strengthens faith, and glorifies God?”

About the Author

Martin Luther

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Martin Luther, O.S.A., was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. (Read more at his Wikipedia entry)

322 Pages
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 0800753429

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April 4, 2017

Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification

Status: Available

Faith Alone The Evangelical Doctrine of JustificationBook Description

The Reformers broke with the Roman Catholic Church when they insisted that people are justified by faith alone. Today, many Protestants fail to grasp that keystone of faith, and yet the biblical, Reformation view of the doctrine of justification is vital for us to grasp the power of the gospel and proclaim it far and wide. In Faith Alone, R. C. Sproul clearly explains the doctrine of salvation, including why Protestantism and Roman Catholicism split over justification in the first place and why that division remains an uncrossed chasm.

sproul_podium_action

Dr. R.C. Sproul

About the Author

R. C. Sproul has served the church as a seminary professor, pastor, and author of more than one hundred books. He is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries and the chancellor of Reformation Bible College, and his teaching can be heard daily on the program Renewing Your Mind, which broadcasts around the world. Dr. Sproul is also executive editor of Tabletalk magazine and general editor of the Reformation Study Bible.

262 Pages
Publisher: Baker Books
Publication Date: 1995
ISBN: 9780801019494

November 6, 2016

The Radical Book For Kids: Exploring The Roots And Shoots Of Faith

Status:Available 
Book Description

The Radical Book for Kids is a fun-filled explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history, and life for boys and girls age 8 and up. Along with examining some of the most exciting realities in the universe, the handbook is vibrantly illustrated and chock-full of fun facts and ideas. Deep truths are communicated to elementary and middle-school aged kids while stimulating their curiosity and sense of adventure within a gospel-centered framework.

This power-packed book is “radical” in more ways than you might think! It is “radical” in the sense of the original meaning of the word, “going to the root or origin.” The Radical Book for Kids will take children on a fascinating journey into the ancient roots of the Christian faith. But it’s also “radical” in the more modern sense of being revolutionary. Kids read about men and women who learned to trust Jesus and stand for him—displaying radical faith—even when everything seemed against them.

But The Radical Book for Kids is also “radical”—meaning fun or cool—in the eyes of a child. Kids read about ancient weapons (and how to make one), learn about jewels, create pottery, discover ancient languages, use secret codes, locate stars, tell time using the sun, play a board game that’s 3,000 years old—and more.

Check out the table of contents, skip around, or read straight through. However a child chooses to explore it, The Radical Book for Kids will open new vistas for their imagination and help to make straight paths for their feet.

Champ Thornton

About the Author

Champ Thornton, MDiv, is associate pastor at Ogletown Baptist Church in Delaware. He has pastored in South Carolina and served as director of SOMA, a ministry training school in Columbus, OH. He is also the author of God’s Love: A Bible Storybook, and Bible curriculum for early and upper elementary-aged children. Champ and his wife, Robben, have been married since 1996 and have three children.

Source: WTS Books


272 Pages
Publisher: New Growth Press
Publication Date: October 2016
ISBN 10: 1942572719
ISBN 13: 9781942572718

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

October 5, 2016

Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century

christianity-in-crisis-21st-century-coverStatus: Checked Out

Book Description:

Nearly two decades ago Hank Hanegraaff’s award-winning Christianity in Crisis alerted the world to the dangers of a cultic movement within Christianity that threatened to undermine the very foundation of biblical faith. But in the 21st century, there are new dangers—new teachers who threaten to do more damage than the last.

These are not obscure teachers that Hanegraaff unmasks. We know their names. We have seen their faces, sat in their churches, and heard them shamelessly preach and promote the false pretexts of a give-to-get gospel. They are virtual rock stars who command the attention of presidential candidates and media moguls. Through make-believe miracles, urban legends, counterfeit Christs, and twisted theological reasoning, they peddle an occult brand of metaphysics that continues to shipwreck the faith of millions around the globe:

“God cannot do anything in this earthly realm unless we give Him permission.”

“Keep saying it—‘I have equality with God’—talk yourself into it.”

“Being poor is a sin.”

“The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews!”

“You create your own world the same way God creates His. He speaks, and things happen; you speak, and they happen.”

Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century exposes darkness to light, pointing us back to a Christianity centered in Christ.

From the Preface:

“Having lost the ability to think biblically, postmodern Christians are being transformed from cultural change agents and initiators into cultural conformists and imitators. Pop culture beckons, and postmodern Christians have taken the bait. As a result, the biblical model of faith has given way to an increasingly bizarre array of fads and formulas.”

hank-hanegraaffAbout the Author:

Hank Hanegraaff is host of The Bible Answer Man, heard daily throughout the United States and Canada. He is president of the Christian Research Institute and author of many bestselling books, including The Prayer of Jesus and The Apocalypse Code

Pages: 432
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: March 3, 2009
ISBN: 0849900069

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

June 27, 2016

Foundations of the Christian Faith

Status: Available

Foundations of the Christian Faith CoverBook Description:

In one systematic volume James Boice provides a readable overview of Christian theology. Students and pastors will both benefit from this rich source that covers all the major doctrines of Christianity.

With scholarly rigor and a pastor’s heart, Boice carefully opens the topics of the nature of God, the character of his natural and special revelation, the fall, and the person and the work of Christ. He then goes on to consider the work of the Holy Spirit in justification and sanctification. The book closes with careful discussion of ecclesiology and eschatology.

In this revised edition of a formerly four-volume work, Boice maintains a remarkable practicality and thoroughness that will make this a standard reference and text for years to come.

Source: InterVarsity Press

James Montgomery BoiceAbout the Author:

James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) was a successful inner city pastor and articulate spokesman for the Reformed faith in America and around the world. He was the pastor of Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church (1968-2000) and his teaching continues to be aired on The Bible Study Hour radio and Internet broadcast. In 1996 he brought The Bible Study Hour, God’s Word Today magazine, Philadelphia Conference of Reformation Theology, and other Bible teaching ministries under the umbrella of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

Under Dr. Boice’s leadership, Tenth Presbyterian Church became a model for ministry in America’s northeastern inner cities. When he assumed the pastorate of Tenth Church there were 350 people in regular attendance. At his death the church had grown to a regular Sunday attendance in three services of more than 1,200 persons, a total membership of 1,150 persons. Under his leadership, the church established a pre-school for children ages 3-5, a high school known as City Center Academy, a full range of adult fellowship groups and classes, and specialized outreach ministries to international students, women with crisis pregnancies, homosexual and HIV-positive clients, and the homeless. Many of these ministries are now free-standing from the church.

Dr. Boice gave leadership to groups beyond his own organization. For ten years he served as Chairman of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, from its founding in 1977 until the completion of its work in 1988. ICBI produced three classic, creedal documents: “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics” and “The Chicago Statement on the Application of the Bible to Contemporary Issues.” The organization published many books, held regional “Authority of Scripture” seminars across the country, and sponsored the large lay “Congress on the Bible I,” which met in Washington, D.C., in September 1987. He also served on the Board of Bible Study Fellowship.

He founded the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals in 1994, initially a group of pastors and theologians who were focused on bringing the 20th and now 21st century church to a new reformation. In 1996 this group met and wrote the Cambridge Declaration.

Dr. Boice was a prodigious world traveler. He journeyed to more than thirty countries in most of the world’s continents, and he taught the Bible in such countries as England, France, Canada, Japan, Australia, Guatemala, Korea, and Saudi Arabia. He lived in Switzerland for three years while pursuing his doctoral studies.

Dr. Boice held degrees from Harvard University (A.B.), Princeton Theological Seminary (B.D.), the University of Basel, Switzerland (D. Theol.), and the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church (D.D., honorary).

A prolific author, Dr. Boice contributed nearly forty books on a wide variety of Bible related themes. Most are in the form of expositional commentaries, growing out of his preaching: Psalms (1 volume), Romans (4 volumes), Genesis (3 volumes), Daniel, The Minor Prophets (2 volumes), The Sermon on the Mount, John (5 volumes), Ephesians, Phillippians, and The Epistles of John. And many more popular volumes: Hearing God When You Hurt, Mind Renewal in a Mindless Christian Life, Standing on the Rock, The Parables of Jesus, The Christ of Christmas, The Christ of the Open Tomb, and Christ’s Call to Discipleship. He also authored Foundations of the Christian Faith a 740-page book of theology for laypersons. Many of these books have been translated into other languages, such as: French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

He was married to Linda Ann Boice (born McNamara).

Source: Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Book Details:

740 Pages
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: June 1986
ISBN-10: 0-87784-991-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-87784-991-9

Source: InterVarsity Press

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

March 8, 2016

March Spotlight! Knowing God

Knowing God CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

A lifelong pursuit of knowing God should embody the Christian’s existence. According to eminent theologian J.I. Packer, however, Christians have become enchanted by modern skepticism and have joined the “gigantic conspiracy of misdirection” by failing to put first things first. Knowing God aims to redirect our attention to the simple, deep truth that to know God is to love His Word. What began as a number of consecutive articles angled for “honest, no-nonsense readers who were fed up with facile Christian verbiage” in 1973, Knowing God has become a contemporary classic by creating “small studies out of great subjects.” Each chapter is so specific in focus (covering topics such as the trinity, election, God’s wrath, and God’s sovereignty), that each succeeding chapter’s theology seems to rival the next, until one’s mind is so expanded that one’s entire view of God has changed. Author Elizabeth Eliot wrote that amid the lofty content Packer “puts the hay where the sheep can reach it–plainly shows us ordinary folks what it means to know God.” Having rescued us from the individual hunches of our ultra-tolerant theological age, Packer points the reader to the true character of God with his theological competence and compassionate heart. The lazy and faint-hearted should be warned about this timeless work–God is magnified, the sinner is humbled, and the saint encouraged. –Jill Heatherly

Source: Amazon

JI PackerAbout the Author

“A Speckled Bird”

The son of a working-class man who was in his recollection, “unfit for major responsibility,” James Innell Packer was brought up in Gloucester, England, in an environment that hardly seemed a likely incubator for one of the greatest Christian minds of the twentieth century. Spending his childhood fumbling to fit in, Packer’s intellectual and bookish qualities often estranged him from his peers. “A violent collision with a bread van” served to further remove him from social acceptance. In the incident, after being chased into a street by some schoolboys, he was hit by a van and “Lost a bit of [his] head as a result.” From then on he recalls, he “Used to move around wearing on [his] head an aluminum plate with a rubber pad attached around the edge.” Frustrated by being, in his words, “A speckled bird,” Packer struggled to fit in. But his opportunity to play sports, like cricket, and live actively had been dashed with the van accident. Ultimately, he embraced his own intellectual curiosity and spent the bulk of his childhood reading voraciously.

His Blossoming Faith

Packer grew up going to church because of the habitual attendance of his parents, but it wasn’t until he was in secondary school that he began thinking seriously about the Christian faith. By the time he entered Corpus Christi College at Oxford in 1944, his vigorous study of the Bible and other Christian writers, including C. S. Lewis, had won his intellectual assent for Christianity. However, Packer recalls, it wasn’t until he attended a meeting of the Oxford Christian Union that he finally made, “A personal transaction with the living Lord, the Lord Jesus.”

Packer didn’t solve his social problems by becoming a Christian, and even at college he began feeling an increased sense of isolation. During this time he happened to start reading some of the great Puritan authors, like John Owen and John Bunyan, and found in their works the inspiration to be ordained and subsequently pursue doctoral studies.

Following Packer’s ordination in the Anglican Church, a providential scheduling mix-up on the part of a friend, changed his life forever. Having double-booked himself for an evening, Packer’s friend asked James to speak to an audience in his absence. This speaking engagement not only broke through Packer’s fear of public situations but also introduced him to his future wife, Kit Mullett, who was sitting in the audience. Together they would have three children, Naomi, Ruth, and Martin and, Packer recalls, a slew of pets.

“Centered on the Lord”

Gaining respect in academic circles, Packer wrote his first book, a critique of Christian Fundamentalism called Fundamentalism and the Word of God, in 1958. Knowing God, his most widely read book, was published fifteen years later in 1973. He worked to found the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI). He surprised the academic community in 1979, by leaving his Anglican evangelical community to take a position at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Regent flourished because of his presence, growing from a tiny institution into the largest center of theological education in its region. Since arriving at Regent he has published a book every year. Together his books have sold more than three million copies. His wife Kit is quick to point out the source of his success, “His devotion to the Lord is the reason for everything he’s done. His writing, his preaching, his lecturing, his living are all centered on the Lord.” To read more about Packer, a recent biography by Alister McGrath, entitled J. I. Packer, gives a careful and sensitive examination of his life.

Source: New Release Today

Book Details

286 Pages
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 1993
ISBN 10: 083081650X

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

December 31, 2015

The History of Christian Doctrines

10255782_10153353036287005_6923211936264919954_oStatus: Available

Book Description

The History of Christian Doctrines is a major, widely respected work on the definition, transformation, development, and preservation of basic Christian doctrines throughout the history of the church.

Comprehensive in scope, it provides the necessary historical background for all who are studying systematic theology or current trends in the religious world. Although the theologian must constantly assess the present situation of Christian theological thought, he cannot neglect with impunity, Dr. Berkhof counsels, the lessons of the past.

The text is concise in style and conveniently outlined with headings and subheadings for maximum effectiveness as a textbook or reference tool. As a plus for classroom teachers and students, questions follow each chapter.

Source: Back Cover

Louis BerkhofAbout the Author

Louis Berkhof (October 14 1873 – May 18 1957) was an American-Dutch Reformed theologian whose works on systematic theology have been influential in seminaries and Bible colleges in the United States and Canada and with individual Christians in general throughout the 20th century.

Berkhof was born in 1873 in Emmen in the Netherlands and moved in 1882 with his family to Grand Rapids (Michigan). About the time he graduated from the seminary he married Reka Dijkhuis. They had four children before her death in 1928. He then married Dena Heyns-Joldersma who had two daughters.

In 1900, he graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids after which he was appointed pastor of the First Christian Reformed Church in Allendale Charter Township, Michigan. Two years later he attended Princeton Theological Seminary where he earned his B.D. in two years. He returned to Grand Rapids to pastor Oakdale Park Church. In 1906, he joined the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary and taught there for almost four decades. For the first 20 years he taught Biblical Studies until in 1926 he moved into the systematic theology department. He became president of the seminary in 1931 and continued in that office until he retired in 1944.

Berkhof wrote twenty-two books during his career. His main works are his Systematic Theology (1932, revised 1938) which was supplemented with an Introductory Volume to Systematic Theology (1932, which is included in the 1996 Eerdman’s edition of Systematic Theology) and a separate volume entitled History of Christian Doctrines (1937). He wrote a more concise version of his Systematic Theology for high school and college students entitled Manual of Christian Doctrine, and later wrote the even more concise Summary of Christian Doctrine. He also delivered Princeton Theological Seminary’s Stone Lectures in 1951. These were published as The Kingdom of God. In addition to this, he worked on many papers for the Christian Reformed Church as well as collections of sermons.

Berkhof was not known for being original or speculative but for being very good at organizing and explaining basic theological ideas following in the tradition of John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck. Theologian Wayne Grudem has called Berkhof’s Systematic Theology “a great treasure-house of information and analysis […] probably the most useful one-volume systematic theology available from any theological perspective.”[1] Berkhof’s writings continue to serve as systematic presentations of Reformed theology. They are organized for use in seminaries and religious education as well as individual reference, though his systematics works are demanding reads.

Source: Wikipedia

Paperback, 285
Publisher: Baker Book House
Publication Date: 1937 (original edition), 1975 (first paperback edition), 1992 (eleventh printing)
ISBN: 0-8010-0636-8

Purchase the latest edition at WTS Books

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

June 22, 2015

God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied

God Adam and You CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

What difference does Adam make? The answer, to many Christians today, is “not much.”

Adam, we are told, is a mythological figure who can safely be abandoned without compromising the authority and infallibility of Scripture. After all, is holding on to a historical Adam more important than downplaying Genesis 1-3 enough to mediate the gospel to our secular culture?

The Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology joins with historic Christianity in saying that yes, it is. Adam is not only necessary to our Christian faith and witness, but he makes a world of difference to our understanding of God, mankind, the Bible—and even the gospel itself.

The following contributors examine what the truth of Adam means about the truth of Scripture as a whole, how he shows us what it means to bear God’s image, and what an understanding of Adam teaches us about Christ.

Derek W. H. Thomas—The Bible’s First Word
Joel R. Beeke—The Case for Adam
Kevin DeYoung—Two Views of the Human Person
Liam Goligher—Adam, Lord of the Garden
Richard D. Phillips—The Bible and Evolution
Richard D. Phillips—God’s Design for Gender, Marriage and Sex
Derek W. H. Thomas—Differing Views on the Days of Creation
Joel R. Beeke—Christ, the Second Adam
Richard D. Phillips—From God’s Garden to God’s City
Carl R. Trueman—Original Sin and Modern Theology

Learn what difference the historical Adam makes to us today, as followers of the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Richard D. Phillips

Dr. Richard D. Phillips

About the Author

Richard D. Phillips is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina. He is a council member of The Gospel Coalition, chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, and coeditor of the Reformed Expository Commentary series.

Book Details

Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: P&R Publishing
Pages: 212

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

May 17, 2015

Gaffin Clarifies Pentecost for Glen Clary

WMLS BannerOn Friday and Saturday, May 29-30, 2015, a number of us from Mid-Cities Presbyterian Church are attending the 2015 B.B. Warfield Memorial Lecture Series: Pentecost and the Work of the Spirit Today with Dr. Richard Gaffin, at St. Edward’s Chapel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The promotional material for the conference introduces the topic as follows:

What happened on Pentecost? What are the implications of what took place on Pentecost for the church today? What expectations ought Christians to have for the work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives and the lives of others? Christians today continue to be divided, sometimes deeply, over the answers to these questions. During the 2015 B.B. Warfield Memorial Lecture Series we will examine the Bible for the sound and reliable answers it alone provides.

Perspectives on Pentecost CoverLooking forward to our trip to attend this conference, the May Spotlight selection is Dr. Gaffin’s book Perspectives on Pentecost: New Testament Teaching on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. One of our two copies is still available for members to check out in the church library. Solid Reformed answers to this controversial theological question are available for those who may be dealing with the issue in their personal lives.

An example of the effectiveness of this book in clarifying the truths related to the Day of Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the cessation of the revelatory spiritual gifts comes from the testimony of Rev. Glen Clary, pastor of Providence OPC in Pflugerville, Texas. Pastor Clary writes:

I read Perspectives on Pentecost many years ago when I was pastoring a Pentecostal church. The book completely revolutionized my theology.

I had not realized how much of my beliefs about the Holy Spirit had been derived from my own personal experience rather than from scripture. Of course, I had always appealed to scripture to support my beliefs, but I was interpreting scripture through the lens of my own experience.

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Rev. Glen Clary, Pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Pflugerville, Texas.

As a Christian with a high view of scripture, I knew that my beliefs needed to be based on scripture, and I endeavored to do that. However, my doctrine of the Holy Spirit was so shaped by my experience that I was misinterpreting scripture.

Gaffin’s book gave me a whole new paradigm for interpreting the Bible. Understanding the gift of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost as an event that belongs to the historia salutis (the history of redemption) rather than the ordo salutis (“the order of salvation,” or the Holy Spirit’s applying to a person the benefits of redemption wrought by Christ’s life, death and resurrection) completely transformed my interpretation of Acts 2.

Further, Gaffin’s teaching that tongues and prophecy are modes of revelation presented a serious challenge to me because I already held that special revelation had ceased, yet I didn’t want to give up speaking in tongues.

Perspectives on Pentecost enabled me to grasp the true teaching of scripture on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. It forced me to reexamine my beliefs and practices in light of the Word of God, the only infallible rule for faith and life (subscribe to Glen Clary’s sermon podcast at SermonAudio.com)..

How has Perspectives on Pentecost affected your understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, and in the exercise of your spiritual gifts? Share your story in the comments below. We would love to interact with MCOPC Library patrons on the teaching of the Word of God on the subjects of the Spirit and the gifts, and if you have the opportunity to go, you are certainly welcome to join us in Oklahoma City to listen to the author himself lecture on similar themes. If you are able to attend, write to info@mcopc.org for more information.

May 8, 2015

Putting Amazing Back Into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel

May Putting Amazing Back Into Grace CoverStatus: Available

Description

What does it mean to be “saved by grace”? Now revised and updated, this classic reminds readers of the Reformation’s radical view of God and his saving grace, the liberating yet humbling truth that we contribute nothing to our salvation. It lays out the scriptural basis for this doctrine and its implications for a vibrant evangelical faith. Horton’s accessible treatment will inspire readers with a fresh amazement at God’s grace.

Source: Amazon

Michael-Horton-15About the Author

Dr. Horton has taught apologetics and theology at Westminster Seminary California since 1998. Also host of the White Horse Inn (a weekly broadcast) and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine, he has written many books, including The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way and Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples. Receiving degrees from Biola University, Westminster California, and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and the University of Coventry, he completed a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship at Yale University before joining the faculty.

Source: Westminster Seminary California

Publication Date: 2002
Publisher: Baker Books

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.