Why Bother with Church? by Sam Allberry

Description:

The church has an image problem.

It is widely viewed in the world at large as being outdated, boring, irrelevant and filled with backbiting hypocrites.

How different that picture is to how the Bible talks about the new family that Jesus has gathered. It is a precious bride, a sparkling jewel, a lifeboat for forgiven sinners that is precious and holy; nurturing and warm; filled with truth, friendship and all embracing, forgiving love.

Sam Allberry understands the collision between these two views, and how, even as Christian believers, we can lose sight of how truly wonderful church is and should be, and what a privilege it is to be part of, and to serve.

In this brief accessible but thorough guide to church, Sam outlines what church is and why we need it. And how, when we have got it wrong, we can move closer to what a true church should be. (From the Publisher’s Website)


Review:

We all know people who say they love Jesus but not the church. We may have even said that at some point ourselves. But it is impossible to love Jesus and not love His people. It is even worse when we say we love Jesus but throw rocks at His bride. So how do we reason with those who see no need for the church or who have had bad experiences?

Sam Allberry has given us an excellent primer to start this conversation. In his book, Why Bother with Church?, he tackles the important questions to start with: What is church?, Why do I need church?, What makes a good church?, How is a church run?, How do I survive church?, and How can I be a good church member? Mr.Allberry answers these questions with grace and firmness.

This book is written from a universal standpoint meaning that you do not have to subscribe to the author’s denominational views to benefit from this book. The arguments and proofs are demonstrated by scripture. This book strengthened my views on the church. The author sets out to convince the reader that church is vital to the Christian experience and he succeeds in this well-written treatise.

I appreciate the Christ centered approach that the author takes on this touchy topic. This book is mercifully short making it a quick read and an excellent give away to someone struggling with this issue. Thank you Sam Allberry and The Good Book Company for this helpful tool.

Book Details:

 

  • Author: Sam Allberry
  • Publisher: The Good Book Company
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page Count: 96
  • ISBN#:9781909559141
  • List Price: 

 

 

About the Author:

Sam studied theology at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford and has served on staff at St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, and St Mary’s, Maidenhead. He is now part of the team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and also works as UK Editor for The Gospel Coalition. A popular conference speaker, Sam has written several books, including James For You, Is God Anti-Gay, and Lifted. Hobbies include reading, watching The West Wing and anything to do with South-East Asia. (From the Publisher’s Website)

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Disclaimer: I received this book from the Good Book Company via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Uncategorized

Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: 3 Views

Description:

Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement presents a point-counterpoint exchange concerning God’s intention in sending Christ to die on the cross. All three contributors recognize a substitutionary element in the atoning work of Christ, but disagree over the nature and objects of that substitution.

Carl Trueman (Westminster Theological Seminary) argues that Christ’s atoning work secured the redemption of his elect alone. While infinite in value, Christ’s death was intended for and applied strictly to those whom the Father had elected unconditionally in eternity past.

John Hammett (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) argues that Christ’s atoning work had multiple intentions. Of these intentions two rise to the fore: (1) the intention to accomplish atonement for God’s elect and (2) the intention to provide atonement for all mankind.

Grant Osborne (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) argues that Christ’s atoning work provided atonement generally for all mankind. The application of that atoning work is conditioned, however, on each person’s willingness to receive it.

(From the Publisher’s Website)

Review:

Why did I want to read this book?

I enjoy robust theological discussion. This book provides that. The atonement is an important doctrine and I wanted to better understand it. These men have helped me grasp it a little better. The three main contributors have all contributed to my study of scripture in the past and I was looking forward to how they would interact. They have argued their positions as scholars and gentlemen. B&H academic published this book and I have found their publications in recent years to be profitable for ministry. This book is no exception.

What did this book accomplish?

This book explains three different views of the atonement in the evangelical church today. Those views include the two most prevalent, definite and  general, as well as a multiple-intention view. While I respect the two authors I disagree with, I was strengthened in the view that I had before reading this book. Carl Trueman presented an overview of how definite atonement fits with Jesus’ mission to save His people and the plan that includes the harmonious work of the Trinity in redemption. Grant Osbourne presented various verses that seemed to teach a limited atonement and then moved to verses that seemed to teach a general atonement with the conclusion that he believes a general atonement is to be preferred based on the biblical evidence. John Hammett presented a view that allows him to see both a general and particular atonement as the best way to understand the biblical evidence. He also presents a cosmic view that both of his opponents pretty much agree with. After each presentation, the other two are allowed to respond. This may have actually been the most helpful in that real and not perceived arguments were dealt with.

What did I come away with from this book?

These men have shown me how to disagree on a secondary issue in a gracious way. That is to engage the argument and not vilify the person. I believe this to be a Christ honoring way to engage our brothers and sisters with whom we disagree. As I stated above, this book strengthened my viewpoint on this issue both by the biblical evidence presented and by hearing the opposition. This, I believe, is the great strength of these perspective books. I came away from this book with a deeper respect for the three main contributors. May God continue to bless His church with more men who will study as these men have to feed His sheep. Thanks you B&H for this excellent book.

Book Details:

 

  • Editors: Andrew David Naselli and Mark A. Snoeberger
  • Publisher: B&H Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page Count: 256
  • ISBN#: 9781433669712
  • List Price: $24.99

 

 

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Disclaimer: I received this book from B&H in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Uncategorized

Portraits of Faith by Joel Beeke

Description:

We often use the word faith without thinking much about its meaning. We know that without faith, it is impossible to please God and that faith is the core and foundation of daily Christian living. But what is faith? Author Joel R. Beeke believes we can best understand faith by seeing how it operates by the Spirit in the lives of fallen sinners like us. Accordingly, he considers essential aspects of faith operating in the lives of Adam and Eve, the Shunammite woman, the Canaanite woman, and Caleb. With pastoral warmth, he challenges readers to ask themselves three questions: Do I have this kind of faith? Am I exercising the particular aspect of faith being described? How can this example of a particular dimension of faith be used in my life to make me a mature believer? Study questions for each chapter encourage meaningful reflection for both individual and group study. (From the Publisher’s Website)

Review:

What attracted me to this book?

This book talks about a topic we all struggle with: Faith. Joel Beeke masterfully shows us first what faith is and then how it was fleshed out in the lives of five people in the Bible. Every book that I have read from this publisher has in some way strengthened my Christian walk and this one lived up to that expectation.

What did I take away from this book?

Beeke reminded me of the three-fold reformed formula of faith: Knowledge, Assent, and Trust. He also helped remind me that sometimes the best way to understand a biblical concept is to study it in the lives of the people in the Bible.

It was refreshing that Dr. Beeke chose his faith examples from people who we might not immediately think of when we hear the word faith. Instead of going to examples like Abraham or Job, we are given the stories of how faith was practiced in the lives of Adam and Eve, the Shunammite woman, the Canaanite woman, and Caleb. I was especially impacted by his chapter on the Canaanite woman. Her faith is seen in her humble, persistent prayer.

Who should read this book?

Anyone who wants to understand faith and how it is exercised in the life of a believer should read this book. This would be helpful to the seasoned believer by affirming and strengthening their own understanding and experience. This would also help the novice struggling to understand how faith plays out in their everyday life. Thank you Dr. Beeke and Reformation Heritage for this book that I pray will help strengthen the walk of many believers.

 

 

Book Details:

 

  • Author: Joel R. Beeke
  • Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page Count: 104
  • ISBN#: 9781601784476
  • List Price: $10.00

 

 

About the Author:

Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Grand Rapids, Michigan. (From the Publisher’s Website)

Where to Buy:

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I received this book from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Uncategorized

Counseling One Another by Paul Tautges

April 19, 2016 1 comment

Description:

This paradigm-shifting book helps believers understand the process of being transformed by God’s grace and truth, and challenges them to be a part of the process of discipleship in the lives of their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.Counseling One Another biblically presents and defends every believer’s responsibility to work toward God’s goal of conforming us to the image of His Son—a goal reached through the targeted form of intensive discipleship most often referred to as counseling.

All Christians will find Counseling One Another useful as they make progress in the life of sanctification and as they discuss issues with their friends, children, spouses, and fellow believers, providing them with a biblical framework for life and one-another ministry in the body of Christ. (From the Publisher’s Website)

 

Review:

Why did this book interest me?

The first thing that I have to mention about this book is the cover. I do not normally talk about that feature of the book but this one really drew me in. The design of the cover illustrates what the book is about in a compelling way. The title is good but the subtitle gripped me: A Theology of Interpersonal Discipleship. I have always thought of counseling in the professional sense but had not really considered it from a discipleship standpoint.

What does this book accomplish?

This book sets the stage for a discussion of discipleship through the medium of counseling one another. At first you might say that the command to make disciples does not include counseling. You would be right if by counseling you mean psychology or psychiatry. But Dr. Tautges firmly convinced me that biblical counseling is indeed a necessary part of discipleship. This book walks you through the why, the what, and the how of biblical counseling. The need is clearly seen, the motivation is passionately shown, and the means are convincingly demonstrated in the reading of this book.

What did I take away from this book?

After reading this book, I now see the importance of biblical counseling in the life of every believer both as counselor and counseled. Biblical counseling should not be practiced only by people in an office but by every Christian who is actively discipling as a means of bringing the one being discipled into more Christ-likeness. The counsel is of course rooted in the sufficiency of scripture and conducted in the context of the local church. Dr. Tautges brilliantly weaves these themes together in this comprehensive treatment of biblical counseling. Thank you Dr. Tautges and Shepherd Press for this timely gift to the church.

Who should read this?

It might sound cliche but I think every believer would benefit from this book. Certainly anyone involved in ministry and discipleship should read this valuable resource. I pray that this book will receive much exposure and in doing so will benefit the church for the glory of God.

Book Details:

 

  • Author: Paul Tautges
  • Publisher: Shepherd Press
  • Format: Softcover
  • Page Count: 195
  • ISBN#: 9781633420946
  • List Price: $14.95

 

 

About the Author:

Dr. Paul Tautges serves as senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Previously, he served Immanuel Bible Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin for twenty-two years. He has authored eight books and contributed to two volumes produced by the Biblical Counseling Coalition. Paul also serves as the consulting editor of the LifeLine mini-book series from Shepherd Press. Paul blogs regularly at http://www.counselingoneanother.com.

Where to Buy:

 

 

Disclaimer: I received this book from Shepherd Press via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Reviews, Uncategorized
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