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The Foundation of Communion with God by Ryan M. McGraw

November 16, 2014 1 comment


Description:

“The Foundation of Communion with God” introduces readers to the Trinitarian piety of John Owen (1616–1683). Ryan McGraw’s introduction to Owen sketches the major events of this important theologian’s life and shows how his circumstances shaped his thought on the themes of the Trinity and public worship. The second part of the book presents forty-one brief selections from Owen’s writings that trace his thoughts on knowing God as triune, on Scripture and worship, on heavenly-mindedness, and on covenant and the church. Appendixes provide readers with a chronological list of Owen’s writings and a guide to them for those who wish to delve deeper into this great theologian’s thoughts. (From the Publisher’s Website)

 

Excerpt:

“Many authors have recognized that John Owen is one of the most important theologians of the seventeenth century. People frequently complain that Owen’s writings are difficult to read, but most who do read his work find that he is worth the effort. He was a first-rate pastor, a painstaking scholar, a strict professor, a zealous Puritan, a Reformed orthodox theologian, and a prolific writer. All of these things shaped Owen’s Trinitarian piety and the importance that he placed on public worship.” (pages 3-4)

 

Review:

John Owen has been influential in my spiritual formation. He was a writer who thoroughly exhausted most of the topics he tackled. I have often read his works and as arguments pop up in my mind he deals with them. He is a bit difficult to read, especially for extended periods of time. But I have always come away from my readings of his works enriched in my faith and practice.

Mr. McGraw has given us a small treasure in this book. The reader is treated to an introduction to John Owen’s life before being exposed to selections from his works. These selections are short and well-chosen to introduce the reader to Owen’s Trinitarian theology. I found this to be a good devotional to whet my appetite to read more Owen.

I remember the first of his works that I read and how glad I was to have discovered John Owen. I hope that as people are exposed to this book that they will find as good a mentor in him as I have. Reader beware: if you venture into the deep waters of John Owen’s writings, you will be unsatisfied with much that passes as quality theological literature these days.

Thank you Ryan McGraw and Reformation Heritage Press for this excellent little book.

 

Book Details:

 

  • Editor: Ryan M. McGraw
  • Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page Count:149
  • ISBN#: 9781601783394
  • List Price:$10.00

 

 

About the Editor:

Ryan M. McGraw is pastor of First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, California; research associate, university of the Free State; adjunct professor of systematic theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

 

Where to Buy:

 

 

 

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

 

 

Jonathan Edwards by Simonetta Carr

October 16, 2014 1 comment


 Description:

Jonathan Edwards lived at a time when many people were seriously questioning long-accepted ideas about the world, life, and God, and his answers to these questions have left a mark on the way we think today. While he is often remembered as the preacher of a scary sermon about a spider dangling over a fire, he remains significant as one of the greatest thinkers America has produced. Simonetta Carr traces the events of Edwards’s life from a young student interested in science to husband and father, pastor, leader of the Great Awakening, missionary, writer, and college president. Colorful illustrations, interesting facts, and a compelling story combine to introduce young readers to this important theologian and life in colonial America. (From the Publisher’s Website)

Review:

Biographies are a great way to learn history. I love history and I like a good biography. Having already read two biographies on Jonathan Edwards, I wondered what I would glean from this book. Granted it is a children’s book so my expectations were not extremely high. I was quite pleased with what I discovered in this brief book.

This was my first exposure to this series of books by Reformation Heritage Books. Simonetta Carr does a great job at presenting the life of an intriguing figure in American history in a truncated but educational way. She brings out all of the important events and people in Mr. Edwards life. This book even helped me re-frame the context of his life with some recent reading I have been doing on Edwards’ work. The book is brilliantly illustrated with pictures and original artwork by Matt Abraxas.

I read this book along with my 10 year old daughter. We were able to talk through and learn together about Jonathan Edwards’ life and times. I will be using this and others in this series to teach my children about the lives of some of history’s most interesting theologians. I look forward to more offerings in this series. If you have children or grandchildren, buy these books and read them with your young-ins. You will be surprised what you will learn. Thank you Simonetta Carr, Matt Abraxas, and Reformation Heritage Books for this excellent book.

Book Details:

  • Author: Simonetta Carr
  • Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
  • Format: Hardback
  • Page Count: 64
  • ISBN#: 9781601783547
  • List Price: $18.00

 

About the Author:

Simonetta Carr was born in Italy and has lived and worked in different cultures. A former elementary school teacher, she has home-schooled her eight children for many years. She has written for newspapers and magazines around the world and has translated the works of several Christian authors into Italian. Presently, she lives in San Diego with her husband, Thomas, and family. She is a member and Sunday school teacher at Christ united Reformed Church. (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.

Songs of a Suffering King by J.V.Fesko

October 8, 2014 1 comment


Description:

Our Lord has wisely given the Psalms, the songbook of the Bible, for the benefit of the church. But for many people, the Psalms’ contents are mysterious because they no longer have a place of prominence in the church’s worship. Author J. V. Fesko hopes to awaken the church to the majesty, beauty, and splendor of the Psalms through a devotional exploration of Psalms 1–8, a “grand Christ hymn,” in which David, as the suffering king, prefigures the king of kings, Jesus Christ. To encourage readers to come to a greater appreciation for the Psalms, the author includes with each chapter questions for further reflection and study and a metrical version of each psalm. He also recommends Internet resources that provide digital files of the tunes. (From the Publisher’s Website)

Excerpt:

“When we read the Psalms, or any passage of Scripture for that matter, we should first ask in what way Christ is organically and legitimately present in the text. The numerous quotations of and allusions to Psalms 1-8 in the New Testament reveal that the apostles believed that the Psalms principally spoke of Christ. This is especially evident because of the numerous times that Psalm 8 appears in the New Testament. The apostles knew that Psalm 8 was a reflection about the creation of man, but they also recognized that it was a prophecy of Christ’s reign. Once we rightly recognize where Christ appears in the Psalms, we have the proper footing from which to understand our own connection to them. When we read, for example, of the righteous man of Psalm 1 and recognize that Christ is that man, then through our union with Christ we have the hope of reflecting His righteousness.” (From the Conclusion, page 121)

 

 

Review:

The Psalms are captivating. Encapsulated in these ancient, poetic expressions is the whole gamut of human emotion. These emotions were created by God and in the Psalms, we see them being poured out to God. In that way we relate to them. In others ways, we get the sense that these sacred songs are talking about something outside of our experience. This is where a valuable guide helps us make sense of what we are reading.  J.V. Fesko is just such a guide.

I enjoy authors who take the biblical text and point to Christ. Mr. Fesko excels in this arena. With precision, he focuses these eight Psalms on the person and work of Christ. I found myself audibly agreeing with many statements in the book. Chapters 1 and 8 were, in my opinion, exceptionally well done. I had never read anything by this author before and now I want to find and read his other works. I can only hope that he will write more on the Psalms. I would like to see a work like this cover the whole of the Psalter. Buy it, read it and be blessed. May God use this work to showcase His glory to those who hunger for a vision of the exalted Christ.

 

Book Details:

 

  • Author: J.V. Fesko
  • Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page Count: 128
  • ISBN#: 9781601783103
  • List Price: $10.00

 

 

About the Author:

J.V. Fesko is an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and is also academic dean and associate professor of systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California.

 

 

Where to Buy:

 

 

 

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

Captivated by Thabiti M. Anyabwile

Description:

The Bible implores us to take a long look at Jesus, forcefully beckoning us to “come and see” through profound questions connected with Jesus’ death and resurrection. These questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning as we take a long look beneath the surface and find more of the never-ending treasures of Christ. In Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile invites you to set aside your early lessons on politeness and stare (yes, do stare) into the mystery of the cross and empty tomb.

Excerpt:

“We think of gardens as serene, peaceful places. We visit them to quietly enjoy beauty and reflection. However, in Gethsemane that night, bombs dropped and exploded. A spiritual war took place-a war between a holy God who hates sin and an unholy humanity that hates God. God and sinful man have been hostile toward one another since sin entered the world in Genesis 3. It’s that way today. For even today, ‘the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be’. The Bible wraps all the hostility between God and man in this question: ‘ is there another way?’ Can anything other than the cross of Jesus Christ end the war between Omnipotence and depravity? Is there anyone who can step in and reconcile the two? Is there a mediator who can bring peace?” (From Chapter 1, page 12)

Review:

In his book Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile asks us to put polite convention aside and “stare” at Jesus. He helps us to gaze more fully at the death and resurrection of Jesus by asking five questions from scripture: Is there no other way?, Why have you forsaken me?, Where, o death, is your victory?, Why do you seek the living among the dead?, and Do you not know these things? These chapters are edited sermons and as such are very warm and contain immediate application for the reader. Mr. Anyabwile dwells on these penetrating questions in order to help the reader grasp the magnitude of what is happening in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

I found this book to be helpful in deepening my normal reading of the gospels at this time of year leading up to Easter. It is always profitable to behold the Christ and Mr. Anyabwile is an able expositor and guide to this great vista. This book will make a valuable addition to any library. I pray this book will be used mightily to capture the gaze of God’s people to the praise of His glory. Thank you Pastor Anyabwile and Reformation Heritage Books for this excellent book.

Book Details:

  • Author: Thabiti M. Anyabwile

  • Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books

  • Format: Paperback

  • Page Count: 95

  • ISBN#: 9781601783004

  • List Price: $10.00

About the Author:

Thabiti M. Anyabwile is senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Pastor Anyabwile and his wife, Kristie, have three children.

Where to Buy:

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