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.

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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

A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles by Eugene H. Merrill

Description:

The trauma of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the exile of thousands of Judea’s citizens, and the subsequent return after seventy years to the homeland with the difficult task of starting the new covenant community virtually from scratch–all contributed to a reassessment of Israel’s meaning and destiny. The chronicler-theologian thus composed his work not just as a history of his people from their ancient beginnings but as an interpreted history, one designed to offer hope to the beleaguered community as well as to issue warnings that should they fall back into the ways of their fathers they could expect the judgment of God to be repeated.

 

Eugene Merrill’s work on 1 and 2 Chronicles promises to be a significant contribution to the academic dialogue on these important books. This volume is helpful for the scholar but accessible and useful for the pastor. Merrill provides an exegetical study of each passage in these books, examining a number of themes, especially drawing out three principal theological subjects: (1) David and his historical and eschatological reign; (2) the renewal of the everlasting covenant; and (3) the new temple as a symbol of a reconstituted people. Merrill offers astute guidance to preachers and teachers in his insightful doctrinal commentary on the text.(From the Publisher’s Website)

 

Review:

Why did this book interest me?

The history of the nation of Israel is but a smaller part of a larger story: namely the redemption of God’s people. In it we see God’s hand masterfully weaving the events and preserving His people. Rich narratives and stunning prayers are contained in the pages of 1 and 2 Chronicles. So naturally when I saw that Kregel had published this commentary on these books, I was immediately interested. To add to the draw of this commentary was the man chosen to exegete these books for us: Eugene Merrill.

What did I like about this book?

This book is part of an outstanding series that Kregel is publishing called Kregel Exegetical Library. I have read 5 books in this series so far and they are my favorite reference material on the Old Testament. This book, like its companions is very thorough in its exegesis of the text. This particular volume includes 13 charts, 12 excurses, 9 theological discourses, and an analysis of 2 hymns and 5 prayers contained in these historical books. It is full of helpful footnotes that help provide more in depth comments and resources for study. This commentary is immensely helpful to the preacher, teacher, and student of the Bible. Eugene Merrill is a faithful expositor who has spent a lifetime equipping students to teach and preach. This commentary is conservative and faithful to the authority of scriptures.

I highly recommend this to all who want to understand these historical books more fully. The reader will be richly rewarded for the time they spend in the pages of this book. Thank you Kregel and Eugene Merrill for this excellent commentary.

Book Details:

 

  • Author: Eugene H. Merrill
  • Publisher: Kregel Academic
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Page Count: 640
  • ISBN#: 9780825425592
  • List Price: $39.99

 

 

About the Author:

Eugene H. Merrill is distinguished professor emeritus of Old Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. His other publications include Kingdom of Priests. (From the Publisher’s Website)

Where to Buy:

 

 

Disclaimer: I received this book from Kregel in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

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Wittenberg vs Geneva by Brian W. Thomas

April 6, 2016 1 comment

Description:

What are the differences between Lutherans and Calvinists, and do they really matter? In Wittenberg vs. Geneva, Brian Thomas provides a biblical defense of the key doctrines that have divided the Lutheran and Reformed traditions for nearly five centuries.

It is especially written to help those who may have an interest in the Lutheran church, but are concerned that her stance on doctrines like predestination or the sacraments may not have biblical support. To get to the heart of the matter, Pastor Thomas focuses solely upon those crucial scriptural texts that have led Lutheran and Reformed scholars down different paths to disparate conclusions as he spars with popular Calvinist theologians from the past and the present. (From the Publisher’s Website)

 

Review:

Why Did This Book Interest Me?

This is the book I have wanted to read for a long time. Theological differences among various denominations interest me greatly, especially those born from the reformation. No denominations are more recognizable from that great period in church history than the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. But up until now, this would have been a painstaking and enormous task. Being neither Lutheran nor Presbyterian, I simply did not want to spend that much time researching the nuances in each traditions numerous writings. I have compared the Presbyterian teachings to that of my own denomination and am very familiar with the teachings of their tradition. The gap in my knowledge comes from the Lutheran side. That is where this book fills in the gaps.

What Does This Book Accomplish?

This book details the differences between some of the key doctrinal issues to spring from the reformation as represented by the Lutheran and Presbyterian traditions. The author explores these differences by examining the main passages used by the two sides to defend their doctrinal stances. Mr. Thomas shows us that there are differences in definitions of terms as well as implications of the teachings. He takes us to the bible to help us understand that it is the measure that we have to use when establishing our doctrines. He employs two rules: scripture interprets scripture and a literal sense of the text. Thomas clearly explains the Lutheran position on the key topics of atonement, predestination, the sacraments, and the believer’s security. These are contrasted with what he understands the reformed (Presbyterian) view to be.

What did I come away from this book with?

I appreciate that Mr. Thomas employed C.S.Lewis’ illustration of the Christian church having many rooms (denominations). This sets the tone for a discussion in community and not a vilification of all those who would disagree with the author’s conclusions. I also appreciate that this book does not get distracted with the various “furnishings” of the rooms. Thomas has helped me understand and appreciate the Lutheran viewpoints concerning these reformed doctrines. While I do not agree with all of his conclusions, he has helped me to look at some of the proof texts in a fresh way and for that I am grateful. The reformers believed in “always reforming” and that means we cannot simply twist scripture to agree with our conclusions but we must align our conclusions with what the scriptures clearly teach. I do wish there had been a format, maybe an appendix, for a rebuttal from Sproul or Horton. Maybe they will respond with a book of their own. Overall, I was pleased with the book and feel that it accomplished most of its intended purpose. Thank you Brian Thomas and NRP Books for this informative resource.

Book Details:

 

  • Author: Brian W. Thomas
  • Publisher: NRP Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page Count: 177
  • ISBN#: 9781945500374
  • List Price: $19.95

 

 

About the Author:

Brian William Thomas serves as the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Kingston, Washington. His writing focuses on confessional Lutheranism in a post-Christian culture and reclaiming ancient pastoral practices for present day service. (From Back Cover of Book)

Where to Buy:

 

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

Categories: Reviews, Uncategorized