What Pastor Blair Has Been Reading (from October 2021 through December 2021)
What Pastor Blair Has Been Reading
(from October 2021 through December 2021)
Alcorn, Randy. The Treasure Principle: Bible Study. Multnomah: New York, 2018.
This is a Bible study based upon the book with the same name title. Lisa and I did this study together using the DVD. I would say the videos are dated and definitely need to be redone. But we were both challenged by Alcorn’s principles. It got us to ask, ‘how careful are we in our spending, and are we investing in eternal things?’ Now we are both working toward goals to be more generous in our giving. While we did this as a couple, the format would make it better in a larger group setting.
Beeke, Joel & Rob Wynalda. The 17:18 Series: Genesis 28-50. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2016.
As I mentioned last month, The 17:18 Series, comes from Deuteronomy 17:18 where the king of Israel is instructed to write his own set of books of the Law. I have been doing this exercise ever since our study of Proverbs. Finally, Genesis is now complete. It requires much discipline and it has taught me much about the scribal transmission process. I wanted to get the text right and legible. I had the mindset of ‘if this was your only copy of the Bible, would you be able to rely upon it as accurate?’ It was a lot harder process than I first imagined. And I am sure that I made mistakes. But I do have a deeper appreciation for textual criticism and for the meaning of Genesis 28-50 overall.
Flavel, John. Triumphing Over Sinful Fear. Reformation Heritage Books: Grand Rapids, 2011.
I try to read the work of a puritan every year. I chose this book for my reading. John Flavel (1628-1691) was an English Puritan that suffered through the great ejection. In context of when it was written, the book served two purposes. First, to help overcome general fear in life with the fear of the Lord. And second, with the persecution of dissenters in England, Flavel wanted to prepare his people to persevere as they must suffer for Christ. I can honestly say, this may have been one of the best puritan books I have ever written. Its truth is relevant ‘for such a time as this.’ This edition is easier to read than the Banner of Truth version in the ‘Works of’ set. I highly recommend this book.
Hoppe, Steve. Marriage Conflict: Talking as Teammates (31-Day Devotionals For Life). P & R Publishing: Philipsburg, NJ, 202.
This is the sixth devotional from this series that I have reviewed. (See the devotions on addictive habits, anger, fearing others, pornography, and doubt) I have only one major complaint with this book and that is the title. In many ways, I wish the title was reversed with the subtitle. I began this book reading it as a tool for couples in crisis. Shortly after I began, I realized this is a book from which all marriages would benefit. So much so, that I stopped and asked Lisa to read it alongside me. The book teaches wonderful communication skills between spouses. It is thoroughly Biblical and the right balance between theology and practicality. Yes, this book would serve those couples that are experiencing conflict. But it is so much more beneficial than just that scenario. I highly recommend it.
Jones, Timothy Paul. Misquoting Truth: A guide to the fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus. Intervarsity Press: Downer’s Grove, 2007.
This is the second book by Jones that I am reading in preparation for my Bible and Apologetics Class at BTS. After reading it, all I can say is that Jones thoroughly (and graciously) debunks Bart Ehrman’s most popular works. North Carolina professor, Ehrman is a former Christian (though he might not qualify himself in that way) that has made it his life’s work to study the New Testament with a skepticism that challenges its authority. Outside of Richard Dawkins, there has been no other scholar that has undermined the Christian faith. The problems come from most people accepting Ehrman’s work as reliable. Jones unmasks his opponent’s research methods and illuminates the areas that Ehrman conveniently leaves out. Even if one comes away from the reading without believing in the authority of the scriptures, they would certainly know that Ehrman is not a reliable source for its study.
Murray, Andrew. Humility. Christian Audio, 2014.
It’s been a while since I delved into the works of Andrew Murray. In this brief book on the topic of humility, I found what I expected. Murray wrote this book in 1895 which was at the height of the Keswick Movement (Sometimes referred to as the Christian Higher Life). The problem with the movement was the search for some ‘magic bullet’ that would be the key to open up all other Christian mysteries. For Murray that was to employ the characteristic of humility above all others. It sounds reasonable- be humble and submit to Jesus. But the Christian life is more robust than that. Sadly, this is a very limiting theology and can quickly substitute ‘works’ for rather than resting in the work of Jesus. The book is loaded with outstandingly good quotes about humility- but one has to remove them from the context in which Murray intended for their use.
Peacock, Gavin. A Greater Glory: From Pitch to Pulpit. Christian Focus: Fearn, 2021.
Most of my American friends would not recognize the name Gavin Peacock. But those in Britain and those familiar with international soccer would recognize the mid-field star either from his playing days at Chelsea or New Castle United, or as a sports commentator for the BBC. This is his autobiography. Peacock’s story is different from most as he was a Christian from the beginning of his professional career. It was incredibly interesting to hear of his experiences as a footballer and Christian at the same time. One learns you can be extremely competitive and also gentle in Christ at the same time. I loved the stories of his playing days. I also loved hearing what transpires as a pundit working for a broadcasting network once he retired from football. But mid-way through that career, Peacock gave it up in order to pursue fulltime ministry. His humility is inspiring. Because he saw his celebrity status as an impediment to ministry, he moved to Calgary, Canada; first to study in seminary and later to become an assistant pastor. I found Peacock’s story to not only be inspiring, but the book was also entertaining. At times, his life lessons can come across a little ‘preachy’, but the author wanted to make sure his readers understood his mindset. I recommend this volume to any sports fan.
Powlison, David. The Pastor As Counselor: The Call For Soul Care. Crossway: Wheaton, 2021.
This is David Powlison’s last work and is already in the pipeline to be published posthumously. The purpose of the book is to encourage pastors and elders to do counseling within the church, not just preach and dictate from above, but to get not the trenches and do life together with their congregations. Powlison points out that, unlike professional counselors, pastors have unique advantages not available to the secular counselor. We have a message and interpretation of life that speaks to the soul. We can pray with/for and through our people. We have better opportunities to be in their lives unlike the once a week one-hour office visits of the professional. Though a very brief book, I found it both challenging and stimulating. I gave a copy to each of our elders as a Christmas gift. Allow them to counsel your soul in the coming year.
Waltke, Bruce (w/ Cathi Fredricks). Genesis: A Commentary. Zondervan Academics: Grand Rapids, 2001.
All I can say is ‘wow!’ I really enjoyed this commentary as I studied through Genesis. Waltke balances the literary analysis with the theological reflection. After studying both, there is no way one can walk away from Genesis and claim that the book is not divinely inspired. I have little to critique negatively about the book. Waltke is able to present the arguments on the more controversial topics of Genesis (Day/Age, Nephliam, Babel, etc…) in a fair manner. While a novice might struggle, this is definitely a must read for the more advanced student of the Bible.
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