Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2015's Year End Best Books

Some of the best books of the year lists are coming out and two of the best I've seen are TGC's and Kevin DeYoung's. Though both are not strictly theological they are still great lists. If you're looking for something to read this is a great place to start. Enjoy!

TGC's List is here

DeYoung's list is here

A few from both lists

The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision by Kevin Vanhoozer & Owen Strachan

Preaching the Whole Counsel of God by Julius J.  Kim

Packer on the Christian Life by Sam Storms

For more click here or on the links above. Have any to add?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: Packer on the Christian Life by Sam Storms

Packer on the Christian Life by Sam Storms is my book of the year (for whatever that is worth). I’ve read or perused many of Packer’s books but this book condenses much of what he’s written over his lifetime and includes some personal history that puts it all in perspective. Unless the reader has read everything Packer has written, this book will be a valuable and insightful tool. In clear concise fashion Storms lays out Packer’s thoughts and beliefs on many, if not all, areas of the Christian life. It behooves us all to read, learn and apply these teachings.

In a world full of books on how to live and enjoy the Christian life, this one stands out. Storms delves deeply into Packer’s writings on numerous subjects extensively. Topics include atonement, holiness, indwelling sin, Holy Spirit, prayer and the will of God to point out a few. Packer, like many of us, began his spiritual journey under false teaching. Through a lifetime of learning and then writing he has shared much with us to correct our own deficiencies. In this work Storms has admirably complied some of the best.

It’s difficult to be precise on what most benefited me. Perhaps the chapters on prayer, suffering, and theocentricity left me both struggling and joyful.  I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to scour the pages and glean the best from Packer. 

This “on the Christian Life” series from Crossway is simply marvelous. If you have not started reading any of these I would suggest doing so now. They are a fascinating look into the lives of many well-known Christians that have blazed the trail for us. Don’t miss the opportunity to gain the valuable knowledge they accumulated.

Crossway has provided a complimentary copy of this book through Beyond the Page.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book Review: We Named Her Faith by Tim Orr

We Named Her Faith is a warm hearted story of grace and love and how God in His providence works in the daily lives of His people. This book isn't my normal line of country. I tend to engross myself into deeper works of theology however, the result of that deeper theology should have the outcome we read about in the lives of the Orr family. When it comes to the trials of faith many of us have read of the faith of men like Calvin, Luther, Warfield, Newton and many others that endured incredible hardships and were triumphant at the end of their lives. Most of us just aren't like that. We're average people just trying to make it day by day striving to be obedient and living on God's grace. And so it is for the Orr family.

We Named Her Faith is the story of Tim, Michelle and Faith Orr. Their past and present - how they got to where they are today through life's trials and struggles and how they were happily able to adopt their daughter, Faith who has Down Syndrome. Their story has many twists and turns, happy and sad, losing and winning. But through it all we see God's Providence working behind the scenes for their good and His glory.

Its a wonderful story. As for the book itself, it has its share of positives and negatives. On the negative side, it was difficult to determine the author's beliefs. Often oscillating freely between the terms "providence" (as in God's Providence) and the term "luckily," I was confused. Were their circumstances from God or by coincidence? The author, in his early years was Pentecostal and at some point became a Reformed Baptist but it was difficult to see when and thus could account for the confusion here and at some other points. At times there was too much irrelevant information and at others too little which made the story wordy and somewhat disjointed. On the positive side we see a childless couple reach out in God's love and adopt a child with a disability. We see God moving in their lives from when they were young to the present in many marvelous ways. Life isn't easy but we see God's grace working in the background of their lives to bring about the wonderful conclusion of adoption.

This is a great book for the church library or your home. Its worth a read. A definite 3.5 out of 5.
I received a review copy of "We Named her Faith" to review. No other compensation was received, and the opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Common Grace and the Gospel By Cornelius Van Til, K. Scott Oliphint

 Common Grace and the Gospel By Cornelius Van Til, K. Scott Oliphint

"Restoring the full text of the original 1972 work, this collection of annotated essays addresses questions on common grace and its relevance to the gospel. A pioneer in presuppositional apologetics, Cornelius Van Til sets forth a Christian philosophy of history; examines the views of Abraham Kuyper, Herman Hoeksema, and others in the debate over common grace; and replies to criticism."

To find out more about this outstanding republication, click over to the Reformed Forum website and listen to their interview with the editor, Scott Oliphint.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Redeemer Mens Study to Begin in September

The Mens Discipleship group returns this Fall and we’ll be reading through Martyn Lloyd-Jones book The Kingdom of God. We’ll be meeting on Saturdays in the fellowship hall from 8-9am. We hope to see you there for this time of fellowship and encouragement. The book can be purchased here. Check our website for more information.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Book Review: Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God By Joe Thorn

There are few things that can top getting a daily dose of spiritual truth and encouragement.  I often find myself going back to devotional works that carry heavy spiritual truth to get me through the day. Though there are many worthy works out there, Joe Thorn has joined the company of wonderful authors that have contributed to this genre. Experiencing the Trinity has now become a go-to book for me. It combines Biblical truth, with loving, gentle encouragement. If we stop kidding ourselves and openly recognize that life has more problems than earthly joys we will find comfort in a book such as this.

Thorn, in this work, has a gentle, soft, encouraging writing style. He is not beating the reader over the head with Scripture and expecting anyone to stand to attention. Just the opposite, he calmly weaves his way through each member of the Trinity reminding the reader of what each has given to us and will give us. This book isn't fluff, either. There are hard truths expressed, many that being a Christian long enough, we've all heard before. Yet, his style gently pushes the reader to remember the realities and delights of the Christian life as found in Scripture.

As the title suggests, it is about experiencing the Trinity, not just attempting to grasp the academic truths of doctrine. The work is divided into three sections for each member of the Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each chapter is only a page or two thus the reader has enough to chew on without being overwhelmed. There is no doubt this would be a great asset to anyone's daily devotions. Either starting off your day or ending your day, this is a valuable resource to Christian living. I warmly recommend it.

Crossway has provided a complimentary copy of this book through Beyond the Page. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Reading, Learning & Discipline

Disciplines of the Christian Mind is a fascinating and insightful podcast at Christ the Center. The guys, Camden, Jeff and Jim, delve into developing the Christian mind by consistent, focused reading every day along with several other disciplines. How often do we as lovers of theology books still neglect the opportunity to read? Often, in my case and I aim to remedy that. The guys bring many useful suggestions to the table to develop good reading habits that will aid us all in the life long learning process. Swing over and have a wee listen. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Message of the General Epistles in the History of Redemption: Wisdom from James, Peter, John, and Jude By Brandon D. Crowe

Another book worth our time in theology studies, The Message of the General Epistles in the History of Redemption: Wisdom from James, Peter, John, and Jude By Brandon D. Crowe. The guys at Reformed Forum discuss the book at length with the author Brandon Crowe which you can listen to here. Listen, learn and be edified and buy the book.

The Message of the General Epistles in the History of Redemption: Wisdom from James, Peter, John, and Jude By Brandon D. Crowe
This volume considers the theological richness (indicative) and practical relevance (imperative) of the New Testament General Epistles—James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude—within a redemptive-historical framework. Although not the most familiar portion of the New Testament, these letters have much to say about the call to discipleship in the twenty-first century. Part One (“Scallywags”) focuses on 1 Peter. Here we see that Christ has accomplished salvation and that his life provides the pattern for faithful living in the face of worldly opposition. In Part Two (“Scoffers”) the truth of 2 Peter and Jude is set in contrast to the destructive doctrines of scoffing false teachers. Part Three (“Schisms”) reflects on the challenges of the Johannine letters that address who belongs to God’s family. Finally, Part Four (“Wisdom”) looks at the practical teaching of James in light of the teaching of Jesus.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Mortification of Spin, David Murray and Depression

Another insightful and encouraging podcast from the threesome at MOS can be heard here. Their special guest is David Murray, author of Christians Get Depressed Too and The Happy Christian. Together they discuss the issues of depression and mental illness in the church. A subject often avoided or ignored. Its time to address this issue and remove the stigmas associated with it in the church today.

The Happy Christian by David Murray

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bookworms on the Beach

Jump over to the Mortification of Spin website and have a listen to Carl, Aimee & Todd on their Summer reading plans. This is a great podcast and listening regularly is highly recommended. Below are just two of their great pics.

Hidden But Now Revealed by G.K. Beale & Benjamin L. Gladd

The Church of Christ by James Bannerman

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Book Review: Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom by Carl Trueman


There have been many books written about Martin Luther. Many good, some not, but this latest work by Carl Trueman, Martin Luther on the Christian Life, trumps almost all of them.  Luther, a man who was down to earth on many levels and an enigma on many others, is a man worth studying. At least to the degree where we as modern day Christians may have a more complete understanding of what he was striving for, his difficulties of getting there (if and where he did), how his thought progressed over his lifetime and the influence he has right up to today in Christianity. Not a perfect man but a man used by God to change the Christian world.

Not in the too distant past I had read everything available in written form and listened to virtually every sermon and lecture I could on the internet by Trueman. Now, a much sought after conference speaker that is a much more difficult task. Much of what I learned from him was about Luther. It was foundational knowledge for me and I often listened to some of these lectures numerous times. Trueman is a great speaker but listening to him was much more than enjoying a well-spoken lecturer. New doors on Reformation history, specifically on Luther, were opened for me for me that were previously closed. So when this book was first announced I was anxious to get my hands on it (devour it?).

In eight succinct chapters Trueman lays out Luther’s thought and specifically how it relates to the Christian life, not only in the 1500’s but more importantly today.  A brief biography is followed by the development of Luther’s theology. It is important to note that Luther’s thought changed over the years and much of what he wrote and is remembered of him is in the early years before his more full orbed theology blossomed. Though the early years were not unuseful, it does us well to educate ourselves more fully on the later years of his theology for that is where, not always but often, find the true heart of Luther’s theology.  That is where this work is illuminating.

Chapter titles:
1.Martin Luther’s Christian Life
2.Theologians, Priests and Kings
3.The Theology of the Word Preached
4.The Liturgy of the Christian Life
5.Living by the Word
6.Freed from Babylon: Baptism and the Mass
7.Luther and Christian Righteousness
8.Life and Death in This Earthly Realm: Government, Calling, and Family
Conclusion: Life as Tragedy, Life as Comedy

From the above chapter titles we see that all the bases are covered. As we know, no doctrine stands on its own. Every Christian doctrine hinges on others and it was no different for Luther as his life and thought progressed. This book dispels some of the false notions about Luther and reveals many others truths not widely known. Luther didn’t start out to create a revolution in the church, October 31, 1517 was not the start of the Reformation, and he had an incredible sense of humor and was very devoted to his family and his flock. Indeed, what started as what we call the Reformation today was Luther’s concern for his people rather than doctrinal purity. This book unpacks all of this and much more.

It is important to note that Trueman does not dabble in hagiography. Luther wasn’t perfect, far from it. Though Luther is a favorite of Trueman, he has no romantic notions of his character. Trueman brings out these errors, explains them, but makes no excuses for them.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It belongs in every church, pastors and layman’s library and deserves a thorough read and re-read. It’s a keeper.

Crossway has provided a complimentary copy of this book through Beyond the Page. 

Click here to enjoy an author interview at Christ the Center

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Gospel in the Old Testament?

Here are a couple of books that give us an understanding of how we find the gospel in the Old Testament. Read on, my friends, read on.

From Eden to the New Jerusalem by T. Desmond Alexander

God has given us the reasons for creation and our existence in the Bible. ”by resolving an intricate plot that sheds light on the entire story,“ Alexander writes. Using this theory to start from the denouement, or resolution, in Revelation's last verses and work backward, Alexander pieces together the Bible's overarching plot. The resulting picture reveals the reasons for creation and life that have eluded those who seek to answer life's biggest questions without first placing themselves in God's story.

God Dwells Among Us by G.K. Beale & Mitchell Kim

Preaching's 2014 Best Books for Preachers 2014 Best Missions-Oriented Biblical Study, from Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Bookstore Just like we do today, the writers and chief actors of the Old Testament felt a deep longing for the presence of God. It is symbolized in the temple ruins, and before it the temple itself, and before that the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle that housed it, and before that the Garden of Eden. In response to this longing, God shares his ultimate mission, in which his people play a part: the expansion of Eden, the temple of God's presence, to all peoples throughout the earth. The temple has always been a source of rich scholarship and theological reflection, but what does it mean for the church's ongoing mission in the world? G. K. Beale and Mitchell Kim take temple theology off the bookshelf and bring it to our modern-day life, where the church is instructed and exhorted in its purpose. From Eden to the new Jerusalem, we are God's temple on the earth in our day, the firstfruits of the new creation. God has always desired to dwell among us; now the church must follow its missional call to extend the borders of God's kingdom and take his presence to the ends of the earth.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Little Eye Candy for the Calvinist Reader

A few and notable works for this month. Take a look...

Merciful: The Opportunity and Challenge of Disciplining the Poor Out of Poverty by Randy Nabors.

Read an online interview here at byFaith magazine.

Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief by John Frame
Available 12 June 2015

Renowned theologian John Frame sheds much-needed light on the message and method of genuinely Christian apologetics in this landmark title. He insightfully examines apologetics in terms of proof, defense, and offense and clarifies the relationships of reason, proofs, and evidences to faith, biblical authority, and the lordship of Christ.

Defending Substitution by Simon Gathercole

Read the new release blog post at Baker here.

The Accidental Feminist by Courtney Reissig

Check out the online interview with the author here.

Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul by R. Kent Hughes

In this insightful commentary, readers will find a gold mine of helpful discussion related to a book of the Bible that is easily misunderstood and often overlooked. Written by a pastor with decades of ministry and preaching experience, this volume abounds with wise insights into the book of Hebrews. With divisions and outlines that are never forced but flow naturally from the Biblical text, this commentary will be a great resource for anyone studying or teaching the book of Hebrews.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What's New and Coming Soon for April

Take a look at what's publishing and available very soon. Click on the links for book descriptions and to buy.

The Korean Pentecost by William N. Blair & Bruce F. Hunt

Christ Set Forth by Thomas Goodwin

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
by Kevin DeYoung

The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto Against the Status Quo
by Jared C. Wilson

The Compelling Community: Where God's Power Makes a Church Attractive by Mark Dever & Jamie Dunlop

Blind Spots by Collin Hansen

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Few Books on Inerrancy

The recent Inerrancy Summit at the Shepherd's Conference will no doubt be long remembered as the line up of speakers was something out of a Who's Who of today's most respected theologians. There are a few of the videos from the conference here. Take some time to watch and listen. Need a book on Inerrancy? Have a look here and here and below.

The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority By Gregory K. Beale

The Scripture Cannot Be Broken: Twentieth Century Writings on the Doctrine of Inerrancy From Crossway

Inerrancy and the Gospels: A God-Centered Approach to the Challenges of Harmonization By Vern S. Poythress



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Book Review: Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn Reviewed by Rachel Cooper

“To believe and love the Trinity is to possess the key of theology.” — Spurgeon 
Focusing on the character and attributes of God during seasons of doubt and depression is so simple, yet profound, that it nearly knocks me over.  This is not normally how we battle dark times, and this is not what the self-help books are made of.  But this is exactly what Joe Thorn did during his own dark season, and he captured 50 daily meditations that are now in his new book Experiencing the Trinity.

These readings “reflect on God and the gospel and how they overcome our fear, failure, pain, and unbelief.”  Outlining the attributes for each member of the trinity, this book is a wonderful example of how to preach to yourself.  And although Thorn says the book was literally written to himself, I found numerous sections to be helpful in battling my own personal sins and unbelief.
I highlighted quite a bit, but one of my favorites was the section covering how the Holy Spirit revives us:
The Spirit’s work of revival does not come about when God’s people practice inventive or radical exercise; it comes through the normal means of grace God has given his people.  Do you need God to revive your hear?  Then seek the Spirit’s influence.  Cry out to God, store his Word in your hear, give yourself to worship, and walk in his ways.  Revival is near, but you must seek it. 
There’s nothing flashy or sexy about this book.  There are no magic formulas, no emotionally charged guilt trips.  And for me, that’s largely its appeal.  As a women in my early 30’s, I’m the target audience for many of the Christian devotionals and self-help books published today.  And so often, these books are lacking the gospel and the hard truths about our sin.  Instead, Experiencing the Trinity presents you with who He is in all His glory, stirring you to greater love for Him.

There are no 10 step guides or prayer formulas to work your way out of the darkness.  Sometimes, perhaps often times, it’s work.  It’s choosing to believe what you cannot see or may not feel.  It’s studying and searching for who God is, believing He both hears and sees you, and reaching out for just a touch of the hem of His robe.

Rachel Cooper received a copy of Experiencing the Trinity to review.  No other compensation was received, and the opinions are her own.

To see more from Rachel Cooper visit her blog at  Lady Hawk Collective.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Look what's new...

Take a look what's new on the Academic page at the Reformed Book Cellar and post suggestions on our Facebook page what you would add. Winter is a great time to invest time reading and digging deeper into theological issues. Dig in, enjoy and be blessed.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment By Gregg R. Allison

One of the better works that has come out is Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment By Gregg R. Allison. For a good review check out Leonardo De Chirico's review at the Gospel Coalition. To hear an interview with the author head over to the Reformed Forum. This one is worth the investment.

Product Description

A theologian and church historian walks readers through the Catechism of the Catholic Church, winsomely evaluating Roman Catholic doctrine and practice from the perspective of both Scripture and evangelical theology.