Book Review: Graciousness by John Crotts

crotts_john-_graciousness_cover__52015-1515524014-315-315Truth be told, Christians has a bad reputation when speaking in truth. We have a tendency to run over everyone whether believers or unbelievers, that crosses our firmly held beliefs. The results are so ugly to look at.

John Crotts latest book takes you upfront that speaking for the truth requires more than zeal but love. “Graciousness” unravels the importance of doing so that is pleasing to everyone and to God. It’s a short book but lots of important aspects of being gracious are discussed. In a 100+ pages of “Graciousness”, the author balances the book for having the first half as setting up the case and the second as cultivating grace in the life of a Christian. For readers it important to have that balance because we want the takeaway part (and that’s why in the first place you pick up this book.)

I have been following Jeff Durbin’s video and I’m really floored on how he is gracious in talking to with unbelievers. Most of us may have spoke to JW or a Mormon and it might be more of an episode WWE than having a friendly conversation. For us being friendly or gracious is a sign of compromise. “Graciousness” begs to differ as it draws examples on how Jesus and the Apostle Paul’s encounters with people and encourage us to do the same.

“Graciousness” is an essential read for people who have been engaging in theological debate to friends who have conflicting views of the Scripture over a cup of coffee. It should be in every apologetics reading list and be read after a long apologetics book.  You’ll find refuge here. It’s a much needed stop over before we engage in a theological conversation. An over flowing graciousness is what every believer as you tell the truth that is edifying to everyone and glorifying to God.

My verdict:

5 out of 5

Check my book review of this book on Amazon: https://goo.gl/6Azejk

Check my book review of this book on Goodreads: https://goo.gl/LZWgm9

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The Quotable Round-Up #57

paper_zpshrjhwlqwHere are some of the quotes from the book “We Destroy Arguments” by Stephen Feinstein. If you enjoy these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“Christians are not out there to prove that a god exists, but instead that the biblical God exists. We are to prove that this biblical God has made Himself clearly known to all people at all times with clear distinct revelation that has left people without excuse. You cannot accomplish this by using piecemeal arguments that only demonstrate one sliver of the Christian worldview at a time. Instead, the Christian worldview as a whole is what is to be presented. Yet, it is even more than this. Christianity must be presented not only as an entire system, but as the only system of truth that is even possible.” – Stephen Feinstein, “We Destroy Arguments”

“When 1 John 4:8 declares that God is love, we need to ask, “Love of what?” If the answer is love of the world, then the divine attribute of love depends on the existence of the world, once again removing the independence of God and the creator-creature distinction. Furthermore, an attribute by definition is something that God must possess to in fact be God. If love could not exist until the creation existed, then God also could not have existed as God until He first created the creation! The position becomes logically self-defeating. Yet, if God is one, and yet three persons, then God can share love in an absolute sense being an absolute person and still be absolutely independent of creation. John 17:24 clearly teaches that the Father and Son loved each other in eternity past, thereby demonstrating from Scripture that God’s attribute of love is independent of the creation. Thus, the Trinity actually is necessary in order to keep every single one of God’s communicable attributes intact.” – Stephen Feinstein, “We Destroy Arguments”

“Under the Christian, metaphysical worldview God is only one God and is a perfect unity, but is also a unity of a plurality (three persons). Since God is a unity of plurality, it is not difficult to see creation in a similar light. We are all made from the dust of the ground making us one with creation (unity), but we are different ontologically from plants, animals, rocks, and other humans (plurality). There is no absolute unity devoid of plurality, and there is no absolute plurality devoid of unity. Only the Christian worldview accounts for this, and even though many secular philosophers and pagan religions reject a universe of both one and many, nearly all people live their day-to-day lives as though it were true.” – Stephen Feinstein, “We Destroy Arguments”

“Dependence on God leads to consistent and true knowledge and a consistent view of reality that makes learning and discovery possible. Independence from God leads to millions of inconsistencies on various views of reality, and it renders the idea of true knowledge and standards as impossible.” – Stephen Feinstein, “We Destroy Arguments”

“Atheism can be theoretical or practical, or both. The theoretical atheist outright denies the existence of God, whereas the practical atheist just lives as though there is no God. Based on the definition of practical atheism, agnostics truly are atheists just in disguise. After all, if they truly did not know whether or not God existed, would they not show up to church every other week and try to live in obedience to Scripture half of the time in order to shore up their bets? Yet, just about every agnostic most of us have ever met never goes to church and live their lives as though no God exists. Their words do not comport with their actions but instead are a mere attempt to take some misconstrued highroad of humility.” – Stephen Feinstein, “We Destroy Arguments”

“Ultimately, the combination of atheism and idolatry is the unbeliever’s way of suppressing the truth of God that is within them, and yet being able to navigate through the world with set standards. When the Christian apologist begins to critique unbelieving thought, unbelievers will move thoughtlessly back and forth between these two positions making it difficult to pin them down. For example, when you press their relativism to its conclusion, they will then appeal to reason (their idol) to support the items that they feel are absolutely true. When you then push them with reason into a self-defeating position, they will effortlessly move right back into their atheistic relativism. It will take patience and skill to reveal this to them, and ultimately it will take the work of the Holy Spirit.” – Stephen Feinstein, “We Destroy Arguments”

“If a Christian presuppositionalist pushed epistemology with such atheists, he could easily reveal to the atheist the impossibility of objective truth in an atheistic worldview. Thus consistent atheism requires the extreme of relativism, which itself is self-defeating. After all, would not a declaration that there is no absolute truth be in of itself an absolute truth? Furthermore, the atheist who holds to relativism is never consistent with it. After all, he acts as though reason and logic are trustworthy (absolute) and would seek justice if robbed (a moral absolute). Thus, the unbeliever committed to atheism in either its theoretical or practical form is left in a state of absolute certainty (rationalism) and absolute uncertainty (irrationalism) simultaneously and cannot account for it.” – Stephen Feinstein, “We Destroy Arguments”

The Quotable Round-Up #48

 

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Here are some of the quotes from the book “God’s Promise of Happiness” by Randy Alcorn  . If you enjoy these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon.  Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“Sin is the biggest enemy of happiness because it results in a broken relationship with God.”

 

“As fallen, rebellious creatures, while we still want happiness, we don’t even want to want God. In spiritual darkness, we attribute our happiness to everything but God. But when we know Christ, we can cultivate our awareness of God as the Source of all happiness. Every flower, cup of coffee, meal, and song can stir within us gratitude and happiness.”

 

“Seeking happiness without God is like seeking water without wetness or sun without light.”

 

“God’s gift of happiness for believers is more than simply recognizing that happiness comes from knowing, loving, and serving God. We must do something: open God’s Word; go to a Bible study; join a church; volunteer at a homeless shelter; write a check to support missions.”

“God makes it clear that seeking happiness through sin is wrong and fruitless. But seeking happiness in him is good and right.”

“It’s not just okay to be happy; it’s right to be happy. The Bible clearly tells God’s children to be happy. Jesus commanded his disciples to be happy, and for a compelling reason: “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). If we’re not experiencing happiness in God, then we’re disobeying and missing the abundant life Jesus came to give (see John 10:10).”

A Call for Contagious Praising (Part 2)

adwdafejfdy-raul-petri_zpspm1kvcf1“Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” Psalms 34: 3

Before we list out the 3 things we should consider in having a contagious praising, we must first detour and remind ourselves of why we want others to come and praise God. In this way we can fully understand why praising is contagious.

Of course we can praise God individually. We can actually have a personal dealing with God that will overflow with joy that is acceptable with God. However, we shouldn’t limit it as a personal experience only. We are lead to come and praise together.

Why Praise Together?

  • Because Christianity is an accountability religion.

We are accountable to lead people to salvation. We are accountable to lead people to sanctification. If we consider that Jesus Christ is the ultimate joy and we express our joy to Him by praising Him, the logic will flow that we are accountable in leading people to praising Him.  Salvation and sanctification are the gates to see Christ as joyous and praiseworthy.

(to be continued next week…)

The Quotable Round-Up #45

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Happy New Year guys! Here are some of the quotes from the book “Awe” by Paul David Tripp. If you enjoy these quotes, please feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“It’s wrong not to be in awe of what God created, but it’s even more deeply wrong when you can look at created glory without remembering God.”

“It is hard to accept that God knows better than we do.”

“Once awe of God is lost, the loss of a heart to obey isn’t far off.”

“Your admission of awe amnesia is a confession of your continuing need of your loving Redeemer.”

“Here’s the reality: most people who are angry with God are angry with him for being God.”

“If you’re not living in awe of God, you are left with no higher agenda than to live for yourself.”

“Awe of self, worship of self, underlies every form of self-destructive living.”

Book Review: “Aspire: Transformed by the Gospel Part 1” by Matt Rogers

     This book is such a surprise because I would expect it’s just the usual book format that we all know. But as I open it from the postal package, it was this big journal size book. And as I thumb a few pages, the fonts are big and lots of lines which is where you’ll jot your answer. So this is not a usual book. And so is the content.

Matt Rogers “Aspire” is geared for one on one discipleship by tackling first the very foundation of the Christian faith which is the gospel. This book unravels the basic topics pertaining to the gospel in a 15 week study. The weekly studies discuss the gospel incorporated in some Christian doctrines. The starting point is creation where sin enters and how sin where our worship changes its focus from God to Satan. As the book progresses we see how this gracious and merciful God redeems these fallen worshipers. Of course when discussing doctrine, theological words are needed to be defined. “Aspire” covers that by highlighting these important words and defining it. The book’s later parts prepares the reader to be mission minded and to disciple too.

Now comes the sweaty part: the questions. You need to answers these to get most of the book. The questions on each part of the study are not just your run-of-the-mill passive questions you can get from a study guide in a usual book. Rather these questions will make you think and reflect for a moment. Also some of the questions are quite personal. And if you think this question and answer portion of “Aspire” left all the figuring out to the readers, think again. Chunks of biblical content are explained enough for you to chew and be satisfied on. “Aspire” will aid anyone to a healthy spiritual growth fit to be a disciple of Christ.
“Aspire” is well written, theological rich and personal workbook that will ground you in solid foundation. If you don’t know where to start with your discipleship, this book will definitely get you a jump start. If this book is so good how much more would be the sequel? For a pastor this will be a go to book for a deep one on one discipleship. For the individual Christian, prepare for a book that will pull you into a deep understanding of the redemptive story of God. Highly recommended.
My verdict: 5 out of 5 stars
(I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review)

The Quotable Round-Up #44

Here are some of the quotes from the book “Tactics” by Christian apologist Greg Koukl. If you enjoy this quotes, please feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!
“Without the work of the Spirit, no argument — no matter how persuasive — will be effective. But neither will any act of love nor any simple presentation of the gospel. Add the Spirit, though, and the equation changes dramatically.”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth
“Here’s the key principle: Without God’s work, nothing else works; but with God’s work, many things work. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, love persuades. By the power of God, the gospel transforms. And with Jesus at work, arguments convince. God is happy to use each of these methods.”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth
“Our job is to communicate the gospel as clearly, graciously, and persuasively as possible. God’s job is to take it from there. We may plant the seeds or water the saplings, but God causes whatever increase comes from our efforts.”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth
“Understanding God’s central role in the process removes a tremendous burden. We can focus on our job — being clear, gracious, and persuasive — and then leave the results to God (what I called “100% God and 100% man”).”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth
“Sometimes the little things have the greatest impact. Using simple leading questions is an almost effortless way to introduce spiritual topics to a conversation without seeming abrupt, rude, or pushy.”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth