You got to thank IVP (Inter Vasity Press) for putting books that are responding to contemporary inquires (or sometimes attacks) to Christianity. They are one of those publications on the frontlines of defending the faith. The last book I read from them is “The Dawkin’s Delusion” by Alister McGrath. I never thought they have this reputation of putting unique books on apologetics. I’ve found this book titled “Unafraid to Be” by Ruth Etchells (IVP, London) 1st edtion 1969. Subtitled ” a Christian Study of Contemporary English Writing” book examines contemporary literatures and the arts that, not only tries to answer mans spiritual questions, (Who am I? Why am I here for? etc.,) but undermines the truth found in the Bible. Prominent figures mentioned in the book are Arthur Miller, John Le Carre, Alfred Camus, Jean Paul Satre, William Gooding (author of Lord of the Flies), Kingsley Amis, D. J. Enright, John Osborne, Graham Greene and others. So the next time you visit BookSale check out books by IVP and you’ll be in for a treat…
It’s such a blessing to be able to read great books. I got two of them last week at PCBS (Philippine Christian Bookstore). One is “The Attributes of God” by A.W. Tozer and the other is the much anticipated book by John Piper simply titled “Think”. I’ll post a book review on Pipers book by next week, but for now, let’s put “The Attributes of God” into the fray.
When books about doctrine comes to our minds we dismiss it as an avalanche of cold theological jargons ready to make rampage which those made of steel theologians on ivory towers will appreciate. But not with this book by Tozer. Leaping out of the beginning pages are his joy over these attributes. I think Tozer, when delivering these series of sermon (for which this book came), is enthusiastically ecstatic over the pulpit. It’s a surprise for me to find how joy on these subjects from the early chapters of this book. Christian Hedonism anyone?
While the subject of attributes is something hard for us to grasp, Tozer puts forth his fatherly pastoral care in painstakingly letting you comprehend it not just by mind but by your heart. He is gladly serving solid scriptural food but he carefully “mashes” it up for you to easily digest it, without losing its vital “nutrients” essential for the Christian. Being spoon feed by Tozer of these subjects doesn’t let you stay dependent on letting him feed you all the way rather makes you want to grab the spoon and feast on the spiritual meal yourself.
Tozer doesn’t just put forth his fatherly love over this book but still maintain the “20th century prophet” mark in every page. He reproves the church that need to know more about God and be sensitive over Him. Also sprinkled with solid biblical teaching that will reinforce subjects like salvation and many others. Such a sweet blend of these styles of conveying doctrine makes your read a delight for the mind and heart.
Just a reminder though, like any journey there are some uphill climb and rugged terrain for readers. As you walk to chapters you’ll find some of it. However, in the end of it all, a bright horizon awaits everyone who makes patience a virtue. Half of the book is a study guide prepared by David Fessenden.
“Justice is not something that God has. Justice is something that God is.”
“Mercy, however, is God’s goodness confronting human guilt, whereas grace is God’s goodness confronting human demerit.”
“When the grace of God becomes operative through faith in Jesus Christ then there is the new birth.”
“The judgment of God is God’s justice confronting moral inequity and iniquity.”
“The goodness of God is the only valid reason for existence, the only reason underlying all things.”
“If God was willing, it was the happy willingness of God.”
“Christianity is a gateway into God.”
I commend OMF for putting out this book because this kind of truth is badly needed for the church today. We need to know Him more than anything to draw near to Him and find everlasting joy. Available at National Bookstores and Philippine Christian Bookstores for P 250.00 get your copies now.
For those who don’t know, J.C. (John Charles) Ryle is a Puritan preacher known for his writings on different Christian topics. It’s truly a blessing to read old stuff from godly Christians from yesteryear. Delighting Grace (DG) talked to Erik Kowalker blogger of J.C. Ryle Quotes.
Delighting Grace: First off, I just want to say we have something in common: We are bloggers and we post quotes. Where do you draw that passion for blogging and sharing godly wisdom at the same time?
Erik Kowalker: I view blogging as a tool to bless and encourage the universal body of Christ. I’ve enjoyed J.C. Ryle’s writings for several years now, so it’s simply a “labor of love” to provide his quotes on my blog.
Delighting Grace: For you, what makes a great quote?
Erik Kowalker: A great quote is one that hits the mind and heart. And the shorter, the better in my book. Folks are so busy (I once heard the average person spends 96 seconds on a website…that’s the average…most spend less.) Folks simply don’t have the time to read paragraph after paragraph so, in my humble opinion, the shorter, insightful quote will penetrate a little more than the lengthy drawn out quote.
Delighting Grace: I love reading old Puritan works but J.C. Ryle stands out for me. When I’m reading his work, I said to myself, “Is this guy really dead? Am I really reading a hundred year old stuff?” Do you have those thoughts also?
Erik Kowalker: I absolutely understand where you are coming from. J.C. Ryle wrote the majority of his writings in the mid to late 1800’s, yet it is still fresh today. I truly believe Ryle’s writings connect with so many people for this one reason: clarity. Ryle has the uncanny ability/gift to make the difficult things in Christianity/theology so incredibly simple to understand.
DG: If you could recommend one book about J.C. Ryle that I should read, what is it and why?
EK: If you’ve never read anything by J.C. Ryle, I would humbly suggest reading his little 30+ page booklet on The Call to Prayer. It’s encouraging and convicting, all at the same time. It also gives you a feel for Ryle’s style of writing. Then, I would recommend his classic book Holiness, written in 1877, which Ryle is most famous for.
DG: As bloggers we strive to be unique in terms of the content of our blog so it will stand out. In your part what steps do you do to offer something that other blogs don’t have?
EK: I simply offer the works of a dead man whose books have blessed hundreds of thousands of folks over the past century. That is how I strive to be different. I’m just a guy who appreciates John Charles Ryle for his ability to communicate the truths of Scripture so clearly and I’ve decided to share it with the blogosphere.
DG: If J.C. Ryle were alive today and you met him, what would you say to him? What do you think will he say about you blogging his works?
EK: I would stretch out my hand to Ryle and shake it firmly, thanking him for writing with conviction and also, with a sensitive, pastoral heart. From reading Ryle’s biography and observing his personality, I would say that Ryle would probably blush at seeing a website in his name. 🙂
DG: How can our readers get those great quotes from JC Ryle you dish out? Can they find it on Twitter and Facebook?
EK: You can first and foremost visit the J.C. Ryle Quotes site at www.jcrylequotes.com to view over 500 of Ryle’s Christ-centered quotes.
You can follow Ryle on Facebook and also on Twitter. Thanks for the questions. I hope your readers enjoy visiting the site and benefiting from the works of J.C. Ryle.
It’s our joy to interview Nathan Jones of Lamb and Lion Ministries. Nathan serves as the Web Minister of this prophecy ministry which is lead by Dr. David Reagan. You can check their magazine, articles, and products over Lamb and Lion Ministries. But before you go there, enjoy this interview first:
Delighting Grace: So tell us Nathan, what is prophecy and why is it important?
Nathan Jones: Prophecy, specifically Bible prophecy, is the study of God’s word concerning future events as foretold in the Bible.
Sometimes we look at Bible prophecy that has already been fulfilled, like when Jesus came the first time to earth in fulfillment of 300 general and 109 specific prophecies. Other times we are looking at Bible prophecy as it is being fulfilled today, like Israel becoming a nation again and the Jews returning to Israel as Isaiah 11:11-12 and Ezekiel 37 and other verses said would happen. And, we also look at Bible prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled, like the 500 verses concerning Jesus’ Second Coming.
The gift of prophecy is not the same today as it was when the Apostle John completed Revelation. Today, people with the spiritual gift of prophecy have a passion to share the Good News of Jesus Christ’s salvation with others in the time we have left. They also can discern what the Bible is talking about concerning the end times. They cannot predict what the future is, as God has already given us a full account of what will occur in the Bible.
Delighting Grace: We know the trademarks of cults are false prophecies. Why do they employ prophecies and how did they eventually fall to error?
Nathan Jones: We once interviewed James Walker of Watchman Fellowship. His whole ministry is about dealing with the cults. He was actually a fourth generation Mormon until he studied and realized that Mormonism is a cult. James listed four ways to define a cult:
1. They add to God’s Word with new Scripture.
2. They subtract from who Jesus is.
3. They multiply the requirements for salvation.
4. They divide their follower loyalty.
When it comes to prophecy, cults love to make predictions. I’d say the reason being is that prophecy unites people towards a common goal, and Satan knows how to use false predictions to twist people into keeping their focus away from the one true God.
According to Deuteronomy 18:21-22, a true prophet could be discerned from a false prophet based on the accuracy of their prophecies. A prophet of God will always be 100% accurate.
Cults are formed around false prophets who use Christian terminology to sound Christian, but then redefine the terms to fit their own man-made theology. Cults are easy to spot in that they deny the Trinity, the virgin birth of Christ, that Jesus is divine as the Son of God, the resurrection of Christ, and promote a works-based salvation. They espouse prophecy and predict times that seldom result in fulfillment. They place man on God’s throne, promising man’s eventual rise to deity which is Satan’s old lie from the Garden of Eden.
Satan and his cults best method of leading people astray is to take a lie and wrap a little truth around it. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Mat. 7:15).
Delighting Grace: A follow up question: are their guidelines to interpret prophecy correctly without ending up like the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Harold Camping?
Nathan Jones: Yes, for one, stick to the Bible and a literal interpretation. Cults love to make extra-biblical prophecies. Stick with the prophecies found in the Bible and not on any prophecies made by man today.
Secondly, take Jesus at His word in Matthew 24:36. When He says concerning His return, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” then that means NOBODY can predict the timing of Jesus’ return. Cults are notorious for predicting the day of Jesus’ return and the end of the world, and they always end up being proven false.
Delighting Grace: I love Lamb and Lion Ministries. You’re a blessing to me. You’re balanced in the treatment of different subjects. You don’t employ over the top sensationalism on prophecy. You just don’t talk about prophecies but also apologetics. How do eschatology (study of prophecy) and apologetics go hand in hand?
Nathan Jones: I’m so glad to hear Lamb & Lion can be a blessing to you. We try to stay away from anything but the Bible, so avoid sensationalism. There’s no need to sensationalize the Bible, for it’s already filled with fascinating wonders.
Eschatology is the best apologetic. There is no book – none – that has any prophecy that has come true other than the Bible. As I stated earlier, Jesus alone fulfilled 300 general and 109 specific prophecies concerning His First Coming.
Mathematician Peter Stoner calculated that the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled in the life of one person is 1 in 10 to the seventeenth power. That’s 17 zeros! That’d be like filling the entire state of Texas two feet deep in quarters. Mark one and throw it in. Next, drop in a blindfolded man. The odds would be that the very first coin he picks up, that’s the one with the mark. Impossible, right? Well, not if the Bible is truly God’s Word.
That’s the power of Bible prophecy – it proves the Bible is God’s only Word which we can base our faith and life on.
Delighting Grace: How can Christians benefit from prophecy in other aspects of their Christian life say in discipleship or evangelism?
Nathan Jones: Great spiritual riches await anyone who studies Bible prophecy. For one, we know that the Lord can return at any moment to take up – to rapture – those who have accepted Him as Savior to Heaven. How will the Lord find us when He arrives? Will He find us diligently serving Him as were created to do as Ephesians 2:10 says, or will He find us living for ourselves? The study of Bible prophecy convicts us then to live holy and productive lives.
Secondly, by knowing that Jesus is coming soon and that afterwards the world will plunge into the worst time in all of human history called the Tribulation that should motivate Christians to share the Gospel. We don’t want anyone to have to live through the Tribulation, and certainly not go to Hell. Christians need to get out there and give a desperate world the Good News of Jesus Christ. So, Bible prophecy motivates us to evangelize.
Delighting Grace: Your magazine “The Lamplighter” is awesome. I can’t wait to read the next issue. Dr. David Regan’s articles are worth reading. How did your magazine started?
Nathan Jones: It’s great to hear such positive feedback on the Lamplighter magazine. It’s truly a labor of love on Dr. Reagan’s part. The ministry originally produced the publication as a few pages stapled together, and by 1998 began running it in a 20-page magazine format.
Delighting Grace: Also I’ve noticed how enthusiastic Dr. Reagan in writing and speaking about the subject. How does he influence you being part of the ministry and as a Christian?
Nathan Jones: Spreading the good news about Jesus’ soon return is Dr. Reagan’s passion in life. You can’t help but hear him preach and teach about it and not get excited yourself about the Lord’s soon return. That passion is infectious and has helped so many get excited about our life in Christ.
Delighting Grace: What can we look forward to Lamb and Lion Ministries? I know lots of our readers will be excited to know it.
Nathan Jones: We’re rather hoping not to be here in the coming years, anticipating the Lord’s soon return. The signs of the times show that the time is nearly here.
But, should the Lord tarry, Lamb & Lion Ministries will continue going strong preaching that message until the very last minute through our television show “Christ in Prophecy,” through the Internet, through publications, videos and conferences. We’ve even created a special message called “Jesus Came. What’s Next?” to share the Gospel with those who will be living in a post-Rapture world.
Delighting Grace: Thank you Nathan. More power to Lamb and Lion.God bless you!
The Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood Person in the Trinity. Sometimes He is the most neglected. So here are some facts you should know about Him:
- The Holy Spirit is God- the Holy Spirit is not an “it” or a force from God. He is not the Holy Spirit of Christian Science or “The Shack” novel. He is God Himself. Sadly, people often neglect how important the Holy Spirit is. Some even have a different view of Him contrary to what the Bible reveals. He is present in creation (Gen. 1:2), He is eternal (John 14:16), He is omnipresence (Ps. 139:7-8), omnipotence (Rom. 15:18-19) and omniscience (John 14:26).
- The Holy Spirit illuminates- (John 14:26, Luke 12:12, 2 Pet. 1:21) as believers, He helps us understand the Bible that gives us spiritual food.
- The Holy Spirit comforts us- (John 14:16-18) Just like Jesus promise to His disciples on His impending death, He sends us the Comforter, meaning the Holy Spirit, to comfort them while He is gone.
- The Holy Spirit convicts- (John 16:8) the Holy Spirit convicts sinners to repentance. To believers God’s Spirit tugs us if we done something wrong that will jeopardize our relationship with God. So don’t grieve the Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit helps us to pray-the Holy Spirit teaches us what to pray and even intercede for us (Romans 8:26 also Luke 11:13)
- The Holy Spirit seals our eternal salvation- (Acts 2:38, Eph. 4:30, Romans 8:14)God the Father because of His love decreed our salvation, God the Son (Jesus) came to earth to die as a way to our salvation and God the Holy Spirit seals our eternal salvation. It’s called eternal security. It cannot be broken by any sin. We are secured for all eternity. Are you sealed by the Holy Spirit?
- The Holy Spirit gives gifts-As a member of the body of Christ, we have different functions to enable the work of God here on earth possible (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit disposes certain gifts to accomplish that task. Some of the abilities are ceased to be used (like speaking in tongues, prophecy, dreams, healing) but that doesn’t mean the Spirit isn’t giving gifts to believers today. The power to preach (1 Cor. 2:13), to lead people to Christ, giving, praying, giving compassion to the needy, etc. are some examples that the Holy Spirit furnish that God’s work for every believer will be done.
- The Holy Spirit gives spiritual fruit- as we walk as Christians yielding to God’s will and purpose, it results lots of different characters in our life. We know He is present in our life because of this evidences. Galatians 5: 22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(originally from my Facebook Notes September 29, 2011)