Book Review: Sacred Endurance by Trillia J. Newbell

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I think perseverance of the saints,  is a candidate for being most discouraging letter in the TULIP acronym.   Christians will be glad that it is found in the end of the popular nickname for Doctrine of Grace. Believers will be more happy the “P” is actually left out.  As if you’re looking for a happy ending, you get this notion that it is not. You might say “With all those talk it all boils down to persevere and I thought God did it all for us?” Christians like me feels like walking on glass everytime someone talks about the letter “P”. I find it discouraging sometimes when I don’t do the “persevering” part for God.

Sacred Endurance answers the call to help Christians struggling on what it means to endure. Newbell lays it here clearly and joyfully that persevering won’t feel like a burden to us. This book is a map that will clear out the fog out of persevering.

 As you read this book, you’ll see Trillia as an encouragement machine. Whenever you’re going down, Trillia will cheer you with her biblical insight and personal stories again and again. She won’t let you down. She’ll be your personal coach pumping you up and shouting “Focus on Jesus!” Page after page you’ll be encourage to endure in any circumstances in your Christian walk. Don’t just pick this book up when your down, get it to help you go on an extra mile with your faith.

Sacred Endurance is a book that will tell you not just the “what’ but the “whys” and the “hows” of enduring. Some of us gets bogged down by the “what” that we dread to ask the “hows” and the “whys.” This is coming from an author that has been through a lot in her family life and not a theologian on an ivory tower. She is coming as a fellow learner that we will meet along the dusty road. After reading this book you’ll find joy to go on and run the Christian race with joy!

 My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

(Review copy of this book is provided by InterVarsity Press)

The Quotable Round-Up #110

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It’s been a thrilling ride being part of a book launching team. I’m on my second book launch and it’s amazing to connect with the author. Not only that I get to meet some like minded folks and enjoy the perks of belong to one. But one awesome thing about it is that I can read the book first before any other readers can. So if you want to join one keep your eyes peeled to your favorite author as he or she rolls out his latest releases.

As part of the Humble Calvinism book launch team, enjoy this special treat from Delighting Grace. It’s a collection of quotes from the book authored by Jeff Medders.  Pre-order the book on Amazon or add it to your wish list by clicking this link: https://amzn.to/2LfH2CV

“A head-only grip on unconditional election makes pride and predestination into frenemies. We know pride is a sinister enemy of Christians, but when it comes to disagreements over the doctrines of grace, somehow we welcome pride in as our friend and ally. We need to end our friendship with pride. Frenemies no more.”

“Predestination is the backstory of your faith in Christ. Ephesians 1 reminds us of God’s end goal of election: the praise of his grace.”

Any version of Calvinism that lacks zeal for the lost is a counterfeit. Real Calvinism runs on a Great Commission passion for the glory of God and the joy of all people in Christ the Lord.”

“Believers will not—cannot!—“un-believe.” Will there be doubts? Certainly. Will we sin? Yes. Will there be periods of backsliding into sin and a belittling of God’s grace? Probably. But prodigals eventually come home. Sins that have already been covered by the blood of Jesus cannot be uncovered.”

“Discipleship is about denying ourselves as our own Lord and Savior, picking up our cross of death to self, and following Jesus as Master. And the proof is in perseverance; a continued discipleship with Christ, as new creations in Christ, is God’s will for his saints.”

 

 

Book Review: Humble Calvinism by Jeff Medders

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Humble Calvinism is a call for all Calvinist to bow down to humility. As believers of the doctrine of grace, we have the tendency to puff ourselves in front of Arminians and sadly to unbelievers. Rather that have that attitude and because we have the biblical truth, we must clothe ourselves with utmost humility that the God of the doctrine of grace may magnified through a holy attitude. Medder’s didn’t have to take the readers any where else to see humility. He points them to the 5 points of Calvinism itself as the basis of such attitude. The 5 points screams meekness for the believers and Medders gladly discusses it in every chapter.  You can feel that every points or TULIP acrostics pounds you back to earth and makes you gaze up to look upon God’s goodness.

In the introduction and initial chapter are fast paced as it sets up the case of humility for the Calvinist. Medders shows his witty writings. However, it slows down a bit as Medders unpacks the 5 points. Medders is on serious mode in the following chapters but not that heavy or dark. Just light seriousness not a thundering one. Very different from the other books he authored.

Nevertheless, J. A. Medders is such a wordsmith that he nails every points at the same time ignites your mind of the readers. The opening chapter already grabs our attention. He is an effective communicator that you should not let him escape from your radar. In Humble Calvinism, he really did a fine job getting those words that sometimes are hard for us to come up with. His reservoir of words spills out from these pages and makes you wait to flood to the next book he’ll be writing. In Humble Calvinism, you can pick up lots of one liners in the book that you can post on your social media that will strike your friends. Those one liners are gems found in a treasure chest of a book like this.

This book reminds me of Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher and Graciousness by John Crotts.  I would like to add in the mix Joshua Harris, Humble Orthodoxy. All books are faithful reminder that we should lay down our arrogance and handle the doctrine with care. Each books have their own way and time on conveying the cage stage problem.

Isn’t a coincidence that this book will be released this year as we celebrate the 400th year of the Synod of Dort and 10th year of the “Young, Restless and Reformed” movement? Let it be a constant reminder that in any time in history, Christian should be reminded of the grace of God that saved us sinners. Humble Calvinism is an antidote for the cage stage and a refreshing water to the dreary Christians who are tired of seeing Calvinism as a dry, lifeless slab of stone but a living, active energy that is contagious.

Pre-order the book on Amazon or add it to your wish list by clicking this link.  Also check out some awesome quotes from the book by following this link.

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

The Quotable Round-Up #104

xRHiMKgMerry Christmas to all! As I was creating this post, I’m in the middle of doing the laundry! LOL. Not so Christmasy activity isnt? But hey later this day me and my family will go out and celebrate the holidays. In the meantime, enjoy this special treat from Delighting Grace. It’s a collection of quotes from the book Humble Calvinism by Jeff Medders.  Special because it’s from a pre-release copy and schedule to be out on March 2019. Pre-order the book on Amazon or add it to your wish list by clicking this link: https://amzn.to/2LfH2CV

“Many of us who love to love the “doctrines of grace” have not grown in showing grace. We have not become more gracious, kind, tender, and compassionate. And that can only mean one thing: we actually don’t know the doctrines of grace.”

“A doctrinal disconnect between the head and heart fires up the production line of idolatry.”

“Calvinism in the head will puff you up. Calvinism in the heart will build others up.”

“Knowing the five points, the debating points, and the handy Spurgeon quotes in your head and not your heart will puff you up.”

“Heart Calvinism helps us love the Lord our God with more than just our mind but with
our heart, soul, and strength too. Heart Calvinism moves us to love our neighbors—all of them, not just our fellow Calvinists—as ourselves. Head Calvinism means we will become the kind of people who thrive on theological self-righteousness—the very people who received the harshest words from Jesus.”

“More than merely loving Calvinism, we need a loving Calvinism. We don’t need less Calvinism; we need real Calvinism—one that resides in our hearts rather than merely lodging in our heads.”

“We must see Christ in our Calvinism. If we don’t, throw the tulips out; they are worthless.”

The Quotable Round-Up #96

npjl5idHeads up guys! time for some 7 awesome quotes from a Christian book. This time we shall enjoy quotes from “Rebels Rescued: A Student’s  If you were blessed by this book, please consider getting it on Amazon or at your nearest bookstore! Grace and Peace!

“Without God’s grace performing a divine heart transplant, everything in us seeks to rebel against God.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“The consequence of sin, therefore, is death. But what about the little sins? Do those deserve death too? This is important. All sin—as the Bible teaches—is rebellion against God.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“Reformed theology teaches from Scripture that, before God created the heavens and the earth, he has chosen—or “predestined”—his people to be saved for eternity.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“One of the common objections to predestination is: “If God has already elected those who will be saved, then why evangelize?” It’s a good question and there are at least two primary reasons. First, we share the gospel because Jesus commands us to (Matthew 28:19). Second, we share the gospel because it is the means by which God saves his elect—through the hearing of the preached word (Romans 10:17).” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

 “Apart from God’s grace in giving us new hearts to love him, we remain chained and imprisoned by sin and unbelief. There is no freedom apart from God’s work of grace and it’s grace precisely because his salvation is something we don’t deserve.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“As a physically dead person cannot do anything that is physically productive, a spiritually dead person cannot do anything that is spiritually good. Being spiritually dead means that we are unable to respond to anything good. The issue is not freedom to do something, but ability.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

“Our hearts deceive us into thinking that the things of this world will bring great joy, only to be duped. Enjoying the pleasures of this world offer small joy—and oftentimes fake joy—compared to the enjoyment and satisfaction found in God.” — Brian Cosby, Rebels Rescued: A Students Guide to Reformed Theology

The Quotable Round-Up #89

f11jjqtHowdy! It’s a great day to sit down, chill and sip your favorite drink! And while at it, add some awesomeness in your day by reading our latest collection of quotes.  This time we are featuring fresh quotes from the books “Know the Creeds and Councils” by Justin Holcomb and “The Potter’s Freedom” by James R. White. And if you got stoked with these quotes, please get the books at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon.

“A catechism is a book or document giving a brief summary of the basic principles of Christianity in Q&A form. Catechisms represent the practical, “on-the-ground” application of the main teaching agreed upon at church councils and expressed through creeds and confessions. The word “catechism” comes from the Greek word katechein, which means “to teach” or “to instruct.” Catechisms are basic outlines of the teachings of the Christian faith, set forth in a way that those unfamiliar with doctrine can easily understand.” — Justin Holcomb

“Because creeds are bare-bones structures (the outlines of the sketch), it makes sense that the earliest statements of the church are creeds, while later statements of particular denominations are confessions. Creeds distinguish orthodoxy from heresy (or Christian faith from non-Christian faith). Confessions distinguish denominational distinctives (or one type of Christian faith from another type of Christian faith.” — Justin Holcomb

“Creeds aren’t dogmas that are imposed on Scripture but are themselves drawn from the Bible and provide a touchstone to the faith for Christians of all times and places.”– Justin Holcomb

“Christians of the past were no less concerned with being faithful to God than we are, and they sought to fit together all that Scripture has to say about the mysteries of Christianity — the incarnation, the Trinity, predestination, and more — with all the intellectual power of their times. To ignore these insights is to attempt to reinvent the wheel, and to risk reinventing it badly.”
— Justin S. Holcomb

“Grace is a wonderful word that speaks of God’s freedom and God’s power. I cannot earn grace, merit grace, purchase grace, or force grace. It is free or it is not grace. Yet the grace of God that brings His elect safely into eternal rest is not merely some persuasive power that may or may not accomplish the ends for which God intends it. Grace is no servant of man, dependent upon the creature for its success. No, saving grace is God’s own power. Saved, and kept, by grace. That is the Christian’s hope.” –James R. White

“Arminians teach that God sends his grace to “persuade” men to believe, but they deny that God can actually raise a man to spiritual life without his assistance and agreement. They deny that there is an elect people, based solely on the choice of God, to whom God will infallibly apply the benefits of Christ’s atonement. Grace is limited to being effective on the “willing,” i.e., it is submitted to the power and will of man and his decisions. It becomes a mere “wooing” force. The Reformed Christian who has sought to share the gospel of grace with Roman Catholics recognizes that this is the same view of grace found in the Roman communion, and it is deeply troubling to find it expressed within what is called Protestantism.” –James R. White

“The question is, Who, ultimately, is responsible for my union with Jesus Christ? God is both the one who is the origin and source of salvation in general, and the one who powerfully, purposefully, and perfectly draws His elect people into blessed union with Jesus Christ.” –James R. White

 

The Quotable Round-Up #87

tpn6bjcHowdy! It’s a great day to sit down, chill and sip your favorite drink! And while at it, add some awesomeness in your day by reading our latest collection of quotes.  This time we are featuring fresh quotes from the book “The Potter’s Freedom” by James R. White. And if you got stoked with these quotes, please get the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon.

“The religions of men, Roman Catholicism, and Arminianism, all share one thing in common: the deep desire to maintain the ability of man to control the work of God in salvation and always have the “final say.” The blunt assertion of Christ refutes this error. The fact is, outside of the divine action of drawing the elect to Christ none would come to Him. It is beyond the capacity of the fallen man.”

“All men would be left in the hopeless position of “unable to come” unless God acts, and He does by drawing men unto Christ. Outside of this divine enablement no man can come to Christ. No man can “will” to come to Christ outside of this divine drawing.”

“Why is one man raised to eternal life and another left to eternal destruction? The Scriptures offer an answer that is satisfying to the believer, but insufficient for the person unwilling to trust in God’s goodness. What is the basis of God’s act of predestination? It is “according to the kind intention of His will.” Each word is important. It is His will, not our will. And remember, this is speaking not of some general plan to “save” so that it is God who “initiates” but man who actuates. This is the specific predestination of individuals to sonship. The basis of this specific decree is God’s will. No mention is found of man’s will.”

“Synergism is the hallmark of man’s religions: monergism the mark of the biblical gospel.”

“When the Scriptures say that men are spiritually dead, we are not to understand this to mean that they are spiritually inactive. Men are active in their rebellion, active in their suppression of the truth, active in their sin. Instead, spiritual death refers to alienation from God, the destruction of the positive, active desire to do what is right in God’s sight, and most importantly, the ability to do what is good and holy.”

“Reformed theologians insist that for one to be free as a creature then one must have first and foremost a sovereign Creator. God is the free and sovereign Creator and acts freely in that realm that is His: we are mere creatures, never sovereign, never autonomous (i.e., without law, without a superior authority), but responsible within the realm of our createdness.”

“The Christian heart is glad to confess, “Salvation is of the Lord.” All of it. In completeness. In perfection. The God who decrees all things saves perfectly. Salvation is a divine act, a divine work. It is centered upon God, not upon man. It is God’s glory, not man’s, that is at stake. The God-centeredness of the gospel is what makes the biblical teaching so fundamentally different than all the religions of men.”

The Quotable Round-Up #58

paper_zpshrjhwlqw Here are some of the quotes from the booklet “A Primer on Free Will” by John Gerstner. 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!

“If you are born of His Spirit, you will naturally choose the goals of the Spirit. It will really be irresistible. It will be impossible for you to reject virtue utterly. It will be impossible for you to love vice utterly, if and when God pleases and gives you a new heart.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“As a sinner you are free. In heaven or hell you are free, in the sense that you make choices according to what seems good to you. But when those choices are always the choices of evil, then of course you are in a bondage to the evil consequences of those evil choices.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“But when you have a new heart from above, when you are born from above, when you are born by the Spirit, then you are, in a really wonderful sense, freed. Then you really choose the good because the good is naturally attractive to your new heart.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“But, you see, the unregenerate person, as long as he is unregenerate, never will come because he hates Jesus Christ. He simply spurns and detests His invitation. The invitation is standing and any time his heart is changed, his attitude is different, he will want to claim the promises which the Savior offers, and he shall most certainly have them.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“He is the one who does the choosing, and our response is the choosing of Him. We are conscious, of course, first of our choosing Him and only afterwards do we realize that we chose Him because He has first chosen us.” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

“Spiritually dead people do not will to come to Christ. They must be given a new heart. These evangelists should continue to invite (as Christ does) without neglecting to teach the divine initiative!” — John Gerstner, “A Primer on Free Will” #aprimeronfreewill #johngerstner #freewill #irresistiblegrace ##calvinism #sovereigntyofGod

The Quotable Round-Up #30

Here are the quotes for the week featuring the book by R. C. Sproul “What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics”. Enjoy and God bless!

“The call referred to in effectual calling is not the outward call of the gospel that can be heard by anyone within range of the preaching. The call referred to here is the inward call, the call that penetrates to and pierces the heart, quickening it to spiritual life. Hearing the gospel enlightens the mind, yet it does not awaken the soul until the Holy Spirit illumines and regenerates it. The move from ear to soul is made by the Holy Spirit. This move is what accomplishes God’s purpose of applying the benefits of Christ’s work to the elect.”

“What the unregenerate person desperately needs in order to come to faith is regeneration. This is the necessary grace. It is the sine qua non of salvation. Unless God changes the disposition of my sinful heart, I will never choose to cooperate with grace or embrace Christ in faith. These are the very things to which the flesh is indisposed. If God merely offers to change my heart, what will that accomplish for me as long as my heart remains opposed to him? If he offers me grace while I am a slave to sin and still in the flesh, what good is the offer? Saving grace does not offer liberation, it liberates. Saving grace does not merely offer regeneration, it regenerates. This is what makes grace so gracious: God unilaterally and monergistically does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

“Once we grasp the doctrine of total depravity, we know that no person will incline himself to faith in the atoning work of Christ. If God does not supply the means of appropriating the atonement’s benefits, namely faith, then the potential redemption of all would result in the actual redemption of none.”

“The ultimate aim of God’s plan of redemption was to redeem his elect. To accomplish this end he ordained the means. One was the atonement made by his Son. Another was the Holy Spirit’s application of this atonement to the elect. God provides for his elect all that is necessary for their salvation, including the gift of faith.”

“Faith is not something we conjure up by our own effort, or the result of the willing of the flesh. Faith is a result of the Spirit’s sovereign work of regeneration.”

“God certainly has the power and authority to grant his saving grace to all mankind. Clearly he has not elected to do this. All men are not saved despite the fact that God has the power and right to save them all if that is his good pleasure. It is also clear that all are not lost. God could have chosen not to save anyone. He has the power and authority to execute his righteous justice by saving nobody. In reality he elects to save some, but not all. Those who are saved are beneficiaries of his sovereign grace and mercy. Those who are not saved are not victims of his cruelty or injustice; they are recipients of justice. No one receives punishment at the hands of God that they do not deserve. Some receive grace at his hands that they do not deserve. Because he is pleased to grant mercy to one does not mean that the rest “deserve” the same. If mercy is deserved, it is not really mercy, but justice.”

“By definition grace is not something God is required to have. It is his sovereign prerogative to grant or withhold it. God does not owe grace to anyone. Grace that is owed is not grace. Justice imposes obligation, but grace, in its essence, is voluntary and free.”