Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Power of Christian Contentment: A Book Review

The Power of Christian Contentment: Finding Deeper, Richer Christ-Centered Joy
Having stumbled across Andrew Davis earlier this year, I was excited when the opportunity arose to review his latest book, The Power of Christian Contentment. Based on Jeremiah Burrough's excellent work, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Davis seeks to make that work more accessible to  a new generation, explaining dated words, unpacking complex sentences, and adding many new illustrations and content. Amidst the new content is a chapter on contentment in prosperity which is particularly relevant for many in the Western world. The Power of Christian Contentment is Scripture saturated, Christ-centered, and an edifying read that is sure to bless a new generation of readers.

Many thanks to Baker Books and the Baker Books Bloggers program for sending me a complimentary copy of The Power of Christian Contentment! The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Assured: A Book Review

Am I truly saved?

Assured: Discover Grace, Let Go of Guilt, and Rest in Your SalvationWhen I was a child, I prayed "the sinner's prayer" many times wondering if it had really "worked". Truth be told, "Am I saved?" is a good question to ask. After all, Paul encourages his readers to:

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)

The author of Hebrews also warns his readers about falling away from the faith. It was this author who put the fear of God into me a little more than a decade ago as our pastors preached through that book. I was sure that I currently believed that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that I wanted to follow him, but I wondered how I could be sure that I would continue to believe. How could I be sure I would never fall away like some of my other friends had over the years? The thought still brings tears to my eyes, but I have far greater assurance these days than I did when these questions first plagued me. Thankfully, my pastors wisely worked through my questions alongside me, directing me to the Word of God where I would find a rock solid foundation for my faith and for assurance of my salvation, but what about those who don't have this luxury?

Greg Gilbert's book, Assured: Discover Grace, Let Go of Guilt, and Rest in Your Salvation, addresses some of the same questions that troubled me years ago and then some. Again and again, Gilbert demonstrates how the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the promises of God provide a firm foundation for Christian assurance, "fountainheads from which our sense of certainty of our salvation erupts" (20). Gilbert faithfully unpacks Scripture passages that reveal the role of good works with regard to assurance (including ways we might misuse this tool) and speaks of the witness of the Holy Spirit as the seal of a believer's salvation. Further, Gilbert discusses ways to strengthen assurance or regain it if it's been lost (19).

Truth be told, much of this ground has been covered in previously published titles, but Gilbert also includes a helpful chapter on lies we tend to believe that undermine assurance and another especially encouraging chapter on besetting sins which make this title a unique and valuable contribution to the discussion. Gilbert's writing is accessible, edifying, and utilizes memorable illustrations. I'm happy to commend it to any who find themselves wrestling with this subject or seeking to minister to others who are.

*Many thanks to Baker Books for sending me a complimentary copy of Assured! These are my honest thoughts. I'm praying Assured brings fresh warning and conviction where needed and lead to the peace the surpasses all understanding for those who are trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ for their salvation!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

None Greater: A Book Review

None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God
"God is someone than whom none greater can be conceived...What must be true of God if he is the most perfect being?" (10) This is the central question explored by Matthew Barrett in his recent book, None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God.

Throughout church history, men like Aquinas, Anselm, Augustine, John Calvin, Stephen Charnock, Herman Bavinck, as well as others, have written rich, Scripture saturated volumes on the character of God. Barrett has done the Church a great service by bringing his readers to this stream and bidding us drink from this classic teaching concerning God, making it all the more accessible to our generation. Far from being abstract, intellectual theology fit primarily for academia, this book is richly devotional and leads its readers to worship. Granted, there are times when such a grand topic exercises the mind a good deal, but Barrett has written with the lay person in mind, and those who climb to the summit with him will be rewarded with breathtaking views of our glorious God. I am pleased to give None Greater my highest commendation!

"...if we think about God, we should say to ourselves: 'This is not God; God is more than this: if I could conceive him, he were not God; for God is incomprehensibly above whatever I can say, whatsoever I can think and conceive of him' " (Stephen Charnock as quoted by Matthew Barrett, 40).

*Many thanks to Baker Books for providing me with a complimentary copy of None Greater! These are my honest thoughts.