My Recommendations: Book of the Week, July 23

In yet another superb ebook, Michael Vlach tackles the issues involved in determining how the New Testament writers use the Old Testament. How Does the New Testament Use the Old Testament?: A Survey of the Major Views examines seven major viewpoints. Vlach’s aim in this 78-page book is to list and explain the methodologies providing viable options to evangelicals, to identify objections and questions about each view, to provide test cases by which the differences between views might be more clearly understood, and to offer some suggestion regarding future discussion of the key issues. Every student of the Bible will find this book extremely helpful as an introduction to the topic and the issues involved.

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, July 16

William Watson finds philo-Semitism, premillennialism, and even pretribulationism to be more prevalent before the nineteenth century than most theologians and church historians try to make us believe. Over four years of research reveals that some Westminster Assembly divines, Anglican bishops, and renowned Puritans on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean held a premillennialist viewpoint. Watson examined more than 350 primary sources, most of which have not been read (much less cited) for centuries. Holding a M.A. in European history, and a Ph.D. in seventeenth-century and eighteen-century English history (University of California, Riverside), he helped compile the English Short Title Catalogue (English works published between 1473 and 1800) that led to creation of the Eighteenth Century Collections Online. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar to Moldova in 2004, a visiting fellow at Oxford-Brookes University in 2007, and is occasionally an adjunct instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dispensationalism before Darby: Seventeenth-Century and Eighteenth-Century English Apocalypticism counters the theological myth that dispensationalism and pretribulationism commenced with J. N. Darby.

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, July 9

No greater subject for our contemplation exists aside from Jesus Christ Himself. We all need to spend significant time meditating on our Savior’s work and His role in our world, our life, and our future. John Owen’s classic, The Glory of Christ: His Office and Grace, will profoundly impact your life. It is not an easy read, because of the richness of its topic and the depths that Owen plumbs. This edition provides definitions for old English terms that have gone out of use to help the reader understand him better. Occasional boxes provide summaries and charts organizing some of the key observations. Consider just a few of the jewels to be gleaned from this superb work on Christ:

  • “The revelation made of Christ in the blessed gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, and more filled with rays of divine wisdom and goodness, that the whole creation and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or afford.”
  • “he knows not Christ, he knows not the Gospel”
  • “It is in Christ alone that we may have a clear, distinct view of the glory of God and his excellencies.”
  • “all our present glory consists in our preparation for future glory”

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, July 2

Academics have dominated the realm of Christian theology (both systematic and biblical) for several centuries. This source for the Church’s theology has led to a degree of stagnation as well as a lack of true spiritual passion in the queen of sciences–resulting in theologically anemic churches. Great theologians like Augustine, Irenaeus, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Owen, and Jonathan Edwards (just to name a few), pastored churches. Their theology focused on the teachings of the Word of God for the people of God for living in the world. Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson’s The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision chronicles the history and issues a challenge to renew a generation of pastors as theologians–for the good of the church. Every pastor should read this book and academic institutions should take its thesis into account before hiring their next professor of theology.

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, June 26

Pastoral leadership in corporate worship requires both passion and wisdom. John Newton was just such a pastor. He not only pastored his church through his sermons and letters, he also wrote worship-filled hymns. Beyond Amazing Grace: Timeless Pastoral Wisdom from the Letters, Hymns, and Sermons of John Newton, compiled and edited by J. Todd Murray, breathes the rarified atmosphere of the Word of God through a man of God. Newton’s pastoral example and words will rekindle spiritual fire in the reader’s own heart and life. D. A. Carson wrote of this book, it “deserves to become a classic in confessional evangelical spirituality, on par with Andrew Bonar’s Memoirs of M’Cheyne.”

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