My Recommendations: Book of the Week, November 5

OK, I admit it — I have favorite authors and theologians. When it comes to the New Testament and the doctrines of grace, Schreiner never disappoints. Thomas Schreiner’s Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification lives up to my lofty expectations. This volume addresses the issue with thoughtfulness, clarity, biblical exegesis, and theological insight. It is part of The 5 Solas Series superbly edited by Matthew Barrett (one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with). Contrary to the disappointing disappearance of indexes from hard copy books nowadays, this volume includes both Scripture and Subject Indexes, making it handy for future reference. Schreiner covers the historical background of Sola Fide from the Early Church through to John Wesley. He comprehensively examines the biblical and theological details and implications of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. He concludes with a look at the contemporary challenges to this biblical teaching.

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, October 29

History informs the wise. Those who do not consider history’s lessons are doomed to repeat those same mistakes and failures. In the Christian church we often feel like we are the first to face certain theological issues having a significant bearing upon how we live for Christ in today’s world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sinclair Ferguson’s The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance — Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters examines and draws contemporary implications from a debate taking place in the Church of Scotland early in the 1700s. It addresses some of the issues we often encounter in our churches today: works and grace, law and grace, law and gospel, justification and sanctification, legalism, antinomianism, and biblical assurance. This volume will challenge the reader — it is not a light read. However, it will reward the diligent reader with a greater understanding of the perennial issues it addresses. Read it — learn from church history — avoid repeating the theological errors of the past.

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My Recommendations: Books of the Week, September 17 — Drs. Thomas & Toussaint

On September 5 Dr. Stanley D. Toussaint entered glory and the following day Dr. Robert L. Thomas went to heaven as well. Interestingly, both men were born in 1928 (Dr. Toussaint in Minnesota and Dr. Thomas in Georgia). Both also were New Testament scholars majoring on the Gospels, the Book of Revelation, dispensationalism, and eschatology. Dr. Thomas contributed many significant articles to The Master’s Seminary Journal, which he edited from 1990 until 2011. Dr. Toussaint published around twenty-five important articles in Bibliotheca Sacra. Dr. Thomas began his seminary teaching ministry in 1959 and continued full-time until 2008 — he taught first at Talbot Seminary and became the first full-time faculty hire at The Master’s Seminary in 1986. Dr. Toussaint started teaching at Dallas Theological Seminary and continued until his retirement in 2012.

 

As a contributor to ParkingSpace23, I posted Two Fallen Towers and Two Fallen Giants about the two men on September 11. In addition, at Dispensational Publishing I contributed a comment to Remembering Two Great Teachers and then they posted my Reflections on the Life of Robert L. Thomas, Th.D.

Below I have supplied links below to these two scholars’ best published works. Their labors will continue to bless many students of the New Testament for years to come. They were faithful men who loved the churches in which they served. Both men employed sound exegesis to prepare great expositions of the Word of God. Both of these two spiritual giants impacted the lives of literally hundreds and hundreds of students who continue to follow their example. We praise God for these two men, who still speak through the examples they left us and the products of their labors in both lives and published materials.

The photo above shows Dr. Robert Thomas (right) with one of his favorite students, and his boss, Dr. John MacArthur (left), on the occasion of celebrating Dr. Thomas’ 50 years of seminary teaching in 2009.

The photo at left shows Dr. Stanley Toussaint teaching for a YouTube video.

Click on book thumbnails below for links to the books on Amazon — the first three rows are Dr. Thomas’ books and the last two rows are Dr. Toussaint’s books.

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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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, June 5

Wyclif’s legendary status as “the Morning Star of the Reformation” fails to survive Gillian Evans’ vigorous professorial investigation. Her portrait of Wyclif in John Wyclif: Myth and Reality reveals a complex and conflicted man — an irascible academic as well as a contrite cleric. His academic setting at Oxford forms the dominant background for Evans’ portrait of both the ecclesiastic and the educator. As a parish priest, Wyclif was more educated than most. In 1379 (some years after he had departed the parish ministry) he authored a book on “The Pastoral Office” in which he defined the duties of the godly pastor: to feed his sheep with God’s Word, to purge his flock of contagious spiritual disease, and to defend his flock against ravaging wolves. Evans concludes that Wyclif found pastoral ministry less than satisfying, so he returned to Oxford to pursue a Doctor of Theology degree. He was a staunch critic of absentee pastors holding a plurality of parishes and/or benefices that drew them away from their pastoral duties. Evans’ focus is so much on the educator (and, later, the public servant of the royal court) that the ecclesiastic suffers adequate coverage. This may, in part, be due to an absence of adequate documentation, the result of the ultimate condemnation and burning of Wyclif’s books in 1410. However, if a pastor, rather than an academic, were to write the biography, Wyclif’s portrait probably would include a more detailed examination of his pastoral practices for comparison with his pastoral philosophy. In De Veritate Sacrae Scripturae (“About the Truthfulness of Sacred Scriptures”) he declares that no human writing is superior to the Bible, all Christians have a right to read it, and the Scriptures are the best foundation for secular and ecclesiastical life. As far as the Wycliffite translations of the Bible into English are concerned, Evans finds no evidence of any contribution directly from the hand of Wyclif. Evans paints a dark and disappointing picture of a failed hero. On occasion Evans’ own political sensitiveness manifests itself. She appears to use this biography as the springboard for expressing her own political bitterness and/or agenda with regard to the war in Iraq. In spite of the author’s pessimistic approach and assessment, her volume is still worth reading. Every future biographer of Wyclif needs to begin with Evans’ book. It is as much an exposé of early Oxford as it is of Wyclif. The reader will find Evans’ enthusiastic study of the Middle Ages infectious.

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