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Archive for the ‘Protestants’ Category

This is a book review as part of our blog’s celebration of Reformation 500.

Alec Ryrie.  Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World. New York, NY: Viking, April 6th 2017. 627 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This book was published in the timely year that is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation which began when Martin Luther started raising concern with the corruption of the Catholic Church that eventually led to Luther’s recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, among other things.  Here the author Alec Ryrie examines Protestantism historically as a movement.  Ryrie also evaluated the impact that Protestantism has had for good or for bad in history.  Given how much Protestantism has shaped world history and has contributed to what society and civilization looks like today, this is indeed a fascinating book for both Protestants and non-Protestants alike.

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I’m looking forward to this year’s Shepherd’s Conference, a conference for Pastors and church leaders sponsored by Grace Community Church where John MacArthur is the Pastor.

They even made this neat trailer:

Seems like the theme would be on the Reformation in light of the Reformation’s 500 years anniversary.  Lord willing I’ll be blogging through the sessions on February 28th-March 3rd.

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What is The Church By RC Sproul

R.C. Sproul. What is the Church?  Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, October 7th, 2013. 82 pp.

            I picked this book out to go over for a study for a small group since I wanted to review the basics of ecclesiology that was concise and Reformed.  I was also hoping to glean from this book anything helpful as I was also preparing to preach for a retreat on the topic of the church.  The author R.C Sproul is someone I esteem very highly and he is more than capable in writing on this topic.  However I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with this particular book even though I found his other works in his Crucial Question Series to be quite helpful.  This short book has nine chapter in which some of them could have been made into one.  For instance I felt the first two chapters could have been combined together.  Some of the chapters were so short that I was surprised to find I was done with them even though I was just getting started!  There were some chapters that didn’t have a single Bible verse in support of the discussion.  Sproul has a chapter on the servants of the Lord and I wished he could have addressed the topic of serving in the church more practically.  Upon further reflection after completing the book I think the book as a whole could have been more practical.  Sproul did have a helpful discussion in his final chapter about the marks of a true church.  I agree with Sproul that a true church must preach the Gospel but I had a harder time with Sproul’s position that an essential element of a true church include the fact that it must practice church discipline.  Now don’t get me wrong I believe in the importance of the local church carrying out discipline but I do think it is possible that a church struggle to implement church disciple and still remain a church.  In the end I would still say this book is still worth getting despite the drawbacks I’ve mentioned although I would also encourage people to read other works on the church alongside this book.  Given how Sproul has made this book and others like it in the Crucial Question series free on Kindle, what’s holding you back?

Purchase: Amazon

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James White

Reformed Apologist Dr. James White, of Alpha & Omega Ministries have recently traveled to Spain to debate in person Rev.Dr. Thomas Norris, Priest of the Diocese of Ossory on the motion, ¨The Church would have been better off without the Reformation.¨  Revelation TV hosted this debate on April 15th, 2015.

Here’s the promotional video leading up to the debate:

Revelation TV have not loaded the two hour debate on Youtube yet but the video is available on their website.

You can access the debate by clicking HERE.

 

 

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Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

NOTE: This book just came off the press (March 2013) and was on sale and promoted widely during Shepherd’s Conference!  I thought it would be timely to put up this review. This was a very edifying read; one ought to purchase it for their pastor! The book makes the case that Luther must be understood as a preacher before all other roles that he had, whether it’s a theologian, professor or writer. I learned that Luther zeal for preaching was done while he was doing everything else in ministry and on any given Sunday he preached three to four sermons with the first service beginning at at 5 AM! He would preach a sermon every two days. While I have enjoyed other biographies on Luther in the past (see for instance, this recent post), what makes this particular book unique is that this book on Martin Luther as a preacher is written by Steven Lawson who is himself a powerful and passionate preacher. There’s nothing like a good preacher having the insight on another famous preacher. Lawson is not only a preacher but he has proven himself in the past to be a capable writer especially in the area of the history of preaching and this work doesn’t disappoint. For a work in which the body comes in at 122 pages, Lawson’s historical leg work is amazing with 324 footnotes total. The sources he cites indicate his familiarity with both secondary sources and English translation of primary sources on Luther. And he’s able to do this without making the book feel boring.  On the contrary, reading the book made me felt passionate about preaching especially when I got to chapter five on Luther’s passionate delivery in the pulpit. I couldn’t go to sleep until after three in the morning because I wanted to preach God’s Word as a result of reading this book!  I am a firm believer that true Christ-centered preaching that’s Biblically driven can’t be delivered as a mono-tone lecture–one must internalize the Word of God and let the Word set you ablaze with a conviction of it’s truth and power. I highly recommend the book for all readers.

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