From One Reader to Another: Books to End a Year’s Reading, or to Bring in a New Year

Books are almost always read alone, but they are seldom truly enjoyed alone.

Columnist Dave Barry got this one just right: “The problem with winter sports is that — follow me closely here — they generally take place in winter.” On the other hand, winter is a great season for reading. Herewith I offer some books I think are well worth your reading, whether warm or cold.

Forgiveness and Fancy Eating Tables

Forgiveness is a grace basic to the gospel. But what exactly is it and how is it practiced?

Our understanding is not for idle curiosity. Forgiveness of sin comes to us as the beating heart of the gospel, and it radically affects our peace of mind and our interactions with others. God instructs us to forgive as we have been forgiven. Understanding how we have been forgiven by God is the prerequisite to the course on how we are to forgive others.

The Ghost At The Atheist Feast: Was Nietzsche Right About Religion?

Reviews: “The Age of Nothing” by Peter Watson and “Culture and the Death of God” by Terry Eagleton.

Reared on a Christian hope of redemption (he was, after all, the son of a Lutheran minister), Nietzsche was unable, finally, to accept a tragic sense of life of the kind he tried to retrieve in his early work. Yet his critique of liberal rationalism remains as forceful as ever. As he argued with masterful irony,... Continue Reading

Review: Martin Luther by Simonetta Carr

Just in time for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation next year

I've reviewed some of the biographies in the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, and this is another great addition. These books make important figures in church history very accessible to young readers. I also appreciate the author's honesty about their failings, such as Luther's anti-semitic writings, briefly mentioned in "Did You Know?". We should honor the saints of old but recognize that they were fallible human beings in need of a Savior, too.

John Owen on Mortification of Sin (2)

Specific Directions for Mortification

Trust in the Spirit to convict you of sin, to uncover its ugliness, and rebuke your defenses. Trust in the Spirit to reveal to you the fullness of Christ and his love for sinners. Trust in the Spirit to give you hope that Christ will grant relief from sin. Trust in the Spirit to bring the cross of Christ into your heart with its sin-killing power. Trust in the Spirit to be the author and finisher of your sanctification, despite your weak resolve. Trust in the Spirit to enable you to pray with sighs and groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26) through which you will find victory over your sin.

Truly Successful Preaching (Newton)

What makes for a successful preacher, biblically speaking?

"We may observe the proper use and value of the preaching of the Gospel, which is the great instrument by which the Holy Spirit opens the blind eyes. Like the rod of Moses, it owes all its efficacy to the appointment and promise of God. Ministers cannot be too earnest in the discharge of their office; it behooves them to use all diligence to find out acceptable words, and to proclaim the whole counsel of God. Yet when they have done all, they have done nothing, unless their word is accompanied to the heart by the power and demonstration of the Spirit."

What Does Authority Mean?

For a word that is being used so much, we better know what we mean when we are saying it.

"Authority is rightful say-so, the power to commend belief and command obedience. Authority is linked to authorship, for who has more right to say-so over something than the one who conceived and originated it? [He then references Rom. 13:1, Rom. 4:17, Gen. 6:18, 15:18, Exod. 19:5 and Deut. 7:6] All three persons of the Trinity are involved in everything that God does, creating and covenanting alike: omnia opera trinitatis ad extra indivisa sunt (all the external works of the Trinity are indivisible). This includes exercising authority."

Why I Don’t Flow with Richard Rohr

A critical review of Richard Rohr's new book, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

If you’ve benefited from the spiritual teaching in Rohr’s earlier books, take a moment to consider afresh whether you ought to place yourself under the teaching of such a person. My advice is that you should not. Thank God that you were stimulated to something good by his work, but acknowledge that he teaches another... Continue Reading

Regeneration: Ascribed Entirely to God Alone

This is an act of grace and mercy; no sinner deserves to receive new life from God.

Reformed theology teaches that regeneration is not conditional upon faith.  That is, we disagree with the Arminian teaching that faith precedes regeneration.  It is true that the regenerated sinner receives new life, and a new heart, and truly does embrace Christ by faith.  But regeneration is monergistic: God alone changes the dead heart.  Regeneration is... Continue Reading

10 Books Every Christian Teenager Should Read

Here is a list of great books every Christian teen ought to read — or at least consider reading

“Please note that these are not necessarily the ten best books your teens will read in their lifetime. Not all of these books will stand the test of time as Christian classics. But each of them is suited to twenty-first century teenaged readers and together they will provide a foundation for the Christian life that... Continue Reading