Luther: Man Between God And The Devil, By Heiko Oberman

Luther: Man Between God And The Devil

By: Heiko Oberman

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – October, 2017

This October marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. In light of that movement it seems appropriate to suggest one of the better biographies of Martin Luther. As one of the foremost authorities on the Reformer, Heiko Oberman believed that the best was to understand this man’s life is to recognize that Luther saw himself as being engaged in a great spiritual battle. Throughout the book the author paints a picture of Luther with both failings and strengths. He reminds us to look at this monk, not through the lens of our own age, but as a man of his times. Weaving together the religious and social events of the day, Luther’s upbringing, his theological discoveries, marital relationship, and his view of the world as a battleground between God and the devil Oberman gives us an understanding of Doctor Martin that is both engaging and enlightening to the reader. I recommend this book for those that wish to read a biography of Luther that is more than just a chronological timeline of historic events.

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When Trouble Comes, By Phil Ryken

When Trouble Comes

By: Phil Ryken

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – September, 2017

Regardless of who we are, everyone will face trouble and sorrow during their life. In When Trouble Comes Phil Ryken offers encouragement to the reader in times of difficulty. By using various Bible narratives, the author provides insight into suffering and gives us a glimpse of God’s comforting presence in seasons of trouble. I recommend this book for all who travel life’s pathway and need to know that hardship is not our only companion, but we have a God whose faithfulness never fails.

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The Preacher and The Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House

The Preacher and The Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House

By: Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – August, 2017

Two veteran TIME writers, Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy have written a fascinating book about a peculiar aspect of the ministry of Billy Graham. When being interviewed for this piece, Reverend Graham made the stipulation that the authors present the bad as well as the good. Following that wise counsel enabled Gibbs and Duffy to write a work that offers great insight for those wishing to understand the interaction between religion and politics in America.

Throughout his many years as an evangelist, Dr. Graham was also known as the President’s Pastor. This was not due to any official position but to the friendships he had developed with a number of these men as well as his influence in the evangelical world. From the presidency of Harry Truman to that of George W. Bush, Billy Graham was either seeking to influence the executive branch of government or was being sought after for his spiritual guidance. The Preacher and the Presidents demonstrates the danger to a gospel ministry that can happen when politics and religion become bedfellows, as well as the opportunity that a man of character can have in the spiritual lives of world leaders. After describing the early years when Billy Graham was naive and hungry for political influence, Gibbs and Duffy take the reader through the years of disillusionment and deception during the Nixon administration, and on into the later era of his life when worldly influence lost its luster but the gospel continued to shine. Reading this work, I was struck by the wisdom of the separation between church and state and for the godly character of Billy Graham. The former helps to mitigate against the danger of politicizing the message of the gospel while the latter is a reminder that God will carry on His work in spite of the imperfections of His servants. I highly recommend this book for its historical value as well as the lessons it teaches concerning the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man.

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The Temple and the Tabernacle, By J. Daniel Hays

The Temple and the Tabernacle

By: J. Daniel Hays

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – April, 2017

For many Christians reading the Old Testament passages that describe the Tabernacle or the Temple can seem as tedious as reading the various genealogies in the Bible. One of the reasons why we might find such passages wearisome is that we are unable to recognize the connection they have with the biblical story of redemption. In his book, The Temple and the Tabernacle J. Daniel Hays describes how both of these structures depict the holiness of God, His relationship to Israel, and the advent of Christ, His person, and His atoning sacrifice. I found the chapter on Christ as the Temple of God in the New Testament to be very helpful in clarifying those prophecies in Ezekiel to which many appeal when insisting on a new temple in a millennial age. I recommend this work as help in finding Christ in the Old Testament and seeing the Old Testament fulfilled in Christ.

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Born Slaves, Martin Luther

Born Slaves

By: Martin Luther

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – March, 2017

Born Slaves is an abridged version of Martin Luther’s classic response to the treatise on free-will by the Roman Catholic humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam. Originally titled The Bondage of the Will, this shortened work demonstrates the insufficiency of the prevalent misunderstanding of free-will by offering Scripture proofs that man’s will is actually enslaved to sin and in need of God’s grace before it is free to make a decision for Christ. Although Erasmus’ view was well received by the Roman Church and is also the current position of most evangelicals today, it was not the view of the Reformers. In this short work of 93 pages, Luther offers a good corrective for the faulty view of salvation that actually elevates the will of man and diminishes the grace of God. I recommend this book to those who wish to gain a better understanding of the biblical view of salvation and the reason why God alone receives glory when sinners come to Jesus.

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The Mighty Weakness of John Knox

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox

By: Douglas Bond

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – December, 2016

Monthly Book Suggestion Dec 2016While not an in-depth biography of this Scottish reformer, The Mighty Weakness of John Know offers a compelling glimpse into the motivation and spiritual strength of this man of God. Though he was short in stature and often weak in body, Knox was instrumental in bringing the Reformation to Scotland. Fearing God rather than man or monarch, Knox was divinely enabled to withstand persecution, imprisonment and exile while preaching, writing, and praying in order to call Scotland to Christ.

This short work is a testimony to a man whose main desire was to see God glorified and worship in all of life. I highly recommend Douglas Bond’s enjoyable read to those who wish to see how God can use our weaknesses to bring about His mighty purposes.

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