Spurgeon: A New Biography

Suggestion from the Pastor

Spurgeon: A New Biography

by Arnold Dallimore

Pastor’s Description

Few Christian leaders have had as many biographies written about them as the famous 19th Century English preacher, Charles Spurgeon. Attempting to find the best of them all is a daunting task.  The Baptist minister, Arnold Dallimore, certainly has authored one of the most interesting and enjoyable histories of Spurgeon’s life and ministry.

Dallimore purposefully avoids looking for Spurgeon’s foibles and failures and concentrates instead on the power of his preaching, his courageous stance for biblical truth, his Calvinistic theology, and the many mercy ministries provided by his church. Assuming that such a biography might simply be a list of activities carried out by this man would be a great mistake. The author’s style includes enough personal details and anecdotes that the reader gets the sense that he is encountering an old friend.

I read this book while on the mission field some years ago. When I neared the end of Dallimore’s writing, I was sorry to be finished so quickly (the book is only about 250 pages). As I was reading about the death and burial of this great preacher, I felt as though I was saying goodbye to someone I knew.

I recommend this enjoyable book for those that have little or no knowledge of Charles Spurgeon as well as those that are familiar with him and would simply like to read an encouraging and inspiring biography of a man of faith.

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One Year of Dinner Table Devotions

One Year of Dinner Table Devotions & Discussion Starters: 365 Opportunities to Grow Closer to God as a Family by Nancy Guthrie, Tyndale House Publishers

Our family has used this devotional for sometime. It is written by a woman who, through a joyous faith in Christ, has overcome the sorrow of burying two children. One Year Dinner Table Devotions is filled with Scripture and consistent with the Reformed Faith. That being said, I could not do a better job of recommending this book than the following review by a customer at www.Christianbook.com

“I was looking for a devotional book that expounded/explained the bible, and did not have cutesy moral stories. This is it! 365 one-page, easy to understand readings, set out in a clear format. Read the scriptures first (2 or 3 verses each day,) then the devotional (2 or 3 short paragraphs in plain english.) Discussion questions follow up with things to think about. I have 4 kids aged 8 – 15 and, because it’s bible-based, not cute-story-with-a-moral based, it applies to us all. No dumbing down, but also not hard to understand. Excellent book, not just for families, but for individuals as well.”

I highly recommend this devotional for families that wish to grow together in Christ.

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Just Do Something

For those that find life’s choices to be daunting, who worry whether their next big decision will fall within the will of God, or who are anxious that they might miss God’s “best” for their lives if they take a certain route along life’s highway, Just Do Something might be the book they need to read.

Written in an entertaining and down-to-earth style, yet filled with biblical wisdom, this book offers excellent counsel to help motivate Christians to make decisions and take actions without waiting to hear a mysterious boom from the clouds or looking for a sanctified fortune cookie to direct their path. I highly recommend Pastor DeYoung’s fine book to any Christian seeking to live their life in the will of God.

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The Bible And The Future

The study of the end times is known as eschatology. Not only is that word unfamiliar to many Christians, but the entire subject of the end of the world is often shrouded in mystery and confusion.

What happens to us when we die? When is the rapture? Why are there so many different views of the millennial reign of Christ? What has the Church historically believed about these matters? Just trying to answer these questions can seem daunting.

In his well written book, The Bible And The Future, Anthony Hoekema answers these questions and more. Using a rich array of scriptural references and avoiding speculation and sensationalism, the author provides scholarly insight into this important theological topic.

I highly recommend this easy-to-read, yet thought provoking book for anyone interested in understanding what the Bible actually teaches about the second coming of Christ and its implication for Christians throughout history.

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Search The Scriptures

Of all the books that Christians should read, it goes without saying that the Bible tops the list. However, many of us struggle with finding the time to do more than a cursory perusal of a verse here or a chapter there.  Consequently, we either give up and neglect the Scriptures in our daily routine or we read without any systematic method in mind.

Inter-Varsity Press has been producing Search The Scriptures for decades. This concise course takes the reader through a daily study plan that covers each book of the Bible. It is specifically designed for busy people that have a desire to know God’s word but believe that any valuable study would require hours that they simply don’t have because of the time-consuming responsibilities they already encounter.

Each day’s lesson should take about 30 minutes and is meant to draw us closer to God rather than to simply read the Bible as an academic exercise. While anyone can profit from using this study guide along with your Bible, I would suggest that the reader also purchase a study Bible as the notes might be valuable when attempting to understand a difficult biblical passage.  The ESV Study Bible, The Reformation Study Bible (formerly New Geneva Study Bible), or The NIV Study Bible are probably the best choices.

I highly recommend IVP’s Search The Scriptures as an aid to busy Christians that wish to draw closer to our Savior through the study of God’s holy word

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King of Merchants

Most Christians desire to take the New Testament seriously and live in the world as citizens of the kingdom of God.  In the book John Wanamaker: King of Merchants, the author provides a glimpse of a man that did just that.

Many people from the Philadelphia area know of the Wanamaker name through the once successful department store chain in this region. What they might not know is that the founder, John Wanamaker, was a committed Christian, who helped to start a number of Presbyterian churches, was the secretary of the YMCA when it was known mostly for its evangelism, and spent much of his wealth and time for the betterment of others.

Although Wanamaker was not without his faults, such as joining the Masons at one point, his desire to make his entire life a promotion of the gospel is a great lesson in seeking first the kingdom of God in all our endeavors. I highly recommend this book as a good read over summer vacation.

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Apostasy From The Gospel

The Puritan theologian, John Owen, has sometimes been called the “John Calvin of the English speaking world.” Given such accolades, it would seem reasonable for Christians to be familiar with his writings. Banner of Truth Publishers has done the 21st century church a great service by reprinting, editing and updating for easier reading many of Owen’ works.  Apostasy from the Gospel is one such book.

While this is not a topic that we hear much of in our day, apostasy is a biblical concept that should be taken seriously by all professing Christians.  In only 166 pages, Owen admonishes Christians to consciously hold fast to the gospel of grace and warns against neglecting the great salvation we have in Christ.  I highly recommend this work for Owens’ theological depth, superb use of biblical references, and relevant application to the Christian life. In this small volume, Owen assists those readers that are looking to strengthen their commitment to follow their Lord in the beauty of holiness.

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Book Suggestion May 2013

Suggestion from the Pastor

The Desert Rat

by: Annette Adams

Pastor’s Description

Here is a short biography about a very remarkable Christian woman, Aileen Coleman.

Born in Australia in 1930, she felt the desire to serve the Lord through medical missions in the Muslim world. Along with Dr. Eleanor Soltau, whose parents were Presbyterian missionaries to Korea, she started the Anoor Tuberculosis Hospital in Mafraq, Jordan.

This is a riveting book, describing the work of God through a person that was willing to forfeit married life and leave the comforts of her surroundings to bring the good news and love of Jesus Christ into an area of the world where her gender and Christian faith might have seemed like overwhelming obstacles. However, God showed Himself strong on her behalf, allowing her to reach many of the nomadic Bedouins who might have otherwise remained ignorant of the truth of the gospel.

Throughout her years as a faithful witness to the power of Christ in Jordan, Aileen has been honored by the King and Queen of Jordan, Queen Elizabeth of England and given the title of Dame (equivalent to knighthood) in the British Common wealth. I was privileged to have met and been challenged by this courageous and noteworthy woman during a short mission trip in Jordan. I highly recommend her story to anyone wishing to be encouraged by the way in which God can do extraordinary things through ordinary, but willing, Christians.

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Book Suggestion April 2013

Suggestion from the Pastor

Abraham Kuyper: God’s Renaissance Man

by: by James McGoldrick

Pastor’s Description

One of the great Reformed thinkers of the modern age was the Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper’s own experiences epitomized his belief that all of life belongs to God. Although raised in a pastor’s home, he was schooled in theological liberalism that he later said robbed him of his childhood faith and left him “unconverted, proud, and open to doubting.” However, after taking a position as a rural pastor, Kuyper was convinced of the truths of Scripture and converted to Christ through the gentle witness of the people within his congregation.

For the remainder of his life, Abraham Kuyper worked tirelessly to promote the cause of Christ within the Reformed church and society at large.  Not only did he serve as a pastor but also as editor of a newspaper and several periodicals, founded and taught theology at the Free University of Amsterdam, helped to found a new denomination after the Dutch Reformed Church was overcome with liberalism, authored numerous books, entered politics where he served in parliament and as the Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1901-1905.

Although I would have liked to have read more about Kuyper’s wife and children (He and his wife, Johanna Schaay Kuyper, had eight children and were married for 36 years) McGoldrick did a fine job, discussing the work and the theological, social and political views of this extraordinary Christian man.

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