26 March 2011

Five Short Reads

I've recently read through some shorter books (meaning, less than 200 pages) that were very much worth sharing and recommending. If you have an afternoon or two, pick up one of these to be blessed, educated, and maybe even convicted...

  • Faith: What it is and What it Leads To by C.H. Spurgeon: This little book will take you less than an hour to read, but I guarantee you'll keep coming back to it again and again for edification and reminder. Even though Spurgeon was writing specifically to believers, I think this small work would also be a great gift for an unbelieving friend.
    • "We are now--even now pardoned; even now are our sins put away; even now we stand in the sight of God as though we had never been guilty; innocent as Father Adam when he stood in integrity, ere he had eaten of the fruit of the forbidden tree; pure as though we had never received the taint of depravity in our veins. 'There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.' There is not a sin in the Book of God, even now, against one of his people. There is nothing laid to their charge. There is neither speck, nor spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing remaining upon any one believer in the matter of justification in the sight of the Judge of all the earth." (page 44)

  • A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent: This book is loaded with footnotes, and all of them are quoted Scriptures that verify the glorious truths of the Gospel that Vincent is explaining. Reading this made me excited to hear Milton Vincent speak at the Psalm 119 conference in Minneapolis next month! The best lesson taught by this book? Preach the Gospel to yourself daily!
    • "The essence of eternal life is not found in having my sins forgiven, in possessing a mansion in heaven, or in having streets of gold on which to walk forever. Rather, the essence of eternal life is intimately knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Everything else that God gives to me in the gospel serves merely to bring me to Himself so that this great end might be achieved. Christ died for the forgiveness of my sins so that I might be brought 'to God.' Christ is preparing a place for me in heaven so that He might receive me 'to Himself' and have me forever with Him where He is. And yes, there is a great street of gold in heaven, but is there any doubt where the street leads? Unquestionably, it leads straight to the throne of God Himself, as do all of God's gifts to me in the gospel." (page 49-50)
  • Apostasy from the Gospel by John Owen: This was written by John Owen, do I really need to say more? I think I have Post-it tabs marking about 3/4 of the pages in this small book because it is so good. Granted, some of his comments are directed specifically toward the Roman Catholic Church, because that was the greatest enemy of the Gospel in Owen's day. The truths he writes, however, are so applicable today! Just a warning that you may drain a highlighter with this book!
    • "A wicked indifference and unconcern for the defence of the gospel leads many into apostasy. 'All religions are the same.' 'We all worship the same God.' 'What is truth? Who is able to say what truth is and what error is?' Those who stand up for the gospel in such times are persecuted. Christians need to be warned (Gal. 5:2-6; 2 Thess. 3:12; 2 Peter 2:1, 2)." (page 85).

  • Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns by T. David Gordon: I found this book to be more of a "skimmer," personally. Gordon clearly knows his stuff and has thought through his subject thoroughly, but at times he delves into more detail than I had the patience to read. I wholeheartedly agree with his premise, though, that worship music is not, as many like to claim, merely "a matter of taste." There is so much more to it than that.
    • "What has happened is that the church has followed (rather than led) its trivial, ironic, and banal culture. It has adopted the forms of a culture that rarely regards human life to be significant, and that therefore dispenses with those sociological customs and rituals by which cultures invest certain events or achievements with significance. But the question is not whether this is our 'natural' culture (it is today); the question is whether we wish to communicate that nothing in life deserves to be ritualized--and more specifically whether we wish to communicate that meeting with God doesn't deserve ritual." (page 143-144).

  • A Puritan Golden Treasury: This is not really a book that you sit down and read straight through. It is instead a collection of pithy, sometimes bitingly true, quotations from some of the great Puritans. When I received this in the mail, I opened it up and, no matter what page I opened to, I found something wonderful. This book is organized according to topic, so it is a good reference when you need just the right short, to-the-point saying. Yes, I think it's fair to say that you will be seeing a pithy Puritan quotation or two up on this site in the future!
    • "Let them fear death who do not fear sin." - Thomas Watson
    • "The hypocrite, certainly, is a secret atheist; for if he did believe there was a God, he durst not be so bold as to deceive Him to His face." - Thomas Adams
    • "God examineth with trials, the devil examineth with temptations, the world examineth with persecutions." - Henry Smith
    • "There are three things in providence: God's foreknowing, God's determining, and God's directing all things to their periods and events." - Thomas Watson

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep it pithy (in other words, if your comment is long enough to be its own blog post, don't bother), pertinent (please don't go off-topic), and respectful (to the author, to the other readers, and to the subject of the post). If you can't do that, your comment will not be posted.

If you haven't already, please read the Comment Policy in its entirety.