09 March 2011

Recommended Reading

Last Fall, as my first term of classes ended, I was looking forward to having a few months with a lighter load so that I could pick up a book that wasn't required reading. Unfortunately, my "time off" flew by and it seems that I did a better job of catching up on naps and reruns of My Three Sons than I did of catching up on my reading list! So a few weeks ago I resolved to read as much as possible before the Spring term begins again. Below is a list of what I've read, what I am currently reading, and what I plan to read next. I've tossed in a few excerpts as well to pique your interest.

Books I've Read:
  • The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 2 Peter & Jude
    • "To be sure, there are many false teachers outside the church who propagate lies and deceptions and openly proclaim their opposition to Christianity. Jesus warned the apostles, 'But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them' (Mark 13:9; cf. Acts 4:1-3, 13-18; 5:17-18, 26-40; 6:12-14; 7:54, 57-59; 8:1-3; 12:1-4; 14:19; 16:19-24; 17:5-9; 21:26-36; 23:12-24:9). However, the counterfeit pastors, elders, deacons, and teachers within the church are usually far more dangerous. Attacks from outside the church often unite God's people, but attacks from inside--coming from false teachers--usually divide and confuse the flock" (Page 159).
  • The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
    • "The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus' message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God's righteousness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but easy-believism" (Page 37).
    • "This, then, is the gospel our Lord sends us forth to proclaim: That Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate, humbled Himself to die on our behalf. Thus He became the sinless sacrifice to pay the penalty of our guilt. He rose from the dead to declare with power that He is Lord over all, and He offers eternal life freely to sinners who will surrender to Him in humble, repentant faith. This gospel promises nothing to the haughty rebel, but for broken, penitent sinners, it graciously offers everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)" (Page 241).
  • The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
    • "Then I saw in my dream, that the Interpreter took Christian by the hand, and led him into a place where was a fire, burning against a wall, and one standing by it, always casting much water upon it to quench it, yet did the fire burn higher and hotter. Then said Christian, 'What means this?' The Interpreter answered, 'This fire is the work of grace that is wrought in the heart; he that casts water upon it, to extinguish and put it out, is the Devil: but in that thou seest the fire notwithstanding burn higher and hotter, though shalt also see the reason of that:' so he had him about to the backside of the wall, where he saw a man with a vessel of oil in his hand, of the which he did also continually cast (but secretly) into the fire. Then said Christian, 'What means this?' The Interpreter answered, 'This is Christ, who continually with the oil of his grace, maintains the work already begun in the heart; by the means of which, notwithstanding what the Devil can do, the souls of his people prove gracious still. And in that thou sawest, that the man stood behind the wall to maintain the fire; this is to teach thee, that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of grace is maintained in the soul.'"
  • Drive By Church History
    • Okay, so this one isn't a book, it's a set of CDs with 47, 15 minute long lectures that walk you through Church history. This is a wonderful resource! Todd Friel hosts these lectures along with Pastor R.W. Glenn and Peter Hammond. I'm already working my way through the lectures for the second time because there is so much to learn. If you're looking for something to listen to during your commute that will actually be edifying, then I highly suggest Drive By Church History. You won't be disappointed!

    Books I'm Reading:

    • Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur
      • "Don't be quick to embrace the trends of the high-tech megachurches. And don't sneer at conventional worship and preaching. We don't need clever approaches to get people saved (1 Cor. 1:21). We simply need to get back to preaching the truth and planting the seed. If we're faithful in that, the soil God has prepared will bear fruit" (Page 97).
      • "Human wisdom wants to devise a way of salvation where people get the credit. If they can't have all the credit, they will settle for some of it. But in God's design no one who is saved has anything to boast about. That's because God accomplishes everything on behalf of those He saves. They contribute nothing. He chooses them, calls them, draws them, and enables them to believe. His sovereign will--not human resolve or a human decision--even determines who will be saved. Everything is by His doing. No aspect of salvation hinges on anything good in the believer. But "because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30). (Page 127).
    • The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther
      • "It is, then, fundamentally necessary and wholesome for Christians to know that God foreknows nothing contingently, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His own immutable, eternal and infallible will. This bombshell knocks 'free-will' flat, and utterly shatters it; so that those who want to assert it must either deny my bombshell, or pretend not to notice it, or find some other way of dodging it."

    • The Messiah: Revealed, Rejected, Received by William Varner
      • I just started this book and am only a few pages in, so I cannot provide a favorite quote at this time. However, this book comes highly recommended by some of Dr. Varner's former students, so I am excited to dive into it. If you'd like to read some more of Dr. Varner's writings, visit his blog at Dr. IBEX Ideas.

    Books I Plan to Read Next:

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