Cultivating Biblical Godliness – 2 New Pamphlets

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”

Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.

For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.

 

Is the Lord’s Day for You?lord

Joesph A. Pipa Jr. 

Retail Price: $3.00/ Our Price: $2.25

Is Lord’s Day observance simply a quaint tradition that was nice for previous generations but really isn’t relevant for Christians today? Isn’t the Sabbath just part of the Old Testament law that New Testament believers don’t need to be concerned about? In this pamphlet, author Joseph Pipa carefully guides you through the Scriptures, answering frequently asked questions about the Lord’s Day along the way, and helps you to see that the Lord’s Day is for you—not as a burden, but as a blessing that will lead you to delight in God as you are freed from work and worldly pleasures to worship Him.

Author  Joseph A. Pipa Jr. is president of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Endorsement  “The keeping of a day of rest as part of our weekly routine has been God’s plan for us since the beginning. In this study, Joey Pipa gives us clear teaching on why God enshrined this plan in the fourth commandment, why it is still relevant, and how it ought to be applied. A very helpful pamphlet for twenty-first-century Christians.” — Iain D. Campbell, minister in the Free Church of Scotland, Isle of Lewis, and author of On the First Day of the Week: God, the Christian, and the Sabbath

 

bibleHow Can I Remember and Practice the Bible?

Ryan M. McGraw

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The apostle Paul says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16); this is only one of many Bible verses emphasizing how essential it is that Christians know God’s Word. But how do we let the word of Christ dwell in us richly? In this pamphlet filled with practical, helpful guidance, Ryan McGraw presents more than ten methods for hiding God’s word in our hearts, including reading the Scriptures, engaging in individual and family worship, praying, and memorizing the Scriptures. Be encouraged to remember and practice the Bible!

Author  Ryan M. McGraw is associate professor of systematic theology at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Endorsement  “While reading Ryan McGraw’s booklet on the Christian’s reading, remembering, and using the Bible, I was reminded of the apostle Paul’s words to his spiritual son Timothy: ‘But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned … that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus’ (2 Tim. 3:14–15). Consistent with the purpose of the series of which this booklet is a part, McGraw offers wise and practical counsel in the ways believers can profit from their reading and meditating upon the Word of God, especially in private worship.” — Cornelis P. Venema, president and professor of doctrinal studies, Mid-America Reformed Seminary, Dyer, Indiana

Classic Reformed Theology

doctThe Doctrine of the Covenant and Testament of God

Johannes Cocceius

Hardcover, 400 pages

Retail Price: $50.00/ Our Price: $38.00

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Introduction by WIllem J. van Asselt

Johannes Cocceius (1603–1669) was a prominent Bible scholar who taught at the universities of Bremen, Franeker, and Leiden. As a gifted linguist, he produced a Hebrew lexicon, commentary related to every book of the Bible, and several theological treatises.

Cocceius’s contributions to covenant theology simultaneously sparked theological controversies and further fruitful dialogue for understanding the progressive nature of salvation history. The Doctrine of the Covenantand Testament of God describes the entire biblical history as a series of events by which an original covenant of works is gradually annulled, bringing new phases in the history of the covenant of grace. He shows that God’s standard way of relating to mankind is through covenant, which, at its heart, is friendship with God.

Casey Carmichael’s translation of Cocceius’s book is monumental, providing the first English edition of a work that helped shape Reformed theology for centuries. Historical theologians have long noted Cocceius’s work as a crucial text in the development of federal theology, and now this translation will open access to a wider range of readers and is sure to spur further interest and research in Reformed expositions of covenantal thought. The introduction by Willem J. van Asselt, the world’s leading scholar on Coccieus’s life and theology, provides the historical context for understanding the importance of the book and a summary of the significant contributions it made to Reformed theology.

Endorsements  “One of the leading Reformed theologians in the seventeenth century, Johannes Cocceius made an enduring contribution to the development of covenantal theology in the Summa Doctrinae de Foedere et Testimento Dei. The treatise represents a classic statement of federal theology and one of its most influential treatments in the development of Reformed thought.This elegant and nuanced edition by Casey Carmichael and Willem van Asselt is the first English translation of Cocceius’s most important work and should become a standard text for students interested in the history of Reformed theology.”  — Charles H. Parker, professor of history, Saint Louis University

“Johannes Cocceius was one of the seventeenth century’s most influential and controversial Reformed theologians, yet today he is little known and less well understood. Casey Carmichael has done all interested in the thought of that era an enormous service by making Cocceius’s Summa Doctrinae de Foedere et Testamento Dei available in English for the first time.” — Philip Benedict

Christ Crucified – John Newton

When on the cross my Lord I see,

Bleeding to death for wretched me,

Satan and sin no more can move,

For I am all transformed to love.

 

His thorns and nails pierce through my heart,

In every groan I bear a part;

I view His wounds with steaming eyes;

But see, He bows His head, and dies.

 

Come sinners, view the Lamb of God,

Wounded, and dead, and bathed in blood;

Behold His side, and venture near,

The well of endless life is here.

 

Here I forget my cares and pains;

I drink, yet still my thirst remains;

Only the fountainhead above

Can satisfy the thirst of love.

 

Oh, that I thus could always feel;

Lord, more and more Thy love reveal.

Then my glad tongue shall loud proclaim

The grace and glory of Thy name.

 

Thy name dispels my guilt and fear,

Revives my heart and charms my ear;

Affords a balm for every wound,

And Satan trembles at the sound.

– Taken from Worthy is the Lamb

Pulpit Aflame

Pulpit-Aflame-3DPulpit Aflame: Essays in Honor of Steve Lawson

Joel R. Beeke and Dustin W. Benge

Paperback, 200 pages

Retail Price: $25.00/ Our Price: $19.00

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The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to “preach the word! . . . Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). This instruction is in keeping with the principle reflected in the book of Acts that the proclamation of God’s Word is the heart of corporate worship. Yet in many churches, preaching is in decline under the influence of a culture that prefers entertainment to exposition. In this volume, fourteen experienced preachers reaffirm the centrality of preaching in the life of the church as they explore what the Scriptures have to say about the mandate, meaning, motivation, and method of preaching. With wisdom and conviction, the authors remind the church that God works through the faithful preaching of His Word, no less in the twenty-first century than in the first.

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Ian Hamilton

1. Steven J. Lawson: Knowing the Man and His Message – Dustin W. Benge

Part 1: The Mandate of Preaching

2. A Biblical Priority: Preach the Word – John MacArthur

3. A Pastoral Preeminence: Feed My Sheep – R. C. Sproul

4. A Historical Pedigree: Sixteenth-Century Reformed Preaching – Joel Beeke

Part 2: The Meaning of Preaching

5. Preaching as Exposition – R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

6. Preaching as Transformation – Derek W. H. Thomas

7. Preaching as Worship – Sinclair B. Ferguson

Part 3: The Motivation of Preaching

8. The Aim of Preaching: The Glory of God – Robert Godfrey

9. The Foundation of Preaching: The Cross of Christ – John J. Murray

10. The Power of Preaching: The Presence of the Holy Spirit – Michael A. G. Haykin

Part 4: The Method of Preaching

11. Preparing the Sermon – Iain D. Campbell

12. Building the Sermon – Geoffrey Thomas

13. Delivering the Sermon – Conrad Mbewe

 

Editors  Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.

Dustin W. Benge is the editor for Expositor Magazine and the Director of Operations for OnePassion Ministries.

Endorsements  “When you mention the name Steven J. Lawson, one word comes to mind: preaching. But with Dr. Lawson, one word won’t do. It’s passion-filled-to-overflowing preaching. It’s bold, persuasive, and powerful preaching. Above all, it’s expository preaching. These essays by Dr. Lawson’s friends honor him and the legacy of his ministry in the best possible way by offering an exposition of expository preaching. May these essays, like Dr. Lawson’s ministry, bear much fruit in the life of the church.” — Stephen J. Nichols, president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries

“In His providence God has sent out a great company of preachers to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ. In this volume you will find some of that glorious company whose own ministries have blessed the church globally coming together to honor a dear, humble, and gracious brother whose ministry has been an enormous blessing to us all. They address the great themes that lie closest to the heart of Steven Lawson and have been the very pulse of His ministry of the Word over many years. It gives me the most enormous joy to commend this volume and add my voice to those who honor a faithful and fruitful preacher of the glorious gospel of our blessed God.” — Liam Goligher, senior pastor, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia

“This book marks well the ministry of Steve Lawson. His example of exegetically grounded, doctrinally informed, homiletically precise style of energetic proclamation has been one of the most salutary phenomena in Christian preaching in decades. The names of those who consented to write chapters attest to this judgment. Here we find in admirable, inviting display a comprehensive handbook on the craft of preaching. The importance and necessity of preaching, its history, its biblical foundations, its theology and teleology, the intrinsic excellence of the genre of preaching, and other interesting and vital subjects form a theoretical foundation for justifying the calling. Other chapters give insight, biblically and experientially informed, on the issues of preparation and delivery. This book not only draws immediate attention to the faithful ministry of Steve Lawson but should also serve perennially as a guide from mature and holy minds on how best to obey the divine mandate, ‘Preach the Word.’” — Tom J. Nettles, retired professor of historical theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, and senior professor of historical theology

In Honor of Steve Lawson

Fourteen experienced preachers reaffirm the centrality of preaching in the life of the church through a series of essays in honor of Rev. Steve Lawson

Contributions from John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, R. Albert Mohler, Sinclair B. Ferguson, Joel R. Beeke, Conrad Mbewe and others.

Pulpit Aflame: Essays in Honor of Steve Lawson (Retail: $25.00/ Our Price: $19.00) is now available for purchase.

 

 

Meditation

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. – Ecclesiastes 12:13

product188380830Ecclesiastes ends where he began. All his searching has confirmed the vanity of sensuous enjoyment, human wisdom, human labor, earthly endeavor, acquisition or riches, high position, formalistic worship, and material goods. Christ also taught the vanity of earthly things if made our goal (Matt. 6:31-33)

Diversions will not help. We need spiritually wise men who will persevere in giving ‘good heed,’ pondering these things, making diligent search in order to impart spiritual truth. The Preacher “still taught the people knowledge.” The wise man realizes that sinners need “words of truth,” even “the words of the wise.” The Lord Jesus was a teacher and we still need “acceptable” (pleasing and delightful) “words.” Oh, to so preach Christ!

(1) Accept the admonition: It is the Shepherd who speaks through His ministers. Goads spur to godliness and nails are supports on which to hang our thinking.

(2) Avoid distractions: There are “many books,” the Internet and other alternatives to consume our time.

(3) Available resources should be used wisely: study is tiring. Truth yields soul-refreshment whereas substandard wisdom is a weariness of the flesh.

We cannot improve on Ecclesiastes’ conclusion: “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

(1) This conclusion is theological: “fear God.” God is the fountain of life and through faith in Christ we can know Him.

(2) This conclusion is moral: it concerns God’s “commandments.” Justification is by faith in Christ, but God’s commands remain the absolute moral standard. Morality is not merely about values (what we esteem to be right); it is about virtue (inner righteousness that accords with God’s standard).

(3) This conclusion is practical: “keep his commandments.” He who loves God will serve God.

The final judgment is the ultimate day of reckoning. The Preacher has left us on the very brink of eternity, face to face with God, the Judge of all the earth who shall do right. Do you see who He is? Do you see what you are? Do you see your need of Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, without whom all is vanity?

— Taken from Milk and Honey: A Devotional

Ebook Discount – Biblical Counseling

developDevelopments in Biblical Counseling Ebook

J. Cameron Fraser

Retail Price: $5.99/ Our Price: $1.99

Electronic Format, 144 pages

Are you looking for a brief introduction to what the biblical counseling movement is and how it has changed over the years? In Developments in Biblical Counseling, J. Cameron Fraser turns a journalistic eye to this question and presents a concise assessment.  Introducing us to the formative work of Jay Adams, Fraser outlines several themes of biblical counseling that became foundational for the movement as a whole and observes how the movement received criticisms from outside and made necessary developments from within. He points out that some of these developments have an affinity with Puritan approaches to counseling that Adams rejects but may point in a more consistently biblical direction.

Author  Following thirty years of pastoral ministry in western Canada, J. Cameron Fraser now works with Streets Alive Mission and Rehoboth Christian Ministries in Lethbridge and the surrounding area of Alberta, Canada. He also serves as stated clerk of Classis Alberta South and Saskatchewan in the Christian Reformed Church and preaches frequently. He has authored or coauthored three previous books and has twice been a magazine editor.

Endorsements  “Fair, compelling, and helpful. I hope the book sells very well, and that it advances the cause of Christ as the church grows up in maturity by increasingly learning how to speak the truth in love.  It will be required reading in a course of mine.” – Heath Lambert, Executive Director, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Associate Professor of Counseling at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 

“Cautious, canny, and clear, Cameron Fraser’s sympathetic unpacking of this internal debate in Christian counseling is a bonus for the bemused.” — J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, BC

“I have so enjoyed reading Cameron’s book. It is written thoughtfully and helpfully.” – David Powlison, Executive Director, Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation

Church History

Church_History_101__29151.1462891868.1280.1280Church History 101: The Highlights of Twenty Centuries

What a delightful gem this is, and what an important niche it fills! As the title implies, this little book is designed especially for readers new to the study of church history (although I suspect that older students of church history will enjoy it even more!) and provides a brief survey of the high points of the church’s first 20 centuries. Each of the 20 chapters takes up the next century in successive order, Each chapter is very brief – about 4 small-size pages. And each insightfully highlights in “big picture” summary the events most important to the church in that century. From the apostolic age to our own lifetime the church’s story is told in broadest strokes.

A delightful read, an excellent resource, and a wonderful place to begin the study of the church’s history. And perhaps the seedbed of a popular 20-lesson series for Sunday School! Very highly recommended! – Books at a Glance 

Table of Contents:13305020_1083169485074236_2383882103539133039_o

Prefac
First Century: Apostolic Foundations
Second Century: The Church of Martyrs and Confessors
Third Century: Persecution and Heresy; Origen and Tertullian
Fourth Century: The Beginnings of the Christian Empire
Fifth Century: The City of God and the City of Man
Sixth Century: Justinian, Benedict, and the Conversion of the Scots
Seventh Century: Gregory the Great and the Rise of Islam
Eighth Century: The Iconoclastic Controversy
Ninth Century: Struggle for Power in the Church; Ratramnus and Gottschalk
Tenth Century: The Dark Ages
Eleventh Century: The Great Schism; Anselm of Canterbury
Twelfth Century: The Crusades, Abelard, Lombard, and the Waldenses
Thirteenth Century: Francis of Assisi and Thomas Aquinas
Fourteenth Century: The Church’s Babylonian Captivity and John Wycliffe
Fifteenth Century: The Renaissance, Huss, Savonarola, and Groote
Sixteenth Century: Luther, Calvin, and the Reformation
Seventeenth Century: Reforming the Church in England
Eighteenth Century: The Great Awakening
Nineteenth Century: Beginnings of Modern Theology and Kingdom Builders
Twentieth Century: The Age of Paradoxes

The Prince of the English Divines

John Owen (1616-1683)

John_Owen_by_John_GreenhillJohn Owen, called the “prince of the English divines,” “the leading figure among the Congregationalist divines,” “a genius with learning second only to Calvin’s,” and “indisputably the leading proponent of high Calvinism in England in the late seventeenth century,” was born in Stadham (Stadhampton), near Oxford. He was the second son of Henry Owen, the local Puritan vicar. Owen showed godly and scholarly tendencies at an early age. He entered Queen’s College, Oxford, at the age of twelve and studied the classics, mathematics, philosophy, theology, Hebrew, and rabbinical writings. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1632 and a Master of Arts degree in 1635. Throughout his teen years, young Owen studied eighteen to twenty hours per day.

At the age of twenty-six, Owen began a forty-one year writing span that produced more than eighty works. Many of those would become classics and be greatly used by God.

Though he embraced Puritan convictions from his youth, Owen lacked personal assurance of faith until God directed him in 1642 to a church service at St. Mary Aldermanbury, London. He expected to hear Edmund Calamy preach, but a substitute was in the pulpit. Owen’s friend urged him to leave with him to hear a more famous minister some distance away, but Owen decided to stay. The substitute preacher chose as his text, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” God used that sermon to bring Owen to assurance of faith. Later, Owen tried in vain to learn the identity of the preacher.

In 1643, Owen published A Display of Arminianism, a vigorous exposition of classic Calvinism that refuted the Arminians by examining the doctrines of predestination, original sin, irresistible grace, the extent of the atonement, and the role of the human will in salvation. This book earned Owen nearly instant recognition as well as a preferment to the living of Fordham, a pastoral charge in Essex. His ministry was well-received in Fordham, and many people came from outlying districts to hear him. He also excelled in catechizing his parishioners and wrote two catechism books, one for children and one for adults.

At Fordham, Owen took the Solemn League and Covenant. There, too, he took Mary Rooke as his bride. Of the eleven children born to them, only a daughter survived into adulthood. After an unhappy marriage to a Welshman, the daughter returned to live with her parents. She died of consumption shortly afterwards.

When the sequestered incumbent of Fordham died, the rights of presentation reverted to the patron, who dispossessed Owen and appointed Richard Pulley instead. Owen became vicar of the distinguished pulpit of St. Peter’s, Coggeshall (1646), where his predecessor, Obadiah Sedgwick, had ministered to nearly two thousand souls. At Coggeshell, through John Cotton’s Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (1644) and other political influences, Owen openly converted from Presbyterianism to Congregationalism. He also began remodeling his church on Congregational principles.

Owen’s fame spread rapidly in the late 1640s through his preaching and writings, gradually earning him a reputation as a leading Independent theologian. While he was still in his early thirties, more than a thousand people came to hear his weekly sermons. Yet Owen often grieved that he saw little fruit upon his labors. He once said that he would trade all his learning for John Bunyan’s gift for plain preaching.

Owen was asked to preach before Parliament on several occasions, including the day following the execution of King Charles I. The sermon he preached before Parliament on Hebrews 12:27 greatly impressed Oliver Cromwell. The next day Cromwell persuaded Owen to accompany him as chaplain to Ireland to regulate the affairs of Trinity College in Dublin. Owen traveled with 12,000 psalm-singing, Puritan soldiers who descended upon Ireland. Though he spent most of his time at Trinity College reorganizing it along Puritan lines, he also did considerable preaching. He ministered to the troops during the terrible massacre at Drogheda. That dreadful event so stirred his soul that, upon his return to England after a seven-month stay, Owen urged Parliament to show mercy to the Irish.

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