Books

“Satan…will do anything to hold up evangelism and divide Christians.” J.I. Packer

e&sJ.I. Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God should be required reading for all who desire to understand and discuss the relationship between divine sovereignty and human relationship with its implications for evangelism. It is at once a plea to take Scripture’s teaching regarding both divine sovereignty and human responsibility seriously and a call to declare the gospel indiscriminately to all. In the paragraph below, first published in 1961, Packer presciently responds to the current debate between Calvinists and Traditionalists in the Southern Baptist Convention. His words are a stern warning against the tendency of both sides “to grow self-righteous and bitter and conceited as they criticize each other.”

This is a question that troubles many evangelical Christians today. There are some who have come to believe in the sovereignty of God in the unqualified and uncompromising way in which (as we judge) the Bible presents it. These are now wondering whether there is not some way in which they could and should witness to this faith by modifying the evangelistic practice which they have inherited from a generation with different convictions. These methods, they say, were devised by people who did not believe what we believe about God’s absolute sovereignty in salvation; is that not of itself reason enough for refusing to use them? Others, who do not construe the doctrine of divine sovereignty in quite this way, nor take it quite so seriously, fear that this new concern to believe it thoroughly will mean the death of evangelism; for they think it is bound to undercut all sense of urgency in evangelistic action. Satan, of course, will do anything to hold up evangelism and divide Christians; so he tempts the first group to become inhibited and cynical about all current evangelistic endeavors, and the second group to lose its head and become panicky and alarmist, and both to grow self-righteous and bitter and conceited as they criticize each other. Both groups, it seems, have urgent need to watch against the wiles of the devil.

J. I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (InterVarsity Press, 1961, rev. ed. 2008), 94.

Tom Nettles on Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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I was blessed to have Dr. Tom Nettles as my doctoral supervisor. Dr. Nettles has written what many consider to be the definitive treatment of the theology of the 19th century British Baptist pastor, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. His nearly 700 page volume was published last year with the title Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

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Recently, I had the privilege of hosting Dr. Nettles at Farmdale Baptist Church. He preached in the morning service from James 1:1-18 (see here for audio). In the evening service, Dr. Nettles offered a lecture on Charles Haddon Spurgeon titled “Spurgeon: A Model of Consistency in a Time of Trouble” (audio below).

Download MP3

An Orthodox Catechism Now Available for Pre-order

ImageReformed Baptist Academic Press is now accepting pre-orders of quantities of 10 or more of An Orthodox Catechism. This catechism is modernized version of the Orthodox Catechism published in 1680 by Hercules Collins. It was itself a revision of the 1563 Heidelberg Catechism loved and used by Protestants world-wide. This edition by Collins edits the section on baptism in a way suitable to a seventeenth-century Baptist. 

Michael A.G. Haykin and I have edited this historic catechism for a modern audience. We have also authored a historical introduction that explains the significance of the catechism along with Collins’ rationale for his edits.

The product page for the book is up on the RBAP website, but you will have to wait until the book is in stock to order individual copies (should be available within a week). The book retails for $12.00, but is available at a special price of $9.00 directly from the publisher. However, for churches or individuals who order 10 or more copies, the price is only $6.00 per copy. You pay shipping and $1.50 handling. These pre-orders must be paid via check. RBAP will invoice you via email. You need to contact RBAP directly to receive this offer.

UPDATE: The book is now available on Amazon for $10.80. Please note that the Kindle edition listed is not our edition, but a transcription of the unedited original.

Article Published in New Book on Heidelberg Catechism

This year marks the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism. This Protestant document was written in Heidelberg in 1563 on behalf of Frederick III, Elector Palatine and spread over the world when it was approved by the Synod of Dort in 1619. A new volume has recently been released to commemorate this important event in church history—Power of Faith: 450 Years of the Heidelberg Catechism, edited by Karla Apperloo-Boersma and Herman J. Selderhuis. See flyer from the German academic publisher, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, here.

In this 454 page hardcover book, respected specialists in their fields present how the Heidelberg Catechism spread and influenced culture, education and ecclesiastical life. In addition to the text, over 700 pictures illustrate the contributions making an attractive volume for display. This work includes the following contribution co-authored by Michael A. G. Haykin and me: “To ‘concenter with the most orthodox divines’: Hercules Collins and his An Orthodox Catechism—a slice of the reception history of the Heidelberg Catechism.”

Power of Faith is slated to be released in Dutch, English and German editions. You can order the English edition from Amazon.com (German edition) now.

New Book on Heidelberg Catechism Celebrates 450th Anniversary

Next year (2013) marks the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism. This Protestant document was written in Heidelberg in 1563 on behalf of Frederick III, Elector Palatine and spread over the world when it was approved by the Synod of Dort in 1619. A new volume is being released next March to commemorate this important event in church history. Power of Faith: 450 Years of the Heidelberg Catechism, edited by Karla Apperloo-Boersma, Herman J. Selderhuis. See flyer from publisher here.

In this 440 page hardcover book, respected specialists in their fields present how the Heidelberg Catechism spread and influenced culture, education and ecclesiastical life. In addition to the text, over 250 pictures illustrate the contributions making an attractive volume for display. This work will include the following contribution from Michael A. G. Haykin and Steve Weaver “To ‘concenter with the most orthodox divines’: Hercules Collins and his An Orthodox Catechism—a slice of the reception history of the Heidelberg Catechism.”

Power of Faith is slated to be released in Dutch, English and German editions. You can preorder the English edition from Amazon.com (German edition).

This was also posted at the blog of the Andrew Fuller Center.

“Eat the meat, spit out the bones!” Hercules Collins (paraphrase)

In 1680, Hercules Collins penned his first work, an adaption of the Heidelberg Catechism, which he titled An Orthodox Catechism. In his preface, Collins defended his inclusion of three creeds from the early church: the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian. His defense includes great advice on how a Christian should read works by those with whom they may have disagreements. He essentially says to chew the meat and spit out the bones. Great advice for us all.

I have proposed three Creeds to your consideration, which ought throughly to be believed and embraced by all those that would be accounted Christians, viz. The Nicene Creed, Athanasius his Creed, and the Creed commonly called the Apostles; The last of which contains the sum of the Gospels; which is industriously opened and explained; and I beseech you do not slight it because of its Form, nor Antiquity, nor because supposed to be composed by Men; neither because some that hold it, maintain some Errors, or whose Conversation may not be correspondent to such fundamental Principles of Salvation; but take this for a perpetual Rule, That whatever is good in any, owned by any, whatever Error or Vice it may be mixed withal, the Good must not be rejected for the Error or Vice sake, but owned; commended, and accepted.[1]


[1] Collins, An Orthodox Catechism, The Preface.

Book Recommendation: The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller

I am naturally drawn to bargains, so I noticed that the SBTS LifeWay campus store was selling Tim Keller’s small book The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy for only $1.99. But I thought there must not be much to it since they’re selling it so cheap. My dad bought a copy and when I asked him about it later, he said it was a must read. Taking his recommendation I bought it and read it. I found the book to be a gospel-liberating tract with the potential to transform lives. After reading the book, I immediately passed it on to my wife and encouraged her to read it. She did and shared my assessment. I have since given out approximately 25 copies to church members. I am encouraging everyone I know to read it, because it is just that helpful.

In this short work which is profoundly simple in its structure, Keller breaks down 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7 in three concise chapters. First, Keller correctly diagnoses the problem that most of us have of a latent self-centeredness. Second, Keller paints the biblical portrait of what a transformed self would look like. Finally, and most helpfully, Keller explains how we can get this transformed-view of self. With clinical precision this book will diagnose the problem which plagues most of us as Christian, but it will not leave us there. In typical Keller fashion, we are shown the difference that the gospel can make in our lives. That’s what makes this little book potentially life-changing, its gospel-centered approach to the human condition. I can’t recommend this work strongly enough. Pick up a copy for yourself and then be sure and pass it on to others. It’s that good!

If you can’t get to the LifeWay campus store at SBTS, you can get a print copy or Kindle edition (for only $0.99) from Amazon.com.