Review: Acts (EP Study Commentary)

Waters, Guy Prentiss. “Acts: EP Study Commentary,” Evangelical Press, Watchmead, UK: 2014. 614 pp. $44.99

Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews, I’ve had the opportunity to review another book. This time around, to my delight, it is a commentary. I own a few commentaries on Acts, so I was curious to see what this one might offer. The EPSC is a solid series that boasts a handful of renowned scholars and theologians, and it seems that it just keeps getting better. Guy Prentiss Waters’ volume on Acts is a welcome addition.

                                                                               The author dedicates this book to Richard Gaffin (author of “Perspectives on Pentecost”) and relies heavily on commentators such as F.F. Bruce and John Stott, which are good indicators as to where he is coming from. Waters is a confessional Presbyterian (a teaching elder in the PCA) and Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, which are appealing credentials.

The commentary begins with a useful outline and introduction that includes information about the author, date, title, genre, and purpose. Waters breaks the commentary up into 18 chapters, focusing on “a geographical progression—Jerusalem; Judea and Samaria; the end of the earth,” including a supporting role of Jewish and Gentile missions as documented by the respective ministries of the apostles Peter and Paul (pp. 22–23). This is helpful for the reader because it orients the narrative in salvation history—which is crucial for proper interpretation of the book of Acts.

One of things I appreciate the most about this commentary is the “Application”  at the end of each chapter. Waters uses these sections to drive home the practical aspect of the narrative. This is where we catch a glimpse of the authors’ pastoral heart. Though it is clear he has done the heavy exegetical work for the reader, he doesn’t bog the audience down with the intricacies of his scholarship. What we do see is the fruit of a masterful expositor rightly dividing the word of truth.

I would happily recommend this commentary to anyone who has the task of teaching the word of God, or even the lay person who just wants to dig deeper. A commentary on Acts written from a confessionally Reformed perspective is a great benefit to the Church, and Guy Waters’ volume in the EPSC holds a respectful position in the ever-increasing archive of biblical commentaries.

Recommended reading:

Effective December 1, 2009, Federal Trade Commission guidelines state that bloggers receiving any kind of compensation should disclose that information clearly on their blog when posting a review of the product… that being said: I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK.

Notable & Newsworthy

Here are the links and stories for the day…

Get Geerhardus Vos’ “Redemptive History and Biblical Theology: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos” and “Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments” for 43% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

Get William Edgar’s “A Transforming Vision: The Lord’s Prayer as a Lens for Life” for up to 67% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

Download R.C. Sproul’s “5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow” for FREE from Reformation Trust and Ligonier Ministries

Enter to win The Complete Sermon Collection of Charles Spurgeon (63-Volumes) for Logos Bible Software from Adrian Warnock

Enter to win an iPad Mini and a couple of books from 20 Schemes

Enter to win a Cloth Over Board ESV Reader’s Bible from Crossway

Get Jeremy Walker’s “Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ” for only 99¢ for Amazon Kindle

Get Vern Poythress’ “Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach” for only 99¢ for Amazon Kindle

Get Thomas Schreiner’s “Interpreting the Pauline Epistles” for only $4.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Walter Brueggemann’s “Spirituality of the Psalms” for FREE for Logos Bible Software and enter to win the 24-volume collection

Enter to win a subscription to Leadership Journal from The Brave Reviews

Todd Pruitt offers his commentary on Derek Thomas’ recent Gospel Reformation Network address on sanctification

Thoughts on being a pastoral preacher

Jason Helopoulos on our compassionate Shepherd who knows all of our needs

David Prince on evangelical Christianity and the new liberalism and homosexuality

“The will of God is never defeated, though much is done that is contrary to His will… Even what is done in opposition to His will does not defeat His will.” (Augustine)

Please take some time to browse the rest of this site (you’ll find a number of pages in the tabs above). There are a large number of articles, FREE e-books, and book recommendations for your enjoyment. Check out the Pastoral Theology page or Apologetics page first. Soli Deo Gloria!

Review: Worshipping with Calvin

Johnson, Terry L. “Worshipping with Calvin: Recovering the Historic Ministry and Worship of Reformed Protestantism,” Darlington, England: 2014. 460 pp. $23.99

The recent resurgence of Calvinistic soteriology and Reformation theology has sparked many a conversation and produced quite a few popular-level books by the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” crowd. Although we’ve seen many responses to these works, typically addressing the theology and general ideology of the New Calvinism movement, Terry Johnson sets out to provide a scholarly work that focuses on the elements of Reformed worship.

In “Worshipping with Calvin,” Johnson presents extensive biblical and historical arguments for how a local church should conduct its worship services. He begins by looking at the contemporary evangelical landscape and the unfortunate historical and theological anemia that plagues it. After offering a comparison between the early Church and the current state of the western Church, and giving a brief historical survey of the 20th century “worship wars,” he provides strong exegetical, historical, and theological arguments in favor of a decidedly Reformed approach to worship and ministry.

Next, the author emphasizes the strengths of Reformed worship and ministry. He contends that this particular approach to liturgy is God-centered, Bible-filled, Gospel-structured, Church-aware, and Spirit-dependent.

This book was a great encouragement to me. I am in agreement with much of what is said within, but there are several arguments that the author gives that either changed my mind or solidified an existing position. For instance, Johnson has convinced me of the use of lectio continua (consecutive reading) Bible readings and singing Psalms in corporate worship. While previously, I have utilized lectio selecta (selective reading) Scripture readings to “reinforce” the passage preached, the author has convinced me of the wisdom in implementing a continuous reading of both the Old and New Testaments. Furthermore, while I have understood the importance of the Psalms for corporate worship, this book has convinced me of their necessity. Without dogmatically promoting a strict Psalms-only liturgical model, the author insists the inclusion of the Psalter and has convinced me that it is necessary to regularly and consistently involve Psalms in a worship service.

As a Reformed Baptist, I am in disagreement with the author’s views with regard to Covenant Theology and the sacrament of baptism (it is unfortunate that his treatment of credobaptism in chapter 6 only addresses the 16th century Anabaptists and not the 17th century Particular Baptists—though I acknowledge the book’s emphasis on John Calvin and the potential for anachronism), and while I have reservations with Johnson’s observations about ethnicity, his research is top-notch. Regardless of any covenantal differences I may have with Johnson, I strongly agree with the over-arching theme of this book—that our worship should be prescribed by Scripture and rooted in the historicity of the Church (and particularly that of the Reformation period). The cultural trends and encroachment of worldliness in contemporary American Christianity have spurned a new downgrade in the liturgical life of the Church, and my hope is that books like this will precipitate a doxological reformation in local evangelical churches.

Although this is a book primarily aimed at Presbyterians, I would recommend this book to any one who claims to be a Protestant Christian—particularly Pastors and Elders. Johnson offers a cogent exhortation for modern Christians to compare their liturgy with Scripture and Church history. He provides an abundance of Scriptural references, and quotes a multitude of well-known Pastors, theologians, and church historians (around 37% of the book is comprised of a bibliography and notes) to support his position. Terry Johnson’s “Worshipping with Calvin” is a helpful resource for Christians who want to glorify God in worship according to His Word.

For more on this subject, please visit the Historical Theology page.

Recommended reading:

Effective December 1, 2009, Federal Trade Commission guidelines state that bloggers receiving any kind of compensation should disclose that information clearly on their blog when posting a review of the product… that being said: I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK.

Notable &Newsworthy

Here are the links and stories for the day…

Get Jerram Barrs’ “Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Arts for 50% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

Get William Edgar’s “A Transforming Vision: The Lord’s Prayer as a Lens for Life” for up to 67% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

Download R.C. Sproul’s “5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow” for FREE from Reformation Trust and Ligonier Ministries

Enter to win an iPad Mini and a couple of books from 20 Schemes

Get Jeremy Walker’s “Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ” for only 99¢ for Amazon Kindle

Get Mark Dever’s “The Church: The Gospel Made Visible” for only $2.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get James Boice and Philip Ryken’s “14 Words from Jesus” for only $2.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Walter Brueggemann’s “Spirituality of the Psalms” for FREE for Logos Bible Software and enter to win the 24-volume collection

Enter to win a subscription to Leadership Journal from The Brave Reviews

W. Robert Godfrey on the Bible and faithful theological education

Jared Oliphint and Jonathan Brack review and critique “Kingdom Through Covenant”

Ed Stetzer gives 3 reasons why people do not get involved in church

An interesting look at the piety, failures, and contradictions of A.W. Tozer

5 simple steps for men to lead family worship

“Christ is the head, and his people are the members. If suffering could have been avoided, surely our glorious Head ought to have escaped; but inasmuch as he shows us his wounds, it is to tell us that we shall have wounds too.” (Charles Spurgeon)

Please take some time to browse the other pages on this site (located in the tabs above). You’ll find FREE e-books, articles, and book recommendations to help you in your walk. Check out the Biblical Theology page or Apologetics page first… and don’t forget to check out the Northwest Ohio Reformation Society. Thanks!

Notable & Newsworthy

Here are the links and stories for the day…

Download R.C. Sproul’s “5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow” for FREE from Reformation Trust and Ligonier Ministries

Enter to win an iPad Mini and a couple of books from 20 Schemes

Get Timothy Witmer’s “The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family” for only $5.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert’s “Preach: Theology Meets Practice” for only $4.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get James Boice and Philip Ryken’s “14 Words from Jesus” for only $2.99 for Amazon Kindle

Enter to win Michael Haykin’s “Patrick of Ireland” and Marvin Jones’ “Basil of Caesarea” from Christian Focus Publications

Last day to enter to win an autographed copy of Brian Hedges’ “Active Spirituality”

Get Walter Brueggemann’s “Spirituality of the Psalms” for FREE for Logos Bible Software and enter to win the 24-volume collection

Last day to get Ben Witherington’s “What’s in the Word” for FREE for Logos Bible Software and enter to win the 5-volume collection

Enter to win a subscription to Leadership Journal from The Brave Reviews

10 things you should know about church elders

A family study of the work-life balance of homeschool mothers

Countercultural parenting when your child doesn’t like church

Thom Rainer presents 7 ways one can hurt their Pastor

“Theology is an act of holy reason. It involves faith seeking understanding by thoughtfully reflecting on God’s self-revelation in Holy Scripture.” (Guy Davies)

Please take some time to explore the rest of this site (you’ll find the pages located up in the tabs). There are articles, FREE e-books, and book recommendations throughout. Check out the Pastoral Theology page or Exegetical Theology page first… thanks!

Notable & Newsworthy

Here are the links and stories for the day…

Get Richard Phillips’ “The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men” for up to 50% OFF from Westminster Bookstore

Get Timothy Witmer’s “The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family” for up to 50% OFF from Westminster Bookstore

Enter to win a subscription to Leadership Journal from The Brave Reviews

Get a FREE $5 gift certificate to Gospel Tract Planet

Dane Ortlund on what the Bible says about swearing

Nehemiah Coxe on the relationship between the Abrahamic Covenant and Mosaic Covenant

Ken Puls on singing the great hymns of the Faith

The common denominator of declining churches

“The redemptive message has implications for all of life; a truncated life results from a truncated message.” (Carl Henry)

“All true and saving repentance tends to holy practice.” (Jonathan Edwards)

Please take some time to browse the other pages on this site (located in the tabs above). You’ll find several articles, FREE e-books, and book recommendations for your edification. Check out the Exegetical Theology page or Pastoral Theology page first. Thanks!

John Owen Kindle Sale

All five volumes of John Owen’s writings published by Christian Focus Publications is currently on sale for Amazon Kindle. Click the link or image below to be redirected…

 

For more on this subject, please visit the Systematic Theology page.

Recommended reading:

God’s Zeal for His Own Glory

GOD’S ZEAL FOR HIS OWN GLORY

God chose his people for His glory (Eph. 1:4–6, 12, 14)

God created us for His glory (Isa. 43:6–7)

God called Israel for His glory (Isa. 49:3; Jer. 13:11)

God rescued Israel from Egypt for His glory (Ps. 106:7–8)

God raised Pharaoh up to show His power and glorify His name (Rom. 9:17)

God defeated Pharaoh at the Red Sea to show His glory (Ex. 14:4, 17, 18)

God spared Israel in the wilderness for the glory of His name (Ezek. 20:14)

God gave Israel victory in Canaan for the glory of His name (2 Sam. 7:23)

God did not cast away His people for the glory of His name (1 Sam. 12:20, 22)

God saved Jerusalem from attack for the glory of His name (2 Kings 19:34; 20:6)

God restored Israel from exile for the glory of His name (Ezek. 36:22–23, 32)

Jesus sought the glory of His Father in all He did (John 7:18)

Jesus told us to do good works so that God gets glory (Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12)

Jesus warned that not seeking God’s glory makes faith impossible (John 5:44)

Jesus said that He answers prayer that God would be glorified (John 14:13)

Jesus endured His final hours of suffering for God’s glory (John 12:27–28; 13:31–32; 17:1)

God gave his Son to vindicate the glory of His righteousness (Rom. 3:25–26)

God forgives our sins for His own sake (Isa. 43:25; Ps. 25:11)

Jesus receives us into His fellowship for the glory of God (Rom. 15:7)

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son of God (John 16:14)

God instructs us to do everything for His glory (1 Cor. 6:20; 10:31)

God tells us to serve in a way that will glorify Him (1 Pet. 4:11)

Jesus will fill us with fruits of righteousness for God’s glory (Phil. 1:9, 11)

All are under judgment for dishonoring God’s glory (Rom. 1:22, 23; 3:23)

Herod is struck dead because he did not give glory to God (Acts 12:23)

Jesus is coming again for the glory of God (2 Thess. 1:9–10)

Jesus’ ultimate aim for us is that we see and enjoy His glory (John 17:24)

Even in wrath God’s aim is to make known the wealth of His glory (Rom. 9:22–23)

God’s plan is to fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory (Hab. 2:14)

Everything that happens will redound to God’s glory (Rom. 11:36)

In the New Jerusalem the glory of God replaces the sun (Rom. 21:23)

For more on this subject, visit Desiring God.

Recommended reading:

Trinity Tuesday

TRINITARIAN MISSION THEOLOGY

“Not only is the ministry of the Son grounded in the love and commission of the Father, the ministry of Jesus’ followers is grounded in the love and commission of Jesus. What is more, by virtue of Jesus’ close relationship with both the Father on the one hand and the Spirit on the other, believers’ ministry is rooted also in the unity of Father, Son, and Spirit among one another. This does not obliterate all distinctions of role or authority. Just as Jesus is the Son who does the bidding of the Father who sent him, so his followers are to pursue their mission in total dependence on the Son and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. In the end, Father, Son, and Spirit are shown to provide redemption and revelation to a community that is itself sent on a redemptive and revelatory mission.” (Andreas Köstenberger)

For more on this subject, please visit the Biblical Theology page.

 

Recommended reading:

The Power of His Rising

The newest installment of the excellent missions series “Dispatches from the Front” has arrived. This episode is entitled, “The Power of His Rising” which takes us on a journey to the mission field of South Asia. The DVD is currently $5 (for the next 3 days) over at Westminster Bookstore:

For more on the subject, please visit Frontline Missions.

Recommended reading: