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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

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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

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

Download Brian Howard’s “100 Principles of Leadership” for FREE

Matt Slick on responding to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ attacks on the deity of Jesus Christ

“Where the plow does not go and the seed is not sown, the weeds are sure to multiply. And if children are left untrained, all sorts of evil will spring up in their hearts and lives.” (Charles Spurgeon)

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 encouragement and edification. Check out the Exegetical Theology page or Apologetics page first… Soli Deo Gloria!

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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!

Review: Active Spirituality

There has been a lot of talk over the past several months about the role of works within the context of the gospel. Much confusion has come about by those who promote antinomianism (licentious inactivity disguised as “grace” that is accompanied by a blatant disregard for the Law) as well as legalism (salvation is not by grace alone, but justification is attained by effort). “Active Spirituality: Grace and Effort in the Christian Life” by Brian Hedges is a timely book that seeks to provide a biblical framework for Christians to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). I’m thankful for my friends at Cross Focused Reviews for giving me the opportunity to review this book from Shepherd Press.

This is the first book by Hedges that I have read, though “Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change” and “Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin” are on my ever-increasing “to-read” list (I have the Kindle version of the former). I am grateful for brother Hedges’ labors for the gospel and the practical resources he has provided for the Church.

“Active Spirituality” is not written as a basic theology book, but as a series of letters to a young Christian. It was refreshing to see this format in a book that deals with a few challenging topics. As someone who spends much of his time reading systematic theology or biblical theology, it was nice to see a different approach to theology by utilizing this genre. In my opinion, the use of fictional correspondence helps capture the pastoral heart of the author and helps to emphasize the overall message of the book.

In these letters, Hedges interacts with a new convert who is pondering the Christian life. He covers topics like assurance of salvation, the necessity of the local church, the perseverance of the saints, repentance, self-examination, and spiritual weariness (amongst others). While offering pastoral insight into texts such as Philippians 2, Romans 7, and the warnings in the book of Hebrews, he pulls from a wide variety of sources like Augustine, Bunyan, Owen, Ryle, Edwards, and Lewis to assist him in shepherding this young Christian who is seeking to live for God’s glory.

Overall, any disagreements I have with the book are hair-splitting objections to how something was worded, or knee-jerk reactions to his interpretation of a passage (that he has undoubtedly spent more time studying). While I am not particularly fond of some of the sources he cited, he refers to Bunyan and Owen quite frequently (which I applaud), and does an excellent job synthesizing references. Hedges is also great at creating illustrations from a number of different stories and genres. Unfortunately, this book has no footnotes or Scripture index, but there is a helpful “Notes on Sources” appendix as well as a bibliography.

“Active Spirituality” is a useful little book for people who have recently embraced Christ as their Savior and King. Helping to navigate through the various challenges that await Christians in this life, the author provides pastoral care and concern throughout and offers wise biblical counsel to someone that needs guidance in their sojourn to the celestial city. This is a title that I would use in discipling new believers, and I’ll continue to dip into for it’s practicality and vast bibliography. Hedges has done the Church a service by giving us an easy-to-read and immensely practical book about the balance between grace and effort.

For more on this subject, please visit the Pastoral 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.

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Get R.C. Sproul’s “Acts: You Will Be My Witnesses to the End of the Earth” (St. Andrews Expositional Commentary) for 50% OFF from Westminster Bookstore

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Get the Southern Baptist Theological Seminaries’ “A Guide to Expository Ministry” for FREE

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Get Charles Quarles’ “Buried Hope or Risen Savior?” for just $0.99 for Amazon Kindle

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Get R.C. Sproul’s “Pleasing God: Discovering the Meaning and Importance of Sanctification” for just $3.03 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “God’s Love: How the Infinite God Cares for His Children” for just $3.03 for Amazon Kindle

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Get Tedd & Margy Tripp’s “Instructing a Child’s Heart” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Tedd Tripp’s “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Problems within the Reformed Church in America cause many to leave the denomination

A superb article by Nick Batzig on the dangers of theological controversy

Various Southern Baptists share their eschatological and millennial views

Download the new Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood for FREE

Rebecca Vandoodewaard shares some wise biblical counsel for raising daughters

“We must think right thoughts of God if we would worship him as he desires to be worshiped, if we would live the life he wishes us to live, and enjoy the peace which he has provided for us.” (B.B. Warfield)

“When men talk of a little hell it’s because they think they have only a little sin and believe in a little Savior.” (Charles Spurgeon)

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!

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Get Sidney Greidanus’ “Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons” for 50% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

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Get Charles Quarles’ “Buried Hope or Risen Savior?” for just $0.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “How Then Shall We Worship?: Biblical Principles to Guide Us Today” for just $2.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “Pleasing God: Discovering the Meaning and Importance of Sanctification” for just $3.03 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “God’s Love: How the Infinite God Cares for His Children” for just $3.03 for Amazon Kindle

Get R.C. Sproul’s “The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word” for just $3.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Paul Tripp’s “Broken-Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Tedd & Margy Tripp’s “Instructing a Child’s Heart” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get Tedd Tripp’s “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” for just $1.99 for Amazon Kindle

Get J.I. Packer’s “Finishing Our Course with Joy: Guidance from God for Engaging with Our Aging” for just $4.99 for Amazon Kindle

Check out Ligonier’s $5 Friday sale featuring Richard Phillips’ “What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?”

Tim Keller and D.A. Carson on the recent shake-ups at The Gospel Coalition

John Murray on justification and good works

David Helm on the dangers of the lectio divina approach to biblical interpretation

David Murray on evangelism according to the book of Proverbs

The benefits of developing a robust Christology

Tim Keesee on the advance of the gospel around the world

“You can drift into sin, but not into righteousness.” (Leon Morris)

”The kingdom of heaven is worth infinitely more than the cost of discipleship.” (D.A. Carson)

Please visit some of the other pages on this site (located in the tabs). You’ll find some excellent articles, FREE e-books, and book recommendations. Check out the Pastoral Theology page or Systematic Theology page first. Thanks!

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Get Donald MacLeod’s “The Person of Christ” (Contours of Christian Theology) for 60% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

Last chance to enter to win books by Brian Croft, Joel Beeke, Mez McConnell, and Matthias Media at 20 Schemes

Enter to win a genuine leather ESV Study Bible from Crossway and 20 Schemes

Get Kevin Vanhoozer’s “Theological Interpretation of the New Testament” for FREE from Logos Bible Software

William T. Dennison’s biblical-theological catechism of eschatology in Genesis

David Murray on the dangers of too little sleep and 50 good reasons to sleep longer

Download D.A. Carson’s “The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God” for FREE

5 books every new Christian should read

Mark Jones on the nature and scope of the atonement amongst Calvinists and Arminians

The Covenant of Works in the 1677 London Baptist Confession of Faith

7 questions for discouraged Pastors to ask themselves

Former Christian publishing insider shares the realities of fluff, platforms, ghostwriting, and back-cover blurbs

Seminary student and mother of three drops some Baptist history knowledge in this Fresh Prince of Bel-Air parody

“Hope is a supernatural grace of God, whereby the believer, through Christ, expects and waits for all those good things of the promise, which at present he hath not received, or not fully.” (William Gurnall)

“We don’t drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort we don’t gravitate toward godliness but godlessness.” (D.A. Carson)

Please take some time and browse the rest of the pages on this site (located in the tabs at the top). You’ll find a variety of articles, FREE e-books, and book recommendations for your encouragement and equipping. Check out the Exegetical Theology page or the Historical Theology page first. Enjoy!

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Up to 64% OFF of John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life” at Westminster Bookstore (ends 05/20)

Last day to win a stack of books from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and 20 Schemes

Enter to win all of Jared Wilson’s books from 20 Schemes

A very helpful article by Kevin DeYoung on the current sanctification debate going on in evangelicalism

Huge clearance sale at Reformation Heritage Books

Listen to all of K. Scott Oliphint’s “Introduction to Apologetics” course (28 lectures) on iTunes U

James Montgomery Boice’s “Studies in Acts” MP3 DVD series now 50% OFF at Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Disability and the purpose and dilemma of beauty

FREE video lectures on the Trinity from R.C. Sproul

FREE download of an updated version of George Benedict Winer’s Comparative Theology courtesy of Fred Sanders

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“O how many have been coached to hell in the chariots of earthly pleasures, while others have been whipped to heaven by the rod of affliction?” (John Flavel)

“Afflictions are light when compared with what we really deserve. They are light when compared with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps their real lightness is best seen by comparing them with the weight of glory which is awaiting us.” (A.W. Pink)

Please take some time to browse the other pages on this site (check the tabs at the top). You will find loads of good articles, free e-books, and book recommendations. Start with the Systematic Theology page or the Biblical Theology page… and don’t forget to check out the Northwest Ohio Reformation Society!

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Huge assortment of FREE apologetics e-books and online resources

Get John Owen’s “The Priesthood of Christ” for 70% OFF at Westminster Bookstore

The supreme importance of mentoring in leadership development

J.D. Hall corrects some common misconceptions of Legalism and Pharisaism

Mark Jones, author of “Antinomiamism,” challenges Tullian Tchividjian to a debate on Law/Gospel

Last chance to win 6 books from Practical Shepherding and 20Schemes

Get a FREE study guide for Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert’s “The Gospel at Work”

Enter to win Nik Ripken’s “The Insanity of God”

Just 2 days left to win an embosser for your library/study from SBTS

Down Syndrome and the evil of abortion

“I would go into the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“As the rivers cannot rest till they pour themselves into the bosom of the sea, so neither can renewed souls find rest till they come into the bosom of God.” (John Flavel)

Please visit the rest of the site for articles, FREE e-books, and helpful resources. Check out the Apologetics Page and the Historical Theology page for starters.

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Enter to win a stack of books from Practical Shepherding and 20Schemes

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Download a FREE copy of William P. Smith’s “Loving Well (Even if You Haven’t Been)” from New Growth Press

Enter to win Thom Rainer’s “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” and a genuine leather HCSB Study Bible

The deadline for community pricing bids for Logos Bible Software’s “Baptist Covenant Theology” collection ends today… bid now!

Rex Semrad’s helpful critique and review of Christian Hedonism and John Piper’s “Desiring God”

Check out Ligonier Ministries’ deals over at $5 Friday

J.C. Ryle’s 5 Tips for Raising Godly Children

A Christian Response to the Fast Life by Os Guinness

“A man who feels he is competent, and that he can do this easily, and so rushes to preach without any sense of fear or trembling, or any hesitation whatsoever, is a man who is proclaiming that he has never been ‘called’ to be a preacher.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

Please visit the other pages on this site (listed above in the tabs) for more information. There are book recommendations and articles on a wide variety of topics across the various disciplines (Exegetical Theology, Pastoral Theology, etc.)—enjoy!

Review: Life in Christ

The good folks at Cross Focused Reviews have blessed me with another book to review. I was really excited about the prospect of reviewing this book, as it deals with what I see as one of the most neglected aspects of the Christian life as represented in mainstream American evangelicalism: Discipleship. As the title implies, the book also covers the glorious doctrine of Union with Christ—which in its own right is a teaching that is largely overlooked. Jeremy Walker‘s “Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ” is a welcome addition to contemporary discipleship resources that is not only pastoral, but thoroughly biblical and theologically precise.

In the first chapter, “Looking to Jesus,” he instructs the reader as to how one comes to Christ for salvation. Walker examines the command and invitation of the gospel, as well as the purpose and promise of the gospel. Beginning with the contrast between human depravity and the necessity of regeneration, the author weaves biblical references in and through to help the reader understand the Bible’s teaching of conversion–repentance and faith–and the grace of being declared righteous according to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

In chapter two, Walker seeks to unpack the doctrine of Union with Christ. He points to the teachings of the apostle Paul to explain the Christian’s position “in Christ” and the Christian’s nature as a “new creation.” (pp. 22–27) The author continues by rightfully expounding upon 2 Corinthians 5:17. He explains that for the Christian, “the old has gone and is gone for good; the new has come and keeps on coming.” (p. 28) Walker then closes out the chapter with an evangelistic appeal: “Whoever comes to Christ in faith–repenting of his sins, seeing his misery without Christ, seeking grace to be in Christ–and earnestly desiring that one day he might see and be with Christ–will find Christ to be his Savior and Lord and will enter into the blessed realities of the new creation in himself now and look forward to a life in a new heaven and new earth with Christ in days to come, the very heaven of heaven.” (p. 34)

Walker speaks of “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ” in the third chapter, and described the glorious riches of Christ. Surveying the book of Ephesians, he shows the reader the “unsearchable” love, grace, forgiveness, wisdom, power, joy, truth, assurance, hope, and mercy in Christ (pp. 38–44). The glorious person of Christ is next to be considered, as the author gives a Christological overview regarding the deity, humanity, agony, and glory of the Savior. The chapter concludes with an explanation of the glorious mystery of the gospel and the revelation of Jesus Christ. “The unsearchable riches of Christ are proclaimed in order that they might be known and enjoyed, received by sinners who have come to rest in the boundless resources of Jesus Christ as their Deliverer, the One given for the very purpose of meeting the needs of fallen people. That in itself is unsearchable!” (p. 48) All other pursuits leave something to be desired, but the knowledge and loveliness of Christ, which is inexhaustible, is satisfying beyond measure.

Chapter four is about the blessed doctrine of adoption. Rooted in the writings of the apostle John, the author presents the breathtaking reality of God’s love towards His children: “This is indeed a love that comes from God the Father, the God who does abiding good to the utterly undeserving, establishing an intimate relation with them in giving, as a gift of love, His own beloved Son. This is a love without measure flowing from the infinite heart of a good and loving God, an ocean without shore, a realm without frontier.” (p. 58) The author shows how the love of God is everlasting and unchangeable, abounding and unlimited, and undeserved and overwhelming. (pp. 58–59) He has given us a new nature and calls us His sons, and Walker beckons us to behold this truth for wonder and encouragement, for trust and confidence, for obedience and fortitude, for joy and thankfulness, and finally, for joy. (pp. 60–65)

Continuing with his examination of the apostle John’s writings, Walker addresses eternal security in chapter nine: “The Jewel of Assurance.” He points to the pastoral mindset of John in his first epistle and how he wanted his readers to know Christ and have life in Him (cf. 1 John 5:13). We see that assurance of salvation is definable, desirable, and possible. (pp. 67–76) The author closes the chapter with the pneumatological reality of assurance: “It is the Spirit of adoption who works in us faith and its fruits, implanting and stimulating graces which are the evidence of new life and witnessing with our spirit to their presence and reality and owning us by His sweet influences and by these means as children of God. The good grounds of confidence in the life of a saved person produce, through the Spirit’s witness, their full gift in our minds and hearts.” (p.77)

In what I see as the most important chapter of the book, “The Marks of God’s Children” seeks to present a framework of the Christian life. The author begins by laying to rest some common “inconclusive indications” of assurance of salvation like visible morality, head knowledge, and external religion. (pp. 80–84). He then devotes the rest of the chapter to showcase the marks of a true Christian. These “indispensable indications” of biblical assurance are repentance and faith, devotion to God, growth in holiness, and love for the saints. (pp. 85–108) This section alone is worth the cost of the book and is a spiritual gem for the newly converted and veteran Christian alike. I will certainly be using this material for disciple-making in the future.

“A Work in Progress” is the title of chapter seven, in which the author surveys the apostle Paul’s writings on sanctification. It is a masterful call to persevere; to press on in the Christian life. We should strive to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) and not be passive in our pursuit of holiness. Walker rightly points out that Paul’s exhortation to put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:13–17) “is not a call to occasional endeavor but a command constantly and thoroughly to work at a task until the point of completion.” (p. 113) This is not works-righteousness… the indicatives of the gospel (what Christ has done) are prior to the imperatives of the gospel (what is expected of us). “Our joy and blessing as God’s children,” says Walker, “are bound up in God’s ultimate purpose for us, and he is sovereignly bringing it to pass.” (p. 125)

The final chapter focuses on the apostle Paul’s later writings, particularly those sections where we gain some insight into his impending death. “A Life in Review” is a heartfelt look at the apostle’s unending endurance in the fight and race of the faith. Paul looks around, looks back, and finally looks ahead to a great crown, a great Christ, and a great company of redeemed sinners in the consummation. (pp. 130–138)

Review

Jeremy Walker’s “Life in Christ” is a warm and encouraging explanation on what it means to be a Christian. With pastoral sensitivity and theological clarity, he presents a biblical faithful work on being a disciple and living life to the glory of God. Like a modern-day Puritan, Walker marries doctrine and practice to create a magnificent resource for instructing maturing disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For more on this subject…

Jeremy Walker interviewed on the Janet Mefferd Show

Jeremy Walker interview with The Confessing Baptist

A Reader’s Review of “The New Calvinism Considered”

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.