Hold Fast

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2, ESV)

Location: Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Friday, September 01, 2006

Some Great Books You Should All Read

Those who know me well know that I'm a bit of a bookworm. And so, with the demands of school behind me, I spent a considerable amount of time this summer reading.

Most of the books were edifying and useful. I thought that I should recommend a few in particular, though.

These four are popular-level books that I cannot endorse strongly enough. If you get a chance, get to the bookstore and find these - or, order them:

1) Knowing Scripture, by R.C. Sproul

This short book is an introduction to biblical interpretation. It lays out very basic and extremely useful rules and guidelines for reading and interpreting the Bible. There are many wrong ways to interpret Scripture, and the results are not pretty - every cult got its start with people who did not know how to handle Scripture. It is a Christian responsibility to "rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15)," and this book will go a LONG way to helping you. Sproul is an engaging writer and provides plenty of examples. More than any of the other books I'm going to mention here, this is a book every Christian should have on their shelf. It's worth it - BUY THIS ONE. There's no excuse - it's not expensive and I even provided the link from Amazon!

2) Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?

This book by the late Presbyterian pastor James Montgomery Boice is a heart's cry for the evangelical movement to reconver the principles it once stood for. It covers the five "solas" that were the backbone of the Protestant Reformation - that one is saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone. All of these principles are being twisted or forgotten in one way or another by modern Christians, and Boice lays out the problem in his book and suggests solutions. While I can't endorse some of the historical figures he cites positively (John Paul II and Brother Lawrence, for instance) it does not detract seriously from the overall message. This will disturb and convict any serious-minded Christian who is concerned about the witness of the Church. Brothers and sisters, all is not well in contemporary Christianity, and this book will explain why.

3. Ready to Restore, by Jay Adams

Every one of us has been there: a Christian brother or sister has come to us with a problem or situation, and needs wise and godly counsel. No small problem, this fellow believer is grappling with a deep and persistent problem that makes you wonder, "How do I handle this?" Jay Adams, the author of this short book, makes a persuasive case that every Christian is called to be a counselor (read Galatians 6:1)- not a professional counselor, necessarily, but a "lay counselor" nonetheless. This book is a beginner's introduction to the biblical principles undergirding counseling. I read this immediately after I finished a seminary-level counseling course, and I wish I had read this first. Its chapters are very short and readable, and it is a very systematic treatment of the topic - perfect for church studies or small groups.

4. The Battle For The Bible, by Howard Lindsell

As far as I know, this book is out of print. And that's too bad. One of the biggest problems facing modern Christianity is the relentless assault on the truthfulness of the Bible from inside and outside the "evangelical" camp. This 1978 volume is still as relevant today as it was when it was first published. Lindsell explains why inerrancy - the doctrine that Scripture is absolutely true in everything it teaches, including where it mentions dates, names, and science - is critical for the church. He then looks at how the doctrine came under attack in the latter half of the 20th century. This book needs to be read again, as both liberal Christianity and the "Emergent" movement cast doubt on the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible in our day.

So how do we read it, if it's out of print? Easy - the whole thing's on the Internet. Click on the book title above. Absolutely no excuse here!


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