A catechism summarizes the confession of a church in a simple form that can be memorized and passed down easily. In Internalizing the Faith, J. Brandon Burks presents a Reformed catechism to teach the youth of his church body and reinforce the beliefs of those who already know their faith.
Burks has written a pretty good encapsulation of Reformed theology here. The book is slim, to the point, and generally clear. I appreciated the format. Burks presents one hundred seven questions, most with one-sentence answers. Each answer has one Biblical reference with an endnote. The endnotes present a paragraph for each question in the main body of the book. Each paragraph has a number of biblical references and books for further reading. (more…)
What is the church’s relationship to the world supposed to be? Are we supposed to stand apart from the world and refuse to let it in? Are we supposed to be in the world, making it better? Are we supposed to learn from the world or run from it? In this book, Tulian tackles what the church should be. He claims that the church makes the best changes in the world by being different – by being, well, unfashionable. We can only make a difference by being different. And the only way to be different is to be what we are: Sinners saved by grace, children of God chosen by his pleasure and mercy. And to be strengthened to do that, we must be in the Word.
Tullian has “fallen from grace” in many circles because of what appear to be true allegations concerning his conduct and refusal to repent. I won’t defend the author of this work – assuming the allegations are true, Tullian must repent, and should he repent, I pray he is shown true grace.
That said, even with those allegations, Tullian wrote several books that spoke Law and Gospel so well that I still pick up his books when I find them available. (His excellent Jesus+Nothing=Everything still receives my highest recommendation!) (more…)
What rules does your church teach? Follow your heart? Make sure you do X? How about, “Make sure it makes sense”? Or is it more, “THIS will save the church” every couple of years?
The church in America is broken. It’s hemorrhaging souls. It’s not being Jesus. And the reason it’s broken is that it refuses to break these seven rules.
Fisk writes an ambitious book. He targets seven huge paradigms of thinking that have captured much of America. It’s not just churches; it’s the very culture we live in. A book like this could be heavy and thick with terms that only make sense in doctorate studies. A book like this could be filled with fire and brimstone.
Instead, it’s filled with Star Wars references and wonderful pictures that explain everything well. (more…)
You don’t have to do more, be more, have more. You’re a daughter of God, a holy princess, a woman created with strengths you’ve yet to fully grasp and a story that’s still being written by the divine Author himself. … [in Christ] you’re not only amazing. You’re enough. You’re beautiful. You’re wanted. You’re chosen. You’re called.
You’re Already Amazing presents an amazing truth: in Christ, you are enough. In Christ, you are everything you need to be and more… because Jesus is enough and everything you need to be. You have his record. So stop trying to be someone you’re not… because Jesus has made you exactly who he wants you to be. (more…)
The subtitle on this slim volume immediately caught my attention: “Calling and equipping men to lead their homes.” I see a great need for men to once more take up the reigns that they’ve set down due to apathy and bad examples. Men have been called by God to lead their families. It’s not the school’s place to teach the truths of God’s Word to children. It’s not the pastor’s job. The father of each family has the primary responsibility to teach his children and lead his wife into the Bible.
In his introduction, Baucham writes:
There’s a generation of men who sense God’s Spirit calling them to something more – but without reformation, they have no idea what “more” looks like. My goal in this book is to offer what I hope to be helpful, biblical, gospel-centered truths that will prepare us to that end. May God use this to spur on the needed reformation. We must forsake our extrabiblical (and sometimes outright unbiblical) paradigms in favor of biblical ones. … I want to help men overcome a legacy of passivity, incompetence, and indifference.
Most men lead hollow lives. And they hate it. They work in jobs that offer them no long-lasting fulfillment. Their relationships are surface. They don’t have any deep friendships like they see celebrated in the movies. No, men are dying inside.
Man Alive proposes to transform “your 7 primal needs into a powerful spiritual life.” The book offers a chapter for each need (along with an introductory and concluding chapter). Does it succeed?
Well, yes and no. Dave Ramsey has a quote on the front cover: “You need to hear the truth and brother-to-brother encouragement that Patrick Morley delivers in Man Alive!” Either Ramsey doesn’t read a lot of men’s ministry books or he’s overselling.
The book makes a good survey of a bunch of problems facing men. Morley does a fine job presenting God’s answers, and how churches can help provide answers. There’s honestly a lot of good stuff in here. My struggle as I read it lay in that I’ve been doing a fair amount of work in men’s ministry, and this book is aimed at men who haven’t. I’m not the target audience, and it showed. I wanted each chapter to go far deeper, and this book isn’t aimed to do that.