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Ashamed Of The Gospel

 By: John MacArthur

     MacArthur speaks out against apathy in the church today; it is as it was in Charles Spurgeon's day, of which Spurgeon wrote: Everywhere there is apathy. Nobody cares whether that which is preached is true or false. A sermon is a sermon whatever the subject; only the shorter it is the better.

Brothers We Are Not Professionals
 By: John Piper

Passionate, Practical, Powerful
      This may be the most important book written for pastors in the past decade. Piper sounds a clarion call for pastors to chunk professionalized ministry for the radical and humble, self-denying and soul-satisfying, culture-threatening and person-redeeming ministry commended in Scripture. "The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake," Piper warns. This comes from the first of thirty chapters that chart for us how to cultivate radical, biblical ministry. Piper tells us to make God's glory central, pursue our joy in Him, go hard after God in prayer, labor over the Scriptures, read great books, study great lives, and emphasize soul-saving truths. This book is full of clear-thinking about both doctrinal issues (like eternal security) and ethical issues (like abortion), and the clear-thinking is joined with a hot-hearted passion for God, holiness, the Word, eternity, and the perishing. Brothers, this is a great book. If you want to be God's man for such a time as this, then get it, read it, meditate on it, pray over it, and above all, live it. God help us.

Chosen by God
 By: R.C. Sproul

     Here is a clear scriptural case for the classic (and sometimes controversial) Christian doctrine of predestination. Through this view of a truly sovereign God, readers will see how sinfulness prevents man from choosing God on his own; instead, God must change people's hearts.

Counted Righteous in Christ
 By: John Piper

     Does Christ's life-long record of perfect obedience to God get 'credited' to your account when you trust in Christ and are 'justified' by God? This has been the historic Protestant understanding of the 'imputation of Christ's righteousness,' but John Piper warns that we are in danger of losing this doctrine today, because of attacks by scholars within the evangelical camp. In response, Piper shows, in careful treatment of passage after passage, that the imputation of Christ's righteousness to believers is clearly the teaching of the Bible, and if we abandon this doctrine we will also lose justification by faith alone.   John Piper defends this crucial doctrine.

Desiring God
 By: John Piper

From a reader
     John Piper's God-exalting book is one of the most stimulating and engaging books that I have ever read. The chief end of man, Piper writes, is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. He expands on this by repeatedly teaching us that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. God gets the glory, we get the pleasure and happiness. In other words, God's desire to be glorified and my desire for lasting peace, happiness, joy, and satisfaction are not at odds with each other, but are one and the same goal. Reading this book will take you through a whirlwind tour of God-centered Christianity by a careful and very wise guide. Piper shows how a Christian Hedonist uses her money, loves his neighbor, worships his God, and seeks to have others join in worship by exalting God in missions and rejoicing in suffering. Using our sword (the Word) and empowered by prayer, we can be obedient in this battle. This book could reawaken countless numbers of Christians to exalt God for who he is, and is even recommended for the non-Christian who believes that this particular faith is a usual, boring one. It is no exagerration to state that this book will point one to the fountain of joy: God Himself. Therefore, I would recommend this to all who are Christian Hedonists and all who desire to become one!

Don't Waste Your Life
 By: John Piper

     God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work, not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.

Evangelicalism Divided
 By: Ian Murray

     “I pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. . . .  May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  Those were the words of our Lord Himself at the end of John 17.  It was His last prayer for the disciples before He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and taken away to die.  Unity is a high ideal.  In every era of history, there is some loud, clear voice calling for the end of division in the church.  The fourth and fifth centuries had it in the councils that declared against Arius and Nestorius.  The eleventh century had it in both Popes and Patriarchs working, albeit unsuccessfully, for the reunion of the Greek and Latin churches.  The sixteenth century certainly heard that call, most loudly from the Roman Catholic church decrying the schism being perpetrated by Luther and Calvin.  And our own century has seen it, too, and continues to see it—a call for denominations to put aside “petty” theological differences and unite for the good of society and the world.  Iain Murray has written a book called Evangelicalism Divided.  The book is a historical record of the ecumenical movement in the United States and Great Britain in the latter half of the twentieth century.  In it, Murray traces the developments in the ministries of several key figures in the era, most notably Billy Graham, J.I. Packer, and John Stott.  His conclusion is that because of a desire to have a place at the table of ecumenical discussion, a long series of what seemed at the time to be relatively innocuous decisions eventually blurred the bright line that marks out what it means to be a Christian. 

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God
 By: J. I. Packer

     A key theme of this book is the antimony (unresolvable tension) between God’s sovereignty, man’s responsibility, and the Christian’s evangelistic duty. Packer says of his book that it “dispels the suspicion that faith in the absolute sovereignty of God hinders a full recognition and acceptance of evangelistic responsibility. On the contrary, only this faith [in sovereignty] can give Christians the strength that they need to fulfill their evangelistic task”

     In approaching these two concepts of Sovereignty and Human Responsibility, Packer first reminds us that the Bible teaches both concepts. The fact that we cannot resolve how these two truths fit together does not give us license to therefore declare them as contradictory. We know that God’s word is inerrant, and because both of these concepts are taught, we must hold to both of them. We do well to reflect on Isaiah 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”

Foundations of Grace
A Long Line of Godly Men
 By: Steven J. Lawson

     Lawson begins in chapter 1 - "A Long Line of Godly Men" - with something of an overview of the book. He talks about the foundations of the reformed theology finding root in the Bible itself, and shows briefly how those truths were brought into sharp focus in the reformation, spread throughout Europe, crossed the Atlantic to the Americas and continue to be cherished today. He also traces what these central themes of the reformed faith are - the sovereignty of God in life and salvation, the primacy of the glory of God, man's depravity and need of God's sovereign grace, and the doctrines of grace as a lens to see God's saving work accomplished and applied.
     From there in chapters 2-8, Lawson begins with Moses and takes the reader through to the very end of the Old Testament with the Minor Prophets, demonstrating the continuing teaching and belief of these same truths about God, his sovereign grace, and man's need of them.
     In many ways, the apex of the book comes in the controversially titled chapter "Christ, the Calvinist" (chapter 9). Here and in the next chapter Lawson demonstrates from the gospels that teachings of reformed theology have their root in Jesus himself. Just as the foundation was laid in the Old Testament, so Jesus - the Word incarnate - picks up those same themes and makes them essential to his ministry and teaching. Like George Whitefield, whom he quotes, one can say, "I embrace the Calvinistic scheme, not because of Calvin, but Jesus taught it to me" (pg. 240).
     After this, Lawson moves through the rest of the New Testament in chapters 11-18. Beginning with Peter and the book of Acts, Lawson continues to convincingly show that the emphasis and understanding of the reformed faith (i.e., Calvinism) is not something imposed on the Bible, but naturally rises out from it. He demonstrates the fundamental coherence to the Bible's teaching on these issues.
     One of the greatest strengths of Foundations is Lawson's writing style. Lawson is a more than capable pastor and it shows in this book. His writing is far from dry, but exhibits a style that is passionate and engaging. This shouldn't be surprising since the original idea and study for this material came from Lawson's Men's discipleship class at his church.
     Another great strength is the book's organization. Each chapter is subdivided into the specific theological themes that Lawson traces out. Themes include things like sovereign grace, definite atonement, choosing and election, etc. This makes the book more coherent (and readable) than if he simply moved from chapter to chapter, book to book, pointing out every verse that spoke to every emphasis in reformed theology

Foundations of the Christian Faith
 By: James Boice

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some are to be read in parts, others to be read but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly with diligence and attention".  -Sir Francis Bacon-

     The 17 th century English essayist was not thinking of the Bible as he penned this observation, though if any book should be “read wholly and with diligence and attention” it should be the Bible, so says Jim Boice, the author of a book about which one could rightly apply the entire quote…because Foundations of the Christian Faith can be tasted in small morsels, at times swallowed in big chunks, and because of its readable style even read wholly with diligence and attention.  Dr. Boice will be a familiar name to many, both inside and outside the Reformed tradition.

Getting the Gospel Right
 By: R. C. Sproul

This book from R.C. Sproul is a further result of the Roman Catholic/Evangelical dialogue of recent years, and the ongoing controversy which arose when certain prominent Evangelicals signed the first document which issued from that dialogue: Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT). The purpose was to set forth key elements of the Christian faith which both Catholics and Evangelicals could agree on, and use as a basis for cooperation in presenting a united front against the secularist and pagan trends in our culture. The document was signed in 1994, and the signatories included such Evangelical stalwarts as Charles Colson and J.I. Packer. However, other Evangelicals such as Sproul said that Evangelicals could not sign a common statement of faith with Catholics unless either Catholics or Evangelicals had changed their position over key aspects, particularly the doctrine of justification by faith (sola fide) which was the primary dividing issue which led to the Protestant Reformation. One negative impact of ECT was that Evangelical unity on the key issue of sola fide was now threatened. Sproul says that “the effort to seek unity and accord with Roman Catholics had the negative effect of driving a wedge between Evangelicals who once were closely allied” (page 10). Since both the Evangelical and Catholic signatories affirmed that they had not abandoned the historical position of their respective groups, then the document must have been flawed in affirming agreement on a key issue, when there was in fact no agreement.

Hard to Believe
 By: John MacArthur

     A reader writes, I truly appreciate, in this world of "easy-believism", the opportunity to praise someone who resists it. I don't always agree with everything John MacArthur says, but I give him kudos for speaking out on this most unpopular of issues. I've passed the book around a bit to friends who attend "seeker-friendly" chruches, and invariably they report that the book is "too harsh", "depressing", and the like. Does this scare anyone besides me? When did it happen that the gospel needs to be happy and cheery or "we won't listen", or, worse yet, "let's change it to make it sound more enticing"? Most depressing of all is the fact that truth no longer matters - it's all about making the narrow way as broad as we can. I'm sorry the current popular view of God is so low. We all need to remember that "converts" must be weighed as well as counted. If you'd like a thoughtful, well-written response to "easy believism", read this book. As usual, MacArthur points the reader to God's Word as the final authority.

 By: J. C. Ryle

     Ryle speaks to the heart and soul of every man. He wields the sword of the Spirit like a skillful surgeon, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow. He addresses hard and trying subjects which most modern evangelicals have chosen to ignore: the power and depth of indwelling sin, the necessity of a holy life, the struggle and fight of faith, counting the cost of following Christ... and that's only in the first 5 chapters! 'Holiness' is one of four volumes of what has been called Ryle's body of 'Practical Theology.' Each of these volumes is infinitely worthy in its own right, but 'Holiness' stands just a little taller than the rest. It is unique, not in its content--for Ryle's message is the message of scripture--but in its simplicity and singleness of focus

Institutes of Christian Religion
 By: John Calvin

     Calvin's prefix to the second edition for the reader:
      In the First Edition of this work, having no expectation of the success which God has, in his goodness, been pleased to give it, I had, for the greater part, performed my office perfunctorily, as is usual in trivial undertakings. But when I perceived that almost all the godly had received it with a favour which I had never dared to wish, far less to hope for, being sincerely conscious that I had received much more than I deserved, I thought I should be very ungrateful if I did not endeavour, at least according to my humble ability, to respond to the great kindness which had been expressed towards me, and which spontaneously urged me to diligence. I therefore ask no other favour from the studious for my new work than that which they have already bestowed upon me beyond my merits. I feel so much obliged, that I shall be satisfied if I am thought not to have made a bad return for the gratitude I owe. This return I would have made much earlier, had not the Lord, for almost two whole years, exercised me in an extraordinary manner. But it is soon enough if well enough. I shall think it has appeared in good season when I perceive that it produces some fruit to the Church of God. I may add, that my object in this work was to prepare and train students of theology for the study of the Sacred Volume, so that they might both have an easy introduction to it, and be able to proceed in it, with unfaltering step, seeing I have endeavoured to give such a summary of religion in all its parts, and have digested it into such an order as may make it not difficult for any one, who is rightly acquainted with it, to ascertain both what he ought principally to look for in Scripture, and also to what head he ought to refer whatever is contained in it. Having thus, as it were, paved the way, I shall not feel it necessary, in any Commentaries on Scripture which I may afterwards publish, to enter into long discussions of doctrines or dilate on common places, and will, therefore, always compress them. In this way the pious reader will be saved much trouble and weariness, provided he comes furnished with a knowledge of the present work as an essential prerequisite. As my Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans will give a specimen of this plan, I would much rather let it speak for itself than declare it in words. Farewell, dear reader, and if you derive any fruit from my labours, give me the benefit of your prayers to the Lord.  Strasbourg, 1st August 1539.

Knowing God
 By: J. I. Packer

     During the past 20 years, J. I. Packer's classic has revealed to over one million Christians around the world the wonder, the glory and the joy of knowing God.  During July 2000, winner of the Platinum Book Award from Evangelical Christian Publishing Association in recognition of more than one million copies sold (and that's just in North America!

Let the Nations Be Glad
 By: John Piper

     In the new preface Piper explains who this book is for: This book is not just for missionaries. It is for pastors who (like me) want to connect their fragile, momentary local labors to God’s invincible, eternal, global purposes. It’s for lay people who want a bigger motivation for being world Christians than they get from statistics. It’s for college and seminary classes on the theology of missions that really want to be theological as well as anthropological, methodological, and technological. And it’s for leaders who need the flickering wick of their vocation fanned into flame again with a focus on the supremacy of God in all things.

No Place for Truth
 By: David F. Wells

     Wells's assessment of the modern evangelical church is a real eye-opener. Unfortunately, I think he is on target in many respects. This book begins by describing the history of the Christian Church over the last several hundred years. Wells then delineates what he thinks has happened in a slow spiral decline of the church that has lead to some of the more pervasive problems that are occurring today. For example, Wells describes the collapse of theological issues that have slowly crept into the fabric of the Church and he discusses how these trends may be changed. He touches on the movements in culture that have affected the theology of the church (i.e. modernity to postmodernity trends, romanticism, enlightenment, deconstructionism etc.). He also describes the political atmosphere of the U.S. in the last 200 years and explains those changing trends that have had an impact upon Christianity in America. Wells ends the work with a plea to return to traditional roots. Not that he is resistant to any change at all, but that he believes (and I agree) that we should be more discerning as Christian and not be so quickly moved by every whim of teaching or idea. Christians need to become more serious about the issues of truth and theology and how these things affect not only our worship but our Churches. Unfortunately, these (truth and theology) are the two things that are the first to go in the Church's "gung-ho" attitude to embrace anything that will work (pragmatism). This book will challenge you to think about issues which perhaps would not otherwise be considered.

Pilgrim' Progress
 By: John Bunyan

     Once the most deeply cherished book in English-speaking households other than Bible itself, John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is the allegorical tale of Christian the pilgrim on his journey to the Celestial City. Along the way, Christian encounters both worthy companions and dreadful adversaries. Although this book was written more than three hundred years ago, this stirring spiritual narrative still bears the power to challenge and encourage readers on their own spiritual journeys.

Sovereignity of God
 By: A.W. Pink

     Arthur W. Pink (d. 1953) is noted for his independent thinking. He was so well read, and had such a photographic memory, that he could give you the page and column in a host of reference works and commentaries. This book shocked the Christian world in 1919 when he first published it. He fiercely defends the sovereignty of God, and all the cognate doctrines such as the Doctrines of Grace. It is THE book to give to those just after conversion, and a prime book to give to anyone who defends the free will of man.      Pink was a Baptist preacher who held pulpits in England, America, and Australia. His conversion was instant, and complete dedication to the cause of God and truth quickly became evident. This early book by Pink lays Scripture end to end to prove God's control over all persons and events. It is uncompromising, and as such it raises the hackles on the necks of many new students of this doctrine. Persons who knew Pink seldom objected to anything he taught, because he could literally quote hundreds of verses of Scripture verbatim on the subject under discussion. This book may be overwhelming, but it is certain that its many printings have been used of God to convince people of His sovereignty. His doctrinal belief is that that God both elects and reprobates, as Romans 9:21-23 clearly teaches. It is an important stone to guide the steps of those who are not yet convinced of God's absolute sovereignty over all persons and events.

The Bondage of the Will
 By: Martin Luther

     Luther's work is fundamental to an understanding of the chief Reformation doctrines: our total inability to save ourselves, the sovereignty of divine grace, justification by faith, and predestination and God's foreknowledge. This accurate translation conveys the impetuousness and vigor of the original language. The Blueprint for the Reformation. Includes a 50-page introduction and a helpful Scripture index. Luther himself considered this the most important of his works.

The Death of Death in the Death of Christ
 By: John Owen

     The Death of Death in the Death of Christ is a polemical work, designed to show, among other things, that the doctrine of universal redemption is unscriptural and destructive of the gospel. There are many, therefore, to whom it is not likely to be of interest. Those who see no need for doctrinal exactness and have no time for theological debates which show up divisions between so-called Evangelicals may well regret its reappearance. Some may find the very sound of Owen’s thesis so shocking that they will refuse to read his book at all; so passionate a thing is prejudice, and so proud are we of our theological shibboleths. But it is hoped that this reprint will find itself readers of a different spirit. There are signs today of a new upsurge of interest in the theology of the Bible: a new readiness to test traditions, to search the Scriptures and to think through the faith. It is to those who share this readiness that Owen’s treatise is offered, in the belief that it will help us in one of the most urgent tasks facing Evangelical Christendom today—the recovery of the gospel.

The Freedom of the Will
 By: Jonathan Edwards

     Listed as one of the five hundred most important books in American history, A Careful and Strict Enquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions of that Freedom of the Will, Which Is Supposed to be Essential to Moral Agency, Vertue and Vice, Reward and Punishment, Praise and Blame (Freedom of the Will, for short) is one of Edwards’s most enduring performances. In this monumental work, Edwards is at pains to combat the “prevailing notions,” advanced primarily by Arminians, that the will is “self-determined” in the sense that our choices are not predetermined by any other cause but the exercise of will itself, or are exercised from a state of “indifference.” For Edwards, this was nonsensical and dangerous, because it denied the sovereignty of God as first cause. Famously, Edwards reduced such a view of the will to an absurdity by using the infinite regress argument—causes of a supposedly “indifferent” choice were actually linked, as in a chain, stretching back infinitely. In its place Edwards offered a “compatibilist” view of the will and moral agency based on inclination that attempted to reconcile freedom and necessity. A person acted according to predisposition either towards sin, if unregenerate, or holiness, if regenerate. Choice was a matter of strongest motives. Humans have a “moral inability” to resist their strongest motives. According to one’s spiritual state, then, there was a “necessity” to choices and actions that, at the same time, did not violate freedom and liberty to make those choices and perform those actions.

The Glory of Christ
 By: R. C. Sproul

     This work examines the life, Person and Deity of Jesus Christ in all His Glory. You'll gain a deeper understanding of many key events such as the Transfiguration, His triumphal entry in to Jerusalem, the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension and more.

The Gospel According To Jesus
 By: John MacArthur

Comments from a reader:
      I just finished reading The Gospel According to Jesus, and it was absolutely wonderful. I remember reading through the gospels about 8 years ago when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I had just started attending a seeker sensitive church, and we had a great pastor. But I remember even then, as I read through the gospels and studied the words of the Savior thinking that there was a lot more to accepting Jesus than just praying a silent prayer to yourself at the end of the service. It required a change of lifestyle, a change of heart, a change of attitude, and an understanding of my own sin and depravity. In short, it was not an "easy" thing to accept. And life has borne out that following Him is not always "easy", not always "fun", and the trials that come to test your faith can often be excruciatingly painful. That said, I *have* trusted Him, have kept the faith, and continue to remain in His grace and to seek His strength and direction for my life. I share with Dr. MacArthur a deep appreciation for the true gospel, and a desire to share it with others. I think there are way too many people out there who accept something that is a poor substitute for the gospel Jesus came to give us, and I fear there are a great many people who have been lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to eternal salvation.

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestintion
 By: Loraine Boettner

From a reader:
     I was an Arminian who didn't understand Calvinism. After reading The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination I was convinced that the Reformed position is the most Biblical. It lays the case for Calvinism before the reader in such clear language that he can not misunderstand what the Refomed position really teaches. It is very persuasive in refuting the arguments against predestination while laying a solid biblical foundation for it's teachings. Boettner is very thorough in his use of Scripture to support his arguments. Anyone wishing to understand Calvinism must read this book. Boettner's arguments are so powerful that they demand your assent. This book was life changing.

Willing To Believe
 By: R. C. Sproul

     Many believe that we are totally free to choose salvation. In Willing to Believe, R.C. shows that man's will is not free but in bondage to sin. He says that we are doomed unless God has mercy and changes our hearts from darkness to light.
     The controversy over "free will" surfaced in the ancient writings of Augustine and Pelagius. R.C. examines their positions and traces the issues throughout history, examining the views of Luther, Calvin, Arminus, Edwards, Finney and others.
     In Willing to Believe, R.C. argues that Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian assumptions about "free will" undermine the Gospel and conceal God's glory in salvation.

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