Saturday, 31 May 2014

You Can't Catch Sin, He can & Future Threats to Evangelicals (30/5)

This is a good one off devotion from Matt Chandler. "You can't catch sin"
Introduce people to Jesus. You can't catch sin. But He can. He takes people's sins all the time and puts them on Himself.

What are some threats we evangelical need to be careful of?



Friday, 30 May 2014

Book Review - Know Your Heretics (29/5)

Why would anyone want to write on the guys who go it all wrong? It would be like trying to make a movie on Lex Luthor's Injustice League, but Holcomb gets this book just right. Know-the-HereticsWhy? Because these guys would be able to show you how you can go wrong. And so, an alternative title could be “Don’t repeat these mistakes again guys”. Living in an era where innovation and novelty is highly sought after, this book reminds us that sometimes new isn’t always better.

At the forefront, Holcomb defines what he means by heretics and orthodoxy, dealing especially with the “orthodoxy” as defined by Walter Bauer (orthodoxy is that which is defined by the winner), over and against that, Holcomb defines heretics as that which “best follows the Bible and best summaries what it teaches - best accounts for the paradoxes and apparent contradictions, best preserves the mystery of God in places where reason can’t go, and best communicates the story of the forgiveness of the gospel”.

Holcomb also defines what heresy is, and is not. It is not “every potential wrong belief, rather only those beliefs that contradict(s) the essential elements of faith”.

Alongside with clear definitions, the format for each wrong heretic includes the four sub-sections, historical background, the heretic teaching, the orthodox response, and contemporary relevance.

A total of 12 heretics were covered in this book chronologically, starting from the Judaizers all the way to Socinus. The major heretics such as Macion, Sabelius, Arius, Nestorius, such to name a few are covered. Socinus was a surprised, one that was new and I’ve never really heard of him thus far.

One minor complaint that I have with this book was the chapter on Nestorius. It was rather repetitive, parts of the content was already mentioned in Knowing the Creeds and Councils (see my review it) and it felt as if I was re-reading the same arguments as before. For the others however, Holcomb was able to present the false teachers and teaching in greater detail as compared to Know the Creeds. This is no small feat and Holcomb should deserve due credit for his work on this.

Holcomb ends off the book reminding us the importances of getting our doctrines right. And reminds us that not every disagreement is to be deemed as heretical, as long as imperfect humans are studying the Bible, there will bound to be disagreement among us.

If I had to choose between this or Know the Creeds, I would recommend Know the Creeds. As they direct believers to firmer grounds to build their faith. However, I would still recommend the same christians to then read this book, just to let them see the relevance and importances of right doctrine in the christian life, and how they can they might have so easily got their theology wrong.

Ratings: 3.75/5

If you're interested you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Men, Read Your Prophets (28/5)

According to, these are the ten most unpopular books of the bible.


As you can see, 6 of the 10 actually belongs to the Old Testament Prophets. I fear that this is what also a clear picture of our own bible reading intake.

Currently, I'm reading The Word of the Lord by Nancy Guthrie, It's a 10 week study on the 9 different prophets, and I hope this book does go out to an larger audience, we need to know more from the Prophets, because they belong to the whole counsel of God too.

Will post a review on it soon, when I'm through with the book!

Lastly, what about you? What books of the bible do you not always read or find most difficult to read and study?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Credo Magazine (27/5)

Yesterday, I blogged about a need for the churches today to go back to faithful exposition of God's Word.

Came across this the current issue of Credo Mag that talks about the essentials of a Church.

You can get yours free here.

In it, it talks about entertainment vs preaching, the idol of success in our churches, preaching, church discipline, baptism and also the Lord's Supper.

Here's a sneak peek of the definition of preaching by Dennis Johnson.
Preaching is (1) proclamation, explanation, and application (2) of the Word of God written, in relation to its integrating center—Christ, the only Mediator between God and man—(3) by a man called by God, gifted by the Holy Spirit, and growing in Christlikeness, (4) to people made in God’s image but alienated and marred by sin and its toxic byproducts (5) in the presence of God (6) to serve as the Spirit’s means of grace by which he replaces unbelieving hearts of stone with believing hearts of flesh, and then brings immature children of God into conformity to Christ, (7) to the glory of God in his church.

Monday, 26 May 2014

What the Church Needs - Preaching the Whole Counsel of God (26/5)

Read this parable from Charles Spurgeon. HT: Trevin Wax
Does the reason why going to the house of God has become so distasteful to a great many of the population lie in this direction? I believe it does. Have our Lord’s servants been chopping up their own odds and ends and tainted bits to make therewith a potted meat for the millions; and do the millions therefore turn away? Listen to the rest of my parable.

I don't know about your church, but I know mine. And I think each and every church needs good preaching. Good in the sense that the preacher really does preaches God's Word, I've heard far too many sermons that likes to tell stories rather than expounding the text, or preachers who like to show how "innovative" they can be at interpreting a text, often trying to come out with novel interpretations that were never present in text originally.

Our churches are dying, we need faithful preachers, good preachers who will work hard at understanding the text, delivering good application found inside the text and depending heavily on God in prayer for His help through it all. God help us, and raise a generation of faithful preachers.

One good book that taught me what good preaching constitutes is "Why Johnny can't preach" You should get a copy and read this if you're a preacher. One other book I hope to read and do a review soon would be Expository Preaching by David Helm.

What about you? What do you think the Church needs? What books would you recommend on expository preaching?

[polldaddy poll="8075631"]


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Covenant Theology Course (23/5)

Reformed Theological Seminary has made available for free a new online course on Covenant Theology on iTunes.

Ligon Duncan, Chancellor/CEO of the Reformed Theological Seminary will be the one who will be teaching you on this topic!

Great for anyone who wants to learn on more this important topic.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Resources on Christian Ethics (22/5)

Chance upon 2 really helpful resources for those who would like to dive into the topic of Christian Ethics.

First, the lectures of John Feinberg.

Here's a preview on the first lecture.

And if you're interested, this is the textbook he wrote for this topic

Second, a huge excerpts of the doctrine of the Christian Life by John Frame (essentially a textbook on Christian ethics)

Book Review - Know the Creeds and Councils (21/5)

Other than the Apostle’s Creed, are you familiar with other creeds? How about confessions? What are they? What’s the difference between them? What about catechism? Why were they created? These and many other related questions would be answered by Holcomb in this book. Holcom9780310515098b first defines the various terms used in this book, creeds, confessions and catechism.

Following which these are then presented in a chronological order, allowing the readers to see how the creeds have developed, deepen and also modified in their wording to be more specific to the various challenges that arose at the different eras.

In Creeds, whenever a creed/confession/catechism is presented, 3 sections would always be explored: the historical background, content and relevance.

Holcomb is especially strong in giving the historical context of the creeds/confession/catechism, often highlighting the historical framework/situations where the creeds are contextualised, allowing you to see the importance of developing such creeds/confessions/catechism.

What is interesting is that Holcomb not only includes Protestant creeds and confession, in this book you can also read about the Romans Catholic Creeds and Councils, and Holcomb does not skimp on the explanation about them.
Lastly, under relevance, Holcomb is perceptive about the importance of creeds and confessions and the need for christians to be familiar with the them. Even when discussing about the Vatican II, Holcomb is still able to draw relevant application for christians and thus gives excellence support for the christian to be well versed in them.

This would be a great book for any christian who would like to be interested to learn not just about the creeds/confessions/catechism itself, but along side with it a thorough understanding of the historical context behind it. Although this might be a little too overbearing, but I would have wished that Holcomb could have added a chapter on the Second London Baptist Confession. Still this trivial lack has not in any way made the book any less valuable. This remains to be an excellent and informative guide for any christian who wants to be informed in this area.

Rating: 4.25/5

If you're interested get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Missionaries and Bribes - To pay or not to pay? (21/5)

Came across this perceptive article on Christianity Today.

When Should an Overseas Missionary Pay a Bribe?

Tell me what you think in your comments, I'll post my views on it tomorrow. And enjoy the book review I'll post later :)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

YembiYembi: Unto the Nations

This is not directly linked to the book review I've written yesterday, but it's another missions video.

Go to the main side to watch this 30mins video. The 30mins spent watching this video will be well-spent.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Book Review - Dispatches from the Front (19/5)

This is one of the few books I really enjoy reading and while reading, I constantly give thanks to God for what He has done.

51Zr-8jtoPLIf you have read before “Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists” by Colin Hansen or “A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir” by Colin Hansen and John D. Woodbridge, the format of this book would be very familiar with you.

In Dispatches, Keesee takes us through almost every continent in the world and the many countries that have been “closed” to the gospel. Many of these countries includes former Soviet countries like the Central Asian countries, China and Albania.

Interspersed within his stories are many pictures and maps of these christians mentioned in this book. You will no doubt read of many heart wrenching stories, and many many bravery stories, stories of how willing these Christians are to suffer for the gospel sake. These and many stories like it are repeated almost in every country that Keesee has written about. Not only so, you will see the different needs that these people have and how Christianity has been meeting these needs and especially the great need for salvation in Christ Jesus. Keesee's writing is engaging, thoughtful and enjoyable. I do not remember having to pause at any time just to take time to digest the stories, but with every chapter finished, I looked forward to reading just another chapter.

Many a time as we see how the Gospel has been marginalised in the West, Christians can feel rather disheartened about the situation, but as you read, your heart will be warmed to see how God has been and still is converting these hearts for Himself. Not only so, God will continue to send His servants to them despite the tremendous difficulty and hardship that they will face.

Not only will your heart be warmed by these stories, it will also be tugged, you will come away wanting to see the Lord work more in this world before Jesus returns again. I know of no other way to help you better see this than to give some quotes from the book itself “The world is more willing to receive the gospel than Christians are willing to give the gospel”, “Is Afghanistan sealed against the entrance of the missionary? Or is the land only waiting for those who will pay the price of bursting its barriers?” and lastly, “On the front lines of gospel advance, there is no medals, no helmets, no sword - just men and women transformed by the gospel to take the message of Christ to the next city or country or next door”.

I would highly recommend every christian to read this book, especially those who want to know more about missions, and I pray that after reading this, that God will send more to go, and even more to pray for those who have gone, and for those who will go.

Rating: 5/5

If you're interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Here's a video for you. This is one of the countries mentioned in the book.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Book Review - Knowable Word (14/5)

There seems to be a deluge of books on the word of God recently, first came the "Taking God at His Word" by Kevin DeYoung. Then came "Knowable Word" by Peter Krol. Looking forward for more books in this area. I do seriously think the current generation needs to read  more and more of God's Word.KW-Cover-2-small

Knowable Word is a great introduction for anyone to do just that. The main aim of the book is to help people read and understand the bible by themselves.

Krol first begins by telling the audience why we need to study the bible, showing us variously ways people have studied the bible and finally introduces his method, the OIA.

  1. Observation

  2. Interpretation

  3. Application

Krol then goes on to show each and every step, giving clear examples and explanation on the objective of each of the "steps". Although this book is meant really for relatively new christians, Krol also highlights dangers that we might bring into each study before we even begin, this dangers would be very helpful for those who have been studying the bible for quite some time.

What's great about this book is that unlike other OIA methods, this one sticks in and wants you to see and observe how the passage you're studying is related/leading to Christ.

Littered around the book is also helpful excerises that helps the read to see and apply what they learn on the spot, Krol also consistently uses the same, simple passage (Gen 1-2:3) throughout the book to let you have a feel of how everything would be like if you had used this method consistently.

Although this might not be the one and other book you'll ever need to interpret the book carefully (for example genres were not discussed in great depth), this is an excellent start for any Christian, to help them see that they can and should study the bible by themselves and for themselves.

Why not buy a copy, and try these methods out yourself and/or with a friend? I'm sure you'll be able to see that it is possible for us ordinary people to understand bible!

Rating: 4/5

If you're interested you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Book Review - The Biblical Counselling Movement After Adams (10/5)

IThe-Biblical-Counseling-Movement-After-Adams guess anyone who has read about Biblical Counselling would have known Jay Adams, Edward Welch, David Powlison, and many others. But few would know that the there are some differences between the first (Adams) and the second (Welch & Powlison) generation of biblical counseling.

These differences are presented in this book by Lambert, and he has carefully separated them into 5 chapters, with one remaining chapter on what biblical counsellors ought to continue to work on.

The first chapter sets the context of biblical counseling, the author (rightfully) acknowledges the seminal and crucial work of Adams, being the sole counsellor who was deeply driven by the truth to retain and restore counseling as the work of pastors and not for the “professionals”.

The second to fifth chapter talks about the various areas where the differences lies between the first and second generation of biblical counselors.

Three areas were highlighted in this section, first the what of counseling. The model of what counselling should be, what is causing this problems? With an emphasis on thinking in the aspect of how a person who is being counselled can be both a sinner and sufferer at the same time.

Second, the how of counselling. How should counselling be done? Emphasis was given to cases of how people are suffering and also on how counsellors should learn to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, being able to put themselves in the shoes of others.

Third, the why of biblical counselling. Why should a christian use biblical counselling? This is one area that is not well addressed by Adams, who sees that since biblical counselling derives itself from the bible, it should be something held by all christians. The second generation has rectified this by trying to engage those within the christian circles and also secular circles as well.

One area that saw no significant change was on how they thought of the bible, Lambert defends against the notion that the second generation has moved from this position as reported by those outside the biblical counselling movement. Lambert shows how this conclusion is wrong and substantiates this claim from works of both generations of biblical counsellors.

Lastly, Lambert hopes that work will continue in the motivation aspects of people. Trying to people see that many a times, our problems arises because we seek to worship something else rather than God.

Lambert very helpful shows in each chapter the similarities and differences you find between the two generations and also presents these materials in a clear manner, i do not recall having difficulty in trying to understand any technical words that he used which is a remarkable feat.

For those who wish to know how biblical counselling has growth throughout these years, this is the book to read.

Ratings: 4/5

If you're interested you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Book Review - Fools Rush in Where Monkey Fear to Tread (7/5)

I have to say this is a hard book to review, not because it is not well written nor was it was a bad book, but the topics discussed was so well spread it's hard to find a phrase to describe it other than the one that Trueman has provided: "Taking Aim at Everyone".

Fools Rush in Where Monkey Fear to TreadThis is really what the book is meant to do, take aim at everyone. Trueman writes in a wholesome manner, being able to be sensitive to the culture that we're in and also critical of what is happening, don't get me wrong, Trueman is not some cynical critic, but one that really does brings out pointers that we really ought to think about.     What's included in this book:

  1. What's wrong with (Mark) Driscoll?

  2. Why aren't evangelical more humorous (and why they should be)

  3. Why we can't take criticism (and what's wrong with it)

  4. And many more....

You have to read to find out, it will be well worth your time and money. Read not to be more informative, but rather read to be able to think more carefully about what is happening about Christendom and how our brothers in the past can help guide us on to the future.

Rating: 4.5/5

If you're interested you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014