A Review of The Shack

January 15, 2018 • Review By Tim Challies • Book Reviews

A REVIEW OF THE SHACK Review by Tim Challies January 15, 2008 (Used with permission)

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Asking The Right Questions

Recommended Reading - July/August 2017 • July 11, 2017 • By Matthew S. Harmon

About Asking the Right Questions Simple Questions to Ask Every Time You Open Your Bible We all know that we should read our Bibles—yet at times we struggle with knowing exactly how, no matter how long we’ve followed Jesus. In this empowering book, Professor Matthew Harmon walks us through two simple sets of questions to ask every time we open our Bibles: Understanding the Bible: 1. What do we learn about God? 2. What do we learn about people? 3. What do we learn about relating to God? 4. What do we learn about relating to others? Applying the Bible: 1. What does God want me to understand? 2. What does God want me to believe? 3. What does God want me to desire? 4. What does God want me to do? Arming you with practical ways to get to the heart of any passage, this book will help position you to experience the joy that results from being transformed by God’s Word. Source: https://www.crossway.org/books/asking-the-right-questions-tpb/

A Practical Guide to Culture

By John Stonestreet & Brett Kunkle • July 25, 2017 • Review By Tim Challies

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO CULTURE by John Stonestreet & Brett Kunkle Review by Tim Challies July 25, 2017 Christians have an interesting relationship with culture. Culture is a word we love to use, but one we rarely pause to define. We speak of culture’s dangerous encroachment on the church, of our need to avoid it, engage it, or redeem it. But what is this culture thing anyway? It happens to be the subject of an excellent new book by John Stonestreet and Brent Kunkle. A Practical Guide to Culture is meant to help those who are helping the next generation navigate today’s world, and it does its job well. “In its most basic sense, culture refers to what people do with the world: we build, we invent, we imagine, we create, we tear down, we replace, we compose, we design, we emphasize, we dismiss, we embellish, we engineer.” But culture goes deeper than that, and also speaks to our shared beliefs, our “conceptions of God, truth, morality, humanity, and history that shape how we live.” Culture is not people, but what people do. And, of course, culture is always changing because people are always changing. To summarize, “cultures consist of those products of human activity that have collectively taken on a life of their own. The worlds we create powerfully influence our lives by convincing us of what is normal. As we live in a culture, we become committed to its vision of life, unless we’re intentional otherwise. In other words, we make our cultures, and then our cultures shape us.” It shapes us primarily by what it considers normal and good and worthy of praise. In every age, Christians have had to carefully navigate their culture, to ensure that they are taking their cues not from the world around them, but from the Bible. In every age, Christian parents have been responsible to help their children separate culture lies from biblical truth. This is as true today as it has ever been. And that is exactly the purpose of this book. “We wrote this book for all who have a vested interest in their success like we do. The kids of today will build the culture of tomorrow. We’ve aimed this book at parents, grandparents, mentors, teachers, and pastors who have some little image bearers in their lives, as we have in ours, and who want to see them navigate this culture moment as champions for Christ.” The authors approach the subject in four parts. In the first they introduce the notion of culture and tell why it matters which provides a kind of framework for the rest of the book. In the second they provide a read of the cultural waters, pointing to a number of prominent culture-shaping undercurrents we may take for granted: the Information Age, new notions of identity, technology’s role in allowing us to be alone together, and perpetual adolescence. The third part is the heart of the book, and here they discuss eight of the cultural waves pounding against the church today: pornography, the hookup culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, affluence and consumerism, addiction, entertainment, and racial tension. In every case they identify the cultural lies, compare those lies to biblical truth, offer practical counsel on taking action, and provide a vision for overcoming the challenges they present. The fourth part provides brief primers on worldview essentials, and especially those related to the centrality and trustworthiness of the Bible. I am a father tasked with raising three children in this culture, and a pastor tasked with helping a whole church navigate a world that seems to be coming apart at the seams. I am convinced this book has better equipped me in my tasks. It has helped me better understand culture and it has helped me better understand my culture. It has shown me where culture is particularly pressing against the church and where I need to be especially careful to guard myself and equip the ones I love. I’m glad I read it and heartily commend it to you. Review by Tim Challies: https://www.challies.com/book-reviews/discerning-your-call-to-ministry (Used with permission)

Seven Leaders

By Iain Murray • June 13, 2017 • Review By Tim Challies

SEVEN LEADERS By Iain Murray Review by Tim Challies June 13, 2017 You know the rule with Iain Murray’s books, right? If he writes it, you read it! You can simply never go wrong. The rule proves itself true once again with his newest work, Seven Leaders. The thirteenth chapter of Hebrews exhorts us, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” This book is designed to help us meet, understand, and remember seven leaders, seven pastors who faithfully served their God. Several of them may be familiar to most readers: Andrew Bonar, Archibald Brown, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and John MacArthur; several may be familiar to only a few: John Elias, Kenneth MacRae, and W.J. Grier. Yet whether they labored in the public eye or in obscurity, each of them has valuable lessons to teach us. The format of the book is simple and effective. Each of the seven men gets his own chapter. It contains a brief account of his life and ministry and a number of lessons we can draw from it. From John Elias we learn about the nature of true revival, from Andrew Bonar we learn of the importance of maintaining and deepening our fellowship with Jesus Christ, and from Archibald Brown we learn of the centrality of the gospel in all faithful preaching. Kenneth MacRae teaches us that effective preaching depends upon effective ministry within the local church, Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows that all ministry must be undergirded by sound doctrine, and W.J. Grier teaches us the peril of frittering life away and the importance of faithfully passing on the “sacred deposit” of the gospel. Finally, in the life and ministry of John MacArthur, we see the importance of a strong doctrine of Scripture to support a powerful preaching ministry. Because Murray’s knowledge of church history is both deep and wide, he is able to set these men in their context and provide interesting glimpses of what was happening in the wider world and in the Christian world while these men carried out their ministries. And, because he knew several of them and has written biographies of three of them, he is able to give personal touches and details that help bring them to life. Seven Leaders is exactly the kind of book we’ve come to expect from Iain Murray. While its primary audience is pastors and church leaders, there isn’t a Christian alive who wouldn’t benefit from reading it. Review by Tim Challies, https://www.challies.com/book-reviews/seven-leaders (Used with permission)