The End of An Era

Dear Blog Readers,

I’ve decided to put an end to this book blog.  The reasoning is quite simple – it isn’t working out.  This blog just didn’t take off like I would have liked to see it.  Of course, I could give it more time, but let’s face it, this blog just isn’t me.  While I do enjoy books and will continue to do so, an entire blog dedicated to reading books of all types require constant updating is not what I really want to do.

However, I will continue to blog on my personal site –  On this blog I will continue to post book reviews and free e-book alerts.  The only difference will be that I will comment and review only the books that interest me.  So, check me out there.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to read my thoughts and I hope you’ll keep following me on the other blog.


Helpful Book Reviews – 05-11-13

Humble Orthodoxy: Holding the Truth High Without Putting People Down by Joshua Harris – … “humble orthodoxy” grows in the rich soil of God’s grace with an unrelenting focus on the glory of God and the welfare of others. Arrogant orthodoxy and humble heterodoxy have one thing in common: they flourish best when focused on your own interests. A doctrinal stalwart who’s proud and condescending is usually just concerned with being right; a person who’s too nice to say anything confrontational is only worried about self-preservation. Neither was an option for the apostle Paul. “For Paul, [preservation of Christian orthodoxy] wasn’t about proving someone else wrong, winning an argument, or adding people to his little club. For Paul, orthodoxy made the difference between life and death, heaven and hell” (9). So “truth matters,” Harris writes, “but so does our attitude” (12). – Derek Brown

Confident of Better Things: Essays Commemorating Seventy-Five Years of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church edited by John Muether and Danny Olinger – This book isn’t a detailed history of the OPC – although it does contain some OPC history.  Between these covers you’ll find the authors explaining the truths of Scripture, the doctrines of Reformation theology, the power of preaching, the motivation for missions, the beauty of the gospel, and the importance of the confessions.  More specifically, here are the titles of a few essays: “The Legacy of Charles Hodge,” “Tongues Today?,” “Was Adam Historical?” “Catechetical Instruction in the OPC,” “Called to the Ministry,” and “The Ruling Elder in Church Planting,” among others.  So far I’ve enjoyed the article on tongues by Gaffin and the discussion of missions by Mark Bube.  I’m also looking forward to reading the chapter on redemptive historical hermeneutics as well as Godfrey’s article on the OPC/URCNA relationship (perhaps he’ll rightly tell the URC to aim towards a more Presbyterian polity!  Stay tuned….).  Actually, most of the articles look like good reading.  I hope to read them over the course of the summer. – Shane Lems

Pilgrim Theology by Michael Horton – What I found most helpful was his organization of thoughts and the ease of which he approaches different subjects. Many people, including Horton himself, say that this text is a gutted version of his larger systematic work, Christian Faith. Though gutted by about half the depth as his larger work (Horton took out ~500 pages), Pilgrim Theology is a steller introduction to systematics. Pertinent theological terms are highlighted, typically given their own special attention off to the side, and included in the glossary at the back of the book. Following the glossary, Horton has supplied his (visual) readers with a chart that takes students from the Scriptures to application in an array of concepts (in the same format that he has written his entire systematic theology in, from Drama —> Doctrine —> Doxology —>  Discipline). The chart is followed by Scripture, Subject, and Author indexes. –

Free E-Book Alert – God Knows My Name

God Knows My NameIn this powerful and deeply vulnerable book, Beth Redman writes to pass along a message that changed her life—that the God who made us also understands us intimately. He hears our cries and reaches out in love to help us and fight for us. He’s always at work shaping our character. And no matter what others do, He will never, ever leave or forget us. Drawing on Scripture and her own experience, Redman invites us to explore the revolutionary implications of being loved by a God who knows our name. And she invites us to call on His name as well—to respond to His heart and love Him as He has loved us from the beginning.

Download the book here.

A Great Book for Less Than A Dollar!

Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by J.D. Greear is one of my favorite books to come out recently.  For a limited time only you can download the Kindle version for only $.99!  Folks, this is  a great offer you need to take advantage of NOW!!!

Download the book here.  Read my book review here.

“If there were a Guinness Book of World Records entry for ‘amount of times having prayed the sinner’s prayer,’ I’m pretty sure I’d be a top contender,” says pastor and author J. D. Greear. He struggled for many years to gain an assurance of salvation and eventually learned he was not alone. “Lack of assurance” is epidemic among evangelical Christians.

In Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, J. D. shows that faulty ways of present- ing the gospel are a leading source of the confusion. Our presentations may not be heretical, but they are sometimes misleading. The idea of “asking Jesus into your heart” or “giving your life to Jesus” often gives false assurance to those who are not saved—and keeps those who genuinely are saved from fully embracing that reality.

Greear unpacks the doctrine of assurance, showing that salvation is a posture we take to the promise of God in Christ, a posture that begins at a certain point and is maintained for the rest of our lives. He also answers the tough questions about assurance: What exactly is faith? What is repentance? Why are there so many warnings that seem to imply we can lose our salvation?

Such issues are handled with respect to the theological rigors they require, but Greear never loses his pastoral sensitivity or a communication technique that makes this message teachable to a wide audience from teens to adults.

An Urgent Message from Crossway Books

Find out more and give here.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Today marks the beginning of Teacher Appreciation Week 2013.  So, just in case you are in a really appreciative mood, this teacher has decided to take today’s blog post and link to my Amazon wish list.


As you scroll down the list you’ll see books by various authors covering a whole host of different topics costing anywhere from $.99 to $30.

I’m not actually expecting anyone to purchase anything off the list, but I am curious about a few things maybe you can help me with.  What books would you add to the list?  What are you reading that I should place on my wish list?  What are your thoughts and reviews concerning the books already on the list?

Free E-Book – The Last Disciple

First-century Rome is a perilous city as Nero stalks the political circles and huddled groups of believers. To be safe, Christians must remain invisible.

Gallus Sergius Vitas is the only man within Nero’s trusted circle willing to do what it takes to keep the empire together. He struggles to lessen Nero’s monstrosities against the people of Rome—especially the Christians. But as three Greek letters are scrawled as graffiti throughout the city, Nero’s anger grows.

As the early church begins to experience the turbulence Christ prophesied as the beginning of the last days, an enemy seeks to find John’s letter, Revelation, and destroy it. Meanwhile the early Christians must decipher it and cling to the hope it provides as they face the greatest of all persecutions.

Download the book here.

Interview – Profaned Pulpit: The Jack Schaap Story

Listen to the streaming audio here or download the mp3 here.

On today’s podcast we are once again taking a gaze into the dark underbelly of fundamentalism.  I know some might be offended right off the bat with that description, but we have to admit there is a dark side that many in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement wish were not there.  While much of this has been swept under the rug in years gone by, this age of both mass media and social media, secrets are harder to hide.  Much light has been shed on horrible theology, pastoral misconduct, scandal, and even physical abuse.  Right in the middle of this mess stands the First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN.  Just months ago Pastor Jack Schaap was taken away in handcuffs as an affair with a 16 year old girl was discovered.  As bad as this tragedy is, we see this not as an isolated incident but as a long train of abuses in a culture of pastor-worship and even includes Schaap’s predecessor at First Baptist, the late Jack Hyles.  Here to talk about this issue is Dr. Jerry Kaifetz, author of the book Profaned Pulpit:  The Jack Schaap Story.

Here are just a few of the questions posed to Dr. Kaifetz:

  • What about Jack Schaap in particular?  You were his friend and business partner.  He even did your wedding ceremony.  You spoke highly of him as a homiletics professor.  What happened?
  • Many Fundamentalists are quick to charge that this is not a denomination, association, movement or as 20/20 called it, a “network.”  Yet, these same people are quick to brag about their own fundamentalist credentials in terms of pastors they’ve preached for, colleges they attended or recommend and those personal conversations with the likes of Lee Roberson, John R. Rice or fill in the blank with the heavy-weight preacher name in your little neck of fundamentalism.  They travel in the same circles and condemn those outside of it.  That’s a network if I’ve ever heard one.  So why do you call it a movement?
  • Are there parts of fundamentalism that is salvageable?  I think fundamentalism contains several circles from the Hyles circle, to the BJU-type circle and everything in-between.  Should we be calling out the whole movement?  Are there some within the movement that are unstained in all this or are they too guilty of at covering this all up?

You can purchase a copy of Profaned Pulpit on Amazon.  To check out more from Dr. Kaifetz log on to or  You can also here Dr. Kaifetz’s testimony dramatized on  the Unshackled broadcast.  Click here and scroll down to program number A2948.

Free E-Book Alert – Horae Homileticae, Volume 17: Galatians to Ephesians

The twelve chapters that comprise Galatians and Ephesians have been studied and commented on for centuries. Charles Simeon’s work has stood the test of time because of the author’s ability to combine quality biblical scholarship with applicable spiritual insight.

These expository outlines (or “skeletons”) are not a verse-by-verse explanation of the English Bible. Rather, they are a chapter-by-chapter study with explanations of the most important and instructive verses in each chapter. Simeon’s aim with this commentary is “Instruction relative to the Composition of Sermons.” To this end, his exposition of the Scriptures is designed to maintain a focus on the more general aspects of a passage over and above possible treatments of particulars. His test for a sermon, as he teaches in Horae Homileticae, is threefold: does it humble the sinner, exalt the Saviour and promote holiness?

Opposing all human systems of divinity, Simeon’s commentary is also marked by an avoidance of any possible systemization of God’s Word and entanglement with theological controversies. A self-described “moderate Calvinist” or, more plainly, a “Biblical Christian,” Simeon believed that the Bible should speak for itself. “Be Bible Christians, not systems Christians” was his maxim; “My endeavor is to bring out of Scripture what is there, and not to thrust in what I think might be there. I have a great jealousy on this head; never to speak more or less than I believe to be the mind of the Spirit in the passage I am expounding.” With Horae Homileticae this conviction is soundly applied.

Download the book from Logos here.

Free E-Book – Grace Walk

Now with a fresh cover! The over 250,000-selling Grace Walk has helped thousands of believers leave behind the “manic-depressive” Christian walk: either running around trying to perform to be acceptable to God–or thinking they’ve failed Him again and wondering if they’ll ever measure up.

Living the grace walk gets Christians off this religious roller coaster. Using his own journey from legalism into grace, Steve McVey illustrates the foundational, biblical truths of who believers are in Jesus Christ and how they can let Him live His life through them each day.

As they experience their identity in Jesus Christ, Christians will come to know “Amazing Grace” as not just a song but as their true way of life.

Download the book here.