Book Review – Titus for You by Tim Chester

Title: Titus For You
Author: Tim Chester
Publisher: The Good Book Company
Publishing Year: 2014
Pages: 199
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

I have to say, I am thoroughly enjoying this “For You” commentary series from the Good Book Company.  Each volume is meant to be understood by the average person in the pew and is simply drenched in the gospel.  I cannot recommend this series enough.  So, even though I have been extremely busy this summer with seminary classes, church work and foster parenting (which, by the way, is why this review is so incredibly late), I did not want to pass up the chance to review the latest commentary, Titus for You by Tim Chester.

This book certainly did not disappoint.  Chester writes in a clear to understand, devotional manner.  He is both clear and concise.  Normally I find writers from the UK have a hard time connecting with an American layman audience, but that is not the case here.  The book is divided up into seven bit-sized chapters, each ending with a set of questions to help you reflect upon the material just covered.  It really is an easy read, but a read that leaves you contemplating the great things of God.

As I mentioned before, this book is drenched in the gospel.  There is a clear focus upon Christ, while not ignoring potentially divisive issues.  I greatly appreciated the clear Calvinistic perspective Chester takes in chapters one and two.

In short, this is a great book that should be found on your bookshelf.

You can purchase the book here.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

Categories: Book Review, Books

This and That – 07-19-14

The Road to Jericho and the Border Crisis – As Christians, we don’t have to agree on all the details of public policy to agree that our response ought to be, first, one of compassion for those penned up in detention centers on the border. These people are not seeking the overthrow of our government; they are, most of them, seeking the sort of freedom and opportunity they have heard is characteristic of the American project. – Russell Moore

The Progressive Appeal to an Imaginary Calendar – There’s no reason to assume that the position we hold to is right because it’s Tuesday and not Monday. And yet, that’s the kind of ”appeal to the calendar” we often witness in popular progressive circles. – Trevin Wax

Categories: This and That

Gospel Points Podcast – Passing by the Field part 3 (with Pastor Steve Brandon)

(download the mp3 archive here)

passingbythefieldThis week the Gospel Points podcast will feature a look at the book Passing by the Field by Pastor Steve Brandon.  Steve Brandon is the pastor of the Rock Valley Bible Church in Loves Park, IL and our guest on the program.  Join us as we explore wisdom gained from everyday life as seen through the lens of the Word of God.  We’ll look at gospel truths and easily applicable lessons.

Order the book for yourself here.

Categories: Gospel Points, Podcast

Uncertain Thoughts on Spiritual Gifts and Tongues Today

July 18, 2014 1 comment

I recently wrote this for a class I am taking but I thought I would share it with all of you since it concerns a question I get asked quite a bit.

Peter Enns in the Moody Handbook of Theology contends that spiritual gifts such as prophecy, healing and tongues are no longer in use today.  His basic argument centers on the ideas that each of these gifts were “sign gifts” that were used to verify the validity of the gospel message in absence of a settled canon of Scripture.  Now that we have an authoritative canon, these gifts are no longer needed and thus not in use today.

I believe a clear reading of the book of Acts gives this view credibility.  When we see miraculous events take place in this book, they are usually in conjunction with a gospel presentation and response.  It seems clear that the purpose of these events was to point men to Christ.  Since “we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed” (II Peter 1:19) we do not need these same evidences.

When it comes to prophecy and healings, I believe this might just be the case.  The argument does make sense.  However, absent a specific verse that states explicitly that these gifts would disappear upon the settling of a canon, we cannot be dogmatic about this.

The passage that Enns, and others,  use to prove this case is I Corinthians 13:8-10 which states, “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.”  These sign gifts will pass away when that church is perfect comes.  The assumption here is that “that which is perfect” is a reference to the completion of the New Testament canon.  However, that is not explicitly stated here in the text. This may be a case of eisegesis, reading your particular view into the text.  Others would suggest this phrase could be referring to the Second Coming.  It seems as though given the context, each of these interpretations have equal standing as the text itself if simply not clear.

I would also contend Enn’s assumption that “There is no evidence that the tongues of Corinthians were different from the ones in Acts” seems to be faulty as well.  In Acts 2:1-13, at Pentecost, each men heard the message in his own language.  There was no need for an interpreter.  However, in I Corinthians 12:10 and 14:5 there is a clear need to interpret what is saying in tongues.  Also, it seems as though I Corinthians 14:2 indicates that the gifts of tongues in Corinthians was not given to speak to the church but to speak to God.  This is a clear difference between what happened in the book of Acts.  This difference would seem to assert that the usage of this particular gift (unlike prophecy and healing) was not merely a sign gift to verify the gospel message absent a settled canon.

I have never spoken in tongues and those who claim to have gifts of prophecy and healing make me nervous.  I am concerned that the employment of these “gifts” will lead others away from a firm dependence on the sufficiency of the Word of God.  However, I do not believe there is enough Biblical warrant to state dogmatically that these gifts cannot and are not used today.

Categories: Theology

Gospel Points Podcast – Passing by the Field part 2 (with Pastor Steve Brandon)

(download the mp3 archive here)

passingbythefieldThis week the Gospel Points podcast will feature a look at the book Passing by the Field by Pastor Steve Brandon.  Steve Brandon is the pastor of the Rock Valley Bible Church in Loves Park, IL and our guest on the program.  Join us as we explore wisdom gained from everyday life as seen through the lens of the Word of God.  We’ll look at gospel truths and easily applicable lessons.

Order the book for yourself here.

Categories: Gospel Points, Podcast

Gospel Points Podcast – Passing by the Field part 1 (with Pastor Steve Brandon)

(download the mp3 archive here)

This week the Gospel Points podcast is back!  After quite the long hiatus, I will finally be posting more podcasts in the coming weeks.  It’s been quite the passingbythefieldhectic schedule for me these past few months and a lot has changed in my life since our last posting.  But, by God’s grace I’ll keep on keeping on.  However, I will be officially changing our podcast schedule from seasons of weekly podcasts to whenever I get the time to record and upload.  Of course, that’s not really much of a change at all…

Anyway, this week the Gospel Points podcast will feature a look at the book Passing by the Field by Pastor Steve Brandon.  Steve Brandon is the pastor of the Rock Valley Bible Church in Loves Park, IL and our guest on the program.  Join us as we explore wisdom gained from everyday life as seen through the lens of the Word of God.  We’ll look at gospel truths and easily applicable lessons.

Order the book for yourself here.

Categories: Gospel Points, Podcast

Free E-Book Alert – To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain by Matt Chandler and Jared C. Wilson

Using Paul’s radical letter to the Philippians as his road map, Matt Chandler forsakes the trendy to invite readers into authentic Christian maturity.
The short book of Philippians is one of the most quoted in the Bible, yet Paul wrote it not for the popular sound bites, but to paint a picture of a mature Christian faith. While many give their lives to Jesus, few then go on to live a life of truly vibrant faith.
In this disruptively inspiring book, Chandler offers tangible ways to develop a faith of pursuing, chasing, knowing, and loving Jesus. Because if we clean up our lives but don’t get Jesus, we’ve lost! So let the goal be Him. To live is Christ, to die is gain—this is the message of the letter. Therefore, our lives should be lived to Him, through Him, for Him, with Him, about Him—everything should be about Jesus.

Download the book here.

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