Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Book News, Reviews and More

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Book NewsNew Reformation Study Bible. Watch this short video to hear about the additional online resources you receive when you purchase the new Reformation Study Bible.

Tim Keller’s Foreword for Collin Hansen’s New Book. Justin Taylor shares Tim Keller’s foreword for Collin Hansen’s new book, Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church.

Don’t Be Scared Off from Reading the Puritans. Jason Helopoulos writes “Read the Puritans. They aren’t quite as hard to read as they have been portrayed and they aren’t quite as scary either. In fact, they are good for the mind, the heart, and the soul.”

7 Books That I Would Definitely Read. Here’s an interesting list of books that have not been written that Tim Challies would be interested in reading. Book Reviews

A New Season - Alan and Lisa RobertsonA New Season: A Robertson Family Love Story of Brokenness and Redemption by Alan and Lisa Robertson. Howard Books. 273 pages. 2014. Audiobook read by Alan and Lisa Robertson.

Alan is the oldest of the Duck Commander Robertson brothers. He is sometimes known as the “beardless brother”. His parents Phil and Kay were pregnant with Al before they were married.

The book opens with reflections and endorsements from family members. I had heard a part of Alan and Lisa’s story in the book The Women of Duck Commander. I listened to the audiobook version of the book which was read by Alan and Lisa. They rotate telling their stories. The book includes helpful lessons learned and reflections at the end of each chapter. The authors hope that others will learn from their mistakes and experiences.

Alan tells his story of growing up before Phil was saved. Phil drank a lot and at one point kicked Miss Kay, Alan, Jase and Willie out of the home. At age 8, Alan helped to raise Jase and Willie as the man of the house as Phil wasn’t fulfilling that role.

Lisa tells of a secret that she kept for many years, being sexually abused from age 7 until she was a teenager by a family member in grandmother’s home. She carried the secret and the corresponding shame with her.

Lisa was never close to her mother because of how she treated her sister Barbara who left home early. Lisa mentions that Barbara was also molested by someone. Lisa was closest to Barbara and her father. Barbara struggled with alcoholism before she died.

Lisa first caught sight of Al when she was in the 6th grade. Al was very popular and didn’t really notice her. Al started going downhill spiritually when he was in the 9th grade, even though he was only 13 years old. He became sexually active with an older girl. He was living a double life, drinking and smoking marijuana.

Later, after Lisa had matured physically Al noticed her. Before long they were having sex and Al introduced her to drinking and drugs. It took Jase to tell his parents the truth about Al.

Al left Lisa and went to New Orleans where he was almost killed by the husband of the woman he was dating. He would return to Louisiana, recommit his life to Christ and be baptized by Phil in the river. The love that Phil showed his prodigal son changed Al’s life and relationship with Phil forever.

When Al went to New Orleans Lisa went on a downward spiral of sex and drinking. She got pregnant and had an abortion, even though her boyfriend wanted her to keep the baby and marry him. But Lisa still longed for a relationship with Alan. Eventually they did get back together and were married in late 1984.

Their first daughter Anna was born premature. Lisa wondered if Anna’s early struggles were punishment for her earlier abortion. Anna had to have heart surgery when she was very young. The doctors gave the surgery only a 40% chance of success. The surgery was successful and Anna went home on a heart monitor when she reached 4 pounds. She experienced no more problems, and has lived a normal life, getting married and having three children.  Lisa would have a second daughter Alexis and then later a miscarriage. She continued to feel shame for the abortion.

Lisa and Al struggled financially in the early days of their marriage. Al and Jase went to preaching school and Al would preach at churches on the weekends. But Lisa didn’t want the life of a pastor’s wife. She was unhappy and had an inappropriate relationship with a married man. Al forgave her, but told her that if she was ever unfaithful again he would divorce her.

Later, she would have a 14-month affair with an old boyfriend. Lisa originally denied it, but Al confirmed it through Lisa’s cell phone records. Al asked her to leave the family home. That same night Lisa surrendered to Christ for the first time.

Lisa was then fired from Duck Commander when it was discovered that she had been stealing money to fund her affair (to pay for clothes and makeup). Their daughters were just 10 and 12 years old at the time

After much prayer, Al decided to choose forgiveness, despite many family members disagreeing with the decision. They purchased new wedding rings and renewed their wedding vows privately. Lisa wrote a letter of apology to family and tried to pay back the money she stole from Duck Commander, but Miss Kay would not allow it. Lisa also changed the way she dressed and acted around men, which previously had been provocative.

The couple now helps to counsel others and hold marriage retreats. They feel that if they can help one other couple from their story it will make their pain redemptive.

Al left the ministry in 2012 to work with Duck Commander and Duck Dynasty. An appendix is included in which they teach from scripture how men are to be respectful and women are to be lovable. 

Reading Together ~ Week 7

Counter Culture by David PlattCounter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography by David Platt.

David Platt, author of Radical, has written an important new book. So important, I believe, that rather than doing one book review, I’m going to review the content chapter by chapter. Note, all of Platt’s royalties from this book will go toward promoting the glory of Christ in all nations.

Each chapter concludes by offering some initial suggestions for practical requests you can pray in light of these issues, potential ways you might engage culture with the gospel, and biblical truths we must proclaim regarding every one of these issues. These suggestions will also direct you to a website, where you can explore more specific steps you might take.

This week we look at Chapter 7: Bought with a Price: The Gospel and Sexual Morality

  • Our bodies have been created not only by God but also for God. This is a very different starting point than most people have in our culture. We are driven today by whatever can bring our bodies the most pleasure.
  • God wants you to experience the maximum joy for which your body is built, and as the Creator of our bodies, he knows what will bring them the most pleasure.
  • All throughout the Bible he gives us boundaries for how our bodies are to be used. But when we ignore these boundaries, it’s as if we’re saying to God, “You don’t know how this body is to be used. I know better than you do.”
  • There is not one instance in all of God’s Word where God advocates or celebrates sex outside of a marriage relationship between a husband and a wife. Not one.
  • According to God, sex with anyone who is not your husband or your wife is sin, whether that happens before marriage, during marriage, or after marriage. This prohibition also includes sex between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. On this the Bible is explicit.
  • God is clear in his Word that homosexual activity is prohibited.
  • In order to protect us from lusts, greeds, desires, and temptations that give birth to sin, the Bible also prohibits all sexual looking and thinking outside of marriage between a husband and a wife.
  • It is also wrong to provoke sexual desires in others outside of marriage.
  • God prohibits any kind of crude speech, humor, or entertainment that remotely revolves around sexual immorality.
  • Even Christians who refuse to indulge personally in sinful sexual activity often watch movies and shows, read books and articles, and visit Internet sites that highlight, display, promote, or make light of sexual immorality.
  • Ultimately, God prohibits sexual worship—the idolization of sex and infatuation with sexual activity as a fundamental means to personal fulfillment.
  • None of us are innocent of sexual immorality, and none of us are immune to it.
  • We live in a day when saying that heterosexual or homosexual activity is immoral is equivalent to saying a white or black person is inferior. But this line of thought is fundamentally flawed, for it denies the obvious distinction between ethnic identity and sexual activity. Ethnic identity is a morally neutral attribute. However, sexual activity is a morally chosen behavior.
  • We do not always choose our temptations. But we do choose our reactions to those temptations.
  • The Bible is clear and consistent, affirming with one voice from cover to cover that homosexual activity is sexual immorality before God.
  • The reality is that as soon as we advocate homosexual activity, we undercut biblical authority. And in the process of undercutting the authority of the Bible, we are undermining the integrity of the entire gospel. For if the Bible is wrong about certain issues, then who is to say what else the Bible is wrong about?
  • In our thinking, we actually begin to believe that our ways are better than God’s. We take this created gift called sex and use it to question the Creator God, who gave us the gift in the first place. We replace God’s pattern with our preferences, exchanging what God’s Word says about sexuality for what our observation and experience say about it. Yet we’re blind to our own foolishness. It’s as if we’re living out Proverbs 14:12—“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” The real danger here is our claim to know better than God what is best for our bodies and to justify sexual sin as a result.
  • Whether we are men or women, and whether we have heterosexual or homosexual attractions, we all possess sinful sexual desires. We all have darkened hearts that tempt us toward fulfilling those desires outside of marriage between a man and a woman. We all have disordered thoughts that are prone to explain and excuse acting upon those desires, even twisting God’s Word to make it say what we want it to say. We are all personally, biologically, culturally, and spiritually predisposed toward sexual sin—some of us are simply predisposed in ways that are more culturally acceptable. In the end, every single one of us is a sexual sinner. And that means every single one of us is desperate for a Savior.
  • Oh, to think of it! That Jesus, God in the flesh, took the penalty upon himself for all our adultery and all our pornography and every single lust we have ever had or will ever have. Indeed, Jesus has paid a steep price for our bodies.
  • According to the gospel of God’s grace, humbly repentant sexual sinners will enter into heaven. But unrepentant sexual sin will ultimately lead to hell.
  • Rosaria Champagne Butterfield was once a feminist scholar who delighted in disparaging the Bible and all who believe it. Through the compassionate engagement of a pastor who gently responded to a critical editorial she had written in a local newspaper, she saw and heard the gospel. This pastor and his wife showed God’s love to her. She started reading the Bible and wrestling with the question, “Did I really want to understand homosexuality from God’s point of view, or did I just want to argue with him?” This crisis of faith led her to what she describes as “one ordinary day” when she came to Christ. For her to come to Christ was to leave behind not only her lover but her entire lifestyle. The call to follow Christ in Rosaria Butterfield’s life was not an invitation to receive anything she wanted in this world. It was a summons to leave behind everything she had.
  • As the church in our culture, we must make sure not to preach a gospel that merely imagines Christ as the means to a casual, conservative, comfortable Christian spin on the American dream. Such a gospel won’t work in the gay and lesbian community—or anywhere else, for that matter. The gospel is a call for every one of us to die—to die to sin and to die to self—and to live with unshakable trust in Christ, choosing to follow his Word even when it brings us into clear confrontation with our culture. Such death to self requires an examination of sexuality in all of us. In what ways are you specifically prone to sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman?
  • Examine what you watch and what you wear.
  • God has not left you in the dark regarding what you should do. “Flee!” he says. “Stop reasoning with sexual immorality, stop rationalizing it, and run from it. Flee every form of sexual immorality as fast as you can!”
  • Whether we’re male or female, married or divorced, single or cohabiting, heterosexual or homosexual, each of us has turned to our own way. But the good news of the gospel is that God has laid the punishment for our sin upon his Son. And for all who daily turn from themselves and trust in him, he promises the peace and calm of Christ himself amid a cultural sea of sexual confusion.
  • Moreover, in that culture, God beckons us to proclaim this gospel. To care enough for one another to call each other to flee from every form of sexual immorality. Not to sit back and stay quiet because that’s more convenient in the culture (or even in the church).

Currently Reading

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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