Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

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Learning to Love the Psalms by Robert Godfrey. Reformation Trust Publishing. 263 pages. 2017
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The author, a respected seminary president and professor, mentions that over the past several years the Psalms have been his favorite book of the Bible. He begins the book by looking at the attractiveness of the Psalms and asks why the book of Psalms is not more important to Christians today. He states that the aim of the book is to help the reader understand and appreciate the Psalms at a new level.
He tells us that John Calvin believed that singing in worship should include only the words found in the Bible. Calvin was responsible for versifying the Psalms, and stated that the Psalms were an anatomy of all the parts of the soul.
The author states that the main theme of the Psalms is God’s goodness and unfailing love for the righteous. There are also multiple subordinate themes of the Psalms that he identifies. They are:

-The sinfulness of the righteous
-The mysteries of providence in the success of the wicked
-The mysteries of providence in the suffering of the righteous
-Confidence in God and the future despite difficulties

The author tells us that keeping these themes in mind will help the reader see the basic message of the Psalms more clearly.
We are told that many (73) of the Psalms are specifically credited to David. The Psalms are from the perspective of the King. The New Testament quotes the Psalms 376 times from 115 different Psalms. The author writes that Jesus “fills and fulfills” the Psalms, and that he loved the Psalms.
The author tells us that we need to understand the forms of Hebrew poetry. He mentions the groups, or groupings, of Psalms. There are five sections to the book of Psalms. For each he devotes seven chapters in this book. Each chapter includes an introduction, and then he looks at six or more psalms from that section in detail. He also gives us ten good questions to ask of each psalm.
The book includes helpful questions for reflection and discussion at the end of each chapter. I really enjoyed this excellent book, and I think anyone who would like to learn more about the book of Psalms will as well.

  • God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs. I’m looking forward to using this forthcoming devotional book by Tim and Kathy Keller for 2018. The book will be released October 17.
  • Albert Mohler’s One Book Recommendation. Which book does Albert Mohler—president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and TGC Council member—wish every Christian would read? Watch this 1.5 minute video.
  • What I’m Reading This Summer. D. Greear shares what is on his bookshelf for the summer.
  • What Are You Reading This Summer? Steve Graves writes “Some of the books I have already read, and some I haven’t. Some are books that I need to read but they’re not thrilling page turners—just more hard work. Some of them I don’t fully agree with, but they help sharpen my thinking with an alternative view. Some are just fun and don’t require a lot of in-the-moment thinking but later creep back into my thinking with surprising deep reflection.”
  • Never Read the Bible Simply to Know. John Piper writes “So, we never read the Bible merely tosee the glory of God. Never merely to learn or merely to know or merely to amass doctrinal truth. We always see and learn and know in the pursuit of affections, and feelings, and emotions, and passions that are suitable to the truth we have seen.”
  • The Vital Role of Work in Raising an American Adult. Hugh Whelchel looks at Senator Ben Sasse’s new book The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis—and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance. He writes “WhileThe Vanishing American Adult has its critics who complain it is just self-help for well-to-do parents, the book will not only challenge your thoughts about how to raise the next generation of Americans, it will also make you think long and hard about possible gaps in your own education and how you might fix them.”
  • The Holy Spirit Isn’t Just for Charismatics. Graham Cole reviews Michael Horton’s new book Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption and Everyday Life. He writes “Horton writes thoughtful books that serve the church well.Rediscovering the Holy Spirit is no exception. Theological students and pastors will find it a profitable and stimulating read.”
  • How Does Sanctification Work? Tim Challies reviews David Powlison’s new book How Does Sanctification Work? He writes “It addresses and resolves one of the key points of confusion in the church today. Yet its principles are timeless, making it a book well-suited to any other point in church history. I enthusiastically recommend it.”
  • Finally, Jackie Robinson’s Faith Is Getting the Attention It Deserves. Paul Putz looks at two new books that focus on Jackie Robinson’s faith.
  • Religious Freedom and Discrimination: Why the Debate Continues. Reviewing the book Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination by John Corvino, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Gergis, Albert Mohler writes “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination is timely and important, and never more so than when the debate turns to the argument over dignitary harm. The book also reveals our predicament. We have no choice but to make the right arguments and to make them well. Anderson and Girgis make their arguments extremely well, and they’re the right arguments. But Corvino asserts the case for SOGI laws, openly at the expense of religious liberty, and adds the category of dignitary harm. Thus, he radically expands the reach of his argument. And he appears quite confident his side will win. The three authors begin by asking, “Is it possible to find common ground on these issues?” By the end of the book, readers will likely conclude, with sadness, that there’s little common ground to be claimed.”

BOOK CLUBS – Won’t you read along with us?

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount BOOK CLUB

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This book made a significant impact on my wife Tammy when she read and discussed it with friends thirty years ago. When I picked up my diploma the day after graduation ceremonies from Covenant Seminary last year I was given a copy of this book. After enjoying Lloyd-Jones book Spiritual Depression (and the sermons the book was taken from), I couldn’t wait to read this book, which is the printed form of sermons preached for the most part on successive Sunday mornings at Westminster Chapel in London.

This week we look at Volume 2, Chapter 18: “Seeking and Finding”

  • We say, `How can we live the Sermon on the Mount? How can anybody come up to such a standard? We need help and grace. Where can we get it?’ Here is the answer: `Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’
  • The first two essentials to salvation and to rejoicing in Christ are the consciousness of our need, and the consciousness of the riches of grace that are in Christ. It is only those who realize these two things who `ask’ truly, because it is only the man who says `O wretched man that I am’ who seeks for deliverance. The other man is not aware of his need. It is the man who knows that he is `down and out’ who begins to ask. And then he begins to realize the possibilities that are in Christ.
  • Our Lord is simply at pains to emphasize one thing, that is that we are to show persistence, perseverance, importunity.
  • If you and I are really to obtain these blessings which God has for us, we must go on asking for them.
  • The most fatal thing in the Christian life is to be content with passing desires.
  • This persistence, this constant desire, asking, seeking and knocking. This, we must agree, is the point at which most of us fail.
  • If you should ask me to state in one phrase what I regard as the greatest defect in most Christian lives I would say that it is our failure to know God as our-Father as we should know Him.
  • You become a child of God only when you are born again, when you receive a new life and a new nature. The child partakes of the nature of the Father. It means that, as my Father, He is interested in me, that He is concerned about me, that He is watching over me, that He has a plan and purpose with respect to me, that He is desirous always to bless and to help me.
  • Because God is your Father He will never give you anything that is evil. He will give you only that which is good.
  • God, being God, never makes a mistake. He knows the difference between good and evil in a way that no-one else does.
  • Lastly, we must remember increasingly the good gifts which He has for us.
  • And in giving the Holy Spirit He gives us everything; every fitness we require, every grace, every gift. They are all given to us in Him.
  • Ask for any one of these things that is good for you, that is for the salvation of your soul, your ultimate perfection, anything that brings you nearer to God and enlarges your life and is thoroughly good for you, and He will give it you. He will not give you things that are bad for you.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence. I’m married to my best friend. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 100 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people determine their callings, develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. My favorite book is the Bible, and some other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

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