Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

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The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Steven J. Lawson. Reformation Trust Publishing. 154 pages. 2016.   
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In the latest edition of the A Long Line of Godly Men Profile series, the author, also the editor of the series and a passionate preacher himself, states that Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was perhaps most responsible for leading a return to expository preaching in the 20th century, and was one of the greatest preachers of any century. He preached at Westminster Chapel in London for 30 years, where 2,000 would gather each Lord’s Day, to hear his more than 4,000 sermons delivered during his time there. Those sermons, both in audio and written formats, continue to have great impact today, more than 36 years after his death.
The author looks at the life and preaching of Lloyd-Jones, known as “the Doctor”, a respected physician turned preacher. In a brief biographical sketch (see Iain Murray’s biographical works for a complete look at the Doctor’s life), the author tells us that Lloyd-Jones was born in 1899. He became a distinguished young physician with a promising career before he was born again at age 25. He then changed careers, and began his new calling as a Calvinist Methodist pastor in South Wales. Remembering how he had believed himself to be a Christian when he was not, he would preach as an evangelist. He preached with logic on fire, never telling jokes or stories in his sermons.  He refused to use church growth techniques.
Lloyd-Jones had great influence outside of England. His preaching at Westminster Seminary led to the still influential book Preaching and Preachers.  He founded the Banner of Truth Trust, which still publishes excellent books today. Lloyd-Jones had a passion for revival. He retired from Westminster in 1968 when diagnosed with colon cancer. After that, he edited his sermons into book form and spoke more widely.
Lloyd-Jones was known for his verse by verse expository preaching, and for preaching long series of sermons, such as his series on the book of Romans. He believed that preachers are born, not made. They are called. He believed that preaching is the highest calling.  He never attended seminary, yet was to 20th century England what Charles Spurgeon was to 19th century England, and perhaps the most influential expository preacher of the 20th century. He was a Puritan born out of time.
Lloyd-Jones believed in the authority and inspiration of the Scriptures. The author looks at three different types of Lloyd-Jones’ preaching:

  • Sunday mornings.
  • Evangelistic (with no altar call). Sunday evenings.
  • Friday nights.

He discusses the differences Lloyd-Jones saw between preaching and teaching.  Lectures were teaching in a classroom, while preaching, was teaching, application and exhortation in the pulpit. Expository preaching must lead to exhortation. Theology was a firm foundation of his preaching. He said that preaching is theology on fire. He sought to make God known in his preaching.  The author reviews Lloyd-Jones’ thoughts on sermon preparation in detail.
Lloyd-Jones was experiential Reformed, and preached the doctrines of grace, which Calvin believed bring the greatest glory to God.  He believed in the power of the Holy Spirit, unction or anointing in preaching.
We need more preachers like Lloyd-Jones in our pulpits today!

  • The Elder Brother. In this eleven-minute video, Tim Keller teaches about the elder brother in The Parable of the Prodigal Son from his book The Prodigal God: Finding Your Place at The Table.
  • John Stott’s Life-Changing Chapter. Ed Shaw writes “Looking back I have John Stott to thank for encouraging me not to seek a same-sex sexual relationship for myself.”
  • Augustine the Lover: Sarah Ruden’s New Translation of Confessions.  Trevin Wax writes “If you haven’t read Augustine’s Confessions, do yourself a favor and pick up this new translation. Spend a few weeks working slowly through the text.”
  • New Piper Book. The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of Life is volume three in the Godward Life series from John Piper. It includes 365 readings and will be published September 5.
  • Jen Hatmaker and the True Source of Our Moxie. Lore Ferguson Wilbert reviews Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker. She writes “Hatmaker’s theology flows out of this experiential ideal. Inclusivity becomes the theological compass in Of Mess and Moxie. It doesn’t seem to matter that people are in direct rebellion against God as defined by his Word, so long as we’re all sharing our experiences with one another.”
  • Spurgeon Study Bible. The CSB Spurgeon Study Bible will be published November 1. Itfeatures thousands of excerpts from Spurgeon’s sermons, chosen and edited by Alistair Begg. Looks like a great resource.

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

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy CrouchBaker Books. 224 pages. 2017

In this important new book, Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making, draws on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, and shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology’s distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.
This week we look at Introduction – Help!

  • If there is one word that sums up how many of us feel about technology and family life, it’s Help!
  • We love the way devices make our lives easier amid the stress and busyness that fill our days. But we also sense the precious days of childhood are passing by, far too fast, in a haze of ghostly blue light.
  • Apple introduced the groundbreaking iPhone in 2007. An awful lot of children born in 2007, turning ten years old as this book is published, have been competing with their parents’ screens for attention their whole lives.
  • I’ve heard more distress about our current technological addictions from grandparents than anyone else. There is a better way. It requires making choices that most of our neighbors in church aren’t making. This better way involves radically recommitting ourselves to what family is about—what real life is about.
  • The very best of life has almost nothing to do with the devices we buy. It has a lot to do with the choices we make, choices that our devices often make more difficult.
  • The main thing we all want you to know is that it is possible to love and use all kinds of technology but still make radical choices to prevent technology from taking over our lives.
  • Nudges are small changes in the environment around us that make it easier for us to make the choices we want to make or want others to make. Nudges don’t generally make us do anything, but they make certain choices easier and more likely. They don’t focus so much on changing anything about our own preferences and ability to choose well; they simply put the best choice right in front of us and make the wrong choice harder.
  • The most powerful choices we will make in our lives are not about specific decisions but about patterns of life: the nudges and disciplines that will shape all our other choices. This is especially true with technology.
  • Because technology is devoted primarily to making our lives easier, it discourages us from disciplines, especially ones that involve disentangling ourselves from technology itself.
  • The ten commitments begin with three choices that are especially fundamental. The first and deepest is to choose character—to make the mission of our family, for children and adults alike, the cultivation of wisdom and courage.
  • The second is to shape space—to make choices about the place where we live that put the development of character and creativity at the heart of our home. And the third is to structure time—to build rhythms into our lives, on a daily, weekly, and annual basis, that make it possible for us to get to know one another, God, and our world in deeper and deeper ways.

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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