Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Two Crucial Questions Book Reviews from R.C. Sproul

With the release of these books in R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series, there are now 35 books in the series, all of which are free in the Kindle edition.

What is Predestination? by R.C. Sproul. (Crucial Questions) Reformation Trust. 76 pages. 2019

In this book R.C. Sproul writes that no doctrine in the Christian faith engenders more debate than the doctrine of predestination. He also tells us that no other doctrine more clearly demonstrates our utter dependence on divine grace and mercy than the doctrine of predestination. He writes that much is at stake in how we understand predestination, and we must be extraordinarily sensitive and careful in how we handle this doctrine. Studying predestination forces us to ask and answer hard questions, and if nothing else, it forces us to look more closely at the character of God and at our own sinfulness. Continue reading


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11 New and Upcoming Books You May Be Interested In

I love to read books in a variety of genres – leadership, professional growth, biography, sports, theology, Christian living, etc. Here are 11 new and upcoming books that you might be interested in:

The 6 Types of Working Genius: A Better Way to Understand Your Gifts, Your Frustrations, and Your Team by Patrick Lencioni  

Here is the Amazon description:

New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni unveils a truly groundbreaking new model that will change the way we think about work and teams forever.
The 6 Types of Working Genius is the fastest way to help people identify the type of work that brings them joy and energy and avoid work that leads to frustration and burnout.
Beyond the personal discovery and instant relief that Working Genius provides, the model also gives teams a remarkably simple and practical framework for tapping into one another’s natural gifts, which increases productivity and reduces unnecessary judgment.
In classic Lencioni fashion, Pat brings his model to life in a page-turning fable that is as relatable as it is compelling. He tells the story of Bull Brooks, an entrepreneur, husband, and father who sets out to solve his own frustration at work and stumbles into a new way of thinking that changes the way he sees his work, his team, and even his marriage.

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More New and Upcoming Books in Various Genres Continue reading


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Reviews of Two Crucial Questions Books from R.C. Sproul

With the release of these books in R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series, there are now 32 books in the series, all of which are free in the Kindle edition.

What is Predestination? by R.C. Sproul. (Crucial Questions) Reformation Trust. 76 pages. 2019

In this new book in his Crucial Questions series (free in the Kindle edition), R.C. Sproul writes that no doctrine in the Christian faith engenders more debate than the doctrine of predestination. He also tells us that no other doctrine more clearly demonstrates our utter dependence on divine grace and mercy than the doctrine of predestination. He writes that much is at stake in how we understand predestination, and we must be extraordinarily sensitive and careful in how we handle this doctrine. Studying predestination forces us to ask and answer hard questions, and if nothing else, it forces us to look more closely at the character of God and at our own sinfulness.
The doctrine of predestination is not limited to only Reformed churches. Sproul writes that every church and every Christian has some doctrine of predestination because the Bible has a doctrine of predestination. He tells us that if we are to grow in maturity in Christ, we must understand the biblical teaching on predestination. And though we may not like it at first, he tells us that with careful study and attention to the witness of Scripture, we can come to see the doctrine’s sweetness and its excellence and to experience it as a great comfort to our souls. Continue reading


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

What is the Gospel? (Crucial Questions) by R.C. Sproul. Reformation Trust Publishing. 109 pages. 2020. 
****

In this new book in R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series (all of which are free in the Kindle edition), he looks at the important issue of the gospel. We often talk about the gospel, but if asked, would we be able to tell someone just what the gospel is? The gospel isn’t our personal testimony, for example.
Sproul indicates that there is perhaps no more important question for us to answer than what the gospel is, because the answer we give will help to determine our eternal destiny. The gospel tells us how we can be saved from our sin. It is therefore crucial that we search the Scriptures carefully in order to clearly articulate what God tells us about how we may be saved.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEW ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

Good News: The Gospel of Jesus Christ by John MacArthur. Reformation Trust Publishing. 143 pages. 2018
****

In this book about Jesus Christ and the Gospel, from one of our most respected pastors and authors, John MacArthur tells us that a right understanding of Jesus Christ is essential to understanding many other vital truths, particularly the gospel and salvation. He tells us that there is no good news apart from Christ, and how we answer the question “Who is Jesus?” has significant and ultimately permanent consequences. The right answer alone can lead to salvation.
The author addresses that there are even those who identify themselves as evangelicals that teach that there is more than one way to get to Heaven. He tells us that today the word evangelical is so ambiguous that it doesn’t really mean anything. A high percentage (between 45 and 65 percent of so-called evangelical Christians), are convinced that Jesus is not the only way to heaven. He writes that a “radically abridged and ambiguous view” of the gospel has captivated the church today. But there is no “back door” to heaven. If we don’t know the true God and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will suffer the fury of God. Jesus made it clear to people that they needed to repent and believe.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and a review of Are People Basically Good? (Crucial Questions Book 25) by R.C. Sproul
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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12 Upcoming Books You May Be Interested In

There are a number of books set to be published over the next few months that I think you might be interested in. Here are 12 of them, and I’ve included their description from Amazon except where otherwise noted:

Three books in R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series will be published August 12. All of the books in the Crucial Questions series are free in the Kindle edition.

How Can I Live by Faith?
“Becoming a Christian doesn’t come at the cost of your intellect. In fact, the Christian faith provides the most compelling, logical explanation for life in this world. In this booklet, Dr. R.C. Sproul demonstrates that Christianity is rational because it is based on the promises of God, who has proven His trustworthiness in His Word. These promises provide an unshakable foundation for our salvation, faithful living, and hope for the future.”

 What is the Gospel?
“Many people think that since God is good, He will accept us as long as we lead good lives. But this isn’t good news, because none of us is as good as God. If left to ourselves, we will receive what our lives actually deserve: His judgment. In this booklet, Dr. R.C. Sproul explains the gospel, God’s good news for sinful people like us. While we could never save ourselves from His just condemnation, God calls us to trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, who alone can redeem us through His righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection.”

 What is Biblical Wisdom?
“Wisdom isn’t something only needed by the foolish and immature. All of us are called to grow in wisdom, for true wisdom has to do with pleasing the God who made us. In this booklet, Dr. R.C. Sproul introduces the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament. He shows that wisdom goes hand in hand with being godly, and he demonstrates the Bible’s practical guidelines for a well-lived life that honors the Lord.”


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


New Life in Christ: What Really Happens When You’re Born Again and Why It Matters by Steven Lawson. Baker Books. 224 pages. 2020
****

In this book, pastor Steven Lawson considers the new birth by looking at Jesus’s well-known encounter nighttime encounter with Nicodemus in John 3. I have seen the author preach on numerous occasions, and as Sinclair Ferguson writes in the “Foreword”, you may, as I did, hear his voice preaching as you read this book, which reads like one of his preaching series, and is a nice companion to his Ligonier Ministries teaching series The New Birth.
What does it mean to be born again? The author tells us that being born again means that God implants divine life within our spiritually dead heart. He tells us that there are two sides of the entrance into the kingdom of God. On one side is the person’s activity. The other side involves God’s activity. God must cause a person to be born again, which, in turn, produces saving faith. It is the new birth that enables us to receive Jesus Christ into our life. Similarly, R.C. Sproul would often say that “regeneration proceeds faith”.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review… and reviews of
~ Making a Difference: Impacting Culture and Society as a Christian by R.C. Sproul and
~ I Still Believe: A Memoir of Wreckage, Recovery, and Relentless Love. Russ and Tori Taff with Mark Smeby
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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14 New and Upcoming Books You Might Be Interested In


There are a number of new and upcoming books, in a variety of genres, that I would like to share with you that you may be interested in.

Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by David Platt

This book, by the author of Radical, is one of the best, and certainly the most challenging book I’ve read this year. Here’s my review. Continue reading


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Dust to Glory: An Overview of the Bible

How well do you understand the “big picture” of the Bible? Not just the New Testament, but the entire Bible. I recently re-listened to Dust to Glory, R.C. Sproul’s 57-part teaching series on the Bible. I had listened to the series years ago when it was first available, and also taught an adult Sunday School class using the videos at my church.
I’ve written previously how much the ministry of Dr. Sproul meant to me. Re-listening to this series confirmed for me why. Here was someone who took difficult theological concepts and communicated them in a way that I could understand. Throughout these messages, Dr. Sproul brings his characteristic passion to the lectures as he goes over the major themes, events and people of the Bible. Dr. Sproul himself felt that Dust to Glory was the most important teaching tool that Ligonier Ministries ever produced. His hope was that Dust to Glory “will encourage, stimulate, and assist you to master the Scriptures so that the Scriptures may master you.”
The teaching series comes in both audio and video formats. You can purchase the entire series from Ligonier Ministries, or just the Old Testament or New Testament messages. At the above link you can also watch the first message free.  I would recommend purchasing the entire 57-part teaching series so that you can get a complete overview of God’s Story.
Don’t let cost keep you from this wonderful teaching series. Twice each year, Christianaudio offers this series for just $7.49 for each of the two parts, or just $14.98 for the 57, 23-minute messages as a part of their “Twice Yearly Sale”.
Not all books of the Bible receive equal treatment in Dust to Glory. For example, the “prison epistles” and the “general epistles” each get one lecture. On the other hand, the book of Revelation gets three lectures.
Dust to Glory would be an excellent addition to your home or church library. It’s a resource that you will want to go back to again and again.


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby. Zondervan. 256 pages. 2019
****

This was a difficult book to read, as it should be. In his “Foreword”, Lecrae writes that the author challenges us to take history seriously and account for it. He warns us that the account we are about to read is sobering and challenging. I would add to this that it is heart-breaking. I believe that it is an account that all Christians should read, especially Christian leaders. It is a well-researched survey of racism in America, what the author refers to as more than 300 years of race-based discrimination. The author tells us that this history of racism and the church shows that the story is worse than most imagine. He states that the stories in the book tell the tale of racial oppression. It is up to the reader to determine whether the weight of historical evidence proves that the American church has been complicit with racism.  Although the entire history is essential to know, I focused on the author’s emphasis, that is, the role of the church in racism.
The author focus is primarily on Protestant churches, and when he talks about the “Religious Right”, he focuses on those white evangelicals that align with the Republican party. The book focuses on prominent figures, precipitous events, and well-known turning points in American history. He writes that, historically speaking, when faced with the choice between racism and equality, the American church has tended to practice a complicit Christianity rather than a courageous Christianity. Even if only a small portion of Christians committed the most notorious acts of racism, many more white Christians can be described as being complicit in creating and sustaining a racist society. Christians deliberately chose complicity with racism in the past, but the choice to confront racism remains a possibility today. The book is a call to abandon complicit Christianity and move toward courageous Christianity. The author tells us that it is time to practice courageous Christianity.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…And reviews of Seven Leaders: Preachers and Pastors by Iain H. Murray, and How Can I Be Blessed? (Crucial Questions No. 24) by R.C. Sproul
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading