Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


My Review of Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer

DVD Review – Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer

Luther is a well-made documentary that serves to introduce the great reformer to a new generation.
This excellent film arrives as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg. The film is directed by Stephen McCaskell, who also worked on the outstanding 2015 documentary Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
McCaskell uses a variety of ways to interestingly tell the story of the great reformer. Barry Cooper serves as the film’s narrator, and we see him on location at several sites. The film includes a number of beautiful aerial shots of Germany. It also includes artistic animation and interviews from respected theologians, pastors and historians R.C. Sproul, Stephen Nichols, Steven Lawson, Robert Godfrey, Carl Trueman, and Robert Kolb. The film also includes some excellent music.
The film quickly takes us through the life of Luther, including the importance he placed on music, as a family man, the impact – for good and bad – of his tongue, and his writings against the Jews.
The church must, in every age, always be reforming to the Word of God. The film tells us that there are about 2.2 billion Christians in the world today. Although things seem dark for the church in many ways today, we do have hope.
With my DVD, I received a code to download the new book, The Legacy of Luther edited by Stephen Nichols and R.C. Sproul, which I am reading now. If you order the DVD online, you also get a free download of the film’s soundtrack. The film will be released April 21. To pre-order, go here.


10 Recommended Books on Prayer

prayerOver the years I’ve read a number of good books on the subject of prayer. Each come from a slightly different approach.  I’m always glad I’ve read the book, but also come away thinking my prayer life is not nearly what it should be. Is that the way you tend to feel after reading a book on prayer?
Here are 10 books on prayer that I’ve read and would commend to you:Tim Keller's New Book on Prayer

Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller
My wife Tammy and I read and discussed this book over a period of months.  You can see the passages from the book we highlighted as we went through this helpful book here.

prayerPrayer: A Biblical Perspective by Eric Alexander
Eric Alexander was a wonderful preacher who I was blessed to see at a few theology conferences several years ago. His chief concern in this short book is to remind Christians that prayer is fundamental and not supplemental, both in the individual and in the corporate lives of God’s people. This book has the feel of individual sermons that were delivered on prayer put into book form.

A Praying LifeA Praying Life by Paul Miller
I’ve read this book twice (thus far). I first read the book a few years ago after our church hosted one of the author’s A Praying Life seminars, and again last year after we had a providential encounter with the author and his wife Jill in a cable car high above Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. Reading this book gives you the feel of sitting down with the author to talk about prayer as he shares many interesting and helpful stories – biblical and about his family, particularly about his special needs daughter Kim – to illustrate his teaching on prayer.

prayerDoes Prayer Change Things by R.C. Sproul
This booklet is part of R.C. Sproul’s excellent Crucial Questions series (which are free in the Kindle edition). I recommend all of the booklets in this series. In this booklet on prayer, Sproul asks: Does prayer make any difference? Does it really change anything? He looks at the place, purpose, pattern, practice, prohibitions and power of prayer.

the-chief-exercise-of-prayer-by-john-calvinThe Chief Exercise of Faith: John Calvin on Prayer
This small book is an excerpt of Henry Beveridge’s 1845 translation of John Calvin’s classic work Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 20. The book is broken down into 52 individual sections. As an example, Section 2 is on prayer defined, its necessity and use. There is much wisdom from Calvin about the subject of prayer in these pages.

a-simple-way-to-pray-by-archie-parrishA Simple Way to Pray: The Wisdom of Martin Luther on Prayer by Dr. Archie Parrish
R.C. Sproul has written “No book has done more to revolutionize my personal prayer life than this little book by Martin Luther. I would recommend it for every Christian’s library.” The description of the book from Ligonier states:
Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther’s barber asked him for advice on how to pray. Luther responded with a 34 page booklet showing a simple but effective way to structure a life of devotion. In it, he illustrates prayers through the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostles’ Creed.
This book, edited by Dr. Archie Parrish, contains Luther’s booklet and offers other helps for structuring your personal prayer life. Dr. R.C. Sproul, who wrote the foreword, considers this to be among the top fifteen Christian works that have most shaped his life and ministry.”

the-barber-who-wanted-to-pray-by-r-cThe Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R.C. Sproul
This is a children’s book by R.C. Sproul which is related to Archie Parrish’s book above. Ligonier’s description of the book is:
“This imaginative tale from R.C. Sproul, based on a true story, begins one evening with Mr. McFarland leading family devotions. When his daughter asks him how she should pray, Mr. McFarland shares a 500-year-old story about a barber and his famous customer.  Master Peter is a barber well-known to all in his village. One day, when Martin Luther the Reformer walks into his shop, the barber musters up the courage to ask the outlawed monk how to pray. Luther responds by writing a letter to the barber. The barber’s life and many others’ are changed as they encounter a model for prayer by using the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed.pray
Sproul’s beautifully illustrated story will delight children and help them learn to pray according to the Bible. The full text of the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed will make this a treasured book to be returned to time after time.”
This resource is also available as a short audiobook read by the author.

augustine-on-prayerAugustine on Prayer – Thomas A. Hand
Several years ago, a friend and I read and discussed this book, which is a compilation of the thoughts, words and prayers of Saint Augustine.  The author collected more than 500 of Augustine’s texts about prayer for this book, which addresses questions such as: What is prayer? Why should we prayer? For what and from whom should we pray? How should we pray? I don’t recall where I heard about the book originally, but I do recall that reading and discussing it with my friend was a wonderful experience.

prayerThe Prayer of the Lord by R.C. Sproul
In this short book by R.C. Sproul, he notes that Jesus’ own disciples deemed their prayer lives inadequate, so they turned to their Teacher for help. It was on that occasion that Jesus gave them what we know as “the Lord’s Prayer.” Sproul writes “Jesus’ intent was to give His disciples a model prayer, an example to follow, one that would teach them transferrable principles for conversation with God.”

lord-teach-me-to-pray-by-john-macarthurLord, Teach Me to Pray – John MacArthur
In this short book, John MacArthur provides us with a short primer on prayer, hoping that the book will awaken a renewed passion in us for prayer. He looks at the basics of prayer and when and how often we should pray. He then examines what the content of prayer should be. Finally he looks at some of the sins that will hinder our prayers and how to overcome those sins.

These are 10 books on prayer that I’ve read and can recommend to you. Have you read any of these? What books on prayer have you read and can recommend?

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Only one week remaining for “early bird” pricing for the Biblical Imagination Conference on Matthew and Michael Card Concert

Just a reminder that “early bird” pricing for the Biblical Imagination Conference on Matthew and Michael Card’s concert is available only through February 25.

Christ Church and East White Oak Bible Church are pleased to host respected singer/songwriter, Bible teacher and author Michael Card for the Biblical Imagination Conference Matthew: The Gospel of Identity on April 25-26, and concert on April 27. The conference will be held at Christ Church in Normal, and the concert at East White Oak Bible Church in Carlock.

This short promotional video will give you, your family and your church an idea of what to expect at the conference:

More details about the conference, including the schedule, are available at the conference site at:$13 concert poster

Tickets for the conference (which includes the concert) can be purchased at:

Tickets for the concert only can be purchased at:

Conference tickets are now just $48; after February 25, $58. Tickets for the concert only are now only $13; after February 25, $18.

Please share this on your personal Facebook sites and encourage your friends to attend.

If you have any questions, or need additional information, please contact Bill Pence at (309) 452-5438 or

~ THIS AND THAT ~R.C.'s 75th

  • Dr. R.C. Sproul celebrated his 75th birthday on February 13. The day before, blogger Tim Challies published his infographic on Sproul. You can see it here:
  • And speaking of R.C., his next book will be Everyone’s a Theologian, which will be released March 15 at Ligonier Ministries’ National Conference.
  • Here’s a helpful article from the Desiring God blog “Three Questions to Ask Before Watching a Movie”. Read it here:
  • All three of the excellent God’s Word for You series books by Tim Keller (on Galatians, Judges and Roman) are now 50% off from Christianaudio through February 28. Read more here:
  • Desiring God’s recent conference for Pastors focused on the topic of union with Christ. All the media from the conference is now available for unlimited streaming and download, all free of charge. Check out the messages by John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Michael Horton and others here:
  •  Here’s an interesting article from the Gospel Coalition about faith at work. Read it here:
  • And speaking of the Gospel Coalition, Council member Darrin Patrick, a pastor from St. Louis provides this interview with Mike Matheny, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals:
  • Sinclair Ferguson, one of my favorite theologians, shares lessons from a lifetime of pastoring in this video: Lessons from a Lifetime of Pastoring
  • Do you use the acrostic ACTS to guide your prayer time? Check out this short article on ACTS and then download the digital edition of R.C. Sproul’s book The Prayer of the Lord free during February –
  • Watch this four minute video from John Piper on the God who displays his glory not by our working for him, but his working for us: Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield
  • Steven Lawson’s latest book is The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitfield. It is part of the Long Line of Godly Men Profiles series.
  •  “Alone Yet Not Alone”, the Joni Eareckson Tada song that had been nominated for an Oscar but then had the nomination revoked because of rules violations, is number one on the iTunes Christian and Gospel charts and #81 overall as of this writing.
  • The Peter Furler Band (former lead singer of the Newsboys) will release Sun and Shield on March 11.
  • The live album from the Passion 2014 conference will be released April 29.
  • Michael W. Smith’s new album, Sovereign, will be released May 13
  • U2 will perform their Oscar-nominated song Ordinary Love live for the first time on the Academy Award telecast on March 2.
  •  I’m a huge Beatles fan. They are my favorite band (followed in order by U2, Switchfoot and Jars of Clay). I remember watching my Aunt Linda screaming at the TV in her parents (my grandparents) living room in Chicago as the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show back in 1963. The surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared together twice recently, the below picture being from a celebration that took place on the 50th anniversary of their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show February 9, 1964.Paul and Ringo


New Page:  I Peter Paper ~ As I near my graduation from Covenant Seminary, I am revisiting a few of my assignments (papers, etc.) that I completed. Below is a paper I wrote on 1 Peter in 2008 for Dr. Chapman’s New Testament History and Theology course.  Thanks to friend and fellow elder Don Lusk for his review of my original paper and his helpful suggestions. (For this version, I have removed the footnoting to make reading easier).

Favorites! Page has been updated – send us a comment with your favorites.

Romans for YouBook Reviews ~ Romans 1-7 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word for You) by Timothy Keller

New to the Leadership Library ~ Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.iTunes Session - Third Day

Movie Reviews ~ The Lego Movie and About Time

Music Review ~ iTunes Session – Third Day

Quotable:    Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words – Francis of Assisi