A Theology for the Church Edited by Daniel Akin

A Theology for the ChurchA Theology for the Church – Revised Edition edited by Daniel Akin. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2014. 770 pp. $54.99. Purchase at Amazon or Kindle for less.

Introduction

Daniel Akin is the President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written 1, 2, 3 John in the New American Commentary series and is also collaborating with David Platt (President of the International Mission Board of the SBC) and Tony Merida (the founding pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C. and as Associate Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Seminary) on the Christ-Centered Exposition commentary series.

Other contributors include Chad Owen Brand, Mark Dever, David S. Dockery, Timothy George, R. Albert Mohler, Russell D. Moore, and Paige Patterson among others.

Summary

Divided into eight sections with fourteen different chapters, this revised edition of retains its original structure, organized under these traditional theological categories: revelation, God, humanity, Christ, the Holy Spirit, salvation, the church, and last things.

Only Russell Moore contributed more than one chapter (chapter 2 – Natural Revelation and 14 – Personal and Cosmic Eschatology) which means that each contributor writes in his particular area of expertise.

For this revised edition, two new chapters were added: theological method from a missional perspective (Bruce Ashford and Keith Whitfield) and theology of creation, providence, and Sabbath that engages current research in science and philosophy (Chad Owen Brand).

Each chapter seeks to answer four main questions: What does the Bible say? What has the church believed? How does it all fit together? and How does this doctrine impact the church today?

Review

A Theology for the Church is a distinctly Southern Baptist systematic theology.  While it can (and should) be used across denominational lines, this must be understood up front as there will most certainly be secondary and tertiary doctrinal disagreements.

A further strength of this resource, as mentioned above, is that the various contributors wrote on their specific area of expertise. Also, each chapter and subsection is heavily footnoted introducing the reader to further resources for study.

One of the weaknesses is that when the chapter ends, it ends. There are no suggestions for further reading (save the footnotes) or questions to engage the material similar to the ever popular Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem.

Regardless, this work is both scholarly and accessible for the layman looking to study more in depth the doctrines of the church.

Recommendation

While I am not systematic theologian, I do own a number of systematic theologies. Aside from J.L Dagg and James Boyce, this is arguably one of the best Southern Baptist systematics I have read. I highly recommend it to all, including my non-SBC brothers and sisters.

Experiencing the New Birth by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Experiencing the New BirthLloyd-Jones, Martyn. Experiencing the New Birth – Studies in John 3. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2015. 400 pp. $30.00. Purchase in print at Westminster books for less or on Kindle for $9.59.

Introduction

I have reviewed a number of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ works published by Crossway Books in the last few years. You can read those reviews here as well as a number of other notifications and news.  Also, one of my personal highlights was my interview with Jonathan Catherwood, MLJ’s grandson.

Summary/Review

Experiencing the New Birth is a compilation of Lloyd-Jones’ twenty-four sermons from John 3:1-30 preached at Westminster Chapel from 9 January – 10 July 1966. Until  now, as I understand it, these sermons have yet to appear in print though they are available at the MLJ Trust.

These sermons are fairly straight-forward and hit home as most all of the Doctor’s sermons do. His exposition of this most familiar passage in the gospel of John brings a strange newness to the passage. It is remarkable how a sermon from nearly fifty years ago still speaks to the Christian today.

Further, after having read these sermons, the Christian will challenged by the black/white theology of the apostle John in that you are either a new Christian or you are not. You are either Nicodemus…a man full of knowledge but not Christ or you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ.

This work is meant to be read one chapter at a time as they were preached one sermon at a time. To that end, these twenty-four chapters serve as a devotional meant to be meditated on and applied by the Christian. Of course, you will not agree with everything ML-J writes, but the reality is you will be confronted with a great God who through His resurrected Son, Jesus Christ, is completely sovereign over your life.

Recommendation

Add this to your library. Read it. Devour it and chew on it. We are indebted to Crossway Books for bringing to print these sermons for the modern Christian today.

What’s Up? by Deborah Harrell & Jack Klumpenhower

What up SGHarrell, Deborah and Jack Klumpenhower. What’s Up? Discovering the Gospel, Jesus, and Who You Really Are. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2015. 152 pp. Student Guide – $15.99. Teacher’s Guide – $19.99.

Introduction

Jack Klumpenhower is the author of Show Them Jesus – Teaching the Gospel to Kids also by New Growth Press. Deborah Harrell is the Overseas Educational Advisor for Serge. She has also written a children’s novel, Pinto’s Hope.

Summary

This is a study designed for middle school students (5th-8th grade) to encourage them to believe the good news of Jesus and to also live it out in their lives. There is an accompanying teacher’s guide.

The workbook is divided into three parts with fifteen different lessons. The curriculum guides middle-school age students in discovering Jesus through fifteen 90-minute lessons that can be expanded to cover twenty-seven weeks.

Review

This is a practical, down to earth, Bible study designed to “hit the children where they are.” Deborah and Jack masterfully teach doctrinal truths of Christian character in a way that most every child can understand. What sets this curriculum apart, however, is that it is not moralistic as most. Rather, this study on Christian character traits is gospel-centered and points to the necessity of Jesus Christ every day in the life of a child and an adult.

Perhaps the best aspect of this particular study is that it shows the middle-school child that faith in Christ is not a church only deal. It must, of necessity encompass one’s entire life. Unit one lays this foundation with an intensive look at the gospel while unit two shows how the gospel alone changes your heart. The third unit shows how the gospel changes your life.

Each week, the youth will be challenged by the gospel. They will see that there is no gray. You are either a Christian or you are not.

While there is quite a bit of prep time for the teacher as well as quite a bit of “homework” for the student, this is a comprehensive approach to student ministry that, Lord willing, will have lasting impact on the child, the teacher, and the local church.

Recommendation

I am always looking for solid study materials for children…especially as a father of 5! What’s Up?  is gospel saturated, Christocentric and will prove to be a wake-up call to both the youth and the instructor. I highly recommend this resource to anyone with children or looking to instruct children.

Commentary on Hebrews by Thomas R. Schreiner

Commentary on HebrewsBiblical Theology for Christian Proclamation – Commentary on Hebrews. Thomas R. Schreiner. General Editors, T. Desmond Alexander, Andreas J. Kostenberger, and Thomas R. Schreiner. Nashville, B&H Academic, 2015. 400 pp. $39.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. He serves as Associated Dean of the School of Theology.

Dr. Schreiner joined the Southern faculty in 1997 after serving 11 years on the faculty at Bethel Theological Seminary. He also taught New Testament at Azusa Pacific University. Dr. Schreiner, a Pauline scholar, is the author or editor of several books and commentaries.

Introduction to the Series

The Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation Commentary series explores the theology of the Bible in considerable depth, spanning both Testaments. Authors come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, though all affirm the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. United in their high view of Scripture, and in their belief in the underlying unity of Scripture, which is ultimately grounded in the unity of God himself, each author explores the contribution of a given book or group of books to the theology of Scripture as a whole. While conceived as stand-alone volumes, each volume thus also makes a contribution to the larger whole. All volumes provide a discussion of introductory matters, including the historical setting and the literary structure of a given book of Scripture. Also included is an exegetical treatment of all the relevant passages in succinct commentary-style format. The biblical theology approach of the series will also inform and play a role in the commentary proper. The commentator permits a discussion between the commentary proper and the biblical theology that it reflects by a series of cross-references.

The major contribution of each volume, however, is a thorough discussion of the most important themes of the biblical book in relation to the canon as a whole. This format allows each contributor to ground Biblical Theology, as is proper, in an appropriate appraisal of the relevant historical and literary features of a particular book in Scripture while at the same time focusing on its major theological contribution to the entire Christian canon in the context of the larger salvation-historical metanarrative of Scripture. Within this overall format, there will be room for each individual contributor to explore the major themes of his or her particular corpus in the way he or she sees most appropriate for the material under consideration.

This format, in itself, would already be a valuable contribution to Biblical Theology. But there are other series that try to accomplish a survey of the Bible’s theology as well. What distinguishes the present series is its orientation toward Christian proclamation. This is the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation commentary series! As a result, the ultimate purpose of this set of volumes is not exclusively, or even primarily, academic. Rather, we seek to relate Biblical Theology to our own lives and to the life of the church. Our desire is to equip those in Christian ministry who are called by God to preach and teach the precious truths of Scripture to their congregations, both in North America and in a global context.

It is our hope and our prayer that the 40 volumes of this series, once completed, will bear witness to the unity in diversity of the canon of Scripture as they probe the individual contributions of each of its 66 books. The authors and editors are united in their desire that in so doing the series will magnify the name of Christ and bring glory to the triune God who revealed himself in Scripture so that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved—to the glory of God the Father and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and for the good of his church. To God alone be the glory: soli Deo gloria.

Summary of this Commentary

In his volume on Hebrews, Thomas R. Schreiner says, “The words of Jesus on the cross, ‘it is finished’ (John 19:30) capture the theology of Hebrews.

“My aim in this commentary is to focus on the biblical theology of the letter. The emphasis on biblical theology shows up especially in the introduction and conclusion where theological structures and themes are considered. In the introduction I will examine four different structures that are woven into the entire letter: 1) promise/fulfillment; 2) eschatology; 3) typology; and 4) spatial orientation (which can also be described as the relationship between heaven and earth in the letter). The commentary will conclude, after presenting an exegesis of each chapter, with a discussion of some major theological themes in Hebrews.”

Review

As with any commentary, you have your front matter to the book of the Bible being considered (author, date of writing, genre, purpose, etc.). You also have your exposition of the text of the particular book. What sets this commentary apart is it emphasis on the biblical and theological themes found within the text. Furthermore, the Introduction looks at the book of Hebrews and where it fits in with the story line of the Bible as a whole.

The strength lies in the focus. Whereas other commentaries look at the books largely from a single unit perspective, Schreiner here strives, and succeeds, in showing how (negatively) the Bible would not be complete with the omission of the book of Hebrews. Positively, he shows how the book of Hebrews not only fits well in the Bible and largely explains how the Old Testament ought to be interpreted in light of Christ but how the book of Hebrews is necessary for our understanding of Christ.

Recommendation

What better commentary to begin a series on biblical theology than the book of Hebrews? Schreiner nails it with this commentary and whets the appetite for pastors and Christians devoted to studying the Word of God. If Schreiner writes it, it is worth reading. This commentary is no exception. I highly commend this to all Christians.

 

We Choose Virtues

WCV

Note: This is not a typical book review per se. Rather, this is a curriculum review for We Choose Virtues.

Introduction

Heather McMillan started We Choose Virtues out of her love for children and her desire to see them reach their personal potential. As a preschool teacher and a children’s pastor, it concerned her how often she came across children whose lack of self-control, honesty and perseverance was almost debilitating. How could they succeed in life without the skills that come from good character?

Many grade school teachers she knew admitted that it sometimes takes from September to winter break for their students to follow even the simplest classroom instructions. This crisis in personal character seemed to be obstructing the learning process for their entire classrooms.

As her passion continued to grow, she realized that she wanted to teach children how to change. Not just a momentary change of actions, but a more lasting change in their attitudes as well. Her observation is that children needed to be inspired by simple, positive and consistent instructions, and parents and teachers needed an effective language with which to communicate these instructions.

It was out of this necessity that Heather created the original list of virtues and their unforgettable catchphrases. She used them at home with our four children, taught them in her own Preschool classroom, and introduced them to fellow teachers, parents, and professional counselors. They were enthusiastically received and the results were outstanding.

Summary

Our system uses 5 effective teaching methods to help you Introduce, Inspire and Integrate virtue into the lives of the children you teach.

  • Clear Explaination
  • Memorization
  • Demonstration
  • Conversation
  • Personal Application

The 12 Virtues covered in this system are: I am Diligent, I am Kind, I am Helpful, I am Obedient, I am Forgiving, I am Perseverant, I am Gentle, I am Patient, I am Self-Controlled, I am Content, I am Honest, I am Attentive

Our product line includes teaching cards, flash cards, posters, awards and sticker charts and printable hand-outs.

Review

Note: I am reviewing the Christian pack. They also have a “secular” pack that does not include the Scripture verses but everything else remains the same.

As a parent of five children, my wife and I have invested in numerous virtue teaching systems. We have used a number to decent success and still use many of the principles we have learned from these various resources.

My question now, is why didn’t I know of We Choose Virtues before now?!

To understand and be able to see what I am referring to, check out this link that shows one of the cards.

Clearly stated on the card is the particular virtue being taught. “I am __________” followed by another positive statement like “I can do it even when it is tough.” Below that in a slightly smaller font is what you are NOT. For example, on the card for helpful, it reads, “I am Not…selfish, lazy, or unwilling to serve, and I don’t have to be asked!” On the Christian cards there is a text of Scripture from the NIrV.

These are extremely colorful and work well with children of all ages. Furthermore, they have corresponding coloring pages that help the children to remain attentive to the teaching.

On the back of the card is a plethora of advice for teachable moments. Furthermore, the teacher’s handbook is so well written that anyone and everyone can be prepared and equipped to teach their children the important (and yes, Biblical) core values that lead to boys and girls becoming not only thriving and flourishing citizens, but, will ultimately point the entire family to the Lord Jesus who alone lived a perfect virtuous and sinless life.

There is much more information I could share with you, but if you perused the website, We Choose Virtues, for any length of time, you will quickly discover how well crafted this program truly is.

Recommendation

The caveat for me personally, is that we have not been using this very long as we just discovered this program. The truth is, the potential is profound and the foundation is built on the Word of God (even if I am going to have my kids still memorize out of the ESV!).

To that end, I heartily endorse We Choose Virtues and highly recommend it to anyone who is a parent, a teacher, or has influence over children and want to see them grow up into well-rounded, responsible citizens here on earth, and, Lord willing, citizens of heaven.

 

 

 

The Serpent Beguiled Eve by Acacia Slaton

Serpent Beguiled EveSlaton, Acacia. The Serpent Beguiled Eve: Healing the Wounds of Abandonment, Betrayal, and Shame. CreateSpace, 2014. 148 pp. $13.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.

Introduction

Acacia has written a children’s book entitled, Mommy, Am I Still Your Princess. This one, however, is deeper and more biographical.

Summary

A young married woman with two daughters deals with her husband’s infidelity and his struggle with homosexuality. She seeks spiritual counsel, but when he refuses to cooperate with spiritual leaders-other than on a surface level-she has to make the most important decision of her life.

Review

From the start,  you know this book is going to be a tough read given the sensitive nature of the topics discussed. From adultery to divorce to homosexuality, the reader is confronted with real-life in this ever changing culture of what is acceptable behavior.

I need to qualify this review with a note that there is much I disagree with in terms of ecclesiology (church stucture), some of the teachers that influenced the main character (Joyce Meyer, etc.) and the evident charismatic (see TBN-esque Pentecostalism) influences in her life. That being said, I am also aware that a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.

I struggled with the life story of betrayal as both a husband and father and perhaps as a pastor myself. I hated to read what was going on in her life as well as how he failed to lead both himself and his family. The warning was clear, however, we must always be on guard and must continue to put our faith in Christ alone.

Slaton pours her heart and soul into this work and explains how it was (and is!) only God’s grace that brought her through this horrendous storm. Furthermore, near the end of this book, I think she best summarized why she, as a Christian, must strive to forgive as imperfect as she might be able to do. She realized that because God had forgiven her so often in her unfaithfulness to Him, she in turn, must seek to forgive her ex-husband despite the pain and her unwillingness. Her transparency in her struggles is to be commended and modeled.

Recommendation

In the end, I found this book to be genuine and God-honoring though I personally disagree with many secondary (albeit, important) issues theologically. The heart of the book is one of our need of God’s grace each and every day. To that end, and understanding one must read with discernment, I recommend this book to those who are hurting.

The Works of John Knox Volume 2

Works-of-John-Knox-Volume-1Edited by David Laing. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2014. 564 pp. Purchase the 6- Volume set for $139.00 or get it on Kindle for $2.99.

Introduction

You can read the review of Volume 1 before reading this review on volume 2 if you would like. As I stated previously, this reprinting with the edits of David Laing are actually from 1895. The language has been updated and standardized for today’s reader though there remains many explanatory notes throughout each edition.

Summary

This second volume is a continuation of the history of the Reformation in Scotland. This volume covers the years 1559-1567 and includes an appendix, glossary, and index of people and the various places in this 2-volume history.

Review

I was amazed at the speed in which this book was read. Far from being a dry historical text book, Knox told a captivating story of man vs. God that kept the pages turning late into the evening. Heavily annotated with footnotes and cross-references to the first volume, Knox authored arguably the most authoritative history on the Reformation in Scotland.

Surprisingly, though not really if you believe in the adage “unless you learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it,” I found that Knox’s writings were viewed as a sort of play book for the seeming war Christians are about to face here in America. It may come as a shock to some, but Christians in America have been largely protected from the real persecution that others have faced throughout the world. We hear many decrying our loss of religious liberty and freedom today. John Knox shows how we are to fight back.

In the end, the battle is not for our religious freedoms or for our own comfort to worship God freely. Rather, the battle is between two kingdoms: Satan’s here on this earth and Christ’s in Heaven (and in His church). Knox makes this plain and shows how the battle will cost you your life. Only when you understand this, are you truly free to live your life as you will.

Recommendation

If you cannot afford the entire 6-volume set – though on Kindle it is extremely affordable! – I would recommend these first two volumes as a stand alone set. The riches of Knox’s historical acumen cannot be overstated. Neither can his passion for the Kingdom of God as evidenced by his ministry here on earth. I highly recommend these first two-volumes.

Book Alert: Chronicles of the Nephilim for Young Adults

YA_ChroniclesSeries_banner1

Introduction

I have reviewed most of the Chronicles of Nephilim Series by Brian Godawa and have found those I have to be extremely gripping and vivid. My only caveat has been that the subject matter and stories are for an adult audience only. I am grateful that this is no longer the case with the young adult editions of the books.

Summary

From the website:

Chronicles of the Nephilim for Young Adults is a version of the original Biblical Fiction series that has been edited to be age-appropriate for Ages 13 and above, Grades 8 and above.

Fans of the Chronicles know that the original series is rated PG-13 (R in some places). But this version for young adults has edited the explicit descriptions of sin and toned down the violence to be rated G (PG in some places).

But it is the same rip roaring action adventure, romance and spiritual journey about Nephilim Giants, Watchers, and the Biblical Cosmic War of the Seed that will keep you on the edge of your seat and help you see the Biblical narrative with fresh perspective.

I have also taken out the theological appendices from each of the books that explained the Biblical and ancient historical research behind the fiction. If readers want to read these appendices, they can buy the book When Giants Were Upon the Earth that contains all the appendices gathered in one volume with extras.

Review/Recommendation

As stated above, the controversial elements of each book has been stripped from these young adult editions making the story much more acceptable for mature children and teens. Godawa’s ability to vividly tell stories that are well known biblical accounts of historical events and to fill them in with historical accuracy and deep theological understanding will be enjoyed by the junior high or high school student who is not used to reading solid stories that offer biblical truths.

As I have qualified my recommendations for every book in the series, these young adult editions are recommended without reservation. The action and adventure and biblical truths of a sovereign God will be much enjoyed by young men and women alike. I am grateful to Brian for taking the time to address the maturity level so that a younger audience can enjoy his workmanship.

 

The Way of the Master Intermediate Training Course

Intermediate Course

Introduction

Back in 2012, I reviewed The Way of the Master Basic Training Course and have used this method of evangelism regularly ever since. Today, I am fortunate to be able to review the Intermediate Course.

I have reviewed a number of Ray’s books and movies and courses and have always found them to be extremely helpful. Of special interest may be my interview with Ray back in 2012.

Summary

For $49.95, you will receive the DVD’s, a student book (extras are available separate) and some ice breaker gospel tracts to get you started.

From the back of the DVD Case:

This eight-session DVD course adds critical framework to your foundation. It will teach you how to avoid the devastating pitfalls of producing false conversions. You will learn how to prove the existence of hell, both through the Scriptures and through reason, and what to do when things go wrong. Discover how to witness to a family member or to someone who is gay, how to recognize subtle satanic doctrines, how to refute the theory of evolution (join Kirk and Ray as they take an orangutan to lunch), and how to prove the existence of God.

Using a captivating teaching style, Kirk and Ray not only tell you how to witness, they show you, through fascinating on-the-street conversations with atheists, intellectuals, evolutionists, homosexuals — and perhaps the most intimidating — family members.

Once you’ve experienced the exhilaration of sharing the gospel, weekly homework assignments will help you put this life-changing teaching into practice as you discover additional creative ways to reach the lost.

Like countless others, you will be amazed at how using this biblical method will transform your life — and the eternal lives of others.

Review

In the Basic Training Course, there is a session that is dedicated to the ten most common objections by those who are lost. I felt as though this intermediate course was a deeper explanation of many of those objections but with specific cultural application for today.

For example, lesson five discusses how to lovingly give hope to those who are gay (a very necessary conversation today) while the first lesson really begins to build on the foundation of poured in the Basic Training Course of true and false conversions. Here, Ray and Kirk, help the student to understand true and false conversions. Who knows, you may come to understand that you are not a Christian and need to genuinely repent of your own sins! (Yes, it has happened.)

Lesson four may be the most helpful as it encourages the student to continue in obedience even when everything goes wrong during an evangelism encounter.

It is important that the student understand that this is an intermediate training course and must only be studied after the basic training. Personally, I would recommend that you practice what was taught for a while before moving on to this course since your experience as an evangelist will greatly aid in your understanding of the intricacies of evangelizing a world blinded by Satan to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Recommendation

As I stated above, this is my preferred method of evangelism. It typically cuts to the chase and circumvents much discussion meant to derail the sharing of the gospel. That being said, this intermediate course will aid the timid Christian to confidently engage in further evangelism as well as equip him or her for many different intimidating scenarios. I highly recommend this resource to all Christians.

The Pure Flame of Devotion edited by G. Stephen Weaver and Ian Hugh Clary

Pure Flame of DevotionThe Pure Flame of Devotion: The History of Christian Spirituality – Essays in Honor of Michael A.G. Haykin. Edited by G. Stephen Weaver, Jr. and Ian Hugh Clary. Ontario: Joshua Press, 2013. 548 pp. $44.99. Purchase at Amazon for much less.

Introduction

Michael A,G. Haykin serves as Professor of Church History & Biblical Spirituality. Dr. Haykin has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto (1974), a Master of Religion from Wycliffe College, the University of Toronto (1977), and a Th.D. in Church History from Wycliffe College and the University of Toronto (1982). Dr. Haykin and his wife Alison have two grown children, Victoria and Nigel. As Russell Moore states in his foreword, Haykin’s written books take up a full shelf and a half. I have reviewed a few of his books and have even been able to interview him in the past.

Ian Hugh Clary served as a research assistant to Dr. Haykin from 2003-2006. Steve Weaver is pastor of Farmdale Baptist Church in Frankfort, KY, and has served as Dr. Haykin’s research assistant since 2008.

Summary

With over 23 chapters compressed into 540 pages, the contributors, a list of who’s who in church history studies, paints with extremely broad strokes of church history.

From the back of the book:

Since the time of Christ, the church has known men and women renowned for their devotion, spiritual insight and piety. Collectively their lives portray a broad history of Christian spirituality. This volume is meant to ignite your interest and understanding of key time periods and pivotal people from various eras of church history. Instead of exploring the overall spiritual perspective of a person or period, only certain aspects of thought are dealt with. This is an approach to church history with an eye to issues of spirituality that emphasizes how today’s Christians can cull ancient sources for their spiritual enrichment and encouragement as they seek to live their lives under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Each of the exceptional contributors is knowledgeable in their particular subject area.Through extensive original research they skillfully expound the vitality and richness of the spirituality of their subjects. Introduced to these historical figures who walked closely with God, Christians will find rich application and benefit for their souls.

Review

The scope of this book is breathtaking to say the least. There is something for everyone in this work. There is a section on the Patristics to the Medieval era of church history that I found most interesting as I am not as familiar with this area of the history of the church as I am with others. The section on Reformation and Puritan spirituality is much more familiar for me personally.

Each chapter is written by a man who is fluent in the life and the period of history in which he writes. The strength of this work is to be discovered chapter by chapter as you, the reader, are introduced to over 15 different men from the history of the church and their important, though often forgotten, contributions to the theology of Protestantism.

This is not meant to be read as a passing fancy. Rather, this work is meant to be read, digested, and read again. In doing so, the reader will more than likely be sparked to an interest in an area he may have never been aware.

Finally, the book does not need to be read from cover to cover. While that is a definite possibility, and would show you a historical formation of spirituality, I would recommend picking and choosing chapters and hop around all over the 548 pages until you have read the entire book.

Recommendation

If you are interested in church history or a proper understanding of biblical Christian piety and spirituality, I highly commend The Pure Flame of Devotion. This will be a resource you purchase and read and refer to for years to come.

Short, introductory reviews of Christian Books