Tag Archives: The Banner of Truth Trust

Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 5

Sibbes, Richard. Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. 550 pp. $27.00. You can purchase Volume 3 at The Banner of Truth for $24.30. You can purchase the complete set of 7 volumes for $162.00 at Westminster Books or for a mere $10.00 on Kindle.

Introduction

I have reviewed many of Richard Sibbes’ books in the past. This is now the fifth of seven volumes in his collection of Works produced by The Banner of Truth Trust. It has taken me almost a year to get this far for a myriad of reasons, but one thing I know is that this set of works has been invaluable to my personal walk with the Lord.

Summary

At over 540 pages, volume 5 contains the rest of everything Sibbes wrote regarding his exposition of the epistles of Paul save 1 & 2 Corinthians (Volumes 3 & 4). Also included in this particular volume is The Art of Divine Contentment and Salvation Applied.

Review

Personally, The Art of Contentment is one of those sermons of yesteryear that needs to be printed and distributed widely today. In our day and age of transient life and consumerism, there are many who struggle with contentment. Sibbes, surgeon as he is with the scalpel of the Word, cuts right to the heart of the matter and offers sound biblical argumentation as to how and why we are to be content in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Each of these expositions (the individual sermons will be dealt with in volume 7) takes the reader deeper into the Word of God than most pastors are either willing or able to go in their own preaching. Though dated in language and cultural context, many of the applications remain timeless and offer the modern reader much food for thought in how we are to apply the Word of God to all of life.

Recommendation

The reason to purchase volume 5 as a stand alone is due in large part to the 20 pages of The Art of Contentment also known as The Art of Divine Contentment. This set has proven to be hugely beneficial to my soul and to my walk. Pastors, you would do well to read this book and be filled with practical applications from arguably one of the greatest expositors to have ever preached the Word. Christian, read and be fed.

Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 4

sibbesv4_scan-205x320Sibbes, Richard. Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. 550 pp. $27.00. You can purchase Volume 3 at The Banner of Truth for $24.30. You can purchase the complete set of 7 volumes for $162.00 at Westminster Books or for a mere $10.00 on Kindle.

Introduction

I have reviewed many of Richard Sibbes’ books in the past. This is now the fourth of seven volumes in his collection of Works produced by The Banner of Truth Trust.

Summary

Volume 4 is the sequel so to speak of volume 3 in that it contains the rest of Richard Sibbes’ sermons from 1 and 2 Corinthians. These include the more well-known sermons like The Spiritual Man’s Aim and A Glance of Heaven. It also looks at his exposition of 2 Corinthians 4 which is more commentary than sermon, but gold nonetheless.

Review

As I continue through the Works of Richard Sibbes, I am continually challenged by his depth of study and application. As a pastor, I often feel inadequate to the task. When I read many of the Puritans, I find that I am inadequate to the task! One other thing I have found is that by reading the Puritans, I am ministered to. I do not think I can truly explain how important this is for Christian pastor or teacher or leader to have in his own life.

His work on 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 is pure gold. It is appropriately entitled The Excellency of the Gospel Above the Law. Reading this particular sermon in one sitting will do the Christian much good and, I believe, prove to be sweet balm to many a weary soul. In fine Puritanical fashion, Sibbes explains why so many Christians are struggling with joy and how the gospel frees us to truly enjoy life in light of Christ’s grace and mercy.

Recommendation

I have never been one to hide the fact that I love the Puritans for their depth of theological knowledge and practical application of the Word of God for our everyday living. While I realize that not everyone shares in my same excitement, I cannot recommend an era of writing more highly than I can the Puritans. They were saturated with the Word of God. Everything they wrote showed evidence of this truth. This volume of the Works of Richard Sibbes is no different. If you are wanting to study 1 or 2 Corinthians, you would do well to pick up this fourth volume.

Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 3

SibbesV3_scan-203x320Sibbes, Richard. Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. 550 pp. $27.00. You can purchase Volume 3 at The Banner of Truth for $24.30. You can purchase the complete set of 7 volumes for $162.00 at Westminster Books or for a mere $10.00 on Kindle.

Introduction/Summary

I have reviewed a few other titles by Richard Sibbes (read those here and am currently working through the 7-volume set of the Works of Richard Sibbes.

Sibbes was a surgeon when it came to expositing Scripture. This third volume of the seven volume Works is a case in point. The entire volume is a commentary on 2 Corinthians 1. That is it. 550 pages covering 24 verses.

From The Banner of Truth Trust,

More than anything else, Richard Sibbes was a great preacher. He never lost sight of the fact that the best Christian counselling is done through the patient and enlivening exposition of the Word of God. Sibbes excelled as a comforter of the troubled and doubting, but he also possessed the rare gift of illuminating every passage of Scripture he handled by drawing out its significance for his hearers and readers. The republication of the Nichol edition of his complete works is a notable event for all who have an appetite for helpful and faithful biblical preaching.

Review

It is fascinating to me that Thomas Manton was the original editor of this particular volume. In fact, the original title as written by Manton offers more insight into why this is so long: “A Learned Commentary or Exposition upon [2 Corinthians 1] being the Substand of many Sermons formerly preached at Grayes-Inne, London…by Richard Sibbs.”

As you read this commentary you find that you are sitting in the pew listening to Sibbes as it were exposit week in and week out the Word of God – specifically, this one chapter of 2 Corinthians. The first chapters are typically introductory material with greetings and some groundwork for the occasion of the letter.

Sibbes, however, finds this first chapter fascinating and offers many doctrinal insights and personal applications and exhortations in what many might gloss over as being “unimportant” in the context of the entire letter.

For example, in dealing with 2 Cor. 1:11 where Paul writes, “You also must help us by prayer” (ESV), Richard states prayer “is not a work of gifts, but of grace. It is a work of a broken heart, of a believing heart” (p.183). In fine puritanical fashion, he continues on for seven plus pages on the doctrine of prayer.

Every phrase in the first chapter of 2 Corinthians is treated as such. It is no wonder this volume is 550 pages.

It is no wonder Dr. Sibbes was noted as one of the greatest preachers of the Puritanical era.

Recommendation

If you are looking for an example of what biblical meditation looks like, you need to read this particular volume. If you are looking for what in depth Bible study and exposition looks like, you need to pick up this volume. If you are looking for a quality devotional, you need to pick up this volume.

In other words, Volume 3 of The Works of Richard Sibbes is must reading for most Christians. I highly recommend this volume (as well as the entire set) to all Christians.

Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 2

Sibbes 2Sibbes, Richard. Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. 550 pp. $27.00. You can purchase Volume 2 at The Banner of Truth for $24.30. You can purchase the complete set of 7 volumes for $162.00 at Westminster Books or for a mere $10.00 on Kindle.

Introduction

I have reviewed a few other titles by Richard Sibbes (read those here and am currently working through the 7-volume set of the Works of Richard Sibbes.

Sibbes was appointed a lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. Later, through the influence of friends, he was chosen to be the preacher at Gray’s Inn, London, and he remained there until 1626. In that year he returned to Cambridge as Master of St Catherine’s Hall, and later returned to Holy Trinity, this time as its vicar. He was granted a Doctorate in Divinity in 1627, and was thereafter frequently referred to as ‘the heavenly Doctor Sibbes’. He continued to exercise his ministry at Gray’s Inn, London, and Holy Trinity, Cambridge, until his death on 6 July 1635 at the age of 58.

Summary

There are only five books included in this particular volume. They are Bowels Opened (Sermons on the Song of Solomon 4-6), The Spouse’s Earnest Desire After Christ, A Breathing After God, The Returning Backslider (a commentary on Hosea 14) and the Glorious Feast of the Gospel.

Review

As with most writers and pastors of the Puritan age, I believe they go to far with their allegorical understanding of the Song of Solomon, but the practical aspects and conclusions are extremely helpful. Specifically due to the modern-day relaxing of the view of the church.

For most Puritans, the Song of Solomon was meant to be read as a description of Christ and His relationship with the church. While that may be true today, it certainly was not the authorial intent of Solomon when he wrote it. Regardless, Sibbes makes some most comforting claims for the comfort of the believer throughout his sermons on these four chapters of Scripture. For example, God makes us good and stirs up within us holy desires.

His second book in this volume is a short look at the second verse of the first chapter of Song of Solomon and offers a treatise on the Christian’s need to earnestly desire after Christ.

The third book is an exposition on Psalm 27:4: “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Being the great surgeon he is, Sibbes offers an in depth look at how our every living moment ought to be consumed with Christ. He states that Christ is the object of the Christian’s desire and that we ought to be continually in prayer if we are to persevere in our desires.

In a poignant, and perhaps much needed look at Hosea 14, Sibbes looks at the way in which a backslider should return to the faith and also how we, as believers, ought to receive them. Perhaps Sibbes offers us a different perspective on Hosea, but one thing I  know, is that this particular book of the Bible is a bomb waiting to go off in many churches and Christian lives due to its portrayal of radical grace.

The final book in this second volume looks at the Gospel and is an exposition of Isaiah 25:6-9.  Of all of the books I have stated that the church needs today, it may be this book in this volume that is most needed. To understand just what a feast this gospel message truly is cannot be overstated. In just under 100 pages, Sibbes draws the reader into the beauty of the gospel and helps us to see how we have been starving ourselves with the modern gospel presentations and offering we regularly serve up to others.

Recommendation

In all honesty, I approached this volume as being one of the weaker volumes in the whole set. Turned out, I could not have been more wrong. Though I disagree with his understanding of Song of Solomon, I found his application to be appropriate. His look at Hosea 14 is a sweet balm for those weary souls looking to return to Christ. Christian, you should read that in order to be better equipped to minister to those who are hurting.

The final book, however, is  most needed. We need to know what the gospel is (ALERT! Most Christians can’t articulate it!) and know that it is the greatest offering we can give to anyone in the world today.

I do recommend this volume by itself if you are struggling with your affections for Christ or need to meditate on the necessity of the gospel. Ultimately, Richard Sibbes has never failed to offer me help and hope through his exposition of the Word of God.

The Reformation in England by J.H. Merle d’Aubigne

The Reformation in Englandd’Aubigné, J.H. Merle. The Reformation in England in Two Volumes. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2016. 1,064 pp. $65.00. Purchase for less at Amazon. You can also get the e-book for free though the formatting is not that great.

Introduction

From a short biography found at Banneroftruth.org

Jean Henri Merle d’Aubigné (1794–1872) was arguably the most popular church historian of the nineteenth century. In July 1817, d’Aubigné was ordained a minister of the established church in Geneva, but he did not then enter the pastorate, choosing rather to travel widely through the German-speaking lands before continuing his studies in the University of Berlin.

In June 1818, d’Aubigné assumed the pastorate of the French Reformed Church in Hamburg which had been established by French Huguenots fleeing from their homeland during the persecution under Louis XIV. He remained in this pastorate until 1823.

In 1835 the first volume of The History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century was published in French. The five-volume work was completed in 1853. This was followed by The History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin in eight volumes, published in French between 1863 and 1878, the last three volumes appearing posthumously.

For more about this great historian, you can read about him at The Banner of Truth’s website.

Summary

In the first volume, d’Aubigné covers from the second century to the year 1528. Obviously, the majority of this first volume will comprise the years 1516-1530 with the first chapter covering 100-1516 in some 125 pages!

The second volume looks at the years 1529-1547 and centers more on the rift between England and the church of Rome. It is not until the third book of the second volume (1536-1547) that we get to the events of the actual Reformation in England.

Review

I somehow came to possess the original 1962 Banner publication of this magnificent two-volume set. While nothing has changed from the edition to this edition regarding the content, the quality of the printing and binding (paperback to cloth-bound) is a testimony to the quality of books published by The Banner.

The content of this two-volume set, however, is what you are most interested in. J.H. Merle d’Aubigné writes a detailed account of what took place in England in the 16th century. He writes with great care and accuracy the events leading up to and involving the Reformation in England. It is easy to see why he is called the greatest historian of the 18th century.

His writing is copious as evidenced by the thirteen total volumes of history of the Christian church. This particular two-volume set is indispensable to the modern church’s understanding of where we came from regarding the Reformation that started in Geneva and found its way to England.

Perhaps what sets d’Aubigné apart in his approach to the history of the church with an emphasis on the Reformation in England is his pastoral care in showing how it impacts the church at large as well as the individual Christian. In reading this these two books, Christians today will be introduced to a whole new level of understanding of what took place and why it had to take place. Furthermore, we will understand how we have benefited greatly from that great cloud of saints that have gone before us.

I believe the reprinting of The Reformation in England is timely for the church as we are once again being forced to take a stand for the faith delivered once for all to the saints in an age that is seemingly more opposed to Christianity than ever. This resource will show the modern read that “baby, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Recommendation

For many Christians in the United States, and obviously in England, the Reformation that took place in England in the 1530’s led directly to what we today call the Protestant Church.  I realize the cost is pretty steep for many, but the benefits will far outweigh the price of the books as you read and begin to grasp the importance of clinging to Christ and the Scriptures.

Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1

Works of Sibbes 1Sibbes, Richard. Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. 550 pp. $27.00. You can purchase Volume 1 at The Banner of Truth for $24.30. You can purchase the complete set of 7 volumes for $162.00 at Westminster Books or for a mere $10.00 on Kindle.

Introduction

Richard Sibbes was born at Tostock, Suffolk, in 1577. He was converted around 1602-3 through the powerful ministry of Paul Bayne, the successor of William Perkins in the pulpit of Great St Andrew’s Church.

After earning his B.D. in 1610, Sibbes was appointed a lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. Later, through the influence of friends, he was chosen to be the preacher at Gray’s Inn, London, and he remained there until 1626. In that year he returned to Cambridge as Master of St Catherine’s Hall, and later returned to Holy Trinity, this time as its vicar. He was granted a Doctorate in Divinity in 1627, and was thereafter frequently referred to as ‘the heavenly Doctor Sibbes’. He continued to exercise his ministry at Gray’s Inn, London, and Holy Trinity, Cambridge, until his death on 6 July 1635 at the age of 58.

You can read more of my reviews of Richard Sibbes’ writings here.

Summary

Volume one consists of A Memoir of Sibbes by A. B. Grosart, A Description of Christ, The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax, The Soul’s Conflict with Itself and Victory over Itself by Faith, and Safety in Evil Times. Along with several other sermons and a brief series on 1 Peter 4.

These works were edited by Alexander B. Grosart from when the first complete set of Sibbes works appeared back in 1862-1864.

Review

One of the most notable features to this first volume is the memoir of Sibbes authored by Grosart himself which is an excellent introduction the pastoral nature of Richard Sibbes. Much like the modern day JI Packer, Sibbes was very involved in writing and preaching as well as endorsing a number of other works and books for his fellow divines.

Personally, I was most struck by the words I found on one website as I was doing some research on this series that this first volume contains “all the works published during Sibbes’ lifetime.” I literally sat stunned after reading this. The Banner of Truth Trust has published 5 Puritan Paperbacks and one Pocket Puritan by Richard Sibbes. Upon comparing those titles with what is found in this first volume, only The Bruised Reed has been republished as a stand alone book. Every other book is based on Sibbes’ exposition of passages.

This makes this first edition invaluable as we can read today what Sibbes thought most crucial for publication in his day. Even these books that he published in his lifetime are expositions of passages. The difference is they seem to deal with extremely urgent issues of the day and a theme of perseverance seems to arise from the pages. The Bruised Reed and The Saint’s Safety in Evil Times certainly point to this need.

The Soul’s Conflict with Itself points also to the inner turmoil it seems every Christian faces regardless of the era. All of this helps us to understand why Richard Sibbes was known as the Heavenly Doctor. His messages are timeless and perhaps more needed today than ever.

Recommendation

Of the seven volumes in this series, if you are going to purchase only one, this is it. The Bruised Reed is worth the price of the volume, but to be able to set it in the context of the other published works during his lifetime is open your eyes to the need of the gospel every day. If you have never read Richard Sibbes, you are missing out. This volume will show you why.

A Heavenly Conference by Richard Sibbes

A Heavenly ConferenceSibbes, Richard. A Heavenly Conference Between Christ and Mary. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015. 184 pp. $8.00. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.

Introduction

Richard Sibbes (1577-1636) was a Puritan preacher at Cambridge.  I have reviewed other works of Sibbes’ which can be found here. His most instrumental work in my personal walk was The Bruised Reed.

Summary

This 184 page book is an exposition from John 20:16-17:

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

In this book, Sibbes looks at the believer’s union with Christ and meant to help believers understand the benefits of being in Christ.

Review

As with any work by Richard Sibbes, you will quickly understand his pastoral care and wisdom as he unpacks the importance of this brief conversation that resulted in Mary’s running back to the disciples and letting them know Christ was alive.

In true puritanical fashion, Sibbes begins with the passage and then parses it out to the greater truths of Scripture while all the while applying the doctrinal truths to the life of the believer. In this case, it is the importance of the union with Christ and the hope we have because of the historical Jesus we worship.

Though this is not as dense (theologically thick) as most other puritanical works, it most certainly delves into the heart of the importance of  understanding the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection and what it means to have faith in Christ. In other words, this book is sorely needed in the church today.

Recommendation

This excellent little book is great to read at any time. I think, however, that it may be even more appropriate to read during the Lenten season. Understanding these truths will help many Christians to lean not on their own understanding and instead lean on Christ alone. I highly recommend this book.

The Works of John Newton Volume 4

Works of John NewtonNew Edition – The Works of John Newton: Volume 3. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015. 709 pp. 4-Volume set – $150.00 Purchase the entire set from The Banner of Truth Trust for much less.

Introduction

You can read the review of Volume 1 here. You can read the review of Volume 2 here. You can read the review of Volume 3 here.

From the dust jacket:

When John Newton, ex-sea captain and, as yet, unsuccessful candidate for the Church of England ministry, finished his first book (an autobiography) in 1762 there was no ready publisher. Any thought that he was destined to become one of the best known authors of his age would have been as fantastic as the last 37 years of his life. But in both cases the improbable came about. Becoming curate of Olney, a small village in the south of England, in 1764, Newton there laid his reputation as an evangelical writer, pre-eminently by his published letters and by the Olney Hymns (including ‘How Great the Name of Jesus Sounds, ‘Glorious things of Thee are spoken’ and ‘Amazing grace’). Before the end of his subsequent pastorate at St. Mary Woolnoth, London (1780-1807), his writings were prized around the world from America to Australia.

Newton has a firm place in the classics of Christian literature. While his style is strong and clear, it is the spiritual attractiveness and importance of his main themes which secure the permanent value of his writings. Most of his books came, unpremeditated, out of a need to help his congregation or individual hearers, and it is in practical helpfulness towards Christian living that he excels. If he is loved rather than admired, it is for this reason. Conformity to Christ is the one subject upon which his themes finally focus (‘It will not be a burden to me at the hour of death that I have thought too highly of Jesus, expected too much from Him myself, or laboured too much in commending and setting Him forth to others’). Not surprisingly, Alexander Whyte could write, ‘For myself, I keep John Newton on my selectest shelf of spiritual books: by far the best kind of books in the whole world of books.’

The text of this new four-volume edition of The Works of John Newton has been entirely reformatted, producing a clear and easily navigable set of documents for today’s reader.

Summary

As we have seen from the first two volumes of the works of John Newton, he was an extensive letter writer. This fourth volume continues to show us just how extensive his letter writing ministry was. The first 275 pages of this volume comprises his letters to his wife.

The next 300 pages consist of some 133 additional letters to various men and women. The final 150 pages contain miscellaneous papers he published in a number of periodicals. Subjects of these periodicals include reading the Bible, female dress, covetousness, his thoughts on the African slave trade, and even a letter on political debate.

The very end of this book includes an index to all four volumes.

Review

The personal behind the scenes look at the life of John Newton, specifically in his correspondence with his wife, is pure gold. We don’t see a perfect marriage let alone a perfect husband. What we do see is a humble man striving to love his wife as Christ loved the church.  They are copious in collection and leave one to ponder just how much time was spent writing all of these letters (over 400 by my estimation) with a quill and ink in so many locations from on the sea to his desk in Olney.

Couple all of these letters with the call to the ministry and the weekly preparation of sermons and lessons and one stands in awe of the ministry the Lord allotted this man.  The inclusion of his writings for periodicals shows yet another area of influence this man had on the culture at large.

Reading all four volumes, or even a quick perusal of these four volumes will quickly show us a man who was more involved in ministry and Kingdom proclamation than a simple song.

Review

The draw of this fourth volume is the letters he wrote to his wife. What an example preserved here of a marriage in the late 18th century. I have thoroughly enjoyed this 4-volume set of the works of John Newton. I know you will as well. I recommend this to all Christians who love the hymn Amazing Grace…you will be astounded at what this man accomplished by that amazing grace of God.

The Works of John Newton Volume 3

Works of John NewtonNew Edition – The Works of John Newton: Volume 3. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015. 679 pp. 4-Volume set – $150.00 Purchase the entire set from The Banner of Truth Trust for much less.

Introduction

You can read the review of Volume 1 here. You can read the review of Volume 2 here. You can read the review of volume 4 here.

From the dust jacket:

When John Newton, ex-sea captain and, as yet, unsuccessful candidate for the Church of England ministry, finished his first book (an autobiography) in 1762 there was no ready publisher. Any thought that he was destined to become one of the best known authors of his age would have been as fantastic as the last 37 years of his life. But in both cases the improbable came about. Becoming curate of Olney, a small village in the south of England, in 1764, Newton there laid his reputation as an evangelical writer, pre-eminently by his published letters and by the Olney Hymns (including ‘How Great the Name of Jesus Sounds, ‘Glorious things of Thee are spoken’ and ‘Amazing grace’). Before the end of his subsequent pastorate at St. Mary Woolnoth, London (1780-1807), his writings were prized around the world from America to Australia.

Newton has a firm place in the classics of Christian literature. While his style is strong and clear, it is the spiritual attractiveness and importance of his main themes which secure the permanent value of his writings. Most of his books came, unpremeditated, out of a need to help his congregation or individual hearers, and it is in practical helpfulness towards Christian living that he excels. If he is loved rather than admired, it is for this reason. Conformity to Christ is the one subject upon which his themes finally focus (‘It will not be a burden to me at the hour of death that I have thought too highly of Jesus, expected too much from Him myself, or laboured too much in commending and setting Him forth to others’). Not surprisingly, Alexander Whyte could write, ‘For myself, I keep John Newton on my selectest shelf of spiritual books: by far the best kind of books in the whole world of books.’

The text of this new four-volume edition of The Works of John Newton has been entirely reformatted, producing a clear and easily navigable set of documents for today’s reader.

Summary

This volume consists of Newton’s history of Christianity which was published in two books. Also included in this volume is the Olney Hymns. The first book of ecclesiastical history looks at the birth of Christ to His ascension. The second book looks at the time of the church from Christ’s Ascension to the end of the life of the apostle John.

The final book, which comprises the hymns sung by Newton’s congregation in Olney.

Review

The history is fascinating as it looks only at a 100-year history of the early church. His source material is primarily Scripture though he draws from historians of his day as well as those of the Patristics (just after the end of the Apostolic Age). Newton’s perspective is fascinating as he offers a similar testimony to that of Paul insofar as a his radical salvation. Just as Paul went from a persecutor of the church to its greatest apologist, so, too, Newton went from a legalistic hell raiser to a man known for teaching and living the amazing grace God offers through Jesus Christ to wretched sinners.

The hymns of Olney go to show how far we have fallen in terms of the content of our worship hymns. Fortunately, this is being rectified by the likes of Stuart Townend and Matt Redman and the Getty’s as well as others. Regardless, Newton’s hymns are a gold mine for the church to sift through today. Lord willing, we may begin to find more of these being sung on Sunday mornings.

Recommendation

This volume may be viewed by many as the weakest of the four volumes given its particular content. That is until you realize that a solid grasp on the history of the church and solid foundation of singing hymns helps to not only inform a pastor and congregation, but also helps to reinforce a proper understanding of the Christian faith. Do not allow the historical aspect of this third volume deter you from reading it. It remains an excellent addition to your library and will prove to be a wonderful resource that leads you to worship the sovereign God of history (and the present and the future). I recommend this to all Christians although those who are interested in history will probably enjoy it more than those who are not as interested.

Ichthus by Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas

IchthusFerguson, Sinclair B. & Derek W.H. Thomas. Icthus: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Saviour. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015. 184 pp. $15.00. Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

While I have read a number of books by Derek Thomas, I have not reviewed any of them to my knowledge. I have, however, reviewed a number by Sinclair Ferguson. You can read those here. Derek Thomas serves as Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC as well as a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary.

On the back of the book, it states that it is “written by two friends who, between them, have been following Christ for almost 100 years.” What a testimony.

Summary

Divided into nine chapters over 180 pages or so of text, the book is arranged to follow Christ’s earthly ministry from cradle to grave and then from the resurrection to His Second Coming.

The book is saturated with Scripture and offers a condensed and concise summary of what Christ accomplished during His time on earth and what He will accomplish when He returns.

Review

Reading Ichthus is akin to sitting in a seminary class looking solely at the person of Jesus through the lens of both Scripture (most important) and two men who have served the Lord for nearly a century. In other words, for the cost of a book, you could legitimately have a seminary class on the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Written with knowledge and experience that escapes most, Ferguson and Thomas offers the Christian church a wonderfully well-researched yet accessible book. Many books like this offer a section for application or questions for further study. Ichthus does not.

One may think this to be a negative, but as you read the book you realize that the entire book is one of application and one designed for deeper study simply by the questions you will want to answer. All this to say, that this book is one of those resources you will read and reread for years to come because of its meditative nature.

Recommendation

The Banner of Truth Trust has offered to monumental (not due to size, but subject) resources in the last few months. I have reviewed Knowing Christ and found it to be one of the best books on Christ I have read in recent memory. I can safely add Ichthus to this list of books I will return to through the years. I believe you will, too. I highly recommend this book to all Christians.