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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Q: “Where in the law does it say that women should be submissive?”

A: I assume this question came from 1 Corinthians 14:34 which reads: “The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.”

To the Jew, “The Law” was another way of saying, “The writings of Moses” or the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible).

I take this reference to the Law in 1 Corinthians 14:34 to be referring to Genesis—the story of the creation of man and woman because in two other places in Paul’s writings about the submission of women, he refers to Genesis 2:20-24 and the order in which man and woman were created:

1 Corinthians 11:8-9: “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.”

1 Timothy 2:13-14: “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. “

Again, in both contexts Paul is explaining why wives are to be in submission to their husbands and in both cases teaches that the order in which God created man and woman was significant—it demonstrated that wives were to be subordinate to their husbands.

Peter also uses the example of women in the Law to support his teaching about the submission of women:

1 Peter 3:5-6: “For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

So, this is the understanding of the Apostles (the Apostolic teaching) about the subject of submission from the Old Testament Law.

If you’d like to do some more extensive reading on this subject, I recommend Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood which are both available for free on-line in pdf form.

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Books I hope you’ll read

I’m not the first Christian in history.

Brothers and sisters throughout church history have walked with Christ, struggled with the Scriptures and engaged every kind of culture imaginable.

I’m not the only Christian alive today.

Brothers and sisters around the world are walking with Christ, struggling with the Scriptures and engaging every kind of culture imaginable.

The wonderful thing is, those brothers and sisters of the past wrote about what they learned. They shared their experiences in books. When we open the pages of those books and read, amazing things happen. We can benefit and learn and grow from those lessons they learned and those experiences they lived. Isn’t that wonderful?!

This is also true of those brothers and sisters who are alive today. Their words aren’t the word of God. But, like a good sermon, books can help us know God more deeply. Like the words of a wise teacher who has studied the Scriptures for decades, books can help us grow in our understanding of the Bible.

I know this, because I have experienced it. I was not a “reader” when I became a Christian. But I desired to grow and I found that books helped me. Challenged me. Encouraged me.

I recommend the following to you:

  • So Great Salvation. A well-written, well-reasoned, gracious book written by Dr. Charles Ryrie in answer to those who challenge that salvation is the free gift of God’s grace received by faith alone. This book is in the CBC Library.
  • Free and Clear. So many important questions swirl around the issue of salvation—how exactly a person is saved from sin and given the promise of eternal life in heaven with God. This book by R. Larry Moyer is not a difficult read, but is one of the best for explaining the Gospel itself as well as several related issues such as, “What about repentance?” “Where does the Lordship of Christ fit in?” and “Is baptism essential for salvation?” This book is in the CBC Library.
  • The Pursuit of God. This classic by A. W. Tozer has inspired many Christians to not settle for a mediocre spiritual life. This book is in the CBC Library.
  • Decision-Making and the Will of God. Gary Friesen challenges the traditional Christian approach to decision making and gives us practical principles for making everyday decisions. This book is in the CBC Library.
  • Heaven. By Randy Alcorn. Another author named Stu Webber has said about this book, “Other than the Bible itself, this may well be the single most life-changing book you’ll ever read.” This book is in the CBC Library.
  • I’m Glad You Asked. Ken Boa and Larry Moody wrote this book to address the most common objections to Christianity and religion. This book is in the CBC Library.
  • Here I Stand. A classic biography of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton. Thoroughly enjoyed this lengthy introduction to a very interesting character and hero.
  • Christianity in Crisis. Hank Hanegraaff’s classic has been revised and updated. Well worth your time. This book is in the CBC Library.
  • Can Man Live Without God? Ravi Zacharias exposes the emptiness of life without God.
  • The Grace Awakening. Chuck Swindoll squares off against legalism. This book might just set you free! This book is in the CBC Library.
  • Disappointment With God. Philip Yancey asks three questions no one asks aloud. If you’re disappointed with God, take this journey with Yancey. I’m confident it will help.
  • The Measure of a Man. Gene Getz walks through the Bible’s explanation of what a mature, Christian man looks like. Every man should read this book…twice. This book is in the CBC Library.
  • He That Is Spiritual. This classic by Lewis Sperry Chafer breaks down the Bible’s teaching about true spirituality.
  • Dispensationalism. A revised and updated version of a modern classic by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

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I’m not the first Christian in history.

Brothers and sisters throughout church history have walked with Christ, struggled with the Scriptures and engaged every kind of culture imaginable.

I’m not the only Christian alive today.

Brothers and sisters around the world are walking with Christ, struggling with the Scriptures and engaging every kind of culture imaginable.

The wonderful thing is, those brothers and sisters of the past wrote about what they learned. They shared their experiences in books. When we open the pages of those books and read, amazing things happen. We can benefit and learn and grow from those lessons they learned and those experiences they lived. Isn’t that wonderful?!

This is also true of those brothers and sisters who are alive today. Their words aren’t the word of God. Their books should never be mentioned in the same breath as Scripture. But, like a good sermon, books can help us know God more deeply. Like the words of a wise teacher who has studied the Scriptures for decades, books can help us grow in our understanding of the Bible.

I know this, because I have experienced it. I was not a “reader” when I became a Christian. But I desired to grow and I found that books helped me. Challenged me. Encouraged me.

Here’s my point: I want to invite you to read with me in 2011.

If you’re not a “reader” I hope you’ll pick one or two or three of these and work your way through. I hope you’ll find the audio books and listen on your way to work. Then, I invite you to read my posts about what I’m reading and then add your comments.

Here’s my reading plan thus far. I reserve the right to tweak later:

Books of the Bible I’m reading:

Romans – Philemon. I’m currently reading and listening to the epistles of Paul as I prepare to continue my message series His Story—From Genesis to Revelation. I’ve preached one-sermon messages for every book from Genesis to Acts—you can listen to those on the CBC podcast. I’m very excited to begin preaching Paul’s letters because they are so crucial to being a “spiritual” and mature believer as well as having a well-established church. I can’t encourage you enough to read these treasures with me.

Books I encourage you to read with me this year—compiling the Big Twelve:

I’m hoping to compile a list of about a dozen books I’d like every member of our church to read as a way of encouraging one-mindedness, so your input will be very helpful. I don’t have plans at this time to start a book club, but again, I will be posting reviews as I read and I’d love to get your comments. Several books I’ve already read are on my list of possibilities for the Big Twelve, but the list below includes books I haven’t yet read entirely:

  • January: Keep in Step with the Spirit by J. I. Packer. I have never read this book from cover to cover even though it is a modern classic. For several reasons, I feel as though it is time. In the preface, Packer wrote about this book: “A widely traveled leader has said that Christianity in North America is 3,000 miles wide and half an inch deep, and suspicions of shallowness have been voiced elsewhere, too. But however that may be, it is out of the sense that the Spirit is stirring us that this book has emerged…It has been put together to help Christians who mean business with God and are prepared to be dealt with by him.”
  • February: Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave—Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel by Edward T. Welch. This book comes highly recommended by some of the Christian counselors I’ve read in the past. If you’re thinking this book is not for you because you’re not an “addict,” read what the author wrote in the preface: “You will probably come to this book with a particular role in mind. For example, I came with the idea of helping others. Bug as I dug into Scripture’s teaching on the reckless nature of the human heart and its rich teaching on self-control, it made me see that I needed help as well.” Here’s a video of the author discussing this important subject and a curriculum he developed after writing this book:
  • March: Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. This book is available for free on-line (click here). I listened to a message by Piper in 2010 by this same name and was really touched. If the book is half as good it should have no problem making the Big 12. To give you some idea of the intensity of this book, read what the author wrote in the preface: “This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life. Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy.”
  • April: Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow. The title of this one makes it kind of irresistible. Here’s a snippet from the back: “David Murrow’s groundbreaking new book reveals why men are the world’s largest unreached people group. With eye-opening research and a persuasive grasp on the facts, Murrow explains the problem and offers hope and encouragement to women, pastors and men. Why Men Hate Going to Church does not call men back to the church—it calls the church back to men.” Come on, CBC! You need to read this one with me!
  • April: Body Life by Ray Stedman. I’ve read some of this book, but it has had too much impact on the Bible Church movement for me to neglect it any longer. It too is available for free on-line (click here).
  • June: Reformation in Foreign Missions by Bob Finlay. Finlay has already had a big impact on my thinking regarding Foreign Missions. He started Christian Aid Ministries and I’ve read some of the things he’s written including chapter 21 of Reformation, which is an overview of all of Finlay’s key ideas. That chapter convinced me that I—and every Christian who cares about missions and has ever participated in missions—should read this book. I feel compelled to read the entire thing soon to confirm my thinking that this is as earth-shaking as I think it is. It is available for free on-line (click here).
  • July-December…coming soon

Books I’m reading for my own edification or enjoyment:

  • The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare. This award-winning historical fiction book is set in the time of Christ. I’m reading it to my three oldest children as part of our home education curriculum.
  • Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. This book is about the American soldiers who took down Hitler. I’ve made something of a personal commitment to read periodically about the Americans who have fought for the United States of America. I want to remember those who put their lives on the line—or gave their lives—to protect and preserve the freedom I enjoy. It’s my way of honoring them—simply to remember what they did.

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Election? Free Will?

Question from a friend and my response:

Question: “I’m studying through Romans. So far I’ve read through it a handful of times and I’m already getting into some interesting stuff, for example, election and free will. Do you know of any authors who present clear Biblical arguments for the case of free will, especially that discuss Romans 9? I know I lean heavily toward the reformed position on this and I really want some different perspectives. Right now I just simply cannot find in Scripture where the free will position is clearly asserted or argued. I may also be misinterpreting Romans 9 with regards to election. That’s why I’m hoping you might be able to point me toward some quality resources.”

Response: “I think this is an important and even exciting subject to explore, but I will also include here a warning or a plea not to let it create division. It is a hotly debated subject and people on both sides get pretty torqued up—even to the point of accusing each other of heresy sometimes. The fact is, there are plenty of passages that seem to argue for Calvinism and there are plenty of passages that seem to argue for Arminianism. You may have noticed that I don’t pound the pulpit on this one even though I have some pretty strongly held convictions. I will make those clear when I preach passages that deal with the issue. The real test is to wrestle with all these issues and come away agreeing to disagree agreeably. I can recommend two books—one is Chosen But Free by Norm Geisler. This is billed as a “balanced view of Divine Election”. Geisler will say he is a “moderate Calvinist”. This book spawned a second book, The Potter’s Freedom by James R. White. The subtitle of this book is “A defense of the reformation and a rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free“. It argues for the reformed or Calvinist position. The copy I have of Chosen But Free is actually a Second Edition which includes a response to The Potter’s Freedom. So, these two books pretty much cover the debate and both address Romans 9 pretty extensively. I would also highly recommend Reign of the Servant Kings by Joseph Dillow (updated recently and title changed to Final Destiny). You can read the first chapter here.”

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I went to my office yesterday and I was blown away! One of my favorite Bible teachers was sitting in my office! We spent most of that afternoon together. He talked. I listened.
Today, I was studying and I came across a difficult passage. I really wanted to know the opinions of some of my seminary professors. I got four or five of them on a conference call and they answered all my questions.
I hate name droppers, but the fact is, I’ve got connections. Any time I want, I can meet with Chuck Swindoll, Max Lucado or Josh McDowell.
Wait. It gets even more impressive. This morning, I had a conversation with the Apostle John! Yesterday? King Solomon!
No, I’m not a mental case. Have you figured out where I’m headed with this? Books! My favorite Bible teacher wasn’t actually sitting in my office, but one of his books was. I didn’t actually get my seminary professors on a conference call, but I did get their opinions through books they’ve written. I’m not important enough to meet with Chuck, Max and Josh, but I own their books. I feel like I know them because I’ve read so many of the pages they’ve written. John and Solomon—we go way back even though they’ve been dead a long time.
Have you ever thought about this: God could have communicated with us in any number of ways. He could have assigned each one of us our own personal Teacher Angel to meet with us twice a day and fill us in on essential doctrine. He could have included a theology stem in our brains to constantly dump new information about Him into our minds. He could have, but He didn’t. He gave us a book.
Of course, God has spoken “many times and various ways” (Hebrews 1:1) in the past, but right now—today—we have a book. Of course, the Holy Spirit is “guiding us into all truth” (John 16:13) but He does so through the book of books—the Bible.
Why? Why a book? I don’t claim to know all the reasons, but one thing comes to mind. To read a book requires a choice. In other words, I have to choose to read a book. A Teacher Angel or theology stem would have taken out the choice. They would force truth upon us.
But a book just sits there. It doesn’t remind us if we ignore it for days or weeks or months. It doesn’t announce the greatness of what lies beneath the cover. If I am going to meet with the writer or writers, I must open it up. If I am going to benefit from the contents, I must scan my eyes across the letters, think about the sentence structure and devote brain cells to processing the paragraphs.
I’ve come to this conclusion: Christians must read. Not to be saved. Not to get to heaven. Christians must read in order to grow. At the very least, we must read the Bible. But it is also helpful to read other books—books about the Bible. Books that help us understand the Bible. Books written by people who have studied the Bible longer than we have. We have to be careful which books we read, but we have to read.
I didn’t always like to read, but the key for me came the day I realized books are more than just ink and paper. More than just a chore. More than just hard work. A book—any book—is a collection of visible thoughts. It is a window to the mind of the author. It is an opportunity to visit with a great teacher—living or dead. It is a door to a place or time I’ve never visited. It is an invitation to an adventure I’ve never known. This is true of any book. It is a googolplex times truer of the Bible.
I hope you like to read. Even if you don’t, I hope you will.

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