Books

Recovering devotional reading (part 1): Lucado or Dallimore...

Devotional reading has gotten a bad rap, perhaps because it conjures up images of sappy stories whether a lightly baptized version of a Lassie episode or a Max Lucado book designed to bring us to tears. Still, the recovery of Christian devotional reading will help the evangelical and Reformed movements to recapture the spiritual vitality that was once theirs.

Over fifty years ago, John Warwick Montgomery surveyed the devotional literature available in the early sixties (see Christianity Today, September 25, 1961). It is gratifying to compare his list with those books currently available. Things have improved dramatically, partly due to the labors of our friends at Banner of Truth. Yet I wonder if believers are benefiting from this richesse. My hunch is we’re wasting too much time on Twitter and Facebook.

Giving advice to preachers, Martyn Lloyd-Jones urged them to preface their prayer and Bible reading times by reading something that will “kindle a flame in your spirit” (Preaching and Preachers, p.170). So obviously, devotional reading cannot and must not replace our Bible reading; rather it should accompany it...


Kuyper's lectures on Calvinism...

For most of you this excellent book is old news. Being 33 years young and younger still in faith, I'm enjoying the pleasure of discovering such Christian classics for the first time. And in my enthusiasm, I want everybody reading along. You know the type.

Seriously, this book is helpful. It will save you time. Kuyper had that rare ability of taking vast amounts of complicated material and boiling it down so that small minds could access it. Read these lectures and, in a short time, you'll come away with better categories for thinking, not just about theology, but about all the spheres of life. 

As Kuyper demonstrates, Calvinism is an all-of-life system. It's a worldview, but not just any worldview. It's far more Biblical than its competitors. It's genius, Kuyper says. And we see this especially in how quickly it found its way into the corners...


Books for little men...

A brother in Christ sent this e-mail and I wonder if you dear brothers and sisters of Baylyblog might have a few suggestions? Would you please make comments with your suggestions?

Friends, ...I wonder if you could give me some book suggestions for my son? (He) is seven years old and just starting to read with abandon. He's actually a fairly good reader for his age and is reading at nearly a third grade level (he's finishing up first grade next week).

I'm especially interested in story books that get the male imagination in gear.


Therefore, confess your sins to one another...

Many object to the practice of confessing sins to one another, believing they need only confess their sins to God. Those who hold such a belief reason other brothers and sisters are not to be trusted with such confessions and, in the end, lack the power to do any good in the situation. Certainly all sins should be confessed to God. No one denies that. But categorical refusal to confess our sins before one another is a rejection of the gracious goads God uses to bring us to repentance and our brothers' effectual prayers. Only an unbeliever wouldn’t want those helps...


Charles Hodge: the Presbyterian pope (part I)...

A Review of Paul Gutjahr, Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy

Disclaimer: Paul’s son, Isaac, and my son, John, have been good friends since they were in the same 6th grade class at University Elementary School. After our return from Zambia last year, they’ve played on soccer teams with Isaac a lightning quick and reliable defensive back and John a tall and strong forward. I know Paul as a believing Christian and passionate supporter of both of his soccer-playing sons. In part, he will know me as someone, how shall I put it … who “dislikes” some of our local soccer referees.

Soon after the death of his father, Archie Hodge wrote a biography (published in 1880) of the great Princeton theologian, Charles Hodge. Banner of Truth recently reissued that bio. No other biography has appeared until late last year when Paul Gutjahr, a professor of English at Indiana University, published his; then Andrew Hoffecker published another titled, Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton. Oxford University Press published the former and the latter was published by P&R in its American Reformed Biography series. After spending many years at Grove City College, Hoffecker is now professor emeritus of Church History at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson.

Recently, I sat down with Paul for an interview. Gutjahr’s dissertation dealt with the history of Bible publishing in America, so to work on Hodge was somewhat of a new direction for his research. He told me he had always wanted to write a biography but wasn’t sure whom to choose as a subject. For several reasons, Charles Hodge proved an ideal candidate.

Paul wanted to work on someone who was an honorable man...


Honor to whom honor is due...

While we're on the subject of money...

Over the years countless times I've given thanks to God, but also to Dad and Mom Taylor (Ken Taylor and Margaret Taylor), for the way they handled the money God poured out on them.

One of the minority of privately held Evangelical publishers left standing today is Tyndale House Publishers and it's owned entirely by Mom Taylor now that her husband, Ken, passed away a few years ago. (Prior to his death, Dad owned 51% and Mom 49%. Sweet, huh?)

Tyndale House has published a number of best sellers and Dad held personal copyright on some of the best-selling books in the Evangelical publishing world including the Living Bible and The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes. Then of course, Tyndale's goose that lay ten thousand golden eggs was Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series which reached sales (books and related merchandise) of over a billion dollars.

Add up the numbers and you'll see how high on the hog Dad and Mom could have lived and how much money they could have left their children...


You cannot serve God and wealth...

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. - Luke 16:13

Recently we've spent time on Guidestar downloading and reviewing IRS 990s filed by various Evangelical ministries including Ligonier, Grace to You, Grace to You/Masters College and SeminaryInsight for Living, and Desiring God.

Like accountants, our Internal Revenue Service holds to a high doctrine of original sin--much higher than today's Reformed pastors and congregants. Taking money and conflict of interest seriously, the IRS requires nonprofits to file Form 990 answering a whole host of questions the government believes should inform the giving of those inclined to support these ministries. Then the information collected through the 990 is made a matter of public record. Here are some of the questions...


And then there's Franky Schaeffer...

(TB: This post is written by our American-African correspondent, David Wegener.) Recently, Tim passed on a mutual friend's heavily-annotated copy of Frank Schaeffer’s Crazy for God and I read it pretty quickly...


Escondido Theology, NSA spies, and the persecution of Christians...

The brave members of the Escondido Theology R2K Sanhedrin out at Westminster Seminary (Escondido) wage war against pastors and elders who warn their flocks and neighbors about the growing bloodshed and totalitarianism of these United States. Old people are regularly murdered, little babies are subject to the wholesale slaughter protected by SCOTUS and all its law enforcement apparatus, these evils will only grow under Obamacare's nationalized healthcare...

Meanwhile the R2K Sanhedrin is desperate to silence all those Reformed voices speaking out against the Third Reichification of nursing homes and hospitals and Ethical Review Committees.

You have, of course, noticed all those Reformed pastors and elders speaking out against the Third Reichification of our hospitals and nursing homes, haven't you? Likely you yourself have a Reformed pastor or session in your own community that regularly pickets your county nursing home. Your hospital. A graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary who writes letters to your state's board of medical ethics...


The words of man and the words of God...

At the beginning of our initial post two weeks ago were these words: "The Words of God are gone--deleted, that is--but the words of man are intact." So, to repeat ourselves, the MacArthur NIV 2011 Study Bible is two things: the Word of God and the words of man explaining the Word of God. Which one is more important? Which one should be guarded most carefully?

Before John MacArthur made the decision to yoke his study notes with the NIV 2011, he submitted his notes to the publisher for approval and was pleased they kept his words intact. Thus this... 


Wealth's deceitfulness is deceitful...

For the sake of putting it to rest, let us one last time work to clarify why we raised the subject of money in our opposition to John MacArthur's New International Version 2011 Study Bible.

A wise brother put it this way. All financial motives aren't those of Silas Marner and Scrooge McDuck. When men build their ministries, they may well not be a Scrooge McDuck and yet kingdom and money and legacy are interrelated and money helps keep score. We're not concerned that publishing his life's work of study notes on the Bible provides John MacArthur the means to buy fancy suits and fast cars. We're sure John wears old suits and drives slow cars. If anyone thought our point was so shallow, we apologize...


Preachers who dare to be helpful...

Concerning the preaching of the Church Fathers, in one of his lectures Princeton biographer and Covenant Seminary church history prof David Calhoun says this:

The Church Fathers are difficult to read, not only because they are long-winded, but also because they tend to go into all kinds of digressions. They really do not stick to the point. Gregory the Great, toward the end of the period of the Church Fathers, said:

“This is how a preacher should preach. A preacher of the sacred Word should imitate the manner of a river. For if a river as it flows through its channels comes upon valleys upon its banks it immediately flows with full force into them, and when it has filled them up it at once returns to its course. This is exactly the way the preacher of the divine Word should be so that when he is discussing something, if perhaps he finds an occasion near at hand to be edifying, he should, as it were, force the streams of his tongue to the neighboring valley, and when he has filled up the plain with his instruction he may return to the course of his main topic.”

Now, you will not be taught that manner of preaching at Covenant Seminary--or any place else, as far as I know. Homileticians tell us to have a point and stick to it. But the Church Fathers did not like to do that. One topic will raise another topic and they will follow all those ideas. 

If a man's preaching is bad in the sense of being timid and suggestive, only rarely moving out to the bold frontier of the indicative (and never to the imperative), then two or three points and you're done is a kindness and should be cultivated. And if that's the sort of preaching you want, Professor Calhoun says that Covenant Theological Seminary is the sort of academic institution that will work for you.

But brothers...


What is the cost of the NIV2011 placating the Jews...

Speaking of the New International Version 2011, here's another change indicative of the version's corruption of God's Word:

John 1:19

NASB

This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 

NIV (1984)

Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.

NIV2011

Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders[a]  in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 

[a] 19 The Greek term traditionally translated the Jews (hoi Ioudaioi) refers here and elsewhere in John’s Gospel to those Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus; also in 5:10, 15, 16; 7:1, 11, 13; 9:22; 18:14, 28, 36; 19:7, 12, 31, 38; 20:19.

The Greek word 'Ioudaioi' is the English word 'Jews.' Since Hitler's holocaust, though, Jews have been bringing pressure to bear on Bible publishers and the translators they employ to take this word 'Jews' out of the Gospel of John...


The deceitfulness of riches...

Again and again David and I have warned against the corrupting influence of money inside the church. We've warned about the large profits Evangelicals haul in through royalties, conference speakers' fees, copyright licensures by publishers and Bible societies, salaries of pastors and missionaries and parachurch staff workers, donor gifts; and the list goes on. We've proposed that everyone disclose their profits, pay, and perks for all to see.

We know men hate for us to write about church profits. We feel their anger.

University of California, Berkeley is an odd place to turn, but maybe it has something to teach men of God...


Motives and responses...

You guys all noticed there hasn't been any response to appeals for the Grace to You men to admit their unfaithfulness to Scripture and repent of it, right? The discussion of money and its corruption of decisions caused Grace to You to express their utter rejection of such considerations. But when it came to the infinitely more serious matter of amending and deleting and gagging Scripture, no response at all. (They may still be considering an admission of their failure; time will tell.)

Listen brothers, responses are significant and should be studied closely. And a non-response is a response...


An open appeal to John MacArthur to reverse his decision...

We all were shocked by John MacArthur's announced promotion of the NIV2011. Gobsmacked.

Here is a man who has spent his life working his rod and staff in protection of the flock of God. Then this.

John's not been afraid to beat off wolves from the inside. His Gospel According to Jesus was a wonderful encouragment in defending the Gospel of grace against Dallas Theological Seminary and Grace Theological Seminary men who thought they must deny Christ as Lord to embrace Him as Savior. And like many of you, I praised God for the man as I read that book.

It was no aberration, as I'm sure Iain Murray makes clear through his autobiography of John recently released. And there's that, also: likely the man David and I have benefitted from more across our life's work than any other--Iain Murray--showed his commendation of John by giving himself to John's biography. Honestly, there could be little higher commendation for us this side of Heaven than Iain choosing to do this work.

Feminists aren't on the inside of John's world and church so why has he gone and made common cause with them at this late date? Has he grown weary? Has he changed his mind...


Further thoughts on the NIV2011 MacArthur Study Bible...

NOTE FROM TB: I wrote the text below and was ready to post it this afternoon but other things intervened and I didn't get to it until late this evening. So I wrote this without having seen Phil Johnson's response to our previous posts, nor my brother David's response to Phil. Just an FYI.

* * *

Let me clarify my thoughts concerning the publication of the MacArthur Study Bible in the text of the New International Version 2011...


Appreciation for John MacArthur, warts and all...

(DB) In the 1980s I couldn't take John MacArthur. Every time his voice came on WMBI in Chicago, I turned it off. My mother would say to me that he was a better man than I thought. I didn't care. Something snide and self-assured seemed to emanate from from the radio when he was preaching.

And then in 1985-86, I spent a year in Fullerton, CA, as a pastoral intern under Paul Sailhamer at the Fullerton Evangelical Free Church while Chuck Swindoll was senior pastor there. As part of the year, Paul took the two interns to visit significant California churches. We did a trip to San Diego (on which Chuck accompanied us) and a northern trip to the Bay area.

We also went to visit Grace Community Church, where Paul, Dave Butler and I had breakfast with John MacArthur. 

During breakfast I asked John if he was willing to preach on abortion. I had a private interest in the question: I had been trying to convince friends at Fullerton that Chuck should preach on abortion, something he hadn't yet done (he did the following year). Fullerton was willing to have then-surgeon-general C. Everett Koop preach on abortion, but not Chuck. So I secretly scored a point when John answered emphatically, "Yes, I'm willing. I've already preached two series on it."


Simple choices...

"Complexity ain't what it's cracked up to be."

                  - T. Baker (Timbo) Bayly

Some people read Exodus 20 and, by faith, come away with Ten Commandments. Others come away with No Easy Choice, which is the title Ellen Painter Dollar has given her book justifying the decision she and her husband made to kill three of their unborn children diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). (Here's a good review by Kamilla Ludwig.)

Dollar has OI herself and knows what it means to suffer under this genetic defect. Genetic defects are hard for parents and their children to live with but they're no reason to murder the defective children.

Can we still say that today? Or is pointing out the wickedness of breaking the Sixth Commandment not allowed...


He catches the wise in their craftiness...

For it is written, “He is the One Who catches the wise in their craftiness"; and again, “the Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.” (1 Corinthians 3:19b-20)

Could it be that "myth" is the right category for the kind of stories we find in the ancient world, whether from the Egyptians, Mesopotamians, or even the Hebrews?

- Jack Collins, Professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

One liberal reviews another liberal's book and tells us the second liberal is going to get in trouble with his constituency when they figure out what he's selling. Several members of the second liberal's constituency read Baylyblog and write in to dismiss the first liberal's comments as sour grapes, and they tell the Baylys that they only need read Jack to see what a gift he is to the Church.

So why does the first liberal say the second liberal is too liberal for his constituents?

Well, you see, the first liberal's constituency group already wised up to him and fired him so he's blowing the whistle on the second liberal because misery loves company.

Then comes the cloying argument...