Archive for the ‘Christian Life’ Category


The Confessions of Bishop Augustine of HippoClick here for a copy: The Confessions of Bishop Augustine of Hippo

Confessions of Augustine written by legendary philosopher and theologian Saint Augustine is an autobiographical work which is widely considered to be one of the greatest books of all time. This great classic will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, Confessions of Augustine is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic literature, this gem by Saint Augustine is highly recommended.

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In his own day the dominant personality of the Western Church, Augustine of Hippo today stands as perhaps the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity, and his Confessions is one of the great works of Western literature.

Summary

The Confessions of Bishop Augustine of Hippo reveal one man’s weaknesses, desires, and sin as well as his repentance and conversion. In this work, Augustine makes known his prayers on behalf of the reader: “Stir up the heart when people read and hear the confessions of my past wickedness, which you have forgiven and covered up to grant me happiness in yourself” (p. 180). It was his prayer that the heart, by reading these confessions, would be “aroused in the love of [God’s] mercy and the sweetness of [His] grace” (p. 180).


“This classic from the greatest theological mind of the first millennia after Christ shows us the great heart of Augustine. Devotional, inspiring and convicting, The Confessions show us the grace of God at work, giving us hope that He still works in us today. This book shaped the western church, and can reshape us all that we better reflect the character of Christ.”
–R.C. Sproul Jr.

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Henry Scougal’s classic, The Life of God in the Soul of Man (1677)

– the book instrumental in George Whitefield’s conversion.

Click here for a copy: The Life of God in the Soul of Man

“Scougal contended that to be a Christian is to have “divine life” resident and reigning within.” He wrote that Christianity is not about external duties to perform, nor is it an emotion or feeling one has. He defines true religion as the union of the soul with God, a partaker of the divine nature, or in the apostle’s words, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

“In his book, Scougal essentially defines a Christian as this exquisite creature who actually has God resident in his soul. In his own way, he’s meditating on our union with Christ as a way of helping a new convert understand the Christian life.” – Thabiti Anyabwile


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1. The Work Of The Ministry

The Work of the Ministry, perhaps Griffith Thomas’ greatest book. The substance of that book was delivered as lectures at Wycliffe Hall.

Excerpt from a biographer:

His addresses on Pastoralia, in view of his varied experiences in different spheres and his wide reading, must have been specially helpful. Much of what he then gave was reproduced later in The Work of the Ministry. The second part on Preaching is unrivalled in its grasp of the subject and its suggestiveness. “Think yourself empty, read yourself full, write yourself clear, pray yourself keen—then enter the pulpit and let yourself go!” It would be hard to better that as a general counsel.

2. The Importance of Christian Scholarship

This article contains three lectures given at meetings of the Bible League in CaxtonHall, Westminster, London on June 17, 1932.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Introduction

Modern Teaching

“Religious Education”

I. The Importance of Christian Scholarship for Evangelism

II. The Importance of Christian Scholarship for Defense of the Faith

III. The Importance of Christian Scholarship for the Building Up of the Church

3. The Religious Life of Theological Students

Delivered as an address at the Autumn Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary on October 4, 1911. Dr. Warfield shows the importance for those preparing for the ministry to grow both as scholars and as people of God. (15 Pages)

Review:

In his address called The Religious Life of Theological Students, delivered at Princeton Theological Seminary on the 4th of October 1911, Benjamin B. Warfield stressed the need for servants of God to be both learned and religious. The man without learning, Warfield noted, no matter with what other gifts he may be endowed, is unfit for his duties. Because he was addressing students in particular, the burden of his lecture was on their “religious” or spiritual life—that is, Warfield was warning these students about the dangers of studying apart from worship, of seeking knowledge apart from godliness. Severing knowledge and godliness is indeed perilous to the soul. Apart from godliness, knowledge merely puffs up into vanity and pride; apart from knowledge, godliness proves thin and unstable, tossing one about by every wind of doctrine.

Dr. L. Michael Morales, Reformation Bible College


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1. The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas WatsonThe Doctrine Of Repentance

One of the easiest to read Puritans, Thomas Watson, explains what true Christian repentance looks like in the believers life. A quote from the Foreword: “Repentance is never out of season…”

Knowing what repentance is, and actually repenting, are essential to true Christianity. Few better guides have existed in any area of spiritual experience than Thomas Watson. A good case could be made out for believing that “repentance” is one of the least used words in the Christian church today. In a world that will not tolerate the mention of sin, and in churches where it has been defined only in sociological terms, the biblical teaching on repentance has inevitably been ignored. Knowing what repentance is, and actually repenting are essential to true Christianity. Jesus Christ himself said that if we do not repent, we will perish! It is vital, therefore, to read and study what Scripture has to say about this theme.
Watson was a master of both Scripture and the human heart, and wrote with a simplicity and directness that keeps his work fresh and powerful for the twentieth century. Watson shows what gospel repentance is: Repentance is a grace of God’s Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed.
For a further amplification, know that repentance is a spiritual medicine made up of six special ingredients:
1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin
If any one is left out it loses its virtue.

2. A Lifting Up For The Downcast By William Bridge

Depression is not unique to our times. To encourage the depressed, Bridge wrote this choice book and filled it with the kind of rich encouragement which our generation too rarely hears.

A quote from the book:A Lifting Up For The Downcast

“Suppose that a man have sinned greatly against his conscience, or against his light, against his knowledge, hath he not just cause or reason then to be cast down, and to be quite discouraged? No; for if there be a sacrifice for such a sin as this is, then a man hath no reason to be quite discouraged; cause to be humbled … but no reason to be discouraged. … Do you not think that Peter, when he denied his Lord and Master, sinned against his conscience, against his light, and against his knowledge? … for though your sin be great, is not God’s mercy great, exceeding great? Is not the satisfaction made by Christ great? …Is Jesus Christ only a Mediator for small sins? Will you bring down the satisfaction of Christ, and the mercy of God, to your own model? Has not the Lord said concerning pardoning mercy, that His ‘thoughts are not as our thoughts, but as the heavens are greater than the earth, so are his thoughts (in this respect) beyond our thoughts’?”


Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices By Thomas Brooks

Click here for a copy: Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices

This book is a must-read for every Christian, especially those who are struggling or tampering with sin.

Satan hates “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” because it exposes his methods. More than that, it offers biblical methods to avoid and overcome temptation. The message and content of “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” are as useful today as they were many ages ago when it was written. The profound depths of insight that Thomas Brooks delivers makes it worthy of reading over and over again.

Whether you are downhearted, unsure about the topic of spiritual warfare, or want to successfully battle pride, unbelief, or lust, this book has it all.

A quote from the preface to the book:

“Beloved in our dearest Lord, Christ, the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan’s devices, are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched. If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, nor happy hereafter. It is my work as a Christian, but much more as I am a Watchman, to do my best to discover the fullness of Christ, the emptiness of the creature, and the snares of the great deceiver; which I have endeavored to do in the following discourse, according to that measure of grace which I have received from the Lord.”

A Review: 

Most of the Puritans knew Satan better than they knew their best friend. Not that they were intimate with the Devil, but they knew his devices so well and with such clarity that it would have almost seemed they could, by the power of the Spirit, expose every one of his hell-deserving schemes.

In this small book, Thomas Brooks teaches the Christian that Satan is alive and well, and desires to destroy the Christian by his many devices. However, Brooks arms the Christians not only with that knowledge but also with the knowledge that the devices have remedies which may be applied to them. The Christian has weapons for the war. There are precious remedies clearly taught in God’s word which flow from the throne of grace into the minds and hearts of the saints to fight against the wiles of the devil. And being thus equipped we can say with Paul “we are not unaware of his devices.”

Charles H. Spurgeon wrote: “As a writer, Brooks scatters stars with both his hands. He has dust of gold: in his storehouse are all manner of precious stones. Genius is always marvelous, but when sanctified it is matchless.”


50 Crucial Questions

Click here for a copy: 50 Crucial Questions About Manhood and Womanhood

By John Piper & Wayne Grudem.

John Piper says,
“This is the booklet I return to most often in dealing with the knotty issues of manhood and womanhood in ministry.”


The Lord's Prayer By Thomas Watson

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The Lord’s Prayer makes and ideal guide to Christian doctrine and practice and also serves as a wonderful introduction to Puritan literature. Watson analyses in detail the Preface to the prayer and the six petitions which it contains. His treatment of the words “thy kingdom come” is exceptional full, illuminating and stirring. Like all great books on prayer it provides practical help because it concentrates on biblical instruction.

All of Thomas Watson’s writings and sermons are replete with sound doctrine, practical wisdom, and heart-searching application. His profound spirituality, gripping remarks, practical illustrations, and beauty of expression make him one of the most irresistible of the Puritans.

Thomas Watson was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably hard study. In 1646 he was commenced a sixteen year pastorate at St. Stephen’s Walbrook. In 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love’s plot to recall Charles II. He was released on 30th June,1652, and was formally reinstated vicar of St. Stephen’s Walbrook. He obtained great fame and popularity as preacher until the Restoration, when he was ejected for nonconformity. Notwithstanding the rigor of the acts against dissenters, Watson continued to exercise his ministry privately as he found opportunity. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license for the great hall in Crosby House. After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston in Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28th July, 1686.

 C. H. Spurgeon had this to say of  Watson’s writings: “One of the most precious of the peerless works of the Puritans, and those best acquainted with it prize it most.”


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1. Homiletics and Pastoral Theology By William G.T. Shedd

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Shedd explores not only the intellectual responsibilities of clergy, but also the pastoral function of leadership. Although Shedd is often remembered as a theologian and historian, he also devoted his writing to the theory and practice of preaching. He forcefully argues that rhetorical elegance—the kind required for good preaching—is not merely a matter of aesthetics, but of ethics. He describes the relationship between eloquence and exegesis, the process of choosing a text and crafting a sermon, and the nature of extemporaneous preaching. The second half of this volume defines and explains the relationship between preaching and pastoral theology.

Dr. W.G.T. Shedd expounds almost every aspect of preaching, analyzing its nature, outlining the main features which should characterize powerful preaching and describing the approach, plan, actual construction and refinements of a sermon. This volume was used for many years as a standard textbook in several theological seminaries throughout the United States.

The second part of the volume is devoted to the vital subject of Pastoral theology. Here Shedd is equally thorough and deals with the essential character of a minister, his way of life, his duties, his work of visitation and finally, his work of catechizing his people so as to be informed as to their progress and position in relationship to the preaching.