We are blessed with multitudes of Christ-centered, God-glorifying, grace oozing and edifying books. So many books, so little time. One of the chief ways that God has chosen to sanctify me is by the reading of many books.
Books - What have you done for me lately? I just finished “For a Continuing Church - The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America,” by Sean Michael Lucas. I read this book in preparation of the upcoming General Assembly. It is a good overview of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the 20th century and the reasons for the formation of our Presbyterian Church in America. The PCA is a continuing Presbyterian Church. We formed around the following issues: the full and final authority of the Scriptures, the importance of a confessionally reformed church summarized by the Westminster Confessions, the centrality of the cross for church life and especially for missions, the spirituality of the church (we promote the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of man) and the need for a continuing witness to the gospel for the next generation. This is helpfully summarized in the motto for the PCA, “Faithful to the Scriptures, true to the reformed faith, and obedient to the Great Commission.” While very favorable to the PCA, Lucas is not uncritical. Our forefathers has blind spots on racial relations and contemporary conservative politics.
On the more doctrinal side I am reading several books. “Presbytopia” by Ken Golden is an overview of the essentials of the faith and the distinctive of a Reformed and Presbyterian Church that I am using for future members. “From Heaven He Came and Sought Her” edited by David and Jonathan Gibson is a thorough defense of the doctrine of definite Atonement. “The Whole Christ” by Sinclair Ferguson is a look at legalism, antinominianism, and gospel assurance through the lens of the Marrow Controversy in 18th Century Scotland. It is a mind cleansing and soul searching look at the subtleties of gospel aberrations among reformed ministers.
I am also slowly reading “Desiring God” by John Piper for the third time. He helps me to focus on the delight of knowing and serving Christ and to dig me out of the ditch of merely doing my duty. “Confessing the Faith - a Readers Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith” by Chad Van Dixhoorn is a book that I hope to teach in the fall to any who are interested. I am also dabbling in two books on Christian Counseling - “Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling” edited by James MacDonald and “A Theology of Biblical Counseling” by Heath Lambert. In preparation for a future sermon series, I am starting to read two commentaries in 1 Corinthians by Anthony Thiselton and Stephen Um.
One of the gauges of my spiritual health has always been the kind and quality of the books that I have the desire to read. In my down time I feel like I am ministering out of an empty bucket because I am not filling and changing my soul with good books and the Good Book. But when the hunger is there to learn and to grow and to follow hard after the Lord, good books have been my stepping stones. Have you read any good books lately? I have a few extra. Just ask!