Pilgrim’s Keyboard

December 31, 2010

Books I Read in 2010 …

Filed under: Annual Book Reading LIst — pilgrimskeyboard @ 7:46 pm

When I was a lot younger than today I despised the task of reading books. Part of this is because when I was in high school I had only 6 weeks of grammar in grade 9, plus another 6 weeks in grade 12 and all the rest of the time concerning the balance of those English classes I had to deal with literature. The other reason, I found out later is that I had trouble in my comprehension (I still do today). Thus I hated to read.  O’ by the way, my fiery-sidekick still says I am “comma impaired! ”  :~)

Well after God redeemed me in Jesus Christ (1975), I began to desire to learn about my Lord, the Bible, and Christianity. Consequently, I now appreciate and love to read. The majority of my reading is of course the Bible, books on Theology, Christian History, and Bio’s of some of the Lord’s precious saints.

My friend  Allen Raynor (SBTS) has for the last couple of years sent me his annual reading list on his web-blog (araynorweblog@comcast.net). His list has encourage me to read some of the books he has listed. Hopefully my list here will encourage others to do the same.

 

2010 | BOOK READING LIST

1. Abstract of Systematic Theology – by James P. Boyce | As its title indicates this is a book concerning theology. If someone wants to have a deeper understanding concerning the theology of Scripture this book would be a good choice. However, if one is a new Christian instead of reading this particular book I would recommend that you should read Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology first, and then consider Boyce.

2. Before God – by Mike J. Sarkissian | This book is about prayer and praying. I highly recommend this book. Sarkissian looks at all aspects of prayer, praying, and one’s prayer life.

3. How We Got the Bible – by Neil R. Lightfoot | This book is an excellent account of how the Bible has been preserved and handed down to our generation. It begins with the history of the ancient writings, the birth of the Bible, OT and NT manuscripts, the transition from Hebrew/Greek into English, and continues up to today with our English translations.

4. The Bible in English – by David Daniell | This book is a history of the different English translations of the Bible. This book is long (700 reading pages) and laborious to read. I enjoyed reading the history aspect, but I was tired of reading the book by the time I reached the end.

5. The Two Babylons – by Alexander Hislop | This book compares the pagan practices of ancient Babylon to many of the same practices (at least in appearance) as found in the Roman Catholic church up to his time era.

6. The Babylon Connection – by Ralph Woodrow | This book is an examination of Hislop’s Two Babylons. The author’s intent was to refute Hislop, but he approached it is such a malicious way his point was lost or at least diminished. Fortunately it was a short book.

7. The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness – by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. | It is PC to “dumb down” God today. Dr. Mohler looks at this reality and warns of the dangers of such teaching in regards to God, sin, hell, etc., and the shifting sands undergirding Christianity today.

8. Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth – by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. | Our culture today is transforming at a fast exploding pace. This book addresses how to stand up for the truth clearly, biblically, and passionately when facing such an ever changing worldview.

9. Words from the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the 10 Commandments – by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. | The Ten Commandments – not the Ten Suggestions. This book examines the Ten Commandments and how they apply to our minds, hearts, and lives today.

10. The Truth War – by John MacArthur | This book is about the war our culture is waging against Divine Truth. Seen ever so prominent in our postmodern society, so too, being waged openly among those within the Lord’s church. Dr. MacArthur reveals such with this book and encourages that the Lord’s people to stand for the truth of God’s decrees despite the heat of the battle being not afraid of the enemy. Though deceivers may think that they have won the battle, ultimately they will lose, for the truth will always prevail.

11. Pilgrim’s Progress: In Today’s English – by John Bunyan, retold by James H. Thomas | This is the 3rd time that I have read this wonderful classic. The first two times was in the Old English, this time in modern English. I found it much easier to read. But I would not rule out not reading the old style again. If you have never read the book I highly recommend that you do so.          

Bios – Anytime you get the opportunity to read about the saints of old – I highly recommend that – God’s people of the past are an inspiration to His people today.

12. James Petigru Boyce – by Dr. Tom Nettles

13. George Mueller of Bristol – by Arthur T. Pierson

14. John Newton – by Jonathan Aitken

15. Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret – by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

16. The Shadow of the Broad Brim [About Spurgeon] – by Richard Ellsworth Day

17. Jonathan Edwards – by Iain H. Murray

18. Arthur W. Pink: Born To Write – by Richard P. Belcher

Just Finished

19. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation, Vol. 1 – by Justo L. Gonzalez | This is a 2 volume set. The book is a decent general history of Christianity. If you want more detail perhaps Schaff’s or Sheldon’s historical works on Christianity may best suit your needs. – Currently, I am now reading vol. 2.

ba

December 30, 2010

THE PURE WORD

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 7:50 pm

The Pure Word

by Henry Morris, Ph.D.

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” (Proverbs 30:5)

When the inspired writer of Proverbs testified here that God’s Word was “pure,” he did not use the usual word for, say, moral purity or metallic purity. Instead, he asserted in effect that every Word of God had been refined and purified, as it were in a spiritual furnace, so that any and all contaminants had been purged out, leaving only the pure element.

The same truth is found in the great psalm of the Scriptures (Psalm 119). “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” (Psalm 119:140). David used the same word in another psalm, where it is translated “tried” in the sense of “tested for purity.” “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him” (Psalm 18:30). The word for “buckler” in this verse is the same as for “shield” in our text. Thus God equips with a perfect shield against the weapons of any foe, because “His way is perfect” and “every word” in Scripture has been made “pure” before the Spirit of God approved its use by the human writer.

This surely tells us that the human writer of Scripture (that is, Moses or David or John or whomever), with all his human proneness to mistakes or other inadequacies, was so controlled by the Holy Spirit that whatever he actually wrote had been purged of any such deficiencies. Thus his final written text had been made perfectly “pure,” free from any defects. This control applies to “every word,” so that we can legitimately refer to the Scriptures as verbally inspired and inerrant throughout.

As the apostle Paul stressed, our spiritual armor in the battle against evil is “the shield of faith” and “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:16-17). HMM

This article was originally published July, 2010. The Pure Word”, Institute for Creation Research, http://www.icr.org/article/5414/ (accessed July 18, 2010).

ba

 

December 22, 2010

God provides all …

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 3:53 pm

“To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect.”

John Owen

 

ba

December 19, 2010

Contentment

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 2:39 am

Of all created comforts, God is the lender; you are the borrower, not the owner.

Sam Rutherford (C. 1600-1661)

ba

December 9, 2010

Loving the Word

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 1:56 pm
Days of Praise
Loving the Word
December 9, 2010

“O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)

This emotional stanza in Psalm 119 bursts with passion for the Word of God. “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). Previously, David’s 19th psalm opened with praise for the “speech” and “knowledge” available in “the heaven” (Psalm 19:1-6) and gave his most open praise for the “perfect” laws (Psalm 19:7) of God that are “more to be desired . . . than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10). The focus of this particular stanza (Psalm 119:97-104) is on the practical effect that knowledge of the Word of God has had on the psalmist’s ability to give a powerful witness.

  • “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me” (v. 98).
  • “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (v. 99).
  • “I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (v. 100).

The excitement that comes with the “love” and the “sweet” taste of God’s Word in a believer’s life produces an assurance that results in a readiness to “give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Indeed, since it is clear that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (2 Corinthians 10:4), we should be all the more commited (as is the psalmist) to refrain “from every evil way” (Psalm 119:101), being sure that we do not depart from the “judgments” (v. 102), and that our understanding of the precepts ensures that we “hate every false way” (v. 104).

HMM |   Institute for Creation Research | 1806 Royal Lane | Dallas | TX | 75229
ba


December 3, 2010

The Knowledge of the Self-Revealing God …

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 3:00 pm

The Knowledge of the Self-Revealing God: Starting Point for the Christian Worldview

Dr. Albert Mohler   |   Friday, December, 3, 2010

The Christian worldview is structured, first of all, by the revealed knowledge of God. There is no other starting point for an authentic Christian worldview—and there is no substitute.

One of the most important principles of Christian thinking is the recognition that there is no stance of intellectual neutrality. No human being is capable of achieving a process of thought that requires no presuppositions, assumptions, or inherited intellectual components. All human thinking requires some presupposed framework that defines reality and explains, in the first place, how it is possible that we can know anything at all.

The process of human cogitation and intellectual activity has been, in itself, the focus of intense intellectual concern. In philosophy, the field of study that is directed toward the possibility of human knowledge is epistemology. The ancient philosophers were concerned with the problem of knowledge, but this problem becomes all the more complex and acute in a world of intellectual diversity. In the aftermath of the Enlightenment, the problem of epistemology moved to the very center of philosophical thought.

Are we capable of knowing truth? Is truth, in any objective sense, accessible to us? How is it that different people, different cultures, and different faiths hold to such different understandings and affirm such irreconcilable claims to truth? Does truth even exist at all? If so, can we really know it?

As the modern age gave way to the postmodern, the problem of knowledge became only more complex. Many postmodern thinkers reject the possibility of objective truth and suggest that all truth is nothing more than social construction and the application of political power. Among some, relativism is the reigning understanding of truth. Among others, the recognition of intellectual pluralism leads to an affirmation that all truth claims are trapped within cultural assumptions and can be known only through the lenses of distorted perspective.

In other words, the problem of knowledge is front and center as we think about the responsibility of forming a Christian worldview and loving God with our minds. The good news is this—just as we are saved by grace alone, we find that the starting point for all Christian thinking in the grace of God is demonstrated to us by means of his self-revelation.

The Self-Revealing God of the Bible

The starting point for all genuinely Christian thinking is the existence of the self-revealing God of the Bible. The foundation of the Christian worldview is the knowledge of the one true and living God. The fact of God’s existence sets the Christian worldview apart from all others—and, from the very beginning, we must affirm that our knowledge of God is entirely dependent upon the gift of divine revelation.

Christian thinking is not reducible to mere theism—belief in the existence of a personal God. To the contrary, authentic Christian thinking begins with the knowledge that the only true God is the God who has revealed himself to us in the Bible.

As the late Carl F. H. Henry reminded us, “Divine revelation is the source of all truth, the truth of Christianity included; reason is the instrument for recognizing it; Scripture is its verifying principle; logical consistency is a negative test for truth and coherence a subordinate test. The task of Christian theology is to exhibit the content of biblical revelation as an orderly whole.”

That same affirmation is true for all Christian thinking. Christianity affirms reason, but divine revelation is the source of all truth. We are given the capacity to know, but we are first known by our Creator before we come to know him by means of his gift of self-revelation.

The Total Truthfulness of the Bible

Once our dependence upon the Bible is made clear, the importance of affirming the total inspiration and truthfulness of the Bible is apparent. Affirming the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible is not merely a matter of articulating a high view of Scripture. The affirmation of the Bible’s total truthfulness is essential for believers to have an adequate confidence that we can know what God would have us to know. Furthermore, our affirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture is based, not only in Scripture’s internal claims, but also in the very character of God. The God who knew us and loved us long before we came to know him is the God we can trust to give us a completely trustworthy revelation of himself.

Even so, ignorance of basic biblical truth is rampant. Remarkably, this is a problem inside, as well as outside, the church. Many church members seem as ignorant of the true and living God as the general public. Too many pulpits are silent and compromised. The “ordinary god” of popular belief is the only god known by many.

As Christian Smith and his fellow researchers have documented, the faith of many Americans can be described as “moralistic therapeutic deism”—a system of belief that provides the image of a comfortable, non-threatening deity who is not terribly concerned with our behavior but does want us to be happy.

The accuracy of the Christian worldview in the modern age can be traced directly to a significant shift in the doctrine of God. The God worshiped by millions of modern persons is a deity cut down to postmodern size.

The One True God

The one true God, the God who reveals himself in the Bible, is a God who defines his own existence, sets his own terms, and rules over his own creation. The sheer shallowness of much modern “spirituality” stands as a monument to the human attempt to rob God of his glory. The Christian worldview cannot be recovered without a profound rediscovery of the knowledge of God.

Inevitably, our concept of God determines our worldview. The question of the existence or non-existence of God is primary, but so is the question of God’s power and character. Theologians speak of the “attributes” of God, meaning the particulars about God’s revealed nature. If we begin with the right concept of God, our worldview will be properly aligned. If our concept of God is sub-biblical, our worldview will be sub-biblical, as well.

God’s attributes reveal his power and his character. The God of the Bible is omniscient and omnipotent, and he is also faithful, good, patient, loving, merciful, gracious, majestic, and just.

At the foundation of all the attributes ascribed to God in Scripture are two great truths which form central pillars for all Christian thinking. The first of these is God’s total, final, and undiluted sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is the exercise of his rightful authority. His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence are the instruments of his sovereignty.

The second of these great pillars is God’s holiness. Just as sovereignty is the great term that includes all of God’s attributes of power, holiness includes all of the moral attributes ascribed to God in the Bible. At the first level, holiness defines God as the source of all that is good, true, beautiful, loving, just, righteous, and merciful. In other words, holiness establishes that God is not merely the possessor of these moral distinctives—he is the ultimate source of them, as well. In the end, God is not so much defined by these moral attributes as much as he defines them by the display of his character in the Bible.

In other words, to say that God is righteous is not to say that he passes muster when tested against our own understandings of righteousness. To the contrary, we gain any adequate understanding of righteousness only by coming to know the self-revealing God who is himself righteous. One of the central problems of modern thought is the attempt by human beings to judge God by our own categories of moral perfection. Our proper responsibility is to bring our categories into submission to the reality and revelation of God.

The question of the existence or non-existence of God is primary, but so is the question of God’s power and character. The Christian worldview is structured, first of all, by the revealed knowledge of God. And this means the comprehensive knowledge of the self-revealing God who defines himself and will accept no rivals. There is no other starting point for an authentic Christian worldview—and there is no substitute.

http://www.AlbertMohler.com

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