Book Review: The Downgrade Controversy – By Charles Spurgeon

Today, dear ones, is Friday and that means I’ll be going live for the MEGA list. As you know if you are a subscriber on Youtube or follow me on social media, this is the time when I answer any of the questions that have been sent in over the week, as well as giving recommendations, suggestions, shout outs, and prayer requests. When I was considering one of the questions sent in, my mind kept going back to The Downgrade Controversy, a painful time in the Prince of Preachers life back in 1887. I wanted to do more research, and was delighted to see that there was an entire book written by Spurgeon detailing the entire situation. The book has the articles that were written in The Sword and the Trowel, responses from opposition and those in agreement, the Baptist Union’s censor, and notes discussing all of the above.

Throughout the book Spurgeon has quoted multiple Scriptures, in which he not only refutes the twisting of God’s Word that was happening, but also shows the command believers are given to stand for truth. I’m incredibly shocked to see how close that controversy can be compared to the current push of Social Justice into the church. I can see the same struggle Spurgeon had happening to all those who stand boldly in the suggestion that “Social Justice is a Gospel issue”. I’m so thankful for men like Spurgeon who stood, who offer a great example for us today, as I also thank God for those who are standing right now against the current flood of falsehood. I recommend this book for everyone, especially for those who love church history and for all leaders/elders and most importantly, pastors. You can find this book in paperback, kindle, or in PDF. I’m going to delve pretty deeply into this topic this afternoon during the live event, which should happen (Lord willing) around 3:00 pm PST. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Throwback Thursday: Book Review – The Church History by Eusebius

This, like with the writings of Josephus, is not light reading. It’s also not dull, or difficult to read, but in many ways is a page turner. The Church History was written in the fourth century, and details the the first few centuries of the church after Christ was ressurected.

Way back in July of 2019 I wrote this book review, I hope it will be a blessing today for any who missed it!

Hello again, beloved, I hope this post finds you all doing well! I have another historical book to review today, The Church History by Eusebius, as I mentioned last week. This, like with the writings of Josephus, is not light reading. It’s also not dull, or difficult to read, but in many ways is a page turner. The Church History was written in the fourth century, and details the the first few centuries of the church after Christ was ressurected. There are portions of the book that will fill the believer with great rejoicing, however the majority of the book is much like reading Foxe’s Book of Martyres. The fruitfal, yet dangerous, decades for the generations of Christians after the disciples were gone home, passed with persecution unlike that of today. The book does not center around persectuion, although Eusebius takes time to carefully name those who faced it manfully, he also addresses many other needful topics. He talks about heretics, church order, and leaders in different areas throughout the centuries up until his time. It is also true that Eusebius is the best source of information on the Counsel of Nicea, as he was there himself.

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Eusebius-Quote

The author, Eusebius of Caesarea, or Pamphili as he was also known by, lived from 263 AD to 339 AD, and was born in southern Israel. Recall, dear ones, that the Counsel of Nicea happened in 325, in response to Arius the Alexandian priest we discussed here. Eusebius’ life was spent in the heated discussion of Arius’ herecy, the Nicean rulings, and the time of Athanasius against the world. While he is certainly not an unbias examiner of the Counsel of Nicea, his extant works are the most detailed. He sided with those who  believed the wording chosen by Athanasius’ side was too ambiguous, while all except two members of the councel sided against Athanasius and for Arius. I actually find that this middle ground makes Eusebius not only the most detailed, but the most likely to accurately depect both sides of the debate. However, in the end, the declerations of the counsel would falter, Arianism would grow in popularity, and the church would swing back and forth between heresy and truth for several decades. Those decades would ibclude the remainder of Eusebius’ life. This explains why he felt it so important to write down the history of what the church had done, believed, taught, and accomplshed up until his time.

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Eusebius-Quote

Eusebius is careful to quote from many other writers throughout his ten book collection on church history. Unfortunately, many of the texts he quotes from are no longer extant, leaving The Church History with a glimpse at what a wealth of doctrine and truth the early church actually had. In these books, which is collected together to make one large book, you will read of men and women who were saved from paganism, who stood fast against persecution and heresy. You’ll also read of the leaders who fell, of those who bowed their knee to Ceaser, and of those who rose up in hatred against the Church. You’ll read varies bits of what life was like in the early church, what truths they stood on, how they conducted themselves, and even the inner debate Eusebius had over the book of Revelation. I recommend this book for all believers, especially those learned, or teaching, church history. You can find it in it’s kindle version here, pdf here, free audio version here, and paperback here. The Church History by Eusebius is in the public domain, so it can be downloaded and printed, which I recommend if you’ve got the ink. As always beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Book Review: God Doesn’t Whisper by Jim Osman

Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well! As promised, I have another book review for you. This one was a joy to read, as the writer has a knack for Biblical truth and turning a phrase. It’s no wonder John MacArthur wrote the forward for God Doesn’t Whisper, published by Kootenai Community Church Publishing in August of this year. Rarely do we see this type of theologically sound rebuke to the popular belief in HVG or hearing the voice of God. In this 281 page book, pastor and author Jim Osman expounds upon his own journey from believing in HVG through the Scriptural reasons he no longer does so. While he explains this disastrous teaching, he boldly calls out those preachers and teachers that promote it.

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Coming from the Word of Faith movement I frequently heard it repeated, “God spoke to me, in that still, small voice…” Have you heard it? It’s a phrase that’s repeated so often one might begin to question if the canon ought not be re-opened. But does Gods Word ever tell us that we’ll hear Him speak audibly today? In dreams? Does God whisper? Osman doesn’t pull any punches, this book, from its title to the very last footnote, is a clear refutation of HVG. I love that he doesn’t stray from Scripture, but calls us to view this movement through a Biblical lens. I recommend this book to any age, and if you happen to be a homeschooling parent like I am then this book will be a fantastic primer to teach your preteens, teens, or young adults how to respond when someone says they’ve heard a word from God.

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Pastor Osman was also gracious enough to send me several copies of God Doesn’t Whisper which I’ll be giving away on social media. If you’ve liked or commented on this article then you’ve already been entered to win! But if you’d like a few extra chances you can zip over to any of my social media pages and find the posts about this giveaway. If you are too impatient to wait for any giveaway, and when it comes to this book I completely understand, then you can find your own paper copy here and the kindle version here. Of course, if you’ve somehow found yourself with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited like I have, then you’ll already have access to this book. I know it will be edifying and educational. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Book Review – Fallen: The Sons of God and the Nephilim by Tim Chaffey

Mr. Chaffey not only discusses the three most prevalent theories of what the Nephillim might be in a scholarly fashion, he also details when these views arose and held prominence throughout church history. Obviously, for a topic like this, it would be difficult to write a dry book. My concern was that it would be…to use a technical term, goofy.

Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to do a book review, so let’s change that with one that was incredibly fascinating. Yesterday I finished my first ever book on the strange topic of Nephilim. Fallen: The Sons of God and the Nephilim by Tim Chaffey popped up on my recommended reads in Kindle Unlimited. I’ve mentioned a few times how neat Kindle Unlimited is, and also how I don’t know when I ever signed up for it. A lot like Audible, I randomly realized one day that I have access to all these books…because I’ve been paying for that access unwittingly. Most likely, there was a free trial, or a button I clicked and instantly forgot about it. Either way, there are a massive amount of books available to read for free with Kindle Unlimited, so I’ve got a lot of book reviews to write!

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Fallen is a book which expounds upon all the theories and connections derived from Genesis 6:4 “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—whenever the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, who bore to them children. They were the mighty men of antiquity, men of renown.” Mr. Chaffey not only discusses the three most prevalent theories of what the Nephillim might be in a scholarly fashion, he also details when these views arose and held prominence throughout church history. Obviously, for a topic like this, it would be difficult to write a dry book. My concern was that it would be…to use a technical term, goofy. Or, perhaps the word ‘fantastical’ would be more apt, and I’m sure you understand what I mean if you’ve ever watched a single episode of Ancient Aliens. Tim does a wonderful job of maintaining the scholarly focus, while explaining the Hebrew/Greek terminology in a way even I could understand. In fact, the entire 476 pages of this book (including the appendix) stems from Chaffey’s dissertation, thus creating an intelligently written and extremely well researched book on a topic that is most often treated to goofiness.

While I certainly can’t recommend this book to children, or even preteens, due to the obvious nature of the discussion, I do recommend it to young adults and above. It’s a theological treat, with the mixing in of a historical look into legends of the Tower of Babel, Noah’s Flood, giants, and even elves. He manages to span a vast array of topics all related to the premise of the book, without falling into a deep rabbit hole. It’s very impressive how he brings this back to the authority of Scripture, making God’s Word the most important consideration. Hermeneutics is featured in practice when Scripture is used, which is so very refreshing when you consider the way culture most often treats this topic. If you have Kindle Unlimited you can, of course, read this book there. Or on regular Kindle here, or paperback here. I hope this book will be as edifying for you as it was for me, and let me know in the comments below if you’ve found some resources about this topic that is helpful. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – Pauls Big Letter: A Kid-Friendly Journey Through Roman’s

Pauls Big Letter: A Kid-Friendly Journey Through Romans was written by Pastor J. Aaron White, published by H&E Kids, and illustrated by Paul Cox from RefToons.

Pauls Big Letter

A Kid-Friendly Journey Through Romans

By J. Aaron White

Hello dear ones, I hope this finds you all doing well! It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to do a book review, and this one is even more near and dear to my heart. Pauls Big Letter: A Kid-Friendly Journey Through Romans was written by Pastor J. Aaron White, published by H&E Kids, and illustrated by Paul Cox from RefToons. Paul’s Big Letter is geared towards children ages 8-12 and is the first installment of what will be 13 study books that take children through Pauline epistles. I was incredibly honored, and humbled, to have been asked by H&E to endorse this book, which I whole heartedly agreed to after reading through it twice.

This book is a tremendous help to parents who want to teach Roman’s to their children, as it brings the letter into easily digestible chapters which end with key verses, questions to consider, and summations. In each chapter White has done a fantastic job of relating the Biblical principles found in Roman’s to the age range that will be reading this book. It’s not dumbed down, or simplified, but beautifully applied to real life situations. To cap it all off, a theologically sound Gospel presentation is woven throughout, giving parents the opportunity to not only teach their children about Romans, but also to share the Gospel with them as they read and study together. Below is a video with more detail about this book and its author. I’m doing a giveaway over on social media for this book, and an audible copy of Chronic Love: Trusting God While Suffering with Chronic Illness by Brooke Bartz. I’ll be announcing the winner on Friday during the live MEGA list, so keep an eye and ear out for that by subscribing to my YouTube channel. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Throwback Thursday: Book Review of On The Incarnation

This book review was originally published back in 2017, you can find that article here. I’m so blessed by the early church fathers, and the writings they’ve left behind! I hope you’ll enjoy this throwback Thursday book review.

I love this book, Athanasius (A fourth-century church father) is explaining Christ was fully man, yet fully God, and he begins where every good apologist begins, the creation. I have been so blessed by the Historical Theology lectures I wrote about here, not just by the lectures but also by the reading material suggested. Books, and believers, I’ve never even heard of, like Athanasius of Alexandria.

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In this book, he is essentially addressing the atheist, agnostic, and heretic of his day. The shocking thing is to realize not much has changed in those areas. As Solomon wisely noted, there is nothing new under the sun. The attack of the enemy on the truth of Gods Word is the same, it merely gets renamed from generation to generation.

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It’s fascinating as well to see how the early church viewed Christ’s deity. I recommend this book for anyone studying church history, church fathers, or Christ’s deity. This book is in the public domain, which means you can find a copy of it online or you can purchase a relatively low-cost Kindle version, and it’s also available in audio book for free. Be blessed beloved, and as always, be good Bereans studying to show yourselves approved!

https://www.ccel.org/ccel/athanasius/incarnation.i.html

Throwback Thursday: A Book Review of The Soul Winner

Back in May of 2017 I reviewed this excellent book, you can read the original post here.

The Soul Winner: How to Lead Sinners to the Savior by C. H. Spurgeon was published in 1895 shortly after the author’s death. This book, this book…how can I possibly describe it? It’s not taken out, it’s a five-star restaurant. It’s the type that you sit and eat slowly, enjoying every precious bite. Read this book with pen and paper, you’ll want to take notes. Rarely is there a book I enjoy to read so thoroughly that I immediately plan to read it again once I’m done. This is one of those books. It should be in the study of every church leader, parent, teacher, or human being. If you know anyone who is unsaved you should read this book. If you have children, you need this book.

It’s written for students, so it reads much like a lecture. Spurgeon has a way of explaining things that I haven’t heard or seen in our times. He doesn’t over complicate matters or reaches outside of Biblical boundaries. Like many of the old books I’ve reviewed, this book is available on the Kindle app and is very inexpensive on Amazon. I hope you’ll all enjoy this book as much as I did, and if you can, make sure your pastor finds himself with a copy.

Yesterday I showed Spurgeon’s testimony in his own words, it might be beneficial to read that here before you read his book. I’ve also reviewed several other Christian books if you would like to read more you can herehere, or here. I’m also always looking for great Christian books to read, so feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below.

Book Review: The Gospel Dog by Gracie, Jaylee, and Traci Danker

Redeemed Ranch: The Gospel Dog is a wonderful book for children, with beautiful art work, cute characters, and a relatable plot. As we all struggle with selfishness and need to be sanctified more and more, it might even be helpful for the parents reading it to their little ones. I was excited to see a book for kiddo’s covering this topic in a Biblical way, especially with the modern ME movement teaching generations of school age children to opposite values.

The Danker’s reached out to me and offered to send me a copy so that I could read it and review it. Usually that makes me a little nervous, I don’t like to give bad reviews and if it wasn’t Biblical I would have had to point it out. Thankfully, this sweet book doesn’t stray from Scripture, and it tells a fantastic story! I loved the characters, and the art work brought the scenes to life for me. I know some children need to see the characters clearly to be able to get into the story, and each page provides that.

It’s also Kayliegh approved, she read it twice! She loved the pictures as well as the story, and recommends it for children too. I think it would be particularly helpful if you have multiple kiddo’s and want to teach values for dealing with siblings. I’m grateful for families that are writing books like this, so that we have something wholesome to read to our little ones. You can find the book on Amazon, and you can follow the authors on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. They’ve also got a blog and a website, if you’d like more information.

If you’re an American reader, Happy 4th of July! If you’re reading from pretty much anywhere and you missed yesterday’s MEGA List live, you can check it out down below. I talked about this book there, as well! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

AfterThought Podcast: Episode 8 – Interview with Ray Rhodes Author of Susie

Hello, dear ones, I hope this post has found you all doing exceptionally well! Today, on AfterThought, I dropped the interview I did with pastor and author Ray Rhodes. Ray wrote the biography of Susannah Spurgeon, the great Prince of Preachers wife. The book is titled Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, and I reviewed it here.

What a blessing it was to talk with the author of one of my favorite books. I want to thank Ray for joining me on the program, and Moody publishers for working with me to get the interview scheduled. I hope you’ll all be as encouraged and edified by this conversation as I was. You can listen to the podcast on my host site Podbean, iTunes, Google Play, or Spotify. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

 

Thursday Book Review – Irenaeus Against Heresies

The book review I’d like to do today is going to go along with the Friday series on heresies, in particular, the Gnostics. Irenaeus, who was taught by Polycarp, the disciple of John the Apostle, directly refutes Gnosticism in all its many forms throughout this five-volume set. While Gnosticism isn’t the only heresy he addresses or the only topic he brings up, it’s the main thrust of the book. Most likely written in 180 AD, Irenaeus Against Heresies clearly lays out Biblical theology held by the early church, while answering the heretical views being introduced into the church.

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There’s a couple of points that I found very interesting. First, Irenaeus was a quick-witted man, willing to be sarcastic when sarcasm was needed to show foolishness. This made the dry reading of the varied sects within Gnosticism more bearable. Second, he names names for the sake of the brothers and sisters in Christ being confronted by the Gnostic leaders. He warns believers about specific people to avoid, just as we need to do today. Lastly, he connects this heresy to Simon Magus from Acts 8:9-24. That was such a fascinating part of the book, to have that man’s story told to a further degree. Obviously, the early church fathers, like Irenaeus, are not inspired writers. We do not, under any circumstances, turn their words into Scripture, or hold them as high as that authority. However, it is a blessing that so much of their writing has remained, and we can and should enjoy their works. Particularly, it was interesting to hear about Simon and where his error led.

Irenaeus Against Heresies is an important book for today’s believers, as we deal with very similar false teaching. Not only in the cults, but also in the minds of the lost who grew up hearing bits and pieces of gnostic nonsense, which can be seen in the way postmodernism has flourished. Also, Gnosticism is still very much a thing, and as believers, you will have the so-called Gnostic Gospels mentioned from time to time. It’s dry in many places, in all honesty, as even admitted by the writer who explains in a few different points why he needed to be so detailed. His sense of humor breaks up the expansive lists of names, and differing views on the eons, held by so many at the time. It’s in the public domain, which means you can download it in pdf free here, or listen to the audio here, and also if you enjoy podcasts there is a podcast version of the audio here. If you want it for yourself, and find the free printing of nearly 400 pages tedious, you can buy the kindle here, and the paperback here. I do recommend this for older brothers and sisters in Christ, as most younger readers and preteens would find this too detailed and dry to follow. As always, beloved brothers, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved!

In case you missed it, I launched a new Podcast! You can listen here, and soon will be able to listen in iTunes and Google play. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram if you’d like to link up in other social media platforms. God bless you!