I received this set from Crossway some time ago, and wanted to use it for a while before writing a review. This review will differ from my others in the lack of a listing of the physical attributes like, paper weight, cover material, binding, font size, and layout, as all of that information and more can be found here. The Reader’s Bible is unlike any other Bible I’ve reviewed. This one is a six volume set, intended for undistracted reading. That is not to say that other Bibles aren’t for reading. It is to say, that the focus of the layout, and construction was to be conducive to reading. This is necessarily at the exclusion of other purposes. For instance, study, easy reference, citation, and so on, as there are no chapter or verse numbers, no footnotes or cross references. There is a chapter index in the back of each volume. For older folks like myself, it is so different from Bibles we’ve used for such a long time, that it takes some getting used to. It isn’t a bad experience, just different.
I am a slow reader, and tend to study as I go. Other people can speed through the Bible, and retain information. When I simply read the Bible, I have to remain very conscious of what I am reading, and be diligent to properly regard it. When I start to read sometimes I start to drift. I find myself going back over the same section a few times, to make certain I have understood what I’ve read. With the Reader’s set, you can read without getting side-tracked by interesting cross references, or footnotes.
The first thing you notice is the volumes are constructed as a quality hardback, cloth covered book. Each volume has a marker ribbon, sewn spine, heavy paper, and easy to read font. Then while reading you start to experience what Crossway intended. You have a smooth progression through large sections of scripture. As you read, you don’t make your decision on where to stop by chapter numbers, or section headings. Instead, you stop where it seems natural, usually at the end of an idea. As you read, you’ll also notice that your eyes don’t tire as easily due to the very thick paper, and font. (For all the stats follow the link in the first paragraph of the review.) With the longer sessions, you tend to cover more ground. I would not let my reading, exclude separate study of the Bible. Having the Reader’s Set does force you to make time for reading, and study. I think I need that in my daily routine. Separating the two activities does seem beneficial.
I think this set should hold up well, as long as they are cared for properly. I would be careful around moisture, as the pages are not coated, and would absorb water, finger oil, and dirt readily. Which brings me to my next suggestion, don’t eat, drink coffee, or have dirty hands when reading this set. You will stain the cover, mess up the pages, and make it look messy.
My final thought, is that they are nice to have when you want to sit and read God’s word. My eyes aren’t what they used to be, and even though the font isn’t large, it is easier to read. I like the feel of them. It is an awful lot like reading a hardback novel in certain ways.
You can view Crossway’s product page here. You can also read more about this specific sets production here. Be sure to check out the rest of the pictures on my flikr page.
This book is authored by some of the top contemporary theological minds in Christendom. Each one wrote a chapter treating the topic of sola scriptura. The forward was written by Dr. Michael Horton. Together they present a cohesive, and convincing defense of the true doctrine of Sola Scriptura, or scripture alone as God’s authoritative indelible will, as opposed to the Roman Catholic position of magisterium, and tradition. The following list is of the chapter titles and their authors to give you an idea of how the book is laid out;
Chapter 1 “What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?” by Dr. W. Robert Godfrey.
Chapter 2 “Sola Scriptura and the Early Church” by Dr. James White.
Chapter 3 “The Establishment of Scripture” by Dr. R. C. Sproul.
Chapter 4 “The Authority of Scripture” by Dr. Derek W. H. Thomas.
Chapter 5 “The Sufficiency of the Written Word” by Dr. John MacArthur.
Chapter 6 “Scripture and Tradition” by Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson.
Chapter 7 “The Transforming Power of Scripture” by Dr. Joel R. Beeke, and Rev. Ray B. Lanning.
“Afterword” by Dr. Don Kistler.
I appreciated the manner in which they dealt with all of the subtopics. Each expert did a fine job of astutely presenting the information. Unlike so many modern works, there was a bibliography at the end of each chapter, displaying their scholarly due diligence to cite source texts. The book was just long enough to be helpful, and not so long as to lose the laymen in the tall grass.
I would definitely recommend this book to your Christian library. It will aid you, and it is a great resource to lend out to friends, and family who may be unsure of what to think on the topic of sola scriptura. It is a great primer on the topic of sola scriptura. You will learn what it is, and what it isn’t. You will learn how we arrived at the conclusion, and why it is the right one. If you are a questioning Catholic, it could help answer some question for you, as to why your Protestant friends believe what they do, and maybe even convince you. It isn’t just for questioning Catholics either, you could give it to anyone who is in a false religion that relies on extra-biblical sources, and traditions for their doctrinal authority e.g. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eastern Orthodox, and many more.
This is not a feel-good, cute, animated feature for families! It is nothing more than atheist propaganda, and programming! If you are a P.O.F. (person of faith) of any kind, you will be very irritated by this movie. We decided to give it a shot, in hopes of seeing something whimsical, family friendly, and fun. This movie was none of those things. Apparently, when atheist try give you what they think you will find to be funny, or a naive good time, it comes off feeling forced, cliche, and condescending. I truly wanted to enjoy this movie with my Wife, and Daughter, but alas, we were all disappointed. Even my Daughter talked about how it was transparently propaganda. (my words, not hers.)
The entire plot was about how at best, religious people are naive, stupid, dupes, kept in line by religion, and that they are holding the atheist minority back from progressing. At worst, we are knowingly deceiving everyone, and controlling them with religion like the leader of the yetis was doing. The plot was not fun at all. It was all anti-religion. The subplot/subtext was what was intended to be the plot that people noticed, but the subplot in this movie was so blatant, and hateful, that it was the obvious plot, even to my Daughter.
Don’t waste your money. Go home, and watch something good off of DVD/Bluray, or read a book for crying out loud, or just take the family out to lunch instead! Warner Bros. you are horrible! You all should be ashamed of yourselves for doing a bait and switch!
I need to premise this review with the following, I base my final judgment on a Christian book on whether or not it would add significant value to the individual’s Christian library. This novella seems to be skirting the secular, and Christian realms without boldly being in either. It was kind of like an episode of the Michael Landon series, “Highway to Heaven.” It tugs at the heartstrings of Protestants, and Roman Catholics. In my opinion, this is its failing. If it were merely a secular work with the occasional mention of faith, I would have a different opinion. As I understand it, this is intended to be a Christian work.
Without giving any spoilers, this book is a tear jerker. Siccardi tells a story that gets the water works going. I felt for the main character Samantha. She had some great times, and some sad times. It is set back east in the 60’s and 70’s. The story telling moved along, and didn’t make me sit through long tracts of boredom. I thought the author did a good job of bringing the female lead to life in this story, but I am also a middle aged man. I wouldn’t attempt it, but Siccardi did. I don’t think he did a bad job of it. I enjoyed the sacrificial love her husband demonstrated to her, and for her. I think it is what made her character understand real love. It also paralleled her father’s love for her, in light of her mother’s ineffective demonstration of love that seemed to rely on reciprocation, which is not true love at all. I think this theme was well played out, but could have culminated in a direct preaching of the gospel to her mother.
It is a story of reconciliation, but in my estimation leaves out the more important reconciliation, the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to justify sinners to a holy God. In the progression of the story there were more than a few opportunities to preach the real gospel of reconciliation, and make the distinctions between it and the false gospel of the Roman Catholic tradition. I know many folks have heard, and repeated the idiom, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.” This is falsely attributed to Francis of Assisi. It is also blatantly unbiblical. The Lord Himself commands us to preach the gospel to all the world and make disciples of all men. This by definition requires words. Jesus is the word made flesh. Jesus used words, and so did the Apostles. To preach requires the use of words. I’m not saying that Siccardi used the above quote in his novella, but it seems that principle was employed whether consciously or not.
To be clear, the Roman Catholic tradition relies on the practitioner’s works righteousness by keeping the sacraments. This is akin to the pre-incarnation works righteousness of the Jewish sacrificial system. In contrast the Biblical gospel is that we are fallen sinners in Adam our federal head. If we die in our sins, we will be sent to Hell for eternal punishment by God, who is holy, righteous, and just. In His mercy, and love, He has made a way for guilty sinners to be saved from Hell, and justified to Himself, without violating His justice. Jesus is the incarnate second person of the eternal triune God. He lived a perfect sinless life, was righteous, and in obedience to the Father, and love for His Church, went to the cross of His crucifixion, where the wrath of God was poured out on Him, instead of us. He who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. He took our punishment on Himself, and atoned for our sin. He expiated it, and when we repent of our sins, and trust solely on, and in Christ, His work on the cross, we are justified to God, by grace, through faith. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. We are born again, and translated from death to life. We will be with God for eternity. If you haven’t already, I urge you to repent, and believe.
Would I recommend this book? I would recommend it as a secular work of fiction, with some redeeming qualities. I would not recommend it as a Christian book. So if you are a Christian looking for distinctly Christian fiction, I would look somewhere else. If you are a Christian, and are looking for a quick e-read, and don’t mind a P.G. rating, this is an emotionally compelling story, that can get you crying, unless you are a heartless fiend. If you are not a Christian, you might be offended by some of the faith content, but then again, there is no pleasing you, is there Frank!? So, with everything that I mentioned in mind, I enjoyed the story. It may not be up to the standard of being a seminal Christian classic, but it was a good story, and did demonstrate sacrificial love, and reconciliation of estranged family.
As the title suggests, this Free Methodist, female, “Pastor” has twisted the very words of Jesus, to justify her pro-abortion stance. Here is what she had to say,
“Jesus directs us to advocate for a just society that allows people to live their lives to the fullest. Jesus directs us to advocate for a just society that allows people to live their lives to the fullest. In John 10:10, Jesus says, ‘I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full,’ Baker said. “And this means supporting access to affordable birth control, because by permitting individuals to plan if, whether and when to become pregnant, birth control allows us to live our fullest lives.” You can read the full article on LifeNews.com
You might ask, “How someone could twist God’s word to justify such evil?” Well it starts with liberal theology. You might ask, “What is liberal theology?”
Here is a quote from GotQuestions.org answering that question;
Answer: In liberal Christian teaching, which is not Christian at all, man’s reason is stressed and is treated as the final authority. Liberal theologians seek to reconcile Christianity with secular science and modern thinking. In doing so, they treat science as all-knowing and the Bible as fable-laden and false. Genesis’ early chapters are reduced to poetry or fantasy, having a message, but not to be taken literally (in spite of Jesus’ having spoken of those early chapters in literal terms). Mankind is not seen as totally depraved, and thus liberal theologians have an optimistic view of the future of mankind. The social gospel is also emphasized, while the inability of fallen man to fulfill it is denied. Whether a person is saved from his sin and its penalty in hell is no longer the issue; the main thing is how man treats his fellow man. “Love” of our fellow man becomes the defining issue. As a result of this “reasoning” by liberal theologians, the following doctrines are taught by liberal quasi-Christian theologians:
1) The Bible is not “God-breathed” and has errors. Because of this belief, man (the liberal theologians) must determine which teachings are correct and which are not. Belief that the Bible is “inspired” (in that word’s original meaning) by God is only held by simpletons. This directly contradicts 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
3) Jesus did not rise again from the grave in bodily form. This contradicts the resurrection accounts in all four Gospels and the entire New Testament.
4) Jesus was a good moral teacher, but His followers and their followers have taken liberties with the history of His life (there were no “supernatural” miracles), with the Gospels having been written many years later and merely ascribed to the early disciples in order to give greater weight to their teachings. This contradicts the 2 Timothy passage and the doctrine of the supernatural preservation of the Scriptures by God.
5) Hell is not real. Man is not lost in sin and is not doomed to some future judgment without a relationship with Christ through faith. Man can help himself; no sacrificial death by Christ is necessary since a loving God would not send people to such a place as hell and since man is not born in sin. This contradicts Jesus Himself, who declared Himself to be the Way to God, through His atoning death (John 14:6).
6) Most of the human authors of the Bible are not who they are traditionally believed to be. For instance, they believe that Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible. The book of Daniel had two authors because there is no way that the detailed “prophecies” of the later chapters could have been known ahead of time; they must have been written after the fact. The same thinking is carried over to the New Testament books. These ideas contradict not only the Scriptures but historical documents which verify the existence of all the people whom the liberals deny.
7) The most important thing for man to do is to “love” his neighbor. What is the loving thing to do in any situation is not what the Bible says is good but what the liberal theologians decide is good. This denies the doctrine of total depravity, which states that man is incapable of doing anything good and loving (Jeremiah 17:9) until He has been redeemed by Christ and given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17).
There are many pronouncements of Scripture against those who would deny the deity of Christ (2 Peter 2:1)—which liberal Christianity does. Scripture also denounces those who would preach a different gospel from what was preached by the apostles (Galatians 1:8)—which is what the liberal theologians do in denying the necessity of Christ’s atoning death and preaching a social gospel in its place. The Bible condemns those who call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20)—which some liberal churches do by embracing homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle while the Bible repeatedly condemns its practice.
Scripture speaks against those who would cry “peace, peace” when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14)—which liberal theologians do by saying that man can attain peace with God apart from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and that man need not worry about a future judgment before God. The Word of God speaks of a time when men will have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5)—which is what liberal theology does in that it says that there is some inner goodness in man that does not require a rebirth by the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ. And it speaks against those who would serve idols instead of the one true God (1 Chronicles 16:26)—which liberal Christianity does in that it creates a false god according to its own liking rather than worshiping God as He is described in the whole of the Bible
You can see that it boils down to a belief in man’s reason, and his culture, over the Bible. If you’ve ever wondered how people ignore scripture verses like;
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB Strong’s) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
1 Timothy 2:12-15 (NASB Strong’s) But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
Titus 1:5-9 (NASB Strong’s) For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
Now you have your answer. They ignore these verses because they interpret them through their modern liberal theological hermeneutic which denies the accuracy, and authority of Scripture.
The Free Methodists have been in trouble for a long time. They are almost as liberal as the Episcopalians. One of the first things that happens when a denomination starts down the road of liberal theology is that they start ordaining women as elders/pastors. When you see that happening, you know they have put their feet on the other side of the slippery slope. Satan’s lies haven’t changed over the years. He tells us to not believe God’s words, and that we can be like God. We can live how we want to live. Don’t believe people who claim to be Christian, and are also pro-abortion, because chances are, they are not Christian at all, but self-deceived dupes of the devil.
When Jesus, God incarnate, the eternal Son, the second Person of the Triune God said in John 10:7-10 (NASB) “So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Does it look at all like He was trying to justify having a convenient, child-free life, of sexual immorality, and infanticide? Nope! In context, it looks like He is saying that in Him you can actually have true life. You can be forgiven of your sins, granted true repentance and faith, be born again spiritually, and live for all eternity with Him. Not only that, but while you are here on this Earth, living your life, you can do it for the glory of God, and be free from the bondage of sin! That isn’t a license to go and murder babies. It isn’t permission to do whatever your evil little unregenerate hearts want to do as false converts! Eternal life, in Christ our Savior, and Lord, free from sins bondage, is what Jesus is talking about. He is not talking about the one command of the satan worshipers, “Do as thou will.”
If you are a Christian, you’ve probably had questions about the topic of assurance. We’ve all had doubts about our faith at some point in our growth. While nobody can give you assurance of your salvation, this book can help you, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith;” 2 Corintians 2:5a (NASB) Dr. Beeke cites the Bible, and the writings of some very astute Puritans, and their explorations of this topic. The book is very logically organized, and walks you through a process, by which you can examine yourself, if you are having questions about your salvation. He unpacks where some of our problems come from, and what we should know to help us on our way. This is one of the most accurate, and helpful books I’ve ever read on the topic. If you are having difficulties with your assurance, I highly recommend this book.
We humans are very self-centered, or anthropocentric. When we make up a god, or religion, we make it in our image as a collective society. It is usually a god that looks, and values what we do. Consider the Norse mythological system, their gods valued fighting, and dying an honorable death in combat. They valued strength. All the false world religions look like the people they came from. Men always imagine gods that are able to be appeased through their efforts. We make our gods in our image. We make gods that think, and look like us, and value the same things. This is called idolatry. Our ancestors did it, we do it, and chances are many of us don’t even realize we’re doing it.
Christianity is the only true faith, and worships the only true God. He made us in His image. He cannot be appeased by us, nor does he value the lowly, base, and sinful things we value. We could never imagine a God like the true God. He had to reveal Himself to us. The record of His revelation to us, and all that is needed to know Him is in the Bible. There we can read about Him, and come to know Him. Through that process, I think you’l find, as I and many other Christians have, there is no way, anyone could have created such a God.
Many people claiming to be Christians have made a god in their own image. They go to Church with true Christians, and other false converts. They sing songs to their god, they pray to him/it, they worship him/it, but it won’t avail them. They might say things like, “Don’t judge!” or, “My god would never send anyone to Hell.” or, “I don’t believe in the god of the Old Testament, I like the one in the New Testament better.” or, “God is love, love is god.” Keep in mind, this god reflects what that person values, not the God of the Bible.
I encourage you to examine yourself, and see if you have created a god in your own image, or if you worship God in truth and in spirit. Eternity is a long time to be wrong.
If you are a Christian, you’ve probably heard of, or used Monergism.com. They have been publishing public domain, free to read, Christian e-books, for years, as well as some contemporary works, and some for purchase. I have downloaded, and benefited from their work personally, and encourage you to check them out. They are also in need of funds to continue their work. Please consider giving to them. They are a valuable resource, and I’d hate to see them go.