I just got a copy of the Banner Of Truth edition of, “Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.” He wrote this edition in French and it has been translated into English. I have another edition from Hendrickson that was translated from Latin into English by Henry Beveridge. I have to say, the Banner of Truth edition that was translated by Robert White is much more accessible. I’m enjoying it. It is much easier to follow and read. It is almost like reading a modern work. I highly recommend it if you have ever wanted to read Calvin, but found the Latin to English translations difficult. I’ve been told by a very educated man that Latin is a comparatively small language. I can see how the difference between the source material being written in French provides for the English translation being as easy to read as it is. If you don’t have this edition, go Get it.
I know this review is going to seem negative at times. Please realize this has more to do with my expectations, and subjective bias. I’m a stickler for theology, and evangelism. I also prefer more academic works. If you are like me, you will find this review helpful. If you are a layman and have more of a superficial interest in theology, then this review won’t be that relevant.
“This Dangerous Book” has a provocative title, with an implicitly lofty goal which can be inferred from this statement on the cover, “How the Bible has shaped our world and why it still matters today” I had hoped that it would more thoroughly treat the topic of the Bible, and its effects on human history. I was somewhat disappointed. It did not live up to my expectations. I was expecting a much larger, well fleshed out, academic treatment of the topic. This book could have been edited down to be an introduction to a book on the topic instead. It could have also been a brief book on the efforts of the Greens to collect Biblical artifacts for their museum, or the personal experiences of the Greens in regards to their faith. The Greens attempted to do all three in a book that is only a couple hundred pages long. The book didn’t accomplish any of them to my satisfaction.
In my opinion, books that add value to the Christian library must meet some criteria. The main attribute I look for is whether or not the book is Christ/gospel centered. They should also be; evangelistic, exclusive, (exclusivity of Christ) theologically orthodox, intellectually stimulating, educational, reasonable, and well bibliographed/annotated.
This book would only be educational to the laymen. It gives a basic overview of the history of the Bible, and its effects on mankind. The Green’s expressed their desire to present the Bible without any bias. They even had their collection displayed by the Vatican without a note of distinction between Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism. I was disappointed with their ecumenism, and their efforts to keep the book, and museum, from being overtly evangelistic. The personal stories of the Greens were encouraging and inspiring at times. The theology of the Greens was not fully expressed. I think this was in an attempt to have a broader audience. Because of their ecumenism, desire to have a wide appeal, and brevity of the treatment of the implied topic, the book fails to meet my requirements for a valuable book.
That’s not to say that there isn’t any value in this book. There are books that many Christians would find interesting, but not necessarily worthy of their personal libraries. Books like these are more for entertainment. They are the types of books you read and then give away. This book falls into that category. As such I can recommend it. If you have some spare time on a weekend, and are not in the mood for something more substantial, this book would fit the bill. The writing is interesting. The personal experiences the Greens write about hold your attention. Their enthusiasm for the Bible is commendable. Just because it isn’t my cup of tea, doesn’t mean it won’t thrill you. That is one of the great things about books. They are as varied as the authors and readers. If you like to write about something, there will be someone who wants to read about it.
What the book gets wrong; it is too ambitious for a book that is approximately 200 pages. It will have limited appeal to academia. It is more of a primer of the topic of the Bible’s affect on history. For the title it talks too much about the Green’s experiences, and their Bible museum. It doesn’t make a clear gospel presentation. It demonstrates the Green’s flawed approach to ecumenism. It isn’t a book that will be read over and over again, or used for reference. It is a read once, and give away type of book.
What the book gets right; it will appeal to the wide varied masses of folks who profess to be Christian, including cults and groups that aren’t. It is a decent primer for anyone who has given absolutely no thought to how the Bible has shaped human history. New Christians might find it encouraging. Anyone who wants to know more about the founders, and owners of Hobby Lobby will enjoy reading about them.
I was sent an extra copy of this book to give away on my site. If you would like to have this copy, please leave a comment on the page and e-mail me your address so I can send it to you if you are the winner. This give away is only open to people who live in the continental U.S. I will select the winner personally based on my own personal preferences 🙂
I was contacted by a mutual friend to do this review. Up until that point I had not heard of Josiah Nichols. This would be the first work that I have read of his. It might also be his first published work. It isn’t a long book, nor is it a book that requires a seminary education to read. The author’s purpose is to demonstrate how he employs hermeneutics to interpret, and derive applications from Exodus 21:28-32. The book is very evangelistic. I would say that it has been far more evangelistic than many theological books that I’ve recently read.
From reading the title, and the author’s intended goal treating the topic of hermeneutics, I expected a more in depth primer on hermeneutics, and a demonstration of the analytical methods of hermeneutics on the cited verses. While the author accomplished this goal, I think occasionally the author also got a little lost in some peripheral details.
It is also evident that the author is a big fan of Wretched Radio/TV and their work. Todd Friel is the host of the programs as well as the podcast. The people over there at Wretched have put out a number of very useful videos, and educational products. Josiah refers to, “Hermen Who?” numerous times throughout the book. Wretched should thank him for the plug 🙂 I liked both the book, and Wretched. I am a big fan of their work to, so I share that with the author.
The questions I consider for book purchases are, is it theologically accurate, and will it add value to the individual’s Christian library? That’s it. That’s how simple it is for me to decide, “yes” or “no” for a book. The answer to the first question is, yes this book is good and accurate if you are Reformed in your soteriology. If you are not, it is still accurate, and you are the one with the problem lol. As far as value goes, it does add value to your library as a resource to loan out. This book is evangelistic. I would feel good handing this to someone who is new in the faith. It will teach them a bit about hermeneutics, and much more about other doctrines of God.
After reading it, I am still hard pressed to categorize this book, or write a more fitting title. The author does analyze Exodus 21:28-32. He does so accurately. He did not twist the scripture, or impose a meaning on it that was not intended by the author of scripture. It would be educational for a new Christian. I believe that was his intended audience. I look forward to seeing Josiah’s future projects. I think we will see bigger and better works from him. He was precise and nuanced without being rhetorical. Some theological books for laymen seem as if the authors had forgotten who their audience was. If Josiah reads this, “Keep up the good work.” You can pick up a copy of his book at Amazon, Christianbook, or Westbow to name a few. It can be purchased from many other online book retail sites.
Today on SnydersSoapbox we will be reviewing a book dealing with the Trinity. I know that as Christians we desire to understand the Trinity better. It is a topic that is often speculated on, and many times people just give up. Don’t feel too bad. The book and the works of the men cited by the author are all very scholarly. Some very intelligent men have been contemplating the Trinity for a very long time, and haven’t really come up with any better explanations or understandings than many of us. They just sound a lot more intelligent when they talk about it 🙂
In the field of Christian books, I am always looking for books that will add value to my library, books that will not be a waste of my time to read. This was a pretty good book overall. It was definitely NOT for laymen. It was a scholastic work. The author assumes that the reader has read, or is familiar with the works of the other men he has cited in this book. If you are not familiar with those works you can still read this book and get something out of it. It is well bibliographed, and indexed. The author throws in some Greek, not to worry, he explains what it says. He also uses several big words that you might need to grab a dictionary and look up. Do not be afraid of heady books. These things help you learn and grow. Don’t run from the challenge of education.
As far as the content of the book goes, I appreciated his explanation of the economic Trinity. This helped me understand how we are in Christ, He is in the Father, and He is in us, as well as the Holy Spirit indwelling us. It is one thing to know the words, it is another to get a better grasp on the mechanics of how that works. If you are like me, you are not satisfied until you can see all the steps, or processes of the behind the scenes workings of something. He also delved into the ontology of the Trinity. I might not of understood everything he wrote when dealing with this topic, or maybe I did, and just disagreed with him on one of his conclusions. Even so, If you are patient, and willing to do some work, I think you could learn from this book.
Yarnell also explains some non-Trinitarian heresies, defends the orthodox trinity, deals with some of the concepts of being eternally begotten, and what that looks like. He explains how Christ accepted worship from people, and he demonstrates how the Bible equates Christ with God the Father. If you take the time, this will help you with your apologetics when talking with non-Trinitarian heretics.
“A Better Way to Pray” by Andrew Wommack
Right off the bat, we have presuppositional problems. Here is a quote from the introduction,
“Are you ready for your prayer life to improve? Would you like to learn how to pray more accurately and receive God’s answers more quickly? If so, you’re reading the right book!”
There is no way our prayers can be any more or less effective, if we are in Christ, the Holy Spirit is interceding for us. The will of the Father will always be done. The efficacy of our prayers does not lie within our attitudes or abilities. In fact it is our inability that should glorify God. He uses weak little creatures like us to accomplish what He has ordained and decreed. When we see our prayers being answered it is because we are aligning our wills with His. When we don’t see the answers we were hoping for, it is because we are sinfully praying from the flesh for what we want over what He wants. We all know that what He wants is good and is for our good, even if it means our deaths. Yes, even our deaths can be part of God’s good purposes. Just because we cannot see the effect of something that happens in the future doesn’t mean that the seemingly bad thing that happened is not God’s will. We just assume so much about our own importance. The focus of the Christian faith isn’t us or what we want! The focus is the glory of God, and what He wills. After all aren’t we supposed to lose our wills and be conformed to the word and will of Christ? We cannot pray His will away, or pray Him into doing something we want Him to do from our carnal fallen wills.
Read what God says in His word.
“Romans 8:26-39 (NASB) 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
WE were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Yet another laughable notion from the introduction,
“But let me ask you this: If the way you are praying isn’t getting good results, why then would you resist change in this area? “
I wonder what the magic formula must be?
His righteousness imputed to us is what makes our entering into prayer acceptable to God. Without that and the Holy Spirit, we would still need a High Priest.
Finally we get to Chapter 1 to read this gem,
“In 1969, I heard a wrong teaching that Satan was “God’s messenger boy.” It said that the devil can only do what the Lord allows, and therefore, God uses him to work good in our lives. That’s totally wrong, but I didn’t know it at the time. I brought this teaching back to my girlfriend and she bought into it completely.”
First off, satan is a creature. He was created by God as Lucifer. He sinned, was cast out of Heaven to Earth, and is now satan. He can’t do anything without God allowing it. If you remember from reading Job, he had to ask permission from God to torment Job. All creatures can only do what God allows. If God wants to stop you from doing something, He can simply stop you. God is sovereign.
Then he goes on to show allegedly the terrible outcome of believing in the sovereignty of God, and the fact that satan is a created subject of our Lord. I don’t know if his story is true or not. Even if it is, and even if they died because of their prayers, all it proves is that it was their time to die. Nobody dies without God ordaining it. Not even a sparrow dies without God ordaining it. Of course there are martyrs all throughout history who have died horrible deaths. These deaths have been exclamations of their lives of faith.
I doubt his stories about the boy from school, “coming down with leukemia the next day” are true. We don’t pray to satan, and satan doesn’t answer our prayers. Satan has no ability to read our minds and hear prayers from us. Satan doesn’t control when we die. God does. Is satan kills someone it is because God has ordained that fashion of death for them. If the stories about two young people are true, then God had ordained for them to die in just the way that they died.
So his son was raised from the dead, because his relationship with God, and how he prayed. When my father died and stayed dead, when my friend’s 2 year old died and stayed dead, it was our fault because we don’t pray right, or have the same communion with God? What a load of garbage. Andrew Wommack needs to stop teaching and repent.
Here’s a good one, “The heart attitude behind your prayer interests God much more than the actual words you say. Just because you spend an hour, or more, in what you call“prayer” doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing anything. If your attitude is wrong, you’re praying wrong!”
Guess what… we are all praying wrong. None of us can pray a prayer on our own that is acceptable to God. The Holy Spirit makes our prayers acceptable to God along with the justifying work of Jesus.
Apparently Wommack teaches universal or general atonement. Here it is from his own book,
“As far as God’s concerned, the sins of the entire world have already been forgiven. The Lamb’s perfect sacrifice dealt decisively with the past, present, and future sins of every believer and nonbeliever alike. This doesn’t mean that all are just “automatically” saved (or healed). All individuals must receive for themselves by faith what Jesus Christ has already provided in order to actually benefit from it. A gift given isn’t fully yours until it’s received!”
Did you catch that? Apparently Jesus justified everyone’s sins with the Father. Apparently He atoned for everyone. So I guess Jesus’ work was not perfect or sufficient. I guess it was wasted on those who would not repent. Here is the problem with claiming He made salvation available for everyone, it means that all sin has already been paid for, so then even if a person doesn’t repent and believe in Christ, their sin is already atoned for. That means they have no guilt before God. There is no need for anyone to accept salvation or the gift as he puts it. It is a ridiculous statement. This is what happens when you let bad theology, emotions, and tradition dictate your faith.
It is apparent that Wommack has used an Arminian highlighter (black sharpie) to highlight/redact all of the verses about predestination and election. The lady he mentions on page 7 who was unsure if she was saved or not could have been helped by good theology, not Wommack’s hodge podge, grab bag, word of faith nonsense. If the lady had not been granted saving faith and repentance, then no matter how much she intellectually affirms the gospel, she will not be saved. Being saved requires God to grant you true repentance, and faith along with the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. He only does this for His elect, whom He has predestined from before the creation of the world.
And yet more nonsense, “What if someone in a wheelchair came forward for healing during a service? If I prayed and didn’t see him rise out of the wheelchair immediately, I could ask the audience, “How many of you will stand in faith together with me? Let’s fast and pray in agreement, not letting go of God until He heals this person.” I bet I could persuade 90 percent of the people to go along with that! Yet God’s Word clearly proclaims, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Col. 2:6). In the same way you appropriate and walk in forgiveness of sin, you receive healing, deliverance, prosperity, and everything else! If begging God to save the lady in the first scenario is inappropriate, then doing so for healing or anything else in the Christian life is absolutely wrong too! Christ already made full provision for the abundant life through His atonement. It’s now not up to Him to do, but you to receive what He’s done!”
How about the Christians of the early Church or the middle east right now? The martyrs of the Church live an abundant life in Christ, even in their poverty and deaths. Christ talked more about suffering for the faith than living in comfort and health. Matter of fact, those are signs you are doing it wrong.
And more idiocy, “Sometimes Christians approach God, praying, “I know You can heal me, but You haven’t done it yet. Therefore, I want to learn how to make You heal me.” This is rank unbelief! They don’t believe that He’s already done it and they think they can make Him do it.Wrong! Such unbelief explains why more people aren’t experiencing healing.”
So how about Christians who suffer long lingering deaths? You can pray for life and health if you want, but you should be praying for God’s will to be done, and for Him to be glorified, after all isn’t that what Christ did before the crucifixion? Luke 22:42, “saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.””
We haven’t even made it to the 2nd chapter of this disservice to Christ, and twisting of His word to bilk people out of money and true peace.
“In our Bible schools and teaching seminars, we confidently instruct people not to “pray” for the sick, but to heal them. Jesus commanded us in Matthew 10:8 to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, [and] cast out devils.”There’s a huge difference between healing the sick and just praying for them!”
Matthew 10:8 is not an instruction to the Church. It is instruction to the Apostles during the foundation of the Church. The Apostles who were specifically personally appointed to their office by the incarnate Christ during His earthly ministry were to fulfill Matthew 10:8. Bad hermeneutics lead to Wommack’s horrible interpretation. The wages of sin is death. We are all under the curse of original sin. We all will die. There is not a single person alive today who will not die unless the Lord returns first.
And more false teachings,
“Jesus Christ completed everything necessary to save and heal every person. You believed and received salvation. Healing comes the exact same way! It shouldn’t be any harder to receive your healing since He provided it at the same time as forgiveness for your sin. Neither does it take any more faith to raise someone from the dead than to see them born again!”
If this is the case, then Wommack and his cronies should all never die, and not wear glasses, get sick, or ever go to the doctor. They need to go to each nursing home and raise all of the old people from the dead when they die. This is just ludicrous and idiotic. Anyone who believes this tripe is being deceived. They join the health and wealth false gospel with their soteriology. Do you see the problems here?
You had to know this would show up sometime,
“As a citizen of the kingdom of darkness, the enemy legitimately dominated your life. At the time of your salvation, you hadn’t been fasting, praying, studying the Word, attending church, paying tithes, or living a holy life.”
Never mind that we are not Jews, we are not under the ceremonial law, and we have the instruction to prayerfully consider and give with a cheerful heart. There is no set tithe for Christians.
Here Wommack perverts the gospel,
“The good “news” of the gospel is that God has already forgiven you. Why would you choose to go to hell with your sins forgiven?”
with this I am done. I can’t take anymore false teachings. I’m not even out of the 1st chapter of this mess. The good news of the gospel my friends is that you and I are filthy, wretched sinners, who like the people God killed during the flood, deserve death and hell for all eternity, but God being rich in mercy, and grace, provided a way for us to be saved in the work of Jesus on the cross. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Christ took on our guilt. He took the punishment we deserve as sinners, and when He finished suffering the punishment for every sinner who would repent from sin and believe in His works on the cross, Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected on the third day. He now sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. The Holy Spirit regenerates the elect and according to the Father’s will the elect will repent and believe in the work of Christ. They are saved and cannot be lost. The Holy Spirit indwells them and is their seal for redemption. Here is another link to why you should stay away.
Read these instead of Wommack’s book, http://www.ligonier.org/blog/if-god-sovereign-why-pray/
First off, I must issue a disclaimer. I am a fan of Wretched Radio, and Wretched TV. That being said, I will still give an honest review of this latest work from Todd. If you aren’t familiar with Todd, and the gang over at www.WretchedRadio.com I suggest you go look at their web page. Make sure to stop by the Wretched Store and peruse their wares. You can also pick up a copy of this book there. If you prefer you can get it at Amazon or Christianbook as well.
The thought that I kept having while reading this book was, “Where was this when I was in my 20’s?” I had so many issues with stress then. I got married to my Wife when I was 19 years old. She had 2 little baby boys from a previous marriage. I was an instant Daddy. I was working part time for K-mart, and Wendy’s. We lived in a low income apartment with people using drugs near by, and couples fighting, police in the parking lot every weekend breaking up said fights, and little to no opportunities to get out. So, I was stressed. My Wife was stressed. Our families were stressed. It was a stressful time. I think you are getting the picture. I was a new Christian. I didn’t have anyone to disciple me, and the only resources I had to draw from were the Bible, and prayer. I had to swallow my pride, and ask my Dad for money for hamburger to feed the kids dinner. I worked as much as I could, and we kept going forward, even when we got knocked down. What it has taken me the better part of 25 years to learn, Todd has isolated in his new book. The Biblical principles detailed in, “Stressed Out” have been distilled from the Bible skillfully with a focused effort to apply the knowledge for the benefit of the reader’s peace of mind, and sanctification.
Before you get all upset and… triggered, don’t assume that Todd is one of those wacky guys who wants you to, “Name it, claim it!” your mental illness away. He makes sure to acknowledge the differences between situational stress/anxiety from biological/chemical problems with the brain. This book is for people who are experiencing situational stress and anxiety, who are having difficult times dealing with it. I don’t want to give too many details away. I also don’t want to leave information out that would encourage you to pick up a copy. I want you to have an idea of what is in the book so take a look at this screen capture I did of the Table of Contents;
So much of our peace of mind depends on our view of God, and ourselves. In this book, Todd helps you to see the sovereignty, omniscience, omnipotence, righteousness, and love of God, as well as our own condition in relation to Him. With the Bible applied to properly inform us, and correct us in areas where needed, we can discover a deeper, satisfying, peace with God. That peace and contentment will affect every aspect of your life. So to say, I recommend this book is an understatement. It is a quick read, but by no means “lite, cotton candy theology.” If you are a young person, who is struggling to make sense of things, pick up a copy of this book. Even if you are older, and need a reminder of the peace that comes with trusting God and who He is, this book is for you.
Todd’s book is a good reminder for us. When we don’t see things rightly, we are like Don Quixote. He didn’t see things as they truly were, and he wasted his time tilting at windmills. He thought they were enemies. In reality they were faux-foes or pseu pseu pseudo-foes whoa oh oh… (The butchering of Phil Collins’ song is for mature audiences only, “old people.”) We can see the things, and situations, that we have anxiety, worry, and stress over as ominous, and potent enemies. Todd reminds us in his book, via abundant scripture references, that we are in sin if we succumb to these assaults. In light of God’s word, His attributes, and our place in His redemptive plan, we should know peace, security, gratitude, and contentment.
Stressed Out: A Practical, Biblical Approach to Anxiety
In honor of Dr. J.I. Packer’s 90th birthday this July 22, I offer this review.
I’d like to start out by saying that there are some good books written, and published in Christendom still today, and this is one of them. I would contrast it with my most recent review of, “Audacious” by Beth Moore. One is a piece of fluff, with virtually no value at all to the reader. The other is a wonderfully educational book that enriches the reader. Of course, Dr. Packer’s book is the latter. It should also be noted, that I don’t affirm Dr. Packer’s ecumenism, views on evolution, or the age of creation. In light of these differences, I still recommend this work for your Christian education, as our differences are not of primary import, but rather of secondary or tertiary consideration. I think this book should be on the reading list for men going into seminary. I admire his passion for knowing God, strength of conviction, and his intelligence. Here is a link to a short bio if you are not familiar with J. I. Packer. I am also including this link, so you can read about his character.
In Dr. Packer’s book, “Evangelical Influences” he introduces us to three sets of men via short biographies and citations of their works. These three sets of men come from three distinct times during Church history. The first is comprised of Martin Luther, and John Calvin. They represent evangelicalism during the Reformation. The second group is Richard Baxter, and George Whitefield. They represent evangelicalism as Puritans. The third and last set is Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, and Francis Schaeffer who could be considered Dr. Packer’s contemporaries representing modern evangelicalism. One thing that impressed me most about the biographies is the kind affection that Packer expressed for, “The Doctor” Martyn Lloyd Jones. Even though they didn’t see eye to eye on every issue, the fond recollections Packer expresses are very touching. Sometimes we let our differences cause undue animosity towards one another. It is encouraging to read these fond memories.
The rest of the book is spent relaying historical information about the works of these men, and the effects those works had, and continue to have on evangelicalism. They have done much of the heavy lifting for us fleshing out the doctrines so that we could have concise expressions of them, which are precise and nuanced.
I especially like the section where Packer explains how we have benefited from Calvin’s work on the inerrancy of scripture. Through cited passages from Calvin’s work, we can read what he thought about scripture and how it should be thought of. Much of our conservative modern understanding comes from the work these predecessors did. In the 1970’s Rogers and McKim criticized Calvin’s explanations of inerrancy. Dr. Packer’s answers to their criticism are well worth reading. I think this conclusion on pages 166 and 167 expresses perfectly how Packer understands Calvin’s convictions “…For Calvin, Scripture was able to fulfil its God-given function precisely by virtue of its God-given form, and the Holy Spirit, through whose agency that function is fulfilled, was directly responsible for producing the words in that particular form. The Spirit teaches from a textbook that in effect he wrote himself. For Calvin, therefore, anyone who set the form and the function of Scripture, its givenness and its usefulness, in antithesis to each other, treating them as alternative rather than complementary theological concerns, would be talking a kind of nonsense, just as one would if one set food in antithesis to eating…” As you can see, Packer understood Calvin’s work differently than Kim Rogers and McKim. I tend to agree with Packer.
In the section about predestination Packer lists 10 things predestination does not mean. I found this helpful for explaining the topic to my 15 year old daughter. I hope she found it helpful. Many people have questions or presuppositions about predestination that make them biased against it, even though it is blatantly taught throughout scripture. We dare not disregard it. Number 6 said, “Predestination does not mean that the door of mercy is barred to anyone who actually wants to enter. To no such person does God say, ‘No, you can’t come in; there is no redemption, no mercy for you. You were predestined to stay outside, and outside you must remain.’ The reason why this never happens is because no one ever wants to come in except God’s chosen, whom he draws to Christ and brings to faith according to his predestining purpose. We are dealing, remember, with God’s action towards our fallen race, in which nobody naturally seeks God. Nobody naturally wants to come to Christ. One who wants to come to Christ is already the subject of a work of grace, and will find the Saviour whom he or she is seeking.” Instead of being a cause for distress or anxiety about predestination, this should give the Christian great peace.
Dr. Packer cites large sections from the works of these fellows. He does so to examine the work they did, and to provide the historical context, so we can see the effect they had on us. It is always noteworthy to me, to understand how our situation today isn’t much different from our predecessors. The issues that Luther and Calvin dealt with are still being dealt with today. By studying their works we can see how they recognized, understood, and dealt with them. Dr. Packer’s proficiency at engaging the reader, while simultaneously educating them is appreciated. Even though this material can seem a bit difficult to get through for some, I adjure you to read all of it. For the rest of us, who are accustomed to reading works laden with theology and history, I think you’ll find this to be a good read.
- ISBN-13: 978-1619701564