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Book Reviews & Notes

DyingToGrow

Personal Reflection from the Reading

Nathan Lorick, Director of Evangelism for the SBTC visited our local association a few months back and gave out this wonderful little resource to our local pastors and for that I am very appreciative. In his book Dying to Grow, Lorick dives into the struggles of the local church to share the gospel and what evangelism looks like for the local church.

Lorick begins his work with diagnosing one of the major heart issues of the church. This is accomplished through describing the apathy that has grown in regards to sharing the good news of the gospel by church members and church leadership in Southern Baptist churches. Lorick then takes the reader through some correction action for heart change and ends the book with some practical application for every church to reach the lost in their context.

This short book is packed with sixteen chapters of great information on evangelism for members and pastors. In my opinion, Dying to Grow should be in the library of every pastor of an SBC church. This resource will ask some of the hard questions that must be asked when leading a congregation on mission to seek and save the lost, and will give the guidance to help implement a much needed evangelism strategy in your church. I am grateful for Nathan Lorick’s work with this book and I am praying for his continued mission after the lost with the SBTC.

(Reading Outline Can Be Found Here)

I am in no way affiliated with Nathan Lorick or his publishing company. These are my views and my views alone on his writing. If the writer or publishing co. has an issue with this blog, notify me and I will remove it.

 

Iamachurchmember

(Photo Credit BobRogers.me)

Personal Reflection from the Reading

I am a church member by Thom Rainer is written to address the unbiblical trends that run rampant in today’s churches. Equipped with engaging stories from his past experiences as a pastor and his times serving as president of Lifeway, Dr. Rainer confronts these issues head on with easy and practical understanding. Dr. Rainer’s motivation for writing this book is to strengthen the church through strengthening it’s members with a real understanding of the responsibilities of being a church member.

Dr. Rainer should be commended for his work on this book and his efforts to drive every point back to the Bible. Because the Scripture is not entirely clear on the responsibilities of church membership, this is not an easy task. I found that in most cases Dr. Rainer took general commands for every Christian (I.E.- to love one another) and applies them to a membership context (I.E.-to love the members of the church). Although this is not exactly what the New Testament writers were driving toward in their writing, application of the Scriptures to life is important regardless of context.

In my opinion, I am a church member should be in the library of every church member and pastor. If our church members today would apply even half of the principles mentioned in this book, the church would take a huge step in faithfulness and see the growth from it.

I am in no way affiliated with Thom Rainer or his publishing company. These are my views and my views alone on his writing. If the writer or publishing co. has an issue with this blog, notify me and I will remove it.

(Reading Outline Can Be Found Here)

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Personal Reflection from the Reading

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart; How to know for sure you are saved. by J.D. Greear is a wonderful book for those that are working through having assurance of salvation. Greear knows the struggles that many face when they question their salvation from first hand experience and he shares his own struggles from the very first chapter of the book. I am sure that many who read this book will be comforted by his testimony as a Pastor who has struggled with his faith. Because Greear has this personal experience, he is able to explain with great confidence how a person can have confidence to stand firm on what Jesus has done for them.

Although I have not really dealt with this personally, I can see from a pastor’s point of view how this book is incredibly helpful in ministry. The book is chock-full of helpful illustrations and explanations that will help others to understand what it means to abide in Christ as Christians are commanded to do. (John 15:5) For this point alone, I would encourage anyone to read this book and be encouraged through the words of Pastor Greear as he explains what the Lord has done.

I am in no way affiliated with J.D.Greear or his publishing company. These are my views and my views alone on his writing. If the writer or publishing co. has an issue with this blog, notify me and I will remove it.

(Reading Outline Below)

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart; How to know for sure you are saved. J.D. Greear

  1. Baptized Four Times
    1. J.D.’s struggle with his own salvation
    2. The false assumption of eternal security
    3. The assumptions made from the cliché “asking Jesus into my heart”
    4. What he is NOT saying; Asking Jesus into your heart is heretical, We should not press for a decision when witnessing
  1. Does God Even Want Us to Have Assurance
    1. God wants us to have security of salvation through his love (your spiritual life will never really take off until you have assurance of your salvation)
    2. We are to have reckless obedience – You will never be able to say no to sin until you understand the “yes” you have been given through Christ
    3. We are God’s Children, Spouse, & Friend
    4. The Damnable Doctrine of Doubt; God is not simply interested in your obedience, He is interested in your desire & How can we find assurance of salvation? Trust in his testimony of eternal life, Trust in His work within us.
  1. Jesus In My Place
    1. John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” > 2 types of people mentioned; Those who believe and those who don’t. No middle ground.
    2. We must admit that we are sinners before God and we cannot receive salvation by our own worth or merits
    3. Jesus is the high priest who became for us what we deserve while we receive from him what we do not deserve
  2. What Is Belief?
    1. Real belief entails belief in action.
    2. Biblical belief is a new posture towards God. Just because we prayed a prayer does not mean that we assumed the new posture.
    3. Reducing Salvation to Ceremony – Doubt will always arise if you look to a ceremony for your salvation. You must look to Jesus who is the author and perfector of our faith. Comfort can also be found in our current posture toward God. Are we in a state of repentance and belief?
    4. Present Posture Is Better Proof than a Past Memory – If you are seated right now (repenting and believing), there was a point in time in which you sat down (repented and believed for salvation). You may not remember the specific time but your actions reveal that you did.
    5. Salvation was obtained by simply resting on two “facts” God had promised about Jesus; He was crucified as the payment for sins, He was resurrected as proof that God accepted His sacrifice as payment.
    6. Do not try to find assurance in a prayer you prayed in the past. Find assurance in what Jesus did in the past. It is the relationship to Christ, which saves, not the prayer that signified the beginning of that relationship.
    7. Leading Children to Jesus; do not urge them to make a decision for Christ. Urge them to take a submissive posture to Christ as Lord. Do not seek a specific answer to a question.
    8. Salvation is Impossible Unless You Believe Salvation is By Faith Alone  – If your salvation relies on what you can or should do, there will never be enough done to be satisfied.
    9. Faith that looks anywhere else but Christ will not find assurance but incessant doubt.
  1. What Is Repentance?
    1. When we come to Jesus, nothing can be off limits. We cannot come with preconditions or limitations. To possess eternal life, we must be willing to let everything else go. We do not approach Jesus to negotiate eternal life; we approach him in total surrender.
    2. C.S. Lewis “We don’t come to him as bad people trying to become good people; we come as rebels to lay down our arms.”
    3. We can place nothing else before Jesus. We must be so committed to Him that by comparison even our most intimate relationships look like hate.
    4. What Repentance is not; Simply praying a sinners prayer, Feeling sorry about our sins, Confession of sins, Getting religious, Partial surrender, or Perfection.
    5. What repentance Is; Repentance is acknowledging that Jesus is Lord of everything as a matter of who He is. Whatever your disagreement with Jesus, He is right and you are wrong. This does not mean that there is no struggle in repentance. When those who believe the gospel fall, they renew their posture of repentance, re-embrace the gift-righteousness of Christ, thank God for the promise of victory, and get back up. Those who do not believe the gospel wallow in their failure. They soar with pride when they are doing well; but plunge into despair when they falter. Faith is not the absence of doubt; it is continuing to follow Jesus in the midst of doubt. Repentance ushers us into a life of greater struggle, not out of one. The struggle is proof of a new nature. Repentance is not just stopping sin; but following Jesus.
    6. Changes in desire – Many people feel the pull of God on their hearts and resist it, and Jesus places the blame for that squarely upon their shoulders.
  1. If “Once Saved, Always Saved,” Why Does the Bible Seem to Warn Us So Often about Losing Our Salvation?
    1. Salvation is not a one time decision but conditional upon our continued obedience. By persevering through tribulations, they enter the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
    2. Warnings ought to be taken at face value; however, if we fall away, we will not be saved in the end. But since those who are truly saved can never lose it, we must conclude that a failure to heed the warnings demonstrates that we never possessed true saving faith to begin with. These warnings help us not to take God’s grace for granted. A true believer will never be lost, but a true believer will never stop following Jesus.
    3. The Bible never tells us to analyze the wickedness of our or anyone’s hearts or to speculate about God’s electing providence. It simply commands us to repent. “If you hear God’s voice,” the writer of Hebrews says, “obey today.”
    4. The Real Doctrine of Eternal Security – Wayne Grudem “The perseverance of the saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.
    5. Making Our Calling and Election Sure; We are commanded to labor and to strive to keep ourselves in the faith. The best proof that we are saved in the past is our posture in the present. Thus, our perseverance in holy living is not the basis of our salvation, but it is a source of our assurance.
  1. The Evidence You Have Believed
    1. The Proof of His Presence – Saving faith proves itself by inexorable changes it makes in the heart. The new, living heart is characterized by a love for God. When you have been born again, you begin to avoid sin not just because you fear punishment, but because it keeps you from God. You begin to seek God because you love God; you begin to do righteous because you crave righteousness. Your spiritual tastes have changed. Once God has given you an appetite for Him, you won’t need to be forced to seek Him. You couldn’t be stopped from seeking him. Your obedience is less about duty and more about delight.
    2. A Love For Others – Particularly believers. If we are not a generous spirit we likely have never been saved, or so lost touch with it we can hardly be said to understand it any longer. Those people who have experienced the gospel show it by becoming like the gospel.
    3. “But I still love sin!” – The presence of the struggle itself can be affirmation that God’s Spirit is at work within you. Often the strongest evidence of my growth is grace is my growth in the knowledge of my need for grace.
    4. It takes a village to identify regeneration – God gave us the local church to see ourselves accurately
  1. When You Continue to Doubt
    1. In that moment of doubt, keep believing the Gospel
    2. Diagnosis is Not the same as Prescription; The Bible never states that anyone will be immune from doubt, spiritual apathy, and severe temptation. Perhaps God allows his saints to struggle that way so that their faith will remain in his grace and not their righteousness. See your struggle with sin as God’s invitation to rest humbly in the gospel

Below is a research paper I did recently on the Life & Ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Out of all the time I have spent at seminary, I think this has been my favorite research paper to write. Through this experience, I learned how much more I like Spurgeon and how much I respect his work (or the work the Lord did through him).

I hope that this paper can be educational for you personal study and inspiring for you ministry. Enjoy! 😀 

The Preaching and Methods of Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a 19th century Baptist preacher and professor, never attended any formal ministry training and was never ordained as a preacher, yet he became on of the greatest preachers that ever lived. Over the course of the life of Spurgeon, he published several thousand sermons, authored many theological books, preached to crowds of up to twenty four thousand, established a seminary, and received the title “Prince of Preachers”.  Although Spurgeon lived in a different time period with different cultural problems than are faced today, there is no dispute that there was something very special about the ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This paper will seek to examine the ministry of C.H. Spurgeon as a preacher and pastor by taking a closer look at the methods of the man behind the ministry and title.[1]

This will be done through a brief examination of the dedicated life and study of Spurgeon, the preparation and method of Spurgeon’s preaching, and the theology of Spurgeon.

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Spurgeon Portrait

 

The Dedicated Life and Study of Spurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born in Kelvendon, Essex, England on June 19, 1834 into a family with a long line of congregational preachers. As one would expect, growing up in a family of congregational preachers, Spurgeon’s boyhood years were filled with prayers and devotional time with the Lord. However, Spurgeon did not come to conversion quickly. Spurgeon wrestled with the concept of the presence of God until the age of fifteen. Then on a snowy night in a small Primitive Methodist chapel during an evening service, the veil was lifted from Spurgeon’s eyes and he came to know Christ. Spurgeon recounts this incident with fond words of recollection saying,

“Then and there the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him.”[2]

The time before Spurgeon’s conversion was of no loss to the great Prince of Preachers. In his early years with his father and grandfather, Spurgeon was being forged into the avid reader and dedicated researcher that his future ministry would require. It was during this time that Spurgeon was introduced to several theological works from his predecessor’s libraries. One such work was John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, which became a lifelong companion for Spurgeon’s devotional reading and sermon illustrations. This time also built Spurgeon into the veracious consumer of books that he was. It is said that Surgeon’s library consisted of over twelve thousand books, including both religious and non-religious titles. [3]

It was also during this time that Spurgeon’s study habits were formed, which allowed him to read and memorize theories, illustrations, concepts, and principles that would aid his preaching in his future. Although Spurgeon was never afforded the privilege of attending a seminary or receiving a formal theological education, his pursuit of understanding the Scripture and the world around him is clearly profound. There exists no dispute that Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s dedicated study habits were imperative for his ministry. As a result of his wide range of study and constant consumption of information, Spurgeon was able to keep his illustrations and applications fresh throughout the tenure of his preaching career. Even though constant study was hard for Spurgeon, as it is for most, Spurgeon understood and saw the value of his study. At times, he would even show his disdain for it by commenting on his feelings for his study. On one such occasion Spurgeon said, “I scarcely ever prepare for my pulpit with pleasure. Study for the pulpit is to me the most irksome work in the world.”[4]  Although Spurgeon did not always care for his studies; he consistently pushed through to do what needed to be done because He understood the value and importance of the preacher’s study.[5]

“An idler has no right in the pulpit. He is an instrument of Satan in damning the souls of men. The ministry demands brain labor. The preacher must read and study to keep his mind in good trim. Above all, he must put heart work into his preaching. He must feel what he preaches. It must never be with him an easy thing to deliver a sermon. He must feel as if he could preach his very life away before the sermon is done.”[6]

Spurgeon’s study habits should be understood and adopted by all who take the pulpit today. It is vital for missionaries, pastors, evangelists, and preachers to dedicate themselves to the study of God’s Word, as well as the literature of the world around them for the sake of those who do not know Christ and those who are still being discipled in the faith. For those who do not know the Lord, a minister of the Gospel must be culturally relevant in order to communicate effectively the message of the gospel to those who are perishing. How sad would it be for a preacher to have spent all his life in books concerning the “deeper” theological issues, and then to go out and share the good Word only to have his audience shrug him off due to his lofty speech? The study a pastor is equally important for those who are in the process of discipleship in the church as well. It is far too common for a pastor to get comfortable in his pastorate and become lethargic in his study to the point that his illustrations are used so frequently that his congregation knows which one he will use before he uses them. This idle practice often gives the congregation a since of arrogance in their knowledge of the Word and the assumption that they have arrived in their understanding of the biblical message. Because this is not the case, a pastor must keep his study fresh in order to remain applicable to his audience and keep them captivated with new understanding and material. This is evident not only in the witness of Spurgeon, but also in the Scripture itself, as the Apostle Paul studies and relates to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 9:19-24.

 

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Spurgeon Preaching at Surrey Gardens

The Preparation and Method of Spurgeon’s Preaching

Spurgeon’s dedicated preparation and study also led to the formation of his extemporaneous preaching methods. Since Spurgeon possessed a well-trained memory as well as a wide range of study, he never wrote his sermons down beforehand. Spurgeon had other theological reasons for this as well. Spurgeon had a very strong conviction for the Holy Spirit to lead his message from the start. Spurgeon’s reliance on the Holy Spirit in his preaching is made evident through quotes such as: “It were better to speak six words in the power of the Holy Ghost than to preach seventy years of sermons without the Spirit.”[7]  Also, “You might as well expect to raise the dead by whispering in their ears, as hope to save souls by preaching to them, if it were not for the agency of the Holy Spirit.”[8]  Spurgeon clearly emphasized the reliance on the Holy Spirit over the flesh in the preparation and delivery of sermons.

Spurgeon intentionally tried to accomplish reliance on the Spirit in his preaching in several ways. First, was Spurgeon’s selection of the text. Spurgeon was not a book-by-book or verse-by-verse style of preacher. Instead, the famed preacher read a wide variety of Scriptures and waited on the Holy Spirit to make the Scripture that should be preached evident. As a result of this reliance on the Holy Spirit’s revelation of text, this often times led to very last minute text preparation. In most cases, Spurgeon did not settle on a sermon text until the Saturday before a Sunday service or in the afternoon just prior to an evening service. Therefore, Spurgeon clearly was versed in nearly all subjects beforehand so that he could preach wherever the Spirit would lead him. Once the text was selected and confirmed, Spurgeon briefly wrote a few notes on a sheet of paper and then went out to proclaim the Word.

The second evidence is found in Spurgeon’s strong desire to see souls come to know the Lord. Since Spurgeon believed that he could not draw men to the cross and that only the Holy Spirit could, he scarcely relied on the notes that he wrote down for his sermon. Instead he allowed the Spirit to lead the way as he preached. Corresponding to Spurgeon’s understanding of the Spirit leading the service was his high view of Scripture in the sermon. Spurgeon distinctly believed that the proclamation of the Word of God was the first priority in the service and that the only way for the sermon to be better would be to add more Scripture.

“We should resolve that we will quote more of Holy Scripture. Sermons should be full of Bible; sweetened, strengthened, sanctified with Bible essence. Bible hearers, when they hear indeed, come to be Bible lovers.”[9]

Spurgeon was not afraid to cover the obscure or hard topics of Scripture either. Whether Spurgeon was preaching against the sins of the day or his theological critics he understood the Scripture to be the pillar of his sermons. His resolve to preach the Bible and all the truth in it even lead him to preach obscure passages such as Job 6:6[10] in response to some of his critics of the day. Spurgeon said this in regard to preaching the full counsel of God.

“You cannot leave out that part of the truth which is so dark and so solemn without weakening the force of all the other truths you preach. You rob of their brightness, and their urgent importance, the truths which concern salvation from the wrath to come. Brethren, leave out nothing. Be bold enough to preach unpalatable and unpopular truth.”[11]

Although Spurgeon desired to preach the full counsel of Scripture, he understood that the Word of God is what called men to salvation. Therefore, one of the major aspects of his preaching was expressed in his desire for men to come to know God. This desire then revealed itself in the intentions of Spurgeon to preach in a simple manner for his audience. When Spurgeon would preach, he would recite the Scripture, explain the Scripture and apply the Scripture with his own thoughts and illustrations in a clear way that all could understand. Because Spurgeon himself was saved through simple preaching by a lay minister, he often refers to the way that he was saved in reference to this principle.

“If I was saved by a simple gospel, then I am bound to preach that same simple gospel till I die, so that others may be saved by it. When I cease to preach salvation by faith in Jesus, put me into a lunatic asylum, for you may be sure that my mind is gone.”[12]   

Spurgeon understood that his audience could not respond if they did not understand the message of the gospel. Therefore, he was intentional about making sure that the message was made as clear as possible so that no one could leave one of his services wondering how to come to Christ.

There are many applications that can be brought from Spurgeon’s example and heart in preaching. The first and foremost is the preacher’s reliance on the Holy Spirit in the pulpit. Whether a preacher works from his manuscript notes, an outline or by memory while preaching, it is imperative for him to rely fully on the Holy Spirit to both lead in the message and in the calling of souls.

With reliance on the Holy Spirit, the preacher must also have strong confidence in the Word of the Lord. The preacher must understand that his words and ideas are not nearly as important as the message from God, and therefore must take a back seat to the Scripture. This includes preaching from the hard to understand and difficult verses in the text. Pastors must be committed to preaching the full counsel of God’s Word.

If the pastor is going to be faithful in proclaiming the Word of the Lord, he must be diligent in calling people to salvation. The faithful preacher must imitate our Lord Jesus Christ in concern for those who are lost like sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:35; Luke 19:10). With this being the case, the preacher must be intentional in communicating God’s Word effectively to His people. The preacher must be diligent to pronounce the Scripture and its application in a way that captures the attention and engages his audience to act according to God’s Word.

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Spurgeon Preaching at Exeter Hall

The Theology of Spurgeon

Theologically, Spurgeon was a bit of an anomaly in the realm of preachers for his time. Because Spurgeon held the free will of man and the Calvinist concept of God’s election in a balance when he preached, he drew a picture of the relationship of God’s sovereign grace working in relationship with man’s free will for his audiences. His understanding was that God elected humanity to salvation through the response of man from an effectual calling to salvation. Therefore, election and freewill did not conflict but worked together.[13] We can see this in the way that Spurgeon describes the elect,

“I am quite certain that God has an elect people, for he tells me so in his word. And I am equally certain that everyone who comes to Christ will be saved, for that also is his own declaration in the Scriptures. When people ask me how I reconcile them, I usually say there is no need to reconcile them, for they have never yet quarreled with one another.”[14]

Spurgeon believed that a loving God would not predestine anyone to go to hell, and so his approach to ministry was to give free gospel presentations to all who would hear the saving message of Christ, and then trust the Lord to elect those who would receive Him. Through this, Spurgeon was rejecting the idea that man was a fallen creature that could do no good, as total depravity would declare. Instead, Spurgeon’s understanding was that man through his sin has diminished the image of God, rendering himself unable to respond to the gospel without the saving work of God. Spurgeon explains his thoughts on this while describing the rejection of the Gospel by depraved man.

“Nothing that I know of so clearly proves that man’s heart is absolutely estranged from all that is good as that man rejects the gospel of grace, refuses divine mercy, and tramples underfoot the very blood of the Son of God.”[15]

In this theology Spurgeon held to the Calvinistic understanding of limited atonement with a minor tweak. Spurgeon understood the notion that the atonement of Christ would only be effectual for the elect, but that elect were those who called upon the name of the Lord.[16] Spurgeon affirmed this practice through his explanation,

“Our savior has bidden us to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). He has not said, “preach it only to the elect,” and though that might seem to be the most logical thing for us to do, yet since he has not been pleased to stamp the elect in their foreheads or put any distinctive mark on them, it would be an impossible task for us to perform. When we preach the gospel to every creature, the gospel makes its own division, and Christ’s sheep hear his voice, and follow him.”[17]

This balance of election and free will is then continued in Spurgeon’s view of the perseverance of the saints. For Spurgeon, the perseverance of the saints was securely linked with the confirmation of God’s elect. Spurgeon often stated this fact in his sermons,

“We never preach the saving power of temporary, unpractical, unsanctifying faith. If a man says, “I believe in Christ, and therefore I shall be saved,” his faith will have to be tested by his life. If, sometime after, he has no faith in Christ, that faith which he claimed to have is proved to be good for nothing. The faith of God’s elect is an abiding faith. “Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three” (1Corinthians 13:13). Thus true faith is classed among the abiding things; it is undying, unquenchable. If you truly believe in Jesus, it is for life.”[18]

Consequently for Spurgeon, the evidence of salvation is the continuity of faith in the life of the believer and the consistent rejection of sin. In Spurgeon’s theology, the perseverance of the saints is key to understanding the grace of God and the security of a believer.

“I have often said that if any man could convince me that Scripture did not teach the perseverance of believers, I would at once reject Scripture all together as teaching nothing at all, as being an incomprehensible book, of which plain man could make head nor tail, for this seems to be of all doctrines the one that lies most evidentially upon the surface.”[19]

Through C.H. Spurgeon’s unique understanding of the grace of God and the free will of man, he was able to preach the full counsel of God’s Word and also appeal to both the Calvinist and the Arminian believers in his congregation. His theology also aided him in his evangelistic efforts. As Spurgeon believed in the full sovereignty of God, he had full confidence in God’s plan and provision for him. Because Spurgeon affirmed man’s response was a sign of his election, he was able to offer the gospel freely to all who would listen without fear of the non-elect.[20]

Spurgeon’s unique perspective can also be noted as a theological position that focuses on the important value in theology. Spurgeon’s position claims both sides of what could be a divisive argument. His position avoids the conflict and gets down to what theology should be about, glorifying God. Because Spurgeon believed in election through the response of the saints, he viewed himself as the simple tool the Lord used to do His salvation work. Therefore, the Lord received all the glory in the salvation of the saints.

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Spurgeon Preaching

 

Conclusion

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a uniquely gifted preacher who had an immeasurable impact on the world of Christianity. Even though he did not have a formal education or ordination, his commitment to his studies and to God more than made up for his lack of formal credentials. His commitment is clearly seen in his dedicated life and study methods, his preparation and preaching methods, as well as his theological beliefs.

Even though Spurgeon lived in a time period past with a culture dealing with different trials and temptations, the truth of Spurgeon’s commitment to God and His mission still hold true and have great value in today’s society. There is much to be gained for those who model Spurgeon’s values in ministry and the churches of today would benefit greatly from the godly men who would take up such a calling.

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Spurgeon’s Grave & Memorial

 

Bibliography

 

Lawson, Steven J. The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon The Long Line of Godly Men Profiles. Orlando, Fla.: Reformation Trust Pub., 2012.

 

Pike, G. Holden. The Life and Work of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. 6 vols. London: Cassell & Company, Ltd., 1892.

 

Spurgeon, C. H. Final Perseverance : A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Morning, April 20, 1856 Penny Pulpit No. 2587. London J. Paul, 1856.

 

________. Lectures to My Students [Selections]. Grand Rapids,: Zondervan, 1962.

 

________. The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit; Sermons Preached and Revised. [London]: Banner of Truth Trust, 1969.

 

Spurgeon, C. H., and Tom Carter. 2,200 Quotations : From the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon : Arranged Topically or Textually and Indexed by Subject, Scripture, and People. Trade pbk. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1995.

 

Spurgeon, C. H., and NetLibrary Inc. A Defense of Calvinism. Pensacola, Fla.

Boulder, Colo.: Mount Zion ;

NetLibrary. http://www.netLibrary.com/urlapi.asp?action=summary&v=1&bookid=2009075.

 

Spurgeon, C. H., Susannah Spurgeon, and Joseph Harrald. C.H. Spurgeon: The Early Years, 1834-1859. London,: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1967.

 

 



[1] G. Holden Pike, The Life and Work of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 6 vols. (London: Cassell & Company, Ltd., 1892).

Steven J. Lawson, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon, The Long Line of Godly Men Profiles (Orlando, Fla.: Reformation Trust Pub., 2012).

[2] C. H. Spurgeon, Susannah Spurgeon, and Joseph Harrald, C.H. Spurgeon: The Early Years, 1834-1859 (London,: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1967). P87-88

[3] Pike.

[4] C. H. Spurgeon and Tom Carter, 2,200 Quotations : From the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon : Arranged Topically or Textually and Indexed by Subject, Scripture, and People, Trade pbk. ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1995). P.162

[5] C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students [Selections] (Grand Rapids,: Zondervan, 1962).

[6] C. H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit; Sermons Preached and Revised ([London]: Banner of Truth Trust, 1969). Vol. 18 P. 485

[7] Spurgeon and Carter, 2,200 Quotations : From the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon : Arranged Topically or Textually and Indexed by Subject, Scripture, and People. P.102

[8] Ibid. P.157

[9] C. H. Spurgeon, Final Perseverance : A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Morning, April 20, 1856, Penny Pulpit No. 2587 (London J. Paul, 1856.).

[10] “Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt, or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?” Job 6:6 ESV

[11] Spurgeon and Carter, 2,200 Quotations : From the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon : Arranged Topically or Textually and Indexed by Subject, Scripture, and People. P.123

[12] Ibid. P.162

[13] C. H. Spurgeon and NetLibrary Inc., “A Defense of Calvinism,” (Pensacola, Fla.

Boulder, Colo.: Mount Zion ;

NetLibrary). http://www.netLibrary.com/urlapi.asp?action=summary&v=1&bookid=2009075.

[14] Spurgeon and Carter, 2,200 Quotations : From the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon : Arranged Topically or Textually and Indexed by Subject, Scripture, and People. P.64

[15] Ibid. P.55

[16] Spurgeon and NetLibrary Inc., “A Defense of Calvinism.”

[17] Spurgeon and Carter, 2,200 Quotations : From the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon : Arranged Topically or Textually and Indexed by Subject, Scripture, and People. P.63

[18] Ibid. P.139

[19] Ibid. P.139

[20] Spurgeon and NetLibrary Inc., “A Defense of Calvinism.”

 

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Why don’t we evangelize? What is the gospel? Who should evangelize? What is evangelism? Why should we evangelize? Mark Dever’s book, The Gospel And Personal Evangelism, seeks to answer all of these basic questions about evangelism for the common Christian. In today’s Christian culture, evangelism has fallen by the wayside in terms of priority and is often seen as the one thing that the church always has on their to-do list but never gets around to actually accomplishing it. In The Gospel And Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever desires to answer some of the questions that people have about evangelism, clarify some of the terms that the church uses in evangelism, instruct his readers on how to do evangelism, and challenge all Christians to practice evangelism. Over all, this book aims to discuss the best news there has ever been given and how we should share that news with others.[1]

In order to accomplish this task, Dever’s book consists of answering the common questions by first asking them, and then answering them based on his own, personal experience. Dever also includes quotes from current and past theologians and helpful illustrations. Each chapter is titled as a common question that is asked by many within the Christian church. Then, the content of each chapter discusses the common answers with Dever’s refutations, illustrations, and comments based on the question being discussed. For example, Chapter Two is titled “What is the Gospel?”[2]. In the contents of this chapter, the author explains that there is some confusion among Christians about what constitutes the Gospel message and that a large amount of Christians do not explain clearly what the Gospel is when sharing with others. After this, Dever dives into the common answers or implied answers that non-believers receive when they are witnessed to and what implications those answer have. For this chapter, those assumptions would include; The Good News Is Not Simply That We Are Okay (the gospel is not simply a feel good message)[3], The Good News Is Not Simply That God is Love (the gospel declares that God is more than just love and has many other attributes)[4], The Good New Is Not Simply That Jesus Wants to Be Our Friend (the gospel is more than a relationship that needs to be cultivated)[5], and The Good News Is Not That We Should Live Rightly (the gospel is more than corrective action from sin)[6]. At the end of each chapter Dever concludes by answering the question proposed in the chapter’s title from his own opinion and view on theology. In Chapter Two, Dever writes the following.

 

“Here is what I understand the good news (the gospel) to be: the good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law in himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever trust in him. He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.”[7]

 

Overall, the author answers his thesis in a clear and consistent manner throughout the book.  Dever tackles all of the questions which he sets out to address in each chapter. However, because the author holds a reformed view of theology, some of his answers to the basic questions may cause some readers to have further questions about his interpretation of evangelism. This specifically plays out when Dever begins to address his application and methodology of evangelism in chapters four, five, and seven. (Ch. 4 – How Should We Evangelize?, Ch. 5 – What Isn’t Evangelism?, Ch. 7 – Closing The Sale) For example, because of Dever’s belief in reform theology, he holds the view that God’s regeneration precedes a person’s profession of faith and therefore presents a weak set of instructions for giving a call for those who are being witnessed to, to accept Christ. We see this in the way that he confirms the statement that accepting the gospel is a “journey” and further explaining that Christians should “Let people find the truth themselves. These days of simple tracts and surefire, sales-presentation evangelism is over.” [8]As a result of statements like this, the reader walks away with the impression that they are to politely talk through a gospel presentation without pleading the urgency of the matter with the receiver of the message and then simply rely on God’s sovereignty to redeem those who are unregenerate.

I find this troubling because, first and foremost, it is not consistent with Scripture. Jesus did not simply have a conversation with Nicodemus[9] or the Woman at the Well[10] and send them on their way to process the message. He challenged them on what they believed and then called them to repent and be born again or to drink of the living water. Jesus presented the message and called the hearers to make a decision. It also does not portray the urgency of the gospel which we see the Apostles use when witnessing to those who formed the early church in Acts. Secondly, these statements disqualify several forms of evangelism that are very effective such as preaching and door to door evangelism. Dever attempts to justify his position in Chapter Seven by explaining that his desire is to avoid any false professions of faith because of the emotional pressure of the moment. However, I would then desire to ask him how many people has he witnessed to that would have made the decision to accept Christ but did not, because he did not ask them to.

It is imperative that we call people to make a decision to accept Christ when sharing the gospel for two reasons. First, that they may have the opportunity to profess their belief in Christ and receive the forgiveness of their sins[11]. Second, if they do or do not profess salvation they are without excuse on the Day of Judgment when asked if they have heard the gospel message[12]. Aside from Dever’s theological position and the implications it has on his evangelism tactics, it should be noted that he did an excellent job of tackling some of the culture’s questions when it comes to evangelism and I would encourage others to read this book.



[1] Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2007). Page 16-17

[2] Ibid. Page 31

[3] Ibid. Page 32-35

[4] Ibid. Page 36-37

[5] Ibid. Page 37-39

[6] Ibid. Page 40-42

[7] Ibid. Page 43, Italics added.

[8] Ibid. Page 64-65

[9] Crossway Bibles., Esv Study Bible : English Standard Version, ESV text ed. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Bibles, 2008).  John 3

[10] Ibid. John 4

[11] Ibid. Romans 10:9-10

[12] Ibid. John 9:39-41

I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

Click to Find Millennials on Amazon!

So I am sitting here at Starbucks and I just finished reading the Millennials by Thom and Jess Rainer and let me tell you, this is a good read. In this book, the Rainers work through research and interviews to bring the predominant views of the largest generation in America to date.

As I read through this book, being categorized as a Millennial myself, I found my ideals and views being described to me through the stats of my generation. It was very profound and almost nostalgic as some of the case studies described what they believe and desire with their words almost lining up with mine exactly.

Here are a few of the things that Characterize the Millennials: (But NOT all)

  • Millennials Value Family!
    • They value the connection and advice from their parents
    • They desire a close knit family
    • They place a very high value on marriage (80% believe they will only marry once)
  • Millennials Value Social Connection!
    • Through technology and social networks
    • Through their school or work environments
  • Millennials Want to Make a Difference!
    • They believe it is their responsibility to change the world
    • They want to serve outside of the church walls
    • They desire to help others who cant help themselves (adoption, serving the poor, providing for the needy)
So who would benefit from reading this book?
  • Pastor’s and Church Ministry Leaders

The American Church landscape is about to come to cross roads and in order to remain relevant, the church is going to need to shift to attract the Millennial generation. If you are a church leader or ministry leader, this book will give you practical insight into how you can communicate more effectively to reach the Millennials.

  • Business People

With the Millennials being the largest generation in American history, the business world will change. Read this book to find out what the Millennials value.

  • Those who have children who are Millennials (children born between 1980-1991)

Want to understand and remain connected with your fast paced, technology driven children? This book will give you some insight into what they are thinking and may inspire some actions steps you can take to talk to your kids and help them in the future. (FYI- I am giving this book to my mother now. 😛 )

A Quick Description from Amazon –  “At more than 78 million strong, the Millennials—those born between 1980 and 2000—have surpassed the Boomers as the larger and more influential generation in America. Now, as its members begin to reach adulthood, where the traits of a generation really take shape, best-selling research author Thom Rainer (Simple Church) and his son Jess (a Millennial born in 1985) present the first major investigative work on Millennials from a Christian worldview perspective.

Sure to interest even the secularists who study this group, The Millennials is based on 1200 interviews with its namesakes that aim to better understand them personally, professionally, and spiritually. Chapters report intriguing how-and-why findings on family matters (they are closer-knit than previous generations), their desire for diversity (consider the wave of mixed race and ethnic adoptions), Millennials and the new workplace, their attitude toward money, the media, the environment, and perhaps most tellingly, religion.

The authors close with a thoughtful response to how the church can engage and minister to what is now in fact the largest generation in America’s history.”

 

Here is a copy of the table  of Contents for you to get a grasp of all the subjects that are covered.
Ch. 1 – Meet the Millennial
Ch.2 – A Millennial Perspective
Ch. 3 – It’s a Family Affair
Ch. 4 – The New Normal of Openness and Diversity
Ch. 5 – Motivating Millennial
Ch. 6 – The New Workplace
Ch. 7 – The Mediating Generation
Ch. 8 – The Millennials and Media
Ch. 9 – The Millennials and Money
Ch. 10 – Their Strange Religious World
Ch. 11 – The Church Responds to the Millennials

 

I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

Click to Find How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth on Amazon.com

Do you read the Bible sometimes and wonder what you were supposed to get out of it?

Do you know the differences between all the different Bible translations?
Do you know how the books of the Bible are different from one another and how to read them?

 

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!

 

In this book Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart will equip you to find the tools you need to interpret Scripture, to find the best Bible translation for your needs and go through the books of the Bible based on their context and history. Through this book Fee and Stuart have equipped the common person to handle the Scriptures in the way they need to be handled for a sound interpretation. I would encourage everyone who is a believer to read and understand the content of this book.

 

Here is a copy of the table  of Contents for you to get a grasp of all the subjects that are covered.

 

Ch. 1 – Introduction: The Need to Interpret
Ch.2 – The Basic Tool: A Good Translation
Ch. 3 – The Epistles: Learning to think Contextually
Ch. 4 – The Epistles: The Hermeneutical Questions
Ch. 5 – The Old Testament Narratives: Their Proper Use
Ch. 6 – Acts: The Question of Historical Precedent
Ch. 7 – The Gospels: One Story, Many Demensions
Ch. 8 – The Parables: Do you get the point?
Ch. 9 – The Law(s): Covenant Stipulations for Israel
Ch. 10 – The Prophets: Enforcing the Covenant in Israel
Ch. 11 – The Psalms: Israel’s Prayers and Ours
Ch. 12 – Wisdom: Then and Now
Ch. 13 – The Revelation: Images of Judgement and Hope

 

I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

Click Me to Find Simple Church on Amazon!

I just finished Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger and if you are looking for a book on the structure of how a church should be, this is a great book.

 

Often times, churches and ministers get caught up in the day to day ministries and in the many events that are commonly labeled as ministry. This often times leaves our church staff tired, worn out and frustrated while at the same time exhausting the church budget and volunteers. The go, go, go “ministry” of the church then transfers down to those who are not even a part of the church. Which gives the new comers an uneasy feeling.

 

Rainer & Geiger challenge the traditional thought of this go, go, go church model by examining the processes of growing and vital churches in different environments across the country. (Including Andy Stanely‘s church North Point Community Church.)
After examining the key features of these churches  and their focus on keeping their churches simple, Rainer and Geiger give practical advise on how to implement a similar strategy in your own church.

 

I personally found this book to be a wealth of wisdom. I knew some of it from business training courses and marketing courses, so some of it was refresher. But over all the book was a great read and I would encourage anyone in church leadership to read it. (This is not for pastoral staff only. If you are a Sunday School teacher or small group leader, this is a great book for you as well.)

 

Here is the Table of Contents so that you can get a feel for what all the book covers.
Ch1- The Simple Revolution Has Begun in America
Ch2- The Simple Church in Action
Ch3- Simple Church: An Extreme Makeover
Ch4- Three Simple Stories
Ch5- Clarity: Starting with a Ministry Blueprint
Ch6- Movement: Removing Congestion
Ch7- Alignment: Maximizing the Energy of Everyone
Ch8- Focus: Saying No to Almost Everything
Ch9- Becoming Simple
I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

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I am often asked about the books I read in seminary and although most are fascinating, I would not recommend them to most people because they can be kind of dry. However, this is a book that I believe should be essential for every Christian to read. (Along with the Bible, of course.)

In the book, Donald Whitney explains the Spiritual Disciplines in great detail. Giving you not only the Biblical reasoning but the effects of such practices and the practical know how to perform the disciplines.
Now, you maybe asking yourself “Why would I want to read anything like that? I have been a Christian for years and I have gotten along fine without it.” Well, to be honest, I would have told you the same thing before I read the book. But after I read the book, I can faithfully tell you that I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about the disciplines and that Whitney wrote in a way that made this book engaging and fun to read. So again I would encourage you to read this book for the betterment of your Christian walk.
Here is the Table of Contents so that you can get a feel for what all the book covers.
Ch 1- The Spiritual Disciplines…For the Purpose of Godliness
Ch 2- Bible Intake (Part 1)
Ch 3- Bible Intake (Part 2)
Ch 4- Prayer
Ch 5- Worship
Ch 6- Evangelism
Ch 7- Serving
Ch 8- Stewardship
Ch 9- Fasting
Ch 10- Silence and Solitude
Ch 11- Journaling
Ch 12- Learning
Ch 13- Perseverance in the Disciplines
I am in no way affiliated with the publisher or writer of this book. But I endorse this because it impacted my life and I would like that same blessing for you. Click Here for Other Recommended Reading!
If the Author or Publisher has an issue with this post, please let me know and I will remove it.

I while back I read a biography about D.L. Moody.

Click for Books By Moody

D.L. Moody was an evangelist and minister in the 1800’s who did many great things in his life and God used him in ways that cannot be explained in human terms. (I am not going to spoil all the stuff he did, you have to read the book.)

One of the things that really inspired me as I read through the book was Moody’s devotion to God. The man had an un yielding faith in the Lord’s provision and a firm passion to reach the lost for the Kingdom of God. Part of this determination stemmed from Moody’s moral convictions in his faith.

In the early portions of the book following Moody’s conversion, Moody prays for God’s movement in his life. The movement was not just for God to use him but that he would be set apart for God.


We can see that in his prayer, “Lord make me as holy as a sinner saved by grace can be.”

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Even though I read this book a few months ago, this prayer still sticks with me.

It convicts me to be a better person.

It inspires me to be set apart for God’s work.

It shows me that there is more to life than just my desires.

It makes me question how many of us are disqualified from God’s work because we are not as focused on Him.

It makes me wonder how much could be done if we did set our lives apart for God.

I encourage you to read the story of D.L. Moody.

I pray that it inspires you to live a life of faith in God and a life of love for the lost as Moody had.