Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tyndale by David Teems


You always assumed, I’m sure,  that William Tyndale was an important man in Christian history. This book shows just how amazingly important he was. You knew about his first English translation of the New Testament, perhaps you even knew he died as a martyr. Did you know, though, that he had a great effect on our English language? He is credited with many words in our language coming from his pen.  If you are a lover of the KJV as I am, you will be shocked as I was to learn that many of the most memorable lines of the KJV came over unchanged from Tyndale. Consider:

                Let not your hearts be troubled
               The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make his face to shine upon thee and be                       merciful unto thee.
                …for whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou dwellest, there I will dwell.

There are many others that Mr. Teems shares with us.  You leave this book convinced that Tyndale has had the greatest influence of all on the Word of God in English. There really is no close second.   

You are impressed too as you read of Tyndale’s simple faith and dogged determination to translate the Bible into English. It was his driving passion from which he never wavered. Mr. Teems quotes Tyndale in regards to his translation work:

…that I never altered one syllable of God’s word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in the earth, whether it be honour, pleasure, or riches, might be given me.

Though Mr. Teems didn’t exactly word it this way, it is obvious that Tyndale was especially gifted by God for his great work. It was his life’s work, one that cost him greatly, living and running as a fugitive with loneliness and danger always staring him in the face.

Mr. Teems has done us great service in this volume. He is handy with a pen. His own literary skill makes him able to demonstrate how deep Tyndale’s talents really go. He holds Tyndale up beside the great literary figures and even mentions where Shakespeare used Tyndale. I finished this book thinking that more than a heroic man, Tyndale was one of the really great ones. Perhaps he hasn’t had his due, but Mr. Teems while fairly showing his faults, accurately presents us with “Tyndale: The Man Who Gave God an English Voice.”

   I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Leonard Ravenhill

Sometimes you need an author that will jolt you out of your spiritual lethargy. Leonard Ravenhill will never fail you at such a time. I'm thinking now of 2 of my favorite Ravenhill titles: "Why Revival Tarries" and "Sodom Had No Bible".

In "Why Revival Tarries" there are 20 chapters with a page of fantastic quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Imagine being a preacher as I am and being hit with:

 One does not need to be spiritual to preach, that is, to make and deliver sermons of homiletical perfection and exegetical exactitude...Preaching of the type mentioned affects men: prayer affects God. Preaching affects time; prayer affects eternity.


That is paragraph two of chapter one--See what I mean!  Or how about this:

No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying.


Yes he is eminently quotable, likes a rhyme, yet is never corny. I could provide many other great quotes, but I am far too slow a typist to reproduce the entire book here. It is still in print and can be picked up at christianbook.com for $8.99. The answer to the question of why revival tarries has much, I came to see, to do with me.

"Sodom Had No Bible" is, I suppose, a book of his sermons. The thought of the title sermon is that Sodom was judged, but she had no Bible. What does that obviously mean for us today? He draws a picture that we fiddle as Rome (America) burns. "Riveting" is my review in a word. It's in print with Christian Life Books for $11.99, or used for around $4 on places like addall.com




Saturday, December 3, 2011

Why Men Hate Going To Church by David Murrow


“Why Men Hate Going To Church”—the title says it all. It’s the question we have all had, on a subject we have all noticed, without ever asking. Perhaps you imagined that there was no answer. It is just one of the mysteries of life. Read this book by David Murrow and you will have answers that will make you wonder that you never noticed them before. He gives answers that stem from the fundamental differences of men and women. We see some of these ideas in marriage books to our advantage. I will confess to being skeptical as I began, but this book is compelling. As a pastor I found his marketing/media perspective unique and thought provoking.

He shows that we have feminized church. Our services are much more favorable to women than men both in comfort and service. He gives a fascinating history of how this developed. As I read, I thought there is little than can be done about it, but in the last half of the book he gives practical advice. A new mindset is the key one.

He is friendly to the contemporary style of worship and I am firmly of the old fashioned variety, yet where his type of worship fails men he minces no words. I appreciate that kind of candor. This work doesn’t pretend to be theological at all. If some idea he offers sounds like a marketing ploy to give them what they want with no regard to God’s glory,  that is the reader’s problem. For what it is, this book could hardly be better.

I received this book free from the publisher through its book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How To Worship Jesus Christ by Joseph Carroll

Recently Ryan Brown, Jamin Boyer, and I had the privilege to visit Dr. Tim Jayne's new office. It's beautiful, roomy, and as ideal as any preacher could imagine. We talked, had a great visit, and as Dr. Jayne is known to do, he gave us each a book. In addition to teaching college students the Bible, he is well known as one who encourages preachers to read fine books. I appreciate that emphasis in his ministry. There is an obvious passion in him that I share on that subject.

While there he recommended a book that he wishes every pastor would read--"How To Worship Jesus Christ". He has given scores of this book away over the years. Strangely, I already had the book and it was laying in a pile of books that I intended to read soon. Somehow, it was never the book I selected. I think I got it in a box of books I picked up at a library sale.

Since he told us that many pastors he has introduced the book to read it every year, I read it right away. The book fully lived up to its reputation. He was a missionary for many years and the contents of this book were worked out in those days of service. His influences command respect. He called Hudson Taylor "the father of modern faith missions" (emphasis mine). A. W. Tozer, who never fails to challenge me, was clearly his greatest influence.

He effectively made the case for what our private time is all about. He says, "My quiet time then became something for Him, not something for me." The great need, he says, is to worship Christ until He becomes real to you. That grows into it being about Him, not even the people to whom you minister. Perhaps preachers talking of that concept today learned it here. In any case, I have never heard it better said.

He quotes Phil 3:8 "...that I may win Christ" and spoke of intimate fellowship with Christ being the key. He explains that people who must always be pushed to do things like witnessing or supporting missions have a serious problem. Then he continues: "What was Paul always doing? He is consistently bringing you to Christ and leaving you with Christ." To my mind, that is profound. Nuggets that really challenge you continue to the end of the book.

The book is still in print by Moody (My copy is older). Amazon.com and others have inexpensive used copies while a new copy can be gotten from CBD for $8.19 (Christianbook.com)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Still Hour by Austin Phelps

Here's a book on prayer from the 1800s. I read once sometime ago that Peter Masters recommended the book and said it was "once enormously popular." My copy includes a quote from Spurgeon saying the author "seems to truly and completely know the power of prayer." It seems this book fell off the map for decades. Used copies can be found and Solid Ground Christian Books has a beautiful paperback volume in print now for an economical price. Check solid-ground-books.com.

I have at least 20 volumes on prayer in my library and nothing quite moved me like this one. As a young Christian John R. Rice's "Prayer: Asking and Receiving"  helped me as did R. A. Torrey's volume on prayer. Mrs. Rosalind Goforth's volume on "How I know God Answers Prayer" is not to be missed as well.

"The Still Hour" is a book, though, I wonder how I missed all these years. Read it at your own risk. I was greatly convicted and concluded I didn't pray at all.

Listen to these chapter titles to get an idea of what you will encounter in this volume:

Absence of God in Prayer
Unhallowed Prayer
Romance in Prayer
Idolatry in Prayer

and many more. It's only 136 pages, but a phenomenal read. 

Hello

As an avid book lover, particularly in Bible study, I get asked about recommendations fairly often. I am not an expert in any way, but as a pastor I spend a great deal in time in these type books.

I'd love to hear from others too. Just this week I received a recommendation that has proven to be extraordinary. I'll write about it later.

We live in a digital age, but my heart is in the past. I want to feel the book, hold it in my hands, and put in on my shelf often with scribbled notes inside.