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MATERIALS FOR A SUNDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY ON SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

03/31/2015

Steve,

I am an elder in a PCA church. During my three year term, I have been assigned the duty of finding topics and teachers for the adult Christian education class which is conducted each Sunday morning before the worship service. I am concerned that our adult Bible class is not being taught in any planned sequence or topic. I will ask one of our experienced teachers to teacher a certain quarter of the year. Most of these men like to pick their own topics or books of the Bible for the study. The teachers and the topics are excellent and are all taught from a reformed perspective.

However, the students are not getting a systematic study of theology. I would like to have the adult bible study class taught systematically starting with Theology and then proceeding through anthropology, Christology, soteriology,pneumatology, ecclesiology, and then finishing with eschatology. What materials and books do you recommend as I prepare a formal presentation to the elder board with my proposal for a systematic study of theology in our adult Christian education class.

Thank you and may God richly bless you,

David Davis



David,

Thank you for your very good question! Too many Sunday School classes or Bible study classes may be individually good but not organized in such a way as to give the saints a structured and coherent introduction to the faith. I have seen your situation played out too many times.

I suggest you try EVERYONE IS A THEOLOGIAN by R. C. Sproul, an updating of his earlier book, ESSENTIALS OF THE FAITH. Sproul, as I am sure you know, is a good theologian and communicator. He covers all the areas you mentioned in your introductory paragraph. And he is a good Presbyterian. May I suggest that each class member have his/her own copy and the teacher cover each chapter in order with extra material.

Should some want to go deeper, let me recommend his 3 volume exposition of the WESTMINSTER CONFESSION. Both should ground your people well.

May the Lord give you wisdom and the Spirit give you His grace as His truth is taught.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 09:25:00 AM :: permalink


GOOD DOCTRINE BOOKS FOR CHRISTIAN FOLKS OVERSEAS JUST LEARNING ENGLISH

02/15/2015

What is a good basic doctrinal book to send to Christian folks overseas who want resources, but don't read complicated English very well? I'm thinking of a children's book, or something very simple. Thanks for your help.
Meg VH


Meg,

Thank you for your good question. Here are my suggestions for good basic doctrine books that are not too difficult or complex.

John Benton, GOD'S RICHES--workbook on the doctrines
of grace

Helen Tenney, MARK'S SKETCHBOOK OF CHRIST--a
workbook on the gospel of Mark. NOTE: These are
the only two workbooks that Banner of Truth
publishes.

James Beeke, BIBLE DOCTRINE FOR YOUNGER
CHILDREN; 2 volumes
James Beeke, BIBLE DOCTRINE FOR OLDER CHILDREN;
2 volumes
James Beeke, BIBLE DOCTRINE FOR TEENS AND YOUNG
ADULTS
These are excellent ways for adults to learn doctrine
as they teach their children

Sinclair Ferguson, BIG BOOK OF BIBLE TRUTHS; 2 vols.
Sinclair Ferguson, BIG BOOK OF QUESTIONS &
ANSWERS; 2 vols.
I have used these and these workbooks are
excellent.

Simonetta Carr, ATHANASIUS
, AUGUSTINE
, JOHN CALVIN
, JOHN OWEN
, JONATHAN EDWARDS
Excellent ways to learn biography, church history and doctrine by the celebrated author/artist.

Two other volumes pitched at adults but not too difficult. You might try them and see how they are received.

Jerry Bridges, THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE (all that
Christ did for us on the Cross)

Jerry Bridges, TRUSTING GOD--EVEN WHEN LIFE
HURTS--on the doctrine of the sovereignty of God
and His providence!
These two books are gems for any and every Christian to master and apply and rejoice in.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM

Posted: 09:44:00 PM :: permalink


WORKS ON THE "ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST"

01/25/2015

Pastor Steve,
I'm looking for some books that teach the "Active Obedience of Christ" displaying the necessity for His perfect sinless life. Too often the focus is on His death and resurrection (certainly a good thing) but ignoring His life of active obedience to His Father while living in this sin filled world, yet without sin. Thank you.

Carolyn


Sister Carolyn,

Thank you for your good question. Let me recommend the following:

Robert Peterson, SALVATION ACCOMPLISHED BY THE
SON (The Work of Christ); Crossway; Chapter 2--
"Christ's Sinless Life"; pp. 41-60

Brian Vickers, JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE THROUGH
FAITH (Finding Freedom From Legalism,
Lawlessness, Pride and Despair); P & R

These two books are great and can lead you to many other resources.

I hope you enjoy them immensely!

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 03:31:00 PM :: permalink


SHORT BOOKS ON WITNESSING TO MUSLIMS ?

01/13/2015

i wonder could you recommend some short books on the matter of witnessing to muslims?
Terry




Terry,

Thank you for your good question. Let me recommend three good books to witness to Muslims.

Malcolm Steer, CHRISTIAN EVANGELISTIC POCKET GUIDE TO ISLAM; Christian Focus Publications--the author seeks to explain Islam in such a way that the Christian reader has handles to witness with.

Malcolm Steer, A MUSLIM'S POCKET GUIDE TO CHRISTIANITY; Christian Focus Publications--the author writes to explain basic Christianity to Muslims in a way they will understand.

Patrick Sookhdeo, CHRISTIAN POCKET GUIDE TO ISLAM; Christian Focus Publications

A bit longer but written by a former Muslim who is now a Reformed pastor:

Thabiti Anyabwile THE GOSPEL FOR MUSLIMS (An Encouragement to Share Christ With Confidence); Moody Press

May the Lord encourage and help you in your witness.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM

Posted: 08:58:00 PM :: permalink


BIOGRAPHIES OF HISTORICAL CHRISTIANS AND MISSIONARIES FOR GIRLS 5TH-7TH GRADES

01/04/2015

Dear Pastor Steve,

Thank you for acquiring and sharing the knowledge about the many books you are able to recommend. I have reviewed some past entries, but have a further question about biographies of historical Christians and missionaries. Can you recommend some for a young reader on the 5th -7th grade level?

Ed Marsh


Dear Brother,

Thank you for your good question. May I recommend the following series for girls, dramatized accounts of famous historical women Christians. The first volume I note is about a young woman who would not deny Christ when
tied to a stake out from shore and told to relent before the tide came in.

And they can lead you to other sources.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM


SEE BELOW:
===================================
AGAINST THE TIDE (The Valor of Margaret Wilson) by Hope Marston; P & R

Dr. OMA by Ethel Herr; P & R

WEIGHT OF A FLAME (The Passion of Olympia Morata)
by Carr, Simonetta

CUP OF COLD WATER by Christine Farenhorst; P & R

WINGS OF A DOVE by Christine Farenhorst; P & R

CHRISTIAN HEROINES (Just Like You?); Catherine MacKinzie; Christian Focus Publications

TEN GIRLS WHO DIDN'T GIVE IN by Irene Howat; Christian Focus Publications

Posted: 03:52:00 PM :: permalink


MATERIAL ON 'THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER' ?

11/10/2014

Steve,
Brother, could you recommend any Calvinistic/Reformed books in the subject of the priesthood of the believer? thank you. blessings. Tony.

Tony,

I have been very disappointed to find very little in print.
I have found no books exclusively on that subject and
I have searched systematic theology texts and find little there.

HOWEVER, sources at P & R tells me that Dr. Craig Troxel has a booklet in a series on the basics of the Reformed faith coming out in the first half of 2015. Check back sometime after the first of the year and help should be available.

Seeking to be your faithful Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 07:41:00 PM :: permalink


MATTERS REGARDING WORSHIP AND ITS HISTORY, ETC.

09/18/2014

Any suggestions on the topic of history of Worship (Liturgical vs. informal); Regulative & Normative Principles; also any books or titles on the history of The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 or Baptist Confessions.
Sincerely,
Bill



Bill, thank you for your good questions. i recommend:

1. Worship related matters
Hart & Muether, WITH REVERENCE & AWE; P & R
Philip Ryken, ed. GIVE PRAISE TO GOD; P & R
Terry Johnson, ed.; THE WORSHIP OF GOD;
Christian Focus
Terry Johnson, LEADING IN WORSHIP; Tolle Lege
T. David Gordeon, WHY JOHNNY CAN'T SING
HYMNS; P & R

2. Professor Jim Renihan is finishing an historical study
of he 1689 Baptist Confession in context. It should
go to print latter in the year, Lord willing, and be
available in 2015. I am afraid that not much else is
currently available.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 09:03:00 PM :: permalink


MATERIAL ON CREATION/EVOLUTION/GENESIS 1-3 FOR KIDS AND PRE-TEENS

09/11/2014

What are the top books you would recommend for addressing creation/evolution/the reliability of the first chapters of Genesis for an elementary school teacher or a parent of young and preteen children?
Dorothy


Dorothy,

Thank you so much for your good question!

Let me recommend the following:

ANSWERS BOOK FOR KIDS, VOL. 1-2-3 (Answers From Genesis)

NEW ANSWERS BOOK (VOLUMES 2-4); helpful for parents and teachers answering questions

A IS FOR ADAM; NEW LEAF PRESS

D IS FOR DINOSAUR; NEW LEAF PRESS

N IS FOR NOAH; NEW LEAF PRESS

These should get you started and provide much help.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 04:57:00 PM :: permalink


THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, THEN AND NOW

09/01/2014

Dear Pastor Steve,
Thank you for having a service like this available to CVBBS readers. Can you recommend a book that would be helpful on studying The 10 Commandments? The study would be directed to a small group of old(er) women with different Protestant backgrounds and long histories of Sunday School education. I appreciated Tim Black's paper (from www.alwaysreformed),but felt that it was a little too in depth for my needs. Is there something more brief, with a clear understanding of the role of The 10 Commandments BEFORE Christ and AFTER Christ? What role does the Commandments play in the heart of the believer? Does the born-again believer "need" The 10 Commandments for rightful living if the Holy Spirit "reveals to us all things"? I am in no way negating the usefulness of the law (I am familiar with the book of Romans), but who needs "the directions" (please excuse my flippancy) if Jesus is "doing the driving"..."Christ in us"? As you can see, I have my own questions regarding the topic. I would appreciate any of your thoughts and study recommendations. Thank you.
Lesia


Lesia,

Thank you for your important questions. Let me recommend three books to you--one for the group; two
for you, the leader.

FOR YOU, THE LEADER (to learn and to loan):

Philip Graham Ryken, WRITTEN IN STONE; P & R--
excellent study of how to understand and apply
the Ten Commandments for believers then and now

Ed Clowney, HOW JESUS TRANSFORMS THE TEN
COMMANDMENTS; P & R --excellent study


FOR THE WHOLE GROUP:

James Packer, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS; Tyndale
Excellent study with study questions by an
acknowledged 'Master in Israel' of evangelical and
Reformed theology. Highly recommended.

May our Lord bless you and your study group.

Your Book Servant,

PASTOR STEVE MARTIN

Posted: 05:40:00 AM :: permalink


BIOGRAPHY OF A RUSSIAN CHRISTIAN OR THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH IN RUSSIA

07/15/2014

Dear Pastor Steve,
You have supplied me with so many good missionary biography titles - thank you!

I am searching for a book about the Christian church in Russia. I know that there is very little written about these believers - both past and present. If you could recommend a good biography of a Russian Christian or the history of the church in Russia, I would be so very grateful.

Thank you for the wonderful ministry you have with CVBBS - you are a blessing to many!!
Kelli



Kelli,

Thank you for your kind encouragements!

I have copied below one very good book about Russian believers that you might find helpful.

MY BELOVED RUSSIA (A Story of God's Love for a
Persecuted People) by Dimitry Mustafin with
Irene Howat; CHRISTIAN FOCUS PUBLICATIONS

It should get you started. May the Lord encourage you and yours through this study.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 05:46:00 PM :: permalink


HELPS FOR BATTLE WEARY PASTORS

07/02/2014

Pastor,
Could you recommend a book or two, to encourage a minister who after many years in the ministry has become a little battle weary?
Thanks,
Dan


Dan,

Thank you for an important question. The following books speaks to the issue in more than one way and are all worthy of purchase and mastery.

Maurice Roberts, "The Danger of Becoming Battle
Weary", in THE CHRISTIAN'S HIGH CALLING;
Banner of Truth. To the point and a good
Chapter to photocopy and distribute among
the office bearers.

Francis Schaeffer, NO LITTLE PEOPLE; Crossway--
the first chapter, "No Little People". is an all time
gem that should be read annually. Similarly, this
chapter should be photocopied and mastered by
local church officers.

Kent Hughes, LIBERATING MINISTRY FROM THE
SUCCESS SYNDROME; Tyndale--speaks to one
huge underlying cause and is very liberating.

Matt Redmund, THE GOD OF THE MUNDANE;
Kalos Press--addresses the false idea that we must
be "radical" and be doing daring things and thereby
become significant Christians. Biblically it provides
a breath of fresh air in a stuffy elevator going
down!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, AUTHORITY; Banner of Truth
Addresses the issues of authority in the Bible and
the authority given to a preacher and a church
and why authority is lost and men try to make
bricks without straw.

May the Lord encourage the battle weary Himself.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 04:44:00 PM :: permalink


BOOKS FOR ELDERS WIVES ?

06/23/2014


I need some help in finding the best suggestion for a book for elders wives to study together. I am an elders wife and our pastor suggested I research a book for elders wives. What our role as a wife? How I minister to & how I shouldn't minister to other women and families. Thank you for your input.

Sue



Sue,

Thank you for your important question. I have compiled a list of books that complement each other and address the issues you are concerned about.

Martha Peace, BECOMING A TITUS 2 WOMAN; Focus
Christian Publishing--an Elder's wife and leading
NANC counselor, Martha shows the older women
in the churches how to lead and mentor the
younger women according to Paul's mandate in
Titus 2.

Brian and Cara Croft, THE PASTOR'S FAMILY;
Zondervan--your husbands help the pastors and
you help your husbands, so this book indirectly
relates to you too. And it will help you appreciate
your pastor, his wife and their issues.

Catherine Steward, ed.; LETTERS TO A PASTOR'S
WIFE; P & R--fifteen women contributed chapters
on aspects of being a pastor's wife. For the same
reasons listed above, you can apply various aspects
of this book to Elders wives. Very good.

Mark Chanski, WOMANLY DOMINION (More Than a
Gentle and Quiet Spirit); Calvary Press--If the
man is the head of his home (see Chanski's earlier
work, MANLY DOMINION, also from Calvary Press.
then his wife has more to do that sit with her
hands folded looking serene and pious. Lots of
good food for thought.

May the Lord direct your study and grow each of you in His grace during the study.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 01:07:00 PM :: permalink


STREAMS IN THE DESERT AND OTHER DEVOTIONAL BOOKS

06/20/2014

Many years ago I heard Rev Al Martin kind of saying that really good devotionals were and he gave a list but was quite animate that he didn't seem to like Streams in the Desert. It has been around for so long that I thought I might pick up a copy. Is there a best edition. I prefer hardback books if I can afford them.
Thanks
Allen Hoge


Allen,

Thank you for your very good question. STREAMS IN THE DESERT was compiled in 1919 and blessing God's people ever since. It is available in hardback from Zondervan. It is very good at encouraging discouraged saints.

May I also recommend the compilation of Spurgeon's excerpts under the title, BESIDE STILL WATERS, Thomas Nelson publishers. It is culled from all his sermons and is meant to lift up drooping saints.

Both are great and both worthy of reading and reading aloud to loved ones.

I am sorry it took me a couple of days to respond. I was out of town and had little access to a computer.

Below is my BOOK BLOG written last week.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
=============
Genesis 3 is the saddest chapter in the Bible and in all literature. It documents the Fall of our first parents into sin and in acorn form, all the other awful things that will happen in history on this planet are there. The best of parents try to shield their children from the realities of this fallen world but there comes a day when we all must face the hardships and heart aches of a sin-sick world under the judgment of God. And great hardships and heart aches produce great grief.

Christians are not immune from the terrible things that plague this world. Christians are struck down early with a terrible disease, their children die early from cancer, they lose jobs at critical junctures in their lives, and on top of these and countless other maladies, they are persecuted and martyred for their faith too. We would lose our sanity if we did not have a Savior who gently shepherds His needy sheep. His life on earth was full of heartaches and He was known as the 'man of sorrows'. He knows as only He can know what real heartache and misery are. He alone can fully sympathize with believers in their times of sorrow. 'Man of sorrows'--What a title for the Lord of glory!

Besides His indwelling Spirit to comfort and strengthen us, there is the reality that Christ intercedes for the saints in glory and His Father never says "No" to His Son. All who are Christ's will make it to glory. They are united to Him by His Spirit, they have the iron promises of His Word, and His pledge never to leave us nor forsake us.

Sadly for them unbelievers spurn their hopes of help by rejecting the Savior and thus rejecting their Shepherd, their Intercessor, their Pilot to see them through. Believers have resources undreamt of by unbelievers.

Some of Christ's best gifts to His church of suffering saints is the legacy left behind by saints who have suffered in the past and received the promised comfort from God (2nd Corinthians 1:3-11). They faithfully pass along to others what God has given to them. A comfort that stabilizes the mind, strengthens the will, makes glad the heart and puts a new song on the lips.

Below are some of Christ's best gifts to His people when they are undergoing affliction and heartache, suffering and agony. His Spirit comes alongside the suffering saint and steadies the breaking heart, strengthens that breaking heart, and brings fresh courage and joy to that breaking heart.

L. B. Cowman, STREAMS IN THE DESERT; Zondervan
A classic written by the wife of a missionary society who lost her husband early in her life and who herself faced many heartaches. This collection of daily readings was first published in 1926 and has been kept in print ever since because it is so good. A classic of comfort and peace to be read and reread many times. Highly recommended.

Sharon Betters, TREASURES IN DARKNESS; P & R
Sharon lost her son in an auto accident. This records her grief, pain, rage and struggle until finally settling down in the grace of God. When the fiery dart feels like a fiery harpoon, she has real and biblical help.

John Flavel, FACING GRIEF: COUNSEL FOR
MOURNERS; Banner of Truth--Puritan pastor/ theologian/counselor/author, Flavel excels at helping the believer deal with their grief AND NOT GIVE INTO EXCESSIVE GRIEF when the incident at hand does not become life defining. Highly recommended.

Donald Howard, CHRISTIANS GRIEVE TOO; Banner of
Truth booklet--Pastor Howard begins with the self-discovery that he was ready for his wife's passing, they had battled her cancer together for a decade. He was ready for her death. He was not ready for his own grief. This tells how he grieved and found help when it became too much.

James Packer, A GRIEF SANCTIFIED; Crossway--tells
the story of Puritan pastor Richard Baxter's grief at the loss of his dear wife and how he was helped to finally deal with it. A treasure by a past Puritan and a modern one.

Nancy Guthrie, HOLDING ON TO HOPE; Tyndale
Nancy Guthrie went through great loss and was at her wits end. What God taught her from His Word in the darkness she shares with us today. This awful thing need not be 'life-defining' but can be a means of growth in the grace and knowledge of God.

Nancy Guthrie, ONE YEAR BOOK OF HOPE; Tyndale
A daily devotional that helps the reader keep their eyes on Christ and His Word for a whole year.

Jerry Bridges, TRUSTING GOD (Even When Life Hurts);
NavPress--one could title this book, "Lessons I Learn Walking the Floor at Night While My Wife was Dying of Cancer". Jerry clearly and warmly shows that God is sovereign and nothing overcomes Him; God is omniscient and He misses nothing; He is holy and nothing sinful tempts Him to treat us badly and He is loving and all things work together for the good for those who are His. Meant to be savored and applied.
A real sanity saver!

Ronn Dunn, WHEN HEAVEN IS SILENT; Christian
Literature Crusade--on Thanksgiving Day, 1975, Ron and Kay Dunn's oldest son committed suicide. He confessed that that was the last good day he had for ten full years. And he was making his living as a conference speaker across the South and in other nations. He learned to stop asking the "Why?" questions and started asking the "What next?" questions. He learned that God prepared him for this great test and as any good teacher does, does not talk to the student when they are taking the test. You take the test and see what you have learned. Pastor Dunn reached the same conclusions as Jerry Bridges but walks longer in your shoes of misery before coming to the right answers.

May the God of all peace give you peace and joy again in believing.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Come Visit me at my website... www.thelogcollege.wordpress.com
...for more book info and to see my e-book, 21ST CENTURY COMMENTING ON COMMENTARIES.

Posted: 10:40:00 PM :: permalink


WHAT TO MAKE OF THE "YOUNG, RESTLESS AND REFORMED" CALVINISTS ?

Steve,
I would greatly appreciate your insight regarding the book " Young , restless , Reformed " By Colin Hansen.

I find myself very concerned with this " New Calvinism vs. Old Calvinism " issue that seems to be at the forefront of many ministries today. I am amazed at the men who are the leaders in the " New " camp. The term " Strange bedfellows " describes those who have various backgrounds and supposedly different doctrinal beliefs that now find their fellowship with some that they enjoy ministering with.

Maybe I am just getting old but I am thankful that I believe in the " Old Paths."

Soli Deo Gloria.

Dear Fred,

Thank you for your good question. Your concerns are mine too. There are many angles of the "new Calvinism" that I do not approve of nor find helpful.

Recent charges of antinomianism, legalism, celebrity driven and without a doctrine of the church come to mind easily.

However Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, the Chancellor of the RTS campuses, contributed to Joel Beeke's study on
CALVIN FOR TODAY, Reformation Heritage, 2011. Dr. Duncan's article was on the rise of the new Calvinism and what are we to make of it and where did it come from. I thought it was brilliant. He cites what he believes are 9 reasons Calvinism has reappeared with such vigor. He concludes with how older, confessionally Calvinistic churches and leaders should view the new Calvinism. He makes a strong case that we should seek to reach out to them with humility, acknowledge what is good that they have rediscovered and remind them that God has taught us too and we would like to encourage them with what God has taught us.

Duncan believes they are a generation without fathers and they are quick to sense rejection and disengagement. We must seek to help these men grow in grace without accepting their weak theology along the way.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin



Posted: 12:45:00 PM :: permalink


BIBLE STUDY THAT IS EDIFYING FOR BELIEVERS AND EVANGELISTIC TOO ?

06/19/2014

Hi Steve,
What recommendations do you have for an adult bible study that would be substantial and hold interest for believers and, at the same time, have a strong evangelistic focus for unconverted participants? Or is that a "bridge" that hasn't yet been built?
Thanks,

Pat


Pat,

Thank you for your good question.

I like the following studies for the two goals you mentioned above:

R. C. Sproul, THE HOLINESS OF GOD; Tyndale
I have used the six 30 minute videos along with
an evangelistic booklet like ULTIMATE QUESTIONS
as the seventh study. There is a study guide for
the six videos. The kind of Being God is determines
the rest of reality, "religious" or not. I called this
study WHAT IS GOD LIKE ? and confronted them
with the God who Is. You can tweak the material
and adjust it for what you want to accomplish.

I am sure that there are others out there but none
came to mind.

I am sorry it took me a couple of days to reply but I was out of town for a week with little access to a computer.

May the Lord bless your study.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin



Posted: 08:29:00 PM :: permalink