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HELPS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH THEIR SINS

08/22/2016

Hello Pastor Steve!

We're involved in a young adult's bible study (ages range from 13-25ish) and we've been using different Ligonier Ministries DVD series. The goal is to be deeply Christ-focused and working toward a higher view of God in every study and these series have been great helps. But I've become more aware of the fact that many the kids that come are wrestling with deep issues; porn, depression, alcohol abuse. Many are believers and they are truely wrestling and want freedom. And many come and watch the DVD and join the theological discussion but leave feeling like they're the only dirtbag who struggles with these issues. Are there resources available from a solid, reformed perspective, that will take a high view of God and in a thoroughly Gospel driven way help us honestly talk about and work through deep sin issues that our young people face today? Do you have pastoral advice for us as we try to deal with these things? Thanks so much!

(Name Withheld)


Dear Brother,

Thank you for your important question. Many young people attending church meetings do not understand some basic issues about Christ and His work and how it applies to everyday life. The following should be of real help. Taken together, they provide a solid foundation. None stand alone as "silver bullets".

Chris Lundgaard, THE ENEMY WITHIN; P & R--a modern classic which takes the rich, biblical teaching of John Owen on indwelling sin in believers and how to deal with it. Shows believers, particularly young ones, how they are not alone in dealing with their remaining sins.

Jerry Bridges THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE; NavPress--the best book for laymen on the atonement of Christ. Shows the many facets of Christ's work and the total sacrifice He made for all of our sins. A huge balm on a sin-wracked heart.

Jerry Bridges, THE BOOKENDS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE;
Crossway--the two "bookends" are (1) the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the believing sinner as their status before the Father; and (2) the on-going power of the Holy Spirit to change our lives. A great antidote to despair on one hand and self-righteousness on the other.

Wayne Mack, A FIGHT TO THE DEATH; P & R
A very practical and biblical study of how to put our remaining sins to death.

Kevin DeYoung, THE HOLE IN OUR HOLINESS Crossway

Mark Shaw, UNDERSTANDING TEMPTATION (The War
Within Your Heart); Focus Publishing

Graustein & Jacobsen, GROWING UP CHRISTIAN; P & R
Sometimes young people growing up in Christian homes have blind spots about the Christian life. This book seeks to expose those blind spots and help the young person have a relationship with Christ and His saving work on their own..

Studying and discussing all these books would take a year or two BUT would be eternally worth it.

i used to work with youth for many years and I highly recommend such a study.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for more helpful information on related subjects.

Posted: 12:48:00 AM :: permalink


HELPS FOR STUDYING BAPTIST COVENANT THEOLOGY

07/28/2016

I am a Southern Baptist pastor who believes in Baptist Covenant Theology. I'm trying to help another SB pastor, who is also a 5-pter, understand BCT. What works would you recommend? Anything--books, booklets, articles, etc. Anything I could download would be especially helpful, but I'm open to whatever I can find. I had a great article, I think by Earl Blackburn, but I gave all my BCT mat'l away to a young SB collegiate minister some time ago. Praise God, many of our brethren are returning to their Reformed roots!

Thanks and may God bless you!
William Hatfield
Russellville, AR

Pastor Hatfield,

Thank you for your very good questions. There is a growing wealth of Baptist covenantal material becoming available. Let me recommend the following:

INTRODUCTORY:

Sam Waldron and Richard Barcellos, A REFORMED
BAPTIST MANIFESTO (The New Covenant
Constitution of the Church); Reformed Baptist
Academic Press

Earl Blackburn, ed.; COVENANT THEOLOGY (A BAPTIST
DISTINCTIVE); Solid Ground Christian Books

Rob Ventura, ed.; GOING BEYOND THE FIVE POINTS:
Published under his name

Booklets by Earl Blackburn and Walt Chantry on Baptist Covenant Theology; Reformed Baptist booklets

NEXT LEVEL BOOKS ON COVENANT THEOLOGY:

Michael Lawrence, BIBLICAL THEOLOGY IN THE LIFE OF
THE CHURCH (A Guide for Ministry); Crossway

Carl Trueman, THE CREEDAL IMPERATIVE; Crossway

O Palmer Robertson, THE CHRIST OF THE COVENANTS;
P & R

Pascal Denault, THE DISTINCTIVENESS OF BAPTIST
COVENANT THEOLOGY (A Comparison Between
Seventeenth Century Particular Baptist and Paedo-
Baptist Federalism); Solid Ground Christian Books

Richard Barcellos, ed.; RECOVERING A COVENANTAL
HERITAGE (16 Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology);
Reformed Baptist Academic Press

I suggest you men purchase these books and study and discuss them together as the best way to glean the most.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin--and check out my website
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for free downloads and articles, some of them on Baptist covenant theology.

Posted: 04:27:00 PM :: permalink


EVALUATION OF THE COMMENTARIES BY J. VERNON MCGEE AND SIMON KISTEMAKER AND WILLIAM HENDRICKSEN

07/27/2016

Do you recommend J. Vernon McGee commentaries? and Are Simon Kistemaker and William Hendriksen in the same commentary series? If not, what series is better? I apologize for the broadness of the question. Thanks!

Tony,

Thank you for your questions. J. Vernon McGee is one of my heroes. Let me explain why. As a very young Christian I would listen to him on the radio and learn so much. He has the knack of "putting the cookies down where we all could reach them." However over time I began to see that while Dr. McGee might do well for babes, he was not good at feeding maturing Christians who studied their Bibles. For beginners, I know of none better.

For the more mature, Hendricksen and Kistemaker are far better. They are both reverent scholars and are pastoral in tone. You can learn a ton from them. I still use their commentaries though I have been in ministry for 40+ years!

You will have to gauge your own maturity level and make your decision.

Best Wishes.

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM for more info on books and devotionals.

Posted: 03:51:00 PM :: permalink


STUDYING JOHN OWEN'S WORKS

05/09/2016

On May 22 I will be meeting with several young men. We are calling ourselves "The Dead Theologians Society." Several of us are keen to study John Owen. I have told them that I prefer either his work on Communion with God or vol 6 of his collected works on temptation and sin. I think they are capable of appreciating Owen's unabridged work. So, I have two questions: Is it possible to buy multiple copies of either vol 2 or vol 6 of Owens' Works? Secondly, is a study guide available for either of those two volumes? Thank you for your help.


David

Thanks for asking.

Both volumes 2 & 6 of Owens works are available for individual purchase in hardcover. "Communion With God" is also available in a paperback edition if a less expensive option is wanted.

As far as I know there is not a study guide to these volumes although there is a study guide for Owen's "Mortification of Sin".

Best wishes for a profitable study.

Todd Jennings
cvbbs

Posted: 11:03:00 AM :: permalink


RESOURCE ON THE "ISMS" AND CULTS OF CHURCH HISTORY AND TODAY

01/25/2016

Pastor Steve,

I am looking for a good resource that will list and explain to me all of the "-isms" and movements of church history. As I read books from other centuries, I get tripped up because I do not know the heresies and opposing views that the author is addressing. In my mind, I am thinking of a list like the one at the end of Banner's Edition of "Truth's Victory Over Error." But I would like one that includes more entries and has a little more detail for each one. I do not trust Google or Wikipedia so where can I read one page summary of Amyraldism, Erastianism, Socinianism, Neonomianism, or Landmarkism?
Adam


Adam,

Good to hear from you again. Let me give you different kinds of suggestions.

There are some inexpensive paperbacks by experts like:

Justin Holcomb, KNOW THE HERETICS; Zondervan
" " , KNOW THE CREEDS & COUNCILS; "

These two volumes are great at showing the main errors in church history, who taught it, etc. KNOW THE CREEDS & COUNCILS reminds us how important truth is and the work of the Spirit of God to nail down truth in the councils.

Iain Campbell, HEROES & HERETICS; Christian Focus
takes the reader through twenty centuries of good guys and bad guys and what they taught and how that helped or hindered the churches. Very good.

James McGoldrick, CHRISTIANITY & ITS COMPETITORS
(The New Faces of Old Heresy); Christian Focus
Covers some of the same ground and shows how these heresies are alive today and influential, though under another name.

Louis Berkhof, HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES; Banner of Truth--old reliable!

If you want to invest more money, try these sturdy and tried and true resource volumes:

J. D. Douglas,ed.; NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY
OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH; Zondervan--covers the
whole church down through the centuries.

Daniel Reid, et al., eds.; DICTIONARY OF CHRISTIANITY
IN AMERICA; IVP--focused on America exclusively

Walter Elwell, ed.; EVANGELICAL DICTIONARY OF
THEOLOGY; Baker--very good standard reference

Sinclair Ferguson, et al.; eds; NEW DICTIONARY OF
THEOLOGY; IVP--ditto.

May the Lord help you in your choices.

Your Book Servant,

Steve Martin



Posted: 02:49:00 PM :: permalink


MATERIALS DEALING WITH BEING COURAGEOUS

Pastor Steve,

The pastor at my church is preaching a series our courage. We read often in the scriptures to be strong and courageous because the Lord is with us. Could you recommend some books that deal with the topic of courage?

Thank you,

Kenneth Clayton


Kenneth,

Thank you for your question. I do not know of a book dedicated to "being strong in the Lord", but passages come to mind that have that biblical exhortation. Therefore Bible commentaries and expositions on these key passages should be consulted.

Deuteronomy 31:6,7, 23

Joshua 1:7-9

1st Corinthians 16:13

Ephesians 6:10

These and similar passages in Scripture are probably the basis of your pastor's sermons.

Also study commentaries and expositions that deal with the need to fear the Lord more than fearing men. You might look at the following too:

"Courage To Stand" by Philip Ryken; Crossway
"Courage" by Wayne Mack; Focus
"Courage To Be Protestant" by David Wells; Eerdmans

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 11:00:00 AM :: permalink


BASIC BIBLE STUDY METHODS FOR NEW BELIEVERS

01/13/2016

Pastor Martin,

What do you think is a good book (book selections) to teach a small group How to Understand the bible...i.e the basic bible study methods for new believers?


Rudy,

Thank you for your good question. Let me make a couple of recommendations.

Geoff Thomas, READING THE BIBLE; Banner of Truth
booklet (32 pages)

Duvall and Hays; GRASPING GOD'S WORD; Zondervan
how-to manual for getting more from Bible study.

These should do you well.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 05:10:00 AM :: permalink


BOOKS ON PRAYER...FOR THE NEW CHRISTIAN AND THE MORE MATURE ?

11/10/2015

An interest has been made at our church for books on prayer. What are your suggestions for those more mature in the faith and those who are just beginning their walk ?

George Higginbotham



George,

Thank you for your good question. I recommend the following on prayer:

FOR THE BEGINNER:

J. C. Ryle, A CALL TO PRAYER; Banner of Truth--a large
booklet setting out how believers are to pray.

Douglas Kelly, IF GOD ALREADY KNOWS, WHY PRAY?;
Christian Focus--on its way to becoming a classic!

David M. McIntyre, THE HIDDEN LIFE OF PRAYER:
Christian Focus--a classic!

Arthur Pink, THE ABILITY OF GOD (What God Can Do
With Our Prayers); Moody Press--follows Paul's
prayers in the New Testament.

FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY:

R. C. Sproul, THE BARBER WHO WANTED TO PRAY;
Crossway--contains Martin Luther's letter to his barber who asked him how to pray. Contains also the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Apostles Creed. One to read aloud again and again!

FOR THE MATURING BELIEVER:

Beeke & Beeke, DEVELOPING A HEALTHY PRAYER LIFE;
(31 Meditations on Communion with God);
Reformation Heritage Books--practical

James Sire, LEARNING TO PRAY THROUGH THE PSALMS;
IVP--a great place to learn this discipline of prayer.

Thomas Watson, THE LORD'S PRAYER; Banner of Truth--
a classic on prayer and the Lord's Prayer by one of
the easiest Puritans to read and digest.

Charles Spurgeon, ONLIY A PRAYER MEETING; Christian
Focus--shows the importance and practical methods
of the weekly prayer meeting at church!

Matthew Henry, A WAY TO PRAY; Banner of Truth--
Matthew Henry learned to pray the Scriptures and
he teaches us how. Highly recommended.

These should get you started and lead you to other gems. But I hope they help your people to pray!

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Matin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM

Posted: 08:07:00 PM :: permalink


A QUESTION ABOUT GOD'S PROVIDENCE & CHILD-BEARING

09/17/2015

I am looking for a book that would have good counsel for a lady who is not able to have children. She is a professing Christian but is rather shallow. A book like "The Mystery of Providence" would probably overwhelm her. Is there anything "lighter" that still has some substance?

Daniel
==================================

Daniel,


Thank you for your compassionate question. Let me recommend Jerry Bridges' TRUSTING GOD (Even When Life Hurts) from NavPress. Jerry wrote it when his first wife was dying of cancer and he carefully but accessibly works through God's providence and His love, wisdom, holiness and sovereignty. It is one of the best 2-3 books on God's providence and has helped many. I highly recommend it.

May I recommend you also get a copy for yourself so that should she have a question, you have "chapter and verse" at your fingertips. Plus, should another person have needs which require looking at God's providential care of His people. you are loaded for bear!

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 03:46:00 PM :: permalink


HISTORICAL BACKGROUND MATERIALS FOR THE HISTORY AND PROPHETICAL BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

08/13/2015

I am looking for a book or series of volumes that puts the Old Testament within its Historical / Social context. For example, an understanding of the greater political situation with the Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians during the time of Hezekiah would seem to shine light on his decision to show the envoys the wealth/strenght of Judah.
Though some commentaries do provide a glimpse behind the curtain I have not seen anyone systematically lay this out in a way that puts the historical and prophetical books of the bible within their greater context. This historical context is a gap for most people that seems to hinder a fuller understanding of the the message of much of the Old Testament.
Interested to hear of any recommendations.

Jeremy



Jeremy,

Thank you for your good question! There is help for you.
There are Bible background helps available as well as commentaries which do an better than average job showing the background material.

Let me recommend the following:

Walton & Matthews, IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND
COMMENTARY: OLD TESTAMENT--shows the secular history and background issues that should lead to greater clarity of our understanding of the biblical text.

Walton, ZONDERVAN ILLUSTRATED BIBLE
BACKGROUNDS--OLD TESTAMENT; 5 volumes--given the fact it is five volumes rather than one (see above) it stands to reason that much more is included.

Arnold & Wiliamson, IVP DICTIONARY OF THE OLD
TESTAMENT: HISTORICAL BOOKS--1000 pages of
good stuff

Boda & McGonville, IVP DICTIONARY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: PROPHETS--Ditto above

COMMENTARIES WITH HELPFUL HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDS:

Dale Ralph Davis, JOSHUA; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, JUDGES, Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, 1ST SAMUEL; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, 2ND SAMUEL; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis; 1ST KINGS; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, 2ND KINGS; Christian Focus

Robert Hubbard, ed.; NEW INTERNATIONAL
COMMENTARIES ON THE OLD TESTAMENT; Eerdmans
multi-volume set covering the complete O.T.

Two other resources are very useful.

NIV ARCHEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE; Zondervan--the faculty of Gordon-Conwell Seminary gives archeological and historical backgrounds for the whole Bible, aiding our understanding immensely.

James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary, eds.; DO HISTORICAL MATTERS MATTER TO FAITH ?; Crossway--scholars from around the world show how the Bible is historical and it matters. Eight chapters are on the Old Testament.

These should get you started and provide much help.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM

Posted: 05:19:00 AM :: permalink


1st CORINTHIANS 13

08/03/2015

Steve,
I am an elder in a PCA church and am looking for a good book on the treatment of love, covered in 1 Corinthians 13, vs 4-7, and particularly as they apply to love in marriage. I seem to remember seeing some really good verse by verse discussions in book(s) some years ago, but I don't seem to find books on it now as I browse through the internet. Are there any books along this line you would recommend. Thanks so much.
In Christ,
Bill Brownfield


Bill,

Thank you for your important question. I believe there are at least two resources that will help.

CHARITY AND ITS FRUITS (Living in the Light of God's
Love) by Jonathan Edwards and Kyle Strobel;
Crossway Books--Edwards classic treatment with
explanatory notes to update the application by Kyle
Strobel.

CHARITY AND ITS FRUITS by Jonthan Edwards; Banner
of Truth

I will keep my eyes open for other resources.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 01:42:00 PM :: permalink


BOOKS FOR MY BROTHER AND HIS FAMILY FOR FAMILY DEVOTIONS

Recently I visited my brother and his family. He has two girls (6 and 8) and because of them he has started going to church. He expressed to me that he would like to teach them about God.

What resources would you recommend?

Enrique

Enrique,

Thank you for your important question. I can recommend three excellent resources to help your brother and his family. See the three books below:


Biblia para nińos, Historias de Jesús / The Jesús Storybook Bible
Jesus Storybook Bible
by Lloyd-Jones, Sally
16.99 / 11.99


Big Book of Bible Truths
Volume One
By: Ferguson, Sinclair
You can never have too many stories! Children love them: We all do! And who better to hear about in a story than the great storyteller himself, Jesus. Through the stories in this book you will find out about him, his life, how he wants to get to know you. Sinclair tells twenty-seven stories that will teach you about what it means to be a Christian. Nick-names, moth burgers – there are many interesting stories that teach you things you didn’t know before – and loads of cool stuff about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Big Book of Bible Truths
Volume Two
By: Ferguson, Sinclair
We all love stories - can you ever have too many? There is no one better to hear about in a story than the greatest storyteller himself, Jesus. These stories will help you discover even more about him, his life – how he wants to get to know you. Here are another twenty-seven stories that will teach you about what it means to belong to God’s family. There are lots of different people to discover, including an architect and a master craftsman. You will also be able to work out what a revival is and if Jesus’ mum ever got in a tizzy? Sinclair tells many interesting stories that will teach you things you didn’t know before. God, Jesus and You – what a team! Now that’s a winning combination (no doubt about it)!

May they serve your brother and his family well and introduce them all to Christ.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 09:40:48 AM :: permalink


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