Church History

Justin’s #53 – Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, various, 224 pages

October 17, 2015 // 0 Comments

It’s always frustrating to hear on the news “Evangelicals believe..” because that term is either very generic or very specific depending on who you ask. I never really thought about it before, but the term “evangelical” is actually a highly contested term. As I read this book, I thought evangelicalism might be a lot like jazz. Jazz is a genre of music that has a variety of subgenres. So for example, when you say “I’m listening to jazz”, that doesn’t really tell you anything. Are you listening to latin jazz? Straight ahead? Fusion? Bebop? Free? The possibilities are vast in this world. In the same way, I think this book is a lot like that. There are many, many forms of evangelicalism and each has a particular view of what makes a person evangelical. What convictions does one have to hold to be an evangelical? Where are the boundaries and what is central? What of differing opinions? This is the beginning question of this book. How do we define evangelical? There are four views presented on the “spectrum of evangelicalism” that general editors Andrew Nasselli and Collin Hansen assembled, each with a different theologian to describe what is an evangelical. […]

Justin’s #41 – The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, Loraine Boettner, 433 pages

August 26, 2015 // 0 Comments

There are few doctrines in the Christian faith that have produced so much consternation as the doctrine of predestination. In essence, the big debate is between two camps (there are more, but I won’t bother to delve into these): the “Calvinist” camp, which believes that man is entirely evil and that he cannot, on his own, come to salvation but God must intervene. Therefore, because God’s decreed will can never be thwarted, he “predestined” all who will come to salvation from before the foundations of the earth. The other camp is the Arminian camp, which believe that God has given up some of influence on man to allow us to have free will so that we can choose God on our own volition. Rightly so this has divided not only Evangelicalism, but Christianity in general. Loraine Boettner, a committed Presbyterian (ask him, he will tell you about it), wrote this book to flesh out some of the issues of the system of Calvinism. In his book, he introduces the doctrine and then examines each “point” of Calvinism that is commonly known in the acronym, “TULIP”: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and the Preservation of the saints. He […]

Justin’s #21 – From God to Us, Norman Geisler, 419 pages

June 8, 2015 // 0 Comments

Earlier this year, I read about book about William Tyndale and his daring mission to translate the Bible into English. Before I started that book, I had been reading this one by Norman Geisler which presents a pretty significant layman’s scope of the area of theology called bibliology. One of the biggest threats to Evangelicalism today is the disdain for the Bible. Liberal scholars as well as Atheists and Agnostics have been putting pressure on this traditional thought for several years now and with good reason: when you discredit the Bible, everything after it falls as well. The inerrancy debate, I believe, will be one of the most pivotal arguments for Christians as we enter into the greater 21st century. That’s why Geisler’s book is so important. People of all walks of life will look at the Bible and wonder if what we are reading is really what the original authors wrote. What they do not realize is that there is a plethora of evidence given to defend the position of inerrancy. Geisler starts with the inspiration of the texts; the thought that God, through the Holy Spirit, inspired men to write down His very words in the style of […]

Justin’s #14 – The Daring Mission of William Tyndale, Steve Lawson, 184 pages

May 15, 2015 // 0 Comments

This past semester, my church started a new Sunday School series about the English Reformation. To the English (and to those who speak English), William Tyndale was a great reformer and is incredibly underrated as a great man in the history of the English speaking world. What Tyndale accomplished for the English is similar to what Martin Luther did for the Germans. He was born in England and educated at Oxford and quickly developed into a brilliant man whose dream was to see the Bible in the hands of the layman, the plower of the field. In this time, the Bible was forbidden to be written any any other language other than Latin and could only be read personally by the clergy. Tyndale hoped that one day, all would be able to read the Bible for themselves. So he began a journey that would be considered heretical, and “daring”: he began to translate the Bible from Greek to English. He needed a bit of work learning Greek which he pick up from perhaps the great scholar, Melancthon in Germany. He had to move outside of England because he was already beginning to build a reputation for heresy and treason. He […]

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