Resources on the Holy Spirit

HSResources

Crossway is offering numerous invaluable resources on pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit) at an incredible discount  (from now until August 3rd). Keep in mind that these discounts apply only to the eBook versions. The following descriptions come from each book’s Amazon page. I can personally recommend Graham A. Cole’s He Who Gives Life, yet I have not had a chance to review the other titles. But at the given price, that chance may come soon!  I’ve already picked up Ware’s text (it’s been a long time coming!). Check out these brief descriptions and click the image to go to the Amazon page.


 

Walking in the Spirit is a journey into what the Bible teaches about life in the Holy Spirit. Author Kenneth Berding uses the apostle Paul and his words in Romans 8 to model what it looks like to live both empowered and set free by the Spirit.

Written at an accessible level, Berding speaks to a wide audience as he seeks to connect readers to the life of the Spirit. His practical guide covers a variety of topics, showing readers how to set their minds on the things of the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body, be led by the Spirit, know the fatherhood of God, and hope and pray in the Spirit.

Berding applies the Bible to life through many of his own personal experiences, helping readers make connections to their own spiritual journeys. Discussion questions for each chapter facilitate personal reflection and small-group study.”

 

 

The Holy Spirit is perhaps the least understood, and least acknowledged, member of the Trinity, but his work in the gospel is indispensable. In this new booklet from the Gospel Coalition, Kevin DeYoung looks to Scripture to outline fundamental doctrine about the personhood and work of the Holy Spirit.

DeYoung describes the Holy Spirit as our ultimate gift. Jesus promised his followers that a “helper” would be given to them. It is through this helper that we actively experience the power and presence of God. In this booklet DeYoung notes the activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives, including his role in conviction, conversion, glorification, and the imparting of spiritual gifts.

The Holy Spirit offers a thoughtful explanation for point 9 of the Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement. The Gospel Coalition is an evangelical renewal movement dedicated to a scripture-based reformation of ministry practices.

 

 

Despite the growth of the charismatic movement and Pentecostal churches, people still have questions-and even troubling concerns-about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. These real questions are the burden of this book, which seeks to sequentially address from throughout Scripture six crucial questions that affect a person’s relationship to the Spirit:

  • What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
  • How does a person resist him?
  • Ought we to pray to the Spirit?
  • How do we quench the Spirit?
  • How do we grieve the Spirit? and
  • How does he fill us?

Each chapter is devoted to one question and challenges readers about their relationship with the Spirit and about Christian living in general. Readers are also given key elements for thinking theologically and implications for their belief and behavior. It’s a brief, reader-friendly book full of solid, reassuring answers.

 

God cares that we know who he is, and he longs for us to understand him better. Through his Word he revealed his triune nature, though many avoid in-depth study of this doctrine because it is so deep and mysterious.

But God’s revelation of himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit affects how he relates to us, how he made us, and who he is eternally. The doctrine of the Trinity is essential to our understanding of him and of our faith. The focus of this study is to examine the ways in which the three Persons of the Trinity relate to one another, how they relate to us, and what difference this makes to our lives.

To understand just how God is both One and Three is to delve into some of Scripture’s most glorious truths and to experience the joy of beholding the wonder of our triune God. This is a practical study for you and your home, church, and ministry.

 

Often the most misunderstood, and therefore ignored, member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit deserves our attention and understanding. God the Father and God the Son rightfully garner much explanation and exploration, and God the Holy Spirit ought to be given the same studiousness, curiosity, and scholarship. In this addition to Crossway’s Foundations of Evangelical Theology series, Dr. Graham Cole has written a work that offers a comprehensive theology of the Holy Spirit.

This book shows the ultimate selflessness of the Holy Spirit as the member of the Trinity who always works for the glory of God the Father and God the Son and the good of the saints.

Ideal for pastors, teachers, and students of theology, this book is a superb theology of the Holy Spirit.

Elders in the Life of the Church

Newton, Phil A. and Matt Schmucker. Elders in the Life of the Church: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2014. 256 pp. $16.99. Amazon |Barnes & Noble Christianbook.com | Westminster Books

EldersElders in the Life of the Church is a book about transition. How do churches transition to a plurality of elders leading the church like we read in Acts and the epistolary literature of the New Testament? Specifically, what are the Baptist roots for eldership? What are the benefits for recovering plural elder leadership in the local church? While this book is written with an eye towards Baptist church leaders, any leader with questions regarding eldership in the church would do good to turn to this pastoral manual. Phil A. Newton and Matt Schmucker, writing from experience and a well-founded biblical foundation, seek to answer these questions and provide practical wisdom for transitioning a church towards a elder-led model of church leadership. This book serves as a extensive update to Phil Newton’s 2005 offering, Elders in Congregational Life also published on Kregel. Matt Schmucker, founding executive director of 9Marks and an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washinton, D.C., injects additional pastoral substance and executive experience making this volume invaluable for every church leader. 

Historically-grounded within the roots of Baptist life, these authors argue that a plurality of elders was practically the warp and woof of Baptist ecclesiology from its inception. They state, “In short, the practice was not universal, but many Baptist churches of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries practiced plural leadership” (29). Eldership is certainly baptistic, though history records various nuances based on context. Historic baptists on the whole concluded that plural eldership reflected a careful reading and understanding of the New Testament model. Walking readers through the biblical and historical evidence for elder leadership in the church, Newton and Schmucker provide a well-tempered text for church leaders to consider. Their most helpful chapter for readers is chapter five on “Character and Congregationalism.” The authors observe, “Elders not only lead the congregations, they must also work with each other. The character qualities are therefore critical for plural leadership to live in unity and work together in humility” (75). This grand biblical vision for leading the church requires Spirit-derived character and the humility to exercise Christian virtues among fellow leaders. Such a vision encourages the church towards greater humility and unity as they follow their shepherds. They note, “Shared authority hones the focus and spirituality of the elders” (80). This is truly the desired outcome for God’s people who follow the leadership of God’s shepherds.

Rather than leaving readers with theory divorced from application, Newton and Schmucker lay a foundation then lead readers across its level path. Sharing the pulpit, letting all elders have turns to address the body, and wisely transitioning your church body into elder leadership are just a few of the practical guiding steps provided to readers. Elders in the Life of the Church highlights the spiritual battles which may ensue in the journey towards eldership. There are also numerous rewards including the possibility of a vibrant and spiritually healthy local church. Our authors make one of the best cases for transitioning to elder leadership available today. Reflective questions at the end of each chapter make this a useful text for pastors and leadership teams praying through this sort of transition. The book layout itself is a little clumsy, with some chapters dramatically shorter than others, making them seem more like an extended footnote rather than a useful chapter within the flow of the text (specifically chapter four suffers from this). Otherwise, this text should greatly serve leaders who are looking deeply into this question. These authors understand the pain involved as well as the deep spiritual pleasure in successfully transitioning a church to elder leadership. For those needing their wisdom, these authors invite readers to share in their journey so that local churches everywhere may experience the fruits of biblical leadership: a vibrant spirituality in the church and a faithful witness in the world for God’s glory.

Thanks to Kregel Publications for providing a free review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Meditation and Extended Bible Memorization

MeditationNew

I’ve been blogging through the concept of Christian meditation over the past few weeks, looking at the Psalms and the ministry of Jesus. I’ve noted that meditation is not a neutralmemorization-davis concept while also understanding that this vital practice is part of our Christian walk. Meditation is intimately tied to the word of God, to the point of memorizing what it says. As the Psalmist declares, I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalms 119:11 ESV). Clearly, memorizing Scripture is meant to honor God, ultimately giving his people joy by walking in holiness. Andrew Davis, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, has recognized this need and recently written on Scripture memorization. While many of us likely have various single verses memorized, Davis encourages his readers to go a step further. He hopes that we would memorize whole books of Scripture and other large sections of God’s word. This sort of memorization receives the call to meditate upon God’s word with the utmost seriousness and joy. He writes this in a recent interview with The Gospel Coalition:

The beauty of memorization comes in the deeper understanding that results from continual meditation (“day and night” as Psalm 1 puts it) on the Word of God, and from the purifying effects of having a mind that concentrates fully on the Word rather than on worldly things. Memorization is a great way to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:1), because it gives the Word much more concentrated access to your heart. It doesn’t rest lightly but hits you more fully with great impact.

Having the word of God in you and working through every aspect of your life is the one of the goals of Christian meditation. Like the Psalmist we are to have a soul consumed with longing for the rules of God at all times (Psalm 119:20). But whole books? Large sections of Scripture? This seems like an impossible task! Davis’s prescription to this problem: time. He goes on to say:

Over the first few years of seeking to memorize whole books of the Bible, I learned immediately the essence of it: repetition over time. I then developed some simple techniques for repeating the new verses while holding onto old ones. The process that I have written down in the booklet An Approach to the Extended Memorization of Scripture was pretty much intact after about two years of working on it. Details like repeating the whole book for 100 days, and how to memorize larger portions of scripture, and the value of memorizing chapter and verse numbers developed in those first two years.

Davis recognizes that we have limitations and doesn’t go on to prescribe a monastic retreat in order to accomplish the task of extended Scripture memorization. But this call is intriguing nonetheless and warrants our consideration. As one who usually focuses on memorizing key verses, I have been challenged by this call for an enlarged vision of Bible meditation and memorization. His booklet, An Approach to the Extended Memorization of Scriptureis available on Kindle for $0.99! It’s a short booklet, but well worth the price. I encourage you to download it, ingest his practical wisdom, and begin the process of cherishing God’s word on a whole new level.

 

HT: The Gospel Coalition