Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Review of R.C. Sproul's commentary on Matthew

                Matthew is the newest entry in R.C. Sproul’s New Testament commentary series. This series takes Sproul’s expositional sermons an said books and compiles them into a commentary. There are six volumes in the series, in Sproul’s signature conversational style. It is this very style that makes this volume easily accessible to the pastor looking for help preparing a sermon or the average Joe just looking for some clarity about a particular passage.
            In the world of commentaries there are polar ends of the spectrum from the highly technical to the purely devotional, this work falls somewhere in between. It is not technical to the point of breaking down Greek words and participles and the such but it gives you a nice verse by verse explanation of the material being discussed. This is by no means a short book and I would not see anyone sitting down to read all 800+ pages just for something to do.
            If you are a pastor working on sermon in the Gospel of Matthew and would like a little extra pastoral insight, this work lets you feel like you picked up the phone and asked Sproul himself to give you the none technical response to a particular section of Scripture. And if you are reading through the Gospel in your personal devotions this work will also provide you the extra insight to apply the word to your life and have a greater understanding of what was going on at the time.

            I have no problem recommending this work to anyone who happens to be looking for a good commentary on Matthew, as long as they are not looking for a bunch of technical jargon and Greek definitions. I did receive a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for my fair and honest review; I was not required to give a positive review of this material in order to receive it. So dig in the book of Matthew and let Sproul give you some pastoral insight as you go. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Review of Humble Orthodoxy

In Joshua Harris's book Humble Orthodoxy, he issues a clarion call to the Christian community. Far to often those of us who love orthodox teaching and beliefs can be far to arrogant. This work is a call for us to speak to those who may not hold to correct views with love and peaceful tones. Weighing in at 60 pages this work is not extremely long, and is written in a manner that engages the reader, as though they were part of a conversation. I am not the fastest reader in the world, but was able to complete this work in the matter of 2-3 hours of reading.
I am not one to often quote the works I am reviewing because I feel I am giving away the material. One thing that stood out to me came from the final pages of the book when Harris says that this is actually a reworking of a chapter from his previous work Dug Down Deep. This seems to be becoming a new trend in the literary world, John Piper has also done something similar in the last year, along with several other authors. There is no way that you can read this book and not walk away from it wanting to be a better witness to orthodoxy, and showing that it can be done in a loving, non-arrogant manner.
I would recommend this work to anyone that appreciates good theology, and wants to be a more effective communicator. So I guess you could say one of the biggest take-aways from the book is while what you believe maybe correct you don't have to be a jerk in the way you present it.In accordance with the law, I was given a copy of this work for my honest review. I was not required to give a favorable review in order to receive this work. Below you will find some links that will tell you more about this work and the author also.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review of Saving Eutychus

As a seminarian and evangelist, I love the art, science and all aspects of preaching. When I first read the title of this book I knew right away it was one I wanted to read. Saving Eutychus is a very well presented work on the importance of preaching and doing it effectively.  The authors Gary Millar and Phil Campbell, are connected to Queensland Theological College, one is an Irishman and the other an Aussie.
The book is not very long, and is very easy to read through. I personally did it in three days pacing myself to digest what these guys were saying. For some people they may be able to read this whole work in a single session. It consist of eight chapters and two appendices the  last chapter and subsequent material are to help you get a better idea of formulating your sermon and also how to lovingly critique your sermon or a fellow pastor's work.
Since I am writing a review of this book and would highly recommend you get your hands on a copy soon if you are a preacher in any context, big church or little, city church or rural parish, there is something in here for everyone. One of the most helpful chapters for me was Why preaching the Gospel is so hard (especially from the Old Testament). While most of us will always try to point the text back to Jesus they warn about doing it in the wrong way and offer several different techniques that can be used and still be doctrinally sound and not doing a dis-justice to your audience or the text. I will say this about the book to wet your appetite, something I had never considered and they suggested is when reading the narratives change the past tense to the present tense and watch it come to life and blow the dust right off a story you thought you already knew.
I was given a copy of this work in exchange for a review, my review did not have to be favorable in order to receive this work.