Pastoral Reading Group

One of the things my brother and I have been doing for over twenty years is to meet together in a reading group with a couple of other pastor friends. We pick a book to read, set a time a few months away, reschedule at the last minute (not a requirement but a frequent occurrence), meet for lunch and discuss, then pray for one another’s ministries. It is a great blessing to us.

Over the years we have kept very spotty records, especially early on, but I think we have read well over 100 books together. I’m going to post the list in a table below. Some titles are missing, though we know that we met on the dates indicated. I thought the list might be of interest to some. You might not like some of the titles. Neither did we, after the fact! Others, some of us liked and others disliked. Nevertheless, edifying discussion has always been the fruit of this meeting.

My brother got the idea from Pastor Mark Minnick some time ago and we’ve kept it up.

Our list includes our next book, The Baptist Story, which is my pick. I reviewed it here.

Date

Title

Author

3/28/2017

The Baptist Story

Chute, Anthony, Nathan Finn, & Michael Haykin

1/12/2017

Between Pain & Grace

Peterman, Gerald & Andrew Schmutzer

9/13/2016

J. C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone

Murray, Iain

5/17/2016

All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes

Myers, Kenneth

2/2/2016

Biblical Worldview

ed. Mark Ward

10/27/2015

Far Above Rubies

Clark, Lynette

7/21/2015

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

Butterfield, Rosaria

7/21/2015

Christians and Alcohol

Jaeggli, Randy

2/26/2015

Love, Liberty, and Christian Conscience

Jaeggli, Randy

2/26/2015

The Law and the Christian

Casillas, Ken

10/23/2014

Apologetics to the Glory of God

Frame, John

7/17/2014

Matthew Henry: His Life and Influence

Harman, Allan

2/6/2014

The Servant of Jehovah

Baron, David

10/24/2013

Millennialism

Feinberg, Charles

8/1/2013

Fundamentalism and American Culture

Marsden, George

3/28/2013

A Passion for God (about Tozer)

Dorsett, Lyle

1/17/2013

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands

Tripp, Paul

10/11/2012

Refuting Compromise

Sarfati, Jonathan

6/21/2012

The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fund.

Henry, Carl

1/26/2012

Theologians of the Baptist Tradition

George, Timothy and Dockery, David

9/15/2011

Through Jewish Eyes

Hartman, Craig

6/28/2011

Is God a Moral Monster?

Copan, Paul

3/31/2011

Whosoever Will

ed., Allen, David & S. Lemke

1/13/2011

The Word Became Fresh

Davis, Dale Ralph

7/29/2010

Cornelius Van Til

Muether, John

3/25/2010

Ten Books that Screwed Up the World

Wiker, B.

1/21/2010

Not by Chance

Talbert, Layton

9/24/2009

25 Surprising Marriages

Petersen, William

6/25/2009

Worship in Song

Aniol, Scott

3/19/2009

Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor

Carson, D. A.

3/19/2009

Model of Christian Maturity

Carson, D. A.

1/22/2009

The Company of the Preachers, Vol. 1

Larsen, David

9/25/2008

Faith that Endures

Boyd-MacMillan, Ronald

7/24/2008

The Greatness of the Kingdom, part 2

McClain, Alva

3/27/2008

The Greatness of the Kingdom, part 1

McClain, Alva

1/31/2008

Evangelical Hermeneutics

Thomas, Robert L.

11/15/2007

Understanding the Deeper Life

Towns, Elmer

9/13/2007

A Royal Destiny

Wisdom, Thurman

6/14/2007

A History of the Baptists, Vol. 1

John T. Christian

3/22/2007

Worship in the Early Church

Martin, Ralph

3/22/2007

Whatever Happened to Worship?

Tozer, A. W.

1/25/2007

Crowded to Christ

Maxwell, L. E.

10/12/2006

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Fight of Faith

Murray, Iain

6/15/2006

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The First Forty Years

Murray, Iain

4/13/2006

Unveiling Islam

Caner & Caner

2/9/2006

Tell the Truth

Metzger, Will

10/13/2005

What Is an Evangelical?

Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn

8/23/2005

When People Are Big and God Is Small

Welch, Ed

4/28/2005

Putting the Truth to Work

Doriani, Daniel M.

12/2/2004

The Danger of Self-Love

Brownback, Paul

9/16/2004

Blame It On The Brain?

Welch, Ed

6/29/2004

xxx

xxx

4/1/2004

Set Apart

Hughes, R. Kent

1/22/2004

xxx

xxx

8/7/2003

xxx

xxx

8/7/2003

xxx

xxx

5/8/2003

Postmodern Times

Vieth, Gene

2/20/2003

Evangelicalism Divided

Murray, Iain

1/11/2003

Jonathan Edwards

Marsden, George

12/5/2002

Planting Churches Cross-Culturally

Hesselgrave, David

9/26/2002

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya

Tucker, Ruth

6/13/2002

Desiring God

John Piper

4/4/2002

The Reformed Pastor

Baxter, Richard

1/31/2002

xxx

xxx

1/15/2002

Spurgeon

Dallimore, Arnold

11/29/2001

Why do Good People do Bad Things

Lutzer, Erwin

9/13/2001

xxx

xxx

6/28/2001

xxx

xxx

2/15/2001

xxx

xxx

1/9/2001

The Complete Husband

Priolo, Lou

1/2/2001

Christ-Centered Preaching

Chapell, Bryan

11/24/2000

Spiritual Depression

Lloyd-Jones

9/7/2000

xxx

xxx

5/2/2000

xxx

xxx

2/15/2000

xxx

xxx

11/29/1999

xxx

xxx

9/7/1999

xxx

xxx

6/29/1999

Lectures to My Students

Spurgeon, Charles

4/20/1999

xxx

xxx

1/19/1999

xxx

xxx

1/9/1999

Failure the Backdoor to Success

Lutzer, Erwin

1/4/1999

Key to the Missionary Problem

Murray, Andrew

10/29/1998

xxx

xxx

6/9/1998

xxx

xxx

2/10/1998

xxx

xxx

12/5/1997

xxx

xxx

10/21/1997

xxx

xxx

separation

Kevin Bauder critiques my recent post “Response to Tyler Robbins” beginning this way:

In Pastor Don Johnson’s description of “Convergent” evangelicals, the first item is “Anti-separatism (or at least non-separatism).” This descriptor is so vague as to be nearly incomprehensible, and to the degree that it can be comprehended it is misleading. To know what Pastor Johnson means by “anti-separatism,” we would first have to know exactly what he means by separatism. Presumably he is thinking in terms of some version of ecclesiastical separation, though exactly what his theory of ecclesiastical separation is, I have never quite been able to understand. At any rate, assuming that he is accusing “Convergents” of rejecting (or at least not implementing) ecclesiastical separation, the accusation is terribly unfair.

Even the Neoevangelicals were not completely anti-separatistic. They never argued for engaging in Christian fellowship with Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Shintoists, Jainists, Sikhs, Bahaists, Theosophists, Spiritists, Atheists, Satanists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Millennial Dawnists, or Mormons. They clearly understood that no Christian fellowship was possible with adherents of these gospel-denying systems.

It is true that I did not define what I meant by anti-separatist, but I think brother Bauder is well aware of what I mean by separatism as he goes on to describe it later in his post. I think his opening, however, is an odd attempt to muddy the waters as he argues that the New Evangelicals were somehow still a kind of separatist. If everyone is a separatist, no one is a separatist. Clearly the New Evangelicals were not for separation from theological liberalism, rather they sought to infiltrate and cooperate with liberalism for various ends, some of which Bauder lists in his post.

[Read more…]

getting the history part of grammatical-historical

Just a thought that occurred to me while listening to Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds …It is extremely helpful to Bible interpreters to have an understanding of the culture and history in which the Bible was written. This particular “Great Courses” offering touches on some points of history that help us in understanding the culture the early Christians were saved from. I think that I am reading the New Testament with better understanding as a result.

Even better than this course are two other offerings: Herodotus: The Father of History, an excellent presentation by Elizabeth Vandiver and the actual work of Herodotus: The Histories.

These works are full of secular misconceptions and there are sometimes misrepresentations of Biblical information contained in them. However, one thing I’ve found fascinating is the Greek mindset on display. I suspect that many Greeks of the ancient world viewed their pagan superstitions cynically, yet they most likely “hedged their bets” and went along or adopted them as a “cultural practice.” Nevertheless, whether true believers or no, they had a culture to overcome in coming to Christ. “The Greeks look for wisdom.”

As we consider the preaching and teaching of the apostles in the context of the thinking of the day, we can gain insight to perhaps preaching and teaching the pagans of modernistic and post-modernistic society as well.

Response to Tyler Robbins

This article is to respond to a lengthy piece by Tyler Robbins reacting to an article in our most recent FrontLine magazine. Tyler is unhappy with the article by Dan Unruh entitled, “Why I Left My Fundamentalist Church.” Dan’s article is among a collection of articles in this issue dealing with what we are calling “convergence,” that is, the phenomenon of individuals formerly connected with the fundamentalist movement who are now embracing certain aspects of the Evangelical movement. This change of position really is a new thing, it isn’t fundamentalist and perhaps it isn’t strictly evangelical either. Dan is writing about one part of that phenomenon where convergent pastors have decided to move their formerly fundamental churches into a more evangelical position. I wrote an article on this myself some months ago, entitled “What to do when your church leaves you.”

I should also say that my answers here are my personal opinions. I am not speaking for the FBFI at all, the only individual who speaks for us is Dr. John Vaughn, otherwise when the board speaks, we speak through position statements adopted in our meetings.

[Read more…]

interesting blog on marriage

Here

A concluding quote

This irony—that we expect so much of marriage but find it disappointing—is an irony Scripture understands perfectly. It’s called idolatry. If I pursue any goal above the honor of God, I’m worshiping an idol. The moment I make my “relationship” the goal of my life, I doom myself to disappointment.

A note for the Convergents ™ out there…

Yes, I am linking to a blog on The Gospel Coalition site. No, I am not joining your ranks!

heh.

Revivalism

A lot of people say invitations and revivalism trace their beginning to Charles Finney. This paper argues that Baptists have practiced invitations and revivals from the period following the First Great Awakening, prior to Finney, and is the major contributing factor behind the numerical preponderance of Baptists in the South.

I think the article makes some interesting points, and should be considered by those interested in this topic.

I would also recommend the site where this article is found. Incredible resource of Baptist documents.

A refusal to vote for Trump is a vote for…

Hillary?

So say the rabid Trumpsters on social media. If you object to Trump and his excesses, his foolish statements and positions, you are pounced on and accused of supporting Hillary Clinton.

Well, I don’t think so. I don’t have a vote in the election (but many family members do). But like most in the world, I have an opinion.

The polls on the election fluctuate and will continue to fluctuate until the real poll, election day. However, I think the polls have consistently had Hillary ahead. As of today, the Real Clear Politics polling average has Clinton ahead by 2.7%. More important, though, is the state by state polling. Every prognostication based on state by state polling shows Hillary killing it in the Electoral College. Trump will have to get probably 10 points ahead of Hillary to overcome her advantage state by state.

I think that tells us that, barring some unforeseen miracle – a creditable third candidate, some unforeseen disaster that overtakes Hillary’s campaign, or some other unknown event – Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.

All my reading about this election suggest that even Democrats are not thoroughly enamored with Hillary. She has more negatives than most candidates in history and is thoroughly beatable. So why is she leading? Because she has a clown for an opponent.

Why does she have a clown for an opponent? Because the voters in primary season voted for him.

The reality is that “A non-vote for Trump is a vote for Hillary” is just a canard. Ridiculous. It was all those votes for Trump during primary season that are the actual votes for Hillary.

Thanks Trumpsters. You’ve just elected a president worse than Obama. Hard to believe.

No moral compass

That’s basically what this Abacus survey of Canadians on issues of morality seems to suggest, for the vast majority of Canadians. This presents a challenge for evangelism (so many false values to get past) and an opportunity (Christianity is clearly different). May we be bold and call men from darkness to light!

He’s a separatist! He’s a separatist!

Isn’t he?

So much for the rumor that John MacArthur separated from Piper over his connections to Mark Driscoll, C J Mahaney, et al.

Yet some of our leaders are fine with cooperating on platforms with fringe members of this crowd… are they really coming our way?

Self-Governing, Self-Supporting, Self-Propagating

I am happy to announce to my few blog readers that our church has taken an immense step forward this year. Perhaps I should fill you in on a little of our history before I tell you what that step is.

[Read more…]