Saturday, 26 December 2009

Sorry folks, we're taking a break...

Mmmmm, finally some time to catch up on a bit of reading... luxury.

We plan to be back in action on Monday 4th Jan 2010, raring to go and brimful of creative energy (that's what Jeremy keeps telling me anyway!). Season's Greetings to all our customers, we look forward to hearing from you in the year to come.

Lorna

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Blow your Mind this Christmas!

This book really is a fantastic effort to communicate science, and how it backs up belief in God, despite the attempts of Richard Dawkins and crew to rubbish religion. I have read many popular level books on scientific topics, both from christian and non-christian authors in my time, but this is top notch! Edgar Andrews takes on the 'new atheists' and compares creeds by the scientific method across a wide spectrum of enquiry. He uses only the biblical God as his starting point, and demonstrates that observed fact fits his 'hypothesis' far more convincingly than any alternative. Fascinating facts and details are packed in like raisins in a Christmas cake. It is an excellent apologetics tool, but also a book to stir the soul as well as the mind towards our great and sovereign Creator. Certainly a good 'braintraining' work out to compensate for the excesses of the festive season! But don't equate challenging with tiresome. The 'busy mother of four' listed among the credits on the back cover found she could 'quite easily' grasp the concepts involved and intends it for 'the coffee table' when friends come round. I admire that woman. In my opinion as a lesser mortal there are some frankly tricky bits, but Andrews handles them as deftly and lightly as could be hoped for. After all some things will always remain difficult however clearly explained eg. quantum physics.
One point I would like to gauge other people's views on in the creation science fraternity is Professor Andrews opinion of the Big Bang. Read chapter seven and then come back to me. If you haven't got a copy of the book, buy one from me, then read chapter seven and come back to me! Is it the consensus among 'Special Creationists', if I may use the term, that there is no incompatibilty between Big Bang theory and Genesis chapter one? I just felt that maybe a version of the Gap theory was being employed at this point.
Overall a great Christmas present option at only £9.95 for a hardback with dust jacket.
Jeremy

Saturday, 12 December 2009

The customer is always right... right?

Christmas... those that know me will know I'm not the world's greatest fan, but when you're in the retail world, you have to do it... or do you? Some customers expect it, some don't. Last year, we had a telling off from a customer because we didn't have any 'religious' Christmas cards in the shop. By religious I gather she meant nativity style ones. All our cards have Scripture texts, but it has to be admitted I prefer not to have nativity scenes around. However, bearing in mind this customer's comments when I made my Christmas orders this year I included a few tasteful 'Eastern scene' styles, i.e. wise men on camels, Bethlehem skyline etc etc. So, I thought that should be another happy customer. Well, just this week we have had another ticking off (there are some pretty bossy customers around!) This time Jeremy was discussing with a customer a particular title they wanted sourcing and helpfully (or so he thought) asked...' would you like the book in time for Christmas?' 'I certainly won't be celebrating that pagan festival' came the indignant reply with full reasoned arguments for why not listed in great detail before Jeremy could get a word in edgeways!
Hum, sometimes I wonder... the customer is always right... right?
Season's Greetings!
Lorna
By the way, if you do want books in time for the 25th December our courier will be delivering right up until 24th.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Found it...

... the spare half hour that is. Actually I squeezed in a whole 1.5 hours on Saturday evening before the ironing board beckoned. Unfortunately though, I still haven't managed to prise 'Who Made God' from Jeremy's hands. He thinks he can pacify me by occasionally reading aloud a few paragraphs out of it, but I'm afraid that doesn't suffice. The book I picked up was 'Anne Boleyn' in the Day One 'History Today' series. My interest in reading more about Anne Boleyn was sparked by reading 'Coronation of Glory', which is an award winning novel of the life of Lady Jane Grey by Deborah Meroff and a thoroughly gripping read. Anne Boleyn was the 2nd wife of Henry VIII and was unjustly executed for treason just 3 years after coming to the throne. Both books show just how complex this Tudor period of history is, not just politically but religiously. The twists and turns of the evangelical 'new learning' as it increased in prominence against a backdrop of Catholicism was due in part to the encouragement of people like Anne Boleyn. Encouragement of reformers like Cranmer, Bilney and Latimer, encouragement of the smuggling of Tyndale's New Testaments and even the gentle persuasion of the King of England to soften his view towards the Reformation (which after her death swung back to Catholicism again). It is challenging to read about the deaths of many who would not renounce their new found faith in the true and living God. This little book about Anne Boleyn gives a helpful insight into the beginnings of the Reformation in this country and the instrumental role someone in such a high position was able to play in the advancement of the Gospel.
Anne Boleyn by Colin Hamer, published by Day One, £7
Lorna

Friday, 27 November 2009

I want to read a book!

I want to read a book! But so does everyone else. I suppose I should be glad that everyone has decided to buy good Christian books for Christmas presents... the books are flying off the shelves before they are put on! Plus, suddenly our customers new and old have woken up to the fact that we are running a great value 3 for 2 offer on all children's books. It's great to be busy, but I am in danger of being buried by the next box load of books that come in, never mind the ones waiting to go out!
To top it all off, Jeremy has nicked off with the book I had just started reading... 'Who Made God' by Edgar Andrews. I had only got to page 16, and my 4 yr old is desperate for me to read it because he has made me promise that I will tell him 'Who made God' when I have finished it (even though my 6 yr old has clearly told him 'NOBODY, made God... of course').
Here's hoping for a spare half hour...
Lorna
Btw, if you're wanting children's books the 3 for 2 offer finishes at the end of this month.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Breathing more freely again...

Wow, it's been a crazy couple of weeks! Out of shop bookstalls, evening events, hosting school groups, baking for the events, re-organising the shopfloor to highlight special offers and talking books, books, books! I can't say I don't enjoy it, but I don't think I could quite keep up this pace all year round! (and I don't think I could expect all our loyal helpers to either - thanks everyone!) Now that I'm breathing a little more freely I have realised that the website has been badly neglected and is quite out of date. Apologies. We have had a ton of new books in to add to the chaos and I am desperate to get them on the site so that you all know about them... here's a few as a taster...
This Little Church had None by Gary Gilley, the third title in his 'This little Church' series is apparently a must-read. I really must find the time...
Amazing Conversions by John Ashworth is a reprint of his 'Life and Strange Tales', originally published by Gospel Tidings. Over the years many customers have asked for this title and it had become very scarce. So it is nice to see it available again in a nice quality hardback done by Tentmaker Publications.
Matthew Henry's Daily Readings edited by Randall Pederson. Published in a lovely quality leather bound gift edition. Matthew Henry's portions have been lightly edited and the ESV is used (which sadly I suspect may put many of Matthew Henry's fans off).
Douglas Bond's latest novel The Betrayal is based on Calvin and by all accounts is not only a good read from a fiction point of view, but a profitable read because of the amount of original content from Calvin's own works. Jeremy has been recommending this to anyone prepared to listen to him!
Who Made God? by Edgar Andrews is another one that has been flying off the shelf and is next on my own reading list. The publishers claim that it is 'a really effective riposte to the "new atheism" of Richard Dawkins and others - gently humorous, highly readable, deeply serious, razor sharp, and written by an internationally respected scientist'. I have heard many positive reviews and look forward to getting my teeth into it.
Our 3 for 2 offer on children's books has been running this week and we have decided to extend it another few weeks or as long as stocks last. Have a look at our children's catalogue, there really are some great children's books around at the moment.
Don't forget to get your orders in for the AV Block Calendar, it is selling fast this year and stock levels are getting low.
Lorna

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Busy Reading...

Yes, I've been reading! I know that shouldn't be too unusual for a bookshop manager, but thanks to a few bugs kindly being passed around the family, I seem to have had a bit more 'down time' than usual and therefore more time to read. I've been working my way through the children's section - not necessarily an indication of my current mental level, but purely to make sure I am well genned-up on this section before November comes. November is our month for offers on children's books, which includes some late night openings and this year it even includes a local Christian school bringing a group of children to the shop for their English Literature trip!

I can't resist a plug here for one of the fiction books I have read this week... Guilty Verdict by Rosalie Battye. Rosalie is a self published author whose books are not well known (but should be). This book is a typical 'Famous Five' type story. A group of children determined to solve a crime get themselves into a spot of bother with the criminals but somehow still solve the mystery! Within the storyline the relativism of postmodernism is contrasted with the absolute truth of christianity (not in those terms - it might put the children off!). There are clear moral guidelines and the religious content is sound. At only £2.50 this book is a must for any children who like a good detective story.

So, put in a note in your diary. November 9th to November 14th is the week to remember. Buy 3 children's books during this week and you will only need to pay for 2 of them. The whole of the children's section will be '3 for 2'. If you are local, we are opening late on the Monday and Thursday (9th and 12th). These are officially 'Ladies nights' but blokes won't be turned away! Past years have proved these evening events to be popular - relax and talk books over a slab of cake and cuppa - we will be open from 7pm 'til late. How late depends on how much we get nattering, but beyond 10pm would not be unusual.
Now then, I must get back to 'Jungle Doctor'...
Lorna

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Our Reaction to Postal Action

Sorry to be a boring blogger. However, we are conscious that you may feel uneasy about ordering from us this week due to the threatened strike by postmen on Thursday and Friday. Don't be because we have two different alternatives should this take place. First of all Parcelforce are working as normal, and secondly we have a courier service guaranteeing next day delivery. If your order is worth over £50 (after discount) you will still get FREE delivery anyway. Even if the industrial action drags on towards Christmas this will remain the case. We will still use Royal Mail where possible, but if you lose trust with them in your area, be assured there are other avenues. Just contact us to discuss arrangements. Relax.
Jeremy

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Lessons Learned Along Cancer's Dark Road

Paul Wolfe is a new author on the British scene who deserves to be read. He came close to never writing at all. At only 28 years old, newly married, he was diagnosed with cancer. He was studying for the ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary, and to use his phrase had his life all scripted out for himself. But God showed him who is the real 'scriptwriter' of everything. Thankfully, for him the treatment he received was successful, and he has lived to tell the tale of the 'lessons learned along cancer's dark road' as the book's subtitle puts it. There his very concept of the nature of God was challenged but ultimately strengthened. He proved God's sovereignty to be a help, and not a hindrance. God's goodness became more real to him, and not less. When reading this book you feel something about it which is not frequently found in those of contemporary writers. It is sober and scriptural and searching. It puts eternal things before you in an earnest way. At the same time, in the sections when he is writing about the way events unfolded for him, he has an engaging sense of humour. I think younger readers should relate well to this, and indeed should not think the book as a whole 'too deep'. There are too many 'human interest' type books out there which tell a moving story, but then have little meaningful theological reflection. This is intended not to be like that and it shows in its structure. Wolfe interperses his personal story with chapters which plunge more deeply into some of the big theological issues he confronted. He then shows how they are no less applicable to us. Almost incidentally there is also some useful advice for how we can best support cancer victims and their families - what to say/not say, what to do/not do etc. This is a good Banner of Truth book and only costs £6.25.
Jeremy

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Robert Traill

'Specially welcomed to the throne of grace are they that come... to get, and not to give. Watch your spirits in this matter. When you come to the throne of grace, come to receive out of Christ's fullness, and come not to bring grace with you to add to Christ's store. He loves to give, and glories in giving; but he scorns to receive grace from you; and in truth you have none to give but what he gives you. Bring your wants to him to supply, but bring not your fullness to brag about. Spread your sins before his throne with shame and sorrow, and plead for a gracious pardon; but watch that you don't bring your sorrow, tears and repentance, no, nor your faith itself, as a plea for that pardon.
How abominable it is to Christian ears, and how much more to Christ's to hear a man plead thus for pardon: 'Here is my repentance; where is thy pardon? Here is my faith; where is thy justification?' I know men hate to say so, but watch carefully, lest any thought bordering on it enters into your heart.
Faith is the tongue that begs for pardon. Faith is the hand that receives it; it is the eye that sees it; but it is not the price to buy it. Faith uses the Gospel-plea for pardon; but, neither in habit nor act, is the plea itself. That can only be Christ's blood.'
Quoted from Robert Traill's works (commenting on the publican and pharisee, Luke 18:13), available in a 4 volume paperback set, published by Gospel Mission, priced £26.95
Lorna

Friday, 2 October 2009

October

It's hard to believe that October is already here. Even though I spend a big part of the summer getting ready for the Christmas season (at the shop, not at home... that usually has to wait until Christmas Eve!) it still takes me by surprise when I find myself putting all the Christmas cards out in the shop. But, I have taken the plunge and they are all there, plus the 2010 calendars and diaries. Our own AV Block Calendar is selling well with over 300 gone already. Lots of people have commented on the quality of the pictures. These have been kindly provided by a customer who deserves some recognition. To see more of her beautiful photography, just check her website http://www.elainehagget.co.uk/ .

More details of our cards and calendars will be available on the website very soon, but if you are impatient just let me know and I will send you a Christmas/New Year information sheet. This year we are selling Barnabas Fund Charity cards, here's a taster of some of the lovely cards we have...
Lorna

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Mary Bunyan

This is a book I've been meaning to pick up for a long time and finally got around to it on our holiday in August. It is the story of John Bunyan's family and particularly his eldest daughter Mary who was blind. Written 200 years after the event, it begins with his arrest and subsequent imprisonment and describes the immense strain this put on his impoverished family. His wife (who was his second wife) went into premature labour with her first baby and eventually delivered a child who died shortly after birth. Mary Bunyan although still young (around 12yrs old) was a great help and support to her particularly in the care of the other 3 children. Within the story there is much sound spiritual conversation recounted and conversions described. The author also accurately portrays the political and religious climate of the times plus the difficult living conditions and the effects of the Great Plague.

I have to admit to finding the book hard going initially, probably because of the longwinded style of Victorian writings. However, after a slow start it improved and overall I found it a fascinating and informative read.
Mary Bunyan, by Sallie R Ford, published by Gospel Mission, £10.95

Lorna

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

John Boyana Radasi

He has a lovely name, but how many people have heard of him? He has the honour of being the first Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland missionary to Zimbabwe. This was back in 1904, not long after the 'wee frees' started. He was a native south african, which I imagine was pretty unusual for missionaries working in Africa at the time. So, although he wasn't the very first missionary of any denomination to venture into southern Zimbabwe (then Matabeleland), he must have been about the first black african missionary field director. Jean Nicolson wrote an interesting account of his work back in 1996, aimed at the more easy reading end of the market. That's why I have just read it... The great hardships endured by Radasi, shared alongside his converts, are exemplary. He was widely respected. He had very slender resources apart from faith, but a work was begun then which has grown and continues to this day. More importantly a work of grace was done in many hearts. There are good accounts of young people converted, some of whom also died young due to outbreaks of virulent malaria, and other perils.
It is good to be reminded that although modern Zimbabwe is a broken country due to political problems, it has had the gospel. And from what I gather elsewhere, there are still a good number who are thriving in the truth, although they are destitute materially. Completely the opposite to the UK today.
John Boyana Radasi, FPP 1996, £4.95
Jeremy

Monday, 14 September 2009

Up and Running

We got the shop back up and running last week and feel like we have finally entered the 20th Century (if not the 21st!) with hot running water on the premises and a heating system that should keep the chilblains at bay this winter. Various workmen are still lurking around doing smaller jobs, but we are planning to ignore them as much as possible and do not anticipate any further interruptions to the shop.
September has got off to a flying start which we hope will continue through to the New Year. Last week we were able to put another face to a name when one of our customers drove up from South London to visit the shop. I'm not sure there are many people out there who will drive 3 hours to go to a bookshop then drive 3 hours straight back home again! Good on you Anne! We enjoyed meeting you (even if the dinner did get burnt because of the unplanned late opening!) In all seriousness it is always great to meet our 'mail-order' customers who call in while on holiday 'up North' or just on a day trip. We are quite happy to open earlier or stay open later if needs be - just phone and let us know your plans.
We look forward to seeing you!
Lorna

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

All Wired Up!

I'm really sorry, but we're still shut to the public. We felt it best to stay closed for another week to help the renovation work progress. We've got wires all over the place at the moment in our admin quarters - makes a change from children I suppose! However we're doing what we can, and that means business as usual for telephone and email customers, although some delays may unfortunately be experienced. Blame our hopeless phone company for not being competent enough to let us change our answerphone message - by the time they do it will be too late.
On a more positive note, we are reducing our postal rates as of now. Full details are on our website, but if you spend over £50 your order will go out post free. Also, our annual mail-out is about to go which, in addition to news, has some book promotions. Get in touch via lorna@christianbookshopossett.co.uk if you want one emailed and are not currently on our e-bulletin list.
Jeremy
PS. The AV Block Calendar 2010 is now available for those highly organised individuals who like to get these things done early. Same price as ever ie. £6.95; better photos than ever!

Friday, 21 August 2009

That's It Folks!

The orders have gone, the desk is cleared, the toys packed away and the shop is shut. Yep, sorry for the inconvenience, but we are now shut until after the bank holiday while the premises are being renovated. Anyone who wants to take advantage of our August free post offer can email or phone an order through - we will send it out post free as soon as we can when we re-open.
See you in September!
Lorna

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Tripped up by Tedd...

Sorry, that was the sort of awful pun that only my husband is allowed to come out with! The truth is that I found Tedd Tripp's book 'Shepherding a Child's Heart' very helpful and it still comes off the shelf from time to time so that I can remind myself of the importance of sticking to my guns when discipline seems to be heading out of the window with the children (not the children heading out of the window...). So I was interested to see his new book, written with his wife, entitled 'Instructing a Child's Heart'. I have to confess to not having read it from cover to cover, partly because I started to struggle a bit with it. I definitely like the basic principles he sets out, and some examples can be helpful. However, at the risk of once more sounding racist, my struggles have been with the 'Americanisms'. I would love to find a family, British or otherwise, who actually has conversations as set out in this book. Please let me know if you do and I will take my hat off to you.
Here's an example... Billy has been complaining about his breakfast and this is a suggested response...
" Billy, complaining comes from the heart. Your complaints over breakfast expose internal problems, don't they? a complaining spirit shows a thankless, ungrateful heart toward God and others. 2 Timothy 3:2-4 lists ungratefulness with sins of godlessness..."
Now, while this may be a worthwhile conversation to have about complaining, I know that in reality our breakfast time complaints are more likely to be met with "Come on boys, eat up, we need to get to the shop"!
I don't like to focus though on the negatives and the positives I draw from this and other of Tedd Tripp's books is that he reminds parents not to focus just on the outward behaviour of our children, but to look to their sinful hearts and help them to recognise the sin that is within. He stresses the importance of a Biblical worldview that is not clouded by the changes in society. He highlights the need for clear and careful communication. He emphasises the importance of living out our faith in front of our children and 'practising what we preach'. For this, I can overlook the 'Americanisms'.
Instructing a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp, published by Shepherd Press, £10.95
Lorna

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Where did that office chair go...?

What a wonderful provision it is to have a carpark... not only for cars, but for the children to play in! Here's some pictures from todays antics in the carpark... the boys enjoyed having a friend to play with them... and she came up with a novel way of using the office furniture!
Lorna

Friday, 7 August 2009

Empty Arms

What a heart-rending story about a 'normal' family who suffered the sudden death of a 2yr old girl. As such, it is an intensely personal story, and the author, the mother Keren Baker, makes it clear that grief manifests itself in a range of emotions which are different for each person. The book is essentially a practical one but with spiritual applications that Keren found helpful in those early days of bereavement. Whether you have walked the path of bereavement or not, I feel this book is helpful because it is so practical. From funeral arrangements to scrapbooks, from timeout to keeping busy, from studying God's Word, to singing hymns through tears. As Keren says, none of us know how we might react in a similar situation, but she gives advice on how we can be helpful to others who may suffer this difficult trial. There were snippets of information about how the other children in the family grieved and acknowledgement that her husband grieved very differently - I would have liked to have known more, but at the same time, felt that Keren had already opened up so much of her heart that I could hardly expect more from someone who had suffered such heartbreak only 3 years ago.
I pray that the Lord will continue to uphold this family as they continue their journey.
Empty Arms - A Mother's Journey Through Grief to Hope, by Keren Baker, published by Evangelical Press in a small hardback, £7.95
Lorna

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The Invincible Refugees


Another great historical story by Beth Coombe Harris! Set in the times of the persecution of Huguenot's in seventeenth century France, the fiction is good and interspersed with true events. It is encouraging and fascinating to know of times when Huguenots were instrumental in the conversion of their persecutors. From the conversion stories of the various characters to the simple family conversations and the careful parental guidance in spiritual and practical matters, the spiritual content is thoroughly sound and much profit can be gained from the book.
In comparison to Deborah Alcock - another great author of historical fiction - I think Beth Coombe Harris suits a slightly younger reader, the fiction is a little predictable (for an adult) and the historical information is not as detailed as Deborah Alcock. I would highly recommend Beth Coombe Harris to a young reader (10+yrs, depending on reading ability) who is interested in history. A friend has suggested that this particular book by Beth Coombe Harris is the best she wrote.
Lorna
The Invincible Refugees, by Beth Coombe Harris, published by Gospel Mission, £6.95

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Free Postage!

To heat up the Summer and bring a glow of sweetness and light all round we have zeroed our postal rates for the duration of August. Even if the cricket gets rained off you can be sure of this deal. Any order over £5 qualifies for FREE POSTAGE. It even applies to those churches/ ministers/ pastors/ missionaries/ schools etc, who already get their 15% discount off our books. Oh yes and trade customers as well! The only qualification is that the goods are sent to a UK address. So make sure to take advantage of this in advance of your Summer holiday - if you are so favoured to be able to have such a thing! Why not 'read and leave' and thus spread good books around hotels, guesthouses, youth hostels etc etc, at home or abroad?
Jeremy

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

'Hold-Fast!'

Truth for Today Publications (TFT) of Forest City, North Carolina, USA did the Christian public a great service back in 1997. They republished 'Hold-Fast!' in a nice slim hardback edition. It originally came out in 1909, written by John E Hazelton. It's aim was to sketch out in a simple way the continuity through the centuries since the New Testament church the way in which the Apostolic faith has been maintained by God. It gives little cameos of particular individuals who were instruments in God's hand for perpetuating the truth. The author is not so much concerned with denominations as with doctrine. He gives most space to matters in England from the Reformation onwards.
This is such a unique and valuable book that I am concerned to keep it on my shelves. However I have only got one copy left in the Shop. All my attempts to contact TFT have been fruitless: I wonder in fact whether they are still operating. So this post ends with an appeal. Does anybody out there know what is going on with TFT, or failing that, do they know of any stock of 'Hold-Fast!' available for purchase?? I will be most grateful for any help.
Jeremy

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Wong Ming-Dao

What a remarkable character! I've just finished reading his autobiography 'A Stone Made Smooth' which tells the story of the first 50 years of his life. He didn't have an easy childhood - his father committed suicide shortly before he was born, leaving a family struggling with poverty. He was converted at the young age of 14 but walked a rocky spiritual path before coming to a more settled doctrinal position. Once he began preaching he proved to be a powerful but uncompromising teacher, and therefore gained for himself many enemies...
"Why did I encounter opposition? Apart from the fact that I rebuked prevalent sins both in the world and in the church, and that I opposed not only false prophets but also the apostate teachings of modernist, there was another reason. It was that I opposed all traditions in the church that did not harmonize with Scripture. There are some believers who regard these traditions as equal authority to the Scriptures... I cared not about how many truths some preachers had uprooted from the Bible, nor how many traditions had been added by others, whatever I found in the Bible I accepted - no less and no more. It was not surprising therefore that certain believers both misunderstood me and opposed me."
He has much to say to those in Church leadership positions, but also speaks of day to day difficulties in walking the Christian life. I found him at times to sound harsh and unloving, but I suspect that some warmth is lost in translation. Overall, a fascinating read, but I would like to know more about his subsequent imprisonment which lasted 23 years and his continued ministry in Peking after his release at nearly 80 years of age.
A Stone Made Smooth by Wong Ming-Dao, published by Berean, £5.95
Lorna

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Did you know...?

In the time of Calvin, some people named their dog 'Calvin' to show how much they despised the Reformer!
Taken from John Calvin, by Simonetta Carr (see post 07/07/09)

Thursday, 9 July 2009

John Ashworth

It was a pleasant surprise to read about John Ashworth in the Banner of Truth magazine for this month. I am referring both to this man from C19th Rochdale himself as well as his autobiography 'Life and Strange Tales'. Alun McNabb had clearly been bowled over by reading about him. In his address to the Leicester Ministers' Conference 2009 he is quoted as going so far as to say 'how this generation of preachers would profit from feeding on such a book'[!] What not many people might know is that the book which Alun had been reading was a Gospel Tidings publication, which in crude terms means us. Yes, us here! Gospel Tidings began as the brainchild of Leslie Rowell (he deserves a biography) in 1965. A magazine was started which finally ceased only last year, but in the late 1960s and early 1970s an absolute rash of books got published, despite financial hardships. I know this for sure because my Dad was part of all that. He did the distribution side of things. This has continued to the present day, now via the Bookshop. Leslie Rowell was himself struck by reading John Ashworth when a pastor of Hope Chapel, Rochdale, and thought it worth bringing back out of obscurity. The original autobiography ran to 4 vols, but he creamed off the best into a single hardback. This was in 1972, and that book itself has now become like snow in the Sahara. So this is why Alun McNabb with Phil Roberts at Tentmaker Publications have got together to reproduce the Gospel Tidings edition (with our full co-operation). Phil tells me that he will very likely do a hardback run, but that to make it easily affordable it will be mainly available in paperback.
Another striking Rochdale character around the same time was another John - John Kershaw. Gospel Tidings also reprinted his autobiography in 1968, and it has sold so well over the years that we still have stock of a re-reprinted edition. It is a hardback (£9.95). Kershaw was staunchly free grace, unlike Ashworth actually. He became a Strict Baptist minister and his congregation built Hope Chapel - yes, the place where Leslie Rowell was to come a century later!
Jeremy

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Calvin Anniversary

This tremendously refreshing book about Calvin is an introduction aimed at youngsters (6-11yrs) and produced with great quality. Simonetta Carr intends this to be the first in a series about famous figures from Church History. She has come up with a winning combination in getting the artwork done by a real artist. There is a lovely original watercolour and many full page black & white drawings often betraying a certain whimsical humour. A map, timeline and some historical titbits give further aid to understanding Calvin's life and thought.
It has already been well reviewed in the GS magazine.
John Calvin, by Simonetta Carr, published by RHB h/b, £10
Jeremy

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Mr Pipes and the British Hymn Makers

There are a few 'Mr Pipes' books around, but this is the first time I have properly looked at one. Mr Pipes is a fictional character, an older Christian who befriends a couple of American children on 'vacation' in Olney, Buckinghamshire. Through a series of daytrips Mr Pipes introduces them to the joys of sailing, horseriding, pipe organs, birdwatching, and many other thoroughly British activities, all the while teaching them about many of the well-known British hymnwriters. The fiction flows well, the biographical sections are fascinating, and the spiritual content of the hymns is not ignored but rather explained and applied. I like the style. Before I started reading I didn't quite expect an American author to write that well about British hymnwriters, but I actually think Douglas Bond has a good grasp of British culture, history and phraseology. The only slip-up I have found so far is that he thinks the Brits have cream in tea (as in cup of tea). Yuk!
Hymnwriters included are: Thomas Ken, Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, William Williams, John Newton, William Cowper, Augustus Toplady and Thomas Kelly. There are also chapters on Scottish Hymnwriters, Anglican Hymnwriters and Women Hymnwriters. A bonus is that the written music is included for the hymns that are quoted in full.

Mr Pipes and the British Hymn Makers, by Douglas Bond, £9.95. Written for 9-12yr olds. Recommended.

Lorna

Friday, 26 June 2009

Ferdinand

Recognise this?
Over the years we have had quite a few customers ringing asking about Ferdinand. This little story about a train called Ferdinand who struggles with doing what he is told and staying on the rails, aims to teach young children the great truths of sin and salvation. It was written episode by episode as the author Ann Benton taught her own children around the breakfast table. A song was also devised to impress these truths upon these young minds. Our customers usually remember having this on in the car as children and now they are looking for it so that they can use it with their own children. Look no further! Christian Focus Publications have recently reprinted the storybook with the full text of the story (and new illustrations) and the song (including written music). They were unable however, to reproduce the CD because of copyright issues. But knowing that the music really makes the book we have obtained copies of the CD directly from the author so that we can still offer the book and CD as a set.
The new book costs £4.99 and the CD individually would be £2.50, but if purchased together the set costs £6.50.
Lorna

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Worldliness


This is one book I have actually read thoroughly lately - in addition to the 'blokish' one featured by Lorna in the last post! It is generally a lot better than I first expected. The danger is that you dip into one part of it and reject it right away, especially if you are prone to look at the back first (strange how one does that automatically isn't it?) and hit the appendices. Perhaps I need to accept it's 'the American way', but checklists smack of an 'under the law' mentality to me. This actually contrasts with parts of the book which are firmly Christ focussed, and take on issues from a gospel perspective.

The fact is C J Mahaney, an American New Calvinist, has edited a book to which there are 5 contributors, all from within his Sovereign Grace Ministries network. It is on an important subject - one which all true Christians must recognise as having caused great corrosion in churches everywhere. Worldliness. Subtitle: 'Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World'. Maybe many rightly diagnose this problem, but much that is written/preached presents the wrong solution. The tendency is to 'get stricter', to insist on the application of the Law of God. Now this is good if dealing with unbelievers, but the children of God are not to be saddled with that unbearable yoke again after being brought into soul liberty through Christ. So I welcome the chapter 'God, my heart and media' being dealt with by expounding and applying Ephesians 5:1-14 and other passages from the epistles. The one on music is on similar lines and pretty good, as is 'stuff' and material covetousness.

In fact Mahaney himself is about the nearest to poor in that he boldly opens up 1 John 2:15 in the first chapter, but is rather hamfisted with 1 Timothy 2:9 on 'Clothes'. There are some good pastorally inspired points appealing for Christian women to be less naive about the way in which they can make themselves sources of temptation for men by their dress (or lack of it!). However, men themselves do not seem to be dealt with so evenhandedly in this section. It gives a good twist that the final chapter is 'How to love the World'.

The real problem about a book like this is that the people who probably really need to read it won't, and those that (relatively) don't, will. How do you get over that hurdle?

Worldliness, ed. C J Mahaney. Published by Crossway at £8.99. Good value for a nice hardback.

Jeremy

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Sport

Anyone know Dan Walker? Anyone who's into Sport should do. He's a sports presenter for the BBC (Radio & TV). He's also a Christian and has just written his 'story' for DayOne which has been published in a large format magazine style booklet. Throughout his career Dan has remained strong in his belief that the Lord's Day is a day to be set apart for worship, and he has therefore always made it clear to his employers that he will not work on Sundays. This has not always made life easy for him, but he has been able to see the Lord over-ruling many difficult situations. I liked his practical outworking of his principles, and found the booklet an easy but still thought-provoking read. I imagine it will be popular amongst a certain male sporty set.
Sport and Sundays, by Dan Walker, published by Day One, £2
Lorna

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Sorry!

Books are being read very slowly at the moment - hence the lack of posts. I'm afraid there's just too much to do when you're staying on a farm in Wiltshire and the sun is shining...

Friday, 29 May 2009

Bear this in Mind

We're always encouraging you to read more, but this is the main point, as I was reminded in a greetings card today:-
"In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you."
Does anyone know the author of this quotation?
Please let me know your favourites on the subject of reading.
Jeremy

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Great God of Wonders

A recent 'chance' remark by a friend caused me to pick up this book Great God of Wonders by Maurice Roberts. I haven't read Roberts before and have quickly discovered that he doesn't beat about the bush. The first paragraph of the book quoted below should illustrate the point...
"Whatever the pressures are to the contrary, the serious Christian MUST keep a careful watch over the inner state and attitude of his own soul. Just as there are temptations for the careless and the idle Christian, so too are there snares for the Christian who becomes too busy. We are too busy whenever we cannot safeguard our times of private prayer, meditation and devotional Bible reading. What happens when outward duties become excessive and over-demanding is that inner, secret duties are performed in a merely routine way. It is all too possible to conduct our private and family worship with our minds half taken up with other things. We persuade ourselves that we have been worshipping God, but on such occasions we have been no better than those to whom God said, 'This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me' (Matthew 15:8)"

The book consists of articles which originally appeared as editorials in the Banner of Truth magazine (which Maurice Roberts edited between 1988 and 2003). From a quick scan of the book I suspect that it will continue in the same challenging vein, with chapter headings such as 'The Strife of Tongues', 'Dealing with our Differences' and 'Why Christians must be readers' (which I suspect I should be quoting in full !).

Great God of Wonders by Maurice Roberts, published by Banner of Truth, £6

Lorna

Thursday, 14 May 2009

CBC or Tryfan?

Now that the company that own the Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) have bought up the Christian Booksellers Convention (CBC) the ideal time of year and format have changed for the worse. At least for 2009, and for those 'in the trade' in my opinion. I don't think I'm alone, but I keep aloof from the uproar. So this year Lorna and I packed the bags and headed to sunny North Wales rather than gloomy Sandown Park. Instead of incurring the costs of travel & accommodation in London, we thought we'd spend the time & money somewhere better. CBC or Tryfan? No competition! Just check out the pictures...



If you don't like mountains, at least admire God's handiwork. If you do but don't know Tryfan, then get your maps out now. The most sublime ridge scrambling in England and Wales is to be had here, right to the 3000+ ft summit. We were humbled with gratitude for the glorious weather window afforded us. Gusty side winds reminded us of how rusty our balance has become through lack of use. But aside from that there wasn't a cloud in the sky! The batteries are now fully recharged, and it's great to see the children again (excellently looked after by Lorna's parents.) Here's to the next CBC!

Jeremy

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

It's May!


So, we're in a new month, Spring is really here, it's time to brush off the cobwebs and try something new ... how about a new book! Our May bulletin highlights a few books that are a little different, perhaps not what you would normally go for, but all under £9 it won't break the bank to give them a go.
Lorna
btw we're also offering Holiness by Ryle for only £3.50 (normally £9.95), see the May Bulletin for details

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Last 24hrs!

You need to get in quick! This time tomorrow I will be packing away the 3 for 2 books and they will be back to full price. Make the most of the offer while you can... you'll be wishing you had next time you have a spare evening and you are dreaming of relaxing with a good book! Bunyan, Doddridge, Goodwin, Hawker, Piper, Sproul, Venning, Whyte and many more... Check the full list here...
Lorna

Saturday, 25 April 2009

My head hurts :-(

css .dap .asp .sql vbs cgi ... mean anything to you? No, it doesn't mean much to me either, but this is what I have been filling my head with this afternoon and am now suffering the consequences! Basically, our website needs dragging into the 21st Century and it is these sorts of abbreviations I am having to wrestle with to try and get it there. When we launched our website back in 2002 it seemed very 'cutting edge' (we liked to think so anyway!), but the internet has moved on by leaps and bounds in the 7 years since, and we... well, we haven't.
So, I am interested in knowing what our customers like to see in a website. Many customers tell us that our website is easy to navigate and gives them the information they need. People also comment on the fact that they like to read the reviews or this blog to gain more subjective information about particular titles. We don't want to change this. And as a small family business, we like having direct and personal contact with each of our customers. So, we do not intend to upgrade to a flashy, impersonal website. However, we are always trying to improve the service that we give. Over to YOU... tell us what you like and don't like, do you want 'one-click' buying (like the infamous Amazon), or do you like the more personal touch, do pictures of book covers help or are you more interested in book descriptions... tell me more
Lorna
By the way, if anyone reading this happens to be an expert in web design, especially database led sites... we would love to hear from you!

Monday, 20 April 2009

New Focus Conference 2009

Congratulations to Peter and Jill Meney for very successfully hosting another conference in Teesdale this year. We were delighted to be invited to take a bookstall to the event last Saturday. Our feelings were more mixed when Peter badgered us into accepting 2 x 10 minute slots for stand up book reviews! Not exactly our cup of tea being the world's worst marketing managers. But we were among friends (albeit around 60 of them) and it went off OK. Lorna particularly did a great plug for sound children's literature, singling out the 'History Lives' series for special praise. This was light relief after a Dr Ella paper on John Brine. Sorry George, but she's got a prettier face! Maybe I'm biased...
It was good to meet some longstanding mail order customers for the first time - one from the Isle of North Uist! And it felt great to be selling really good books to really appreciative people. Don Fortner was once again over from Danville, Kentucky and spoke well. I just hope that he hasn't packed too much into his UK itinerary after his health setback last year. I remain amazed that Evangelical Press appeared to snub him again, despite being (presumably) happy to have published around half a dozen of his books. There's nowt so queer as folk to use a good Yorkshire expression. Ken Cotty completed the line up and complemented it very well with a most gracious meditation of the Mount of Transfiguration.
Jeremy

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Don't pass up the chance to get a free book!

I'm disappointed that we have had so little response to our 3 for 2 offer, so I've taken it up myself! Here's my choices...
My first one was definitely a 'female' choice! Beyond the Edge by Hazel Rolston is about the author's journey through post-natal depression and anxiety. I ended up reading this in one sitting, I just couldn't put it down (it was a late night that night!). Hazel's story is written very honestly and the reader is taken into the depths with her. She graphically describes her struggles with Despair (with a capital D) and suicidal thoughts, her battles with medication and the side-effects, her disappointment with the lack of support from the Church community and finally her gradual ascent from the depths of the pit. As she finds footholds out of the abyss she is able to see more clearly that her pleadings with the Lord were not in vain and He had not deserted her even when she was sure that He had. It is certainly an emotional story and perhaps because of it's honesty I'm not sure I would recommend it to anyone I knew had suffered post-natal depression - just a little too close to the bone maybe? I think it will be most useful to those who have not suffered post-natal depression - it gives a real insight into the depths that post-natal depression can take someone to and surely can only increase our understanding of the condition and show us how to deal kindly and sympathetically with sufferers of it.

My second book was rather different. Islam in our Backyard by Tony Payne is subtitled A Novel Argument and on first sight I wasn't entirely sure. But, I have finished the book a fan! Payne uses a fictional setting of two neighbours -one Christian the other 'non-religious' - to discuss Islam. The Christian wants to write a simple factual book on Islam and discusses the manuscripts with his neighbour who believes that religion is 'a personal thing and should be kept private'. There are short fictional sections describing the conversations and discussions between the two neighbours and there are longer factual sections (the manuscript) examining the beliefs and teachings of Islam. Payne also touches on bigger issues of tolerance and truth in a multicultural society. I think this unusual format works. It is a clear and concise analysis of Islam beginning with its historical roots through to its position in the world today and I would recommend it as an easy read .

What remains now is to choose my FREE book...
Lorna
See our 3 for 2 flyer (pdf) for a full list of the books included in the offer

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Listening to Sermons


This little paperback caught my eye when it came in a few weeks back and I have finally managed to have a better look at it. The full title is 'The Family at Church. Listening to Sermons and attending Prayer Meetings'. The first part on listening to sermons is excellent (I haven't fully read the second part on Prayer Meetings yet, so I wouldn't like to wholeheartedly endorse it!). As it is a Saturday evening and many of us are looking forward to the Lord's Day tomorrow, I thought I would share some excerpts from the second chapter entitled 'Preparing for the Preached Word' ...
" 1. Before coming to God's house to hear His Word, prepare yourself and your family with prayer. The Puritans said we should dress our bodies for worship and our souls with prayer...
2. Come with a hearty appetite for the Word. A good appetite promotes good digestion and growth. Peter encouraged a spiritual appetite, saying, " As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2)...
3. Meditate on the importance of the preached Word as you enter God's house... Since the Gospel is the Word of God, not the word of man, come to church looking for God. Though you should deeply appreciate your minister's efforts to faithfully bring you the Word of God, pray that you see "no man, save Jesus only" (Matthew 17:8)...
4. Remember as you enter the house of God that you are entering a battleground. Many enemies will oppose your listening... Satan opposes your listening to God's Word with might and main, knowing that if you truly hear it, he will lose you. So Satan tries to disturb you before the sermon begins, distracts you during the sermon, and dismisses the sermon from your mind as soon as it is finished... Pray repeatedly for strength to overcome all your enemies by listening well.
5. Finally, come with a loving, expectant faith (Psalm 62:1,5). Be swift to hear, slow to speak, and determined, like Mary, to ponder God's Word in your heart..."

The Family at Church, by Joel R Beeke, published by Reformation Heritage, £5.95
Lorna

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Our April 3 for 2 Offer

We are doing the widely publicised IVP 3 for 2 offer, which finishes at the end of this month. But we have added some others to the list of books available on the offer. See our pdf file on our website at http://www.christianbookshopossett.co.uk/April09.pdf There's some great money saving bundles you can make up for yourselves here.
One book within this offer I have just read and would recommend is the one pictured here. I always knew the subject of this biography as John Wycliffe, but it seems Wicliffe is the spelling preferred by some experts. It is only a shortish 100 page booklet. However, although famous as the C14th English Bible translator, there is very little in print about him so far as I know. This is reprinted with illustrations from a C19th work by David Deane (anyone know of him?) It makes the most of the scanty personal information surviving from such an early period. It also very helpfully sets out the general historical scene of the time, as well as the state of things in the Church. I think this would be an ideal present for young people aged (roughly) 11 years upwards, and a good Sunday School prize. But this is not to pigeonhole it or detract from its general profit for all readers. We live in times when the state church is in little better state than the one he fearlessly opposed for its corrupt doctrine and practices. Once again the Bible is set aside and visual media exalted in its place 'to make the gospel more accessible' (!) The wandering friars of Wycliffe's day entertained the gullible people with idle stories in order to fill their purses. Does this sound rather familiar? 'The Morning Star of the Reformation' carries a pressing message for today - "Preach the word" (2 Timothy 4:2). We must do battle with it.
'John Wicliffe. The Morning Star of the Reformation' ISBN 9781880960431 is published by SMF International from St Louis in the USA and costs £3.95 from us.
Jeremy

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

John Gill on Justification

A few years back the Gospel Standard Trust published an extract from John Gill's Body of Divinity. The aim was to make John Gill's rather complex writings more accessible to the layman. Gill's words and punctuation have not been changed but his extensive references to the original languages have mostly been omitted and the text has been broken up with sub-headings. To those who love the truths that John Gill stood for, but have never actually tried to read his writings, this little paperback is a real help. To those who slate John Gill's writings, but have never actually tried to read them, I suggest this as a good place to start.
This quote is taken from 'The effects of Justification'...


"Acceptance with God through Christ follows upon justification by his righteousness; there can be no acceptance with God upon the foot of a man's own righteousness, which cannot render him acceptable to God; but through the righteousness of Christ there is an acceptance both of persons and services; first of persons and then of services; as God had respect to Abel, and so to his offering, and accepted it; so he has respect to the persons of his justified ones, as considered in Christ; he has respect to him, and is well pleased with him, and with all that are in him; they are accepted of God in the beloved, being clothed with the robe of his righteousness, and the garments of his salvation; and their services being done in the strength of Christ, and through faith in him, and to the glory of God by him, and their spiritual sacrifices being offered up by him their great high-priest, they become acceptable to God through him."

At only £3.25, I don't think anyone could find an excuse not to read it.
Justification, Sinners Righteous in Christ by John Gill, published by Gospel Standard Trust Publications, £3.25
Lorna

Friday, 3 April 2009

Good quote...

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them."
- Mark Twain

Friday, 27 March 2009

God's Light on Dark Clouds

This book has been flying off the shelf ever since it received a very positive review in the Gospel Standard Magazine this month. Many of our customers have bought a copy, and after reading it have come back to buy more copies for their friends.
Originally published in 1882, the author Theodore Cuyler had just lost a 21 yr old daughter. Fourteen years previously he had lost 2 of his children in infancy. Although he wrote as a bereaved parent his aim was to fulfil 2 Corinthians 1:4 'to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we are comforted of God'. This means that his writings have proved a comfort not only to the bereaved, but also to others who are walking a path of suffering and difficulty.
I have only 'dipped' into this book but each time I have opened to a page I have found food for thought. It is small and easily read, but deserves slow and careful reading. It directs the heart to Christ for comfort.
I have been torn in choosing a taster, but here is one, taken from the tenth chapter 'The Everlasting Arms':

"One great purpose in all affliction is to bring us down to the everlasting arms. What new strength and peace it gives us to feel them underneath us! We know that, far as we may have sunk, we cannot go any farther. Those mighty arms can not only hold us, they can lift us up. They can carry us along. Faith, in its essence, is simply a resting on the everlasting arms. It is trusting them, and not our own weakness. The sublime act of Jesus as our Redeemer was to descend to the lowest depths of human depravity and guilt, and to bring up his redeemed ones from that horrible pit in his loving arms. Faith is just the clinging to those arms, and nothing more."

God's Light on Dark Clouds by Theodore L Cuyler, published by Banner of Truth, £5

Lorna

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Your Caption Please!

Storeroom or children's indoor gym? The answer is both! For a while at least, before we sent this 19 box consignment out to America. It was a little cramped in there to say the least, awkward for us, but an excellent opportunity for early honing of climbing skills for Euan and Alex. I only wished I was their size...I wouldn't have to dream of a trip to the Black Cuillin of Skye...
Back to reality. The books have now been shipped and last heard of en route in Chicago. We have dusted ourselves down and started back on regular duties (like blogging!)
This week we are hosting two evenings of special spring sales. A 3 for 2 promotion is at the core of this, which will also extend through to the end of April. If you don't receive one of our email notifications soon, then put 'subscribe' in the subject line of an email and send it to lorna@christianbookshopossett.co.uk
She will be happy to send you the details of titles on the 3 for 2 deal. Unfortunately you won't be able to have 3 for 2 on the massive array of cakes which have been made this week unless you turn up at 7pm'ish on Thursday 26th. They just don't retain their quality after being handled by Royal Mail.
Jeremy

Monday, 9 March 2009

John Piper on John Calvin

It doesn't read very clearly on the cover, but the full title of this slim paperback is 'John Calvin and his Passion for the Majesty of God'. It is an extract from an earlier book by the renowned pastor John Piper - 'The Legacy of Sovereign joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin'. Piper doesn't claim to be a historian, and leans heavily on others for this short biography issued by IVP in this 500th anniversary year since the great Reformer was born. But what Piper does is marshall the facts to show what Calvin's life's aim was. Contrary to much of today's 'self saturated evangelicalism' what Calvin discovered for himself was the importance and supremacy of the self authenticating word of God. Once found he laboured indefagitably to set the majesty of God set forth in it before others.
Calvin's conversion is dealt with instructively by Piper, and especially the solid conclusion that two things are needed for a saving knowledge of Christ - 'Scripture and "the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit." Neither alone suffices to save.' This instructive approach for today's Christians distinguishes the book from many others on Calvin. Piper's aim is a noble, and in this book, successful one. It is remarkably priced at just £4.99. I think IVP are on to a winner here. It will sell well, and deserves to.
Jeremy

Friday, 27 February 2009

Young, Restless, Reformed

No it's not my CV, just the pacy title of a book new in from the US which I've just finished reading. Written by Collin Hansen, an editor of Christianity Today, it is absolutely fascinating. One feels to be looking in on something a world away from where we are, not just across the Atlantic. The thesis is that a movement, if not a revival, is taking place in America, and the doctrines of grace or Reformed theology or Calvinism (terms used synonymously by Hansen) have come to prominence again. This is particularly noticeable amongst the younger generation, fed up with 'seeker sensitive' evangelicalism. It becomes evident that Hansen can identify with this personally, and this fires his sympathetic treatment of the issue. In true journalistic style he embarks on a geographical and religious tour of research. It turns out to be a very thought provoking journey, well described, well written and never dry. He goes to the epicentres of the new Calvinism and interviews most of the main figureheads. You get a real feel for the characters who are just names over here. I certainly feel that this is essential reading for anyone involved in book buying decisions in the christian book trade (not that that counts many folk in!) In any case it enables you to orient yourself with regard to the contemporary American scene. He goes to Minneapolis to see John Piper's set up, Louisville KY to Al Mohler jnr's Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Seattle to Mark Driscoll's colourful Mars Hill church, Washington DC to Mark Dever's more sober one. R C Sproul, John MacArthur, C J Mahaney, J I Packer, Tom Ascol, Steve Lawson, Sam Storms...the list goes on! Some are interviewed more fully, but MacArthur refused. But Hansen digs deeper and chats to 'ordinary' people, and this is where some very remarkable stories are unlocked. Of real hunger for the scriptures, re-discovery of the puritans and Jonathan Edwards, bold ministry and great numerical success. I sincerely hope there is a real work of God in the new Calvinist network. I'm by no means persuaded by everything Hansen uncovers, but he finds enough to hold up such a hope. Take the refreshing attitude and maturity about the following excerpt from a conversation with Joel Brooks, who is ministering to students on campus in Birmingham AL, reflecting on the folly of some doctrinal controversialists:
"...they go full steam into arguments with others over the sovereignty of God because they think God's glory is at stake," Joel said. "But arguing over this actually defeats the very belief that God is the one who sovereignly changes hearts and the will. By arguing, you prove that you don't really believe the things you clam to believe.
"Humility," Joel said, "acknowledges that we all need sovereign grace in our lives, and this glorifies our God."
Young, Restless, Reformed' is published by Crossway for £9.99.
Jeremy

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

History Lives

The blurb on the back of this book reads... 'Let history come to life - just the way it should do', and I think it certainly fulfills that. Intended for 9-14 yr olds, I have been reading this to my 5 yr old and he has been enthralled. 'Peril and Peace - Chronicles of the Ancient Church' is fictionalised Church History. It begins right back at the Apostle Paul and his shipwreck on the island of Malta. Although some readers may be slightly uncomfortable with fictionalisation of a Bible passage, it moves quickly on to Polycarp, Augustine and many other 'greats' in the history of the ancient Church. The biographical chapters are interspersed with shorter chapters outlining other issues pertinent to those times. With timelines, maps and bibliography this is a great resource for children and should certainly drum up some enthusiasm for a subject that is often seen as dry and 'boring'.
'Peril and Peace' is just the first book in the History Lives series. The fifth has recently been published and brings us right up to the present time.
Peril and Peace - Chronicles of the Ancient Church
Monks and Mystics - Chronicles of the Medieval Church
Courage and Conviction - Chronicles of the Reformation Church
Hearts and Hands - Chronicles of the Awakening Church
Rescue and Redeem - Chronicles of the Modern Church 1860 AD - Tomorrow.
Each by Mindy and Brandon Withrow, £5.99
Highly Recommended!
Lorna

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Gospel Standard DVD

This is a valuable resource. The Gospel Standard (GS) is one of the oldest 'living' monthly magazines in existence, and on this DVD is every one going back to the beginning in 1835, so there is much here for the historian. The development of a Strict Baptist denomination is discernable in the tone and style of the editorials. This DVD also gives the capability to enable the theological student to pursue doctrinal themes of interest, and to examine primary sources rather than relying on hearsay. It is particularly good to see some of the older, rarer magazines reproduced in a searchable pdf format. When the GS magazine first appeared it was also entitled 'The Feeble Christian's Support'. That experiential (or experimental) aspect has always been a hallmark, so much timeless material can still be read and appreciated by those who simply want to feed on the doctrines of sovereign grace today.
Its appearance is one of the best things the GS Trust could have undertaken to do. It fills a big gap, but costs £35, although this is very comparable to AGES software productions for example.
Jeremy