Wednesday 8 June 2011

Temptation of Christ

This is not a new book, and certainly not a new author, but I looked at it in the course of preaching sermons on Christ's temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).  One of the joys of having a Christian Bookshop is the resources it provides for personal use!  Christian Focus Publications have this in their Christian Heritage range, and thankfully have maintained it in print for 15 years or so now.  For £5.99 it is a well-selected, well-edited edition of this careful study of a deep subject.  I believe Maurice Roberts (Free Church of Scotland Continuing minister, ex-editor of Banner of Truth magazine) did a commendable job here.  He has taken Thomas Manton and made his work more suited for reading by someone who has never visited the Puritans before.  But he has not done this by dumbing it down.  He first carefully explains in the Introduction the typical Puritan style and structure of sermonizing.  Then within the text he makes frequent use of square brackets to explain words or obsolete phrases.  This may be a bit OTT for anyone who is used to reading Puritan writings, but the point is that it is targeting a certain (growing?) sector of younger evangelicals who are alienated from such as Manton.  Modern Bible versions have also not helped in this trend.  A generational dislocation from godly and profound authors from the past is a sad injury to the church of God.  Men like Thomas Manton still deserve a hearing - they were above all men of the Bible, and who suffered for it.  He was one of the 2000 men ejected from their livings in 1662, but who still were determined to preach and became an Independent.  In earlier times he had been a chaplain to Oliver Cromwell and preached before Parliament.  So he experienced the same as the Apostle Paul (Philippians 4:12).
This is not a long book by any means, but amply demonstrates the revitalising truth of Christ's full identification with his people in their temptations (Hebrews 2:18), and has many practical applications re struggling against Satan's attacks.

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