Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox

We can often feel like pygmys in comparison to 'the measure of the stature of Christ' that some in the past attained to. But a good thing about 'A Long Line of Godly Men Profile' series from Reformation Trust (attached to Ligonier Ministries) is that it is designed to inspire. It is not eulogy disguised as biography. The lives of men like John Knox are studied to see the grace that was with them, and to point to their God - the ever living God. Douglas Bond has chosen to focus helpfully upon what he terms 'the mighty weakness' of Knox. That is, he was not a man who left sins and infirmities behind when he was born again, proceeding from strength to strength in a victorious life. No, out of fear he at first even refused to preach; he endured frail health all his days (although once spending months as a French galley slave!); and he had low views of himself and did not seek prominence. However, he fervently desired that Christ might be magnified among his fellow countrymen, and in prayer and preaching he laboured to that end. 'Out of weakness he was made strong.' He resembled the apostle Paul: 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.' Bond turns the spotlight upon Knox's power in a series of chapters on his submission to Christ and his word, prayer, preaching, writing, keynote doctrine (predestination), and pastoral care. But a glimpse into the greatness of Knox's spirit is seen in his attribution of the wonderful success of the Scottish Reformation: 'God gave his Holy Spirit in great abundance to simple men.' Oh for more such men!

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox published by Reformation Trust is a £12.99 quality hardback with dustjacket.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Big Bible Answers

Who remembers A Catechism for Boys & Girls? This was one of its covers, but I think it is now out of print, (although I am double checking on that - anyone with any info please let me know).  It has been a popular catechism amongst Baptist churches over the years. Interestingly it has been used as the basis for a new series from Christian Focus Publications (although notably the questions on Baptism have been edited out - with permission!). 
 Big Bible Answers is a series that aims to bring doctrine and theology to children.  Using the questions from the catechism, Bible and real-life stories demonstrate each doctrinal truth. Scripture references and 'Talking it over' points are added at the end of each story. For example, we learn about Galileo's astronomical discoveries in considering God the creator, we hear about the prophets of Baal and Elijah in learning about the one true God and Patrick of Ireland is used to teach us about prayer.

This looks like it could be a useful series and I particularly like the foreword:

As parents one of our greatest concerns is the spiritual condition of the hearts of our children...
...What parents need most is a deep realization that salvation is a supernatural work of God through the hearing and application of the Word, not a work of us as parents per se. For this reason, the salvation of our children must not be the goal of parenting but rather our desire given over to the will and purposes of God. What parents need next is to fix their hearts on the goal of faithfulness to God, for the glory of God. The chief end of parenting is to glorify God by doing what He has asked us to do as parents: be faithful to bring to our children His love and care, our changed lives, and above all, His Truth, both taught and practically applied