The Lost Sermons of Spurgeon (Collector’s Edition) Volume 7

The best one yet! We are now 7 volumes into this incredible series. Spurgeon lovers are thrilled. All lovers of great sermons should be. Spurgeon was special. He is, without any hyperbole, unique in Christian history. For preachers, there could hardly be one greater than Spurgeon to teach you what life in a sermon looks like. As you can tell, I love Spurgeon!

So why is this volume 7 the best one so far? First, it’s bigger. There are more of these extraordinary sermons. The more Spurgeon the better. You’ll be surprised by the sheer weight of this volume in your hand. The design is like the previous ones, but even the hue of this one is best. Beyond the sermons are all those luscious pictures for the Spurgeon collector. The traces of a labor of love are everywhere apparent in this book.

Second, it is finished! If you take the time to read the introductory material, you will see that the editors decided to put all the remaining sermons in this volume. Now you can secure the whole set if you’ve not been collecting as you go.

The sermons themselves are best described as very full outlines, but follow Spurgeon’s usual way of preaching all over the Bible. All of them are great and some of them are exceptional.

Besides recommending and rating this volume highly, I must also thank the publisher for this whole project. What a gift for us. What an accomplishment by them. Do you want quality and beauty on your shelves? Then this is for you!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Orthodoxy by Chesterton–A Beautiful New Edition

Chesterton needs no recommendation from me. He’s never lacked an audience since his writings appeared decades ago. On the other hand, perhaps I could share something with those like me who had never gotten around to taking a dip into the unique world of Chesterton. Like it did for me, this new annotated edition presents you the perfect opportunity.

First, there’s Chesterton. I found him as fresh as any author today. You might call him idiosyncratic as he is refreshingly distinctive and even peculiar as any I’ve read. He sees things you don’t and when he pulls them out and lays them before you all you can think is why hadn’t you always known it. He has one of the best senses of humor I’ve ever encountered. Not in the sense of a comedian, but one in a successful effort at clarity who causes you to laugh out loud. He couldn’t be boring if he tried, but it appears he never tries.

Second, there’s his “Orthodoxy”. He approaches orthodoxy or apologetics in a whole new vein. Rather than following the template of most all apologetic works, he more shares the lofty journey that took place in his own mind. He takes the most common criticisms of our faith and turns them on their heads. He confronts the heavyweights of Bible critics and leaves them looking juvenile. Not that he is condescending, just that he sees the implications of what they believe so much more clearly than they do. He writes in a easy to follow style, except occasionally he saw more than I could take in. He’s an awesome writer and it was clear those few lapses were completely on my side. I had about two chapters that were a little too good for me, but what a joy to try. More often, I loved comprehending his beautiful thoughts.

Finally, there’s this new annotated edition by Trevin Wax. Wax met you briefly at the beginning and end of each chapter to foster success by you. The only dated material in this timeless work was his use of names, places, and movements. Wax succinctly filled that gap so you can keep rolling with Chesterton. Wax’s approach allowed Chesterton to be Chesterton and let you interact with him. I thought it the perfect approach, plus a nice introduction, and it’s exactly what I would want. For icing on the cake, the publisher delivers this title in a lovely hardback edition.

I hope we get more works just like this one!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Deuteronomy 1-11 (NICOT) by Bill Arnold

Bill Arnold gives us here the first of two volumes to replace the long-used work of Peter Craigie in the venerated NICOT series. Deuteronomy is one of the pivotal books of the Old Testament, so it is key to the success of the series. Bill Arnold, who has become the editor of the series, tackles Deuteronomy himself. What he has delivered is a quality work of mature scholarship.

The thorough introduction begins with background on narrative horizons and unity of composition that really highlights structure and distinctive features that actually open up the big picture for Deuteronomy. As he continues, he dives deep into how scholarship has thought of Deuteronomy including the famous redaction criticism that dominated Deuteronomy studies for decades. Though the theories of Graf-Wellhausen and Noth strike me as intensely rancid as found on the trash heap where they justly landed, Arnold laid out that history in an understandably, and I must add, surprisingly for me, an interesting way. Arnold is more accommodating to some ideas than I feel comfortable with, but he compensates for me with tone and clear writing to still find much value.

I enjoyed the rest of the Introduction and thought its greatest strength was its big picture presentation rather than some occasional details that seemed suspect to me. The theology section was especially rich and seemed to work in more big-picture analysis that delivered more than you get in many such theology overviews. He kind of showed off his scholarly prowess here in an accessible way.

The commentary proper covering Deuteronomy was all you would hope from a series designed like the NICOT. Mature, thoughtful, thorough, even penetrating, all come to mind. I will look forward to the second volume until it arrives. This volume will easily be one of the better major commentaries on Deuteronomy. For example, I thought it a more successful production than McConville’s Apollos volume on Deuteronomy.

NICOT is really picking up steam as a series and this one treats Deuteronomy with the star treatment it deserves.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Glory of God and Paul (NSBT) by Morgan and Peterson

Wonder what they will say? That was my first thought when I saw this title by Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson in the NSBT series. The glory of God is a concept that you think is self-apparent, at least until you try to express it. Then circular definitions and hollow platitudes roll off your lips. To be truthful, this title upon hearing of it didn’t excite me as some in this series, but equally in truth, I am excited to think upon what it showed me. The glory of God is a subject, as shown here, that pervades Scripture and clearly must be crucial to understanding our God.

The first two chapters take you to school on the glory of God. The various ways scholars define it is brought out, not just to ascribe scholarly labels, but to reason through to real understanding. Explaining God’s glory as being both intrinsic and extrinsic was the apex for taking the reader to mastery of the subject. This section was so worthwhile and revealing.

The reason the title of the book adds “and Paul” is because in the subsequent chapters the concept of the glory of God is fleshed out in the epistles of Paul. The theology and the exegesis of specific passages seemed spot on.

The variety and quality of this series always impresses as is certainly the case here!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Sermons on Job (3 volumes) by John Calvin

This is a publishing event! Fortunately for us, Banner is the publisher, and as you likely know, still puts effort into publishing beautiful, quality books that will last. Beyond acing the eye test, what we get between the covers of these three volumes is even more exquisite. These sermons on Job have long been considered among his finest. I’ve often told people not to think of him in terms of the theological system that bears his name, but as either a commentator or expositor. People across the theological spectrum can learn from him both content and the art of how it’s done. You don’t have to agree with every word he says, but you’ll be all the better for wrestling with them.

Since Calvin wrote in French, most of us need a helper to get at his sermons. Rob Roy McGregor, in my view, has excelled in translating and updating these sermons with words that flow beautifully. In fact, you can be reading these sermons and totally forget the centuries that have passed since they were preached. They could easily have come from our day in terms of readability.

While you’d be crazy to preach 159 sermons on Job, you’d be wise to read these 159 sermons on Job to prepare to teach or preach Job. So often, I’ve read later works on Job and found Calvin quoted. That’s not an accident. Sometimes he squeezes more out of a verse than I think is legitimately there, but the interaction will help you arrive at the heart of the passage. Plus, if you’re studying just one passage in Job, the corresponding sermon in this set will be a boon to you.

I have not, of course, read all of the sermons yet. But I have read in different parts of the set to get the flavor of the fruit that is provided here. It is ripe and tasty. In the first sermon alone, he explained how Job made a bad case of a good cause with his friends made a good case of a bad cause! Now that’s what I call insight!

Be sure to check out the Translator’s Preface and the Introduction. You wonder if Calvin’s prolific physical suffering (he suffered severe health problems for years) made Job a personal favorite or even a needed friend.

What an awesome set to get! ( Now if we could only convince Mr. McGregor to tackle Calvin’s Jonah sermons next!) This set is a treasure that has not been available to us before and how blessed we are to get it.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Now and Not Yet (NSBT) by Dean Ulrich

The NSBT series marches on with this interesting look at the significance and theology of Ezra and Nehemiah. The NSBT series is truly a random series, but the volumes are often fascinating. We never know what is coming next in the series, but we’d be remiss not to find out. Dean Ulrich does good work here.

The title Now and Not Yet suggests the track the book will run. That thought that is found in many prophetic writings here tells of a new chapter for God’s people that will more fully climax in Christ. Many are reluctant to develop that line of thinking in the scholarly world, so we appreciate the openness here to embrace it.

Throughout this book we are confronted with Ezra-Nehemiah as if it were one book rather than two. He makes a good case and at the least it does no harm to study with that design. Though I enjoyed what he gave us, I wish he had developed the structure even more.

Chapter two well explained the big picture of biblical theology. Chapter three explained the history of the return from exile but the nuggets were all in the theology developed.

In a creative turn, the next three chapters address rebuilding the temple, rebuilding the people, and rebuilding the wall. That told the story in a framework that allowed the theology to bud. Chapter 7 shows what worked and what fell short. There his now-and-not-yet theme fully bloomed.

Isn’t it wonderful that these NSBT volumes keep coming along? I want them all, don’t you? This one is a sample of why.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Identity and Attributes of God by Terry Johnson

I must best describe this book as pure joy. I’d heard good things about it, but had been warned that it is heavily imbibed with quotations. To my mind, that usually doesn’t work. In those cases the author seems more of a compiler than a writer. I wondered going in if this would be more of a good reference than a good read. The more I read, the more my weak expectations were proven wrong.

The book is full of quotations, so how did the author pull it off? By picking the very best quotes, by seamlessly weaving them into the work, and by then writing thoughtfully around them. In the end, you get rich theology for your mind and warmth for soul. This is not a compilation. This is a book!

This book doesn’t address ever attribute, but covers some of the most important ones to ingest. After a discussion of God, the Trinity, and what the incommunicable attributes are, those of God as Creator and of His providence are brought to light. One of the best sections was holiness. Another favorite was goodness. I gained so much from it. The one on love started slower but really pierced my heart by end.

The book ends abruptly, but the author has delivered another volume on other attributes from another publisher.

You’ll see a pastor’s heart and a theologian’s precision throughout your read of this precious book. If this book doesn’t help you, I doubt you’re even trying.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Christian Theology by Adam Harwood

Here’s a new Systematic Theology that fulfills a distinct need on two fronts. First, it’s a bit more manageable than most systematic theologies without sacrificing the needed depth. Second, it’s from a distinctly Baptist perspective. In that vein, it doesn’t follow the Calvinistic approach that clearly dominates the systematic theology market. That difference means you get more perspective as several other popular volumes are so closely aligned as to render some redundant.

There’s also a unique presentation here that allows one new avenues of thinking. As I was reading, I was struck with how this material was obviously honed through years of interacting with students. Every section was quite approachable and useful. Only in the section on Last Things did I feel he left some questions unanswered, or at least gave a briefer treatment.

Who would benefit most from this book? Pastors will appreciate it for sure. It would also be a boon to one embarking on their first attempt at a really deep, thorough study. Several other such volumes might sink your studies by their opaque style, but that is not the case here. Even if you can handle those volumes, this one still gives a different perspective like I mentioned before that makes it still particularly valuable.

I keep a stack of 3-4 systematic theologies always close by. This one will join them on that often-used pile.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Acts (CSC) by Patrick Schreiner

This latest release in the Christian Standard Commentary (CSC) series is the first to replace an author from the NAC that the CSC is replacing. To be honest, I was surprised to see the John Pohill work replaced as I had enjoyed using it in the past. In the author’s preface where he mentioned the type of commentary Pohill and others had written, he laid out his desire to especially focus on “the narritival and theological content of Acts with an eye toward the ecclesial.” I only had to start reading before I realized that he was on to something.

He begins the introduction by telling us of the main proposals for the “theological heart” of Acts. From there he develops quite convincingly this theme as our Triune God sharing with us. He traces the big picture through the Father, the Son, the Spirit, the Word, salvation, the church, and witnessing. Now that’s what I call getting the big picture. The Trinitarian perspective is brilliant and undoubtedly correct.

Next, he takes on narrative, genre, Lucan concerns, and structure and imparts much meaningful material along the way. There are even some helpful graphs provided. He ends with traditional introductory issues and has conservative conclusions.

The commentary proper is at once well researched and well written. Despite the expertise, I think pastors and Bible students can score a winner in this volume.

Count be as won over! This is a real treat.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Servant of the Lord and His Servant People (NSBT) by Matthew Harmon

Here’s another interesting title in the the NSBT series that is a series with some of the most incredible variety of any that I know. Though there are several books on slavery in biblical times and ones on the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, and though there are many devotional titles on being a servant, this theological treatise carves out its own niche.

It has an interesting introduction that looks at the words in Hebrew and Greek that can be translated as either slave or servant. It well explains what a challenge it can be and how it all depends on the context as the words have quite a range of meanings.

In chapters 2-5 Harmon explores four key OT characters as servants. Adam, Moses, Joshua, and David are quite effectively presented as servants though not rigidly in the same way. Good stuff!

The next two chapters cover the Isaianic servant and Jesus the servant par excellence in turn. From there a group, the apostles, are covered including Paul, Peter, and others. Finally, the church in each part of the NT is presented as a servant people.

In addition to the interesting theme, every passage used has carefully done exegesis for you. That has its own distinct value and can be used in study of the passages themselves.

This volume joins other recent releases in the series as a winner. I’m not surprised!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.