Review: Jesus Christ Is Lord

Jesus Christ Is Lord
Jesus Christ Is Lord by Ron Crisp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ron Crisp has given us a brief and helpful book on the mediatorial lordship of Jesus Christ. The value of his contribution to this study is the clarity and precision he brings to it. The author draws out the distinction between the ontological lordship and mediatorial lordship of Jesus Christ. He obviously focuses on the latter. Jesus’ mediatorial lordship has to do with his humanity, being the last Adam, the second man, and the greater David. This lordship exclusively belongs to the Son of Man in connection with his birth, life, death, and resurrection.

Crisp is right that the lordship of Jesus has been subjected to misunderstanding, imprecision, and fuzzy thinking by many. What does it mean to say, Jesus is Lord? This book will help you with that question. He is also right that this aspect of Christ’s lordship hasn’t received much attention. Hopefully, this book will help spark some change in that regard.

The book ends with some practical application of this doctrinal truth and reality. He touches briefly on the issue of lordship salvation and the faulty teaching that man can make Jesus lord. I recommend this book highly.

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Review: Is There Anybody Out There?: A Journey from Despair to Hope

Is There Anybody Out There?: A Journey from Despair to Hope
Is There Anybody Out There?: A Journey from Despair to Hope by Mez McConnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an autobiographical account of the author’s conversion. It’s messy but not salacious. He presents and authentic view of sin but does not glory in it. The author comes from and works in one of the most neglected segments of population today. He is honest about his struggles and presents an authentic view of coming to faith that isn’t a snap of the fingers and immediate whisking away of all problems.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to write and publish such a book, but I’m glad he did. It is well worth your time.

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Review: 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching

12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching
12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching by Wayne McDill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent book. This is one of the most practical books on preaching I’ve read. McDill spends the major part of this book focusing on aspects of preparation and a little bit of space is given to pulpit delivery. I think this balance is right because preaching today suffers more from poor preparation than poor delivery. In fact, many preachers are trying to make up for poor preparation through their efforts in delivery, but that doesn’t work.

I had a couple of places where I differed with the author. He didn’t push a/v media in preaching, but I think anything that is short of denouncing it in the most strenuous terms is too soft. In this area, I might be a curmudgeon but I don’t see any reason to change the biblical definition of preaching. I think a/v can serve a good purpose in teaching and other settings, but I believe it has no place in preaching. I’m simply giving my view and understanding here, for every servant stands or falls before his own master.

The skills presented for use in interpreting a passage are very good. He gives real practical help for a preacher to work through the passage on his own before opening other books and such. The first skill a preacher needs to develop is getting the meaning of the text. In fact, it is a skill that preachers ought to constantly be developing and honing.

This is a textbook for seminary courses on preaching. It includes worksheets and samples that are very helpful. For this reason, it will be good to have a hard copy. I read it on Kindle but I will be getting a hard copy to make more use of the worksheets. I definitely recommend this book and I have two words particularly for young preachers. First, this book is packed with a lot of information. That can be overwhelming because you think how can I incorporate all this into preaching? You can focus on a skill at a time and give it the time you need. I certainly suggest starting with the skills of interpreting a passage. Second, I never approach a book like this with the idea of being a slave to it. The author doesn’t that idea for you either. For instance, he mentions mapping out your own plan of preparation. I will end with this caution. Before you can develop your own plan and way of doing things, you need to understand what you are trying to do and what tools can be used to do it. I think this book can help you with that.

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Review: Schizophrenic: A Diagnosis of the Independent Baptist Movement

Schizophrenic: A Diagnosis of the Independent Baptist Movement
Schizophrenic: A Diagnosis of the Independent Baptist Movement by Tom Brennan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is written about the IFB movement by a self-proclaimed IFB pastor. The first part of the book summarizes what the author perceives as strengths in IFB churches and the second part calls out the sins of IFB churches. There is a small third part that delivers the author’s cure for what ails the IFBs and that cure is mostly repentance.

I was pleasantly surprised with how thoughtful and reasonable this book is. I was also surprised with how plainly the author addressed problems and the fact he addressed some problems that seem to never receive air time, such as pragmatism, bad preaching, americanism, and racism in IFB churches. My own experience in IFB churches confirms many of the problems he pointed out and that same experience makes his strength assessment look a little optimistic. IFBs are not known for the ability or willingness to self-examine and self-correct.

I recommend reading this book. If you take out a few particular IFB references here and there along the way, much of what he writes applies to most churches or groups. If nothing else, he has done us a great service in forewarning of numerous dangers.

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Review: Letters to a Young Pastor

Letters to a Young Pastor
Letters to a Young Pastor by Calvin Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an excellent book written by a veteran pastor to young pastors as a series of letters on various topics. Miller gives practical advice based on life experience. He is surprisingly open and honest as he writes and I found the book encouraging overall. The target demographic is limited, but young and middle aged pastors will benefit from reading it.

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