Book Review: Baptist History

Baptist HistoryBaptist History by John Mockett Cramp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall a good history. The last few chapters were a little more encyclopedic, with numerous short biographical sketches. Otherwise, it is an easily readable book. I appreciated the fact that Cramp was open about the scarcity of historical records and he wasn’t quick to just assume what filled the gaps. Many today could learn a valuable lesson from his example here.

This isn’t exactly a history of churches as much as it is a history of preachers and leaders. It was interesting to read about about a number of oddities and variances between churches. Among churches in the past can be found such things as naked baptisms, trine baptisms, temporarily abandoning baptizing at all, the laying on of hands after baptism, and times of women preachers and elders. There were quite a bit of differences between churches, but some things were more consistent.

They were unified around Gospel issues such as rejecting baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. They held the Scripture as the all-sufficient and final rule of authority for all matters of faith and practice. These churches were promoters of Bible translations, so the Bible was in the common language of the people and in their hands. They were proponents of educated and trained preachers for the ministry. They held to liberty of conscience in religion and opposed state churches.

If we’re being honest, history isn’t quite as pretty as we might like it to be, or as many men would lead us to believe it is. I guess when you’re facing constant persecution and harassment, you just don’t have as much time to criticize and harangue your brothers, and split and fracture over little narrow point until you’ll hardly fellowship with yourself. I’m thankful for our goodly heritage and do think we should learn from history.

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Book Review: A Theology of Luke and Acts: God’s Promised Program, Realized for All Nations

A Theology of Luke and Acts: God's Promised Program, Realized for All NationsA Theology of Luke and Acts: God’s Promised Program, Realized for All Nations by Darrell L. Bock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bock takes the Lukan books together and traces major themes throughout the two books. The continuity shows Luke and Acts to truly be a two volume work. The book has brief sections at the beginning providing concise commentary and then most of the book is arranged topically, bringing together references from both books that contribute to the topic at hand. It is a helpful book for studying either Luke or Acts separately, or both books together.

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Book Review: Expository Exultation: Christian Preaching as Worship

Expository Exultation: Christian Preaching as WorshipExpository Exultation: Christian Preaching as Worship by John Piper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a fantastic treatment of the task of preaching. Piper aims to bring together the rigors of exposition with the beauty of Christ’s Gospel from Genesis to Revelation. He gives careful attention to various texts throughout the Bible to show how every good promised to believers in Scripture is bought by Christ’s work on the cross, so the preaching of Christ from all Scripture is not some tacked on mask or afterthought. This book is helpful on a number of levels and will help you think about the aim of preaching and how that aim is accomplished through faithful exposition.

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Book Review: The Meaning of Ecclesia in the New Testament

The Meaning of Ecclesia in the New TestamentThe Meaning of Ecclesia in the New Testament by Edward Hugh Overbey, B.A., B.D.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a brief and useful study on the Greek word ekklesia. You can download a free Kindle version here.

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Book Review: Has the Church Replaced Israel?

Has the Church Replaced IsraelHas the Church Replaced Israel by Michael Vlach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an excellent study on the relation of Israel to the New Testament church. Vlach deals fairly with opposing views and examines a number of key verses.

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