Thursday, November 17, 2011

Books on Proverbs

I just finished a short series of messages on the book of Proverbs entitled “Solomon Says.” It was a topical series designed around exploring the wisdom that Solomon gives. It included titles like “Solomon Says Listen to Me,” or “Solomon Says Get Busy” (work), or “Solomon Says Drink Your Own Water” (marriage and sexuality), or “Solomon Says Watch Your Mouth” (the tongue), or “Solomon Says Get a Grip” (emotions), or “Solomon Says Be Careful” (money).

In this series, I came across a couple of new books, and reviewed some old ones.

Anthony Selvaggio’s A Proverbs Driven Life is an excellent book I ordered on a whim because it was on sale. It is good not just for preaching or teaching, but also for general reading. Anyone would profit from this book. I recommend it.

John Crotts’  Craftsmen: Christ-Centered Proverbs for Men also had some helpful sections in it. This, like Selvaggio, is organized topically, though a few less topics than Selvaggio.

H. Wayne House and Kenneth Durham’s Living Wisely in a Foolish World is a good resource, though it is a bit more dense than these other two, and IMO, not as easy to read.

I continue to think that Peter Steveson’s A Commentary on Proverbs is one of the best verse-by-verse treatments of Proverbs. The downside is that it uses the KJV as its primary text cited at the top of each page, but the upside is that it seems that it actually closely tracks the NASB in its explanation. Unlike some other commentaries (e.g., Hubbard, Communicator’s Commentary), it deals with each verse sequentially, so if you want to know what Proverbs 18:13 means, you can find it easily.  It is more helpful than Kidner (TNTC), IMO.

A final book for this list is Donald Orthner’s Wellsprings of Life. It is essentially a topical outline of Proverbs, assembling various proverbs under their topics. It is not sequential, but topical. It is helpful in that it helps to find verses on a topic that might not be found by a concordance search.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Around the Horn

At first base, the Gospel Coalition has a good article today about Calvinism and the gospel. I warn you, however, don’t read it. It was ruin all your arguments against Calvinism.

I am convinced that most people reject Calvinism, not because of overwhelming biblical arguments, but because (1) they listen to what the opponents of Calvinism say about Calvinism (they are usually wrong), and (2) they watch how Calvinists live (which isn’t all that different than how Arminians non-Calvinists live. We both tend towards disobedience.). Neither is a particularly good way to learn about Calvinism. If someone asks me how they should learn about Calvinism and the gospel, I say just read the Bible. It has all you need to know.
At second base, speaking of Calvinism vs. Arminianism, one of the common refrains from people is “I am neither.” A couple of interesting articles by admitted Arminian Roger Olson dispels that notion. He says,
I wish the Baptist Arminians would quit running from the word.  Frank Page claims he’s neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.  I heard that all the time among Baptists in the South especially.  And the only reason for it is a wrong impression of what it means to be Arminian.  As I have demonstrated in Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, one can be fully and authentically Arminian and believe in inamissable grace (so-called “eternal security”).
Here’s an self-professed Arminian saying, “You believe what I do.” So quit running from the label. It won’t change what you are.
Rounding third base, Todd Rhoades posts this letter on church discipline. He calls it a nightmare and says it is a tad bit off edge, though he doesn’t say why. Perhaps it is because, as the first commenter says, this church is saying that the man is not a Christian. I wouldn’t say a person isn’t a Christian. I would say, and have said, that a person has no reason to have assurance that he or she is one so long as they continue in this pattern of unrepentant sin. After all, isn’t that what church discipline is? Church discipline is saying that a person is not acting like a Christian and in fact, those whom he covenanted with have no valid reason to consider him as a Christian. Men with more heft than me, like Mark Dever and Dave Doran, have said essentially the same thing. Perhaps it is a wording thing. The church is for people who carry the marks of Christianity to at least some degree in their lives. No one expects you to be perfect. As I often say, I have no problem with people who struggle. It’s the people who don’t struggle that I worry about.
The home run today is the new 9 Marks E Journal on Church Revitalization. I am interested in this since I have lived this life for about thirteen years. As I told someone recently, thirteen years ago I had no real direction or idea about what I was getting into. I didn’t know people who had done it. I wasn’t familiar with books or e-journals on it. I am not even sure I recognized how great the problem was. I sure didn’t know what to do. I had the “Field of Dreams” approach to church. If you preach it, they will come. They didn’t. So I have learned a lot on the fly, and perhaps some day I will write my own thoughts about it here at Stuff Out Loud. But for now I will read this with interest.
And today, a curtain call for John Acuff at Stuff Christians Like who reminds us that “you don’t need a plane ticket to be distant from your family.”