A January report entitled ‘Women Rebuilding the Future of the Church’ found that more women in Iran are involved in ministry in Iran than in many Western countries, despite women not having equal standing in Iranian law.
RISE OF THE NONES
Understanding and Reaching the Religiously
By James Emery White
Baker Publishing. 221 pages. £9.99
ISBN 978 0 801 016 233
The blurb on the back says ‘The single fastest-growing religious group of our time is those who check the box next to the word none on national surveys. In America, this is 20 percent of the population [25% in the UK 2011 census]. And most churches are doing virtually nothing to reach them.’
This book seeks to address that challenge – reaching and engaging those who profess no religious affiliation. James Emery White is a US pastor, and the temptation would be to dismiss the book as irrelevant to the UK scene. However White’s analysis rings true of our culture and our churches too, which makes it essential reading for those serious about reaching the emerging culture.
The argument of the book is in two parts. In the first part White gives a snapshot of the typical ‘none’ and outlines how the culture has arrived at its current climate. Crucially, he observes that many ‘nones’ are not hostile atheists; many are spiritual but suspicious of… (to read more click here)
co-pastor, Grace Community Church, Bedford
CONFESSING THE FAITH
A reader’s guide to the Westminster
Confession of Faith
By Chad van Dixhoorn
Banner of Truth. 484 pages. £19.81
ISBN 978 1 848 714 045
The Westminster Confession of Faith has been one of the most inﬂuential summaries of Reformed Christian belief in the English speaking world.
While foundational for Presbyterian churches it has been adapted and adopted by Calvinistic Congregationalists and Baptists. Chad van Dixhoorn, an American Presbyterian minister, is perhaps the leading living authority on the confession and the assembly of divines that drew it up. He is the editor of the recently published minutes of the assembly.
This book is essentially a commentary on the Confession. Following its structure, each chapter includes the historic text as well as a modern version, Scripture proofs, and succinct but penetrating comments on the paragraph under consideration. Beginning with the doctrine of Scripture, the book moves through the confession to its final chapter on the resurrection of the dead.
In our day of much shorter statements of faith, this is a reminder of the value of… (to read more click here)
East London Tabernacle
Experiencing awe and intimacy with God
By Timothy Keller
Hodder & Stoughton. 321 pages. £16.99
ISBN 978 1 444 750 157
This excellent book is for the ordinary reading Christian.
It is excellent, ﬁrstly because it is comprehensive. Unlike nearly all the other works on prayer, it is theological and experiential and methodological. Keller freely acknowledges that many writers have done better than he on different aspects of the subject, but we all need an up-to-date book that covers all the ground.
Secondly he deals fascinatingly and satisfyingly with the balance or tension between the mystical/emotional and the intellectual in prayer. Quite a bit of time is spent examining different approaches and evaluating them. Contrary to what some anti-Keller websites have suggested, he is not a mystic in the sense of undervaluing the mind and the place of the word of God in prayer. He comes out more or less where John Owen, John Murray and J. I. Packer do: ‘wordless prayer is not the pinnacle… but the periodic punctuation of verbal prayer’ (Packer with Nystrom).
Thirdly he links praying with listening to God as he speaks in his Word, and gives useful advice. Prayer is ‘fellowship with the personal God who befriends us through speech’. In this connection he gives plenty of advice on how to meditate on the Word, some of it drawn from Martin Luther’s great little letter to his barber on prayer. It’s in the same vein as George Mueller’s famed advice on integrating Bible reading and prayer.
He also distinguishes helpfully between prayer as fellowship with God and prayer as … (to read more click here)
pastor of Wilton Community Church, N. London,
and lecturer in Preaching and New Testament at London Theological Seminary
SERVING WITHOUT SINKING
How to serve Christ and keep your joy
By John Hindley
The Good Book Company. 123 pages. £7.99
ISBN 978 1 908 762 351
Have your lips ever said yes to something when your heart said no? Have you ever taken Jesus’s invitation to rest (Matthew 11.28) and wondered how it can become a reality, now, in our journey through life with God?
Serving without sinking is an important book and a necessary one. It exposes how driven we can be (at times subtly) – even in the name of God-honouring ministry.
We can wrongly find significance, status and meaning outside of Jesus’s primary service to us, and that mistake enslaves us. The book exposes… (to read more click here)
Rector of St Wilfrid’s, Davenham
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (The more things change, the more they stay the same).
Most pastors know this is true of life in general, and yet we often don’t believe it’s true of the particular point and time in which we live and minister. We fall prey to thinking that the challenges and demands of our particular context represent a unique challenge to gospel work, or require radical innovations to train the next generation of leaders and reach the lost.
Scott Manetsch’s superb book shows us that when it comes to ministry in a Reformed key…(to read more click here)
Trinity Church, Aberdeen