Books, July Edition
The Power of Christ's Second Coming, by Charles Spurgeon
This collection of sermons by Spurgeon about the second coming is a doctrinal, hermenuetical, and homilitical masterpiece. Spurgeon's theology is clearly end-times related. Many claim they read Spurgeon, but to read him at all and not to be gripped by the need for evangelism, the reality of eternal hell, and our heart for those who are without Christ seems to be dissonant. Spurgeon's texts are textually sound, but I felt I could actually hear his preaching at certain points. A great read for those looking to understand the importance of the Second Coming and anyone who seeks to deepen their witness.
Exodus: Why Americans Are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity, by David Shiflett
Perhaps the greatest reason for considering this book is the author. David Shiflett describes himself as essentially an agnostic, who occasionally darkens the door of a Presbyterian church. As such, Shiflett doesn't have a dog in the theological fight. Through interviews with priests, pastors, laity, and converts of all types, Shiflett is able to identify perhaps the biggest difference between the hemmoraging mainline Protestant denominations and their more conservative counterparts: Biblical fidelity. By forsaking the Bible as the source of doctrine in an effort to become more culturally relevant, the liberal churches have nothing to offer people that they can't find on Oprah or at the local non-profit organization. On the way, they have abandoned the Great Commission in a quest to become inclusive. This leads the mainlines to lack what many people find attractive about church in the first place - the opportunity for individuals to become part of something bigger than themselves. With no evangelism to bring people to Christ, and no sense of purpose in ministry to attract seekers, the mainlines are dying off. Check it out for an analysis from an outsider.
I'm currently reading "Life Together" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and "Ready for Reformation" by Thomas Nettles. Although I am only halfway through "Life Together", I get the same impression I did from Spurgeon: many who say they read Bonhoeffer obviously don't.