The ESV With Creeds and Confessions

The ESV With Creeds and Confessions

Crossway was nice enough to send me a review copy of their new ESV with Creeds and Confessions.

As one who is a part of the reformed camp, creeds and confessions are a very big part of my daily Christian life. So it goes without saying that I was extremely excited when Crossway announced this new edition just a couple of months ago.

The ESV with Creeds and Confessions currently is available in three formats. TruTone Black, Goatskin Black, and TruTone over board, brown. My copy is the TruTone Black.

TruTone has come a long way. It is hard to tell that it is not leather. The Bible itself comes in a nice slipcase box and is quite sturdy. The design of the box is also elegant.

The ESV Text is the 2016 edition and is a standard two-column with cross-references at the bottom of each page. There is nothing special about the text block itself as this is a standard format that Crossway has used for several years in several editions. The Bible does contain two ribbon markers which are a nice addition.

Obviously, the reason people would gravitate towards this particular edition is for the creeds and confessions that are found in the back of the Bible. There are thirteen texts included. The Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Chalcedonian Definition, Augsburg Confession, Belgic Confession, Articles of Religion, Canons of Dort, Westminster Confession, London Baptist Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Westminster Larger Catechism, and the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Before each creed or confession, there is a short introduction to the history, purpose, and major theological points of each confession. This is an extremely useful feature that most will find informative and edifying. These introductions were written by historian Chad Van Dixhoorn.

The Bible is elegant and useful. However, just the addition of the Creeds and Confessions themselves is not enough that would make most run out and purchase a new Bible. I would rather have a booklet with the confessions and introductions contained within it. However, there is good use for having these in your Bible as well for quick reference. So, for what it is, this particular edition is well done and high quality. For what it is, I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

I was provided a free copy of this Bible in exchange for a fair review by the publisher.

Book Review: John Calvin For A New Reformation

Book Review: John Calvin For A New Reformation

John Calvin Book CoverCrossway’s newest book on John Calvin is a masterful work of art. Calvin is a controversial figure, a massive giant in the Reformed Christian Faith, an amazing expositor, a formidable author, and a man who has led many Christians through the centuries on their theological journeys.

It is in this context that this book has been written by some of the greatest theologians, pastors, and historians of our day. It is a book that is well-worth reading for every Christian.

The book is a collection of essays very much in the format of the Luther biography put out by Reformation Trust a few years back. In fact, it includes many of the same authors. The book focuses on two main areas. The first is the life of John Calvin. The second is the theology of John Calvin.

The life of John Calvin is a fascinating tale. How he came to Geneva. How he led certain parts of the Reformation. The fact that he tried to keep many of his writings anonymous. John Calvin is just an interesting character despite what you may think about his theology. The book brings out facts that you may not know or realize about Calvin and does a great job of keeping it interesting and the storyline of his life moving.

The theology of Calvin is equally well-written. A whole chapter is dedicated to the Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin’s greatest work. It also has additional chapters dedicated to various aspects of Calvin’s theology such as the work and person of Jesus Christ. It is succinct but gives a great overview of these theological writings of Calvin and gives more than enough footnotes to keep you researching for weeks.

Overall, I give John Calvin: For a New Reformation 4 out of 5 stars.

I was given a copy of this book free by the publisher in exchange for a fair review.

Turning Over Tables (John 2:13-25)

Turning Over Tables (John 2:13-25)

At the end of John chapter two, we see Jesus turning over the tables in the Temple. Jesus had anger, righteous anger. He did not want to see His Father’s house defiled.

Jesus was not worried about the feelings of those who he was rebuking. He was not worried about being politically correct. He was worried about truth and righteousness. He was worried about the perception of the Father, not the perception of man.

When the Jewish Leaders challenged His authority He stunned them by saying that if they tore down the Temple, He would rebuild it in three days’ time. Of course, He was not talking about the building they were standing in. The Temple He was referring to was His body and the future resurrection.

But the Jews did not understand. In fact, they used this quotation of Christ to mock Him at the cross.

Join David Taylor as he finishes John 2.

The Truth of Genesis

The Truth of Genesis

Is Genesis literal?

This is a question that keeps popping up year after year in circle after circle. People say that we cannot harmonize Genesis with modern-day “science” and therefore Genesis should be taken figuratively and not literally. But where is the truth in that? If the opening chapters of Genesis cannot be taken literally when do we begin to take it literally? Is any of the Bible literal?

The problem of rejecting Genesis is that you must then reject the rest of Scripture as well. You cannot have redemption without a fall. And you can’t have a fall without a creation.

But people insist on saying that Genesis cannot be literal. So they try and explain it away. A day must not actually mean a literal day. It must mean long epochs of time. But is that plausible? The sequence of Genesis 1 does not allow for this. After all, there was evening and morning to fulfill each of the six days of creation.

And here is the thing, true science does not reject the truth of Genesis. True science actually affirms the Genesis account. There are great organizations like the Institute for Creation Research that exist for the purpose of showing how science and the Bible agree. But there will always be those that deny the truth.

To deny Genesis is to deny Scripture. And to deny Scripture is to deny God Himself We either believe the Bible or we do not. You cannot have it both ways.

Don’t Leave?

Don’t Leave?

I read an article the other day regarding the United Methodist Church titled “Don’t Leave.”

The article is arguing against the inevitible split of the United Methodist Church and the Protocol for Separation. I understand the sentiments of the article. They do not want their church to split up. They want their church to find a way to reconcile. But they take it a step further…

Don’t leave.  It’s a sin.

Nathan Decker

Don’t leave, it is a sin? My question to Pastor Decker is where do you get this idea? Where do you get the idea that to leave an apostate church is a sin? Where do you get the idea that the United Methodist Church must continue in the discord that it has had when the parties are at irreconcilable differences?

On one hand, you have a group of people and churches that want to uphold the Scripture on the issues of human sexuality. Then there is another group that just dismisses those passages as cultural issues. These are polar opposites. One is biblical, the other is sinful man’s idea of justice.

The point I would like to make is that for those who hold to the biblical view, we must leave. It is not just good for us to leave, it is commanded. Paul says in Titus 3:10 that we are not to have anything else to do with the one that stirs up division.

The LGBTQ agenda has been stirring up division for decades. They are militant in their views. Yes, they should be the ones to leave but they will not. Traditionalists have no choice but to leave. It is unfortunate. But the United Methodist Church has chosen its path. The Bishops refuse to uphold the discipline so those who stay within its guidelines have no choice. Go elsewhere.

Because of Me?

Because of Me?

I have long been annoyed by the “cute” church signs that we see popping up at churches everywhere. Some are funny, some are cute, some are weird, and some are very, very bad theology. I was witness to one of these signs today as I was driving.

The sign read, “How many people will be in Heaven because of you?”

First, let me say I understand what they mean. BUT, this should never be asked, at least not in this way. The truth of the matter is nobody will be in Heaven because of me. Not one single person will be in Heaven because of anything that I have done. People will only be in Heaven because of Christ and what He has done.

Does God use us as tools in his salvation plan? Yes. Are we the cause of salvation? Absolutely not. It is bad and dangerous theology.

Now you may say, but it’s just a cute saying that makes you think. In one sense that is true. But when we are talking about biblical truths we should be precise. We should not look to be cute with our words but accurately present the message of the Scriptures.

Jesus said that no man comes to the Father but through him (John 14:6). Jesus is the way, Jesus is the truth, He is the life. There is nothing that we say or do that causes someone to go to Heaven. It is God and God alone through the work and person of Christ alone.

The Power of the Creator: Turning Water Into Wine (John 2:1-12)

The Power of the Creator: Turning Water Into Wine (John 2:1-12)

David continues his series through the Gospel of John. This week, we come to the first of the sign miracles in John’s Gospel, turning the water into wine.

This miracle shows Jesus’ power over all of creation. In an instant, Jesus creates something out of nothing just as God created the whole universe out of nothing.

In this act, Jesus beings to reveal himself to the common man for who he is. Join David Taylor as he expounds John 2:1-12, the water into wine showing the power of the creator.

Book Review: The New City Catechism

Book Review: The New City Catechism

New City Catechism by Crossway Book CoverMany churches today no longer use catechisms to train up their people, particularly children, in great theological truths of doctrine. This is a tragedy. We live in a time where biblical and theological literacy is virtually non-existent in many churches. And I believe, a simple catechism is a good answer to curbing this epedemic of theological softness.

Crossway has produced a beautiful and faithful catechism for this very purpose. The New City Catechism was put together by notable pastor, Timothy Keller.

The catechism has 52 answers and questions of some of the most basic doctrines of the Christian faith. It is generic enough that it can be used by both Baptists and Presbyterians (and others who practice infant baptism) but specific enough to bring out the truths of the Gospel that all true believers necessarily agree and adhere to.

It is a simple format. The question is on one side, and the answer and supporting Scripture is on the other. On the answer, portions are highlighted to give shorter answers that kids can memorize.

Further, Crossway has put together several resources to enhance the use of this catechism. A companion site gives digital flashcards, web resources, and access to mobile apps as well. There is also a full curriculum that can be purchased for use in your church.

I am pleased to recommend this resource to all churches and families wishing to raise their congregations and family members to know the great doctrines of our faith.

The Savior Is Calling (John 1:34-51)

The Savior Is Calling (John 1:34-51)

David continues his series through the Gospel of John and finishes up chapter one.

The end of chapter one is the calling of the first disciples. These were John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael. Two of these were known disciples of John the Baptist and they left him to follow Jesus. John was not upset by this for he knew that he must decrease so that Jesus can increase.

In this chapter, Jesus demonstrates his omniscient deity, his humanity, and his compassion and patience. He tells the disciples to “follow Me” and takes them to a place of understanding.

Join David as he preaches this final section in John 1:34-51. The Savior is calling.

Book Review: Kerux Commentary Philippians

Book Review: Kerux Commentary Philippians

Pastors and teachers are always looking for commentaries that help them expound the Scriptures with clarity and ease. This is what the Kerux Commentary series has set out to do. The latest in this series is their commentary on Paul’s letter to the Philippians by Thomas Moore and Timothy D. Sprankle.

In the Editor’s Preface, we see that the focus of the Kerux series is to give preaching units that focus on three different areas. They focus on the exegetical, theological, and homiletical purposes of the text. This means the job of the teacher is greatly eased by giving tools necessary that they would already be using. How does this work?

The first section of the commentary gives a summary of each preaching unit. It starts with a section of the text, for this review we will look at Philippians 2:5-8. Under that, they give the three areas discussed above. So, for example, in this section, the exegetical idea is how Christ modeled a servant. The Theological focus is humility. And, finally, the preaching idea is to climb down the ladder of privilege to reflect the attitude of Christ. 

After the three areas of focus, the commentary, in the summary section, lists “Preaching Pointers” that give the preacher/teacher ideas about what they should drive home when delivering the text.

As in most commentaries, the Kerux Philippians volume has an introduction with the typical information about the Epistle such as an outline, authorship, date of writing, location, audience, cultural issues, and the overall historical setting. This helps the teacher with major research into the history of the book saving them time in getting to exegete the actual text.

But where the commentary shines is in the meat of each preaching unit. The volume goes into literary structures, gives an exposition of the text, and then goes into academic analysis of various translations of different Greek words between English translations as well as other theological issues. Finally, it gives application that can be used for your congregation, class, or small group.

In summary, I find that the Kerux Commentary on Philippians is a technical, but easy to follow, commentary that is faithful to the biblical text and theologically conservative. It would serve any pastor or teacher well as part of their personal library. I give it four out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.