Mark Dever. The Church: The Gospel Made Visible. 9Marks. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2012. 16-page sample PDF.

This book is intended as a popular primer on the doctrine of the church, especially for Baptists but also, in so far as the arguments are convincing, for all of those who see Scripture alone to be the sufficient authority for the doctrine and life of the local church.

The book grew out of a chapter I wrote almost a decade ago on the doctrine of the church. [Note 8: Daniel Akin, ed., A Theology for the Church (Nashville: B&H, 2007); see chap. 13, “The Church,” 766–856.] The volume containing that chapter imposed a certain structure that is retained here. (p. xii) Continue Reading…

champLast month I interviewed Champ Thornton about his children’s book God’s Love: A Bible Storybook.

Now the book is available as an iPad app.

Features include

  • 120 interactive story pages with text and spoken audio
  • Beautiful illustrations with full pinch and zoom
  • Presentation mode for teachers who want to display the artwork over AirPlay or through a VGA adapter

It’s well-done. Continue Reading…

An excellent new book from B&H:

John S. Hammett and Benjamin L. Merkle, eds. Those Who Must Give an Account: A Study of Church Membership and Church Discipline. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2012. 239 pp.

Here’s what Darrin Patrick says about it: Continue Reading…

I got double-Klucked last week:

  1. Ted Kluck. The Reason for Sports: A Christian Fanifesto Chicago: Moody, 2009. 154 pp. 13-page sample PDF.
  2. Ted Kluck, Zach Bartels, E. L. Duncan, and Brad Atchison. Beauty and the Mark of the Beast: A Dispensensational Thriller. Lansing, MI: Gut Check, 2012. 173 pp.

Kluck beast

When I saw Ted’s blog post about Beauty and the Mark of the Beast, I thought it was a spoof.


It’s not a spoof. Clarification: Ted and company really did write a “dispen-sensational thriller” about Tim Tebow (err, “Ted Strongbow”). The book, however, is a spoof. It’s crazy. Continue Reading…

Jonathan Leeman, “Appendix: Mistakes Pastors Make in Practicing Discipline,” Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus (9Marks; Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 139–40:

Pastors sometimes make the following mistakes regarding formal church discipline.

  1. They fail to teach their congregation what church discipline is and why they should practice it.
  2. They fail to practice meaningful membership, which includes (1) teaching people what membership entails before they join; (2) encouraging casual attenders to join; (3) carefully interviewing everyone who wants to join; (4) giving regular oversight to all the flock; and (5) maintaining an up-to-date membership list that accurately reflects who is present at the weekly gathering. Continue Reading…

This blog is now much better organized:

  • I used to label a blog post with one or more of some 200 categories (e.g., “D. A. Carson,” “Calvinism,” “preaching”).
  • But now I label a post with just one of six categories:
  1. Exegesis. What did authors intend their texts to mean? This includes hermeneutics. (Hermeneutics concerns principles of interpretation, and exegesis applies those principles.)
  2. Biblical Theology. How has God revealed his word historically and organically?
  3. Historical Theology. What have people thought about exegesis and theology?
  4. Systematic Theology. What does the whole Bible teach about certain topics? What is true about God and his universe?
  5. Practical Theology. How should humans respond to God’s revelation? This includes, for example, culture, ethics, evangelism, marriage and family, money, pastoral theology, politics, and worship.
  6. Other. This covers what doesn’t fit in the above categories.

My blog is called “Thoughts on Theology,” so those seem like the right categories. Continue Reading…

These are the top two books I’d recommend to a lay person on church membership:

  1. Joshua Harris. Why Church Matters: Discovering Your Place in the Family of God. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2011. 140 pp. 20-page sample PDF. (Previously published in 2004 as Stop Dating the Church!)
  2. Jonathan Leeman. Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus. 9Marks. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 142 pp. 28-page sample PDF.

Some excerpts: Continue Reading…