FX Book Club
The Explicit Gospel
Even if you go to church, it doesn’t mean that you are being exposed (or exposing others) to the gospel explicitly. Sure, most people talk about Jesus, and about being good and avoiding bad, but the gospel message simply isn’t there—at least not in its specificity and its fullness.
Inspired by the needs of both the overchurched and the unchurched, and bolstered by the common neglect of the explicit gospel within Christianity, popular pastor Matt Chandler writes this punchy treatise to remind us what is of first and utmost importance—the gospel.
Here is a call to true Christianity, to know the gospel explicitly, and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus!
Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life
For many people the resurrection is a nice thing to believe in; a handy subject to return to at Easter time or when discussing apologetics. Otherwise we treat it as an event that happened long ago and far away—a "happy ending" to the gospel, after the darkness of the cross.
But Sam Allberry shows us that the resurrection is far more than a mere event. It isn't just for Easter, it has overwhelmingly positive implications for our lives every day.
The resurrection gives us real assurance of forgiveness and salvation, power to live new and transformed lives, and hope for life after death. Our lives are now different; we have been lifted. Read and be transformed by the real significance of the resurrection.
The Everlasting Man
What, if anything, is it that makes the human uniquely human? This, in part, is the question that G.K. Chesterton starts with in this classic exploration of human history. Responding to the evolutionary materialism of his contemporary (and antagonist) H.G. Wells, Chesterton in this work affirms human uniqueness and the unique message of the Christian faith. Writing in a time when social Darwinism was rampant, Chesterton instead argued that the idea that society has been steadily progressing from a state of primitivism and barbarity towards civilization is simply and flatly inaccurate. "Barbarism and civilization were not successive stages in the progress of the world," he affirms, with arguments drawn from the histories of both Egypt and Babylon.
As always with Chesterton, there is in this analysis something (as he said of Blake) "very plain and emphatic." He sees in Christianity a rare blending of philosophy and mythology, or reason and story, which satisfies both the mind and the heart. On both levels it rings true. As he puts it, "in answer to the historical query of why it was accepted, and is accepted, I answer for millions of others in my reply; because it fits the lock; because it is like life." Here, as so often in Chesterton, we sense a lived, awakened faith. All that he writes derives from a keen intellect guided by the heart's own knowledge. —Doug Thorpe
The Everlasting Man is a two-part history of mankind, Christ, and Christianity, by G. K. Chesterton. Published in 1925, it is to some extent a deliberate rebuttal of H. G. Wells' Outline of History, which embraced the evolutionary origins of humanity and denied the divinity of Jesus. Whereas Orthodoxy detailed Chesterton's own spiritual journey, in this book he tries to illustrate the spiritual journey of humanity, or at least of Western civilization. C. S. Lewis credited The Everlasting Man with "baptising" his intellect, much as George MacDonald's writings had baptised his imagination, so as to make him more than half-converted well before he could bring himself to embrace Christianity. The book was also cited in a list of 10 books that "most shaped his vocational attitude and philosophy of life".
The Transforming Power of the Gospel
From Jerry Bridges about what makes The Transforming Power of the Gospel different from his other works: The first distinguishing mark of The Transforming Power of the Gospel is that it begins with a consideration of the infinite holiness of God and the consequent seriousness of sin in the light of that holiness (Chapters 2 and 3). The second mark is the increased emphasis on gratitude for the gospel as the primary motivator for the pursuit of transformation (Chapter 6). Third, the chapter on grace, addresses some common misunderstandings of the nature and application of grace that I have not dealt with before (Chapter 7). Fourth, is the greater emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit in our transformation (Chapter 8). I have covered this subject before but not to the extent I do in the present book. I am convinced the evangelical church needs a greater emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit and I have had to address that need.
Publisher's Description: The apostle Paul writes that we are to be transformed, but for many Christians, figuring out how to approach spiritual transformation can be elusive. Jerry Bridges helps us understand that we have available to us the ultimate power source for true spiritual growth: the gospel.
In The Transforming Power of the Gospel, Bridges guides you through a thorough examination of:
- what the biblical meaning of grace is and how it applies to your life
- how Jesus' work in His life and death applies to the believer in justification and adoption
- why basic spiritual disciplines are necessary for spiritual growth
- what role the Holy Spirit plays in both definitive and progressive sanctification
Why Isn't a Pretty Girl Like You Married?: And Other Useful Comments
February 2012 – "Ladies' Night"
Yes, I'm single … feel free to comment.
Single women can sometimes be magnets for awkward questions … especially within the church community. With an emphasis on strong marriages and biblical childrearing, unmarried women in the church can begin to think that they are somehow on the sidelines. But this is not the case.
In this helpful volume, Nancy Wilson provides straightforward counsel and encouragement for those struggling with "the wait." She addresses practical concerns like building a career but focuses more specifically on important relational issues such as interacting with competitive women, respecting your parents even after you ve left their home, establishing standards for male friends, and keeping the right outlook on your life.
Whether a woman is called to singleness for a short time or for her whole life, she is called to be fruitful in God's kingdom.
Forever: Why You Can't Live Without It
Paul David Tripp
Is this all you’re living for? For years, pastor Paul Tripp understood we were ‘hardwired for forever.’ But he didn’t understand that it was more than a valuable insight. It is a practical tool to help us face the disappointment of everyday life. Now he knows, and he can help you discover how to survive and thrive in the middle of your story, with the final chapter of heaven in view.
Instead of embracing the world’s motto—‘you only live once’—follow Tripp as he unpacks the biblical truth of the world as a broken place, longing for a second chance. And come alive as you discover the meaning and redemption all this brokenness can bring to your life today. With practical insights on how eternity impacts your relationships, your job, your kids, and your deepest struggles, you’ll be encouraged to relax into the eternal story God is writing for you.
You really are hardwired for eternity, and this book reveals how you can begin to view all that happens in your life as preparation for Forever.
What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission
Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert
Addressing mission, evangelism, and social justice, two pastors draw readers to the Bible’s teaching on some contentious matters.
Social justice and mission are hot topics today: there's a wonderful resurgence of motivated Christians passionate about spreading the gospel and caring for the needs of others. But in our zeal to get sharing and serving, many are unclear on gospel and mission. Yes, we are called to spend ourselves for the sake of others, but what is the church’s unique priority as it engages the world?
DeYoung and Gilbert write to help Christians “articulate and live out their views on the mission of the church in ways that are theologically faithful, exegetically careful, and personally sustainable.” Looking at the Bible’s teaching on evangelism, social justice, and shalom, they explore the what, why, and how of the church’s mission. From defining “mission”, to examining key passages on social justice and their application, to setting our efforts in the context of God’s rule, DeYoung and Gilbert bring a wise, studied perspective to the missional conversation.
Readers in all spheres of ministry will grow in their understanding of the mission of the church and gain a renewed sense of urgency for Jesus’ call to preach the Word and make disciples.
Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up
Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle
How could a loving God send people to hell? Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven?
With a humble respect for God's Word, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle address the deepest questions you have about eternal destiny. They've asked the same questions. Like you, sometimes they just don't want to believe in hell. But as they write, "We cannot afford to be wrong on this issue." This is not a book about who is saying what. It's a book about what God says. It's not a book about impersonal theological issues. It's a book about people who God loves. It's not a book about arguments, doctrine, or being right. It's a book about the character of God.
Erasing Hell will immerse you in the truth of Scripture as, together with the authors, you find not only the truth but the courage to live it out.
August & September 2011
For much of his life, Pascal (1623-62) worked on a magnum opus which was never published in the form the philosopher intended. Instead, Pascal left a mass of fragments, some of them meant as notes for the Apologie. These became known as the Pensées (Thoughts), and they occupy a crucial place in Western philosophy and religious writing. Many of the thoughts are fragmentary in nature, and the sectionalising and numbering was devised by a later editor. Yet they contain the key ideas of his religious philosophy, including his famous wager, as well as many other insights and ideas such as his celebrated comment on Cleopatra's nose.
Roger Ariew masterfully renders the oddities of seventeenth-century French vocabulary and syntax in this eloquent and philosophically astute translation—the first complete English translation based on the Sellier edition of Pascal's manuscript, widely accepted as the version closest to what Pascal intended. Ariew provides a general Introduction that discusses the the life and times of Pascal, a select bibliography of primary and secondary sources, a chronology of Pascal's life and works, concordances between the Sellier and Lafuma editions of the original, and an index.
The Hiding Place
Corrie Ten Boom
"I pray that God forgive them..."
Corrie Ten Boom stood naked with her older sister Betsie, watching a concentration camp matron beating a prisoner. "Oh, the poor woman," Corrie cried. "Yes. May God forgive her," Betsie replied. And, once again, Corrie realized that it was for the souls of the brutal Nazi guards that her sister prayed.
Both woman had been sent to the camp for helping the Jews. Christ's Spirit and words were their guide; it was His persecuted people they tried to save—at the risk of their own lives; it was His strength that sustained them through times of profound horror.
Here is a book aglow with the glory of God and the courage of a quiet Christian spinster whose life was transformed by it. A story of Christ's message and the courage woman who listened and lived to pass it along—with joy and triumph!
A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World
Let's face it, prayer is hard!
In fact, prayer is so hard that most of us simply do not pray unless an illness or a public setting, such as saying grace at a meal, demands it. Prayerlessness is rooted in a core unbelief that can shape our lives, even as Christians. Because of prayerlessness, our lives are often marked by fear, anxiety, joylessness, and spiritual lethargy.
If prayerlessness marks your life more often than not, then this book is for you. Basing his text on the popular PrayerLife seminar, which has encouraged thousands of Christians to a vibrant prayer life, Paul Miller writes to the heart of the matter. This is, indeed, the book for any Christian who wants to know the joy and power of a vibrant prayer life.
The God Who is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story
It can no longer be assumed that most people—or even most Christians—have a basic understanding of the Bible. Many don't know the difference between the Old and New Testament, and even the more well-known biblical figures are often misunderstood. It is getting harder to talk about Jesus accurately and compellingly because listeners have no proper context with which to understand God's story of redemption. In this basic introduction to faith, D. A. Carson takes seekers, new Christians, and small groups through the big story of Scripture. He helps readers to know what they believe and why they believe it. The companion leader's guide helps evangelistic study groups, small groups, and Sunday school classes make the best use of this book in group settings.
Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
This timely book retrieves an old awareness that has slipped and changed in recent decades. The awareness of sin used to be our shadow. Christians hated sin, feared it, fled from it—and grieved over it. But the shadow of sin has now dimmed in our consciousness. Even preachers, who once got visibly angry over a congregation’s sin, now speak of sin in a mumble.
Cornelius Plantinga pulls the ancient doctrine of sin out of mothballs and presents it to contemporary readers in clear language, drawing from a wide range of books, films, and other cultural resources. In smoothly flowing prose Plantinga describes how sin corrupts what is good and how such corruption spreads. He discusses the parasitic quality of sin and the ironies and pretenses generated by this quality. He examines the relation of sin to folly and addiction. He describes two classic “postures” or movements of sin – attack and flight. And in an epilogue he reminds us that whatever we say about sin also sharpens our eye for the beauty of grace.
On The Incarnation
This is a good translation of a very great book… St. Athanasius stood contra mundum for the Trinitarian doctrine "whole and undefiled," when it looked as if all the civilised world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius—one of those "sensible," synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which then, as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. It is the glory of St. Athanasius that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.
When I first opened his De Incarnatione I soon discovered I was reading a masterpiece… for only a master mind could have written so deeply on a subject with such classical simplicity.
—from the Introduction by C.S. Lewis
Christians have always had their differences, but never in church history have there been so many statistics indicating that many Christians today are practicing what can only be described as "Christless Christianity."
Christless Christianity guides the reader to a greater understanding of a big problem within the American religious setting, namely the creeping fog of countless sermons in churches across the country that focus on moralistic concerns and personal transformation rather than the theology of the cross.
Michael Horton's analysis of the contemporary church points believers back to the power of a gospel that should never be assumed.
God in the Dark
Do you have significant doubts about God? Are you afraid to doubt, much less admit to anyone that you aren't fully convinced of God's faithfulness? Are you so torn by your questions that life is losing its meaning?
This forthright but compassionate book works to tear away the layers of misunderstanding about doubt to reveal not only its dangers but its great value. As author Os Guinness explains: "If ours is an examined faith, we should be unafraid to doubt... There is no believing without some doubting, and believing is all the stronger for understanding and resolving doubt."
For those who are unsure of God's trustworthiness—and for those who are in a dark place, wanting to know "Why?" or "How long, O Lord?"—God in the Dark is a must. It puts a human face on the problem of doubt and examines it thoroughly. In a way that will respond to your questions, settle your fears, and strengthen your faith.
The Letters of John Newton
Converted slave-trader, preacher, hymn-writer, and one of the most colorful figures in the Evangelical Awakening of the 18th century with an incredible grasp of Scripture and deep personal experience of God's amazing grace. These letters, on many subjects, aim "to conform the believer to Christ," with several never published before.
It was through his prolific correspondence that Newton fulfilled his distinctive work as "the letter-writer par excellence of the Evangelical Revival—. His grasp of Scripture and deep personal experience of the "amazing grace" of God, his many friends (among them, Whitefield, Cowper and Wilberforce), his many and varied trials, his country pastorate, his strong, clear, idiomatic style " all these factors combined to prepare the author of "How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds—, for the exercise of his special gift.
These letters, selected by his biographer, Josiah Bull, bear the practical imprint of all of Newton's writings; they cover a wide variety of subjects and aim "to conform the believer to Christ—. Among them are several that were not previously published in earlier collections of his correspondence. Of particular value and interest are the biographical sketches and historical notes supplied by the editor.
John Newton's letters are classics of spirituality and devotion. He was the former slave trader who was converted and became a minister and wrote the hymn 'Amazing Grace'
- Tim Keller, from 2008 Summer Reading List
"In few writers are Christian doctrine, experience and practice more happily balanced than in the author of these Letters, and few write with more simplicity, piety and force."
- C. H. Spurgeon
"It was Newton's goodness rather than his greatness that rendered him so especially attractive " the abundance of the grace of God that was in him. In this respect he was pre-eminent, justifying the eulogy of William Jay who speaks of him as one of the most perfect instances of the spirit and temper of Christianity he ever knew. Some men excel in one virtue more than another. But Newton's character was beautiful in its entireness. It rested on a solid foundation " the initial Christian grace of humility, and of this grace he was a most striking example. He never for a moment forgot that by the grace of God he was what he was."
- Josiah Bull, author of But Now I See: The Life of John Newton.
D. A. Carson, one of today's most notable Bible scholars, introduces the irony, scandal, and greatness of the work done on the cross.
How are Christians to approach the central gospel teachings concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus? The Bible firmly establishes the historicity of these events and doesn't leave their meanings ambiguous or open to interpretation. Even so, there is an irony and surprising strangeness to the cross. Carson shows that this strange irony has deep implications for our lives as he examines the history and theology of Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection.
Scandalous is the latest addition to the Re:Lit series, which highlights important theological truths in accessible and applicable ways. Both amateur theologians and general readers will appreciate how Carson deftly preserves weighty theology while simultaneously noting the broader themes of Jesus' death and resurrection. Through exposition of five primary passages of Scripture, Carson helps us to more fully understand and appreciate the scandal of the cross.
Chosen for Life
Divine election is certainly one of the more profound—and controversial—doctrines in the Bible. Does God elect people because they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, or does God elect people in order that they will believe in Christ? Much of the disagreement and controversy concerning this doctrine proceeds from a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means.
This is why Storms begins his analysis of divine election with an attempt to clarify precisely what is at stake and, at the same time, correct misrepresentations of it. He takes a thorough look at the doctrine as it is presented in Romans 9 as well as the rest of the New Testament. He also explores freedom of will and the order of salvation. Appendixes address “Three Problem Passages” and “Who Can and Cannot Pray for God to Save the Lost?”
“I can’t know and love and serve God if I don’t know truth about God. This book describes God the way he really is.”
John Piper, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis
“This new edition of Chosen for Life has everything one could want on the topic of election. Those who agree will be heartily encouraged; those who disagree will be respectfully challenged; the hearts of all will marvel at the glorious grace of God in the gospel.”
C. J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries
“Storms’s offensive against Arminian-type views of election among evangelicals is a very solid piece of work. The thoroughness of its arguments gives it conclusive force.”
J. I. Packer, Professor of Theology, Regent College
Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary “This extraordinarily clear and courteous book makes its case without stooping to caricature or invective. It is a fine model of exactly how theological disagreements should be resolved: with respectful listening, careful distinctions, historical awareness, deep reverence for Scripture, and patient exegesis.”
D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Cross Talk: Where Life and Scripture Meet
Michael R. Emlet
Your friend just left his wife. You catch your child posting something inappropriate on the Internet. Someone in your small group is depressed. A relative was just diagnosed with an incurable disease. When those you know and love experience trouble, you don't want to hand out pat answers or religious platitudes. Instead, you want to offer real hope and help from God's Word. You know it’s true, but how does an ancient book, written thousands of years ago, connect with our twenty-first century problems?
In CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet, Michael R. Emlet gives you the tools to connect the Bible to your life and to the lives of your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. You will learn to understand people and God’s Word in ways that promote gospel-centered, rich conversations that help you and those you know grow in love for God and others. This book will make the whole Bible come alive to you. Instead of platitudes, you can offer a cup of living water to those who are struggling in this broken world.
About the author:
Michael R. Emlet, M.Div., M.D. practiced as a family physician for twelve years before joining CCEF as a counselor and faculty member. Mike holds an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a Master of Divinity degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He has authored the minibooks: Asperger Syndrome; Help for the Caregiver; OCD; and Angry Children, and has just released his first full-length book: CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet. - CCEF
Redemption: Accomplished and Applied
The atonement lies at the very center of the Christian faith. The free and sovereign love of God is the source of the accomplishment of redemption, as the Bible's most familiar text (John 3:16) makes clear.
For thoughtful Christians since the time of the Apostle Paul, this text has started, not ended, the discussion of redemption. Yet few recent interpreters have explored in depth ther biblical passages dealing with the atonement as penetratingly or precisely as John Murray, who, until his death in 1975, was regarded by many as the foremost conservative theologian in the English-speaking world.
In this enduring study of the atonement, Murray systematically explains the two sides of redemption: its accomplishment by Christ and its application to the life of the redeemed. In part I Murray considers the necessity, nature, perfection, and extent of the atonement. In Part II Murray offers careful expositions of the scriptural teaching about calling, regeneration, faith and repentance, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, union with Christ, and glorification.
Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
April and May 2010
Believing that Christian joy was one of the most potent factors in the spread of Christianity in the early centuries, Lloyd-Jones not only lays bare the causes that have robbed many Christians of spiritual vitality, but also points the way to the cure.
Why We Love the Church
Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
Why We Love the Church presents the case for loving the local church. It paints a picture of the local church in all its biblical and real life guts, gaffes, and glory in an effort to edify local congregations and entice the disaffected back to the fold. It also provides a solid biblical mandate to love and be part of the body of Christ and counteract the "leave church" books that trumpet rebellion and individual felt needs.
Why We Love the Church is written for four kinds of people - the Committed, the Disgruntled, the Waffling & the Disconnected.