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Book Review: Knowable Word by Peter Krol

kwPeter Krol, Knowable Word (Cruciform Press, 2014) available for Kindle and in paperback, 120 pp.

Reviewed by Doug Smith

When I was a child, I had an unusual fixation with instruction manuals.  I actually enjoyed reading about how to use a toy, game, or electronic device.  There was just something about reading a description of how something was supposed to work, and figuring out how to understand the description, comparing  it to what I was doing, and seeing if I could apply what I just read that I found satisfying, especially if I got a better result than what I had previously achieved.

I can’t think of any higher compliment about Knowable Word than that it is a good instruction manual that is enjoyable to read and easy to use.  Three attributes that distinguish Peter Krol’s book from other books on hermeneutics, or how to interpret and study the Bible, are its brevity, clarity, and practicality.

Knowable Word is a brief, quick on-ramp into the world of Bible study.  There are plenty of tomes on Biblical interpretation.  There are books about an abundance of introductory matters about Bible study that never actually get one into the Bible study.  Some of these books are hundreds of pages, but Krol’s is only 120.  Its length makes it possible to read in a couple of hours.  Reading it in a single sitting can help the reader more easily get the whole picture of what the author is saying, and get to work putting the book into practice.

Knowable Word is a clear book.  Its clarity is achieved by its focused vision to present a method of Bible study that is faithful to Scripture, easy to remember, and easy to apply.  The three step method?  Observe.  Interpret.  Apply.  Krol grounds this traditional “OIA” method in Scripture, showing how Jesus used this methodology to point out things to His hearers (Matt. 21:42-44).  He also shows how it works in normal human communication, as we see something, consider its meaning, and then choose a response based on what we have seen and interpreted.  Krol also gives an overarching vision of the Bible as a book that points us to Christ.  He takes us to Luke 24 to show us how Jesus viewed Scripture as pointing to Himself, and challenges us to look for themes that relate to the suffering and death of the Messiah, the need for repentance and forgiveness of sin, and the proclamation of the good news to all nations (Luke 24:46-47).

Krol’s writing style is direct and straightforward.  He does not get bogged down with a myriad of alternative views of scholarly theories, but focuses on explaining the OIA method in a simple manner.

The author primarily limits his examples of Bible study methods to Genesis 1, which he takes on its own terms, rather than importing ideas foreign to the text to shape his interpretation  This approach remains consistent throughout the book.  We do not have to constantly change gears to other types of literature as we are learning the method.

Krol gives clarity by way of contrast.  He argues that familiarity is our biggest enemy to observing what Scripture actually says, since we are not as active to observe that which we believe we already know.  Presuming that we understand something is an obstacle to discovering the right interpretation.  The inertia in our lives makes it difficult to want to budge and dig into the hard work of application, which leads to change.

Knowable Word is a practical book.  Krol quickly and clearly shows us how to put our Bible study into practice.  He focuses both on our internal beliefs and character as well as our outward actions toward others.  Examples from his own life, as he applies his study of Genesis 1 to his own aversion to home improvement projects, are illuminating and give good suggestions for us to think about when applying the Scripture.  The book also provides exercises and access to printable worksheets for working through the phases of observation, interpretation, and application, with suggestions of the things we need to look for and consider.

Krol’s book is a great instruction manual for reading the Bible.  It doesn’t go on forever, but gives you the basics so you can jump right in and start studying.  It doesn’t over-complicate things, but is clear in its instruction.  It’s practical, and you can immediately see the usefulness of the method Krol explains.  Knowable Word is thorough and clear enough that you can read it once and remember its gist as you put its principles to work.  Yet, it is a good reference to go back to when needing to remind yourself how you can dig deeper.

Knowable Word is a helpful resource that can introduce readers to basic Bible study methods they can learn “in five minutes” and master “over a lifetime,” as Krol states in chapter 1.  I plan to use this book to help others of all ages learn how to study the Bible for themselves, in hopes that they will better know Jesus and pass this method on to others as well.

The book also has a website with resources here.

DISCLAIMER: I received a free eBook of this title from Cruciform Press in exchange for an honest review.

The book is available for $5.99 for Kindle and $8.99 for paperback.

This view was originally posted at my personal blog.

DEAL ALERT: Free AiG Video Download “Stop Trusting Man’s Word”

stmwI highly recommend this video.  It’s available for free as a digital download that will play on computers and mobile devices.  Here’s the info, from Ken Ham at Answers in Genesis:

You can download this video free until Sunday night. (It’s normally $12.99 on DVD.) Share this with your friends and encourage them to download and view “Stop Trusting Man’s Word” too! Simply go to the Answers in Genesis online store and download it now. I think you’ll find a whole new level of confidence in the truth of the Bible!

The special code to use for the free download is: TRUSTING. We can’t afford to do this sort of thing too often, but right now you can download it free.

Should Preachers Recycle Their Sermons?

recycle2Recycling is good, right?  I mean, if we can reuse a container, or repurpose materials for another use, that’s conserving resources and avoiding waste.  By the same token, when you have labored to prepare a lesson or a sermon, it would be a shame to never use it again, right?

I think the answer is yes and no.  I believe it depends on the circumstances and the reasons.  Let’s start with the no‘s.

You Shouldn’t Recycle a Sermon When…

  • you are a pastor of a church and the sermon may still be fresh in the church’s memory.
  • you are a guest speaker and you’ve preached the same sermon at the same church you are scheduled to speak at again.
  • the sermon was terrible (and you know it).  There are some sermons that I have preached that can make me cringe when brought to mind… better to scrap them and take a completely fresh look at the passage, if I’m preaching on the same passage.  (I certainly haven’t attained to John Wesley’s description of his own sermon preparation abilities described in his journal.  He indicated there that he could not improve on sermons he had preached thirty years before!)
  • you’re too lazy to prepare.  (In this case, tell them you’re not prepared to speak on that date and that they will need to secure a different preacher; that’s much better than going ahead when you don’t care enough to prepare.)
  • it’s been a long time since you’ve preached it and you’re not really familiar with it and it’s just something from the file.

It Makes Sense to Recycle When…

  • you are preaching to a different audience, especially if the sermon is still fresh on your heart.
  • you had a real emergency or essential interruptions that made you so busy that you didn’t have time to thoroughly prepare for a fresh message without having to sacrifice other things, like most of your sleep.
  • you are a pastor, had one of those weeks, and it has been years since you preached the message.
  • you need to write a blog post, article, or book.  If your sermon was worth preaching, it’s probably worth turning into some kind of written form, and may justifiably become the basis for a larger work.  I’m thankful that many preachers from the past “recycled” their sermons into written form so I can “hear” them across the decades and centuries (otherwise, it would be impossible, as audio recording hasn’t even been available widely for a century yet).
  • you’re speaking at a conference or special event (especially if you’re a pastor; if you have the option, use what you think is one of your better sermons, if you think it would fit the occasion).
  • you are speaking at a special event, and a sermon you preached in the past has been requested.

If You Recycle, Freshen It Up

If you decide to recycle, give some thought to how you do it.  If you were to recycle aluminum cans, you’d pour out the stale soda first, right?

If you have preached the sermon once or twice before, you probably can shake a few things out of it that weren’t all that helpful, or rework some parts of it to the audience you’ll be speaking to.  You may be able to use better illustrations, tighten up your introduction, or clarify your explanations.  If you’re not able to preach an absolutely fresh message, the least you can try to do is pray through the recycled message and improve it by tweaking, adding to, or reducing what is there.

Minimize the Need to Recycle

Recycling sermons could be problematic if regular.  It can stunt the preacher’s personal growth and make him stale to his audience, neither of which are good things.  So, what steps can you take to minimize the need to recycle?

  • Evaluate your own walk with God, and your own time in the Word.  Be careful that you don’t read the Bible daily just for the purpose of sermon preparation, but don’t be afraid or ashamed to let your sermon preparation flow from what God is teaching you personally from His Word.  For me, these are sweet sermons, because they have been processed in my own soul, sometimes chewed on for weeks, and the preparation time is easier for having digested the passage from devotional attention to it.  If you are constantly studying God’s Word without a definite preaching appointment in mind, you may be able to preach a new sermon without much trouble, even when called on with short notice.
  • Evaluate your use of time.  Are there some non-essential things you can give up to prepare a fresh message?
  • Evaluate your sermon preparation efficiency.  There may be some ways you can streamline (for example, consulting too many commentaries might be counterproductive, and definitely less helpful to you than directly meditating on and wrestling with a passage).
  • Consider how “on fire” and passionate you are the first time you preach a sermon, if that is your experience.  Many preachers lose that after the initial preaching event of a sermon (not necessarily in all situations, but probably enough to warrant pausing before automatically recycling).
  • Keep a sermon log so you know what you preached when and where.
  • Evaluate your abilities and consider how you can improve your skills.  Sometimes preachers feel at an impasse because they’ve not really learned how to study and communicate the Bible.  Get help from books, other preachers, etc.
  • Study the Bible together with someone else.  This can open a whole vista of ideas about topics and passages for preaching.  Read through and discuss a book of the Bible with your wife, a friend, or a small group of men.
  • If you recycle for the same audience, such as a church that you have preached the same sermon to in the past, it’s good to admit this to them at the beginning of the message.  This keeps you honest, accountable, and should shame you into avoiding this as much as possible.

Some Considerations to Remember about Recycling

Truth is truth and the Holy Spirit can use a message whether it is being given by that messenger for the first time or it is a reuse of the sermon.  The Bible itself contains much repetition, including some parallel passages.  Some famous preachers from the past have recycled sermons.  One example is R. G. Lee.  He preached “Payday Someday” over 1,000 times!

Nonetheless, generally speaking, it is probably best, even for supply preachers, to keep a fresh supply of messages coming, for the nourishment of their own souls and for the body of Christ.  Seek God through reading His Word and prayer.  If you have to recycle, recycle those messages that most spoke to you and that you think would help others look to God.  On the one hand, if it was good enough to preach once, it’s probably good enough to preach again, but, on the other hand, there are 66 whole books in God’s inexhaustible Word, and you could preach through each one in a lifetime and still never have to recycle a sermon.

Updates, Links, and Deals for 5/11/2014

Updates Links and Deals

Interview with Pastor Kevin DeYoung about taking God at His Word (Hoping to post a full review of this book in the next few weeks)

Interview with Dr. Alex Chediak on preparing your teens for college

Top Ten Christian Books (Plus One) For Graduates (in case you missed it last week)

Three on the Trinity:

How Does the Trinity Apply Practically to My Life

Trinity as Foundational for Family Ministry

How Does the Trinity Apply Practically to Your Life Today

“Ultimate Proof of Creation” – a good overview of apologetics by Dr. Jason Lisle:

Deals:  The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts is FREE in multiple electronic formats this month, from Ligonier Ministries.

10 Awesome and Free eBooks online

My book Keeping the Faith in a Christian College is FREE each Sunday in May for Kindle.  I wrote this in hopes that it will help students and graduates of Christian colleges that do not hold firmly to the truth.  It’s also just 99 cents the rest of the time if you buy the print version from Amazon.

300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans – FREE for Logos this month

Top Ten Christian Books (Plus One) for Graduates & College Students

macartTaking-God-Word-3D-880x1024spurdiscbunyan1-1God'spassionChristianityandliberalismultimateproofwhy27Thriving-at-College-cover-198x300christianhistory-cover

It’s that time of the year… graduations are rapidly approaching.  What do you give to
congratulate the graduate?  Here are a few suggestions, if you’re considering a Christian book.  I have compiled this list as a combination of books that helped me and books I would have benefited from if I’d had access to them during college.

macart1. The MacArthur Study Bible  (or click here for Kindle version) – the single most helpful study Bible I know. Clear, uncompromising notes on Genesis. Excellent background and analysis of passages; helpful articles about Scripture and doctrine as well. Covenant theologians may disapprove the extent to which MacArthur is dispensational, but even they should find most of the notes to be models of clarity, substance, and edification.

Taking-God-Word-3D-880x10242. Kevin DeYoung, Taking God at His Word  (Kindle version here) – a new book, and the best single volume on the Bible that I’ve seen.  Clear, engaging, fun to read.  Reinvigorates a love for God’s Word and uncompromisingly opposes views that regard the Bible as having error, being unclear, or being insufficient.

spurdisc3. Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life  (Kindle version here) – helpful guide to the practices that bring us closer to God.  The basics of the Christian life are here in a well-written, practical book that should be read and re-read from time to time because it brings us right back to the God of the Bible.

bunyan1-14. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress  (click here for Kindle version – lots of options on this title) – the best work of fiction for spiritual growth.  This allegory gives the journey of the Christian life from before conversion to glory, with many warnings of the pitfalls along the way.  It’s also a classic of English literature that’s not as well known as it once was.

God'spassion5. John Piper, God’s Passion for His Glory (with The End for Which God Created the World by Jonathan Edwards) (Kindle version here) – This book dispelled a dangerous false notion I once had — that God made us because He was lonely.  The book is a bit of a hybrid.  Piper distills Edwards in one half; in the other half, Edwards speaks and Piper gives helpful footnotes.  Not an easy read, but very worthwhile.  The takeaway?  You should come away from reading this book convinced, from Scripture, that God made everything for His glory, and He is glorified in us when we delight in Him. (Free PDF at Desiring God website)

Christianityandliberalism6. J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism  (Kindle version here) – The author clearly demonstrates that biblical Christianity and theological liberalism are not two varieties of the same thing; liberalism is naturalism dressed in fake clothing, and is another type of religion altogether.

ultimateproof7. Jason Lisle, Ultimate Proof of Creation  (Kindle version here) – great book full of help for apologetics and logic.

why278. Brian Edwards, Why 27? – One of the most accessible books on the canon of Scripture.  Why do we accept the books in the New Testament as from God, and not any others for the New Testament?

Thriving-at-College-cover-198x300
9. Alex Chediak, Thriving at College  (Kindle version here) – Very practical and readable guide for the college student who doesn’t want to waste his or her college experience.  I’m sure I could have learned some of this stuff if I’d paid more attention in our “strategies for success” class my freshman year; but there’s more than basic strategies for navigating academic and social life here – Chediak integrates the spiritual aspect as well.

christianhistory-cover10. Timothy Paul Jones, Church History Made Easy  (Kindle version here) – Jones masterfully boils down church history to the essentials in a readable, engaging format.  This will give a great overview of the church throughout her existence, and introduce readers to names, movements, and issues that were key then and that resurface through history and to our own day as well.

BookCoverKeepingtheFaithinaChristianCollegeKINDLEI wrote How to Keep the Faith in a Christian College, in part, as a short introduction to books like these.  (It is free for Kindle each Sunday in May; for more info about the book, which is also available in paperback, click here.)

Are there any books you would put on a “must-read” list for new, current, or former college students?

Note: Dr. David Murray’s blog gave me the idea for a top ten list of this sort.  He’s got more top-ten lists of books on other topics here.  And I’ve a feeling he’ll have one for graduates soon.  (UPDATE: He posted his list here.)

Updates Links and Deals How to Make Sure Your Marriage Ends in Divorce – The title of this series should get our attention; the content in the series can change our lives and marriages for the better (to avoid drifting apart!).  I highly commend all five parts to your reading; if you are married or counsel those who are, this is well worth your time: Part 1       Part 2      Part 3       Part 4       Part 5

Children’s Bible Reading plan – This plan is very flexible, adaptable and brief.  It gives a good jumpstart without overwhelming.  We now have three children who have been engaging with God’s Word daily, which is good for mom’s and dad’s accountability as well.

Is Genesis 1-11 a Derivation from Ancient Myths?

4 Practical Ways to Welcome Autism into Your Church

Have you heard of Brian McLaren?  Beware if you hear of him or his influence.  Tim Challies tells us about the danger of McLaren’s false teaching.

Deals: My book Keeping the Faith in a Christian College is FREE each Sunday in May for Kindle.  I wrote this in hopes that it will help students and graduates of Christian colleges that do not hold firmly to the truth.

300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans – FREE for Logos this month

Keeping the Faith in a Christian College Now Available for Kindle!

BookCoverKeepingtheFaithinaChristianCollegeKINDLEKeeping the Faith in a Christian College is now available on Amazon Kindle.  As a bonus to celebrate graduation season, it is FREE for today.  Please share the news!  I am hoping many people may be helped by this book, especially students, graduates, and incoming freshmen.  One helpful feature of this eBook is that it has “live” links to website and articles referenced in the book.

I would be grateful for anyone who can take about an hour to read the book and leave an honest review at Amazon.

A print version of the book should be available for direct order from Amazon within the next few days.  I will post when it is available.

For more updates, please like the official Facebook page here.  You may also subscribe to this blog.

Here is the book description and some endorsements:

A Christian school, of all places, should be a setting where Christian students should not have their faith attacked. Yet year by year, students enter classrooms where the teachings of the Bible and its trustworthiness will be denied by professors who call themselves Christians. Many students have their guard down, not expecting such opposition in such a place. This book seeks to give simple and straightforward warning, counsel, and encouragement to such students to trust Christ and His Word and keep the faith in their studies at a Christian college, university, or seminary. 

ENDORSEMENTS OF KEEPING THE FAITH IN A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE

“Many of the ‘baby boomer’ generation did not attend college. With the increase in availability and opportunity, they have encouraged their children to go to college. Those parents from an Evangelical Christian background viewed a ‘Christian’ college as a bonus and sent many of their children there. Unfortunately, some of these college students quickly learned that what they knew as ‘Christian’ and what the school called ‘Christian’ were two different ideas. In this book, Doug Smith equips students and parents to enter college, especially ‘Christian’ colleges, with both eyes wide open. He writes from first-hand experience to guard future college students against the snares he encountered. I would highly recommend this resource to all parents and high school students who are considering a Christian college.”

– Josh Davis, Youth and Assistant Pastor, Antioch Baptist Church, Bristol, Virginia 

“You head excitedly to a ‘Christian’ college as a young ministerial student to learn more about the Bible in hopes of getting better trained to preach and teach God’s Word. But the sacred Book you’ve grown up believing and loving often becomes the target of attack – question marks being placed in the Bible by professors where God’s Spirit had already put a period. Such was my experience, and I found myself starting to ‘doubt’ and even ‘disbelieve’ what I had been RIGHTLY taught about the Bible growing up. Only by God’s grace and the mentoring of godly pastors in my life was I guarded from ‘erring from thy statutes’ (Psalm 119:118). How needful is such a book and how helpful it will be in keeping students who are Christians ‘grounded’ and ‘growing’ in ‘the faith once delivered unto the saints!’”

– Scott Price, Senior Pastor, Fellowship Chapel, Bristol, Virginia 

“The season of college preparation is a busy one but the addition of reading Keeping the Faith in a Christian College is a wise addition to that busy season. In a concise and straightforward manner, Keeping the Faith in a Christian College will equip you to evaluate the colleges you are considering and to ‘keep the faith’ once you arrive on campus.”

– Beth Osborne Skinner, Attorney at Law, Bristol, Virginia 

“Having worked with Doug for the past three years, I have seen his love for the students and his passion for the authority of the Scriptures. He understands the Biblical worldview issues. Preparing students to enter the world ready to give a reason for the hope they have is a calling in his life. This guide will be an invaluable resource to help students and parents in selecting a college whose mission is first and foremost to glorify the Lord.”

– Dr. Clay Brinson, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Head of School, Cornerstone Christian Academy, Abingdon, Virginia 

Theological Triage and Pulpit Supply Ministry

I was recently reminded of an article Dr. Al Mohler posted almost 9 years ago, entitled “A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity” (click here to read in full).  In his post, Mohler makes a case for a first, second, and third order classification of Christian doctrine.  Just as the medical community uses triage to assess the urgency of a situation they must address, theologians, preachers, and churches can make use of a method to determine what issues matter the most and deal with them accordingly. 

A broken arm and a heart attack are two different things, and both need addressing.  However, a broken arm is not necessarily life threatening in the way that a heart attack is.   Yet, you would not want to let a broken arm go without treatment, despite the fact that it is not the first order of importance.

In a similar manner, the three levels of doctrine proposed by Mohler do not imply that any of those doctrines is unimportant.  So, what are those three levels?

1. First-order doctrines “include those doctrines most central and essential to the Christian faith . . . such as the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith, and the authority of Scripture,” as well Jesus’ virgin birth, perfect life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and future bodily return to earth.  These are “the most fundamental truths of the Christian faith, and a denial of these doctrines represents nothing less than an eventual denial of Christianity itself.”

2. Second-order doctrines differ from first-order ones “by the fact that believing Christians may disagree on the second-order issues, though this disagreement will create significant boundaries between believers. When Christians organize themselves into congregations and denominational forms, these boundaries become evident.”  Among second-order matters are the meaning and mode of baptism, the structure of church government, and qualifications for leadership (which would define one’s view on whether women can serve as pastors).

3. Third-order doctrines include issues on which believers “may disagree and remain in close fellowship, even within local congregations” and would include the interpretation and timing of biblical eschatology (end-times) and certain matters of Christian liberty (matters about which the Scriptures do not directly say what is or isn’t permissible for Christians to do).

How Theological Triage Should Shape Pulpit Supply Ministry

I find Mohler’s three-tier categorization of doctrine helpful.  He doesn’t argue that any doctrine is unimportant.  But he does provide a helpful distinction so we can know which are of the greatest urgency to get right, and as a gauge for what constitutes proper fellowship.  If you preach outside the bounds of your local church and denomination, there are several implications for filling the pulpit as a guest preacher.  (If you are uncomfortable in settings outside of those where you find agreement on all three levels, this article will have little significance for you.)

As a general rule, we should limit ourselves to explaining and applying first-order doctrines in our preaching.  This does not preclude mentioning various interpretations related to second or third-level issues when preaching.  But if we deal with these, we should be fair by representing the major diversity of viewpoints briefly, identifying them as important but secondary, and moving on, not seeking to push any of them in this particular setting.  

One of the reasons we should limit ourselves to preaching first-order doctrines is that the basic level of fellowship as fellow believers, for many of us, may be the very basis on which we are legitimately invited to that church in the first place.  I am not ashamed to reveal that my view on second-order issues includes a belief in congregational church government, credo-baptism (baptism by immersion for believers only) and complementarianism (which understands the Scriptures to only qualify godly men as pastors), and that my third-order views include premillennialism and that I personally abstain from all alcoholic beverages.  Yet, I have found myself invited to speak in churches with real believers in our Lord Jesus Christ who have a different type of church government, different understanding of baptism, pastoral ministry, the millennium, or Christian liberty.  Frankly, some of these churches are ones I can preach in but could not join as member!  Nonetheless, we share a commitment to Scripture and the Gospel of Christ, and there is no lack of preaching to be done as relates to the first-order doctrines, matters of which many in our pews and chairs have a deficient understanding.  

There could certainly be exceptions.  If a Baptist is supplying in a Baptist church or a Presbyterian in a Presbyterian church, it may be suitable to get more specific on baptism or church government.  A church may even invite you to speak on a second-order or third-order doctrine precisely because they want more instruction on the specifics of a particular interpretation.  But to go into a church with a different view of a second- or third-order doctrine and seek to change them in one sermon could be seen as uncharitable, unwise, and the waste of a good opportunity to speak of what is most urgent.  (And probably a good way to not be invited back.)

This discussion may also raise another question: should I preach in a setting where I know the church is in error on first-level doctrines?

I would say YES – BUT.  

Yes, but don’t pretend to agree with a church that denies a first-level doctrine in order to get such an opportunity.

Yes, but in this situation you are positively obligated to speak on first-level doctrines.  Whereas you want to generally avoid second- and third-level doctrines in many churches, you never want to avoid first-level doctrines.  

Yes, but make clear what is so important about first-level doctrines.  And make it clear that you cannot deny these teachings of the Bible and still be a Christian.

Yes, but make it clear that you disagree with them and show them from the Scriptures, not just your opinion, why they are wrong and what is correct.

Yes, but don’t do it with a hatred or malice toward the people.  Patiently, clearly instruct, as Paul says to Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Yes, but don’t expect to be invited back.  It may be the only time you have to bear witness to the truth in such a circumstance.  And there may even be believers there who have been waiting for someone to tell them the truth.

All this emphasis on first-order doctrines should not discourage us from knowing what we believe about the secondary doctrines.  It should not make us shy away from joining a church based on agreement with first- and second-level doctrines.  And if you are a pastor, it shouldn’t make you second-guess whether you should preach in your church doctrines that are not first-level.

Theological triage should help us deal with the most urgent issues when we serve as guest preachers, and leave those matters of important, but lesser urgency, to our own churches and the personal conversations we have.  After all, why should we try to fix a broken arm if the person needs treatment for a heart attack first?

Updates Links and Deals

Please make time to listen to this message from Kevin DeYoung: “Never Spoke a Man Like This Before: Inerrancy, Evangelism, and Christ’s Unbreakable Bible”  For professing Christians who claim that the Bible isn’t historically accurate…. well, JESUS disagrees with them. Faith-strengthening, encouraging — praise be to God for giving us His trustworthy Word!  DeYoung has a book, just released, on this topic, Taking God at His Word.  I just read it and I cannot recommend it highly enough (here’s the link for Amazon).

Sermon Description:  In this sermon, primarily from the Gospel of John, Kevin DeYoung argues that Scripture’s inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency provides a foundation for both the truth of the gospel and our confidence in evangelism. Christians believe this not because of a modern, man-made ideal of “inerrancy,” but because Jesus himself thought and taught this way. As DeYoung said, “It’s impossible to uphold the Bible more than Jesus did.”

I am working on the final touches of a book addressed to students at Christian colleges, particularly about the compromise some may face in the classroom.  Lord willing, it will be released on Amazon Kindle this week.

I’ve also read a bit in The Diary of Alvin York, the World War I hero.  Fascinating first-hand account.

Tim Challies says that in our preaching we may be shortchanging folks of the most important thing we can share with them.

Deals:

The following deals are good through April 30:

John MacArthur’s books on prayer and worry are 99 cents.  (Alone with God: Discovering the Passion and Power of Prayer and Anxious for Nothing: God’s Cure for the Cares of Your Soul.)

R. C. Sproul’s The Truth of the Cross is free this month as an MP3 audio download.

The following deals are good through May 11:

J. I. Packer, Finishing Our Course with Joy: Guidance from God for Engaging with Our Aging (99 cents)

Andreas J. Köstenberger & Justin Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus:  The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived  (99 cents)

James N. Anderson, What’s Your Worldview? An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions (99 cents)

John MacArthur, The Silent Shepherd (book on the Holy Spirit) (99 cents)

And…

Mark Dever’s book, The Church: the Gospel Made Visible is 99 cents for Kindle.  Gospel eBooks doesn’t say how long this deal is good, but the print list price is $12.99.