Why I am Grateful for Martin Luther 

By Dr. David P. Craig

  1. For rediscovering the gospel in his diligent study of the Scriptures – The doctrines which led to the sola’s of the reformation – Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus and Soli Deo Gloria.
  1. For showing biblically and modeling that marriage is good for the clergy. He and Katherine Von Bora modeled a loving marriage and where models of hospitality, personal evangelism, and discipleship in the home and in the church.
  1. For bringing congregational singing back into the church. Music was relegated to the professionals; he brought the entire congregation to participate in the worship service through singing and making music before the Lord – thus like the apostle Paul in Romans 11:33-36 modeling that good theology always leads to doxology.
  1. He made it possible for the congregation to not only participate in the Lord’s supper by eating of the bread; but also adding that all members of the congregation could drink of the cup (in RC only the priest could drink of the cup).
  1. Through his Small Catechism – Luther was arguably one of the first pastors to disciple children in the church (for years children were to be “seen and not heard”). He knew innately that the reformation would be finished if it were not for passing the baton to the next generations.
  1. I am inspired by his work ethic. He was tireless in preaching, writing, counseling, training, and getting the truths of the Bible out to every man, woman, and child in Germany and beyond for the glory of God.
  1. Though, Wycliffe had preceded him in translating the Bible into English; the advent of the printing press kicked his German translation of the Bible into high gear. The Bible in the language of the people was for the first time in history made affordable and readable for the common people – so they could read and interpret the Bible for themselves.
  1. I am grateful for Luther’s courage, faithfulness, and tireless efforts to fight for truth as revealed authoritatively and sufficiently in the Scriptures (despite great losses, cost and personal suffering). He will definitely be one of the first people I will look for, hug and thank when I get to Heaven!

Resources for Couples

COMPILED BY PASTOR DAVID P. CRAIG, Revised July 26, 2022 (Those Marked with an “*” are Highly Recommended)

MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD (The Imago Dei):

  • *Brand, Dr. Paul and Philip Yancey. Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image.
  • Hoekema, Anthony A. Created in God’s Image.
  • Kilner, John F. Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God.
  • Lints, Richard. Identity and Idolatry: The Image of God and Its Inversion.
  • Seamands, Stephen. Ministry in the Image of God: The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service.
  • *Sproul, R.C. The Hunger for Significance: Seeing the Image of God in Man.
  • *Wilkin, Jen. In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character.

THE SINGLE CHRISTIAN

  • *Alberry Sam. 7 Myths About Singleness.
  • Ballenger, Mark. The Ultimate Guide to Christian Singleness.
  • Chediak, Alex. With One Voice: Singleness, Dating & Marriage to the Glory of God.
  • Cloud, Henry and John Townsend. Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
  • Chapman, Gary. The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition: The Secret That Will Revolutionize Your Relationships
  • *Hiestand, Gerald, and Jay S. Thomas. Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach.
  • Maxson, J. Robin and Garry Friesen. “I Do” or Do I? Are You Ready To Change Your Relationship Status?
  • Maxson, J. Robin and Garry Friesen. Singleness, Marriage, and the Will of God.
  • *Pokluda, J.P. and Kevin McConaghy. Outdated: Find Love That Lasts When Dating Has Changed.
  • *Pokluda, J.P. and Kevin McConaghy. Welcome to Adulting: Navigating Faith, Friendship, Finances, and the Future.
  • *Pokluda, J.P. Welcome to Adulting Survival Guide: 42 Days to Navigate Life.
  • Rineheart, Stacy T., and Paula Rinehart. Choices: Finding God’s Way in Dating, Sex, Marriage, and Singleness.
  • *Phillips, Richard D., and Sharon L. Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating.
  • Priolo, Lou. Danger Signs of an Unhealthy Dating Relationship.
  • *Segal, Marshall. Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating.
  • Smith, William P. Starting Over: How Not to Screw Up Your Next Relationship.
  • Smith, William P. Who Should I Date?: Relationship Advice for the Real World.
  • *Strachan, Owen. Whole in Christ: A Biblical Approach to Singleness.
  • *Stuart, Ben. Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age.
  • *Sweet, Jenilyn. Singleness: Living Faithfully (31-Day Devotionals for Life).

BEFORE GETTING ENGAGED/MARRIED

  • *Baker, Ernie. Marry Wisely, Marry Well.
  • Burns, Jim & Fields, Doug. Getting Ready for Marriage: A Practical Road Map for Your Journey Together.
  • Chapman, Gary. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We God Married.
  • Green, Rob. Tying the Knot: A Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Marriage.
  • *Harley, Jr. Willard F. I Promise You: Preparing For A Marriage That Will Last a Lifetime.
  • Mack, Wayne A. Preparing for Marriage God’s Way: A Step-By-Step Guide for Marriage Success Before and After the Wedding.
  • McKinley, Mike. Engagement: Preparing for Marriage (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • Parrott, Les & Leslie. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions To Ask Before and After You Marry.
  • Piper, John. Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples.
  • Roberts, Wes & Wright, H. Norman. Before You Say “I Do.”
  • Smalley, Greg and Erin. Before You Plan Your Wedding…Plan Your Marriage.
  • Smalley, Greg and Erin. Ready to Wed: 12 Ways to Start a Marriage You’ll Love.
  • Smith, William P. Should We Get Married?: How to Evaluate Your Relationship.
  • Thomas, Gary. 9 Must Have Conversations For a Doubt-Free Wedding Day.
  • Thomas, Gary. Preparing Your Heart for Marriage: Devotions for Engaged Couples.
  • *Thomas, Gary. The Sacred Search: What if It’s Not about Who You Marry, but Why?
  • *Wright, H. Norman. 101 Questions to ask Before You Get Engaged.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. Before You Say “I Do”: A Marriage Preparation Guide for Couples.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. Before You Say “I Do” Devotional: Building a Spiritual Foundation for Your Life Together.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. Starting Out Together: A Devotional for Dating or Engaged Couples.

MARRIAGE

  • *Ash, Christopher. Married For God: Making Your Marriage the Best It Can Be.
  • Begg, Alistair. Lasting Love. How to Avoid Marital Failure.
  • Chan, Francis and Lisa. You And Me Forever: Marriage In Light of Eternity.
  • Chapell, Bryan. Each For The Other: Marriage As It’s Meant To Be.
  • Chapman, Gary. Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage.
  • *Chapman, Gary. The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage.
  • Chester, Tim. Gospel-Centered Marriage: Becoming the Couple God Wants You to Be.
  • Crabb, Larry. The Marriage Builder. Creating Oneness To Transform Your Marriage.
  • *Farley, William P. Marriage In Paradise: How to Have a Genesis two Marriage in a Genesis three World.
  • *Curt Hamner, John Trent, et al. Marriage: Its Foundation, Theology, and Mission in a Changing World.
  • *Ingram, Chip. Marriage That Works: God’s Way of Becoming Spiritual Soul Mates, Best Friends, and Passionate Lovers.
  • *Keller, Timothy and Kathy. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God.
  • Kostenberger, Andreas J. & Jones  David W. God, Marriage, and Family. Rebuilding The Biblical Foundation.
  • *LaPierre, Scott. Your Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship.
  • Lewis, Robert & Hendricks, William. Rocking The Roles: Building a Win-Win Marriage.
  • Mead, Peter. Lost in Wonder: A Biblical Introduction to God’s Great Marriage.
  • *Ortlund, Ray. Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel.
  • Piper, John. This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence.
  • Rainey, Dennis & Barbara. Starting Your Marriage Right: What You Need To Know In The Early Years To Make It Last a Lifetime.
  • Rainey, Dennis & Barbara. Staying Close: Stopping The Natural Drift Toward Isolation in Marriage.
  • *Savage, Timothy B. No Ordinary Marriage: Together For God’s Glory.
  • Smalley, Erin. Reconnected: Moving from Roommates to Soulmates in Marriage (Focus on the Family)
  • Smalley, Gary. The DNA of Relationships: Discover How You Are designed for Satisfying Relationships.
  • Smalley, Gary & Trent, John. Love is a Decision: Proven Techniques to Keep Your Marriage Alive and Lively.
  • Smalley, Gary and Shawn Stoever. The Wholehearted Marriage: Fully Engaging Your Most Important Relationship.
  • Smith, Winston T. Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments.
  • *Sproul, R.C. The Intimate Marriage: A Practical Guide To Building A Great Marriage.
  • *Swindoll, Charles R. Marriage From Surviving to Thriving.
  • Thomas, Gary. A Lifelong Love: How to Have Lasting Intimacy, friendship, and Purpose in Your Marriage.
  • Thomas, Gary. Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything For Your Marriage.
  • Thomas, Gary. Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?
  • Towns, Ruth and Elmer. How To Build a Lasting Marriage: Lessons From Biblical Couples.
  • *Tripp, Paul David. Marriage: 6 Gospel Commitments Every Couple Needs to Make.
  • Wright, H. Norman. After You Say “I Do.”
  • Wright, H. Norman. 101 Ways To Build a Stronger, More Exciting Marriage.
  • Young, Ed. The 10 Commandments of Marriage: The Do’s and Don’s for a Lifelong Covenant.

LEARNING TO MEET ONE ANOTHER’S NEEDS

  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs.
  • *Harley, Jr. Willard F. He Wins, She Wins: Learning The Art of Marital Negotiation; His Needs Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage; Love Busters: Protect Your Marriage by Replacing Love-Busting Patterns with Love-Building Habits.

MEN AND WOMEN: ENJOYING THE DIFFERENCES

  • Burke, H. Dale. Different by Design: God’s Master Plan For Harmony Between Men and Women in Marriage.
  • Crabb, Larry. Men and Women: Enjoying The Difference.
  • *Farrel, Bill and Pam. Men Are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences.
  • *Farrel, Bill and Pam. Why Men and Women Act The Way They Do.
  • Leman, Kevin. Have a New Husband by Friday: How to Change His Attitude, Behavior & Communication in 5 Days.
  • MacArthur, John. Divine Design: God’s Complementary Roles For Men and Women.
  • Peacock, Gavin & Strachan, Owen. The Grand Design: Male and Female He Made Them.
  • Smalley, Gary. For Better or for Best: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Husband.
  • Smalley, Gary. If Only He Knew: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Wife.
  • Strauch, Alexander. Men and Women: Equal Yet Different.
  • Strachan, Owen and Jonathan Parnell. Designed for Joy: How the Gospel Impacts Men and Women, Identity and Practice.

COMMUNICATION 

  • Bechtle, Mike. How to Communicate with Confidence.
  • Brown, Steve. How to Talk So People Will Listen.
  • *Chapman, Gary. Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage.
  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. Cracking The Communication Code With Your Mate: The Secret of Speaking Your Mate’s Language.
  • Petersen, James C. Why Don’t We Listen Better?: Communicating & Connecting in Relationships
  • *Tripp, Paul David. War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. Communication: Key to Your Marriage – The Secret To True Happiness.

CONFLICT

  • Chapman, Gary. Everybody Wins: The Chapman Guide to Solving Conflicts without Arguing (Chapman Guides).
  • Chapman, Gary. Home Improvements: The Chapman Guide to Negotiating Change with Your Spouse (Chapman Guides).
  • Chapman, Gary. The 5 Apology Languages: The Secret to Healthy Relationships.
  • *Chapman, Gary & Thomas, Jennifer. When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right With Those You Love.
  • *Harvey, Dave. When Sinners Say “I Do”: The Power of the Gospel for Marriage.
  • *Hoppe, Steve. Marriage Conflict: Talking as Teammates (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • *Kendall, R.T. Total Forgiveness.
  • *Lutzer, Erwin W. When You Have Been Wronged: Moving From Bitterness To Forgiveness.
  • *Priolo, Lou. Resolving Conflict: How to Make, Disturb, and Keep Peace.
  • *Sande, Ken. The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.
  • *Scott, Stuart. Communication and Conflict Resolution: A Biblical Perspective.
  • Smalley, Greg. Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage: How Healthy Conflict Can Take You to Deeper Levels of Intimacy.
  • Smalley, Greg. Reconnected: Moving from Roommates to Soulmates in Marriage.

COURTSHIP AFTER MARRIAGE

  • Begg, Alistair. Lasting Love: How To Avoid Marital Failure.
  • Buzzard, Justin. Date Your Wife: A Husband’s Guide.
  • Harley, Jr. Willard F. Fall In Love, Stay In Love.
  • Mack, Wayne A. Sweethearts for a Lifetime: Making the Most of Your Marriage (Strength for Life).
  • *Smalley, Greg and Erin Smalley. Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage: 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance.
  • *Smalley, Gary. Making Love Last Forever.
  • *Smalley, Gary and Shawn Stoever. The Wholehearted Marriage: Fully Engaging Your Most Important Relationship.
  • *Ziglar, Zig. Courtship After Marriage: Romance Can Last A Lifetime.

DEVOTIONALS

  • Chapman, Gary. The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional: A 365-Day Devotional for Christian Couples.
  • Chapman, Gary. The Love as a Way of Life Devotional: A Ninety-Day Adventure That Makes Love a Daily Habit.
  • Dobson, James C. Night Light: A Devotional for Couples.
  • Harley, Willard F. and Joyce S. Joyce. Draw Close: A Devotional for Couples.
  • Keller, Timothy and Kathy Keller. The Meaning of Marriage: A Couple’s Devotional: A Year of Daily Devotions.
  • Kendrick, Stephen and Alex. The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples.
  • Rainey, Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Moments Together for Couples: 365 Daily Devotions for Drawing Near to God & One Another.
  • Thomas, Gary. Devotions for a Sacred Marriage: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Couples.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. After You Say “I Do” Devotional: Meditations for Every Couple.

FINANCES

  • *Alcorn, Randy. Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide.
  • *Alcorn, Randy. Money, Possessions, and Eternity: A Comprehensive Guide to What the Bible Says about Financial Stewardship, Generosity, Materialism, Retirement, Financial Planning, Gambling, Debt, and More.
  • *Alcorn, Randy. The Law of Rewards: Giving what you can’t keep to gain what you can’t lose.
  • *Alcorn, Randy. The Treasure Principle, Revised and Updated: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving.
  • Blue, Ron. Master Your Money: A Step-By-Step Plan For Experiencing Contentment. 
  • Blue, Ron & Burkett, Larry. Your Money After The Big 5-0. Wealth For The Second Half of Life.
  • *Dayton, Howard. Marriage and Money God’s Way.
  • *Dayton, Howard. Your Money Counts: The Biblical Guide to Earning, Spending, Saving, Investing, Giving, and Getting Out of Debt
  • Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters.
  • *Lowe, Cherie. Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.
  • MacArthur, John. Whose Money Is It Anyway?
  • Ramsey, Dave. Financial Peace Revisited; The Complete Guide to Money; The Money Answer Book; The Total Money Makeover; The Financial Peace Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Restoring Your Family’s Financial Health.
  • Tripp, Paul David. Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies. 
  • *Wood, William C. Getting a Grip on Your Money: A Plain & Simple Christian Guide to Managing Personal Finances, Eliminating Debt, Spending, Saving & Giving, Investing for the Future.
  • Yates, Cynthia. Living Well On One Income: In a Two-Income World. 

LOVE LANGUAGES

  • *Chapman, Gary. The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. The Language of Love and Respect: Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate.
  • Rosberg, Gary and Barbara Rosberg. 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love: Recapturing Your Dream Marriage.
  • Rosberg, Gary and Barbara Rosberg. The 5 Love Needs of Men & Women.
  • *Smalley, Gary & Trent, John. The Language of Love: The Secret To Being Instantly Understood. 
  • *Trent, John and Gary Smalley. The Two Sides of Love: The Secret to Valuing Differences.

MEN AND WOMEN IN MINISTRY

  • *DeYoung, Kevin. Men and Women in the Church: A Short, Biblical, Practical Introduction.
  • Gilbert, Greg. Can Women Be Pastors?
  • *Grudem, Wayne, ed. Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood.
  • *Kostenberger, Margaret E. God’s Design for Man and Woman. A Biblical-Theological Survey.
  • *Kostenberger, Andreas J. and Thomas R. Schreiner, et al. Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15.
  • *Piper, John and Grudem, Wayne. 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood.
  • *Piper, John and Grudem, Wayne editors. Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response To Evangelical Feminism.
  • Saucy, Robert, and Judith TenElshof. Women and Men in Ministry: A Complementary Perspective.

PERSONALITY DIFFERENCES

  • *Biehl, Bobb. Why You Do What You Do.
  • *LaHaye, Tim. Spirit-Controlled Temperament.
  • *LaHaye, Tim. Why You Act The Way You Do.
  • *Leman, Kevin. The Birth Order Book: Why You Are The Way You Are.
  • *Littauer, Florence. Personality Plus.
  • *Littauer, Florence. Personality Plus At Work.
  • *Littauer, Florence. Personality Plus For Couples: Understanding Yourself and the One You Love
  • *Littauer, Florence. Wired That Way: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Maximizing Your Personality Type.
  • Smalley, Gary and Robert S. Paul. The DNA of Relationships for Couples.

SEXUAL INTIMACY: BECOMING ONE

  • Ash, Christopher. How Should Christians Think about Sex? (Questions for Restless Minds).
  • *Ash, Christopher. Marriage: Sex in the Service of God.
  • Cutrer, William & Glahn, Sandra. Sexual Intimacy In Marriage.
  • Dobson, James. Head Over Heels: How To Fall In Love and Land On Your Feet.
  • Harley, Jr. Willard F. Five Steps To Romantic Love: A Workbook for Readers of Love Busters and His Needs, Her Needs.
  • Howes, Ryan, Rupp, Richard, Simpson, Stephen W. What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Sex: A Guide For Christian Men.
  • LaHaye, Tim & Beverly. The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love.
  • Leman, Kevin. Sex Begins In the Kitchen; Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage.
  • McBurney, Louis & Melissa. Real Questions, Real Answers About Sex.
  • McCluskey, Christopher & Rachel. When Two Become One: Enhancing Sexual Intimacy In Marriage.
  • Rosberg, Gary and Barbara Rosberg. The 5 Sex Needs of Men & Women.
  • *Wheat, Ed & Gaye. Intended For Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage.

IF YOUR MARRIAGE IS IN SERIOUS TROUBLE

  • *Chapman, Gary. Hope For The Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed.
  • *Chapman, Gary. Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away: Real Help for Desperate Hearts in Difficult Marriages.
  • *Chapman, Gary. One More Try: What to Do When Your Marriage Is Falling Apart.
  • *Dobson, James. Love Must Be Tough: New Hope For Marriages In Crisis.
  • Gambola, Michael Scott. After an Affair: Pursuing Restoration.
  • *Harley, Jr. Willard H. & Chalmers, Jennifer Harley. Surviving An Affair.
  • Jones, Robert D. Restoring Your Broken Marriage: Healing After Adultery.
  • *Kruger, Mellissa and Michael Kruger. 5 Things to Pray for Your Spouse: Prayers That Change and Strengthen Your Marriage.
  • Smith, Winston T. Help! My Spouse Committed Adultery: First Steps for Dealing with Betrayal.
  • *Strobel, Lee & Leslie. Surviving A Spiritual Mismatch In Marriage.
  • *Summers, Mike. Help! My Spouse Has Been Unfaithful.

Web Resources For Marriage

www.5lovelanguages.com(Gary Chapman Resources for Marriage)

www.crown.org/(Founded by Larry Burkett – Excellent Financial Resources)

www.daveramsey.com/ (Resources for Dave Ramsey on Finances)

www.familylife.com (A Cru Ministry with Resources for Marriage and Parenting)

www.focusonthefamily.com (Founded by James Dobson – Marriage and Parenting)

www.marriagebuilders.com/(Ministry Resources of Dr. Willard F. Harley)

www.PaulTripp.com (Resources for Marriage and Parenting from Paul David Tripp)

www.smalleyinstitute.com (Resources from Gary and Greg Smalley on Marriage)

Biblical Manhood

  • Briscoe, Stuart. The One Year Devotions for Men with Stuart Briscoe.
  • Challies, Tim. Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn.
  • Challies, Tim. Run to Win: The Lifelong Pursuits of a Godly Man.
  • Chapman, Gary. The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great.
  • Coekin, Richard. Men of God.
  • Crabb, Larry. Men of Courage: God’s Call to Move Beyond the Silence of Adam.
  • Doriani, Daniel M. The New Man: Becoming a Man After God’s Heart.
  • Evans, Tony. No More Excuses: Be the Man God Made You to Be.
  • Farrar, Steve. Tempered Steel: How God Shapes a Man’s Heart through Adversity.
  • *Foster, Michael. It’s Good To Be A Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity.
  • *Getz, Gene. The Measure of a Man: Twenty Attributes of a Godly Man.
  • Hanson, Brant. The Men We Need: God’s Purpose for the Manly Man, the Avid Indoorsman, or Any Man Willing to Show Up.
  • *Hughes, R. Kent. Disciplines of a Godly Man.
  • *Lambert, Heath. Finally Free (pornography).
  • MacDonald, Gordon. Ordering Your Private World.
  • Metaxas, Eric. Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness.
  • Metaxas, Eric. Seven More Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness.
  • *Morely, Patrick. How God Makes Men: Ten Epic Stories. Ten Proven Principles. One Huge Promise for Your Life.
  • *Morely, Patrick. The Man in the Mirror: Solving the 24 Problems Men Face.
  • *Ortlund, Ray. The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility.
  • *Phillips, Richard D. The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men.
  • Rainey, Dennis. Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood.
  • Scott, Stuart. Biblical Manhood: Masculinity, Leadership and Decision.
  • *Smalley, Gary, Greg Salley, and Michael Smalley. Men’s Relational Toolbox.
  • Smith, Rhett. What it Means to be a Man: God’s Design for Us in a World Full of Extremes.
  • *Storms, Sam. Daily Strength: A Devotional for Men.
  • *Weber, Stu. Tender Warrior: Every Man’s Purpose, Every Woman’s Dream, Every Child’s Hope.
  • Wolgemuth, Robert. Lies Men Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free.

Being a Good Dad

  • *Beeke, Joel. How Should Men Lead Their Families?
  • Chandler, Matt and Adam Griffin. Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, and Milestones.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Anchor Man: How a Father Can Anchor His Family in Christ for the Next 100 Years.
  • *Farrar, Steve. King Me: King Me: What Every Son Wants and Needs From His Father.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Point Man: How A Man Can Lead His Family.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Battle Ready: Prepare to Be Used by God.
  • *Farrar, Steve. God Built: Forged by God … in the Bad and Good of Life.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Real Valor: A Charge to Nurture and Protect Your Family.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Standing Tall: How a Man Can Protect His Family.
  • Fuller, John. First Time Dad: The Stuff You Really Need to Know.
  • Leman, Kevin. Be the Dad She Needs You to Be: The Indelible Imprint a Father Leaves on His Daughter’s Life.
  • *Lewis, Robert. Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood.
  • Michael, David. A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children (Family Discipleship).
  • *Smalley, Gary and John Trent. The Blessing.
  • Tyson, Jon. The Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raise Sons of Courage and Character.

Being a Good Husband

  • *Buzzard, Justin. Date Your Wife.
  • *Dobson, James. What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women.
  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. The Love & Respect Experience: A Husband-Friendly Devotional That Wives Truly Love.
  • *Evans, Tony. For Married Men Only: Three Principles for Loving Your Wife.
  • Howes, Ryan, Rupp, Richard, Simpson, Stephen W. What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Sex: A Guide For Christian Men.
  • *Kruger, Michael and Melissa Kruger. 5 Things to Pray for Your Spouse: Prayers That Change and Strengthen Your Marriage.
  • Mahaney, C.J. & Carol. Sex, Romance, And The Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs To Know.
  • *Priolo, Lou. The Complete Husband: A Practical Guide for Improved Husbanding.
  • *Scott, Stuart. The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective.
  • *Smalley, Gary. If Only He Knew: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Wife.
  • *Smalley, Gary. Winning Your Wife Back Before It’s Too Late.
  • Weathers, Mark A. How to Pray for Your Wife: A 31-Day Guide.

Mid-Life Helps

  • Arterburn, Stephen. 6 Ways for Men to Thrive in Midlife.
  • Arterburn, Stephen. Midlife Manual for Men: Finding Significance in the Second Half.
  • *Buford, Bob. Finishing Well: The Adventure of Life Beyond Halftime.
  • *Buford, Bob. Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance.
  • Chester, Tim. You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions.
  • Dunlop, John, MD. Finishing Well to the Glory of God: Strategies from a Christian Physician.
  • MacDonald, Gordon. Mid-Course Correction: Re-Ordering Your Private World for the Second Half of Life.
  • Peppin, Bruce. The Best Is Yet to Be: Moving Mountains in Midlife.
  • *Swenson MD, Richard. Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives.
  • *Tripp, Paul David. Lost in the Middle: MidLife and the Grace of God: Mid-Life Crisis and the Grace of God.
  • Wright, H. Norman. What’s Next?: Navigating Transitions to Make the Rest of Your Life Count.
  • Ziglar, Zig. Better Than Good: Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live.

Biblical Womanhood

  • *Dodds, Abigail. (A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ.
  • *Elliott, Elisabeth. Let Me Be A Woman.
  • *Elliott, Elisabeth. Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control.
  • Furman, Gloria and Kathleen B. Nielsen. Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church.
  • *Haykin, Michael A. G. Eight Women of Faith.
  • *Hughes, Barbara. Disciplines of a Godly Woman.
  • *Hunt, Susan. By Design: God’s Distinctive Calling for Women.
  • *Hunt, Susan. The True Woman: The Beauty and Strength of a Godly Woman.
  • *Hunt, Susan. The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood.
  • *Hunt, Susan. Women’s Ministry in the Local Church.
  • *Kassian, Mary A. The Feminist Mistake: The Radical Impact of Feminism on Church and Culture.
  • *Kassian, Mary A. The Right Kind of Confident: The Remarkable Grit of a God-Fearing Woman.
  • *Kassian, Mary A. The Right Kind of Strong: Surprisingly Simple Habits of a Spiritually Strong Woman.
  • *Kruger, Melissa. 12 Faithful Women: Portraits of Steadfast Endurance.
  • *Kruger, Melissa. Growing Together: Taking Mentoring beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests.
  • *Kruger, Melissa. Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of our Identity in Christ.
  • Nielson, Kathleen. Women and God: Hard Questions, Beautiful Truth.
  • McLaughlin, Rebecca. Jesus though the Eyes of Women: How the First Female Disciples Help Us Know and Love the Lord.
  • Metaxas, Eric. Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness.
  • Ortlund, Anne. Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman.
  • Ortlund, Jani. Fearlessly Feminine: Boldly Living God’s Plan for Womanhood.
  • *Peace, Martha. Becoming a Titus 2 Woman.
  • *Saffles, Gretchen. The Well-Watered Woman: Rooted in Truth, Growing in Grace, Flourishing in Faith.
  • *Scazzero, Geri. The Emotionally Healthy Woman: Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life.
  • *Wolgemuth, Nancy DeMoss. Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.
  • *Wolgemuth, Nancy DeMoss. Biblical Portrait of Womanhood: Discovering and Living Out God’s Plan for our Lives.
  • *Wolgemuth, Nancy DeMoss. Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free.

Being a Good Mom

  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. Mother and Son: The Respect Effect.
  • *Engelsma, Esther. How Can I Feel Productive as a Mom?
  • *Ferrer, Hillary Morgan. Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies.
  • *Ferrer, Hillary Morgan. Mama Bear Apologetics: Guide to Sexuality: Empowering Your Kids to Understand and Live Out God’s Design.
  • Furman, Gloria. Labor with Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood.
  • *Furman, Gloria. Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God (The Gospel Coalition).
  • Furman, Gloria. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms.
  • Gresh, Dannah. A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free (Lies We Believe).
  • Halberstadt, Abbie. M Is for Mama: A Rebellion Against Mediocre Motherhood.
  • *Hunt, Susan. Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women.
  • Jensen, Emily and Laura Wifler. Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments.
  • Leman, Kevin. What a Difference a Mom Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Mom Leaves on Her Son’s Life.
  • Wann, Liz. The End of Me: Finding Resurrection Life in the Daily Sacrifices of Motherhood.

Being a Good Wife

  • *Evans, Tony. For Married Women Only: Three Principles for Honoring Your Husband.
  • *Kruger, Michael and Melissa Kruger. 5 Things to Pray for Your Spouse: Prayers That Change and Strengthen Your Marriage.
  • Leman, Kevin. Have a New Husband by Friday: How to Change His Attitude, Behavior & Communication in 5 Days.
  • *Peace, Martha. The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective.
  • *Smalley, Erin. *10 Things a Husband Needs from His Wife: Everyday Ways to Show Him Love.
  • *Smalley, Erin, Greg, and Gary. The Wholehearted Wife: 10 Keys to a More Loving Relationship.
  • *Smalley, Gary. For Better or Best: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Husband.
  • *Smalley, Gary. Winning Your Husband Back Before It’s Too Late.
  • Thomas, Gary L. Loving Him Well: Practical Advice On Influencing Your Husband.

Vocation and Calling

  • Chapman, Gary. The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People.
  • Challies, Tim. Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity.
  • Doriani, Daniel M. Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation.
  • Doriani, Daniel M. Work That Makes a Difference.
  • *Grudem, Wayne. Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business.
  • Guinness, Os. The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life.
  • *Hamilton, James M. Work and Our Labor in the Lord. 
  • Kaemingk, Matthew and Cory B. Willson. Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy.
  • *Keller, Timothy. Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work.
  • *Littauer, Florence. Personality Plus At Work.
  • *Nelson, Tom. Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work.
  • O’Donnell, Michaela. Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World.
  • Perman, Matt. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done.
  • Rodin, R. Scott. Stewards in the Kingdom: A Theology of Life in All Its Fullness.
  • Smith, Gordon T. Consider Your Calling: Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation.
  • Stevens, R. Paul and Tom Force. Aging Matters: Finding Your Calling for the Rest of Your Life.
  • Stevens, R. Paul. Doing God’s Business: Meaning and Motivation for the Marketplace.
  • Stevens, R. Paul. The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective.
  • Stevens, R. Paul. Taking Your Soul to Work: Overcoming the Nine Deadly Sins of the Workplace.
  • Stevens, R. Paul. Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture.
  • Palmer, Parker J. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.
  • Pennings, Ray. How Can I Serve God at Work?
  • *Veith, Gene Edward Jr. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life.

Relational Help

  • Brauns, Chris. Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds.
  • Chapman, Gary. Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion.
  • Clinton, Tim and Gary Sibcy. Why You Do the Things You Do: The Secret to Healthy Relationships.
  • Cloud, Henry and John Townsend. Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to say NO To Take Control of Your Life.
  • Crabb, Larry. Connecting: Healing Ourselves and Our Relationships.
  • Crabb, Larry. Understanding People: Why We Long for Relationship.
  • Crabtree, Sam. Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God.
  • Crabtree, Sam. Practicing Thankfulness: Cultivating a Grateful Heart in All Circumstances.
  • Dykas, Ellen Mary. Toxic Relationships: Taking Refuge in Christ (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • Gifford, Greg. Heart & Habits: How We Change for Good.
  • Ingram, Chip and Becca Johnson. Overcoming Emotions that Destroy: Practical Help for Those Angry Feelings That Ruin Relationships.
  • Jones, Robert D. Pursuing Peace: A Christian Guide to Handling Our Conflicts.
  • *Kendall, R.T. Controlling the Tongue: Mastering the What, When, and Why of the Words You Speak.
  • *Kendall, R.T. Total Forgiveness.
  • Kassian, Mary. Conversation Peace: Improving Your Relationships One Word at a Time.
  • Lane, Timothy S., and Paul David Tripp. How People Change.
  • Lane, Timothy S., and Paul David Tripp. Relationships: A Mess Worth Making.
  • Lane, Timothy S. Unstuck: A Nine-Step Journey To Change That Lasts.
  • Lutzer, Erwin. When You’ve Been Wronged: Moving From Bitterness to Forgiveness.
  • Marshall, Cheryl and Caroline Newheiser. When Words Matter Most: Speaking Truth with Grace to Those You Love.
  • Maxwell, John. Be A People Person: Effective Leadership Through Effective Relationships.
  • Miller, Paul E. A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships.
  • *Powlison, David. Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness.
  • Priolo, Lou. Bitterness: The Root That Pollutes (Resources for Biblical Living).
  • *Priolo, Lou. Pleasing People: How not to be an “approval junkie.”
  • Rainer, Thom S. and Art Rainer. Simple Life: Time, Relationships, Money, God.
  • Robinson, Jeff. Taming the Tongue: How The Gospel Transforms Our Talk.
  • Satrom, Hayley. Forgiveness: Reflecting God’s Mercy (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • *Sande, Ken and Kevin Johnson. Resolving Everyday Conflict
  • *Scazzero, Peter. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature.
  • Smalley, Gary. The DNA of Relationships: Discover How You Are Designed for Satisfying Relationships.
  • Smith, William P. How To Love Difficult People: Receiving and Sharing God’s Mercy.
  • Townsend, John. Boundaries in Marriage: Understanding the Choices That Make or Break Loving Relationships.
  • Tripp, Paul David. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change.
  • Viars, Stephen. Overcoming Bitterness: Moving from Life’s Greatest Hurts to a Life Filled with Joy.
  • Viars, Stephen. Putting Your Past in Its Place: Moving Forward in Freedom and Forgiveness.
  • *Welch, Edward T. Blame It On The Brain: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience.
  • *Welch, Edward T. Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships.
  • *Welch, Edward T. A Small Book about a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace.
  • *Welch, Edward T. A Small Book about Why We Hide: How Jesus Rescues Us from Insecurity, Regret, Failure, and Shame.
  • *Welch, Edward T. Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love.
  • *Welch, Edward T. When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man (Resources for Changing Lives).
  • Whitman, Lauren. A Painful Past: Healing and Moving Forward (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • Wytsma, Ken. Redeeming How We Talk: Discover How Communication Fuels Our Growth, Shapes Our Relationships, and Changes Our Lives.

Families

  • Anthony, Michael and Michelle Anthony. A Theology for Family Ministry.
  • Anthony, Michelle. Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles
  • *Beeke, Joel. How Should Men Lead Their Families?
  • Chandler, Matt and Adam Griffin. Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, and Milestones.
  • Chapman, Gary and Shannon Warden. The DIY Guide to Building a Family that Lasts: 12 Tools for Improving Your Home Life.
  • Chapman, Gary. The Family You’ve Always Wanted: Five Ways You Can Make It Happen.
  • Chester Tim. Gospel-Centered Family.
  • Earley, Justin Whitmel. Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms.
  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. Love and Respect in the Family: The Respect Parents Desire; The Love Children Need.
  • Elliot, Elisabeth. The Shaping of a Christian Family: How My Parents Nurtured My Faith.
  • Hughes, Kent and Barbara. Disciplines of a Godly Family.
  • Jones, Timothy Paul. Family Ministry Field Guide: How Your Church Can Equip Parents to Make Disciples.
  • Jones, Timothy Paul, ed. Perspectives on Family Ministry: Three Views.
  • *Kostenberger, Andreas J. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation.
  • Kimmel, Tim. Grace-Based Parenting: Set Your Family Tree.
  • Leman, Kevin. Have a Happy Family by Friday: How to Improve Communication, Respect & Teamwork in 5 Days.
  • *Lewis, Robert. Real Family Values: Leading Your Family into the 21st Century with Clarity and Conviction.
  • *Newman, Randy. Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well.
  • Powell, Kara and Steven Argue. Growing With: Every Parent’s Guide to Helping Teenagers and Young Adults Thrive in Their Faith, Family, and Future.
  • Powell, Kara. The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family: Over 100 Practical and Tested Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Kids.
  • *Sande, Ken. Peacemaking for Families: A Biblical Guide to Managing Conflict in Your Home.
  • Schaeffer, Edith. What is a Family?
  • *Smalley, Gary and John Trent. The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance.
  • Whitney, Donald S. Family Worship: In the Bible, In History, and In Your Home.

Book Review of: RC Sproul Defender of the Reformed Faith by Nate Pickowicz

A Good Overview of R.C. Sproul’s Theological Passions

By David P. Craig

This is the third biographical book I’ve read on one of my theological heroes: R.C. Sproul. The other two being by his son, Growing Up (with) R.C.: Truths I have learned about Grace, Redemption, and the Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul jr.; and R.C. Sproul: A Life by Stephen J. Nichols. R.C. is arguably (in my opinion, most definitely) the greatest and most influential evangelical theologian of the closing of the twentieth century and the first two decades of the twenty-first century. I am hopeful that more biographies will be forthcoming – that especially address some topics I will delineate below.

I like, the author, have been following R.C.’s teachings and have read all of his books, been to three Ligonier conferences, and have been heavily influenced by Dr. Sproul in my own life and ministry as a Senior Pastor. Many people have had their foot in the door to R.C.’s influence via reading his classic book the Holiness of God or through the Video series by the same title. In my opinion this book was the most important theological book written in the twentieth century, and will continue to be read until the return of Jesus Christ.

What Pickowicz does in this brief biography is really highlight the key points of Sproul’s life: his childhood in Pittsburgh; his conversion to Christ in college; his scholarly pursuits as a philosopher and theologian; and then hones in on his key ministries (Ligonier Study Center, Ligonier Ministries, and Senior Pastor of Saint Andrews Church) and worldwide theological influence through his speaking and writing.

The most interesting insight to me was how the controversies Sproul was involved with were reflections of the same controversies in the reformation during the 1500’s. As a template for what Pickowicz writes in the book early on he writes, “Once I began research for this book, it occurred to me that R.C.’s five decades of ministry loosely reflected the five solas of the Reformation. In the early 1970s R.C. led the Evangelical charge for the inerrancy and authority of the Bible (sola Scriptura). In the 1980s he labored for the rediscovery of the holiness and sovereignty of God, with his contribution Chosen by God firmly articulating the heart of sola gratia. In the 1990s he was quite literally contending for sola fide, as he was forced to stand against his own friends in opposing the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement. The fourth decade of his public ministry brought him into pastoral ministry—the shepherding of Christ’s church. For years he had defended the Protestant view of salvation against the errors of Roman Catholicism, which propagates salvation through celebrating Mass; R.C. was emphatic that the sole source of our salvation and central focus of church worship was Christ alone (solus Christus). Finally, in the last decade of R.C.’ s life, Ligonier Ministries broadened their worldwide reach as R.C. began to explore other expressions of ministry such as founding a Bible college, releasing two albums of original hymns, publishing children’s books, and more—his attempt to do all things for the glory of God—soli Deo gloria.”

The author does a good job of summarizing the theological emphasis of Sproul’s teaching and writing. He emphasizes the sola’s and their importance for Sproul, and for evangelicalism in the twenty-first century. Thus far the works listed above by Nichols, Sproul jr., and the current offering have a lot of material that can be gleaned through Sproul’s writings, videos, sermons, and lectures.

I hope someone who was close to him (maybe Vesta, his wife, or Sinclair Ferguson, Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, or Burk Parsons, hint, hint) will write a more personal biography that will examine some of these issues: (1) How did he spend his time? Sproul was prolific (the author writes that Sproul estimated he lectured, taught, and gave close to 30,000 speeches/sermons). I’d like to know how he did his lecture, sermon, and video preparation. There is some insight into this, but I’d like to see more. So far, not one has really talked about “how” he did what he did. Everyone has talked about the content, but how did he put it together. (2) How about his prayer life? When did he pray? Did he have any methods of prayer? (3) He loved sports – the Steelers and Pirates; and was at one time a scratch golfer. I’d like to know how he spent his free time. Did he take days off? I know he didn’t like to fly, but how about vacations and how did he integrate work with free time? (4) So far the three biographies above make R.C. sound super human and almost sinless. Not that I want “dirt.” But I’m glad that the Bible includes weaknesses as well as strengths of all of the saints. I’d like to know more about his struggles and how God helped him through those struggles. (5) He was an accomplished pianist and enjoyed the arts – I’d like to hear more about his side interests and how this influenced his love for God and giving glory to God in all things – including golf and playing the piano. (6) How did he balance life and work with family? He seems to be a wonderful husband, father, and grand father, but how did he do it? How did he make time for his family in the midst of so many demands? I could go on and on.

I hope and pray that someone will be able to write a respectful and yet more intimate biography of Sproul. Maybe we will never get that. But I hope we will. Like many who love R.C. as a theological mentor I hope that someone will “take up and write” what we don’t know and can’t find from his own works. I long for a biography that gets into the soul of Sproul. Since R.C. Sproul never wrote an autobiography, maybe we will have to wait until heaven to ask him ourselves. 

I am grateful for the influence of Sproul, and for those like Pickowicz who have taken the time to write about him and his theology. May many more biographies be forthcoming so that we can learn from a man who had a passion for God, truth, the gospel, Jesus, and His Word – for His glory. Thanks to the author for a job well done – R.C. would be pleased that His Lord and Savior was honored, the gospel was proclaimed, and God received glory. I especially recommend this book for those that aren’t as familiar with R.C., as a good introduction to his life, teaching, and worldwide influence for the glory of God.

*10 Books I Recommend to New Christians

(Compiled By David P. Craig, February 28, 2022)

(1) The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. I would read this book first because it is a paradigm shifter. It will show you how Great God is and how sinful we are by way of comparison…but it will set you on the right track of learning to be more God-centered than man-centered (which is mankind’s “default” mode).

(2) The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. This is a short book with 23 chapters on the attributes of God. It shows how we can’t think rightly about ourselves until we think rightly about God. Again – gets the focus off of ourselves and onto God.

(3-4) The Bondage Breaker and Victory Over The Darkness by Neil T. Anderson. These were written by one of my favorite professors in seminary. The first deals with how to overcome negative thoughts, irrational feelings, and habitual sins; and the second book helps you to realize the immense significance of your identity in Christ and NOT having it in anything but Jesu

(5) The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. Helps you to clearly understand the difference between “religion” and a “relationship” with God through the amazing good news of the gospel.

(6) Christ’s Call to Discipleship by James Montgomery Boice. There are many good books on what it means to follow Christ. This is a good first book to read on the subject. There is nothing more important in life than knowing what it means to be, become, make and multiply disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(7) Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul. Nothing is more important in the Christian life than knowing and applying Scripture. This book is a clear guide to learning how to read and study the Bible.

(8-9) Know Why You Believe and How To Give Away Your Faith by Paul E. Little- These two books by Paul Little are still unsurpassed in helping you to know how to give a reason for your faith by answering the biggest objections to Christianity and to be able to share the gospel with others effectively.

(10) Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Workbook by Peter Scazzero. This book and the accompanying workbook will be one of the more difficult to work through. It will be challenging work. But if you persevere through both it will be absolutely liberating and life transforming. The subtitle of this book is “It’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.” That’s so true. This book will help you become a well rounded and balanced Christian – especially after reading all the books above. 

*I (David P. Craig) have read over one thousand of books on Christian Doctrine, Living, Commentaries, Biographies, etc. over my 50 years since becoming a Christian at the age of six. It’s impossible to discern the order of, or specific top ten books for any particular Christian. But a lot of new Christians have no idea where to begin. So this list is at least a good start for anyone beginning the journey of being, becoming, making, and multiplying disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ for life.

Book Review of Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”

A Monumental Achievement in Literature

By David P. Craig

I have to admit that I have picked up Moby Dick several times over the years and never been able to read it all the way through. One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to read Moby Dick from cover to cover no matter what the cost! I can now finally say that I’ve read Moby Dick from cover to cover. Was it worth it? I would say, absolutely yes!

We live in an age of instant gratification and a lack of imagination. Melville’s classic goes against the grain of both of these “modernisms.” Moby Dick is lengthy, verbose, tangential, and yet he manages to wax amazingly and fascinatingly into the realms of human nature, philosophy, science, history, theology, and numerous other realms. It is a journey in reading that I’ve never experienced before.

It helped me immensely to do two things to persevere through the book. (1) I decided to read only one or two chapters a day and not try to rush through it. (2) I read the book along with the Audible reading by Anthony Heald. Heald masterfully read the book and through his interpretations of cadence and accents of the various characters added immensely to the enjoyment of the plot.

Melville’s use of language, change of pace, colorful and imaginative descriptions, and brilliance in his weaving of a myriad of themes makes the book a masterpiece. It took me a few times in my life to get through the entire book, but now that I have made the journey, not only was it worth it, but I will most definitely make this journey again and again. I am looking forward to reading it again. It’s the type of book that has so much depth in its symbolism, so much creativity, so much to ponder, that it bids you to come back and feast again. It’s no wonder it has been dubbed “The Great American Novel.” A well earned and deserved title by Melville. Its ilk will never likely be written again. I will forever treasure Moby Dick. 

Take up Moby Dick and read it slowly, and ponder its truths. It will feed your senses and your soul. I am grateful for this masterpiece of literature. I hope that it will continue to be treasured in a world of quick fixes, fast food, and fads. Melville’s book is a delightful respite for the tranquility of the soul – especially as he touches on the meaning of life. I found it to draw me closer to my own sinfulness and the transcendent holiness and justice of God. What an amazing journey. All I can say is “Thank You” Mr. Melville for writing this treasure, and if you have never read it – take it up and read it. If you have already read it, take it up again and go deeper into its truths and delights.

*The Unholy Pursuit of God in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick by R.C. Sproul

It seems that every time a writer picks up a pen or turns on his word processor to compose a literary work of fiction, deep in his bosom resides the hope that somehow he will create the Great American Novel. Too late. That feat has already been accomplished and is as far out of reach for new novelists as is Joe DiMaggio’s fifty-six-game hitting streak or Pete Rose’s record of cumulative career hits for a rookie baseball player. The Great American Novel was written more than a hundred and fifty years ago by Herman Melville. This novel, the one that has been unsurpassed by any other, is Moby Dick.

My personal copy of Moby Dick is a leather-bound collector’s edition produced by Easton Press under the rubric “The Hundred Greatest Books Ever Written.”

Note that the claim here is not that Moby Dick is one of the hundred greatest books written in English, but rather that it is one of the hundred greatest books written in any language. Its greatness may be seen not in its sometimes cumbersome literary structure or its excursions into technicalia about the nature and function of whales (cetology). No, its greatness is found in its unparalleled theological symbolism. This symbolism is sprinkled abundantly throughout the novel, particularly in the identities of certain individuals who are assigned biblical names. Among the characters are Ahab, Ishmael, and Elijah, and the names Jeroboam and Rachel (“who was seeking her lost children”) are given to two of the ships in the story.

In a personal letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne upon completing this novel, Melville said, “I have written an evil book.” What is it about the book that Melville considered evil? I think the answer to that question lies in the meaning of the central symbolic character of the novel, Moby Dick, the great white whale. Melville experts and scholars come to different conclusions about the meaning of the great white whale. Many see this brutish animal as evil because it had inflicted great personal damage on Ahab in an earlier encounter. Ahab lost his leg, which was replaced by the bone of a lesser whale. Some argue that Moby Dick is Melville’s symbol of the incarnation of evil itself. Certainly this is the view of the whale held by Captain Ahab himself. Ahab is driven by a monomaniacal hatred for this creature, this brute that left him permanently damaged both in body and soul. He cries out, “He heaps me,” indicating the depth of the hatred and fury he feels toward this beast. Some have accepted Ahab’s view that the whale is a monstrous evil as that of Melville himself.

Other scholars have been convinced that the whale is not a symbol of evil but the symbol of God Himself. In this interpretation, Ahab’s pursuit of the whale is not a righteous pursuit of God but natural man’s futile attempt in his hatred of God to destroy the omnipotent deity. I favor this second view. It was the view held by one of my college professors—one of the five leading Melville scholars in the world at the time I studied under him. My senior philosophy research paper in college was titled “The Existential Implications of Melville’s Moby Dick.” In that paper, which I cannot reproduce in this brief article, I tried to set forth the theological structure of the narrative.

I believe that the greatest chapter ever written in the English language is the chapter of Moby Dick titled “The Whiteness of the Whale.” Here we gain an insight into the profound symbolism that Melville employs in his novel. He explores how whiteness is used in history, in religion, and in nature. The terms he uses to describe the appearance of whiteness in these areas include elusive, ghastly, and transcendent horror, as well as sweet, honorable, and pure. All of these are descriptive terms that are symbolized in one way or another by the presence of whiteness. In this chapter Melville writes,

But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous—why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian’s Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind. Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a colour as the visible absence of colour; and at the same time the concrete of all colours; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows—a colourless, all-colour of atheism from which we shrink?

He then concludes the chapter with these words: “And of all these things, the albino whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?”

If the whale embodies everything that is symbolized by whiteness—that which is terrifying; that which is pure; that which is excellent; that which is horrible and ghastly; that which is mysterious and incomprehensible—does he not embody those traits that are found in the fullness of the perfections in the being of God Himself?

Who can survive the pursuit of such a being if the pursuit is driven by hostility? Only those who have experienced the sweetness of reconciling grace can look at the overwhelming power, sovereignty, and immutability of a transcendent God and find there peace rather than a drive for vengeance. Read Moby Dick, and then read it again.

*Article adapted from Table Talk, August 1, 2011 (ligonier.org.)

Book Review of J.P. Moreland’s: “A Simple Guide To Experiencing Miracles”

Yes I Believe in Miracles Today

Book Reviewed by David P. Craig

I was educated at Multnomah University, Talbot School of Theology, and Westminster Seminary. All schools of whom the majority of the faculties in the 1980’s and early 1990’s were Cessationists. I also grew up in a strong Bible teaching church where the pastor were all Cessationists. According to Wayne Grudem in his Systematic Theology a Cessationist is “someone who thinks that certain gifts ceased when the apostles died when the apostles died and Scripture was complete.” Gregg Allison has a more thorough definition of Cessationism in his Baker Compact Dictionary of Theology: “With respect to spiritual gifts, the position that whereas many of the gifts continue to be exercised, the so-called miraculous gifts (prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, miracles, healings) have ceased to operate in the church today. Their cessation is due to these gifts serving to confirm the gospel at the founding of the church, and with the church’s foundation having been laid, no longer being needed for its ongoing development. Cessationism does not deny that God heals and performs miracles, but it denies that he operates through people given such gifts.”

I used to hold to the two definitions above until I went on a missions trip to Manipur, India in 1999. In one week myself and our missions team were all witnesses to the types of miracles that Moreland recounts in this wonderful book. If you are a cessationist or a continuationist or anything in-between this book will challenge you, address most of the questions you have, and give ample illustrations of the miracles that God performs today. Now and forever more I am an open but cautious continuationist. J.P Moreland is definitely a continuationist and defends and demonstrates what this looks like in the church, ministry and life circumstances that arise. Continuationism is defined in this way by Gregg Allison, “With respect to spiritual gifts, the position that all gifts, including the miraculous gifts (prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, miracles, and healings), continue to operate in the church today. Because spiritual gifts are given to foster the church’s growth by equipping its members for ministry, all of them should be exercised.”

How the book is structured. Dr. Moreland, whom I had the privilege of taking four classes from in 1990-91 at Talbot, is a brilliant, humble, and God-fearing man. I believe that he is trustworthy as an eminent philosopher, apologist, and in his recounting of his personal experiences in this book. What he does in almost every chapter is answer objections of skeptics, and then gives biblical and experiential personal  illustrations, as well as documented and verified miracle stories throughout the book. He tackles the following: (1) Why So Many Westerners Are Embarrassed By Miracle Stories; (2) Miracles: What They Are and How To Recognize Them; (3) Clearing Up Misunderstandings About Prayer; (4) Miraculous Answers to Prayer; (5) Understanding the Nature and Importance of Miraculous Healing; (6) Encouraging Credible Testimony of Cases of Miraculous Healing; (7) Hearing the Supernatural Voice of God; (8) The Nature, Reality, and Purposes of Angels and Demons; (9) Defending the Veracity of Near Death Experiences; and lastly (10) Where Do We Go From Here?

The book is biblical, theologically sound, experientially verified by numerous witnesses, and will help you draw near to God and the resources He has given us to practically expect and experience miracles today. This book will challenge cessationists, and encourage continuationists. I highly recommend this book to skeptics and believers alike. I hope and pray that it has a wide reading among evangelicals who hunger and thirst to walk in the Holy Spirit and in His power.

Book Review on Hank Hanegraaf’s Fatal Flaws: What Evolutionists Don’t Want You To Know

Big Problems For Evolutionists Exposed

By David P. Craig

This short book by “The Bible Answer Man” packs a wallop. One of the things I like about most of Hank’s books is that he uses acronyms to help you remember the key points he is making in his writing. This is especially helpful for evangelism and apologetics so that if you read his materials you can recall the main points with those you are communicating with.

In this book Hanegraaf uses several acronyms to help one articulate the problems with evolution. One such acronym is F.A.C.E. Using FACE: F for Fossil record; A for Ape-Men; C for Chance; and E for Empirical science. The author quotes extensively from scientists, science facts, and creation scientists as well to demonstrate the lack of evidence for the religion of Evolution. 

For anyone looking for a quick guide to understanding key problems with evolution; this is a good place to start. Some books on this subject are very technical and difficult to follow. Hanegraaf’s book is not dumbed down, it is articulate, but also clear, simple, and concise in its presentation. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know what science really teaches, what facts and fictions are believed by scientists, and what passes for real science and how science and the Scriptures are compatible.

Book Review of Brett McCracken’s “The Wisdom Pyramid”

How To Be Wise in A Fools Paradise

By David P. Craig

The way McCracken opens his book grips you from the outset. He writes, “Our world has more and more information, but less and less wisdom. More data; less clarity. More stimulation; less synthesis. More distraction; less stillness. More pontificating; less pondering. More opinion; less research. More speaking; less listening. More to look at; less to see. More amusements; less joy. There is more, but we are less. And we feel it.”

I really enjoyed reading this book because it spoke to the negative and positive realities of living in the “information age.” In the first three chapters the author deals with the data, statistics, and illustrates the downside of our information age and the technologies that have become so integral to our lives. However, he also shows that though we have more information, it has not brought us peace, but more stress. Information has not brought us more unity, but disunity. It has not made us more whole, but more fragmented. He doesn’t take a negative turn, but draws on how we can be wise in a fools paradise.

At least seventy percent of the book is how to use the God-given tools we have been endowed with by our Creator to learn what is true, and apply this knowledge wisely. Thus, having less stress, and more peace; be less hurried, and take time to “smell the roses;” and how to make effective use of our time, including a proper and productive use of technology. 

The key analogy used throughout the book is a simple one; and because of its simplicity it’s extremely memorable and effective. He uses the example of the food pyramid that was developed to balance our physical health. In the author’s usage the Pyramid takes on a similar strategy with examples of resources that our Maker has entrusted to us that if we implement strategically and intentionally we can become more wise. The sources he gives in succeeding chapters (from most important to least important) are as follows: (1) The Bible; (2) The Church; (3) Books; (4) Nature; (5) Beauty; (6) The Internet and Technology.

He makes a clear and logical case for the fact that most people in our culture (including Christians) have their Pyramid of priorities upside down. We use the most unsound source (technology) as the place we get most of our information (which may or may not be true) and let that dictate our beliefs and actions. Whereas the Bible — God’s revealed truth, and the other areas of truth — The Church, books, nature, and beauty — tend to take a back seat.

McCracken is to be commended for writing a short, clear, cogent, and practical book for how to live wisely by pursuing all truth in God’s general and special revelation. Those who read it will indeed benefit from its wisdom and if applied will also be more at peace, happy, efficient, and effective in their influence for good in a world that desperately needs God’s common and saving grace.

Book Review on David S. Steele’s “Spineless”

Book Review by David P. Craig

How To Get A Strong Spiritual Spine

Anyone who takes their Christian walk seriously recognizes that these are indeed difficult times we are living in. It is very easy to throw in the towel and capitulate to the modern relativistic thinking of our day. In this timely and relevant book Dr. Steele is short on problems and long on solutions. Reaching back to the ancient wisdom of the likes of biblical characters like King David, Daniel, and the Apostle Paul, and historical examples such as John Calvin, Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon, Steele gives ample biblical principles and demonstrates how these men were able to stand firm in their times.

The strength of this book is in the biblical foundations to know and apply that are delineated from the beginning to the end. It is thoroughly God-centered, Christ-Centered, and Gospel-centered. It will help fortify you with the reasons, motives, and resources you need to stand firm in the truth and its applications in the midst of the relativistic sea in which we find ourselves in the 21st century. I can’t recommend this book highly enough as a solid resource to equip, encourage, and exhort you toward following Jesus with all of your mind, soul, and strength.

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