“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” by Nabeel Qureshi

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Riveting Testimony of God’s Redeeming Grace

Book Review by Dr. David P. Craig

I had no idea what kind of a treat I was in for in reading this book. I don’t think I’ve ever read such a riveting auto biography. Nabeel Quereshi tells his story of what it is like to grow up in Scotland and America as a a second generation immigrant from Pakistan. It took me two days to read the book because it is close to 400 pages and I’m a slow reader, but I had a hard time putting it down. Nabeel is a phenomenal story teller and has a witty and fantastic intellect.

This book has it all: drama, humor, depth, pathos, wisdom, and fantastic spiritual truths.  Nabeel has a way of bringing you into the story so that you feel like you are in each scene. I laughed, cried, and laughed and cried some more.

This book helped me immensely in the following ways: (1) It gave me tremendous insight into what it’s like to be a second generation Muslim living in America; (2) It helped me to better understand the beliefs, culture, sociology, and religious practices of Islam; (3) It gave me a greater compassion for people of the Muslim faith; (4) It motivated me to befriend, understand, and help Muslims; (5) It motivated me to know what I believe and why I believe it (as a Christian) more than I do; (6) It gave me an excitement to go deeper in my study of Islam and Christianity and how they are similar and different; (7) It made me want to delve deeper into being able to give numerous reasons for and evidences of the infallibility and inerrancy of the Scriptures, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and evidences for the Deity of Jesus and why this matters immensely for everyone.

I think any Christian, Muslim, or a person of any belief can benefit from reading this book. It will stir in you a desire to know what you believe, why you believe it, and motivate you to seek the truth. Nabeel has a story that will motivate you, liberate you, excite you, and can radically change your life! I can’t recommend this book highly enough – absolutely outstanding. It’s a book I will read again and again for encouragement, motivation, and transformation.

 

R.C. Sproul’s “The Intimate Marriage”

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Wisdom For Building a Great Marriage

Book Review by Dr. David P. Craig

A book is always so much more powerful when the one who writes the book practices what he or she preaches. R.C. Sproul and his wife Vesta had a great marriage for forty seven years before he went to be in the Lord’s presence in December of 2017. In this very practical book of 163 pages Sproul practically covers six subjects with biblical insight, practical wisdom, and wry humor: (1) Communication between the husband and his wife; (2) The Role of the Man and the Woman in marriage; (3) Problems in Marriage; (4) What the Bible says about Divorce; (5) Communication and Sex; (6) The Institution and Sanctity of Marriage.

This book is by no means an exhaustive resource on Christian marriage, but it is very instructive, has strong biblical wisdom for its points, and Sproul’s inimitable ability to take deep theological truths and make them very practical. This book has something for everyone: Singles considering marriage, young engaged couples; couples with a good marriage who want it better; and those who are in trouble in their marriage. You will definitely find wisdom and encouragement to help you in whatever state you find yourself in your current relationship.

I think the greatest area of strength in this book to help you is in the area of communication. Since two of the six chapters primarily focus on communication it is particularly helpful for men – who typically have a greater struggle with communicating intimately than their female counterparts. Sproul gives numerous illustrations, and helpful ways to communicate the truth in love with your spouse. The author is a master communicator. If you have ever heard Dr. Sproul teach, preach, or read another of his many books you will be impressed with his unique ability to communicate effectively.

Since a huge problem in marriage for many couples is the inability to communicate – who better to learn from than a master communicator. I highly recommend this book to help you communicate more clearly and effectively in your marriage. Great communication is a wonderful goal to have whether you are single or married and this book is a deep well full of apples of gold to help you become a better communicator.

 

Jonathan Edwards for Armchair Theologians by James P. Byrd

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Excellent Introduction To Edwards Life, Times, and Theology

Book Reviewed by Dr. David P. Craig

The past three years have been a lot of fun for me as I’ve decided to saturate myself in the writings by, and on great Christians of history. Last year I picked C.S. Lewis, the year before that – Francis Schaeffer. This year I’m embarking upon the adventure of learning from and about Jonathan Edwards. He is considered by many Americans to be our greatest theologian and perhaps one of the top five theologians in history.

This book is a part of series of books entitled “For Armchair Theologians.” There are other books in this series on Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Wesley and several topics like Heretics, The Reformation, and Liberation Theology. I was so impressed with this book introduction to Edwards that I plan on reading all of the books in this series.

Byrd’s introduction consists of seven chapters and 174 pages before the final sections composed of notes, a helpful bibliography for further reading, and an excellent index. The chapters focus on seven areas: (1) Edwards youth – especially emphasizing his spiritual and scientific curiosity; (2) His experiences and accounts of revival in New England; (3) His ministry and eventual ousting from his church in Northampton; (4) An explanation and commentary on his theological masterpiece: “Freedom of the Will”; (5) An explanation and commentary on his work “Original Sin”; (6) An explanation and commentary on the two works: “The End For Which God Created the World” as well as his “The Nature of True Virtue”; (7) The book concludes with Edwards legacy and how he has impacted evangelicals since his time in at least three powerful ways: (a) “In their revival practice they hailed Edward’s legendary accomplishments and his scientific analysis of the effects of revival success; (b) In their personal piety they found in Edwards a model for humility and entire devotion to God; (c) And in the Life of David Brainerd, evangelicals embraced a narrative description of Edward’s theology that fit perfectly with their zeal for missions.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It has motivated me to read more biographies on Edwards, more works on his theology, but mostly it has inspired me to read the Works of Edwards and let him speak for himself. Byrd has written a concise, thorough, warm, insightful, and readable introduction that packs a punch with wit, style, and grace. I wholeheartedly recommend this book as a starting point for anyone who is intimidated by beginning a study of the great works of America’s greatest Theologian.

Book Review on J.V. Fesko’s “Who Is Jesus?” by David P. Craig

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How The ‘I Am Statements’ of Jesus Connect The Old Testament and Now Testament Dots

Book Reviewed by Dr. David P. Craig

J.V. Fesko does a wonderful job in this short book (93 pages) showing the Old Testament connections of Jesus’ New Testament claims in his eight ‘I Am’ sayings in the book of John.

Fesko elaborates on how in the Old Testament “Only Yahweh walks on the water, but Jesus walks on the water and tells the disciples not to fear because He is I Am” with reference to John 6:20 when Jesus says “Do not be afraid. I Am.”

When Jesus says He is the “Bread of Life” in John 6:35, 40 the author shows how “Jesus draws the crowd’s attention to the exodus, when God fed Israel with manna from heaven. Jesus tells the crowd that He too is from heaven and that God intends to feed them with His Son, the bread of life.”

Commenting on John 8:12 where Jesus says He is “the light of the world” Fesko states, “During the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus invokes the exodus , particularly the theme of the pillar of fire guiding Israel by night. Israel identified the pillar with Yahweh, but now Jesus tells the crowds that He is the light of the world, not just Israel.”

With each of the eight sayings the author does a thorough job of exploring the themes, types, shadows, and fore-shadowing of Jesus in the Old Testament and how He comes to reveal the incarnation and redemptive plans of God in the New Testament.

J.V. Fesko’s book is concise, thorough, and contains good food for thought and discussion. I recommend this book especially for small group study (7-8 weeks) – as each chapter concludes with 3-4 questions for discussion. I found the book helpful as I preached on the ‘I Am’ sayings of Christ in a recent 8 week series in my church.

Book Review on R.C. Sproul’s “Meeting Jesus”

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A Helpful Guide To Understanding The ‘I Am” Sayings of Jesus

Book Review by Dr. David P. Craig

The stated purpose of the Gospel of John is found in the second to the last chapter in verses 30-31 of chapter 20, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Before arriving at this conclusion John gives many proofs along the way of Jesus’ deity. Perhaps the most profound examples of Christ’s deity are His eight “I am” sayings in chapters 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, and 15.

In this short little book (77 pages), R.C. Sproul covers the 8 ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus in the following order: (1) The Bread of Life; (2) The Light of the World; (3) The Door; (4) The Good Shepherd; (5) The Resurrection and the Life; (6) The Way, the Truth and The Life; (7) The True Vine; and (8) Before Abraham Was, I Am.

In each chapter Sproul uses biblical theology to show how the types, shadows, and illustrations of the person and work of Jesus in the New Testament have been the total fulfillment of Israel’s expectations. Each chapter articulates how the person and work of Jesus demonstrates how the realities of Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection are essential for our salvation and abundant living in Christ in the hear and now.

The book is based on a series of lectures that R.C. Sproul gave available through Ligonier Ministries. I also found that the Study Guide available from Ligonier Ministries entitled  “Knowing Christ: The ‘I Am’ Sayings of Jesus” by Sproul was also very helpful for further study, discussion questions for small groups, and cross references related to each ‘I Am’ saying. I highly recommend the book, study guide, and lecture series by Sproul for anyone who wants to better understand the person and work of Christ.

 

Book Review on L.G. Parkhurst’s “Francis & Edith Schaeffer

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An Outstanding Synthesis of The Thought and Ministry of the Schaeffer’s

Book Review by David P. Craig

It is immediately obvious that the author knew the Schaeffer’s personally and studied their writings with passion in the pursuit of truth. The first part of this book (Chapters 1-11) is a very good summary of the life and ministry of the Schaeffer’s. In Chapters 12-25 Parkhurst gives an excellent summary of the thought and teachings of Francis Schaeffer. My favorite part of this book was how he wraps it up by giving 10 Lessons From Their Lives. He expounds upon the following 10 Lessons gleaned from Francis and Edith:

(1) Teach the truth in love – Ephesians 4:5-16.

(2) There is Only One Reason to be a Christian – because it’s objectively true – 1 John 5:19-20. “There is one and only one reason, and not two reasons, to be a Christian, and that is because Christianity is true.” ~ Edith Schaeffer quoting her husband.

(3) The Bible is True in All that it Affirms – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

(4) Go First to Establish a Bible-belieivng Church and Second a Denominational Church – Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 2:38-40. The priority of a biblical church is to daily “Serve God and others, let us Know, Love, and Follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in the power of the Holy Spirit according to the Scriptures.”

(5) A Church Without Discipline or the Ability to Discipline Ceases to be a Church – Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 5:19-20.

(6) God is Not Mechanical, but Personal. God is the Infinite/Personal God – John 17:1-3.

(7) No One Becomes a Christian Apart From the Work of the Holy Spirit – John 15:26-27; John 16:7-11; 1 John 5:6-12.

(8) Pray for the People of the Lord’s Choice to Come, Pray for Him to Keep Others Away. Pray for the Lord to Meet Your Needs Without Asking for Money – Matthew 9:36-38.

(9) If Your Choice is Between Perfection and Nothing, You Will Always Have Nothing. Do Not Expect a Perfect Church, Pastor, Elder, People, Thing, or Situation in This Fallen World in Which We Live – Matthew 5:48.

(10) “God Calls Some to Leave (In Liberal Denominations), and Some to Stay, and I Am Not The Holy Spirit.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s account of the Schaeffer’s, and his distillation of their teaching and how they modeled their teaching through their ministry in Switzerland, and in the United States. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to better understand the gospel, how to use apologetics in pre-evangelism, and how prayer and life-style evangelism are essentials in reaching people in the 21st Century. The Schaeffer’s are just as relevant today as when they lived in the mid to late 20th century.

Book Review on R.C. Sproul’s: The Prayer of the LORD

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Great Insights and Principles On Prayer – Reviewed By David P. Craig

There are some great books that hone in on the specificities of what has commonly become known as “The Lord’s Prayer” – particularly it’s exposition from Matthew 6:9-13. This week I will be completing a preaching series on the “Lord’s Prayer” which began in January and will be ending in May of 2018. I read seven books specifically as expositions or sermons based on the Lord’s Prayer of which this was one of those seven. I also consulted various commentaries on the passage as well.

Of all the resources I consulted on the Lord’s Prayer that I enjoyed Sproul’s the most. This book not only breaks down the specific petitions in the prayer but also contains helpful chapters on the following: “How Not to Pray”; “Questions and Answers” on Prayer from various passages of Scripture; and a whole chapter devoted to the question: “If God Is Sovereign, Why Pray?”

If I were only going to get only one book specifically on “The Lord’s Prayer” this is the one I would recommend. Sproul is a master communicator and does an excellent job providing insights, principles, and pointed applications that help you to be more God-centered, God-focused, and God-glorifying in your prayer life. As I have been taking in Sproul’s insights I have found myself growing in my intimacy with Christ, and helping others to do the same.