- Book Reviews
- About me
Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
October 20, 2010
I have a soft spot for series of short books that address issues in a straightforward, condensed way (see Little Black Books and Living in a Fallen World for others). There are times to read a 500-page tome on a subject and there are times when it is great to read something much shorter and much more to-the-point.
R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series is just this kind of a resource. There are currently 8 titles in the series, each of which addresses, well, a crucial question. Priced at just about $5 each, you can easily buy the whole series for yourself or for a friend. It’s a good series to keep around and give away as needed.
Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? - Many people in the church today are plagued by doubts about their salvation. Satan whispers that it is impossible that sinners such as they could be in a state of grace, and some churches compound the problem by teaching that it is possible for believers to lose their salvation. But assurance of salvation is possible in this life. Indeed, it is the duty of Christians to make their calling sure. To help believers reach this goal, Dr. Sproul defines assurance, shows how we can get it, reveals the blessings it confers, and warns of the dangers of false assurance. Here is assistance for those who struggle to know where they stand with Jesus Christ.
Can I Know God’s Will? - As human beings, we long to know that our lives will unfold in ways that we will find pleasant and rewarding. As Christians, we have a different focus—we want our lives to be pleasing to God. Thus, we ponder His will and worry that we are not doing what He wants us to do. Dr. R. C. Sproul outlines timeless principles for discovering and applying the will of God in day-to-day decisions. He then illustrates how these principles should inform two of the most significant decisions we face in life—the choice of a career and the choice of a spouse. Here is valuable guidance for those who are passionate to follow God.
Can I Trust the Bible? - There is a common assumption that the Bible is “full” of errors and contradictions, and that its often-unusual people and events render it useless for today. These ideas are fueled by the teachings of scholarly critics, who seem to delight in raising questions about the Bible’s truthfulness and integrity. But the critics of the Bible are wrong, according to Dr. R. C. Sproul. In fact, he says, there are many solid reasons to trust the Bible. With Jesus, with the apostles and prophets, and with men of God throughout church history, Dr. Sproul affirms a high view of Scripture—that it is inspired of God and therefore inerrant and infallible.
How Should I Live in This World? - Christians want to “do the right thing.” But it can be tough to know what the right thing is. Plus, it’s not just the big questions with which we must wrestle—ethical dilemmas confront us each day in every aspect of life. On what basis do we make all of these decisions? R. C. Sproul argues that the Bible is the supreme source for ethical guidance. That doesn’t mean it contains a “Thou shalt …” or a “Thou shalt not …” for every conceivable situation, but it does provide ethical principles. With his trademark wisdom and thoroughness, Dr. Sproul explains how we can uncover and apply these principles.
Who Is Jesus? - No person in history has provoked such widely divergent assessments as Jesus of Nazareth. Some say He was a cunning fraud, while others say He must have been out of His mind. In many cases His story is altered to suit the fancies of those seeking to make Him an ally for a host of militant causes. However, there is compelling evidence that Jesus was something more—that He was, in fact, God in the flesh. By wrestling with the biblical titles for Jesus and the accounts of His life and ministry, Dr. Sproul unfolds the scriptural portrait of Jesus, the Son of God.
What Is Faith? - The word faith is heard often these days, but it is given many different meanings. Sometimes it is used in the sense of trust. Other times, it has more to do with hope. Perhaps most often, it is used to mean belief in something apart from rational or empirical support. Because faith is central to the Christian life, believers must have a clear understanding of how the Bible defines the word and the concept. R. C. Sproul looks to Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter of the Bible, for a definition of faith and numerous examples of it in the lives of the saints. He shows that faith, in scriptural terms, is not believing in God but believing God and living according to His Word. Armed with this helpful teaching, readers will gain clarity as to whether the faith they profess is the genuine article.
Does Prayer Change Things? - Does prayer make any difference? Does it really change anything? Yes, says Dr. R. C. Sproul. Though we cannot hope that our prayers will change God’s mind, prevailing upon Him to act against His will, we can be sure that prayer does change things—including our own hearts. Plus, it is one of the chief means by which God carries out His will in the world. For these reasons, Dr. Sproul argues, prayer has a vital place in the life of the Christian. In short chapters packed with practical wisdom, he unveils the purpose, the pattern, the practice, the prohibitions, and the power of prayer, calling Christians to come before God’s presence with joy and hope.
What Does it Mean To Be Born Again? - When Jesus explained the necessity of the new birth, the Jewish leader Nicodemus asked in astonishment, “How can these things be?” Some two thousand years later, much confusion still surrounds the term “born again,” though more people than ever people claim to have had the experience. In this Crucial Questions booklet, Dr. R.C. Sproul cuts through the confusion and carefully explains what it means, biblically and theologically, to be born again. He affirms, first of all, that Jesus wasn’t kidding—new birth is essential—then goes on to show what the new birth is and how it occurs. His clear teaching will provide understanding for those who are unfamiliar with the new birth and deeper assurance for those who may not know where they stand with God.
Shh, It’s a Secret
Are you still reading all the way down here? Awesome. Let’s do a secret giveaway for those who read all the way. Leave a comment here at the blog and I’ll (randomly) choose two of you to receive a set of all 8 books. Free stuff and it’s not even Friday. Does it get any better than that?