“We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure time, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, ‘Bring the books’-join in the cry.” Spurgeon.
I am currently taking Church History 2. For this class, my professor has assigned three books for us to read. I am currently only reading two of them.
One of them is “The Story of Christianity.” The other is “The Story of Christian Theology.” In each of these books, there is a focus on the development of Christian thought throughout the time of Christ to the current time. There is also a focus on how the church has developed since the days of Christ. It may be shocking to many people that Baptists, Presbyterian, Anglicans, Lutherans, and Catholics have not always been around. You see, at some point in history, the thought about believers baptism arose. With this thought arising, there were certain groups of people that began implementing it. When they implemented believers baptism, they were called Anabaptist! Lutherans began arising in church history because Luther opposed Medieval Catholicism’s doctrine. As Luther began to develop his views on the Scriptures, people began embracing his interpretation of Scripture. These people were called Lutherans! This kind of information is important. It is important to know how the church has gotten to where it is now. It is important to know what other brothers and sisters in Christ have done throughout history. It is also important to see certain thoughts that arose in church history that were unorthodox and contrary to the truth. Anyways, there are numerous reasons church history is important, and that is why I am taking Church History 2 in Seminary. That is also why I am reading these two rather large books.
On My Own
I am currently reading numerous books on my own.
John Calvin was one of the greatest systematizers in church history. What I mean by that is that John Calvin had a unique ability to take the Scriptures and teach them in a systematic and orderly way. With that being said, Calvin’s Institutes is the greatest work that he ever published. In it, Calvin teaches Christian doctrine with clarity and simplicity. One cannot help but notice the great passion that this man had for truth. He had a relentless pursuit of sound doctrine. The church has benefited greatly from his labors. I personally have benefited greatly from his labors. He has proven to be a helpful teacher to me in the past year or so.
George Whitefield was a preacher of the Church of England in the 18th century. He was a zealous evangelist and sought to preach the gospel as often as he could and wherever he could. When I say that, I am not exaggerating. He would preach so often that his body would be on the brink of dying. He would then rest and labor in prayer. The Holy Spirit would then revive his soul and he would go on preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He would preach in the open fields to 40,000 people without amplification. God used him for the conversion of thousands of people in both England and the colonies. He had a relentless drive to know and serve Jesus Christ. This biography of Whitefield by Arnold Dallimore is riveting. It really is. It has encouraged, convicted, and edified me greatly!
This is a book of puritan prayers. I have been reading this as a devotional this year. What I mean by that is that I read about one of these prayers a day. This book has been helpful in teaching me to pray. The puritans revered God a great deal. They had an incredible esteem for Christ. They were also incredibly quick to repent of sin. This means that their prayers are jaw dropping and convicting. Seriously, if you just read one of their prayers, you will realize that they saw the beauty, holiness, righteousness, and majesty of God in a way that most of us simply do not. With that being said, I encourage some you all to read this as a devotional as well!
Lately I have been seeking to discipline myself to evangelize. By that, I simply mean that I have been seeking to intentionally set up a day and time where I am going to go out and share my faith. And no, I am not the best at evangelism. It is sometimes awkward. Sometimes I fear man. Sometimes I leave out certain things that I ought not leave out when talking about Christ (I have left out the resurrection before!!!). With all that being said, that is why I am reading this book. I simply picked this book up because I wanted to be more knowledgeable about evangelism. This book has been faithful to do just that. It is a very simple read. It is a book that teaches the people of God what evangelism is, how we should cultivate a culture of evangelism, and helpful tips in evangelism.