Church History in Plain Language

By: Bruce L. Shelley

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – July, 2020

The history of the Church is nothing less than the continuing story of God’s work of redemption in the world. It is filled with interesting characters, powerful movements of the Holy Spirit, and events that can stir the soul. In this one-volume work, Bruce Shelley tells the history of Christianity in a manner that is captivating and enjoyable.

It is my firm belief that the lack of theological understanding by many Christians today can be somewhat attributed to an insufficient knowledge of Church history. Beyond knowing something about the Apostles’ Creed and hearing a few quotes by Augustine, most Protestants know nothing of the Church before Luther. In fact, it might even be fair to say that most know little about Luther and less of Calvin as well. In other words, we suffer from a spiritual malnutrition regarding God’s work in the Church. Consequently, we have little appreciation for the theology of the Bible even though we claim to believe its teaching.

Therefore, I am recommending this easy-to-read volume for anyone who wishes to understand that our Faith is much more than just “me and my Bible.” As Christians, we belong to a people called out of the world by Jesus Christ. We are part of His kingdom as it presses forward into this world. And we would do well to know of our spiritual ancestry so that we might learn from it, and appreciate the work of Christ in this age.

On a final note, please don’t let the fact that this is a history book scare you. Shelley writes so that his work reads like a story and captures your imagination. May you read and appreciate the activity of God through His Church. As Christians, this is a work of which you are all a part.

Summer Ladies’ Bible Study

The women of G&PPC are participarting in an online Bible Study with Nancy Guthrie.

Each Tuesday night a new video will be added for you to watch whenever works for you. The topics include:

  • June 2: A Strong Craving: God Fills Our Emptiness with His Provision
  • June 9: A Tent at the Center: God Fills Our Emptiness with His Presence
  • June 16: A Desperate Need: God Fills Our Emptiness with His Grace
  • June 23: A Royal Table: God Fills Our Emptiness with His Kindness
  • June 30: An Unquenchable Thirst: God Fills Our Emptiness with His Life
  • July 7: A Vanishing Breath: God Fills Our Emptiness with Meaning
  • July 14: A Trembling Trust: God Fills Our Emptiness with Faith
  • July 21: A Hidden Treasure: God Fills our Emptiness with Joy

Contact Becky Albrecht ([email protected]) and visit Nancy’s web site (https://www.nancyguthrie.com/empty-video-plus-personal-bible-study) for additional information to join the study.

Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian

By: Danny Olinger

Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – June, 2020

As a pioneer in the field of Biblical Theology, Geerhardus Vos was one of the most significant theologians in the reformed world during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This biography by Danny Olinger gives insight into the personal life of Vos and adds clarity to some of his powerful, yet intellectually challenging theological ideas. Throughout his life, Vos worked with and influenced men such as Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck in the Netherlands as well as B. B. Warfield and J. Gresham Machen in the USA. Having begun his work in a traditionally Dutch church in America, Vos later joined the faculty of Princeton Seminary and the Presbyterian Church USA. During his time as a professor at Princeton, Vos stood solidly against the tide of liberalism as it developed within his new denomination and took root at the seminary as well. 

Much of the Christological and redemptive-historical study of Scripture that has been a buttress of orthodoxy against theological liberalism owes its existence to the tireless work of Geerhardus Vos. Nevertheless, as the author demonstrates, Vos’s labor for the cause of Christ was far from appreciated by his opponents. One of the most striking examples of this was in the fact that, although Geerhardus was one of Princeton’s longest serving professors, not one faculty member from that seminary bothered to attend his funeral.

Although I enjoyed reading the biography of this humble and dedicated soldier of Christ, I recommend it with this caveat – to appreciate the earlier years of Vos’s life, it helps to know a little about the history of the church in Holland in the 19th century. Additionally, although the theological concepts described by Olinger are very important and necessary to understand the significance of this theologian, the reader, who might be unfamiliar with Vos, will need to slow down and think about them in order to fully appreciate what he was teaching. Therefore, I recommend this book to those who are already familiar with Vos and the historical setting of his life as well as to those who are willing to put forth the effort of doing a little research as they read.

Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World

by: Michael Horton

Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – May, 2020

We find ourselves now living in very unordinary times. Due to being locked-down because of COVID-19 and unable to carry on our normal routines, we are faced with wondering how we can reach the world and minister to others in meaningful ways. Perhaps the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus is an opportunity for Christians to reflect on our view of ministry in general.

Many of us have been connected with churches and para-church organizations throughout our spiritual journeys that have given the impression that a true Christian walk is one filled with radical and adventurous ministry. In light of that all-too-prevalent mentality, Michael Horton’s book Ordinary might be just what many of us need to read in these times.

The author lets us see that normal Christianity isn’t a quest for an exceptional life or mountain top ministry. In fact, a lack of these things isn’t an indication that one’s walk with God is anemic. Rather, biblical Christianity is one where ordinary participation in the means of grace (i.e. word and sacrament) is actually God’s normal method of growing our lives, reaching those around us, and even impacting our world. Horton makes a good argument that the ordinary practice of the Christian faith is the only sustainable way to serve the Lord.

If you haven’t read this work before, this is a time to do so and to rejoice that even a virus cannot stop us from seeking our God, loving our neighbor, and looking to the future of what God is accomplishing through the ordinary. Although, as one brother pointed out, I struggled with some of Horton’s illustrations, the premise of the book hits the mark and makes it well worth the read.

Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World

https://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Sustainable-Faith-Radical-Restless/dp/B00XNP47TE/ref=sr_1_1?crid=37CO1YDJQZJR1&dchild=1&keywords=ordinary+sustainable+faith+in+a+radical%2C+restless+world&qid=1588770929&sprefix=ordinary%3A+Sustain%2Caps%2C188&sr=8-1

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

by Jeremiah Burroughs

Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – April, 2020

Even though Scripture clearly teaches that we will have tribulation in this life, troubles often catch us off guard. We are surprised when those words of Jesus come true. An expectation that life should somehow be an easy path leads us into discontentment. We grumble and murmur as if life is not fair. Of course, this only takes us further along the road of disappointment.

In The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment Jeremiah Burroughs points us back to Christ, who brings peace to the soul, and satisfies our deepest longings when nothing else can. Much like today when we are struggling to make sense out of a virus that silently stalks many, when earthly leaders seem almost powerless to help, Burroughs lived during days that he described as “sad and sinking times”. Yet he makes the case that, through troubles and sorrows, the people of God need not complain, but can find comfort and contentment in the God whose mercies abound even in dark circumstances.

I recommend this book as a relief to worried minds during these times of testing.

Virtual Worship Services on YouTube

Our worship services are being archived on the G&PPC YouTube channel.

Visit https://www.youtube.com/GraceandPeacePCA/

Virtual Worship Service on 3/22/20

Due to the precautions necessitated by COVID-19, Grace & Peace Presbyterian Church is hosting a virtual online worship service at 10:30 AM, Sunday 3/22/20.

All are invited to join us via a Zoom Meeting. Please consult your email for details.

May the Lord bless you.                                                                                        

Bill Mayk, Pastor

Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life

By Sinclair Ferguson

Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – March, 2020

In ministering to the church, the Apostle Paul strove to develop Christians who grew in maturity in their walk with Christ. Every Christian wishes to develop in his/her relationship with God so that he/she might live spiritually healthy and profitable lives. Unfortunately, we all struggle with failure and the attending disillusionment.

In Maturity, Sinclair Ferguson guides the reader through a spiritual journey that encompasses various phases of the battle every believer faces.  He begins by relaying the importance and nature of Christian maturity. From there, the author reflects on the spiritual blessings that strengthen the believer as well as various difficulties that we face along the way. After encouraging the reader to press on to faithful service and patience, the author reflects on Psalm 131 as a helpful instruction toward spiritual maturity.

I recommend this well-written and easy-to-read work for those wishing to understand and grow in sanctification whose end is becoming mature in Christ.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1848718659/

All of Grace

by C.H. Spurgeon

Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – February, 2020

Few people can turn a phrase like Charles Spurgeon. In All of Grace, the so called Prince of Preachers not only offers nuggets of spiritual gold, but he also gives the reader marvelous insights into the subject of God’s grace. In less than 150 pages, he demonstrates that our salvation is truly all of grace by a loving God. He does this in a way that lifts the soul in gratitude to our sovereign Lord. While reading this book, one can find him/herself in total agreement with the author when he says, “It is glorious to be far out on the ocean of divine love, believing in God and steering straight for heaven by the direction of the Word of God.”

I highly recommend this book to those who have never come to the Savior as well as to those who have. It is a tonic that allows the soul to gaze upon the beauty of salvation in Christ by grace alone.

WPE