Book Briefs: The Wonderful Decree

Dr. Campbell has written an important work on the Decree of God. This work begins by telling readers the story of his wife dying and he articulates that is what pressed him into studying and examining the scriptures. His story will grip every reader and those seeking to search through these truths with him throughout the rest of the book. He then addresses some of the potential reservations for Calvinism. But sees that suffering strengthens faith (pg. 11), good has come from his wife’s death (pg. 14), and the existence of God deals with evils and sufferings (pg. 16). 

He then walks throughout the various challenges to the decree of God from theism – polytheism – pantheism – atheism. He describes each term and shows the differences that exist between each term. He discusses compatibilism and libertarianism. Dr. Campbell defines the doctrine of election and says that election is compatible with love (pg. 71). He gives one of the best biblical cases for the doctrine of election and walks through the scriptures.

I believe his story of his wife and how he wrestled through those things during her death is worth the price of the book. But this is one of the most helpful and soul-stirring arguments for understanding biblical election that I have ever read. 

As he moves forward, he gives a critique of Arminianism and then continues to give a strong case for unconditional election. He spends time discussing infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism. He says that God’s love is an act of free grace (pg. 220). He shows how the decree of God is incompatible with Molinism and then ends this work with an epilogue (pg. 281). 

Click to purchase on Amazon

Click to purchase on Lexham Press

Book Briefs: Lexham Geographic Commentary

– The graphics and pictures are fantastic!
– Bibliography at the end of each chapter on what was covered in the chapter
– This work walks in order of passages mentioned

Page Count for the Gospels – 583

Page Count for Acts through Revelation – 763

Interesting Chapters in the Gospels: Fishing in the Sea of Galilee and The Words & Teachings of Jesus in the Context of Judea

Interesting Chapters in Acts through Revelation: Early Church Demographics and The Social & Geographical World of Ephesus

To Purchase on the Gospels

To Purchase Acts through Revelation 

Evan Knies is from West Monroe, LA. He is married to Lauren and father to Maesyn. He is a graduate of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies

Book Briefs: On Education


On Education – Lexham Press

Abraham Kuyper was a leading Dutch figure in education, politics, and theology. He was a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, was appointed to Parliament, and served as prime minister. Kuyper also founded the Free University in Amsterdam. 

Lexham Press has published some of Kuyper’s works in a new series of Collected Works of Theology. Most recently, Lexham has published Kuyper’s volume On Education. If you are able to purchase these volumes from Lexham, you will not regret it! 

The layout of this volume is helpful for the reader. When I have read some older works by theologians, the layout of various volumes can make it harder to read. But this cannot be said about this volume. The print, chapter divisions, and introductions have helped make this a great resource for pastors, teachers, and churches. 

In the introduction of On Education, Kuyper is quoted from one of his speeches at Parliament. He said, “Education is a distinct public interest. Education touches on one of the most complicated and intricate questions, one that involves every issue, including the deepest issues that invite humanity’s search for knowledge – issues of anthropology and psychology, religion and sociology, pedagogy and morality, in short, issues that encroach upon every branch of social life. Now it seems to me that such an element of cultural life has the right in every respect to an absolutely independent organization; always in the sense that education should function in the spirit of what the British call a body corporate” (pg. xxii). 

The editor uses a quote of Kuyper’s from Parlementaire Redevoeringen, “Unity of the nation is not brought into danger by having children attend different kinds of schools but by wounding the right and limiting the freedom so that our citizens are offended not in their material interests but in their deepest life convictions, which is all-determinative fro the best of them. That sows bitterness in the hearts and divides a nation. Instead of asking what the state school will receive and what the free school will receive, as sons of the same fatherland we should commit to raising the development of our entire nation. Then the feeling of unity will grow stronger and more inspired” (pg. xxxviii). 

Education will always be a very important topic for discussion in our communities and churches. This volume will help pastors now and help pastors 100 years from now. Use this resource, think about the importance of education, and invest in your communities for God’s glory and our good. You only get one life and it will soon pass. Only what is done for Christ will last!

Evan Knies is from West Monroe, LA. He is married to Lauren and father to Maesyn. He is a graduate of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies

Book Briefs: Facing Snarls and Scowls

facingsnarlsBrian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, and Founder of Practical Shepherding.

James Carroll is the Senior Pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, KY.

Facing Snarls and Scowls is an encouraging work that does not dim down the weight of preaching in revitalization. It shows that revitalization is hard work, but by God’s grace, one may be able to see the sinking ship turn in the right direction. The authors remind readers of endurance in Christ and that we are to be good stewards of what we have been given. They provide winsome words throughout this book to encourage pastors to do so.

Readers will be reminded that the trials of this life are here to stay and there will always be threats to the gospel among us. But our hope by God’s power is that faithful preaching will produce a harvest. Preaching and struggles go hand in hand, and preaching may not always have positive results. But Brian and James do a fantastic job of walking through passages that show trials will come with those who strive to be faithful. We should glean from examples who have come before us.

Brian and James argue, “Since preaching is a vital instrument for God’s work in individuals and His church, the last thing needed in the church, and particularly in revitalization settings, is the unhealthy concoction of bad preaching and snarling congregants” (pg. 61). They show that pastors should steward their pulpits well and preach well! The proclamation of the gospel is vital and preachers should strive to be better in the pulpit. After these warnings, Brian and James give huge practical advice so that our preaching points to Jesus, not just principles.

Brian and James recognize that there has been a revival of preaching today. They define it as, “The task in Expository Preaching is to allow the theme, thrust, and structure of the text to provide the theme, thrust, and structure of the sermon” (pg. 83). Christians are people who are bound to the Word of God. Preachers are called to handle the Text well!

The authors throughout this work exhort readers to be patient in church revitalizations. They call readers to press on! One of the benefits of this book is that I personally know James Carroll. He practices what he preaches. Towards the end of the book, there is a quote on pg. 152, “One of the most significant blind-spots for pastors, and especially young pastors, is a lack of self-awareness”. James has repeatedly told me this and it has been a point of some of our fruitful discussions.

This is a work that pours out practical wisdom that is rooted in Biblical Truth. Chruch Revitalizations, Church Planters, Pastors, and Christians as a whole will benefit from this work.

Purchase here.

Evan Knies is from West Monroe, LA. He is married to Lauren and father to Maesyn. He serves as Minister of Students at Bullitt Lick Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, KY. He also serves as the Executive Assistant of the Nelson Baptist Association. He is a graduate of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies