The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

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A deal on “A Portrait of Paul”

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Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 13 October 2015 at 16:02

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Book news

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Life has been (usually delightfully) busy in recent weeks. Part of that has been the fruition of a couple of writing projects. I hope you will be interested to know about them.

Passing-3DThe first is called Passing Through: Pilgrim Life in the Wilderness from RHB. The blurb says:

As twenty-first-century Christians, we must relate to the world, but the question is, how do we relate to it? Some Christians are scared, others are simply bewildered, and still others capitulate to the spirit of the age. In Passing Through: Pilgrim Life in the Wilderness, Pastor Jeremy Walker presents the biblical perspective that Christians are pilgrims passing through this fallen world who must cultivate the spirit of holy separation alongside holy engagement as they serve Christ in all their interactions. Unless we embrace this identity, we will lose our way. Reminding us that we need “the Word of God as our map and the Spirit of Christ as our compass,” Pastor Walker clearly presents principles for holy engagement with the world and separation from it for pilgrims on their way home, seeking to glorify the God of their salvation every step of the way.

Generous endorsements have come in from Michael Haykin, Michael Horton, Nathan Finn and David Murray. You can pick it up at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com or WTS.

ANCHORED-COLOR-4601-459x707The other is a book published by Cruciform Press and is called Anchored in Grace: Fixed Points for Humble Faith. Again, the blurb says:

The Bible delights to reveal the riches of God’s mercy in Christ Jesus toward sinners, to display his grace to the praise of his glory. These are the very realities upon which redemption hangs. When our expectation and enjoyment of salvation are not anchored in grace, God is robbed of his glory and we are deprived of hope, comfort, and happiness. Christians therefore need to grasp what the Bible says about these things. We need to know these sweet and substantial strands of revelation – to delve into, to delight in, and then to declare the exceeding riches of God’s grace in his kindness toward us in Christ. We need to learn and to love these bedrock truths in which spiritual life is grounded, the health of our souls is fostered, genuine humility is developed, and eager service is established.

Paul Washer, Joel Beeke, Conrad Mbewe, Geoff Thomas, Mez McConnell, Derek Thomas, and Brian Croft have all been kind enough to provide very warm endorsements. It too is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, but the publisher offers good deals, especially on multiple volumes.

If you have the opportunity, please drop a review at the various website. I appreciate knowing how people have interacted with the books, and am grateful for everyone who reads them, and delighted when someone profits by them. If you have a moment, please pray to that end. Thank you.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 9 June 2015 at 19:50

Promoting Perkins

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Perkins, William (vol 1)I am delighted to get my hands on the first volume of a projected ten-volume set, The Works of William Perkins from Reformation Heritage Books. Perkins was one of those phenomenal proto-Puritans, in this instance a man often called “the father of Puritanism.” While for some that is reason for opprobrium of the nastiest sort, for others it is high praise indeed. And yet for years Perkins has wallowed in relative obscurity, his writings little known and not easily available, apart from one or two sterling efforts from a couple of publishers.

RHB is seeking to change all that with this set, which begins with the first of four volumes of exegetical works (to be followed by three volumes of doctrinal and polemical works and a further three of practical works), including A Digest of Harmony of the Old and New Testaments, Combat Between Christ and the Devil on Matthew 4.1-11 and a study of The Sermon on the Mount. J. Stephen Yuille, editor of this first volume, provides a brief but full biographical preface, introducing us to the man himself, before we plunge into the productions of his pen.

The Digest is a fascinating little outline of Scripture history, introduced by an essay in which Perkins surveys the various historical divisions he identifies with brief comments on each. The Combat is also fairly brief, but gives the reader an opportunity to get into the groove of Perkins’ style and structure – readers of the Puritans will quickly discern much that is familiar in the structure and priorities of Perkins’ writing. By far the most substantial element of volume one is The Sermon on the Mount, over 550 pages of closely-reasoned and closely-applied exposition of Matthew chapters 5 through 7. Here Perkins’ theological acumen and driving concern for genuine godliness are both evident, as he weaves profound instruction and penetrating insights into what is essentially a treatise on real righteousness.

The whole is newly typeset, and a careful modernisation of the text makes it more accessible to the average reader. It is available from the usual sources (Westminster / Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk) as well as direct from the publisher. In this connection, it should be noted that this volume is one of many RHB titles in ebook which are currently available through Westminster at ridiculous prices. The Perkins volume is currently $1.99 for Kindle, but only for another few hours.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 2 April 2015 at 09:00

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Three fascinating books

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May I draw your attention to three volumes, each relatively new, each stimulating in its own sphere? Each is written by a friend, and two received an endorsement from me, so please take that into account in what I write.

The first is from Brian Croft. The Pastor’s Ministry: Biblical Priorities for Faithful Shepherds is a basic introduction to the work of the ministry. It is a reflection of the failure of many churches and the paucity of much seminary instruction that these truths should seem so fresh, even novel, to many. It is also a reflection of the carelessness of our hearts that – though we may think we know them – we so often need to be reminded of them. This, then, would make an excellent gift for men entering or leaving any stripe of more or less formal ministerial training, as well as a good refresher for men already in the trenches. My endorsement read:

What my friend Brian Croft says in this book should be so obvious that it barely needs saying. Tragically, these are the very principles and practices that are so often unknown or neglected and so quickly lost or forgotten. Whether you need instruction or correction, learning or reminding, Brian’s gift for simple and clear communication of plain pastoral realities will clear your head, warm your heart, and strengthen your hands.

You can buy Brian’s book at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

The second book is by David Murray, and is called The Happy Christian. In my endorsement, I wrote:

What does it mean to be happy? The light of nature allows us to observe, desire and appreciate the benefits of certain kinds of happiness. Only the light of Scripture enables us properly to define, obtain and cultivate true and lasting happiness. David Murray’s difficult task in this genuinely stimulating and sometimes provocative book is to accept and acknowledge the former source of illumination while being governed by and relying upon the latter. He has no appetite for the fixed grin and glassy stare of a carnally-manufactured positivity. Instead, David seeks to train our hearts in Christian cheerfulness, genuine gladness, and believing hopefulness, to enjoy and employ the “solid joys and lasting treasures” of the true children of God. Some might take issue with the balance of his foundations and the choice or proportion of his materials, but all Christians would do well to consider the structure and style of the building David erects. It is a good and bright place to live, and many of us need to start construction.

I hope that gives some sense of the excellent work that David has done. This is a book very carefully pitched. My sense is that it steps outside the typical circles of many Reformed and evangelical writers, and – without compromise – seeks to engage and to attract those who might otherwise look over or around that circle. In doing so, it draws on many of our wonderful resources of a genuinely Christian worldview, and reminds all of us of what we are so often missing in our walk as disciples of Christ. Again, you can get it at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, as well as Westminster.

The final book is by Stuart Olyott. This one is called Something Must Be Known & Felt: A Missing Note in Today’s Christianity. It is at once an exciting and unsettling book. It is a necessarily uncomfortable book. It is, at points, a contentious book. Some might consider it a dangerous book. It is, because of rather than despite all that, a good book. I agree with its primary thrust, even if I am presently left behind by some of its particular details.

Those who know Stuart Olyott as a preacher or author will know that he is not a man given to reckless flights of ungrounded fancy. That is important to recall in reading this book on the place of feeling in the life of the believer. His contention is that biblical Christianity is a holy compound of doctrine, ethics and experience, the last of these being often perverted or neglected today.

To correct this, he first gives a survey of emotion from the Scriptures then an overview of the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul. He applies these two matters in the spheres of assurance, Christ’s felt presence, guidance from God, asking and receiving, and waiting on the Lord (the latter two having to do particularly with prayer). In every instance he simultaneously discharges both barrels against the arid wastes of barren intellectualism and the dry expanses of mindless enthusiasm. Each chapter is a blend of scriptural evidences and personal and historical experiences. There is both a deliberate resistance to mysticism and an unembarrassed supernaturalism.

It is hard in a book so brief to give adequate attention to every point made. That means that there are some bold and bald assertions which need to be set in the context of Stuart’s wider ministry. This is not the writing of a man going soft, but of a man pressing on. He wishes to open our eyes and our hearts to elements of Christian experience of which we are ignorant, and ignorance here cannot be bliss.

On more debatable points the author is especially careful to add to scriptural arguments trustworthy witnesses both immediate and distant, including incidents from his own life. I struggled with some of his statements, especially regarding God’s ways of offering guidance or answering prayer. I also confess that this may be because of my own paucity of experience at this point. At each such point the author offers enough scriptural substance to make us tentatively positive, exercising a cautious care in debating his affirmations. Even those who would back away from some of the more striking assertions should take pains not casually to dismiss any part of the argument.

There is much here to which I can readily add a hearty “Amen!” At some points, I should be happy to find my minor concerns proved unfounded. In a very small number of cases, I should need more compelling evidence fully to embrace some of what is written. The fact that the untaught and unstable might abuse some of these things does not mean they should not be addressed. Neither should our reactions against various abuses blind us to what we ourselves might be missing.

Read it carefully and prayerfully; wrestle with it humbly and scripturally; respond to it righteously and earnestly. Buy it at Amazon.co.uk.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 24 March 2015 at 09:43

Upcoming writing projects

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quill pen and inkwell 2For the three people who have previously looked at the cover of books that I have written and thought, “Hmm, maybe sometime …” I have news to stir the soul, or at least shift the sludge.

Hopefully there will be a couple of things from the Walker quill forthcoming this year – one longer work on the pilgrim life and one shorter booklet on the topic of repentance. I hope to offer more details soon, but I thought I might at least let you know.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 9 January 2015 at 17:42

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“The Excellent Benjamin Keach”

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Excellent Benjamin Keach (Walker) 2aWould you allow me to draw your attention to a book? It is my father’s work, and concerns a man that you may not know, a seventeenth century Baptist called Benjamin Keach. Keach was one of the movers and shakers of the century, a prominent London Baptist who faced fierce persecution but also saw sweet blessings. He was a pastor of the church which can be traced to the one meeting today at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

Might I also say that it is not just a tale for Baptists or historians, though both would find it delightful. His example as a man who wrestled toward truth, stood fast in accordance with his convictions, was prepared to suffer for the cause of Christ, and served the Lord and his people faithfully and fruitfully, makes him a worthy study for any Christian, perhaps especially any pastor.

This is a revised second edition of what is now the standard work on the life of this Baptist pastor and preacher, taking account of research conducted since the original publication. It can be found at the publisher’s website, and it is available in hardback (Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk) and paperback (Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk) and now has the virtue of an index, making it more useful to scholars. I strongly recommend it.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 7 January 2015 at 12:59

A covenantal heritage

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I am looking forward to reading a new publication from Reformed Baptist Academic Press called Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology, edited by Rich Barcellos. It is a delight to see reformed Baptists wrestling through the rich heritage we have of a robust covenantal theology that respects the continuities between the old and the new covenants while at the same time properly recognising the newness of the new covenant. I have thoroughly appreciated the work that these brothers have done, while still seeking to explore the nuances and emphases and consequences of what is being eagerly propounded, and I am looking forward to seeing what these gentlemen have produced. The contents of the volume are as follows, and it is available through Amazon in the US and the UK, as well as directly from RBAP. Confessional Baptists would do well to obtain and carefully ponder this material.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 5 December 2014 at 10:08

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