Booknote: “Theology for Ministry” by Chad Van Dixhoorn et al.

By Charlie Wingard · July 26, 2022 · 0 Comments
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I will be adding  Theology for Ministry: How Doctrine Affects Pastoral Life and Ministry to my required reading list for students. Twenty-six pastor-theologians, touching upon every major area of ministry, winsomely demonstrate how theology gives shape to a godly pastorate. That this book honors Sinclair Ferguson is especially appropriate — his books, lectures, and sermons mine God’s word and Reformation theology, and set their riches before God’s beloved church. I can think of no better model of ministerial work. Since 2017 Sinclair Ferguson has served as Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary.

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“Where the Children Take Us” by Zain E. Asher

By Charlie Wingard · May 3, 2022 · 0 Comments
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Where the Children Take Us: How One Family Achieved the Unimaginable by CNN anchor Zain Asher tells the story of her mother Obiajulu, a Nigerian immigrant and widow who worked tirelessly to educate her four children while living in a poor and dangerous London neighborhood. By the time Ms. Asher became a teenager, Obiajulu was determined to see her attend Oxford University, an ultimately successful endeavor. Her siblings excelled, too: one brother won best actor for his role in “12 Years a Slave.” Another brother is a business entrepreneur and her sister a physician. Obiajulu obtained her secondary education during the Biafran conflict, attending makeshift schools during the harrowing years of Nigerian civil war. To call her approach to parenting and education “tough…

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Change: Your Opportunity to Grow in Grace

By Charlie Wingard · April 7, 2022 · 0 Comments
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[My article in the spring 2022 issue.] Change is your opportunity to grow in grace. We say that it’s hard, but that’s not completely true. Change can be easy when it’s something we’ve hoped for, prayed for, and planned for. Difficulties come when we try to adapt to changes that are unwanted and unmanageable. Remember your trajectory. When you become a Christian, you are marked for change. One of God’s promises to you is that you’ll be transformed over the course of your life to be made more like your Savior. The process of sanctification is both beautiful and painful. Outwardly, the world is changing, exerting pressure that we become like it. Inwardly, the Holy Spirit works to mortify sinful…

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Booknote: “The Making of C.S. Lewis (1918-1945)” by Harry Lee Poe

By Charlie Wingard · April 6, 2022 · 0 Comments
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  The Making of C. S. Lewis: From Atheist to Apologist (1918-1945), by Harry Lee Poe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021, 399 pages, $32.99. For several years, “deconversions” have been a hot topic on social media as a succession of Christian celebrities—including pastors—have announced their departure from the faith. Apostasy is a tragic but not new phenomenon; one need look no further than the New Testament and Demas (2 Tim. 4:10). While writing this review, I am reading a biography of George Eliot, who abandoned the Christian faith and evangelical doctrine she once ardently espoused. The current interest in evangelical deconversions makes it a good time to examine one of the more remarkable conversions in recent Christian history—that of C. S. “Jack” Lewis.…

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Charles Simeon on the Cure of Speaking Evil of Others

By Charlie Wingard · February 19, 2022 · 0 Comments
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  One of my heroes of Christian ministry is Charles Simeon, who served Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, England from 1782-1836. To fight against the temptation to speak evil of others, Simeon formulated a strategy. In a July 1817 letter, he counseled: “The longer I live, the more I feel the importance of adhering to the rules which I have laid down for myself in relation to such matters.  “1st To hear as little as possible what is to the prejudice of others.  “2nd To believe nothing of the kind till I am absolutely forced to it.  “3rd Never to drink into the spirit of one who circulates an ill report.  “4th Always to moderate, as far as I can,…

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Booknote: “Theology Is for Preaching” edited by Charles R. Kuhn and Paul Grimmond

By Charlie Wingard · February 12, 2022 · 0 Comments
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Theology Is for Preaching: Biblical Foundations, Method, & Practice, edited by Chase R. Kuhn and Paul Grimmond. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2021, 343 pages, $29.99, paper. A pastor must be both theologian and preacher. In his mind, the union between them should be so strong that neither can be considered without the other. Theology and preaching are bound together like fuel and fire. Neglect theology and preaching becomes separated from the life-giving and life-sustaining truths of God’s Word. Neglect preaching and there is no proclamation of divine truth, the truth that kindles a love for God and faith in Jesus Christ. That love of theology and preaching distinguishes the twenty-one essays in Theology Is for Preaching. Contributors demonstrate expertise in their…

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Booknote: “Patience: Waiting With Hope” by Megan Hill

By Charlie Wingard · January 4, 2022 · 0 Comments
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  Patience: Waiting with Hope is Megan Hill’s recent contribution to P&R Publishing’s “31-Day Devotionals for Life” series. As I’ve come to expect, Megan’s grasp of the scriptures, practical wisdom, and apt use of illustrations shine on every page. Meditations are brief and thoughtful. During the course of a month, she encourages readers to think afresh about the character of God – our supremely loving heavenly Father and omnipotent King, who is patient with his beloved people. She carefully presents the benefits that come from waiting on him – as well as guidance on how to wait, and what to do while we wait. I was especially struck by her meditations on time as she sympathetically reminds us that from…

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My Year in Books (2021)

By Charlie Wingard · December 28, 2021 · 0 Comments
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    When I finish reading or listening to a book, I add it to my annual “books read” list. My 2021 list is at the end of this post. 2021 Reading Highlights One of the privileges I enjoy as a seminary professor is being asked to read books before they are published. Among the best books I read this year is Theology for Ministry: How Doctrine Affects Pastoral Life and Practice. I will be adding it to my required reading list for students. Twenty-six pastor-theologians, touching upon every major area of ministry, winsomely demonstrate how theology gives shape to a godly pastorate. That this book honors Sinclair Ferguson is especially appropriate — his books, lectures, and sermons mine God’s…

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Booknote: Four Books on Prayer by Kathleen Nielson

By Charlie Wingard · November 19, 2021 · 0 Comments
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    Christian parents should never stop praying for their children. Nor should they be satisfied with vague and general prayers. Kathleen Nielson’s four books will prove a valuable resource for parents wanting to pray specifically and comprehensively for their children’s spiritual and moral development. One way we learn to pray is by listening to the prayers of others. She models for us how to pray for our children (and grandchildren) at every stage of their lives – for young children, teens, young adults, and adult children. I highly recommend these books.  

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Booknote: “Small Preaching” by Jonathan Pennington

By Charlie Wingard · November 17, 2021 · 0 Comments
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  Preachers need books on the theology of preaching, works that demonstrate its biblical warrant. Preachers also need how-to books on the preparation and delivery of sermons. Carelessly crafted sermons dishonor the Savior, as does a delivery that fails to compel attention. But there is a third kind of book on preaching that preachers will do well to read. These books offer the mature reflections on the intangibles of preaching—matters of pastoral bearing, mental attitude, and habits of preparation. Jonathan T. Pennington, preaching pastor at Sojourn East Church in Louisville, Kentucky and associate professor at Southern Seminary, provides just this kind of book in Small Preaching. The book’s twenty-five brief essays fall under three headings: the person of the preacher, the…

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