Christian Focus on the Reformation

Christian Focus Publications produce a rich selection of titles featuring the significant characters of the reformation – from Martin Luther and John Calvin, to lesser known figures such as Theodore Beza and John Huss. 2017 brings the 5ooth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, stirred in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door.  We’ve picked out a few titles below which are required reading for those interested in the story of the reformation and its relevance to us today.


 

“With knowledge, wit, and clarity, Carl Trueman brings key insights from the Reformation on Christ, Scripture, and our appropriation of both to bear on the life of the modern evangelical church.”

Michael Lawrence, Senior Pastor, Hinson Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon

 

Carl R. Trueman examines the origins of contemporary Reformed theology in the Reformation world of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After tracing how this heritage shaped and transformed the intervening period, he then describes some of the major challenges being faced by the evangelical church at the present time and suggests ways of responding which remain faithful to the Scriptures and the theology of the Reformers drawn from it and points towards a future that embraces and disseminates these wonderful doctrines of grace.


 

“…tells the story of Calvin’s life and thought in a compact and compelling way that will serve to acquaint readers with the warm human character of Calvin.”

William Barker, Professor of Church History, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

Robert Reymond brings us John Calvin the man. A reality quite different from the caricature often painted today. Here is a man of deep spirituality with a real love for his fellow man and God. A man also with tremendous intellectual abilities. Whether the moniker ‘stern Calvinist’ is applicable or not – his life has much to teach us.


 

Theodore Beza: The Man and the Myth by Shawn D. Wright

“Well researched and well written, this is an important book about Beza based on a close reading of Beza … A stellar contribution to Reformation studies and pastoral theology alike.”

Timothy George, Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

 

Theodore Beza was a man who in his day was one of the luminaries of the Protestant world, who took the reins of the beleaguered Calvinistic movement after its namesake’s death, and who influenced English-speaking Protestantism more than you might imagine. Shawn D. Wright casts light on a figure often neglected and helps illustrate the significant impact of his faith and influence.


Related titles from Christian Focus Publications:

John Knox: Fearless Faith by Steven J. LawsonMartin Luther's Tabletalk

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by | April 24, 2017 · 2:17 pm

The Cost – What it takes to follow Jesus – Steven J. Lawson

Inside the Book: 

Nestled in a few verses in Luke’s Gospel is a Jesus who would not have been tolerated today: He was not politically correct and He certainly did not try to save people’s feelings. Steven Lawson unpacks these few verses, looking at the unashamed honesty, passion, and urgency with which Jesus explains the life-long cost involved in choosing to follow Him. True Christianity is the biggest sacrifice any person ever makes … but it is in pursuit of the most precious prize ever glimpsed.

Praise for The Cost: 

Like a master builder Steve Lawson gives us the foundation of Jesus’ own words to erect a frame showing the cost, demands, gains and losses of following Christ. In doing so, Dr. Lawson gives us a strong and firm edifice that brings glory to Him and His truth.

R.C. Sproul, Founder & Chairman of Ligonier Ministries, Orlando, Florida

This book is a “must read” for all! The unconverted will hear the gospel; the Christian will find the true road to devotion and joy; the minister will be instructed in the task of biblical gospel preaching, ensuring salvation both for himself and for those who hear him (I Timothy 4:16).

Paul Washer, President, Heart Cry Ministry, Radford, Virginia

Christ’s own summons to discipleship is impossible to harmonize with the laid-back, seeker-sensitive, superficial religion practiced by so many people today who claim to be followers of Christ. Dr. Lawson’s exposition of Luke 14:25-35 distills the vital message and presents it in a robust and penetrating way.

John MacArthur, President, The Master’s University and Seminary and Pastor-Teacher, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California

Listen In:

Steven Lawson spoke at Shepherd’s Conference 2017 on How to Call People to Follow Christ, listen in below:

About the Author: 

Steven J. Lawson is president of OnePassion Ministries, a ministry designed to bring about biblical reformation in the church today, as well as the Professor of Preaching in the masters and doctoral programs at The Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, California.

Where to Buy:

The Cost: What it takes to follow Jesus is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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by | April 14, 2017 · 3:25 pm

Michael A. G. Haykin on Patrick of Ireland

Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact by Michael A. G. Haykin

The following extract is taken from Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact by Michael A. G. Haykin. Part of the Early Church Fathers Series from Christian Focus Publications.

An Evangelical Reflects on Patrick

E.A. Thompson has rightly noted that Patrick’s ‘character is complex and of the utmost fascination’. My own fascination with Patrick began quite early in my studies of the ancient church. Initially, I suspect I was drawn to him because of my Irish ancestry. But in time, his rich Trinitarianism and zeal for missions, his biblicism and dependence on the Spirit exercised their own pull on my heart and mind. Since 1989 I have written a number of pieces on Patrick. In this book-length essay, however, I have not only sought to bring together the various strands of all that I have written about Patrick, but I have also expanded this material considerably so that readers today might see the implications of his life and thought for contemporary Evangelicalism.

It would be both wrong and anachronistic to describe Patrick as an Evangelical. His encouragement of monasticism, for example, hardly squares with Evangelical piety. His devotion to the Trinity, however, has much to teach Evangelicals, far too many of whom seem to have forgotten the absolute necessity of being Trinitarian in teaching and worship. His zeal for missions and the salvation of the lost is not only inspiring, but deeply convicting. Also, he is into missions for all of the right reasons: the glory of God; his love for the lost, in this case, the Irish, and his concern for their salvation; the duty he owes to God’s call on his own life; and obedience of the Scriptural mandate to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Then, there is his bibliocentrism: whether he had read many other books or not, he leaves us with the overwhelming impression that only one book supremely matters, and that is the Bible. He is not afraid to find truth in other sources – all truth is God’s truth – but in the final analysis, it is Scripture that guides him. Finally, I love his dependence on the Spirit. While his thought and expression are indeed shaped by God’s infallible Word, he sought in all integrity to listen to the Spirit in his daily life and so find that much-needed balance of Word and Spirit that we all require in our day. Most importantly in this regard, because of his own weaknesses, Patrick knew that the Spirit’s work in us is a humbling work, showing us that all in the Christian life is of pure grace: a truly Evangelical note — ‘if I have achieved or shown any small success according to God’s pleasure, … it was the gift of God.’

Featured Reviews:

“Michael Haykin paints a compelling portrait of this bibliocentric bishop and earnest evangelist. The dedicated missionary and thoughtful theologian that emerges belongs to the Gospel-loving global church and not just the Emerald Isle.”

Paul Hartog, Adjunct Faculty, Biblical Studies, Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, Ankeny, Iowa

“A fine balance between a biography of an extraordinary servant of Jesus Christ and an explanation of the beliefs that sustained Patrick.”

Michael Ovey, (1958-2017) Principal, Oak Hill Theological College, London

About the Author: 

Michael A. G. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at  The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.


Where to Buy:
Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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by | March 17, 2017 · 3:11 pm

The Focus on the Bible commentaries are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are a great resource for personal devotions and spiritual growth. Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their speciality subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation. For a full list of titles in the series, featuring authors such Dale Ralph Davis, Tim Chester and Jim Hamilton, check out www.christianfocus.com. Today we look at three of the latest additions to the series:


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John is known as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’. He was under our Saviour’s teaching and care for three years. He leaned against Christ’s chest at the last supper and witnessed the crucifixion. Who better then to write about the love of Jesus than the one who had such first-hand experience of it? In these three letters, John is passing on the impact of these experiences to people he loves, tenderly encouraging them to see past their failings and focus on the promises available in Christ.

“Hannah carefully explains the text and skillfully applies its message to our contemporary world. If you want to see afresh the beauty of Christ and grow in your love for him and his people, this book is for you.”

Matthew Harmon, Professor of New Testament Studies, Grace Theological Seminary


John: Jesus Christ is God by William F. Cook

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John’s Gospel is the mature reflections of the last living apostle. John the apostle wrote this book approximately fifty-five years after the resurrection of Jesus. During those years he had reflected on the words and deeds of Jesus and the result is that the pages of the Gospel contain the seasoned thinking of one of Jesus’ closest friends.

“Bill Cook is a wonderful New Testament scholar and pastor … This book will serve extremely well those who preach and teach the Word of God chapter by chapter, verse by verse and word by word.”

Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary


Joel & Obadiah: Disaster And Deliverance by Iwan Rhys Jones

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Disaster and Deliverance, these two words sum up something of the message of both Joel and Obadiah. In Joel, the prophet begins by announcing a disaster in terms of a locust invasion, which has affected Judah. Nevertheless, the prophet holds out the prospect of deliverance. In the case of Obadiah, the focus is on Edom. Edom’s pride and longstanding hostility against the people of God has led her to be party to an attack upon them, and as a result, she is threatened with disaster. The people of God, meanwhile, are assured of better things at the hand of the LORD.

Writing in an accessible and succinct style, Jones introduces us to grand theological themes that run throughout the prophetic writing of Joel and Obadiah … As with many commentaries in this series, Jones’s treatment is fitting for both sermon preparation and small group Bible study.

John Scott Redd, Jr., President and Associate Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Washington

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by | March 15, 2017 · 1:12 pm

Easter Resources from CF4K

CF4K provides some excellent resources for Easter. We’ve picked out 3 titles today which are great for sharing the Easter story with children, click on the covers to find out more.


 

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The Promise by Carine Mackenzie

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Peter Mead on In the Market with Janet Parshall

Listen to a great interview with Peter Mead on In the Market with Janet Parshall where he discusses his new book. Lost in Wonder: A Biblical Introduction to God’s Great Marriage is a call back to the joy of our salvation and our first love for Christ. It explores our current and eternal union with Christ using the Biblical analogy of marriage – and shows the profound beauty in both. Listen in: MoodyRadio.org

“… invites us all to rethink our perception of God with fresh categories. The truths explained here have certainly changed me, and I will never go back to the legalistic religion I used to lug around.”

Ray Ortlund, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee

“If ever a book earned its title, this one did, as I closed its pages ‘Lost in Wonder’.”

David Murray, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“That the powerful king of the universe is a God of passionate love makes for glorious biblical theology. That he would relentlessly pursue a sinner like me in such love is simply mind-blowing.”

Dave Gobbett, Highfields Church, Cardiff, Wales & Word Alive Trustee

About the Author:

Peter Mead is director of Cor Deo, a mentored ministry training programme based in Chippenham, England. He is on the leadership team of a church plant and leads the Bible Teachers & Preachers Networks at the European Leadership Forum. He is also the author of Pleased to Dwell and Foundations.

Where to Buy:

Lost in Wonder: A Biblical Introduction to God’s Great Marriage is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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by | March 7, 2017 · 2:22 pm

History Makers

The History Maker series brings you classic biographies of important people and movements in church history – together with more recent biographical works of the same. They have gained a reputation as an important new resource for the church and now cover nineteen characters from church history. The titles feature well-known figures like Martin Luther and George Muller, as well as lesser-known figures such as Mary Slessor and Andrew Murray. Today we are featuring on one the most popular in our series, George Müller by Roger Steer:

About George Müller: Delighted in God

George Müller’s life is a powerful answer to modern scepticism.

His name has become a by-word for faith throughout the world. In the early 1830s he embarked upon an extraordinary adventure. Disturbed by the faithlessness of the church in general, he longed to have something to point to as ‘visible proof that our God and Father is the same faithful Creator, as he ever was’.

Praying for every penny of the costs, he supervised the building of five large orphanages, housing thousands of children. Under no circumstances would any individual ever be asked for money or materials. He was more successful than anyone could have believed possible and is as much an example to our generation as he was to his.

About the Author:

Roger Steer is the author of thirteen books which have been published in well over a dozen languages – including his internationally acclaimed Inside Story: The Life of John Stott. He lives with his wife in mid-Devon, England, where he preaches, leads retreats and acts as a tutor to young preachers.

Where to Buy:

George Müller: Delighted in God is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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by | February 28, 2017 · 3:02 pm

Off the Shelf – Bible Answers by Derek Prime

9781857929348

Many people want to know what the Bible has to say about God and other pressing issues. To meet that need, Derek Prime has provided a helpful guide that anyone can use. If you have ever wondered what the Bible really says about a topic then this is where to start.

The book is in 2 parts. The first deals with the 50 bible questions and answers. The second part is headed ‘Bible Guidelines’ and has 5 further helpful sections:

  1. The ten commandments
  1. Subjects arising, directly or indirectly, from the ten commandments
  1. The desires and works of the sinful nature
  1. Christian Character (The fruit of the Spirit)
  1. Commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel

Praise for Bible Answers:

“I have worn out more than one copy. Simple enough for the beginner and comprehensive enough for the serious student, this updated version should sit beside the Bible of every eager learner.”

Alistair Begg, Senior Pastor, Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

“Derek Prime addresses crucial questions concisely, practically and, most of all, biblically. This is one of the best books to help us ground our faith in the solid truths of God’s Word.”

John Benton, Managing Editor, Evangelicals Now

About the Author:

Derek Prime has devoted himself to an itinerant ministry and to writing since 1987, after 30 years of pastoral service to churches in the UK.

Derek-Prime

Where to Buy:

Bible Answers: Questions About the Christian Faith & Life is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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Let the Children Worship

The following extract is taken from Let the Children Worship by Jason Helopoulos, new at Christian Focus Publications. Jason encourages the church to embrace the important part children play in the life of the church and unfolds the enormous blessings to be found in having them present in the worship services of the congregation. He points out how the struggles are temporary – whereas the blessings can be eternal.

9781781919095

Wisdom for Parents

Let’s face it, bringing our children into corporate worship is not always easy. Squirming kids, rustling papers, the eyes of others, and a host of other problems often accompany children in worship. Unfortunately, some parents identify Sunday mornings with the most difficult part of their week. I understand. As a family, we have lived it. In no way do I want to dismiss the challenge and at times frustration, but I hope you will see the struggle is well worth it. As Christian parents, we desire above all else that our children would know, love, delight-in, serve, and honor Christ. The more they encounter Him through the means of grace, the more likely we will witness this blessed outcome. Corporate worship, as we detailed in chapter two, is above all else a meeting with God in the person of Christ by His Word and by the Spirit. Including our children in this weekly encounter can’t help but be a good thing for their souls.

Real challenges confront us as we bring our children into corporate worship, but they are not insurmountable. I want to offer some practical and “Mom-tested” tips as you attempt to do so.

Treasure the Lord’s Day

God knew our need for rest. In the very act of creation, He ordains one in seven days for rest and worship (Exod. 20:8-11). This day highlights our week. As Christians, we live from Lord’s Day to Lord’s Day. And the highpoint of the Lord’s Day is gathering together with His people to offer holy worship. Help your children by focusing on this moment throughout the week. Talk about Sunday morning worship all week long. Help your children to see that each week begins with this privilege (Acts 20:7; Heb. 10:24-25). And when the day arrives, model excitement about it. If Mom and Dad reluctantly go to church, then the children will reluctantly go as well. If Mom and Dad criticize the preacher, sermon, or others in the church, then the children will most likely criticize as well.

Cultivate a spirit of joy on Sunday mornings in your home. If this is the highlight of our week, then let’s act like it. Talk about how wonderful the day promises to be, wake the kids up with excitement, turn on good Christian music for the whole family to listen to, and put a smile on your face. It’s o.k. to smile on Sunday mornings!

Prepare Appropriately

Many of our problems on Sunday morning stem from issues before we even arrive at church. Tired children and tired parents create fertile ground for cranky worshippers. Be boring on Saturday nights. Send your entire family to bed early. Friday nights can be filled with late-night activity, but Saturday nights should routinely be safeguarded. Sleepy heads make for drowsy worshippers. Lay out Sunday morning clothes the night before, so there aren’t complications with finding an outfit that fits well, looks right, or is ironed. This is especially helpful with teenage daughters!

On Sunday mornings, wake your family up with plenty of time to spare. Try not to arrive late or even a few minutes before the service. Rushing out the door at home and rushing in the door at church has discombobulated many children and stymied many worshippers.

On the car-ride to church talk about the passage that you will hear preached, sing a hymn together, and converse about the things of God. This helps to prepare the way for worship. If a visiting missionary is scheduled to share or the Lord’s Table is going to be observed or any other unique moment is scheduled to occur in the service, take time in the car-ride to discuss it. This sets the mood and helps them understand and appreciate moments in the service. I practice this with my children, who love the personal interaction and it has the added benefit of not only helping them to prepare for worship, but also helps me.

Implement Family Worship at Home

A family that worships together at home finds it much easier to worship together in corporate worship. A child will find it natural to hear and read the Word of God, sing hymns, confess their sins, and pray. It also helps our children learn to sit still, understand the importance of worship, and focus during prayer. For too many children, worship at church seems foreign, because worship at home is absent.

Many churches preach expositional sermons. This means that you know what you will hear read and preached in the week’s service—the next passage. Other churches may preach topically but publish in advance the passages on which the preaching will focus. Some families find it helpful to read the upcoming sermon passage during the week. Read and converse about it around the dinner table and during family worship. The children will then possess a familiarity with the text the pastor plans on preaching. This knowledge will give them some things to listen for in the sermon. My son, when five and six years old, always delighted in expressing his “knowledge” about the Sunday sermon text. He would often lean over during the service with that kind of child “whisper-scream,” “I know that story! I know about that!” It delighted this Father’s heart, as if I didn’t know and hadn’t led him through it earlier in the week for that very reason.

Start Early

Many believe it is more challenging to introduce a three-year-old to corporate worship then a twelve-year-old, but this is simply not true. A three-year-old is in the formative years of training. They are not yet “set in their ways” and remain quite teachable. They want to please Mom and Dad, though at times it does not seem like it! A twelve-year-old possesses his or her own thoughts on what should be expected and “endured.” This creates far more challenging issues than wrestling with a three-year-old to sit still. All this to say: it is far easier to begin with small children, so start early. Keep reminding yourself that a few months of struggling with a three or four-year-old teaching them how to sit still in corporate worship yields benefits for the rest of their lives.

Some of us came to this conviction late. Our children may have already reached their teenage years and we regret they weren’t in corporate worship with us earlier. If you find yourself in this place, keep reminding your heart and mind that God’s grace is sufficient. Do not be “hard” on yourself. You didn’t ruin your children and this doesn’t make you a “bad parent.” Yet, I would remind you, if your children still reside in your home, it is not too late to start. Don’t wait. Begin now and seize the years remaining … Buy a copy of Let the Children Worship, for more gems of wisdom for parents.


“In Let the Children Worship, Jason Helopoulos instills a sense of anticipation of what will happen as children are not only blessed by their presence among the body of Christ but also bless us with their presence.”

Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher and author of Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series


About the Author: 

Jason Helopoulos is assistant pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, and a guest blogger at The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife, Leah, are parents of two young children, Gracen and Ethan. Jason is also author of A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home

Jason Helopoulos

Where to Buy:
Let the Children Worship is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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Her-Story – A daily walk with Christian women from across the centuries

her-story

 

  • A Year’s Daily Readings

  • Lessons from Christian women of the past and present

  • Beautifully presented in hardback format

Women were an integral part of Jesus’ life and ministry as described in all four Gospels, and they are integral to the life of the church wherever Christianity has spread. In whatever position they found themselves, whether queens or slaves, they lived for their Saviour and sought to bring others to Him.

Her-Story brings together well-known names, such as Fanny Crosby and Joni Eareckson Tada, to lesser-known Christians from across the centuries in 366 devotions. The recurring theme – their love for Jesus.

Her-Story_Cloth Versions 2

Praise for Her-Story:

“Beautifully-written, a reader (woman or man!) will daily read, worship, and learn about many Christians, both well-known and lesser known. I highly recommend Diana Severance’s new book, published by Christian Focus.”

Denise George, Author, teacher, speaker www.denisegeorge.org

“Read this for new insight into church history, fresh gratitude for God’s glory in women’s lives, and strong motivation to aspire to the levels of faith, love, sacrifice, and service on display in these fascinating vignettes.”

Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri

“Arising from the stage of history with the inspiring legacy of personal faith, each woman leaps from the page to encourage and motivate all of us who read these daily devotionals penned by a church historian who knows our hearts and has tasted our trials.”

Dorothy K. Patterson, Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Forth Worth, Texas

About the Author:

Diana Lynn Severance has broad experience teaching history in universities and seminaries. She is a Director of the Dunham Bible Museum at Houston Baptist University and is the author of Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History.

Where to Buy:

Her-Story: 366 Devotions from 21 Centuries of the Christian Church is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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