Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunday School Reading - December 14, 2008

Here are the reading sections from this week's Sunday School. This week we continued to look at the order of the application of salvation and studied effectual calling, regeneration, and faith and repentance. Also, I put a link to the book on hell from Robert Peterson below in case anyone wants to continue to study that topic from our discussion yesterday. There is only one new recommendation in this post as I think that the books we've already mentioned are very helpful in covering these topics so I'll just direct you toward them and then link to a couple of articles that can be found online.

First, here are the relevant catechism questions:

Q30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A30. The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.
Q31. What is effectual calling?
A31. Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

Redemption: Accomplished and Applied by John Murray - I'll continue to recommend Professor Murray and Dr. Hoekema's works throughout our discussion of the ordo salutis. For this week see the chapters on effectual calling, regeneration, and faith and repentance (Chapters 2-4 of Pat 2). Since most of our discussion is modelled on this book the general order of our discussion will follow Murray's with the exception that we looked at Union with Christ (the second to last chapter in Murray's work) before all of the other benefits.

Saved By Grace by Anthony Hoekema - The relevant chapters in Hoekema are on the universal offer of the gospel, effectual calling, regeneration, conversion, faith, and repentance. I don't have the book in front of me right now but I believe that those are chapters 5-9. His chapters on calling and regeneration are particularly helpful.

Saved By Grace: The Holy Spirit's Work in Calling and Regeneration by Herman Bavinck - This is the only new book that I will recommend this week. This book is a great introduction to the Dutch theologian's work (including his fantastic Reformed Dogmatics - arguably the greatest systematic theology work written since Calvin's Institutes and some would argue even including those). In RD Bavinck notes that "God's effectual call is so powerful that it cannot be conquered yet so loving so as to exclude all force." That is probably the most helpful one sentence summary of irresistable grace that you will ever find. I highly recommend picking up and reading this book and then going on to study the larger corpus of his work that is now available in English.

Second, this week under effectual calling and regeneration we presented the Reformed doctrine of irresistable grace. Referring back to our two books on the doctrine of grace this is covered by Horton in Putting Amazing Back Into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel in his chapter titled "Intoxicating Grace." Richard Phillips explains this doctrine in chapter 4 of his What's So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? While on the whole I prefer Dr. Horton's book as it is more comprehensive I do think that Reverend Phillips is more helpful on this particular subject.

Third, these topics are also covered in the systematic theologies that I've been recommending as we go. Calvin addresses them in Book 3, Chapters 1-4 of his Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin is very helpful in how closely and clearly he ties these benefits to our union with Christ. In addition to the book recommended above, these topics are discussed in Chapters 1-2 of Part in in Volume 4 (Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation) of Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics. Charles Hodge deals with these topics in Volume 3, Part 3, Chapters 15-16 of his Systematic Theology (warning, .pdf file). A.A. Hodge develops these doctrines in Chapters 25 (Effectual Calling), 26 (Regeneration), 27 (Faith), and 29 (Repentance) of his Outlines of Theology (google books link). Finally, I want to continue to recommend Robert Lewis Dabney's Systematic Theology to you (I still hope to post something on the life and theology of Dabney but in the meantime you might want to see Sean Michael Lucas' biography on him: Robert Lewis Dabney: A Southern Presbyterian Life). Dabney writes on Faith, Effectual Calling, and Repentance.

Finally, here are some articles that you can read online for free related to these topics (there are a lot of them because I did not recommend many books):
"Decisional Regeneration" by James Adams
"A Practical View of Regeneration" by Archibald Alexander - Alexander was an early American Presbyterian and the first Professor of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Both of these articles by him are helpful.
"Sinners Welcome to Come to Jesus Christ" by Archibald Alexander - I find this sermon particularly encouraging.
"The Marks of Saving Faith" by Jonathan Dickinson
"Of Regeneration" by John Gill
"Of Effectual Calling" by John Gill
"Of Conversion" by John Gill
"Of Efficacious Grace" by John Gill - If you read these articles by Gill you should tackle them in that order as all but the last are from his Book of Divinity.
"Whosoever Will May Come" by Herman Hoeksema - This outlines the universal offer of the Gospel
"Irresistible Grace" by John Murray
"Regeneration or the New Birth" by A.W. Pink
"Studies on Saving Faith" by A.W. Pink
"Regeneration" by Robert Reymond
"New Birth" by Sinclair Ferguson
"Not Faith, But Christ" by Horatius Bonar - This sermon is very helpful for understanding how faith radically looks away from itself and wholly receives and rests upon Christ.
"Judgments, A Call to Repentance" by James Henley Thornwell - Thornwell is arguably the greatest theologian from the Southern Presbyterian church (even better known than Dabney). This was a sermon that he preached before the State Legistlature of South Carolina.
"The Conviction of Sin" by Robert Murray M'Cheyne
"Regeneration: The Key to Believing the Truth" by Gordon Clark

Finally, there are two books that Robert Peterson (Systematic Theology, Covenant Theological Seminary) has worked on concerning the Biblical doctrine of hell. The first is Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment. This book is simply a presentation of what the Scriptures say about hell and then a refutation of alternative views. The second is a book that Dr. Peterson co-edited with Christopher Morgan called, Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment. This book has a number of essays from scholars such as Peterson, Morgan, G.K. Beale, Daniel Block, Sinclair Ferguson, Albert Mohler, Douglas Moo, J.I. Packer, and Robert Yarbrough. I haven't read this book but I'll probably pick it up as it looks very interesting.


Tom said...

Matt, this is waaaaaay below the level of your teaching and your general postings but provided a rather stimulating - albeit flawed - was of thinking a bit about God's sovereign choice in our salvation. (Yes, I know, not entirely to point! but I wanted to share.)

Matt Pickens said...

Thanks for posting the link. I enjoy reading Tim Challies' blog. He's pretty thoughtful and insightful and I enjoy his reading through the classics sections a lot.