the Gospel

JRF's #40 - The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul


This short but potent book is an explanation and apologetic of the doctrine of the substituionary atonement of Jesus Christ.  It does a good job of being accessible and simultaneously profound.

As Sproul points out, "the words crucial and crux both have their root in the Latin word for 'cross,' crux, and they have come into the English language with their current meanings because the concept of the cross is at the very center and core of Biblical Christianity."

There's a lot packed into this little book.  I recommend it to anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the necessity, meaning, and implications of the cross of Christ, from the new believer to the seminary student.


JRF #31 - The Calvary Road by Roy Hession

My mom gave me this book after someone at her church had recommended it.  I was a bit hesitant as I had never heard of Roy Hession and still don't know a ton about him.  Judging by this short collection of evangelistic essays however, I like the guy.

Hession explains through a series of essays that we have misunderstood revival to mean awakening.  Revival is not masses of people coming to Christ all at once.  Revival is exactly what the word means, "a restoration to life" or a strengthening of a life that has grown weak.  In Hession's words, "the unconverted do not need revival, for there is not any life there to revive...It is the Christians who need revival."

In short this book is about the process of sanctification.  Hession illustrates how pursuing brokeness, repentance, a fuller and deeper understanding of Christ's work on the cross and obedience to the Lordship of Christ will produce true revival in the church which will in turn bring an awakening to the glory of the Gospel in the lost and perishing world.

I will be returning to this short book for sermon illustrations, encouragement and exhortation often.


"People imagine that dying to self makes one miserable.  But it is just the opposite.  It is the refusal to die to self that makes one miserable.  The more we know of death with Him, the more we shall know of His life in us, and so the more of real peace and joy."  - p. 15

"...the only beautiful thing about the Christian is Jesus Christ." - p. 62

"The God who declares beforehand what we are, provides beforehand for our sin." p. 66


you can download this book for free here.


JRF's #11 - The Gospel for Muslims by Thabiti Anyabwile

How do you share the Gospel with Muslisms?  You share the Gospel with Muslims.

This isn't  a book about new methods and tricks you can use to convert Muslims with.  It is a book written by a former Muslim who has been transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now has a passion to share that Gospel with those still in Islam's grip.

Anyabwile's theme for the book is clearly seen in it's subtitle: "an Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence".  He debunks the popular belief amongst believers that, "somehow Muslims require a different gospel or a special technique, that Muslims are somehow impervious to the Gospel in a way that other sinners are not." (p.13)

The first portion of the book is focused on the Gospel itself.  Anyabwile encourages the reader to trust in the power of the Gospel by sharing personal stories where he has seen the truth and love of Christ pierce the hearts of muslims.  He also affirms the importance of doctrinal clarity in evangelism.  He shows the importance of defining terms like sin, repentance, and faith Biblically for those terms signify something drastically different to a Muslim.  While acknowledging that there is some theological common ground between Muslims and Christians (they recognize they are in a creature/creator relationship with god and that all mankind will have to one day give an account to that god) he also shows the importance of highlighting not the similarities between Christianity and Islam, but the radical differences.  Using uniquely Biblical phrases like, "born again,' 'united to Christ,' and 'a new creation' communicate the very real differences between an Islamic and Christian understanding of conversion."  I found this first section to be a great ecouragement and exhortation to trust in the power of the Gospel to save and transform.

In the second half of the book Anyabwile illustrates how life patterns that should be normative for disciples of Christ - gracious and intentional hospitality, loving and active membership in a local body of Christ followers and joyfully suffering for the sake of the Gospel - are the best background music for sharing the beautiful Song of the Good News of Jesus with Muslims.

I have seen God already use this short book to strengthen my resolve to live a Gospel centered life and ministry.  I have had the undeserved joy of sharing the Gospel with Muslims before and pray that I have the opportunity to do so in the future, in fact it is my wife and my prayer that we spend the rest of our life doing so.  If that opportunity does come, I know that I will be thankful for this book.