Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Book Review: 5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow

Five Things Every Christian Needs To Grow. R.C. Sproul. 2002/2008. Reformation Trust. 135 pages. [Source: Free Download? Bought?]

First sentence: It is a worldwide phenomenon. Every four years, the world pauses and holds its collective breath while the Olympic Games take place.

Premise/plot: The Christian life is a disciplined life. Sproul writes, "like Olympic athletes, Christians are called upon to train, to make sacrifices, and to embrace certain disciplines in order to give God "our utmost for His highest." This book deals with five of those disciplines: Bible study, prayer, worship, service, and stewardship." There is a chapter dedicated to each discipline or grace. Through the disciplines, grace flows and abounds.

My thoughts: This is a solidly biblical book.

I enjoy spending time with R.C. Sproul. It is good for my soul. I enjoy his stories. For example, "As a new Christian I was infatuated with Scripture. I wanted to spend almost every waking moment reading it. As a result, I made the dean's list in my first semester of college. It was not the list of academic achievement, however; it was the list of students placed on academic probation." OR "At seminars, I often ask for a show of hands indicating ing how many people have read the entire Bible. Rarely do even 50 percent of the people answer "yes." I ask, "How many of you have read the book of Genesis?" Almost everyone raises his hand. Then I say, "Keep your hand up if you've also read Exodus." Only a few hands are lowered. "Leviticus?" That's when hands start dropping quickly. With Numbers it's even worse."

I enjoy his practical teaching. For example, "I suggest that you put a question mark in the margin beside every passage that you find unclear or hard to understand. Likewise, put an X beside every passage that offends you or makes you uncomfortable. Afterward, you can focus on the areas you struggle with, especially the texts marked with an X. This can be a guide to holiness, as the Xs show us quickly where our thinking is out of line with the mind of Christ." Further: "If I don't like something I read in Scripture, perhaps I simply don't understand it. If so, studying it again may help. If, in fact, I do understand the passage and still don't like it, this is not an indication there is something wrong with the Bible. It's an indication that something is wrong with me, something that needs to change. Often, before we can get something right, we need to first discover what we're doing wrong."

I enjoy his honesty. "I don't think there is any area of the Christian life in which people are more weighed down by guilt than in the area of their prayer lives. Most Christians will readily confess that their prayer lives are not what they should be. And one major reason for this problem is that Christians don't really know how to pray effectively." Another favorite of mine is, "I hear people say, "Doctrine divides." Of course doctrine divides, but it also unites. It unites the ones who love God's truth and are willing to worship Him according to that truth. God wants people to worship Him from the heart and from a mind that is informed of who He is by His Word."

His works are full of gems and insights. For example, "I think one of the reasons many Christians never get to the meat of the Word but remain at the milk level is because they never really learned how to drink the milk."

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