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John UK wrote: ..Now the instruction given by Evangelist could have been verbal, or a little tract, or even a book or booklet. In this modern age, it could even have been a CD with a gospel sermon by Peter Masters, or a USB stick with several sermons on it, or a link to EternityWhere.
There are many helps along the way John, praise the Lord. But, if you are not familiar with the one book that matters, how do you know what is a help and what is a hinderance?
In conversion, the Lord does use many means to search out souls.
My concern is that once converted, believers are being urged to read a plethora of books and the Bible does not feature large on the list - if at all!
Once the rule was master your bible and read other books as an aid to master the book. Nowadays however, believers seem to read theology and other Christian books and neglect the Bible. How does that edify anyone?
America wrote: I would like to also add my experience as a young Christian saved out of Romanism.i had a AV study bible (good old Matthew Henry) but found myself reading his comments in the margin instead of being a Berean.I now have a Bible (text only) that I search and pray over for wisdom.The Holy Spirit is the best teacher.But have been helped along my journey by several old Puritan writers along the way.But I know that I will give an account for what I did with Gods Word not man's writings. Just my thoughts.
And this now colors how you think the Lord should deal with everyone else. What is the bible pattern?
As a young Christian I determined to study nothing but the bible and spent the first 4 years studying just the Bible. As I knew no better I was worshipping in a Charismatic church. As I read my bible prayerfully the Lord brought many verses and chapters to my attention which clearly showed that the Charismatics had got it all wrong on the gifts. I had no other books. It was only after this that I picked up a book from the Charismatic position to see how or why they thought the gifts were for today. Now, and this is the telling thing, there were many subtle arguments which appeared to have scriptural support, BUT because I had been studying the bible only I saw through the errors and their very arguments confirmed me in my opposition!
If you will but use your God given brains and the help of the Holy Spirit there will be many a Gordian knot of error that you will be able to cut right through.
In pilgrims progress what books did pilgrim have for his journey from the city of destruction to the celestial city? He travelled light & carried just the one book that mattered!
Unprofitable Servant wrote: I agree that Spurgeon was and is unique. Paul said be followers of me as I am of Christ. I do believe we should all chose to meditate as Mr. Spurgeon did deeply upon the Word of God and am for using good Christians books as a means of grace for our spiritual profit. I was just saying that books should not be neglected, which you indicated you believe. I think we are both saying the same thing. May, by His grace and for His glory, the Word of Christ dwell in us richly that we may use it as our sword in our battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
John UK wrote: Our model is the Lord Jesus, and as far as we know he never read any books. But Ingleesi is an example of what I said earlier, and today countless folks benefit daily from his insights gained through study and prayer.
The context of my comment was the habit of reading books other than the Bible. I was not suggesting that he be a model in any other way.
As for the Lord Jesus being a model for reading habits, do remember John that he as God is omniscient.
The other fact about Spurgeon that US does not mention is that he enjoyed a formidable memory. One anecdote handed down to us suggests that he had photographic memory and could recite whole paragraphs merely given a page number, and that after the first reading of a book!
Unprofitable Servant wrote: btw, Spurgeon was an avid reader from his earliest youth. He particularly liked Rutherford and Bunyan. He had no college education, when he went to meet about that, the person at whose house he was to meet the guy from the college put Spurgeon in one waiting room and the guy from the college in another, and never the twain did meet as neither knew the other was there. So, his education was from the many books he read and his obvious deep meditation upon the Scriptures.
Spurgeon was one in a million, and a full time pastor from a very early age. Are you suggesting that he be a model for all Christians?
Unprofitable Servant wrote: I think we need to be careful not to think of ourselves too highly. Do we really think the Holy Spirit is only able to show us truths and what He has shown other Bible students is not valid for us? Why are preachers commanded to feed the flock if it is just us, the Bible and the Holy Spirit? Those who have written into book form their studies and meditations are extremely helpful to us. Our final authority is definitely the Word of God, but I would be careful about saying we should not study the works of other Bible scholars.
No one is saying that. What we are doing is making a case for the primacy of the Bible, which as you say is our final authority in matters of faith.
The problem in the reformed camp is too much study of extra biblical sources to arrive at dogmatic views. Someone once said, never take a verse alone - but how often do you find, even in Christian literature (unless you are studying commentaries) verses taken out of context to make a case?!
Read other books by all means, but have your wits about you, assuming one has any - and that is the problem that too many read uncritically and therefore come to accept all sorts of rubbish as truth.
John UK wrote: Yes I quite concur with that observation. There is an addiction born of a desire for knowledge which I think is at the root of this book purchasing and library making. It is the Garden all over again. The writing and reading of books takes up a huge amount of time, and I wonder how much of it is actually in the will of God. If it is not his will, then it is sin. Of course, writing down thoughts instead of preaching them is no bad thing, but the average working church member does not have the extra time or energy available to wade through vast tomes.
Not to mention the huge costs of acquisition, which even those in straightened circumstances cheerfully lay out looking for biblical enlightenment!
John UK wrote: I can't help being lighthearted, it's good for my health. But good books have played their part in my life. When I was confused about the Toronto "blessing" during a stint in a New Frontiers International church, I was greatly helped by some booklets by Ian Paisley which, along with my Bible study and prayerful consideration, got me on the right track.
As I wrote earlier John,
"All I am insisting on is Bible first - use your own brains, develop your thinking faculties, and only then as iron sharpeneth iron compare with the thoughts of others."
Books have their part, but not THE major part that many in the reformed camp seem to think they should have.
I am sure that many reformed believers will have sizeable libraries. I am equally sure that they will only ever have read a very small number of books in their libraries. It is as Spurgeon wrote, many seem to believe that, almost by osmosis, possessing a vast library makes them knowledgeable and wise !
John UK wrote: Suppose you had every volume of John Owen on your bookshelf (about 6ft wide mass of thick tomes with nice white covers) and a little black KJV Bible on the end, let us suppose you had read the Bible through a few times, would it not be a great temptation to pick up a John Owen instead of the Bible? Look not at the John Owen when it shines at you from the wall, nor the Thomas Manton which promises such endless delights of theological entertainment. In the end, they will bite you and drag you down to the Reformed graveyard at Bunhill Cemetery, London. And then I awoke, and behold, it was all a dream.
If you've been on SA for any length of time, you will have noticed, with a handful of notable exceptions, that most of the reformed camp when asked to defend a doctrine resort to quoting their favourite authors, any references to scripture are used only as proof texts!! Why is that? Why are the reformed more familiar with other books than the Bible? Perhaps there is something fundamentally wrong with the modern reformed approach which is always justified the way that you have gone about justifying good books.
In other words the Reformed are just as guilty as the Charismatic Jesus People in NOT teaching their people to think and value the Bible above every other book.
Spurgeon puts good books firmly in their place. He also said beware the man of one book! I say, let that one book be the Bible!
All I am insisting on is Bible first - use your own brains, develop your thinking faculties, and only then as iron sharpeneth iron compare with the thoughts of others.
Incidentally, in this I would recommend, unlike some, much wider reading than just reformed books. You assumed that Christopher would only find the truth in the books that you selected, which are from a particular viewpoint. Why?
goodbooks wrote: ....Some reading ONLY their bible never seem to reach sound conclusions, so good books by good men can be very useful as History certainly proves.
Let's jack in our bibles then, eh?
And pray tell, all those who write books against the charismatic movement, did they all come to those conclusions by reading books against the Charismatic movement? Do we have a succession of such books since apostolic times because the Bible is inadequate for these purposes?!
I never denied that there is a place for good books for the discerning, but the Bible is given for doctrine, reproof etc so that we may be throughly furnished. I am sorry that you have such a low view of the Bible. Try reading and studying it sometime - you might be surprised by what you'll learn.
When I have an issue to consider, the Bible is my first resort. I may then use the brains of others, person to person, or books to challenge my thinking and conclusions. Otherwise ones thinking faculties are never developed if all one gets is spoon feeding!!! It also reduces a persons credulity threshold and so we may buy into the authors errors which may be mixed in with sound teaching.
My vote remains with the Bible and the Holy Spirit!!!
Psalms ONLY wrote: Aaaw didn't you know GOD wrote the Bible. Poor boy! Not to worry there is still time to save you, IF you are one of the elect. Jesus taught.... Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the PSALMS, concerning me."
Find me one verse where the Lord commands that we are to restrict our communal worship to the Psalter!