New from Banner of Truth, Heroes of Faith series.
Initial Series Set including: Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Polycarp
- Author : Sinclair B. Ferguson
- Price: $ 38.00
- ISBN#: 978184871HEROES
- Binding: Hardback
Many of our children enjoy having heroes, but they are living in a world that encourages them instead to have ‘idols’. Sometimes, perhaps, the difference is simply a choice of words. But today it is usually more. For the ‘idols’ our children are encouraged to have – whether by media coverage or peer pressure – are to be ‘adored’ not because of their character, but because of their image.
By contrast a ‘hero’ is someone who is much more than a ‘personality’ about whom we may know little or nothing. A hero is someone who has shown moral fibre, who has overcome difficulties and opposition, who has been tested and has stood firm.
This series is about such people – heroes of the Christian faith – whose lives remind us of the words of Hebrews 13:7: ‘Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.’
There are different kinds of heroes. The books in this series reflect the fact that some become heroes by being willing to die for Christ; others because of how they served the church of Christ; yet others because of what they taught about Christ; and others because of where they were prepared to go for Christ.
Heroes Of The Faith is also intended to provide a kind of church family album – pictures of those who have been members of the family of God. Many of us who are parents wish we could teach our children more about the story of the church, to help them see the privilege of belonging to a spiritual family that stretches back over the centuries and extends to the ends of the earth. This series aims to cover the centuries-long story of the church and to introduce children to heroes of the faith in every period of history.
None of these heroes was perfect – they all recognised their need of the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. None of them claimed perffect understanding or perfect obedience. But each of them aimed to love the Lord with heart and mind and soul and strength. In that sense they were true heroes.
Many of these heroes were ministers and preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But they were not heroes simply because they were ministers. The word ‘minister’ means ‘servant’. They were people who became leaders in the church; they became heroes because they were servants both of the Lord Jesus and of his people.
I count it a privilege to have the opportunity of introducing your family, and especially your children, to many of the Heroes Of The Faith. May they become heroes too!
—Sinclair B. Ferguson
Westminster Larger Catechism #170
Q. How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord’s Supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?
A. As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper,1 and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses;2 so they that worthily communicate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a spiritual manner; yet truly and really,3 while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death.4
A facebook friend shared this quotation from Matthew Henry.
We should be more careful not to do wrong than not to suffer wrong, because to suffer wrong is only an affliction, but to do wrong is a sin, and sin is always worse than affliction.
“Charity never faileth” (1 Corinthians 13.8a) — Such selfless love does not end; it is not a temporary grace, but an everlasting one. Let us pursue the increase of such grace throughout this life as we prepare to experience that grace more fully in the next.
Westminster Shorter Catechism #22
Q: How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A: Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul,1 being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her;2 yet without sin.3
Though truly God, the Son became truly man by taking to Himself a true human nature in its material and immaterial parts (a real physical body and a rational soul) such as we have, but without sin. In His human nature, Christ was miraculously formed by the Holy Spirit within the Virgin Mary and He was born of her just as we were born. This is part of how our glorious Redeemer humbled Himself for us, to be our perfect Prophet, Priest, and King.
The Banner of Truth Trust has republished a beautiful edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress. Reformation Heritage Books has this edition at a discounted price.
Many editions of Pilgrim’s Progress were considered before the publishers decided to re-issue the now rare edition put out by John C. Nimmo in 1895. This edition comes as near as possible to the ideal, containing both Parts 1 and 2, along with the marginal notes and Scripture references, together with fine etchings by William Strang. It is not a luxury to possess a de luxe edition of a work which, though we may not, like Spurgeon, read it a hundred times, ought to be the companion of a lifetime.
This deluxe edition of Bunyan’s great work comes as near as possible to the ‘ideal’- with the original marginal notes and references from Scripture, both parts of the Progress, and a series of magnificent and evocative etchings by William Strang. Although John Bunyan’s Pilgrim emerged in Puritan dress from the Town Prison on Bedford Bridge in 1676, he has remained to this day, in more than 120 languages, an influence which is almost as wide as Christianity itself. Many explanations are offered for the book’s enduring appeal – the masterly allegory which can charm both child and adult; the great humanness of the characters who, after a few rapid strokes, appear in flesh and blood likeness; the plain, vivid English – and yet all these things are secondary. Above all, Pilgrim’s Progress is a life story. It depicts the life which Bunyan himself lived and, at the same time, the life with which all Christians can substantially identify themselves. For, as Augustus M. Toplady wrote, the book describes ‘every stage of a Christian’s experience, from conversion to glorification.’ It does so with such abiding relevance because Bunyan’s world of thought is that of the Bible itself.
I am convinced that Charles Hodge is correct in his careful treatment of 1 Corinthians 10.17. Most older translations get this wrong, and while I am not advocating for the use of the ESV or other modern translations, the contrast is noteworthy.
Notice the difference in translation and meaning between the AV and the ESV on 1 Corinthians 10.17.
AV: For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
ESV: Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
Hodge in his commentary explains,
A touch of humour from Darryl G. Hart’s OldLife.org — so good I had to share it.
A couple of comments recently suggested that it’s all negative all the time at Oldlife. So here’s a list of reasons why I love my congregation and its ministry.
We sing from a hymnal (and a good one at that).
We pray at least six times during an average service (eight or nine with a sacrament).
We have two preaching services each Sunday (different sermons).
Our pastor wears a suit and a tie.
Our congregation stands still to sing.
Our services feature the Word of God – the salutation, the call to worship, the lessons, the declaration of pardon, the exhortation to give, the sermon text, and the benediction.
Our people do not dress like they are going to Vacation Bible School – even in the summer.
Our pastor explains the sacraments before administering them.
We hear the law and the gospel.
We assemble at Mt. Zion.
Women sit on one side of the room, men on the other (kidding).
Dr R. Scott Clark shared this quotation from J. Gresham Machen and I find it both profoundly true and deeply moving.
The responsibility of the church in the new age is the same as its responsibility in every age. It is to testify that this world is lost in sin; that the span of human life — nay, all the length of human history — is an infinitesimal island in the awful depths of eternity; that there is a mysterious, holy, living God, Creator of all, Upholder of all, infinitely beyond all; that He has revealed Himself to us in His Word and offered us communion with Himself through Jesus Christ the Lord; that there is no other salvation, for individuals or for nations, save this, but that this salvation is full and free, and that whosoever possesses it has for himself and for all others to whom he may be the instrument of bringing it a treasure compared with which all the kingdoms of the earth — nay, all the wonders of the starry heavens — are as the dust of the street.
The Strategic Plan relies heavily for its justification upon certain numerical trends presumably exposed through statistical analysis. Consequently, there is some discussion in the blogosphere of whether the analysis is accurate. That’s a worthwhile point to consider: is the underlying statistical analysis used to justify this Strategic Plan actually inaccurate and flawed?
But I have a more fundamental concern with all this. While statistical analysis may be interesting, I am deeply troubled by this kind of application of it in the spiritual realm. I think there is a problem with how we are using statistical analysis if the result is that we think we must be doing something right or wrong based on that analysis. The Church does not fit a business or manufacturing model of any sort, and she has no mechanical processes that can be relied upon to provide a specific ‘positive growth’ result when properly deployed. Relying upon this kind of statistical analysis as an indicator of health is, at best, a category error — at worst it implies a crass Finneyism.
I am not suggesting that we ought to ignore the statistics altogether. It is certainly good to have access to such information. But this information is no reliable indicator of the health of a denomination. The call of Christ upon the Church and her ministry is not to watch the numbers, but to be faithful in the means of grace. God does not promise us any kind of a mechanical correspondence between such faithfulness and numerical growth. It is a dangerous error to rely upon outward results, especially numerical results, as an indicator of faithfulness. When we see a change in the numbers we do not need ‘some new plan.’ Whether the numbers go up, down, or stay the same, our duty and calling as a Church does not change. We are always and ever to remain steadfast and immovable in the faith, pouring out the Gospel in all its fulness. Yes, God is pleased to bless His means, and we ought not to expect His blessing apart from His appointed means. But God does not bless His appointed means mechanically. The numbers are no indication one way or the other with regard to obedience.