The Highway
Posted By: Relztrah Can somebody recommend a study guide or course? - Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:13 PM
My wife and I have begun meeting with another couple for study and prayer. All four of us are from a mainline evangelical church background. My wife and I are somewhat familiar with Reformed theology, but still have a lot to learn. The other couple wouldn't know a Calvinist if they ran into one on the street.

I am looking for some type of home study, preferably divided into weekly lessons, that is not too theological but would deepen our knowledge and understanding of the doctrines of grace. I've thought about going through the Westminster Confession, and I'm not opposed to that. But I'm also open to suggestions.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Can somebody recommend a study guide or course? - Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:30 PM
You might like using G.I. Williamson's excellent Westminster Shorter Catechism Study Guide.


Publisher’s Review: The Westminster Shorter Catechism is unrivaled as a concise and faithful summary of the central teachings of Scriptures. For decades G. I. Williamson’s study manuals on the shorter catechism have served as invaluable tools for instructing young and old in the Reformed system of doctrine.

Now newly typeset in one volume, this illustrated manual offers clear exposition of each of the 107 questions in the Shorter Catechism. Each lesson includes Scripture proofs, as well as questions for review or discussion. A valuable aid for group instruction or private study, this volume has been used successfully by homeschoolers, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and parents.

Posted By: John_C Re: Can somebody recommend a study guide or course? - Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:43 PM
Another ideas is "The Discipline of Grace - God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness" by Jerry Bridges. I think there is a study guide that you can get with it.

When I taught Williamson's shorter catechism to 5th-6th graders last year, some of the questions were too similar from the previous one. They were just not ready to dissect some of the questions to that degree. I had to do some improvising by combining some of the questions.

[b][u]Westminster Shorter Catechism Study Guide.[/u][/b] by G.I.Williamson

Excellent suggestion; reading it now and learning much.
Posted By: Relztrah How about a book by John Piper? - Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:48 PM
Thanks for your suggestions. I'm wondering about a John Piper book with a study guide. I know that Piper is solidy Reformed and seems to have an appeal to the broader evangelical community. Any recommendations for one of his books? I recall reading Desiring God many years ago but I don't know about his other works.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:11 PM
IMHO, John Piper is not "solidly Reformed". And although very popular among some, I don't recommend his books. Methinks you could do much better. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Wes Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:40 AM
One of Piper's books that I would recommend is "The Pleasures of God". It's the kind of book that is hard to put down.

This is a book about the good news of God's gladness in being God. It is not mainly about us. But it is about what we were made for.

Piper admires the writings of Jonathan Edwards and frequently quotes him. He points out that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Let everyone who is thirsty come.


Wes
Posted By: Tom Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:10 AM
I am a fan of John Piper and although he is a 5 pointer, a lot of people would not consider him reformed, anymore than they would consider someone like John MacArthur Reformed.
Piper's basic strengths are his obvious love of God and instilling a desire for God in others.
Wes pointed out in his post a saying that Piper often uses “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”
A while back in our Bible study group, we used his DVD series called: ‘The Blazing Center’, in which he speaks to the youth of his Church, but what I found to be quite amazing is how each youth that were filmed during his message were not in the slightest bit bored.
Although this series was addressed directly to the youth, it is by no means just for youth. In fact in our Bible study meeting it created a lot of discussion and the average person in that meeting was over 40.

If you are interested in a study that uses a DVD series, I would also recommend a series called ‘Amazing Grace’ The History and Theology of Calvinism.
Here is a little bit of information on this series.

Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism (DVD)
Retail $29.99 - SPECIAL PRICE $14.95


" Jerry and Ken, I read Pink's book on The Sovereignty of God a few years ago and became a committed Calvinist. However, I had trouble explaining the doctrines to my dad and brother. When Amazing Grace was released I purchased a copy and found it to be an even better presentation than Pink's book. I convinced my dad to watch it over a couple of nights and he agreed. Within a few minutes of the start of the DVD, my dad was hooked. As it progressed through the theology section, my dad wept and said to me 'why have I never seen this before?' Today, my dad glows with joy knowing that His God is bigger and stronger then anything he had heard coming from most evangelical pulpits and books today. I am writing all of this to ask that you put the DVD back on sale. My dad wants to purchase it for friends and family members for Christmas and get this message out. Thanks for the production and your consideration of this request." -- Mark Taylor
This can be purchased at www.NiceneCouncil.com .

The above information written by Mark Taylor is similar to my own experience. I had been trying to explain the doctrines of grace for quite some time, to a friend of mine. However it became clear that he did not understand something.
I then remembered this DVD series and asked my friend if we could view it together. After we did this, my friend became convinced that the doctrines of grace were the true Gospel.
I thank the Lord for this fantastic tool.

Tom
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:17 PM
Yes, Piper often quotes Edwards, but he sometimes distorts what Edwards REALLY wrote/taught to fit into his unbiblical view of "Christian hedonism". One MUST be discerning in reading books by men who are 'popular' for obvious reasons. Piper's views on justification have also been criticized in his book Future Grace which we even discussed here on this board. Another area of Piper's non-Reformed views (no Tom, it isn't because he's a Baptist <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/igiveup.gif" alt="" />) is his allowing women into the Deaconate. He also holds to a semi non-cessationist view of the ecstatic gifts...

Am I saying that Piper is to be totally ignored? By no means!!! [Linked Image] What I am saying is that there are far better sources than Piper to consider which have stood the test of time and scrutiny and are faithful to the historic doctrines of the Reformed Faith. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,
Posted By: Tom Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:16 PM
Quote
(no Tom, it isn't because he's a Baptist )
Touchy aren't we? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/coffee2.gif" alt="" />

I am well aware that it isn't because he is Baptist. In fact if you go to most Reformed Baptist forums, you will find out that Piper takes it on the chin in a number of areas. Not the least of which is his stand of allowing Paedo-Baptists into the membership of his Church.

Tom
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:54 PM
<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/nope.gif" alt="" /> Not touchy whatsoever! [Linked Image]Tom

So, tell me why some don't consider Piper "Reformed" if it isn't because he's a Credo Baptist. Surely, it can't be because he allows paedobaptists into membership? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/drop.gif" alt="" />

Inquiring minds wanna know. [Linked Image]
Posted By: Tom Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:55 AM
Quote
Pilgrim said:
<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/nope.gif" alt="" /> Not touchy whatsoever! [Linked Image]Tom

Sorry, it was hard to understand why you made that comment.

Quote
So, tell me why some don't consider Piper "Reformed" if it isn't because he's a Credo Baptist. Surely, it can't be because he allows paedobaptists into membership? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/drop.gif" alt="" />

Inquiring minds wanna know. [Linked Image]

I don't know all the reasons why some Reformed Baptists don't consider Piper Reformed. But I do know a few reasons, such as I have been told (though I don't know for sure) that he doesn't hold to CT.
They also do not like the fact that he isn't a total Cessationist (though I definitely wouldn't call him a Charismatic either). But the reason I seem to hear the most is because of the reason I told you before; he allows paedo-Baptists into membership. This is something he holds in common with John Bunyan.
Though I don't like to get into the topic very much with my fellow Reformed Baptist brothers and sisters (been there, done that), I found out that most Reformed Baptists believe that the issue of paedo vs. credo is important enough to separate over. This doesn't mean that they do not believe paedo's are genuine Christians, it is just they don't believe paedo's have Reformed enough. Please don't get me started on that, this is for your information only.
I have stated on these forums a number of times that I don't believe this issue is as cut and dried as some make it out to be. Therefore I don't believe it is an issue to separate over.
That is all I really want to say about that particular issue.

Just so you know, though I am some what of a fan of John Piper. There are areas where I disagree with him, but I can say the same thing about men such as RC Sproul and others that hold to the doctrines of grace.
Piper has his strengths and he has his weaknesses.

Tom
Posted By: John_C Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:46 PM
Tom, just a quick question

Do Reformed Baptists not allow paedobaptist to join their churches as members. That if far more restrictive than most Presbyterian churches. For the most part as long as someone has a credible profession of faith and seem somewhat teachable, we would not refuse membership in regards to a person's view on baptism. Ordained officers yes, but not membership.
Posted By: Wes Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:55 PM
I recognize some of your concerns in the books you've mentioned. Have you read "The Pleasures of God" in particular? If so, would you care to comment on it?


Wes
Posted By: William Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:39 PM
Quote
Pilgrim said:
Yes, Piper often quotes Edwards, but he sometimes distorts what Edwards REALLY wrote/taught to fit into his unbiblical view of <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">"Christian hedonism"</span>. One MUST be discerning in reading books by men who are 'popular' for obvious reasons. Piper's views on justification have also been criticized in his book Future Grace which we even discussed here on this board.



Christian Hedonism

Perhaps someone could benefit from the above link.





Have a good Lord's day,
William
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:24 PM
Quote
Wes said:
I recognize some of your concerns in the books you've mentioned. Have you read "The Pleasures of God" in particular? If so, would you care to comment on it?
Sorry Wes, but I haven't read The Pleasures of God for several reasons, the two most salient are: 1) I don't have time since I have far better books to read on my "to do" list, and 2) given my aversion to Piper in general, I have little desire to read it. If I did it would be with a critical perspective.

Here is a list of links that deal with Piper's "doctrine" of Christian Hedonism which he claims he gleaned from the writings of Edwards and searched the Bible to support it: Articles Discussing Christian Hedonism.

And here is one critique of Piper's book Desiring God--Meditations of a Christian Hedonist , which I think is worth noting: Book Review.

In His grace,
Posted By: Tom Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:33 AM
Quote
John_C said:
Tom, just a quick question

Do Reformed Baptists not allow paedobaptist to join their churches as members. That if far more restrictive than most Presbyterian churches. For the most part as long as someone has a credible profession of faith and seem somewhat teachable, we would not refuse membership in regards to a person's view on baptism. Ordained officers yes, but not membership.

Unfortunately this is the case in many Reformed Baptist Churches. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

Perhaps there might be another Reformed Baptist on this forum that would like to say more on this issue, but I sure don't.

Tom
Posted By: Tom Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:01 AM
Pilgrim

I hesitate to discuss this issue, but nothing ventured nothing gained.
I have read many of the critiques of Piper's form of Christian hedonism and although I dislike the term hedonism because of it's connotations with secular hedonism.
However, I must say that because I have read some of Piper's material on the subject as well as watched a DVD on the matter.
It seems to me that most of the critiques problems seem to stem from a misunderstanding, that Christian hedonism is based on pleasure being more important than God. However, I do not see that as what Piper is saying at all.

For example take the following dialogue from Wikipedia.
Quote
Some evangelical Christians object to Christian hedonism's controversial name[3]. It has little historic commonality with philosophical hedonism, however; Piper has stated that a provocative term is "appropriate for a philosophy that has a life changing effect on its adherents." Critics charge that hedonism of any sort puts something (namely, pleasure) before God,[1] which allegedly breaks Ten Commandments' first order: "You shall have no other gods before me." In response, Piper states in Desiring God that "By Christian Hedonism, we do not mean that our happiness is the highest good."
In a nutshell, Christian Hedonism means (in Piper’s words):
Quote
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

Tom
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:54 AM
Quote
Tom said:
In a nutshell, Christian Hedonism means (in Piper’s words):

Quote
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.
Tom,

If you have determined that despite the many, many criticisms of Piper's "Christian Hedonism" doctrine that it is biblically defensible and thus should be adopted as truth, then so be it. However, I simply cannot due to my own study of Scripture and having compared Piper's use of Jonathan Edwards with Edwards' actual writings, taken IN CONTEXT. Even the little quote you used above I find to be unbiblical and also has come under fire and shown to be untenable. Perhaps you haven't availed yourself of even the one link I provided for Wes which provides a very solid rebuttal of that quote which you can read here: Book Review & Critique.

Why not read it! [Linked Image]

Again, this thread's purpose was to suggest GOOD material that could be used to either introduce the doctrines of grace or help increase the existing knowledge of these wondrous biblical truths and see them applied. Some of us have suggested sources which have stood the test of time and the scrutiny of countless others and which continue to be used throughout Reformed Churches. It would seem foolish to me to offer material that has come under so much criticism and which does not cover nearly the breadth offered by these historic documents; especially to novices in the faith. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,
Posted By: Tom Re: How about a book by John Piper? - Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:08 AM
Pilgrim

I am sorry, but I have read the article you provided as well as a few others and although I have changed my mind before concerning issues like this in the past. At this point I simply can not; therefore perhaps the best recourse is to respectfully agree to disagree.

Tom
Posted By: Readin Re: Can somebody recommend a study guide or course? - Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:24 AM
I recommend this one. It has lots of Scripture, nice size print and covers major topics. It's called:
Manual of Christian Doctrine by Louis Berkhof. An old book We bought the updated very recent second edition
produced by www.christianlibertypress.com

will take a good year to go through. This is used at the high school level.
we are going through it with our son who is a senior. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: chestnutmare Re: Can somebody recommend a study guide or course - Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:53 PM
Readin, that is a great recommendation. It would provide an excellent foundation for the study group. While it is indeed "theological" it is a general systematic theology that is presented in a manner for the layman to understand and benefit from.

The version you will find here although a little more expensive includes the questions at the end of each chapter otherwise you have to buy separate Q/A books.

Excellent choice!!! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Readin Re: Can somebody recommend a study guide or course - Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:42 PM
The Christian Liberty version DOES have review questions at the end of each lesson included. Though we are going through slowly. So the questions are more like every other lesson or so, for us.

We are just reading two or infrequently, 3 pages a day. Because there is scripture to look up and read, and we do so.

After each list of questions there is a small portion from the Westminster Confession of Faith as it applies.

There may be a quote from Systematic Theology by Berkhof, or from a book called The Doctrine of God by Herman Bavinck.

At the end of the book is the Heidelberg Catechism.

very handy book.
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