Archives For Banner of Truth

temptation-resisted-and-repulsed.jpgAs a Christian there are those ‘special’ times when we are especially afflicted by God with what seems to be a double dose of conviction. The response of praise through pain is one unique to Christians. For in this sanctified pressure we are molded more into the image of Jesus, our Master.

I enjoyed one such season recently as I sat down to read Temptation, Resisted & Repulsed, by John Owen. The book, released by Banner of Truth and abridged by Richard Rushing was a blessing to my soul and has quickly jumped into my starting rotation of books to recommend to friends who are looking for books to help them grow in sanctification.

Owen comes out of the box in this book with resolve to go to work on the human heart with a view towards holiness.

Owen defines temptation as, “anything that, for any reason, exerts a force or influence to seduce and draw the mind and heart of man form the obedience which God requires of him to any kind of sin…it could be business, employment, the course of one’s life, company affections, nature, corrupt, purposes, relations, delights, reputation, esteem, position, abilities, gifts, etc,, that provide the opportunity to sin or neglect duty. These are true temptations just as much as the most violent solicitations of Satan or allurements of the world. Whoever does not realize this is on the brink of ruin.” (pp. 10-11).

Owen writes in chapter six about our great duty of avoiding temptation. He speaks of our identity with our blessed Savior as the chief means of combating temptation. For it is Christ who knows “our condition”, the “power of temptations”, our “vain condition”, and our “weakness and folly”.

At the same time he exhorts believers in the folly of trusting their own hearts, “A wicked man may be a great use in external things, but if he trusts in his own heart, it is a false hope and will come to nothing. Temptation is a heart work, and when temptation comes in like a flood, how can a rotten trifle such as a wicked man’s heart stand before it” (p.28). I love the fact that a book on temptation deals so much with the root of the problem (our hearts) rather than only with various and sundry stimulants (ie outside inducements to sin).

In chapter 13 “Means of Preservation” Owen highlights two practical considerations as we “watch and pray”.

(1) Entering into temptation is a great evil. The conclusion is that we will truly fight against temptation when we understand the true evil nature and fruit of it. He also cautions against running headlong into liberty without a healthy measure of the susceptibility of the heart unto temptation.

(2) Owen reminds us that staying free from temptation is not a thing in our own power. It was the Lord Jesus who called us to pray in order to avoid temptation (Matt. 26.41) while he also prays to his Father that we would be kept from temptation (Jn. 17.15).

Owen, modeling Christian maturity in his dependence, writes:

“Let the heart, then, commune with itself and say, ‘I am poor and weak; Satan is subtle, cunning, powerful, watching constantly for advantages against my soul; the world is earnest, pressing, and fully of persuasive pleas with innumerable false and deceitful claims; my own corruptions are violent, disturbing, enticing, entangling, conceiving sin, and warring in me and against me! Moreover, there are countless occasions and opportunities for temptation in everything I do or suffer. The beginnings of temptation are almost imperceptible and so agreeable to me that, if I were left to myself, I would not even know that I was trapped until my bonds were made strong and sin gained ground in my heart. Therefore, I will rely on God alone for my preservation, and continually look up to him for it.”

I firmly believe that this book is a ‘must read’ for anyone with a sinful heart who desires to resist temptation and pursue holiness. Get to know yourself as your friend John Owen teaches you about who you really are in light of God’s revelation.

This book is great for ‘one on one’ discipleship or a small group setting. It is not a ‘tough read’ as far as Owen goes. You will want to read it slow though as it seems that each word is laced with a sanctified razor blade to deflate your pride.

Discounted copies are available at Westminster Books.

Jesus Himself

Erik Raymond —  August 10, 2007

jesus-himself.jpgJesus Himself, the story of the resurrection is a heart stirring little book that endeavors to bring you through a harmonization of the gospel accounts of the resurrection. Loane interacts with the events on that glorious resurrection morning with affectionate contemplation and historical commentary. Additionally, Loane takes us through the events of the days ahead where Jesus appeared to so many of his disciples.

The book is short (126 pages) and is by no means intended to be an exhaustive commentary. Rather it serves well as a devotional review of the resurrection. The chapters themselves are short and move quickly.

Some of the chapter titles are listed below:

Certain Women


The Fire of Coals

The Heart of Love

I enjoyed portions of the book where Loane was intentional in his exhortation and application. In particular the writer was helpful in the chapter entitled “The Heart of Love.” This was the chapter dealing with our Lord’s questioning of Peter’s love for him (Jn. 21.17ff). I would have liked to see him do this type of thing more throughout the book. For the stirring of affections to marvel translates in a life that is lived out of a response of seeing and being impressed with Jesus, to the glory of God.

This would be a great book for folks to read as a family or even in a small group to interact with the devotional commentary by Loane. If you are leading such a group (at home or in another setting) I would suggest writing up some application questions or points of exhortation.

Jesus Himself can be ordered via the Banner of Truth bookstore.

soul-depths-soul-heights-winslow.jpgIn recent years this author has become one of my favorites. Octavius Winslow (1808-1878) has a devotional style that just melts my pride and inflames my passion. He has been a welcome addition to my bookshelf.

It is interesting to pick up a Winslow book and find a blurb by Spurgeon on the back (courtesy of Banner of Truth). Winslow was a contemporary of Charles Spurgeon and actually spoke at the opening of the Tabernacle in London.

In this book, Soul Depths & Soul Heights, Winslow walks us through the 130th Psalm. The book is a series of sermons on the text that he himself preached. When you think of Winslow you think of sweet affection to Christ and sweet perservernence in trials. And one does indeed feed the other. This is fitting then with the text at hand.

In the chapter entitled Contrition and Confession Winslow pastors us with this exhortation:

Why is it that so many of God’s saints travel all their days with their heads bowed like a bulrush? Why so few attain to the high standard of an assured interest in Christ? Why so many walk in the spirit of legal bondage, knowing little or nothing of their pardon, adoption, and acceptance? May it not, to a great degree, be traced to their lax habit of confession of sin to God? It is because they go day by day, and week by week, bearing along their lonely, dusty road, the burden of conscious sin and uncleansed guilt. Oh, the great secret of a pure, holy, and happy walk is in living close by God’s confessional- is in going with the slightest aberration of the mind, with the faintest consciousness of guilt, and at once, with the eye upon the blood, unveiling and acknowledging it, without the slightest concealment or mental reservation, to God! So long as this holy privilege is neglected, guilt, like a corroding poison, an inflamed wound, a festering sore, eats as a canker into the very vitals of our peace and joy and hope.

What makes Jesus so precious? Oh, it is the daily, the constant habit of confession. We must ever remember that the Paschal Lamb was eaten with bitter herbs, and that those bitter herbs imparted a sweetness to the sacrificial offering. And thus it is that, the bitter herbs of repentance, blended with a holy confession of sin at the cross, imparts a higher estimation of the Atonement, an additional sweetness to the blood, and renders the Savior more precious to the heart. Oh the peace, the repose, the light, which springs from the confession of sin to God, no imagination can conceive or words express!

I could go on and on quoting the book; I just loved it. In addition to the chapter entitled Contrition and Confession, I also particularly enjoyed Soul-Depths, and Hoping in the Lord.

This book is great to recommend to someone who is encountering a trial. Recommend the book along with a meditative contemplation of the 130th Psalm. It is also a great book to read for training in view of the possible, potential, promised and certain trials of life (Phil. 1.29; Jam. 1.3; 2 Tim. 3.12).

Soul Depths & Soul Heights is short (146 pages), easy to understand, and very beneficial to the Christian heart.

You may find the book at Banner of Truth’s online store.
Price: $ 12.00
ISBN#: 9780851519357
Binding: Paperback
Page Count : 144

everlasting-righteousness_image.jpg“How may I, a sinner, draw near to Him in whom there is no sin, and look upon His face in peace?”

It is with this question that Horatius Bonar begins his book The Everlasting Righteousness. The book was first published in 1874 and continues to be a valuable doctrinal and devotional articulation of the reformed doctrine of justification by faith alone.

The emphasis throughout the book rests upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Bonar conveys to his readers that this righteousness is complete, supreme, unfailing, wrath satisfying, and imputed (credited) to believers.

One of the most riveting sections of the book is his chapter entitled “Not Faith, but Christ”. In this chapter Bonar distinguishes between the saving work of Christ and faith, which is the instrument of receiving this salvation and not salvation itself.

“Faith is not our Saviour. It was not faith that was born in Bethlehem and died on Golgotha for us. It was not faith that loved us, and gave itself for us; that bore our sins in its own body on the tree; that died and rose again for our sins. Faith is one thing, the Saviour another. Faith is one thing and the cross another. Let us not confound them, nor ascribe to a poor, imperfect act of man, that which belongs exclusively to the Son of the living God.”

Then he describes faith…

“And as faith goes on, so it continues; always the beggar’s outstretched hand, never the rich man’s gold always the cable, never the anchor; the knocker, not the door, or the palace, or the table; the handmaid, not the mistress; the lattice which lets in the light, not the sun….Without worthiness in itself, it knits us to the infinite worthiness of Him whom the Father delights; and so knitting us, presents us perfect in the perfection of another.”

Aside from the cultural gap that a couple of hundred years brings, this book is not a difficult read and is a great heart stirring vista at that glory of Christ.

Publisher: Banner of Truth
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 240

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the-great-gain-of-godliness.jpgCan you name a book that was on Charles Spurgeon’s wish list? The Great Gain of Godliness, by Thomas Watson was one of them. Spurgeon said, “This [volume] would be a great find if we could come at it…we have tried to obtain it, and tried in vain”

Fortunately for us Banner of Truth has served us by making Watson’s writing available.

The Great Gain of Godliness is a devotional commentary on Malachi 3.16-18. The book breaks into two parts. In the first section, the Character of the Godly, he deals with the responsibility of the believer to be fearing God, speaking of God, and meditating on God. In the second section Watson outlines the practical effects of these practices.

The book is a quote machine. Watson has a way of delivering pithy statements with theological precision. His observations and exhortations are consistently engaging and convicting.

“The Turkish sultan, when he intends the death of any of his pashas, invites them to sumptuous feast, and then causes them to be taken away from the table and strangled: so Satan gluts men with sinful pastimes and delights, and then strangles them. Foolish gallants are like the fish that swim pleasantly through the silver streams of Jordan, till at last they fall into the Dead Sea (1 Tim. 6.9).”

In his section on what the godly should speak of Watson highlights several areas that would practically benefit the souls of both the speaker and the hearer:

Speak of the preciousness of Christ

Speak one to another of sin

Speak of the beauty of holiness

Speak one to another of your souls

Speak about death and eternity

Speak one to another of the times

This book is consistent with what we have come to love and admire from the Puritans, a high view of God, his word and the need to humble man. The only negative that I could note would be in the area of hermeneutics. And unfortunately this is also common with many of the Puritans. Watson frequently lapses into allegorization and spiritualization of passages. This, however, does not diminish from the overall value of the book; I heartily recommend it to all who want to cultivate a healthy fear of God through humility.

Publisher: Banner of Truth
ISBN#: 0851519385
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 176

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Sermons on the Beatitudes

Erik Raymond —  February 27, 2007


The great reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) is enjoying great popularity in the church today (some folks even name their blogs after him :/). The famous Calvinistic acrostic TULIP has been a benchmark in identifying who is in fact reformed throughout the last few centuries. However, many people stop there with Calvin. This is regrettable because Calvin was much more than an acrostic, he was a great theologian and a great preacher.

We all need exposure to good sermons and Robert White does a great job in exposing us to some affectionate Calvinism from the heart of John Calvin. Semons on the Beatitudes, translated by White, and published by Banner of Truth in 2006 is a great introduction to the pastoral ministry of the Geneva Reformer.

This book highlights five sermons from the Beatitudes. The sermons themselves were preached during a five year period and actually concluded three months prior to Calvin’s death. This in and of itself commends itself to us to consider what occupied his mind as he contemplated his final days.

I especially enjoyed the prayers before the sermons, demonstrating Calvin’s dependence upon God rather than his own theological savvy. This was such a great reminder to me in wrestling with things, that ultimately any illumination of sacred things comes from heaven and not from my own mind.

Consider the following quote:

“How, indeed, can we explain our soul’s salvation except in terms of God’s good pleasure and his free gift of mercy? For if we think that we are better than others whom he has passed over or abandoned, we simply demean God’s unconditional kindness through which we obtain salvation. And this we do every time we seek to gain a measure of importance or esteem in men’s eyes. Every mouth must of necessity be shut.”

Semons on the Beatitudes is available through the Banner of Truth Bookstore.