“Disciple-shelf” Part 2: The Books and Why

These collections will have comments on either where I came across the book, or what it meant to me, and where it can be found today. The Rating scale is from 0-4, which indicates difficulty or level of interest.

One more word before I begin: The Bible is of course the most important book in discipleship, and the ultimate rule in faith and practice. Until you learn the original languages, and can make a decision how to handle the English translations stick with the bible through which you have seen Jesus Christ most clearly.

Collection 1: Deep Personal Intimacy with God

3-4 Refiner’s Fire Vols. 1 and 2 by David Wilkerson

  • This was on My Dad’s list: a collection sermons which reveal Jesus in a heart-fiery way. Worth reading three or four times just to get all that is there. This was on my Dad’s list. Available on rarechristianbooks.com.

2 Power through Prayer by E.M. Bounds

  • A Classic: the best book on prayer I know of. Available on Amazon.

3 Reese Howells: Intercessor by Norman Grubb

  • My Dad gave me this book when I was ready for it. It’s the story of a person who grew to know the Lord and the Lord led him through various trainings so that he could accomplish the supernaturally impossible. Amazon.

2 The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • This is a no non-sense call to radical following Christ. No bookshelf on Discipleship is complete without it. Amazon.

1 Knowing God by J. I. Packer

  • A heart-felt and moving classic detailing some intimately relational ways of God. It’s like Existence and Attributes of God Lite. Amazon.

2 Surprised by the Voice of God by Jack Deere

  • A book which really helps navigate the controversy surrounding hearing the voice of God today still. It is very helpful for how to handle it when God does speak with you. Christianbooks.com

2 The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

  • Another Puritan classic about the place of Contentment in the Christian Life. This was also on my Dad’s list. Amazon.

0 Tyranny of the Urgent by Charles Hummel

  • Pastor John Outlaw gave me this pamphlet as a good indicator of if a person will be faithful enough to be discipled. If they brought it back and had some thoughts he would agree to disciple them. Amazon.

4 Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock

  • This two volume book of treatises is simultaneously the most intellectually dense book to read and the most devotional. It combines heart and mind, truth and love in a very respectful and inspiring exercise of the soul beholding God, and the human condition. No matter how smart or emotional you are, you will be stretched beyond yourself and called to try to embrace the immensity of the infinite ocean of God’s goodness. This was on my Dad’s list. Christianbooks.com

1 Revival God’s Way or Revival Praying by Leonard Ravenhill

  • An impassioned appeal for the Revival of God’s people in Prayer according to God’s purpose. Amazon.

2 The Training of the Twelve by A. B. Bruce

  • How would you like to be trained right alongside the twelve disciples. This book simulates this very thing. This was also on my dad’s list. Amazon.

Collection 2: Biblical Theology Worldview

1 Prodigal God by Tim Keller

  • The best explanation of the Prodigal Son which has something for everyone. It gets to the bottom of the gospel for people who have grown up in the church, and who have grown up outside of it. Amazon.

2 Orthodoxy by G. K Chesterton

  • This book is an offered cure to people who are stuck in a black and white world of rationality. This is an appeal to the fantastical and the colorful as an important part of knowing the truth and beauty of God. Amazon.

3 From Eden to New Jerusalem by T. Desmond Alexander

  • A Biblical Theology of the progression of the themes of God’s work in and through the Old and New Testament. This is one of many and this one is an easy one to digest and introduce Biblical Theology. Amazon.

3 In the Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis by Henri Blocher

  • A book that has given me helpful ways to examine the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis. It is very helpful to humbly examine the different theories for how long the world took to be created according to Genesis. Amazon.

3 The Unseen Realm by Michael Heiser

  • This book opened my eyes to things which English translations and church history had obscured from the author’s thoughts in the Bible about the Supernatural world. Very fascinating to at least be aware of this perspective and see if it is convincing to you. Amazon.

2 On being a Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard O Forte

  • There are few tenets of the Christian faith more central than Christ’s work on the Cross. This principle is at the heart of the Gospel, and must be applied throughout the Gospel and the Christian life. Amazon.

2 Prophetic Ministry by T. Austin Sparks

  • The best work on the whole work of prophecy from internal relationship with God, outward proclamation, and the heart of all prophecy that I have ever read! rarechristianbooks.com.

1 Wild at Heart by John Elderedge

  • A book about recovering and embracing Biblical Masculinity. The companion book for women is Captivating, which is also very good. Amazon.

1 Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan

  • Arguably one of the most important books in the Christian faith, as it demonstrates in a storied form how a Christian can interact in all phases of his life. I recommend unabridged. Amazon.

Collection 3: Outworking of Faith

1 Pushing yourself to Power by John Peterson

  • A great book on Physically strengthening with functional strength, so that the man of God may be exercised for godliness. Amazon.

1 Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

  • There are so many disciplines which each of us have not heard of, but this book provides chances to grow in ways you didn’t even know you could. Amazon.

1 Discover your God-given Gifts by Don and Katie Forture

  • Useful for discovering how you are built to function in the body of Christ based on personality. It’s based on Romans 12:3-7, and theorizes that the whole body is to be broken up into these various body parts and functions. Great for figuring out how the church as a whole should work. Amazon.

2 Spiritual Warfare by Dr Karl L Payne

  • A very accessible, and all bases covered explanation for how to deal with demonic influences appropriated with the arenas world, and the flesh. Amazon.

4 The Christian in Complete Armor by William Gurnall

  • A three-volume, Puritan, thorough, and devotional Classic about how to apply the Armor of God and the strength of God in Spiritual Warfare in the Christian life. This was on the original list my Dad referred to. Amazon.

1 Out of the Saltshaker and into the World by Rebecca Pippert

  • A great accessible work on the dynamic of Evangelism. Amazon.

2 Introduction to Biblical Preaching by Donald Sunukjian

  • A good start to preaching Biblically and well. Amazon.

2 7 Lessons for New Pastors by Matthew Kim

  • A good beginning book for Pastors. Amazon.

2 When Helping Hurts by Stephen Corbett & Brian Fikkert

  • No one should attempt foreign missions or ministry to the poor without reading this book. Amazon.

2 Culture Making by Andy Crouch

  • A great way to consider different approaches to culture as a Christian and strengths and weaknesses of both. Amazon.

2 Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • A good treatise on how fellowship works in the body of Christ. Amazon.

Collection 4: The Church’s Journey

1 Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand

  • A picture of the reality of recent persecution. This is the story of the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs. Amazon.

2 Theology in Context of World Christianity by Timothy Tennent

  • All over the world different cultures are experiencing Christianity differently. Amazon.

1 Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L Shelley

  • A great story of how the church has grown through the past 2000 years, very digestible and easy to appreciate. Amazon.

2 Handbook of Denominations by Mead, Hill, and Atwood

  • A good resource for getting a feel for what different Christians believe and their history. Amazon.

3 The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins

  • I bet you didn’t know that Christianity has splintered into East and South. A Fascinating picture of the global church outside of Western Christianity. Amazon.

3 Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe

  • The stories of people who carried their testimony even unto death through Church History. Amazon.

Collection 5: Bible Translation in Original Languages

1 Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) (The Hebrew Old Testament) by Bible Society, Kelley, and Scott

  • This is the Old Testament in Hebrew with Masoretic punctuation, Vowel pointing, and Textual Criticism. Amazon.

2 Basics of Biblical Hebrew 2nd Ed. by Pratico and Van Pelt

  • The Book to teach you the basics of Ancient Hebrew. Amazon.

3 Basics of Biblical Hebrew Workbook 2nd Ed by Pratico and Van Pelt

  • The Workbook that teaches you the basics of Hebrew. It is futile to try to learn Hebrew without it. Amazon.

2 Pocket Dictionary of the Study of Biblical Hebrew by Murphy

  • There are a lot of words that you’ll run across in your study of Biblical Hebrew. This is a dictionary to help you out of the confusion hole. Amazon.

3 Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew to English Lexicon by Brown, Driver, and Briggs

  • The most thorough Hebrew Lexicon I know of. Amazon.

2 Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament by William Holladay

  • Not as thorough as BDB, but sufficient for general dives into the text to discover the meaning of Hebrew words. Amazon.

1 Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 28th Ed. by Institute for NT Textual Research

  • The New Testament in Koine’ Greek with Textual Apparatus. Amazon.

2 Basics of Biblical Greek 3rd Ed. by William D. Mounce

  • The Book to teach you the basics of Koine Greek in the New Testament. Amazon.

3 Basics of Biblical Greek Workbook 3rd Ed. by William D Mounce

  • The Workbook that teaches you the basics of Greek. This is a must-have companion with the Book. Amazon.

4 Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics by Daniel Wallace

  • This will spell out just about every nuance in the New Testament in detail. If you find something and it’s not in here, it probably isn’t real. Amazon.

3 Syntax of New Testament Greek by Brooks & Winberg

  • This will help you pick up on the significance of nuances in the language. Amazon.

3 BDAG Greek-English Lexicon by Bauer, Danker, Ardt and Gingrich

  • This is the Lexicon for the New Testament. This is where you will learn what the Greek text words mean. Amazon.

Collection 6: Sound Biblical Interpretation

2 Introduction to Biblical Interpretation by Klein, Blomberg, and Hubbard

  • Great introduction to Hermeneutics. Amazon.

2 New Testament Exegesis by Gordon Fee

  • The Process of New Testament exegesis from Beginning to End. Amazon.

2 Biblical Words and their Meanings by Moise’s Silva

  • Key to a formative understanding of how Word’s meaning are shaped by context. Amazon.

3 On the Reliability of the Old Testament by K.A. Kitchen

  • The most fun any academic has had proving that the Old Testament is reliable. Amazon.

I say again. The most important book in your library is always your copy of God’s Word. Be ready to change Bibles and how you read the Bible as you grow as a Christian.

And I close with the reminder: Christianity can be aided and supplemented by books but ultimately it is exercised internally and externally and eternally. May these books bear you to a clearer manifestation of Christ in you, the hope of Glory.

Your servant,

Aner327

“To a Mature Man”: Intro

To a Mature Man To a Mature Man

My dearest little brother,

– – We have been following Jesus together for a number of years now, and this Fall, it seems you will be moving out of my immediate range. While you are gone, I’ll miss your company, and talking with you, and sharing more insights into the mystery of walking with him. I know you’ll have plenty of growing to do where you are going, even as I still have plenty of growing to do here, but as you are going, I wanted to put these following blog posts in a place where you can get to them easily, and possibly share them with others who you get a chance to be a big brother to. It is an expansion on the 10 stages of the Christian life, based upon the 10 stages of Jesus Life, which you know has been my keen interest these last few years. In answer to the question, What does it mean to be a real, full-grown Christian?” I have arranged these reflections in a manner that I hope will be easy to understand, and appreciated for their ability to help you examine your own walk with the Lord. I know we both desire for the Church to be what God wants it to be. Thank you for your willingness to follow along with me as I follow Christ.

As Christ has loved us,

Let us love one another.

With Christ’s love,

Your older brother

Outline

The Stages of Jesus’Life as the Proto-Christian are these. The first four are Preparatory. The Second four are Kingdom. The final two are Post-Victory.

  1. Birth
  2. Temple
  3. Baptism
  4. Wilderness
  5. Community
  6. Service
  7. Justice
  8. Persecution
  9. Resurrection
  10. Ascension

I’ll write a post on each stage with a final post to conclude. Here are the links to the respective stages.

  1. Birth
  2. Temple
  3. Baptism
  4. Wilderness
  5. Community
  6. Service
  7. Justice
  8. Persecution
  9. Resurrection
  10. Ascension

The Cross and Discipleship

THE CROSS

                At last! Through the muddiness of modern Church teachings, and the simple complexity of everyday life as a human, the Spirit has guided me to a galvanized understanding of perhaps the most fundamental tenet of Christianity. Now I can not only distinguish Christianity from all its counterfeits, but I can package it clearly for other people to understand. This won’t make me wealthy. It will make me poor. It will not make me famous. It will make me a criminal. It won’t make me live large. It will bring me down to the scum at the bottom of stagnant ponds: like Jonah in the belly of the whale. “Salvation comes from the Lord.”

Without further ado I will share this glistening gospel gem with you, dear reader. I don’t think it will take long. Let’s start with Paul’s first letter to Corinth. In response to a report that the church in Corinth was divided, he said, “I’m glad I didn’t baptize any of you, so that you would think that I had saved you.” But he goes on to say,

17 For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. 18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” (Isaiah 29:14)

20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. [1]

What is this “message of the cross” that invalidates all the wisdom and strength of humanity? It became clear to me when I recently saw a post by a friend of mine on Facebook. A certain elected national leader had a hammer in his hand and was captioned to say, “I don’t like losers.” And in the background you could see Jesus hanging on a cross. This picture, as you may guess, was controversial, but what really struck me was not the controversy of the religious leader’s respectability, but the cloudy misunderstanding surrounding Jesus’ death on the cross. This post by my friend helped me galvanize a scriptural principle that I believe gets to the heart of the message of the cross.

Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.[2]

Here, Jesus points out that the cross will cost the most fundamentally important relationships a human can hold: family. As he ended in this passage, the first principle can be stated The Cross requires everything even something as precious as family. The message of the cross indicates that there is only one doorway to salvation. It is the door Jesus made by hanging on the cross: total surrender and death to one’s old life, to one’s old self out of humble submission to the Righteous Judge.

This part of the teaching is not as offensive. Some people would say, “I have heard this before, and have even implemented this principle in my life.” What I think most people fail to acknowledge is what this level of surrender, death, and submission will actually cost them. The principle I discovered was this.

Jesus’ time on earth shows that there are two kinds of people in this world: those nailing Jesus to the cross, and those who are being nailed right up there with him.

There is no third option. That means you, dear reader, are either one nailing Jesus to the cross as His judge, or the one being nailed right up there with him under God’s righteous judgement.

What? Really? That sounds harsh. Yup. Now I’m going to go through what I believe to be four kinds of people who may read this and find it unacceptable:

  1. You may say, “I am not getting hung on a cross, but there’s no way I would do that to a fellow human being!” No? Imagine a great political leader told you that there was a man who was bewitching the population, and determined that he had to be exterminated. Also imagine that this political power said, if you follow him or are associated with him, you too will be exterminated. Chances are you would not stand up for the guy even if you thought his teachings were alright. In not siding with him though, it is like the bully beating up the kid on the playground while you watch. Your inaction is a choice to act in favor of the bully.
  2. You may say, “I identify with Jesus, so if the time came I would be willing to be crucified with him.” Really? What if that meant leaving your family behind with no one to care for them? What if that meant being villainized and falsely accused of being a socially morally unacceptable thing like a pedophile? Would you still identify with him then? The question is not about “if the time came” The question is about right now. It is foolish and naïve to believe that you would die for Christ, if you do not truly exclusively live for him now. This is the message of the cross. You who identify with Christ, do you share the burden of His sufferings even leading up to the same way He died?
  3. You may say, “God wants me to be happy. Jesus already died on the cross for me so I wouldn’t have to.” You are partially incorrect. God wants you to be happy in eternal things. If your happiness is in anything that money or time on earth can afford you, then you have missed the point. Furthermore, Jesus death on the cross wasn’t to “take your place,” like many churches espouse in their sermons assuring forgiveness for sins, which of course is there. Jesus’ death on the cross was to “make your place.” Persecution, self-denial, suffering wrongfully as a doer of righteousness—these are the inheritance, function, and purpose of the believer in this life. Power, wealth, fame are temporary substitutes for what brings lasting joy. If they are given in any fashion to the believer, they are a means to the ends of Him who “though He was rich, for your sakes became poor.” This is the oneof whom you are becoming a mini-version, by becoming a “little-Christ.” You may say, “If my sins are forgiven why do I still need to get on the cross?” Because Jesus did, and you are not more righteous than He are you?
  4. You may say, “I have enough smarts and heart to know that letting anything like that happen to anybody would be tantamount to unthinkable.” That line of thought is patterning after a character sketch of “a captain of his own ship trying to find his way in the world with his conscience in tact.” What such a man would have to appreciate is that the message of the cross requires the denial of one’s right or ability to be Judge. Even if you judge righteously, you still are the one in need of being judged. Salvation is only to be found in the submission to the Judgment of God, who is not only the True Judge, but He is also a righteous judge. You may not understand or believe in His justice, but if you live in the world long enough you will be faced with a choice to recognize how irreversibly broken the world is. The only doorway to life is through the cross, where everything is submitted to God’s lordship, and whatever is of God will survive.

The reason there is no third option, I can articulate better after talking with my fiancé about it. She heard my bolded principle above, and shared, “Or perhaps the third option is, you are both.” That is indeed what I am saying. Every one of us have been a crucifier of Jesus. You are either the one Crucifying Christ, or the Crucifier of Christ who has surrendered to the death you are worthy of. And this is no cheapening the value of one’s life to ending it frivolously wrongfully like in suicide. This is the re-valuing someone’s life as in itself being worth nothing, but in right humble standing before God worth giving up for salvation of ourselves and others.

A Story, I hope will illustrate this principle better. A soldier had been nailing criminals to the cross his entire career, until one day He had to crucify a righteous man. The man looked and saw that the righteous man did not deserve to die, but saw that he himself deserved it. He cast aside his armor, and ordered his men to nail him to the cross right next to the man. All who passed by mocked him, but some of his men wondered: what solidarity could a man claim with a righteous man wrongfully condemned to death?

It is this solidarity with Christ that the cross represents. Jesus bore the sins of the whole world on that cross. We carry around in our body the dying of Jesus, just as Paul wrote about his apostleship:

For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.[3]

The message of the cross is offensive: You’re either embracing Jesus’ death yourself, or you’re the one swinging the hammer.

DISCIPLESHIP

Allow me then to share this pattern for discipleship, based upon the life of Jesus which leads to this proper understanding and manifestation of the cross in a person’s life.

SCRIPTURE: First there is a catechesis stage, where the student (disciple) is familiarized with the basic teachings of the Gospel in the Old and New Testament. This is the stage for listening, asking questions and increasing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man.

CONVERSION: Second, there is a baptism wherein the Spiritual journey begins with the Lord sending His spirit upon and into an individual. This is the point I would call Conversion.

SPIRITUAL POWER: Third, there is a time for the Holy Spirit’s leading to temper all fleshly, proud, and sinful passions in the heart and body. This is where the disciple learns how to pray, how to hear His voice, to face his own sin, and to grow in Spiritual strength and power and prepares the disciple for the end purpose of his life: The cross.

COMMUNITY: Fourth, there is the accountability to a local church body, in which after these things have occurred, the disciple reveals to them what God had shown him to be true, and what is that mission into which he will be walking. This is where the disciple learns his proper place in the Church as a part of a body of believers, and applies the giftings and power of the Holy Spirit.

SERVICE: Fifth, this disciple will begin implementing the mission and investment of the Holy Spirit in him to serve the body of Christ, and the world and the poor in the community around him.

WARFARE: Sixth, is the standing up for the poor by going against those who abuse them. This is where the social activism will doubtlessly make enemies in the established religion and the government.

PERSECUTION: Seventh, is the point when the disciple fully comes to display Christ: The Cross. When the Believer is not able to dissuaded from his aggressively loving opposition of the enemies of freedom and peace, there will be no choice but to kill him. This is the end of a disciple’s walk here on this earth. While it does not always end in death at the hands of enemies, “He who endures to the end shall be saved.” “And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.”

The result: He who has walked all seven of these stages is a Christ-ian indeed, because he has denied himself, taken up his cross, and done as Jesus did. And unless you are walking according to this principle, and the cross is where you are headed, then you are simply striking the hammer deeper into the flesh of the son of God, who loves you and gives himself for you still today, along with all who bear His name.

For those carrying the cross now, one parting word of encouragement from Peter.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

[1] 1 Co 1:17–25. NLT

[2] NASB Mt 10:34–39.

[3] 1 Co 4:9–16.

[4] 1 Pe 4:12–14.