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reports, reviews, thoughts, news (and fun) posted by Gary Ware

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Spiritual Warfare by Borgman & Ventura – A Book Review

Spiritual-Warfare-194x300Spiritual Warfare – A Biblical & Balanced Perspective by Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura (Reformation Heritage Books, 2014) aims to provide a framework for Christians to contend against spiritual darkness.
In doing so the authors affirm a biblical worldview in which supernatural and natural coexist, guarding against both a naturalistic approach to Christian life which lives without regard to spiritual realities, or at another extreme, treating life as a Christian version of ‘Ghostbusters’.
Though the book references both these tendencies, it is remains focussed on providing constructive instruction and exhortation about spiritual warfare using Ephesians 6:10-20 as a framework.
So, rather than criticising other positions, the tone throughout is pastoral. I appreciated the earnestness of the writers (who it appears have co-authored the work seamlessly). It was encouraging to be reminded that all the weaponry of spiritual warfare is given to the Christian through their salvation; while being challenged to lay hold of each aspect of Christ’s saving work as it relates to resisting temptation to sin and growing more like Jesus.
This emphasis on Christian growth and sanctification enables the reader to see how their neglect creates vulnerabilities to spiritual assault.
Of great value are two concluding chapters dealing with the proactive warfare practice of prayer. As the church to which I belong has recently emerged from an intense season of prayer arising from an accident which one of our own suffered, the content of these chapters reinforces a conviction regarding the need to continue in prayer now that the emergency has passed.
Helpful study questions serve to both summarise the content of each chapter and provide avenues for further exploration. The book is well referenced and each chapter’s end notes provide sources for further reading.
Spiritual Warfare is a biblical, accessible and concise introduction to an important intersection between Christian growth and Christian life. Pastoral and constructive in tone, it offers readers a guide as they consider what the Bible teaches about the reality of conflict with spiritual evil. Those who heed the counsel it offers will be vigilant without being fearful, and prepared to act without constant anxiety about the conflict.

The Kindle edition of Spiritual Warfare upon which this review is based was provided by Cross Focused Reviews as part of a Spiritual Warfare blog tour. A positive review was not required.

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The Top Fifty Countries Where It’s Hardest To Be A Christian In 2014 (via Open Doors)

This graphic features Open Door’s 2014 ranking of the fifty countries where persecution of Christians is most severe.
You download a (larger image size) pdf copy with further information here.
More information at this page.

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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 49

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 49

Chapter 30 – Of Church Censures
I. The Lord Jesus, as king and head of his Church, has therein appointed a government in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.
II. To these officers the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the word and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel, and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.
III. Church censures are necessary for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren; for deterring of others from like offenses; for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump; for vindicating the honour of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.
IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by admonition, suspension from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for a season, and by excommunication from the Church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person.

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Why Sing Laments In Corporate Worship? (via John Starke)

John Starke writes about the place of lament in corporate worship.

… the Bible gives us several good reasons why lamenting should be a part of our normal Christian worship, even if we are not lamenting our own circumstances. In no particular order of importance, here are four such reasons.

  1. We sing songs of lament even when we are not lamenting in order to weep with those who are weeping.

  2. We sing songs of lament even when we are not lamenting so that when seasons of mourning come, we know what songs to sing and what prayers to pray.

  3. We sing songs of lament even when we are not lamenting because the New Testament calls us to.

  4. We sing songs of lament even when we are not lamenting because maybe you should be lamenting more than you are.

Read the whole post at the Gospel Coalition.