First Reformed Presbyterian Church
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How To Use Your
"Through the Bible in a Year"
Reading Plan
LIBRARY UPDATE – JANUARY 2016
Founding Sins: How a Group of Antislavery Radicals Fought to Put Christ into the Constitution
By Joseph S. Moore

Despite what many modern Evangelical Christians claim, America was not established explicitly as a Christian nation. The Reformed Presbyterians (Covenanters), from our nation’s very founding, decried this notion based on two highly significant defects in our Constitution: 1) it refused to acknowledge the Kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) it allowed for the godless institution of slavery. The RPs stood as virtually a lone voice of dissent on both these issues at our country's formation. This very well written and researched tome, seen from an outsider’s perspective, clearly establishes the Reformed Presbyterian arguments, giving a very fair treatment.


LIBRARY UPDATE – JANUARY 2016
Getting the Gospel Right: the tie that binds Evangelicals together
by R. C. Sproul

In 1994, a document was released entitled Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Drafted by leading Protestant Evangelicals and Roman Catholics, the document was an ecumenical attempt to create a unified church. A certain form of agreement was supposedly reached on historically opposing points of debate between not only Protestants and Roman Catholics, but also between the various evangelical groups.

Yet the document left many significant matters unresolved. So in 1997, another document was produced, called Gift of Salvation, in hopes of clarifying some of the points of ECT.

At the heart of the Protestant Reformation was (and still is) the doctrine of sola fide, or faith alone. So has this matter been addressed? Has Rome aligned its teaching with the teaching of the Reformers? Can we truly be unified?

Sproul says the differences remain. And they are “systemic, not partial; radical, not slight.” In the book, several of the more problematic articles of Gift of Salvation are closely examined to see what they actually say. It becomes apparent that Rome has not budged from its original position as stated at the Council of Trent, and reaffirmed in Vatican II.

This is not just a battle over semantics. We must be absolutely clear and precise on what we believe about our justification. It mattered to the Apostle Paul, it mattered to the Reformers, and it should matter to us today. Get this book!

—Reviewed by Bonnie McClain


LIBRARY UPDATE – OCTOBER 2015
Culture Shift: the battle for the moral heart of America   
by R. Albert Mohler

American culture today is changing rapidly.  Sometimes even Christians  become so embedded in the culture that we cannot think clearly. This book will help you to take a step back and examine today’s difficult issues from a biblical perspective.  We must be well-informed if we are to engage those with a worldview that says truth is relative.
Using Augustine’s “City of God” as an example, Mohler shows that we have set before us two cities.  The City of God is eternal, while the City of Man is temporal.  But while the City of Man may be passing away, we are still called to preach the Good News to its citizens.  Our motivation is to be love for God and a desire to see him glorified, and also love for our neighbor, who is perishing in his unbelief.
Mohler deals with today’s hot-button topics such as:
                           ·          Morality and public law
                           ·          Lessons learned from terrorism
                           ·          The problems with public schools
                           ·          The effect of the “digital deluge” on families
Although originally published in 2008 and updated in 2011, this book is still relevant for the difficult issues we face today.

Reviewed by Bonnie McClain
 
For more reading, these titles are also available at the library—

  Opie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, by Walt Mueller
  7 Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind, by Anthony Selvaggio
  Postmodern Times, by Gene Edward Veith

LIBRARY UPDATE – JULY 2015
Uprooting Anger: biblical help for a common problem
By Robert D. Jones

The author states in the introduction that “this book aims to provide biblical counseling to help angry people change and grow.”

Anger is addressed throughout the Bible; anger against others, against ourselves, and even against God.

The book begins by defining anger as “a whole-personed response of negative moral judgement against perceived evil” (emphasis added).

But is anger ever righteous?  In chapter two you will discover that most human anger is sinful.

Jones cites examples of times when our Lord Jesus was angry. Was it because of a personal offense or a perceived right?  Or was it because the kingdom and glory of His Father was offended?

The following chapters offer practical counsel to help us recognize and repent of both our revealed and concealed anger, and then also how we can help others.

The book concludes with a sobering summation of the effect of anger on our spiritual and physical health, and how it hurts our relationships with others and with God.

This book exposes the pride and deceitfulness of our hearts and shows how we are all readily susceptible to sinful anger.  This is a must-read for every Christian who is ready to move beyond anger and grow in the faith.

~ Reviewed by Bonnie McClain

LIBRARY UPDATE – MAY 2015
John Calvin
by Simonetta Carr

Hey, Kids!  Is John Calvin a name you have heard?  He lived a long time ago in Europe, but many people know him well still today through his writings. 

Written especially for young readers, this book is the story of John Calvin’s life.That means it is a biography. Calvin was a most unusual man. He was a reformer.That means he wanted to change things for the better.  He became a preacher who wanted to change the church for the better.  Before he became a reformer, he studied to be a Roman Catholic priest, then changed his studies to become a lawyer.

At the end of this book there is a time line chart of his life, listing many of the most important events.  It shows he was born just a few years after Columbus discovered America.

One of the things I really like about this book is the illustrations.  One painting shows Calvin wore a very long beard. Other pictures and sketches help show how he lived and why he was so important that there is a statue of him in the Reformation Wall in Geneva, Switzerland.  See if you can find out why by reading the book in the library.

-- Ms. Kay

LIBRARY UPDATE – APRIL 2015
Show them Jesus: teaching the gospel to kids
By Jack Klumpenhower

It’s always been a complaint of mine that a lot of Sabbath School curriculum for children tends to be too moralistic.  Rather than pointing children to the One who loves them unconditionally and can help them with their struggles, it sometimes seems to be more about relying on self to become better, more obedient Christians.

With real-life examples from his work with children and teens, Klumpenhower shows how easily we fall back into a frustrating self-effort rather than joyful obedience to God.  But when a child is shown what Christ has accomplished for us, in HIS strength rather than our own, a real heart change takes place, the lights go on, and the seeds are planted for future growth in Him.
This should be required reading for teachers, parents, and all who minister to children.

Reviewed by Bonnie McClain

LIBRARY UPDATE – MARCH 2015
Justification, by Francis Turretin
With an introduction by R.C. Sproul

Italian theologian, Francis Turretin, studied and taught at Geneva, Switzerland, building his body of work on the foundation laid by earlier reformers such as Calvin and Luther.

Written in 1688, Justification is part of a larger volume, Institutes of Elenctic Theology”, a defense of reformed doctrine against the teachings of the Romanists (Roman Catholic), the Remonstrants (Dutch Arminians), and the Socinians, who joined with the Pelagians in their rejection of the doctrine of original sin.

Other titles you may like, also available at the library:
What is Justification by Faith Alone?, by J.V. Fesko
Faith Alone: the Evangelical Doctrine of Justification, by R.C. Sproul

Reviewed by Bonnie McClain

LIBRARY UPDATE – JANUARY 2015
Hand in Hand: the beauty of God’s sovereignty and meaningful human choice
By Randy Alcorn

How do we reconcile the sovereignty of God with man’s free will? This may be a difficult subject to sort out, but Alcorn thoroughly examines what the Bible says and will help you to begin thinking more deeply about such things. The author is a former Arminian who now describes himself as a “moderate Calvinist.”  He believes that Arminianism still has some valuable points to offer, but must be careful that everything is in line with what God’s Word says. The book offers several helpful comparative charts to clarify the different belief systems.

Reviewed by Bonnie McClain

LIBRARY UPDATE – DECEMBER 2014
Taking God at His Word: why the Bible is knowable, necessary, and enough, and what that means for you and me
by Kevin DeYoung

The book begins with Psalm 119, a tribute to the Word of God, and ends with II Timothy 3:16, which assures us that all scripture is breathed out by God.
We learn that the Bible is not just an inspiring book that inspires us, but it is the verbal expression of God himself.  Every word is there because God wanted it there.  He has communicated to us everything we need and we should submit to it’s teaching because it is God’s truth. Download the free study guide at Crossway.org/KDYstudyguide!

LIBRARY UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2014
Opie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
by Walt Mueller

This is a book about the collision of faith, family, and culture. And what a collision it can be! Each of the six units in the book ends with “Embracing the Collision,” a few statements or questions to discuss or ponder.

LIBRARY UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2014
Everyone’s a Theologian: an introduction to systematic theology
by R.C. Sproul

The first question addressed in this book is, “What is theology?”  Simply put, theology is the study of God – and it’s not just for scholars.  All believers in Christ are called to continually study the things of God, as the Scripture says, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim 2:15)

LIBRARY UPDATE – AUGUST 2014
NEWS FROM THE LIBRARY:

The library’s collection is in the process of being cataloged online!  Now you will be able to search the collection from home.  Go to LibraryThing.com.  Log in with user name “FirstRP” and password “grace”.  Click on the “Your Books” tab, and choose style “C”.  This will enable you to search by title, author, or tags (subject headings).  This is a work in progress.  The non-fiction is done and I have begun working on fiction and children’s.

LIBRARY UPDATE – AUGUST 2013
The Fairy King
by Tim McClain

One of our own has just published his first novel about young Jamie MacKenzie who stumbles upon a cavern inhabited by fairies.  There he meets their king who informs Jamie that someday he will return to reign in the king’s place.  The story follows Jamie throughout his life as he struggles with issues of faith, redemption, and providence.  Will Jamie ever see the fairies again?
Library of First Reformed Presbyterian Church
Through the Bible in a Year Reading Plan
How to use your "Through the Bible in a Year Reading Plan"

Letting the Word of God Dwell in You Richly:  First RP’s Bible Reading Program

   Let me give a further word of explanation about the course of Bible Reading we are embarking upon as a congregation. We are following the Through the Bible in a Year Bible Reading Calendar.  You can pick up a yellow sheet from the foyer, or follow it online at the ESV website. Hopefully, we will all participate in this as individuals and families who are a part of a congregation. Let me explain why I think this to be so important and useful. There are a number of advantages to such a unified effort.

   One of the most obvious is that it will help us to help one another carry out the promises we made before the Lord when we entered into the Covenant of Communicant Membership: 
5. To the end that you may grow in the Christian life, do you promise that you will diligently read the Bible, engage in private prayer, keep the Lord’s Day, regularly attend the worship services, observe the appointed sacraments, and give to the Lord’s work as He shall prosper you?

   But let me enumerate some other specific advantages:

   1. We will read through the whole Bible in a year in an orderly way. Reading across the whole face of Scripture, year after year, helps us to become acquainted with the whole of God’s revelation. It gives us the broadest context to understand any one portion of God’s Word and improves our ability to listen to the proclamation of the Word with understanding. It helps us to apply the Word of God to our lives with wisdom.

   2. We will be reading together in the same places at the same time at the same pace. So we will be together in the Word as a congregation. This will encourage us to keep up with reading the Bible over time. Dealing with the same comforts, questions, warnings, and promises together will promote unity, fellowship, and opportunities to converse about something of value out of our common experience. It helps protect us from trivializing our conversation and our fellowship together.

   3. The Small Group Meetings will be led in discussing what they have read in the Bible Reading Calendar throughout the days prior to our regular meetings. This puts us directly in the Word for our times together. We will be able to fellowship in a common experience of the Word, reflecting on how God has used it in our lives this week. Perhaps there will be questions that our reading raises in our minds and hearts that are in common with others’ puzzlement over the same particular passage. What a help to consider these questions together!

   4. Leading in the small group discussions of the weeks’ readings will help me as a pastor in getting to know you while we discuss the Word together. Over time this fellowship in the Word will help me to know how to address sermons more suitably to the congregation, and what from the Bible might be most profitable to teach at the time.

   5. Using this Bible reading program together overcomes one of the greatest difficulties for regularity and consistency in Bible reading. The single greatest obstacle to regularly reading the Bible is knowing what to read today. But with this schedule, on any given day you know what portion of God’s Word to read. You do not have the problem of knowing where to start, if you’ve missed a few days (or weeks) and you wish to pick up things again. Well, you are a Bible reader, with a regular schedule. Pick up with today’s reading and, forgetting what is behind, press on with today’s reading, so to speak. No guilt. No burden of going back and picking up where you left off. Just treat the program like a menu. What is today’s special? Order that. If you don’t have very much time, read part of it. If it seems like a mere duty, pray for God to use that Word and go back to reading. If you still find it a burden, find a favorite place in the Word or look to a portion that addresses your need at the moment. Don’t make it a new law; seek to delight in the Word and commune with God.

   6. Reading the Bible in this fashion changes our view of Bible reading. We cease to be the issue. We are reading to worship God and meet with Him. Read to worship and to commune with God in Christ by the Spirit, not for self-improvement, first of all. You will gain that improvement over time, but first of all, in your reading, seek to listen to Him. He has given us of Himself in all His dealings with men for their salvation. Listen with a heart of faith and take it all in.

   7. Use this schedule for your private and family worship. You will find that you derive something different in both uses, and having already read and considered the reading, if you are a father or mother, husband or wife, you will be able to help the children with it, or be able to discuss it as a couple profitably, modifying it as necessary. In this way, family worship has a pattern and schedule in which we are all worshiping through the week together, with prayer, Bible reading in the same passages and the singing of Psalms. If you would like a list of Psalms so that you may systematically go through the whole Psalter, twice in the year, I can supply that for you, following the pattern Jane and I follow.

   One additional thing needs to be said: There is something intangible to the effect of having the whole flock feeding in the same pasture together at the same time that goes beyond the reasons I have listed here. But eventually, if we are faithful in this together, the blessing of it will be felt over time. May God grant this to be useful to you and to your salvation.

Go to: Through the Bible in a Year Reading Plan
Please Note:

First RP Library - Revised Checkout Policy
• You may check out as many items as you like. 
• Check-out period should normally be one month.
• Remove the card from the pocket in the back of the book(s) you are borrowing.
• Write your name and the date due in the spaces provided. (Date due is one month from present date. A calendar is posted on the bulletin board.)
• Write the due date on the slip affixed to the back of each book, as a reminder to yourself.
• Back issues of magazines may be checked out.  Current issues remain in the library.
• Audio-visual materials are checked out on the sheet provided on the clipboard.
LIBRARY UPDATE – AUGUST 2016
Dispensationalism: rightly dividing the people of God?
By Keith Mathison

What do you believe about Israel, the Church, and the end times?  Where did your belief come from?  Does it stand up to biblical scrutiny?

The Dispensational system of theology, begun in the 1830’s, has become the most pervasive system of belief in American Evangelicalism. The majority of popular Bible scholars teach it, so many Christians simply take it for granted that it must be correct.

Author Mathison starts out in the introduction by defining what Dispensationalism is and is not.  How is it different from a Reformed  covenantal system of belief? 

Some of the major problems with Dispensationalism cited are:
  It most often goes hand in hand with Arminian doctrine.
  It sees an improper distinction between Israel and the Church.
  It would say that we are instrumental in determining our own salvation by our cooperation with the Spirit of God. (Arminianism)
  It fails to recognize that Christ is presently reigning as King and teaches that His reign will not begin until He comes again.

Having come from a Dispensationalist background myself, I can tell you it is a confusing and contradictory system of belief.  But Mathison makes it easy to navigate this complicated subject, one point at a time, comparing it with Reformed doctrine. He says that “verifying the truthfulness of a doctrine must come from Scripture, not men,” so he offers plenty of Scripture references to guide you through.  You will benefit greatly by taking the time to look up each one.

Reviewed by Bonnie McClain