Meet Keri Folmar, Author of Our Bible Studies for Women

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Editor’s note: We recently shared 10 Reasons You Should Study Ephesians with Keri Folmar. This study is the third Keri has put together for Cruciform (check out her other studies on Philippians and James).

We asked Keri to share some of her remarkable story with you—how she went from writing legislation in Washington D.C. to helping her husband, John, plant churches in Dubai. And that’s just the beginning!

Keri’s Background

John and I met at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) while he was the legislative counsel for a Senator and I was counsel for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution (I eventually became chief counsel of the Subcommittee).

We married on October 25, 1997. In fact, we were the first couple to meet and marry under Mark Dever’s leadership at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Now, there are so many couples who get married there that we like to tell them we got the ball rolling.

The following year we moved to North Carolina, where John worked for a law firm while I stayed at home. Our first daughter, Ruth, was born in August of 1998. We then moved to Louisville, where John attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and our daughter, Chloe, was born in 2000. Andrew was born in 2002, and then we moved back to D.C. in 2003 so that John could serve as an assistant pastor at CHBC.

Throughout our time in these various places, I have loved studying the Bible. It was a joy to start the women’s Bible studies at both Clifton Baptist Church (with Diane Schreiner) and CHBC (with Adrienne Lawrence, Eli Schmucker, and Deb Siler) so that we could think long and hard over the precious Word of God with other women.

Move to Dubai

While John was still in seminary, we received some prayer cards for unreached peoples. Every night at dinner we would pray with our kids for one of the peoples listed. These prayers—along with the encouragement and example of friends who were going to minister overseas—sparked our interest in the gospel going out to the nations.

While we were at CHBC, we went on a short-term trip to Central Asia. We became particularly excited about Muslims hearing the gospel, so we wanted to be a part of that work. However, it was also clear to us that John was called to preach—not plant churches in a different language. The year after we got back from that trip, I prayed every Tuesday (which was the day I regularly prayed for the nations) that God would send us. But my prayer basically went, “God, I know John is called to preach in English, so we won’t be going. But please send us overseas to share the gospel.”

We had no idea that English-speaking churches existed in the Muslim world. But later Mark Dever came home from a trip to Dubai and asked John if he would be interested in serving at the United Christian Church of Dubai (UCCD). This idea thrilled our hearts and we have never looked back. God has done much more than we ever dreamed (you can read more about our ministry in Dubai through this interview with The Gospel Coalition).

Bearing Fruit Throughout the Nations

When we arrived in Dubai, approximately 500 people attended UCCD. Since then by God’s grace, we have planted 3 other churches in the United Arab Emirates with over 700 people attending our church (including 450 members) from around 60 different countries.

But the spiritual growth is more exciting than the numerical growth. We have become self-consciously Reformed and gospel-centered with a passion for expositional preaching. Recently we baptized 14 people. They were from India, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, Scotland, England, the U.S., Lebanon, and Ghana. That gives you a taste of the steady stream of conversions from a diversity of nations at UCCD.

Currently, our women’s Bible study has around 100 women participating. We meet in small groups and go through passages inductively, and then we join together in a room where we listen to expositional teaching. We have 12 small group leaders and 6 women who teach expositionally. Our leaders are from the U.S., Australia, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and India—and they are the sharpest women I know. God has been kind to us in our ministry in Dubai, and we would love for you to share in our rich experience of seeking God through His Word.

Tomorrow we begin a weekly giveaway of two books and a $20 store coupon, so be sure to check back!  Tomorrow’s free books are Keri’s two newest studies, on Ephesians and James.


Keri’s 10-week inductive Bible studies

Why Did I Write Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk?

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by Brad Hambrick /

It might be more helpful, at least at first, to explain why I didn’t write Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk. I didn’t write this book because I believe homosexuality is the most important or pressing issue of our day. Actually, to the contrary, I wrote this book because it is my perception (accurate or not) that part of what complicates the subject is that only people who are very passionate about it have the courage-boldness-audacity (whatever you prefer to call it) to speak or write on it.

Please note: This book will be released in January. Review copies will likely be available sometime in December. Email reviews@cruciformpress.com to reserve your copy. Preordering and other information can be found on the book page.

It’s my belief that someone needs to be part of the conversation who doesn’t feel as though history hinges on homosexuality. This is why in the opening chapter I try to be clear about my general perspective.

I do not consider homosexuality my “hill to die on” issue. I don’t believe the probability of experiencing the Third Great Awakening or whether America remains a geo-political superpower hinges on the moral-political issues surrounding homosexuality. Neither do I believe that gay rights as a cause is the logical extension of women’s suffrage or racial equality.

If your position on homosexuality is approximated in the paragraph above, you may be uncomfortable with this book. When the subject is framed in either of these ways, the answer becomes so immediately “obvious” that only an idiotic or evil person could disagree with you. Even if this is where you are, I hope you’ll keep reading.

There is a second reason I wrote this book: I was asked to—both directly and indirectly. This book was not on my radar until a friend came to me and said, “Would you be willing to write a book on how conservative Christians can have gay friends without compromising their own convictions? I think that kind of book is missing and it’s not something we handle effectively in the church. I think you have a tone in dealing with sensitive subjects that could navigate the topic well.”[tweet “New book: can conservative Christians have gay friends w/o compromising their own convictions?”]

My initial answer was, “Thank you for the encouragement, but I don’t think I’m passionate enough about the subject to write a book on it.” But the request was sticky and I began to listen a bit more closely to the debates in the Christian blogosphere. That is when I began to realize my non-passion for the subject might be an asset instead of a liability.

When I listened to the debates, my assessment (feel free to disagree) was that “conservatives” typically come across as if they have never cried with a friend who experiences same-sex attraction and wonders what this means, while “liberals” typically come across as if the only way for such a person to be authentic is to embrace a gay identity—that is, as if sexual attraction trumps every other aspect of personhood. I couldn’t imagine being someone who experiences same-sex attraction, would like some help thinking through that reality, but finds only these two polarized sources of guidance.

Then I began to reflect on the number of pastoral counseling conversations I’ve had with individuals who have experienced unwanted same-sex attraction. I thought about one of the primary sticking points in these conversations: the absence of authentic friendships in the context of which these individuals could 1) be fully known (honest about their struggle), and 2) be fully loved (without placing a strain on their Christian friendships), yet 3) without embracing a gay identity and joining the gay community.

Counseling can provide relief, but only community can offer hope. As I say in chapter two, “Counseling without friendship is like being stranded in the ocean and given a raft for one hour a week but asked to swim the other 167 hours.” In the absence of a church that understands, having a counselor who cares merely creates an impasse: there is hope (“God doesn’t hate me because I experience same-sex attraction”) but no clear direction (“I am still incredibly alone and the church doesn’t seem willing to help alleviate this significant part of my struggle”).

So I said yes and began the process of writing Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk. My enthusiasm for the value of the project has grown. But, honestly, I don’t look forward to the controversy it may bring. Who can write 100 pages on homosexuality and not upset some people? That grieves me. Not because I am thin-skinned and anxious about people not liking me, but because in the current climate “debating the topic” usually excludes the person who is struggling.

Do Ask, Do Tell, Let's Talk; Why and How Christians Should Have Gay Friends, by Brad HambrickMy greatest prayer for this book is that God would use it to equip the church to build bridges of friendship in order to care well for two groups: Christians who experience unwanted same-sex attraction, and non-believers who did not find the fulfillment they hoped in embracing a gay identity. When those conversations are being had in living rooms and coffee shops, maybe it could even change the tone of conversation on social platforms and debate panels.

Regardless of whether that latter, lofty objective is achieved, I will be elated if Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk results in same-sex attraction no longer feeling like a sentence of “solitary confinement” for individuals looking for hope and direction from the church—more specifically from individual Christian friends—in the midst of their experience of same-sex attraction.

Read the second post in this series.


Brad Hambrick (M.Div., Th.M.) is Pastor of Counseling, The Summit Church; Adjunct Professor of Biblical Counseling, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and a Council Member of The Biblical Counseling Coalition.

Brad Hambrick (M.Div., Th.M.), is Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church, Adjunct Professor of Biblical Counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Council Member for The Biblical Counseling Coalition. He has published numerous titles in P&R’s Gospel for Real Life series.

Now available: A New Book on the Life and Theology of Martin Luther

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by Kevin /

We are thrilled to announce the release of Charles E. Fry’s book, A World Upside Down: Four Essays on the Life and Theology of Martin Luther, with a Foreword from Jerry Bridges. Luther discovered truths in the Bible that not only changed the world—they can change us, too. What’s more, despite nearly 500 years since the publication of Luther’s 95 Theses, the church is still desperately in need of what he discovered in Scripture.

In this book, Chuck Fry briefly portrays Luther’s life and faith through four chapters. In fact, as Fry shows us, the beginning and end of all of Luther’s theology was simple faith in Christ.

1) The first chapter walks us through many of the high points of Luther’s remarkable life, focusing mainly on the development of his theology. Luther’s faith in Christ and the finished work of the cross gave him great assurance before God, yet placed him permanently at war with the world.

2) Chapter two articulates Luther’s understanding of the gospel—what faith in Christ is, the need we all have for the Savior, and the Christian’s humble dependence on the good news of God’s unchanging grace.

3) The third chapter explores Luther’s teaching that the gospel gives all glory to God: God’s wisdom revealed in the gospel message humbles man’s pride and wisdom, and produces good works in the believer’s life, all of this exalting God alone.

4) The final chapter celebrates Luther’s view that the forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ is central to the life of the church. This section summarizes the book, applying Luther’s theology to us in the 21st century and pointing out how much the church at large still needs to grasp and apply Luther’s teachings.

So, who is Chuck Fry? You may know him as organizer and host of the Majesty of God conference held each April. He is on staff with The Navigators in Huntington, West Virginia, and has been in discipleship ministry since 1989.[tweet “500 years after his 95 Theses, we still need Martin Luther.”]

In his Foreword, Jerry Bridges writes that Fry does “an excellent job of summarizing and clarifying for us Luther’s understanding of the gospel….this book will encourage you to live by the gospel every day.” And Bill Walsh, Director of International Outreach at The Gospel Coalition, writes, “The strong, clear articulation of law and gospel in chapter two is by itself worth the price of the book.”

We encourage you to check it out.

Top Faith-Based Bloggers: Guess Who?

newsmaxby Kevin

Newsmax, in case you weren’t aware, is a conservative news network based in Florida that began in 1998. Last week they posted an article ranking, by their analysis, the top 75 religion bloggers. Our own Tim Challies clocked in at number eight, and Newsmax was kind enough to imply that his role in co-founding Cruciform Press has been one of his crowning achievements. That may open to debate, but who are we to quibble?

Tim ranked behind some impressive people, including Al Mohler and Russell Moore but, perhaps surprisingly, ahead of such luminaries as John Piper, Thom Rainer, Doug Wilson, and Michael Hyatt. Here’s the full article. If you pay attention to faith-based blogs, you’ll probably know lots of other names, too.

One secret of Tim’s success? Long obedience to a sense of calling in a single direction: as of right now he has blogged every single day for 11.89 years.

10 Reasons You Should Study Ephesians with Keri Folmar

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by Kevin

Keri Folmar has just released her third 10-week inductive Bible study for women with Cruciform—this time on Ephesians. We wanted to share 10 reasons why you should consider studying this weighty book of the Bible with Keri’s help:

1) It’s an Inductive Study

There are few truly inductive Bible studies for women written by a woman. This resource will center your focus on the words from Paul’s letter and help you articulate his intent in writing to the church at Ephesus.

2) It’s Spiral Bound

We make these Bible studies spiral-bound so that you can easily write in them.

3) It’s Designed to Encourage Interaction

The pages of these studies have lots of room for you to write your reflections as you pray over God’s Word.

4) It’s for Individual or Group Use

You can go through these studies on your own or with your family and friends.

5) It’s Available in Bulk Discounts

If you want to purchase numerous copies, we offer three levels of automatic discount: 8+ books=10% off, 25+ books=15% off, 50+ books=20% off.

6) Men Could Get Involved, Too

Men, you could pick up this study for your wife. If you are willing to forbear the flowers on the covers (they’re very theological tulips, after all), you might also want to lead her through it.

7) It’s a Tested and Cherished Tool

Keri first led women—in both the U.S. and Dubai—through these studies. They were birthed in the context of discipleship.

8) It’s Part of a Series

Before Keri published this study on Ephesians, she also labored to help women study Philippians and James. By God’s grace, this series has been warmly and widely welcomed.[tweet “Turns out that @CruciformPress has three 10-week inductive Bible Studies for women from Keri Folmar!”]

9) It’s Commended by Other Women

Keri’s studies have been endorsed by Connie Dever, Kathleen Nielson, Kristie Anyabwile, Gloria Furman, and others. For example, Diane Schreiner says, “Keri Folmar has done it again! Now she has made Ephesians a book to delve into, unfolding its message with accuracy and clarity. The questions are inductive and applicable, helping us to understand Paul’s intent and what Ephesians means for our church involvement and our personal lives.”

10) It’s Commended by Other Churches

Churches across half a dozen denominations have purchased Keri’s studies in bulk—and the response has been great.For example, Molly Blass is on the Women’s Ministry Council at First Presbyterian (PCA) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and has led a group of 75 women through Keri’s studies. She writes, “We don’t want to be women who are ‘always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth’ (2 Tim. 3:7). Keri’s material helps carefully guide us into truth, but it also includes pointed application questions that the Spirit can use to help us examine our own hearts.”[tweet “There are lots of good reasons to check out these 10-week inductive Bible Studies for women.”]


Grace; A Bible Study on Ephesians for Women, by Keri FolmarYou can now purchase Grace: A Bible Study on Ephesians for Women.

The Ingredients of Family Discipleship

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by Tad Thompson

Almost every evening around ten o’clock, I am drawn downstairs from the family room to our kitchen with a gnawing craving for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This is one of my favorite moments of the day. Waiting there in the pantry, simply for my indulgence, is a homemade loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a little bear-shaped squeeze-bottle full of honey, and a bag of potato chips. The other necessities await me in the fridge: an ice-cold carton of milk and cherry jelly.

Most evenings this ritual plays out perfectly, except for those rare, sad times when some key ingredient is missing. I can live without the chips or the honey, but every so often there is no milk, or we are low on peanut butter, and my hopes for the perfect PB&J vanish.

Some ingredients are simply necessary. This is one reason why I find cooking shows to be an exercise in frustration. When these chef-gurus prance out into their professional kitchens—the kind missing the one wall where the TV cameras go—all the latest high-end culinary equipment is at their disposal. They know things about preparing food that we mortals cannot grasp. Worst of all, they regularly cook with ingredients that have never once been on any shelf in my local supermarket. What is the point of showing people how to cook with ingredients they don’t have? Without the right ingredients, everyone knows that a recipe is useless.

Maybe you feel a similar frustration when you hear a pastor announce that it is primarily your responsibility to disciple your children. Perhaps you have inventoried your spiritual pantry of biblical knowledge and, if you are honest, it is not as well-stocked as it needs to be. You know you need ready access to fresh, useful spiritual ingredients if your children are to become, as the psalmist wrote, men and women who set their hope in God. But you’re not quite sure what those ingredients are, where to get them, or how to prepare them.[Tweet “As parents, the call to family #discipleship only ends when we die. #parenting”]

Tell you what, let’s go to the supermarket—a really nice one. It’s a supermarket of biblical truth. As we stroll the aisles and review the wares, you are probably going to feel overwhelmed. There is so much your children need to be taught! That’s OK. Embrace that feeling. Your sense of helplessness will push you to rely on the grace of God as you take the exciting journey of family discipleship.

Perhaps your children are not exactly children anymore. If so, remember that your call to family discipleship only ends when you die. You have a lifetime to cultivate truth in the hearts of your children. Even when they are adults with their own families, you should lovingly and prayerfully encourage your children in their walk with Jesus. The nature of the parental role changes as our children mature, but its essence does not, and we are called to steward faithfully all the days the Lord has entrusted to us.

As we walk through the supermarket of biblical content, I want to show you seven “aisles”—seven categories—of biblical truth. Thinking in categories helps us to understand and teach God’s Word clearly. Imagine a supermarket that stocked its shelves randomly. Trying to find a particular item in aisle after aisle of jumbled chaos would be a nightmare. In a similar way, approaching the Bible without appropriate categories will often produce a certain bewilderment. But categories help us think and teach far more effectively.[Tweet “Learn the 7 key ingredients of biblical #discipleship. #parenting”]

Theologians have worked for centuries to compile the biblical data into accessible categories. The seven key categories covered in Intentional Parenting are:

  • The Gospel
  • The Big Story (Biblical Theology)
  • The Big Truths (Systematic Theology)
  • The Great Commission
  • Spiritual Disciplines
  • Christian Living
  • Worldview

Yes, it’s a formidable list. Yet it helps create a manageable structure, ways of thinking about how and what you ought to pass along to your children. In fact, if you will commit to learn from each of these seven categories, you will have all the right ingredients at your fingertips for a lifetime of fruitful learning and teaching.

An adapted excerpt from Intentional Parenting: Family Discipleship by Design, by Tad Thompson. Click here to learn more and read another sample.[Tweet “This looks like a good way to create a structure for family #discipleship. #parenting”]  
Intentional Parenting; Family Discipleship by Design, by Tad Thompson

 

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Street-Level Apologetics

STREET-LEVEL APOLOGETICS

by Joe Coffey

There are two basic ways to discuss your faith with non-Christians. You can testify to what Jesus has done in your own life—how Christ has changed you through the gospel and what being a Christian has meant for you, your family, your church life, etc. That’s the “fruit” side.

The other way is to talk about why Christianity makes sense.

Almost any substantive conversation you might have with unbelievers about Christianity will touch on both topics. And the fact is that we would probably talk a lot more with unbelievers about how we have been changed if we felt we could talk more freely, confidently, and intelligently about why our faith makes sense.

What we need are some basic tools for use in street-level apologetics. After all, faith in Jesus really does make perfect sense, and you don’t need to be a scientist, an historian, an archaeologist, or a philosopher to understand why.

This was the “equipping mission” that pastor and author Joe Coffey took on when he decided to write Smooth Stones: Bringing Down the Giant Questions of Apologetics. He says the book exists for two reasons.

First, too many people think that believing in Christianity means blind faith, against all evidence, the way a child believes in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Second, every few years a new book intended to undermine Christianity becomes a bestseller and shakes the faith of many. Yet the arguments in these books are rarely compelling.

In Smooth Stones, therefore, Joe Coffey gives Christians a simple introduction to the plausibility of Christian faith. He examines six key questions:

  1. Is there a God?
  2. Does science disprove God’s existence?
  3. Is the Bible authentic and true?
  4. Why is there evil and suffering?
  5. Aren’t all religions the same?
  6. Is Jesus for real?

Joe acknowledges that the most important thing is to be able to discuss the “fruit” part of our experience, because that’s where the core of our faith lies. But most of us are especially weak the on the “makes sense” part. Again, why are we weak? Most often, it probably comes down to the fact that we don’t feel equipped to say anything intelligent—so we say nothing, for fear that our bumbling will just make things worse.

Smooth Stones can unmuzzle you to start to speak freely about your faith with confidence and clarity. Click here to read the Introduction and all of Chapter 3: “Is the Bible Reliable and True?”

Smooth Stones; Bringing Down the Giant Questions of Apologetics, by Joe Coffey

 

 

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(This article was adapted from one that originally appeared on challies.com.)

The Freedom of Personal Delights

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The Freedom of Personal Delights

The atoning work of the Son of God gives God’s adopted children great freedom: we come alive to God’s lavish love through a new legal status as adopted sons and daughters of the living God. But through adoption, we also receive personal delights that propel us forward into a missional way of life.

The Freedom to Delight in Subjective Wonder

Our objective status as adopted children should lead us to subjective (experiential) wonder, as we saturate ourselves and marinate in these great truths of how much God loves us. Our legal rights are intended to become personal delights. Adoption is not just a great doctrine to be intellectually understood as a part of good systematic theology. It’s meant to rock our world, to move us to “palm up” adoration and worship of such a God who would love such a people like you and me. The objective reality of our adoption should generate within us an unspeakable joy—one that brings much glory to God.

Paul shows us what this looks like in Ephesians 3:14-19. In this text we discover how adoption brings us into a process of being re-parented by the only perfect Father. In the original Greek, the passage begins like this, “For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom all Fatherhood derives its name.” Paul literally says that adoption is critical because there is only one Father who can deconstruct every earthly illusion about fatherhood. No human father can ever fill the Abba-shaped vacuum in our heart. And no human father can ever abuse, ignore, abandon, or wound us so badly that we cannot become alive and healthy through relationship with God as our Father. There is only one perfect Father, and we get to know him only through the gospel of his grace.[Tweet “Divine adoption yields personal delights that propel us into missional living. (@ScottyWardSmith)”]

Sigmund Freud said we created the notion of “father” and projected it upon God, but Paul says exactly the opposite, that the very category of “father” comes from God to us. Our heavenly Father is the Father from whom all Fatherhood derives its meaning. And this Father loves us so much that he has given us his only begotten Son to make us his adopted sons and daughters.

As Paul pondered the greatness of our Father and the glories of our adoption in Christ, he broke into a prayer in which he asked God to give us the power we need to experience the multi-dimensional love we have been given in Jesus—a love, Paul says, that is so great it surpasses knowledge. Even throughout eternity we will never exhaust our knowledge of God’s love, and yet we are called to grow in our experience of this love on a daily basis. As we come alive to the Father who loves as no other father does, we are re-parented into that knowledge.[Tweet “Freud: we created “father” and projected it on God. Paul: that’s backwards! (@ScottyWardSmith)”]

The Freedom to Delight in Gospel Transformation

Indeed, adoption grants us the freedom to come more and more alive to our Father’s lavish love. But this is no mere selfish experience or religious high. God’s love is a transforming love. Consider 1 John 3:1-3, where the apostle John positions himself like Paul, with astonishment, and bids us join in his astonishment:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

We must read these words with a certain degree of humble incredulity, because who could be more unlikely to be called the children of God but you and me? But that’s just the point: we are declared to be God’s children legally. It’s something God has done for us in full view of our ill-deserving condition. But now, as we come alive to the radical implications of our adoption, we begin to live a whole new life. Such lavish love propels us into godly living. The indicatives of our adoption lead to the imperatives of transformation. Only the gospel gives us the motivation and power to please God from the heart—to offer our Father the obedience of faith and love. Only gospel astonishment will lead to gospel transformation.[Tweet “Christians are the only people who don’t have to pretend about anything. (@ScottyWardSmith)”]

The Freedom to Delight in Safe Vulnerability

Lastly, we consider a freedom that binds all these personal delights of adoption together: the freedom of never having to pose or pretend about anything before God. We are given the freedom of crying “Abba, Father” in our brokenness, our joy, our sadness, our suffering, our prodigality, our elder-brother self-righteousness. Christians are the only people on the planet who do not have to pretend about anything.

Even when we violate our peace with God through selfishness, we have freedom to cry out to him, to crawl into his lap, to be made whole. This is why we must continually preach the gospel to our hearts and to one another. Only in the assurance of God’s love for us as Abba will we surrender all the chaos, weariness, brokenness, and longings of our hearts to him.


An excerpt from Chapter 6, “The Freedom of Adoption,” by Scotty Smith, in Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, Dan Cruver, Editor.

Reclaiming Adoption; Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, by Dan Cruver

Anchored in Grace: Help us choose the book cover

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by Kevin

The cover contest is now closed, but you’re still welcome to comment. We ended up choosing C, and we really appreciate everyone’s opinion. Wish we could make all of you happy… Congrats to Barry Standley for winning two free ebooks!

Jeremy Walker is a blogger with Reformation 21, a pastor in West Sussex, England, and a writer who has clearly marinated his heart and soul in Scripture and the works of the Puritans. He has also written a wonderful little book for us that together we have decided to call Anchored in Grace: Fixed Truths for Humble Faith. It’s coming out in June (there was supposed to be a May book but getting this website in shape threw us off track a little), and we could use your help finalizing the cover.

Here are the three leading candidates, in quick mockup form, using watermarked (no pun intended) images.

These images may seem small, but the fact is that with the prevalence of online retailing, if a cover doesn’t work at 2 inches high it doesn’t work at all. So, which one do you think we should go with, and why? Please leave your comments and your vote. We may not end up choosing the cover that gets the most votes, but we are very interested in your thoughts. Also, after a couple of days we will pick one of you at random and offer you your choice of any two ebook titles, in either Mobipocket (Kindle), EPUB (iOS), or PDF.[Tweet “Help pick the cover for @Reformation21 blogger Jeremy Walker’s book. Might win 2 other books!”]

While you’re here, you might like to get a sense of what this book will be like. So feel free to take a look at the draft introduction below, complete with British spellings (for now). Or visit the book page, where you can also preorder.

Click read the draft Introduction

INTRODUCTION

In his great treatment of spiritual warfare, The Christian in Complete Armour, the Puritan author William Gurnall speaks of what he calls “catechize-points.” These, he says, are “truths necessary to be known and believed.”[i] The truths upon which I wish to focus in this short book provide us with a stunning display of grace. They are truths which with Christians need to be thoroughly acquainted, truths with which pastors must thoroughly acquaint the people whom they serve. These are the paths to walk so that you do not miss your way to heaven, nor fail to honour the Lord God along the way. These are the anchor points of the faith that mature Christians need to point out to the generations following us. These are spiritual realities to reckon with. These are the gospel verities that must be defended against the errors and heresies that repeatedly threaten to undermine or overwhelm them, either by force or by fraud.

These are central truths. They cannot be pushed to one side or downplayed without restricting our views of God and twisting our views of self. They are determinative, in large measure, for our views of Christian experience, life, duty and joy. They help to define our gospel witness as the church of Jesus Christ. Get these wrong and so much else will be immediately and persistently skewed.

These are humbling truths. They strip away all the boasting to which proud and rebellious man is inclined. With searing honesty they make us face the facts about our own sinful hearts, our spiritual need and our utter dependence on the mercies and favours of God acting freely and graciously in accordance with all his glorious character and infinite being. They are truths that necessarily empty us of self before they fill us with Christ.

These are saving truths. These things are the ground of our hope. Fail to reckon with these things, and there is no deliverance for our souls and bodies. Again, there is a holy progression and a divine logic at work. Like a sick man, we must acknowledge the disease and accept the diagnosis in order to pursue the physician and obtain the medicine. With regard to our souls, we will not flee to Christ as Saviour until we are brought to acknowledge the salvation that we need as found in him alone. Then, and only then, do we run to him and hide ourselves in him and find all our joy.

These are comforting truths. Here the soul—however stained or troubled in itself, however weak and feeble we know ourselves to be or fear ourselves to be, whatever challenges and obstacles we face, whatever trials and temptations lie before us—finds all that it will ever need. Here and here only we can rest in peace.

Finally, these are God-glorifying truths. They exalt God in Christ, they make much of him, they draw attention to his person and they shed light upon his work. Here his being and his doing are made manifest. Nowhere outside of salvation through the Lamb do we find such a high and clear revelation of who God is and what God is like. Here the glory of God shines in his grace as nowhere else, prompting lives of earnest service and songs of ardent praise.

My intention is simply to survey some of these fundamental truths—God’s display of his grace—in order that we might feel their sweet force for ourselves. In each instance, I will take what might be called an ‘epitomising text’—a short portion of God’s Word which encapsulates something of the truth in question. I hope to demonstrate that it is by no means the only Scripture that proves the point, and so to bring to bear something of the whole counsel of God upon the matter. My great concern is both to explain and to apply these truths. My intention is not first to be polemical, but I trust that as we see these truths springing from the pages of our Bibles it will be persuasive, to direct us and confirm us and encourage us in the things that God has made known. We must see that these are not dead letters, but spiritual realities that ought to grip our souls and govern our thoughts and deeds.

In so doing, I trust we shall be instructed, humbled, saved and comforted, and bring glory and honour to the God of our salvation as he holds before us in his word a display of his grace in Christ Jesus, his Son and our Saviour.

[i] William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, 166.

[Tweet “”Fail to reckon with these things,” says Jeremy Walker, “and there is no deliverance for our souls and bodies.””]

 

The Return of Cruciform Press

The return of Cruciform Press (1)

by Kevin, Tim, and Bob

Welcome to our all-new website and the “return” of Cruciform Press!

No, we never actually went away, but having put up with our original site for much longer than we wanted, we are thrilled to finally offer you a clean and simple e-commerce experience, great new book-display pages, several exciting subscription options, and various other goodies…including this blog.

So here we are, five and a half years after launching with just two books: Sexual Detox, by Tim Challies; and Wrestling with an Angel, by Greg Lucas. Today we offer 37 titles, with five more slated to be released by the end of the year. Every one of them is explicitly gospel-centered, easy to read, and weighing in at right around 100 pages.

We insist on keeping our books short, clear, and to the point for a couple of reasons.

  • First, the internet has made us all accustomed to reading more, but at the same time we’ve been trained to want things quick, fast, bite-size. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but neither is it going to change anytime soon. We decided to accept that reality and give people the theological truth they need in small, inspiring, accessible packages.
  • The second reason is partially related to the first: Even when you love reading books, most of us are so busy (with ministry, church, school, work, marriage, family, or all of the above) that it seems like we don’t have much opportunity. At the same time, many of the best Christian titles, whether from a few years or a few centuries ago, can be long and often repetitive, making it hard to commit to plowing through them.

That’s why we’re all about consistency. If a book is from us, you can be sure it’s not only the same dimensions and price as all the others, it’s also right around 100 pages in length and featuring solid, gospel-focused theology in writing that we strive to make accessible to everyday people. And just so it’s super-easy for you to get good material on a regular basis, we offer subscriptions that deliver you six books a year for the lowest possible price.

It comes down to this: with Cruciform, you can keep growing and deepening your faith and your understanding of the gospel with minimal expense and in small chunks of time, efficiently used.[Tweet “Cruciform Press is “back” with an all-new website and some great features!”]

So while you’re here, please take a look around. Get to know the great features and options we’ve made available for you on this website, and consider signing up for the newsletter or taking advantage of one of our subscription offerings.

Thanks for helping us celebrate the return of Cruciform Press!