"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

The purpose of is to provide the worldwide Reformed community with a recommended list of books which we believe deserve the distinction of being best in category. This is an ongoing project which will continue to be improved over time. Our goal is to honor Christ by equipping Christians in the truth by pointing you to the finest classic and contemporary resources of historical Reformed orthodoxy. We do this prayerfully in the hope that the church will embrace, and recover a Christ-centered gospel and the true Biblical doctrines of the historic faith. Under each category you you will find 3-5 representative books of high quality that we believe most accurately displays the intent of the Scripture. We welcome suggestions and comments. A ministry of

August 29, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (21 -- The Passover)

And I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and I will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from man to beast; and I will perform judgments upon all the gods of Egypt: I am Yahweh. And the blood shall be for a sign to you, upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall be no plague upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be a memorial for you, and you shall observe it as a feast, a feast to Yahweh, throughout your generations, as an everlasting statute you shall observe it. – Exodus 12:12-14

The course of history has been arranged by the minute sovereignty of God to no other end than the accomplishment of the great redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. This is the center of all worlds, that which binds everything together in a unified whole, the heart and life of the great self-revelation of the diversely glorious God which he designed creation and history to be. So it is that the great climax of history was the Son of God's taking on human flesh to display the glory of the godhead in all its brilliance; and the pinnacle of that climactic act was the cross of Calvary, where every various perfection of God was displayed in the full and infinite magnitude of its splendor. Much in the same way, the economy of the Old Testament, during which time God was pleased to prepare for and foreshadow this great pinnacle of history through the typology of his chosen people Israel, was brought to a corresponding climax in the redemption from Egypt; and the pinnacle of that climactic redemption was the passover feast. If we would see the very reason for all existence painted before us in concrete images and splendid colors, if we would look upon the nature of God graphically displayed in all its economical fullness, then we can do no better than to look here. To understand the one message here displayed is to be a true Christian, a scholar in the heavenly wisdom, an immovably grounded divine. To miss this one message is to be a blind and hardened pagan under the eternal and fiery judgment of God. Father of Lights, send us your Spirit that we might look upon our Passover Lamb and find eternal life and joy in him!

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (21 -- The Passover)" »

August 29, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

The truth of the gospel

This coming weekend, God willing, I will be preaching at the three weekend services at a large reformed Church in Tucson, Arizona called Faith Community Church. I normally would seek to exegete one main Bible passage but this time I will endeavor to preach a topical sermon on the theme of "the truth of the Gospel." It is the custom in this Church to provide extensive sermon notes for those in the pew so that they can follow along the pastor's/preacher's sermon outline and have it to take home with them. Because of this I have been asked to send these notes ahead of time in an e-mail so that they might make copies and have them ready for the people. It's after midnight now on Friday morning and I have finally finished writing out these notes. The thought ocurred to me that if I post these notes here, perhaps those who read them may be encouraged afresh to stand for gospel truth in our day. Please bear in mind that although these notes may seem full, this is still just a skeleton outline of the sermon. I am trusting God to provide meat on the bones, so to speak, as He feeds His people when the word of God is proclaimed. I would very much value your prayers in this regard. God bless you - Rev. John Samson


We live in a relativistic age when the very idea of truth and certainty is denied. We constantly hear “there are no absolutes!!!” – except of course that this itself is an absolute statement.. It is considered the height of arrogance and pride to say “I know the truth” about something. It is far more palatable to modern tastes to suggest merely that truth is mysterious and that none amongst us can be certain of anything. This seems far more humble, at least on the surface anyway.. and on a human level, it certainly helps us all get along to say “you have your truth, I have mine – and what is true for you may not be true for me, but I certainly respect your truth…” But there’s a big problem with this when we consider that God Himself, Truth personified, has claimed to reveal Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ and in His Word, the Bible. This speaks of truth that is true, whether or not we believe it, or as Dr. Francis Schaefer called it, "true truth."

Continue reading "The truth of the gospel" »

August 29, 2008  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink

What's Wrong With This Picture?

I have read in several places that Emerging Churches are those that define themselves as:
1. Who take the life of Jesus as a model way to live
2. Who transform the secular realm
3. As they live highly communal lives.
Because of these three activities, emerging churches
4. Welcome those who are outside
5. Share generously
6. Participate
7. Create
8. Lead without control and
9. Function together in spiritual activities.
Boiling it down to one sentence: Emerging Churches are...communities who practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures.

Comment: While on the surface many of these answers may seem commendable but please notice that the central theme of all of the above are not about what Christ has done for us, but what we do for him. Sadly we find this type of graceless moralism throughout their writings, not as peripheral but (unfortunately) as the centerpiece of their faith. Jesus is here portrayed as Lord but not Savior.

August 28, 2008  |  Comments (4)   |  Permalink

Monergism Relaunches Improved MP3 Library

Monergism MP3 Library
August 28, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Amazing artist at work...

If you want to be amazed, in under 3 minutes....

August 26, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (20 -- The Ten Plagues)

And Yahweh said unto Moses, “See, I have made you a god unto Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and Aaron your brother shall speak unto Pharaoh to send away the children of Israel from his land. And I will harden the heart of Pharaoh, and I will multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt; and Pharaoh will not listen unto you. And I will place my hand upon Egypt, and I will bring my hosts, my people, the children of Israel, out from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. And Egypt shall know that I am Yahweh, when I stretch forth my hand against Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from their midst.” – Exodus 7:1-5

When we look to our God and Savior, with a heart of faith and eyes that have been opened by his Holy Spirit, we must be struck immediately and overwhelmingly with a sense of the diversity and excellence of his character, which joins together every trait that could be desired or admired, no matter how different one might be from another, in a manner that admits of no internal contradiction, but in such a glorious fashion that every delightful property most brilliantly complements and enhances the others around it, so that the peculiar wonder of each lovely quality is displayed in a striking and perfectly proportioned splendor. This we see in all its inexhaustible wealth in the shining face of Jesus Christ, who is at once the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (see Revelation 5:5-6); and of all the Old Testament images of the Christ, there are few that show forth this diverse excellence more abundantly than the operations of Yahweh in his bringing the children of Israel out from their bondage in the land of Egypt. In that event, we see the meek and lowly servant of the Lord, Moses, who had no brilliant oratorical ability or comely form to commend him to the people, taking on the role of God for Pharaoh and for the people of Israel. Thus Christ became a lowly and humble man, despised above all, in order to bring the true nature of the Godhead both to his people, that he might save them, and his enemies, that he might destroy them. But also, in this event, we see the dreadful Angel of the Lord passing through the land with a terrible fury, and judging all the firstborn of the people, save those who are covered with the blood of the Passover Lamb; and this Angel is also Christ, sent by the Father to judge the world (John 5:22-23; Acts 17:31); and so is the Passover Lamb, whose blood saves God's people from his own wrath, an evident type of Christ. And so, in a very diverse manner, we have a picture of a very diverse Christ, who would go about through very diverse methods to redeem his people: he is a lowly man speaking the word of God in the world and confirming his messages with signs and wonders; he is the righteous Judge, exacting vengeance on all who have opposed him; he is the innocent Lamb, giving up his life freely in exchange for the lives of his people; he is the Savior who delivers his own people while destroying their enemies; and his power is ever shown in his lowliness and humility: for his greatest deliverance of all, being a deliverance not just from Pharaoh or from the Serpent he typified, but from his own implacable and boundless wrath, was wrought by his humblest and lowliest act of all, in offering up his body as an atoning sacrifice for his people. Ah, what a Savior this is! Let us now examine the account in more detail.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (20 -- The Ten Plagues)" »

August 22, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Great is the Lord...

Let your soul feast and meditate on the greatness of the Lord as you watch this short video put together by Bob Kauflin and featured at his Worship God Conference:

August 22, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Young, Restless, Reformed (Book Review)

An interesting review of the book Young, Restless, Reformed can be found here .

Opening quote - "Colin Hansen, an editor for Christianity Today, makes this observation (with a little hyperbole): your average Evangelical American high school student is in a youth group that emphasizes games, down plays preaching, and as a result the student does not even know the basics of the Gospel — much less the difference between justification and sanctification. But, your average American-Evangelical 22-year-old is probably a foaming-at-the-mouth Calvinist, a John Piper “fiend,” and would love to stay up all night arguing about the difference between justification and sanctification. What in the world happens to these kids between ages 18 and 22? Young, Restless, Reformed is Hansen’s attempt to answer that question." - Jesse Johnson

August 19, 2008  |  Comments (3)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (19 -- The Call of Moses)

And God said unto Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”. And he said, thus shall you say to the children of Israel, “I AM sent me unto you”. – Exodus 3:14

The deliverance of the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt would become the greatest redemptive act of God in all the Old Testament, and so would serve as the great illustration of Israel's peculiar blessedness throughout the rest of her history, and be the act of covenant love which she would remember more ardently than any other, and cling to as an immovable assurance of her future salvation, no matter what trouble she was in (see, for example, Deuteronomy 15:15; Psalm 66:5-6; 74:10-15; 78:13; 105:26-38; 106:7-12; 136:10-15). In fact, it was not until the coming of the Messiah himself that a greater deliverance would be accomplished, which should forevermore eclipse the glory of this one; and so it clearly stands as an unsurpassed type of the final redemptive work of Christ (see Jeremiah 16:14-16). It is therefore most appropriate that the circumstances surrounding this particular event, more especially than almost any other event in the life of Moses, should be filled with glimpses of the coming Savior; and so in fact we find, from the time when Moses was first called out by God to deliver his people from Egypt, that he confirmed and illustrated his calling with many notable and instructive signs, upon which we will now reflect.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (19 -- The Call of Moses)" »

August 15, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

"You Are From Below, I Am From Above"

From his blog at Dr. James White writes:

I was reading John chapter 8 when I encountered these familiar words from Jesus' encounter with the Jews, "And He was saying to them, 'You are from below. I am from above. You are of (from) this world. I am not of (from) this world" (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· ὑμεῖς ἐκ τῶν κάτω ἐστέ, ἐγὼ ἐκ τῶν ἄνω εἰμί· ὑμεῖς ἐκ τούτου τοῦ κόσμου ἐστέ, ἐγὼ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. John 8:23). I was struck once again by a theme I have pointed to many times in my preaching. We are so often used to hearing Jesus speak in the context of His divinity that we often do not "hear" how very strange His words would have sounded in their original context. We know Jesus is the Incarnate Lord, the eternal Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, and so these kinds of words do not amaze us. But we must put ourselves in the context of the Jews standing in the gazofulakion, the treasury room of the Temple. And I think what caused me to especially focus upon this text at this time is my upcoming debates with Muslims.

If you can, put yourself in the original context, and "hear" Jesus speaking. What do you hear? What strikes you? Is there not a clear, strong differentiation between the Lord's view of Himself, His self-understanding, and that of everyone around Him? Are these the words of a man who sees Himself as "one of us" in the sense of origination? Surely not. The "below/above" and "this world/not this world" couplets are meant to communicate Jesus' divine origin very strongly. Jesus is not merely saying, "I am in harmony with God, and hence have a heavenly connection, one that you could have as well, if you only chose to do so." He is not saying, "I am a prophet like many before me." No, He is about to say (v. 24) that His opponents will die in their sins: "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins, for unless you believe that ego eimi, (ἐγώ εἰμι) I am, you will die in your sins." One's eternal destiny, even one's forgiveness of sins, is tied to faith in Christ, and more to the point, faith in what He reveals about Himself. The "I am" saying here (note v. 28, 58, 13:19, 18:5-6) aside from going directly to Yahweh's self-identification in such texts as Isaiah 43:10, flows naturally from the assertion to be "from above" and to be "not of this world."

Isn't it just here that the enemy has been so insistent upon attacking the once-for-all-delivered-to-the-saints-faith? The list of falsehoods concerning the person of Christ propounded down through history (let alone today) is long indeed, but all the heresies of the past and present share this one consistency: they refuse to allow the Scriptures to speak fully in defining Him. The Jews rejected His self-identification in this text as well (8:58-59), and they are followed by the entire Muslim world today. The "Islamic Jesus," though a virgin born worker of miracles, is not divine, but is a "mere rasul, a mere prophet." But what "mere rasul" (إِلَّا رَسُولٌ) speaks to his fellow creatures and says "you are from below, I am from above"? What mere prophet has this kind of self-awareness? Obviously, no sinner can say the words Jesus said, and, of course, this is exactly why Muslims reject the testimony of John, for they, like the Jews of Jesus' day, have a particular traditional understanding of who Jesus can, and cannot, be.

If today you embrace faith in Christ, obey Him as your Lord, love Him as your Savior, and rejoice in the fact that He is the God-Man, let your heart be filled with thanksgiving that He, by His Spirit, has opened your heart to see the very "Lord of Glory" (1 Cor. 2:8).

August 15, 2008  |  Comments (2)   |  Permalink


When it comes to today's Christian music scene, it's quite easy to find much that's shallow, meaningless, man-centered, and just plain wrong. It's a little harder to find theological depth and rock solid truth. That's why I've been very pleased in the past to highlight a growing movement in the medium of hip hop that is characterized by a commitment to biblical truth and the historic, reformed faith -- previously, I've spoken of Lampmode recordings, and specifically of some phenomenal albums by Shai Linne and Timothy Brindle.

Well, recently I came into contact with a sister ministry, called Christcentric. One of Christcentric's artists, Evangel, has a debut album ready to release the twenty-sixth of August, called Expository Journey. Christcentric very graciously sent me a copy ahead of time, so I've been able to preview it.

Continue reading "Christcentric" »

August 14, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Should we say...?

Should we say, "perhaps you should try Jesus as you savior" ...almost with a consumer market oriented mentality? "There are lots of religious options and if you try this particular religious option you might like it." ... No... rather, Jesus is Lord and he will soon be invading with His armies. He is offering pardon in advance of His invasion and should you receive the pardon and ally yourself with Him now before He invades, when He comes you will be considered His ally and He will raise you to Kingship. The alternative is to be under the wrath of the King. It is not some kind of religious option. It an announcement that a new King is on the throne and He'll be invading. The gospel is not an invitation to an array of a buffet style choices, it is a command. Will you heed the command? Jesus is Lord, repent and believe. - William Wilder

August 12, 2008  |  Comments (3)   |  Permalink

Book Review: Resources for Changing Lives Bundle (21 Booklets)

SO, WHAT ARE ALL THESE LITTLE PAMPHLETS, AND ARE THEY WORTH MY TIME? To answer these questions it is first important to understand that many Christians have succumbed to the advisements of pragmatic theology and pop-psychology. Neither of which do more than re-invent or subtly apply the techniques of atheistic psychologists. The humanist is concerned with exalting man instead of glorifying God. His motive is to make the individual feel good without acknowledging the presence of sin. Such practices not only lead to the erosion of true Biblical theology, to the godless pursuit of self over God, but they also fail to address the issues. The student is left in a worse state then when he started. We are glad to say that the New Growth series avoids the dangers and errors of humanism.

These small booklets from New Growth Press provide perspective for those grappling with issues of the heart- for those that we call “real people.” Is there such a thing as a single parent? Do spouses cheat in real life? Can a marriage ever loose its intimacy? What about dealing with difficult people? New Growth has caught on- or seems to understand, that human problems need Biblical solutions. And these small, but impressive little pamphlets are fitted to the task. Whether you need answers for yourself or know others that do, these booklets will come as a welcome word of advice.  Each work begins by entering into the particular struggle of the individual, assuring the reader that the author understands the problem. Sometimes there are cords in life that will be broken and to feel is human, but to act upon feeling is not always wise. New Growth Press encourages the Christian to deal with problems in a way that brings glory to God.

Continue reading "Book Review: Resources for Changing Lives Bundle (21 Booklets) " »

August 08, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (18 -- The Birth of Moses)

And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son; and she called his name Moses, and she said, “Because I drew him out of the water”. – Exodus 2:10

In all the Old Testament scriptures, there is perhaps no more notable and central person than Moses, the giver of the Law, the prophet who spoke with God face-to-face, the author of the Pentateuch, which serves as the foundation of all the bible, and the key figure of all that portion of it which follows Genesis (see Deuteronomy 34:10-12). It is to be expected, then, of so central a character, that his life should especially show forth the coming Messiah, who is in actual fact the central Person, not just of the Pentateuch, but of all the scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments. And indeed we find, that when Moses was about to die, and was giving his final words of exhortation to the Jewish people, just before they crossed over into the land of Canaan, he promised them that God would raise up a prophet like himself, but vastly superior (Deuteronomy 18:15-19); and so he made that very role which most exceptionally marked him as an unsurpassed hero in God's redemptive works to be but a foreshadow of a greater Hero who should come. This prophecy was of course fulfilled in the coming of the Son of God, the eternal Word, who revealed God so much more fully than Moses had, that it could be said of him that he alone brought grace and truth to the people of God (John 1:14-18; see also Hebrews 1:1-4). As we turn to the book of Exodus, therefore, and examine the life of this man Moses, let us be careful to consider what we may learn thereby of the life of Christ, which it anticipates and typologizes.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (18 -- The Birth of Moses)" »

August 08, 2008  |  Comments (0)   |  Permalink

Dr. R. C. Sproul and Mel Duncan Interview

With the September 26, 27, 2008 Ligonier Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in view, Dr. James White used his Dividing Line program yesterday (Thursday, August 7) to interview R.C. Sproul about the gospel (for the first 30 minutes), then Mel Duncan (Dr. J. Ligon Duncan's brother) for the second half hour - a very interesting interchange...

August 08, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

A wonderful witness in the midst of great grief

The ABC news interview of Stephen Curtis Chapman and his family after the loss of their lovely young daughter in a driveway car accident...

August 08, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Images of the Savior (17 -- The Life of Joseph)

And his brothers also came and fell down before him, and said, “Behold, we are your servants”. And Joseph said unto them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? Now, you purposed evil against me, but God purposed it for good, in order to make it as it is today, to preserve the life of many people. And now, do not fear, I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke assuringly to them. – Genesis 50:18-21

Although the promise of the coming of the Messiah, in whom Israel and all the world should be blessed, had devolved upon Judah, of the twelve sons of Jacob, who thereby obtained a very prestigious position of ascendancy over his brothers, as we observed in the last lesson (cf. Genesis 49:8-12); yet, at this time, the possessors of the Messianic blessing had already begun to expand, whereas before they had been ever more restricted with each passing generation: for the promise had been made first to Abraham and his offspring; then to Isaac and his offspring alone, of Abraham's children; then to Jacob and his offspring alone, of Isaac's children; but now, the promise would not be to Judah alone, but through Judah would come the Messiah who would belong to all of Jacob's children alike, and all of them would have some role in preparing the way by which he should come into the world, and in signifying and foreshadowing his advent. The next episodes we encounter in our journey through Genesis serve to confirm this point; for hereafter, the entire book is devoted to an account of the life of Joseph, the eleventh and most beloved son of his father Jacob, whose history would foreshadow the entire earthly ministry of the promised Seed far more exactly and minutely than any other history had done up to this point in time, and more exactly indeed than the life of any other person until the coming of David himself.

Continue reading "Images of the Savior (17 -- The Life of Joseph)" »

August 01, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink

Comfort in the Precious Promises of God

God calls us to such radical obedience to His law that, if we are honest, we should dispair of all hope from ourselves to accomplish what He demands of us (Rom 3:20). Left to ourselves we cannot rise above the source of the fountain of who we are by nature - a poluted well. We, therefore, do not need improvement, but a totally new heart that would desire obedience to our Lord. For all believers this has occurred (past tense). It is the grace of God in Christ that we now have a heart which delights in obedience. Apart from the Holy Spirit we continue in darkness since we are nothing in ourselves, but in Christ take courage and note the glorious promises of God in Ezekiel:

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel. - Ezekiel 36:25-32

Continue reading "Comfort in the Precious Promises of God" »

August 01, 2008  |  Comments (1)   |  Permalink