Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Review - Christ Formed in You (Part I)

A number of things draw me towards a newly published book. First, there are some publishers that I have come to trust, so when they release a new title, I am naturally drawn to find out more about it (the current book is by Shepherd’s Press, one of these publishers). Then there is the topic: Christ Formed in You – The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change. That’s a great topic…there is lot out there on spiritual formation that is, at best, less than helpful. Good topics on this central theme – the power of the gospel to transform us into the image of Christ – are a treasure. There is also the author. In this case I had heard nothing about Brian Hedges, but he has a blog (Light and Heat: Meditations on Pursuing God with Both Mind and Heart), where I found many helpful posts, and saw from his blogroll that we would probably share a lot of the same theological leanings. Finally, I look for endorsements, and Paul Tripp (“This is a Gospel primer I will recommend again and again”) and Kris Lundgaard (whose own The Enemy Within I found particularly helpful) confirmed that I would want to read this title.

When I first pick up a book I look for another couple of things. I read the forward (here from Don Whitney, who lays out the importance of the theme, for the knowledge of true saving faith, the effectiveness of our evangelism, and most importantly, the closeness of our walk with Christ – “those who know the gospel best are most likely to become closest to Christ and most like Christ.”) I then scan the table of contents, and I love the flow – The Foundation of Personal Change (the Goal, the Gospel, Justification, the Hearth, Sanctification), The Pattern of Personal Change (Holiness, Mortification, Vivification – who wouldn’t want to read a book that uses words like vivification!, Motivation), and The means of Personal Change (Disciplines, Suffering, Community). Finally, I glance over the whole book (more in the next few posts), and scan the endnotes (wish they were footnotes, but can’t have everything). In the endnotes I found a lot of authors I have personally profited from, particularly writers like Sinclair Ferguson, Lloyd Jones, Sproul, Carson, MacArthur, Powlison, Ryle, Owen, Packer, Stott and several other, confirming that this was a book to look forward to.

Enough for just now. I’m really looking forward to reading the book, and will write more over the next week…hoping it lives up to expectations!

Note: I am reviewing this from a PDF version provided by the author, Brian Hedges


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