Book Notice – The Advent of Evangelicalism

June 26, 2008

I have been informed by Kenneth Stewart, co-editor of this book, that it will now be more readily available in North America. I had previously ordered my copy from IVP-UK (actually and still have not received it!) as I was unsure when it would be available here. Well, here it is straight from B&H Publishing! The following is from the website:

David Bebbington’s 1989 book, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s, offered an interesting hypothesis regarding the genesis of that movement. He argued that evangelical religion had emerged as a substantially new entity through trans-Atlantic evangelical revival in the 1730s and had taken a collaborative rather than contradictory stance towards the Enlightenment. In both respects, Bebbington distanced himself from older interpretations that held the opposite view.

Now, after nearly two decades, the ‘Bebbington thesis’ has gained very wide international acceptance, and a review of its central arguments and implica- tions is presented in The Advent of Evangelicalism. In this stimulating volume, numerous scholars from arts and theology faculties on both sides of the Atlantic—representing several countries, and united by an admiration of Bebbington’s work—take up various aspects of his 1989 volume and offer re-assessments. David Bebbington himself offers a substantial response.

You can purchase it here from B&H.

Book Notice – From Scotland to Canada: The Life of Pioneer Missionary Alexander Stewart

June 10, 2008

From Scotland to Canada: The Life of Pioneer Missionary Alexander Stewart
By Glenn Tomlinson

Foreword by Donald E. Meek
Afterword by Michael A.G. Haykin

Available from Joshua Press June 2008 here.

Alexander Stewart was converted to Christ during the dramatic revival in Moulin, in the Highlands of Scotland, in 1799. This revival fuelled a strong outpouring of missionary activity and church planting throughout Scotland. Stewart felt the call of God on his life and attended Robert Haldane’s Theological Seminary, following this with years of evangelism and church planting in Perthshire.

In 1818 Alexander and his wife, Janet, with their young family, emigrated to Upper Canada—the New World was opening up and many Scots were taking advantage of the promise of free land, employment opportunities and the excitement of a frontier life. Alexander saw it as an opportunity to bring gospel light to the settlers and new immigrants, as well as a place to raise his family. They eventually settled in York (now Toronto) and established the first Baptist church there. Stewart’s church planting and preaching ministry also extended to the surrounding townships of Esquesing, Chinguacousy and Eramosa.

Alexander Stewart’s story is one of persistent zeal for the extension of God’s kingdom and a fervent desire to do what he could to bring the gospel to a young country. Glenn Tomlinson has extensively mined the archives and resources from this time in Scottish and Canadian history to bring us this compelling story of a man determined to establish centres for the gospel in Scotland and Canada.

About the author… Glenn Tomlinson was born in Toronto, Ontario and raised in a godly Christian home, coming to faith in Christ at an early age. A graduate of the University of Toronto in Commerce and Economics, he worked in the financial services industry for fifteen years. During this time he also served in leadership roles at Jarvis Street Baptist Church, Metropolitan Baptist Church and Port Perry Baptist Church, all in the greater Toronto area. Recognizing God’s call on his life, he entered vocational ministry in the summer of 2005, taking up the position of pastor at Sovereign Grace Community Church, Sarnia, Ontario. He was ordained in 2007. Glenn is a student of church history and has written articles for The Gospel Witness and co-edited From strength to strength: a pictorial history of Jarvis Street Baptist Church. He is married to Sonja and they have four children.

My Summer Reading List

June 9, 2008

Instead of posting summer readings lists like Al Mohler (here and here) and C. J. Mahaney (here) I am simply posting my own personal reading list. Not that I don’t find what is on their lists interesting (except I’m not a sports nut and therefore half of Mahaney’s list does not apply to me) but I thought I would simply share my reading plans. Some are currently in process, others I will begin shortly. I have 3 weeks on the beach in Florida this August and plan to read until my heart’s content! Thankfully I also have a fiance who loves to read!

1. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick.

I picked this up at O’Hare while i was waiting for a flight. I had heard it was excellent. It is incredibly engaging while seemingly very accurate and fair theologically. If you have an interest in the Pilgrims, the founding of America, and such, you will enjoy this book!

2. Assist me to Proclaim: The Life and Hymns of Charles Wesley by John R. Tyson.

Charles Wesley, the lesser known brother of John Wesley, lived a fascinating and God fearing life. His hymns reflect a really godly evangelical piety and have much to teach us today. When often we are abandoning some real excellent hymns of the faith today we should study the life and hymns of this great saint!

3. For Us and Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church by Stephen J. Nichols.

Evangelicals seem deathly afraid of the Church Fathers. Stephen Nichols here, who is amazing at making complex historical and theological issues simple, shows the need to study the Early Church. He focuses on the debates regarding the doctrine of Christ and how important it is for us to study these things out amongst the issues we face today!

4. Water from a Deep Well: Christian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries by Gerald L. Sittser.

I have developed a love of the history of Christian spirituality from my friend Michael Hayking. Sittser’s book does an excellent job of engagingly describing the spirituality of the various epochs in church history. We have much to learn from those who went before us!

5. The Emergence of Evangelicalism: Exploring Historical Continuities edited by Michael A. G. Haykin and Kenneth J. Stewart

David Bebbington with his quadrilateral approach to understanding Evangelicalism has clearly had an immense impact on history of Evangelicalism. Haykin and Stewart and other writers interact with Bebbington’s hypothesis about the origin of Evangelicalism and Bebbington replies. Looks to be an excellent volume but sorry folks, only available in the UK right now!

6. Cromwell by Antonia Fraser

Fraser, an excellent biographer, provides for us an in-depth look at the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. While she is fairly pro-Cromwell she does not cover over his faults nor does she vilify him like others do. She presents a fair assessment of his life and influence. A must read to understand this crucial point in British history and where Protestant’s ruled Britannia!

7. Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching in Honor of R. Kent Hughes edited by Leland Ryken and Todd Wilson

Hughes was an important pulpiteer that is worthy to be honoured for his work for Christ and His church. With essays by Wayne Grudem, John Macarthur, J. I. Packer, Duane Litfin, D. A. Carson, Philip Ryken and others, this is a must have book for preachers this summer!

8. Cornelius Van Til: Reformed Apologist and Churchman by John R. Muether

Van Til, best known as the developer of Presupositional apologetics was a giant amongst men. His understanding of the Word, theology, philosophy was unparalleled. Yet, he was not an ivory tower theologian, but put his theology into practice as a dedicated churchman. If you are unsure of the life or thought of this man, pick up this biography to shed some much needed light!

9. In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement by J. I. Packer and Mark Dever

Packer and Dever amongst any have a singular understanding of the importance of a correct view of the atonement especially as it is manifested in the penal substitutionary approach. This is mandatory reading for all pastors, church leaders, and laypeople to better appreciate the work of Christ on our behalf!

10. Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society through Christian Education by David S. Dockery

David Dockery is one of the leading minds in the SBC and as President of Union University he is qualified to write about Christian Education. Anyone who cares about Christian Higher Education should read this book. J. I. Packer says, “This is in every way a landmark book!”

Which Baptist History Text?

April 15, 2008

Which Baptist History text would you use to teach your people or your students the tradition of our forefathers and foremothers? When my former boss Michael Haykin was picking his text to use for his Baptist History class at SBTS this semester we had a brief discussion about what was the best Baptist History textbook. Is McBeth too long? Is Torbet too short? Is Oliver too specific?

What are your thoughts? This obviously presumes you would have your students reading primary source material, but what would you have them read when it comes to secondary material? What do you feel is the best Baptist History textbook?

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies

February 21, 2008

Greetings bloggers! For your enjoyment, here is a review of Tim Challies new book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, from Crossway done by my father, Allen Mickle, Sr. My father is an M.Div. graduate from Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently searching for a ministry position. Below now then is his excellent review of this book by Challies.


One of the legacies of twentieth century Evangelical Christianity has been its loss of biblical knowledge. This loss of biblical knowledge has left Christians susceptible to every kind of deception that blows their way resulting in a plethora of counterfeit doctrines. These counterfeit doctrines, like counterfeit money, appear real at first glance. In order to expose them as false, Christians need to discern truth from falsehood, and the way to do this is by practicing spiritual discernment. Spiritual discernment is the skill of thinking biblically about life.

Believing that spiritual discernment is a skill that Christians should seek, Tim Challies, one of the most widely read Christian bloggers has written a book on this discipline. Although the subject is theological, it is written for the average person in the pew. The book is clear and simple to understand, teaching how to discern error rather than just compiling lists of dos and don’ts.

Challies begins his book by showing the reader the need to develop spiritual discernment and the folly of ignoring it. He discusses the challenges of being a discerning Christian in this day and age. Those who discern truth from error face great opposition from satanic forces and cultural influences. In chapter three, he defines spiritual discernment as the skill of understanding God’s Word with the purpose of separating truth from error. Challies teaches that Christians, empowered by the Spirit, are to strive to understand what is pleasing to God, through the Bible and then apply it to their lives. Once Challies has defined discernment he has the reader focus on its use. Spiritual discernment should be used to test everything associated with the Christian’s life, but its primary focus should be on what God teaches about Himself and how He calls us to live. Knowing God and His will for our lives will lead us to think right about Him and to avoid having a heart that is focused on the world. Discerning the will of God through His revealed Word should give us delight as we apply it to our lives.

In chapter seven, Challies discusses how spiritual discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit that brings unity to the church as it is used in serving other Christians. While every Christian should strive to discern truth from error, some have been gifted specifically in this area and they should be using this gift in their local church to watch out for false doctrines that continually bombard its members. But Challies also warns his readers about the pitfalls of practicing discernment. It must be practiced with the proper motives and not become a tool of self glorification. It must not be wielded as a method of putting others down, but for the good of all Christians in love. The book finishes by describing the character of a believer who wishes to be discerning, and concludes with a step by step process that leads the reader through the practice of spiritual discernment.

Tim Challies has written an excellent book on a topic that has little written about it today. The evangelical church is rife with false doctrine, and this book fills a need in teaching Christians how to discern truth from error. The book is a must for every Christian to read and would make a great study for a Sunday School class or Bible study.

Culture Shift by Al Mohler

January 21, 2008


Rarely do I pick up a non-fiction book and cannot put it down. Yet, when I picked up Al Mohler’s new book, Culture Shift, I could not put it down until I was done reading it. Granted, the book is really a brief introduction to Christianity’s influence on practical cultural issues (only 160 pages) but it was not the low amount of pages that made it a must-read, it was rather the content that was life changing for me.

Mohler, one of the greatest minds in the Evangelical church today, is President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. And while this may be his first book, it is hardly his first foray into writing. Amongst a plethora of articles and chapters for books, Mohler has an almost daily blog that deals with many cultural issues and how Christians are to respond. In fact, many of these chapters in his book, Culture Shift, were originally written for his blog. But, even if you have read these before, you must read them again.

We as Christians, Mohler notes, often take two approaches to our involvement with culture. Some take the extreme of non-involvment. For instance, hard lined Classical Dispensationalists may argue that we as Christians have no real responsibility to transform culture at all apart from the proclamation of the Gospel. Whereas, on the other side liberal theology becomes so involved with transforming culture that they neglect the actual mission of the church; evangelism.

So, the first thing that Mohler does in his book is articulate issues of culture, engagement, and the Christian’s responsibility to culture. The first five chapters then seek to introduce these issues, and defend a Christian’s engagement and involvement in culture and to denounce the concept of a purely secular culture. Mohler then begins to engage various issues with logical clarity, an unparalleled knowledge of society’s best writers, and an unfailing adherence to the Scriptures.

Mohler discusses areas of offence, the role of the Supreme Court on religion, terrorism, public schools, the God gene, parenting, dishonesty, abortion, natural disasters and God’s sovereighty, nuclear war, and racism. In each chapter Mohler surveys the writings of some of America’s greatest writers, praising them where they are correct, criticizing them where they are wrong. He clearly interacts with the issues and then responds with Scripture where it applies. While these are not in-depth critiques of cultural issues, they are tantalizing surveys of the issues. I found myself many times thinking I needed to read the book Mohler was talking about in a particular chapter.

You may not agree with Mohler on every issue. For instance, on the use of torture especially in terrorism cases I am not sure I agree with a blanket ban on the use of torture as in the McCain amendment. But I am willing to be persuaded by further study. On the other hand, I think Mohler is right on with the issues of our coddling of our children, the maintaining of both God’s sovereignty and His benevolence when we talk about national disasters, and the renewed effort we need to make in the pro-life movement.

Overall, I found Mohler’s book challenging and enlightening. It really challenged my thinking as to my involvement in culture and my role as a member of the body of Christ in transforming culture for Christ. Every Christian should read Mohler’s book. They should devour it in one sitting and then sit down and chew over every issue. This book will challenge you and spur you on to further study of the issues. Overall, it will challenge you to truly live as a light for Christ in a dark world. Mohler has hit a home run with this book and I hope he continues writing more on this subject as it is desperately needed in the church today. Cannot be more highly recommended.

Now Available!

January 1, 2008


The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies is now available from Crossway books. Check it out here. This book should prove to be very fantastic. Tim is one the most widely read blogger out there in Evangelical circles and is a Torontonian to boot! You can check out his blog here. You can see reviews of the book here on Tim’s site. I pre-ordered a signed copy from Tim and cannot wait to get it in my hands and read it! I think it will prove to be in the top 10 of many people’s Top Books of 2008 lists even though technically it was from 2007. So, if you care about growing in your spirituality then get Tim’s book now and read it this holiday season!