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Recommended Books

Last updated: 4/28/12 (look for the New graphic below)

Below are books on various topics I have found useful. If still in print, you can order them online from Amazon.com or other sources by clicking on the title.

You can also visit the Executable Bookstore.

Lifelong Zeal: How To Build Lasting Passion For God New
Phillip Shumake, CreateSpace, 2012, 114 pages
In Titus 2:14 God calls every Christian to become "...a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." But how can Christians develop the kind of zeal that really lasts? It's not by following contemporary trends or focusing only on positive topics. The real key is putting God's plan into action. Lifelong Zeal is a workbook to help Christians ignite a lasting passion for God based on the step-by step process Jesus used with Peter and His other disciples.

Baptism: A Biblical Study
Jack Cottrell, College Press Publishing Co., 1989, 171 pages
If you believe that baptism is a work of man done to earn or merit salvation, or that it is simply a public confession of an inward profession of faith that only symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you need to read this book! By carefully examining twelve major texts that address baptism in the New Testament, Jack Cottrell demonstrates baptism is not work of man, but a working of God, at which moment God saves the penitent believer by the blood of Christ and working of the Holy Spirit. Baptism saves, not by the works of law, but through God's working of grace in us!

Baptism In The New Testament
George R. Beasley-Murray, William B. Eerdmans, 1994, 432 pages
This is an excellent treatment of the subject, by one of the foremost scholars among the Baptist denomination. He readily admits that his conclusions run counter to the views held by those in his own denomination.

Baptism And The Remission Of Sins
David Fletcher, ed., College Press, 1993, 400 pages
This collection of articles surveys throughout church history the view that baptism is for the remission of sins. It also discusses controversies surrounding "re-baptism."

Basic Bible Studies
Robert F. Harkrider, Norris Book Company
Looking for indepth Bible study workbooks for class or personal use? How about video Bible studies and related correspondence courses? Then check out this material! Topical studies on the family, the church, and the Bible. Textual studies on both Old and New Testament books. A commentary on the Book of Revelation. It was my privilege to work together with Robert Harkrider for six years at the South Bumby church in Orlando where he continues to serve as both an elder and evangelist. I am honored to consider him a dear friend and brother in Christ.

The Bible And The Future
Anthony A. Hoekema, William B. Eerdmans, 1994
This book is divided into two sections. The first deals with inaugurated eschatology, the present enjoyment of eschatological blessings by the redeemed community. It considers such topics as the kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit and eschatology, and the tension between the "already" and the "not yet." The second part deals with future eschatology, specific details concerning last things. Matters of significance to individuals - physical death, immortality, and the intermediate state - are discussed, as well as aspects of cosmic eschatology - the signs of the times, the Second Coming, the millenium, the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, and the new earth. It analyzes all four major views: the postmillenial, the historic premillenial, the dispensational premillenial, and the amillenial.

The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology For Today
Everett Ferguson, William B. Eerdmans, 1996, 443 pages
Respected biblical scholar Everett Ferguson presents a genuine biblical theology of the church. By systematically examining the New Testament's teaching on the existence, meaning, and purpose of the church, providing responsible coverage of the traditional topics in ecclesiology, and carefully grounding ecclesiology in the person and work of Christ, Ferguson unveils a comprehensive model of the church that is both biblically centered and relevant to a world on the verge of the twenty-first century (from the publisher).

Common Sense Preaching
Dee Bowman, Florida College Press, 1999, 222 pages
What activity could be more significant than strong, sound, Biblical preaching? The command to "Preach the Word" is important because "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21). Paul said, "I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:15-16). Of course, the message is the most essential ingredient in Biblical preaching. Preaching is needed in our day because people are lost and Christians need to grow in the knowledge of God. Men and women can be saved and Christians can develop spiritually only through receiving the message of Christ which comes from God. None will be saved by sophistry or theatrics. Readers of this book will constantly be reminded of that theme. It is important, however, that we present the message as effectively as we can. We must preach with clarity, understanding our listeners, and appealing to their hearts and minds. While it is true that good hearts will receive God's truth, the facts of life teach that even the best of students achieve more with good teachers. How can we be better preachers of the gospel? We do not wish to detract from God's message by our ineffective manner of presentation. This book is intended to help us do our jobs as gospel preachers in the most powerful way each of us can (From the inside flap, by C. G. "Colly" Caldwell).

A Dictionary Of Early Christian Beliefs
David W. Bercot, Editor, Hendrickson Publishers, 1998
A compendium of quotations culled from the ten volume Ante-Nicene Fathers and arranged by subject for quick reference. The quotes include comments on 700 theological, moral, and historical topics from prominent figures such as Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Clement of Rome, and Hippolytus.

Diligently Seeking God: Daily Motivation To Take God More Seriously
Gary Henry, WordPoints, 2003, 384 pages
What difference does it make whether we seek God? This books offers a complete year of daily meditations that helps you look at this question more honestly. Each page explores a different dimension of our need for God and invites you into a deeper desire for Him. No matter where your spiritual life is right now, this book will beckon you to higher ground. I am honored to mention that Gary Henry is my cousin as well as brother in the Lord.

Early Christians Speak - Faith And Life In The First Three Centuries
Everett Ferguson, ACU Press, 1999
A scholarly but highly readable study of the development of early Christian faith and practice. Based on writers of the first three centuries, topics include The Faith Preached and Believed, Baptism In The Second Century, The Beginning of Infant Baptism, The Christian Assemblies, Early Accounts of the Lord's Supper, Early Prayers, Early Hymns, The Organization of the Early Church, Acts of Mercy, The Christian and Military Service, Women in the Early Church.

Elect In The Son
Robert Shank, Bethany House Publishers, 1989
This book provides a comprehensive treatment of election. Has God predestined certain individuals to be saved, leaving all others to be lost? Shank advocates class or corporate election, in which God has chosen the Body (i.e, the church) to be His special people, with entrance into the Body through an obedient faith. He makes a strong case for the position that Christ died for all and desires all to be saved (contrary to the Calvinistic doctrine of election).

Exegetical Fallacies
D. A. Carson, Baker Books, 1996, 148 pages
Carson's book helps the student of scripture to avoid many of the logical and linguistic pitfalls which result in erroneous interpretation. This book should be required reading for all Bible class teachers, deacons, elders, and preachers. By example from actual books, Carson illustrates many of the pitfalls he discusses.

How To Prepare Bible Messages
James Braga, Multnomah Publishers, 1982, 257 pages
This is a how-to-do-it book that lives up to its promise. James Braga sets forth clearly and logically the step-by step process of preparing and delivering an effective sermon. Instructions are spelled out simply, so even a novice can follow them without a teacher's help. The method he presents combines recognized techniques of secular public speaking with time-tested theories of preaching. After thoroughly covering the principal types of biblical sermons and stressing the value of expository preaching, Mr. Braga carefully breaks down and discusses the mechanics of sermon construction. the revised edition includes an updated bibliography, additional examples, a new comprehensive index, and added steps which make sermon preparation easier than ever before.

Life In The Son
Robert Shank, Bethany House Publishers, 1989
This book addresses the issue of the security of the believer. Does the Bible teach "once saved, always saved"? The author demonstrates how our security is in Christ. As long as we remain in Christ, our salvation is secure. But this security is conditional, conditioned upon our remaining faithful to Jesus as His obedient disciples.

New Testament History: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Acts
Gareth L. Reese, College Press, 1976, 1046 pages
A mammoth volume that stands alone as the leading research and exhaustive study on the book of Acts. Includes special studies on various topics, such as The Person And Work Of The Holy Spirit, Speaking In Tongues, The Sects Of The Jews, Church Discipline, Demons And Demon Possession, The Faith That Saves, The Lord's Supper, and many others. Includes many maps and charts throughout.

Preparing the Young Man to Preach: Helping Young Preachers Do the Work of an Evangelist
Berry Kercheville
Beyond the fact that this is a terrific book for young preachers (or those thinking about it) to read, it is a book that would be extremely beneficial for elders and members of the church to read the author's profound observations on preaching. The book will help anyone get a grasp on the real meaning of the work of an evangelist. It is probably the most practical look at the day-to-day work of the preacher to come along in a long time. [Review by Brent Lewis]

Reaching Forward: Daily Motivation To Move Ahead More Steadily
Gary Henry, WordPoints, 2009, 370 pages
Reaching Forward takes the book buyer to a new place: where the elegance of classic devotion meets the tough-mindedness of today s readers. Written by Gary Henry, author of the best-selling Diligently Seeking God, each page offers a brief essay framed by scripture text and a literary quotation. Reaching Forward contains 366 daily meditations on heaven, the highest hope of the human heart. These readings will pull you out of the past and give you a higher vision of tomorrow, while reminding you of today s simple duties. Whoever you are, you ve made mistakes. But you also have a future and that future depends upon the choices you are making right now. This book goes beyond spiritual theory into the practical realm of day-to-day decisions. Are you ready to reach for the better things? What about the best things? (Note: This book is a follow up to Diligently Seeking God described above.)

What Christians Believe - A Biblical And Historical Survey
Alan F. Johnson and Robert E. Webber, Zondervan, 1989
This book surveys main themes of theology from pre-Mosaic biblical times up to contemporary thought. Topics include The Bible, God, Salvation, The Church, and End Times. On each subject the authors provide both a Biblical and historical summary. While the Biblical summaries betray their own theological bias, the historical summaries provide a very helpful guide to understanding what has been believed by Calvinists, Arminians, dispensationalists, non-dispensationalists, and other theological perspectives.

Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up?
David W. Bercot, Scroll Publishing Co., 1989
A look at today's evangelical church in the light of early Christianity. The author compares the views commonly held today regarding baptism, apostasy, predestination, salvation and other doctrines with the writings and views of the early Christians, including some who personally knew the apostles. Thought-provoking and challenging.

The Word Of God In English: Criteria For Excellence In Bible Translation
Leland Ryken, Crossway Books, 2003
Do you ever wonder how to choose a Bible translation to read, study, and memorize? How can you know which translations are faithful to God's Word? In this book Leland Ryken identifies many common translation fallacies. He then clarifies the enduring principles that help make for reliable English translations, insisting that any translation that consistently violates how we deal with language in everyday life cannot be based on the right theory. Ryken's literary expertise gives him a unique perspective to offer standards for comparing contemporary Bible translations and to help you see why some translations may not faithfully render the Word of God into English (from the back cover).

Worthy Is The Lamb
Ray Summers, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1951
One of my favorite commentaries on the Book of Revelation. Describes the historical background and nature of apocalyptic literature necessary to understand the book. Clearly outlined and carefully documented, it offers a balanced and constructive interpretation.

A Worthy Woman
Darlene Craig, Deward Publishing, 2011, 194 pages
"A worthy woman who can find, for her price is far above rubies" (Prov 31.10-31). This passage presents a strong, joyful woman of wisdom, integrity, devotion, talent, industry, compassion, faith and influence. Darlene uses the example of the ideal woman to strengthen and encourage real women of all ages to further realize their "far above rubies" value as they joyfully strive to positively impact the lives of their families and others. Note: New Revised Edition!

Mark A. Copeland
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