Book Reviews From 2016

John Bunyan On The Relationship Between Church And State

Of Antichrist And His RuinJohn Bunyan, as Charles Spurgeon said, was so steeped in Scripture, that he practically bled Bible! In his book Of Antichrist And His Ruin, Bunyan pointed out how God would use earthly governments to bring about the demise of Antichrist. In addition, Bunyan also shared these insights on how the Church should treat the governments of Earth.

“Take heed in laying the cause of your troubles in the badness of the temper of governors. … God is the chief, and has the hearts of all, even of the worst of men, in His hand. Good tempered men have sometimes brought trouble; and bad tempered man have sometimes brought enlargement to the churches of God: Saul brought enlargement (1 Samuel 14:28). David brought trouble (2 Samuel 12:10).) Ahab brought enlargement (1 Kings 21:29). Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah did both sometimes bring trouble (2 Chronicles 19:2; 20:35; 32:25). Therefore, the good or bad tempers of men sway nothing with God in this matter; they are the sins or repentances of His people, that make the church either happy or miserable upon earth.”

“The church therefore, as a church, must use such weapons as are proper to her as such; and the magistrate, as a magistrate, must use such weapons as are proper to him as such. … She [the church] may, and ought, with her faith and prayer, and holy life, to second this work of kings (Ezra 1:2, 3). When the king’s laws, and the law of their God, did at any time come in competition, they would indeed adhere to, and do the law of their God; yet with that tenderness to the king, his crown and dignity, that they could at all times appeal to the righteous God about it (Daniel 6:22). Nor did they lose by doing so; yea, they prospered; for by this means Mordecai was made a great man, and a savior of his people (Esther 2:21-23). By this means also was Daniel made a great man, and helpful to his brethren (Daniel 5:29).”

“Pray for kings to the God of heaven, Who has the hearts of kings in His hand: and do it ‘without wrath and doubting’; without wrath because thy self is not perfect; and without doubting because God governeth them, and has promised to bring down Antichrist by them. Pray for the long life of the king. Pray that God would always give wisdom and judgment to the king. Pray that God would discover all plots and conspiracies against his person and government. Pray also that God would make him able to drive away all evil and evil men from his presence….”

To read more quotes from this book, please click here. And to check out my review of this book, please click here.

9 Quotes From “Of Antichrist And His Ruin”

Of Antichrist And His RuinJohn Bunyan’s works are steeped in Scripture. His thoughts about the Antichrist and other end times events are either directly taken from biblical passages, or else his line of reasoning fits perfectly with the intent of the Scriptures. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes I found enlightening.

“Coercion, in anything connected with religion, whether it imposes creeds, liturgies, or modes of worship, is Antichrist: whom to obey, is spiritual desolation, and if knowingly persevered in, leads to death.” —George Offor, editor

“As God therefore did put it into the hearts of the wicked kings of Babylon, to distress in His church and people for their sins; so He put it into the hearts of the kings of the Medes and Persians, who were to be, in a sense, their saviors; to ease them of those distresses, to take off the yoke, and let them go free.”

“This twenty years we have been degenerating, both as to principles, and as to practice; and have grown at last into an amazing likeness to the world, both as to religion and civil demeanor.” 

“Take heed in laying the cause of your troubles in the badness of the temper of governors. … God is the chief, and has the hearts of all, even of the worst of men, in His hand. Good tempered men have sometimes brought trouble; and bad tempered man have sometimes brought enlargement to the churches of God: Saul brought enlargement (1 Samuel 14:28). David brought trouble (2 Samuel 12:10).) Ahab brought enlargement (1 Kings 21:29). Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah did both sometimes bring trouble (2 Chronicles 19:2; 20:35; 32:25). Therefore, the good or bad tempers of men sway nothing with God in this matter; they are the sins or repentances of His people, that make the church either happy or miserable upon earth.”

“Antichrist is the adversary of Christ; an adversary really, a friend pretendedly. So then, Antichrist is one that is against Christ; one that is for Christ, and one that is contrary to Him (and this is that mystery of iniquity [2 Thessalonians 2:7]). Against Him in deed; for Him in word, and contrary to Him in practice. … Christ prefereth His Father’s will above heaven and earth: Antichrist prefereth himself and his traditions above all that is written, or that is called God, or worshiped.”

“Nor can all the fallen angels, with all the members and limbs of Antichrist, cause that their brat should abide so much as one day longer than our God’s prefixed time.”

“Now, by ordinances of Antichrist, I do not intend things that only respect matters of worship in Antichrist’s kingdom, but those civil laws that impose and enforce them also; yea, that enforce that worship with pains and penalties, as in the Spanish Inquisition. … What could the king of Babylon’s golden image have done, had it not been for the burning fiery furnace that stood within view of the worshipers (Daniel 3)? Yea, what could that horrible command, to pray for thirty days to neither God nor man, but to the king, have done, had it not been for the dark den and the roaring lions therein ready to devour those that disobeyed it (Daniel 6)? … For as the furnace would have been next to nothing, if void of fire; and the den as little frightful, if destitute of lions; so these laws will be as insignificant, when Christ has slain that spirit that is in them; that spirit that causes that as many as will not worship the image of the beast, should be killed.”

“What say ye now, ye sons of God! Will you learn to make a judgment of things according to the mystery of the wisdom of God, or will ye longer conclude according to sense and reason?”

“Cold blasts in November are not received with that gentleness as are colder in March and April; for that these last cold ones are but the farewell notes of a piercing winter; they also bring with them the signs and tokens of a comfortable summer. Why, the church is now at the rising of the year; let then the blasts at present, or to come, be what they will, Antichrist is assuredly drawing towards his downfall.”

Of Antichrist And His Ruin (book review)

Of Antichrist And His RuinAs I was finishing up reading through the Bible this time, I especially noticed in the last couple of books quite a few mentions of the Antichrist. Wanting to dig a little deeper on this subject, I turned to a man who so throughly knew Scripture: John Bunyan and his book Of Antichrist And His Ruin.

The Antichrist is not something we can just brush off and say, “Well, that’s end-times stuff and doesn’t really concern Christians. After all, won’t we already be in Heaven when the Antichrist appears on earth?” But John, in his first epistle warns us—

This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (1 John 4:3, emphasis added)

Wow, even in the first century, John already saw the spirit of the Antichrist at work. How much more so should Christians today prepare themselves for this onslaught of evil!

I didn’t want any “pop theology” or well-intentioned ideas about the Antichrist, I wanted to know what the Bible said about it. Speaking of John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon said, “Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God.”

Indeed, Bunyan’s work in Of Antichrist is a compilation of all the biblical texts, put together in a way that makes sense. Of course, the English is sometimes a bit challenging to follow, since Bunyan wrote over 400 years ago. But if you are interested in the biblical facts about the Antichrist described in the Bible, this must be your go-to source!

10 More Quotes From “Christian Behavior”

Christian BehaviorAlthough written 300+ years ago, John Bunyan has some timeless wisdom for Christians in his book Christian Behavior. You can check out my book review by clicking here, and the first set of quotes I shared from this book are here. Below are some other quotes I really liked.

In a section to parents about children—

“See if fair words will win them from evil. This is God’s way with His children (Jeremiah 25:4-5).” 

“Take heed that the misdeeds for which thou correctest thy children be not learned them by thee.”

“How a Christian wife should live with her unbelieving husband:

  1. Let thy words be few.
  2. And none of them savoring of a lording over him; but speak thou still as to thy head and lord, by way of entreaty and beseeching.
  3. And in such a spirit of sympathy, that the manner of thy speech and behavior in speaking may be to him an argument that thou speakest in love, as being sensible of his misery, and inflamed in thy soul with desire after his conversion.
  4. And follow thy words and behavior with prayers to God for his soul.
  5. Still keeping thyself in a holy, chaste, and modest behavior before him.”

In a section written to employers—“In a word, learn of the Lord Jesus to carry yourselves well to your servants, that your servants also may learn something of the kindness of Christ by your deportment to them. Servants are goers as well as comers; take heed that thou give them no occasion to scandal the Gospel when they are going for what they observe thee unrighteously to do when they were with thee.”

“Pride, in general, is that which causeth a man to think of man and his things above what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6).”

“Pride is when you slight this or that person, though gracious—that is, look over them and shun them for their poverty in this world—and choose rather to have converse with others that possibly are less gracious because of their greatness in this world.”

“It argueth pride of heart when men will not deny themselves in things that may be for the good and profit of their neighbors.”

“It argueth pride of heart when a man that hath this or that in his heart to do in reference to God, but yet will slight a sober asking counsel and direction of God in this matter.”

“It argueth pride of heart when persons are tickled with thoughts of their own praise, that secretly lust after it.”

“It is an easier matter to begin to do good than it is to continue therein; and the reason is, there is not so much of a Christian’s cross in the beginning of a work as there is in a continual, hearty, conscientious practice thereof. Therefore Christians have need, as to be pressed to do good, so to continue the work.”

Book Reviews From 2015

10 Quotes From “Christian Behavior”

Christian BehaviorAlthough written over 300 years ago, and written in Old English, John Bunyan’s instructions in Christian Behavior still ring true today. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are just a few quotes; I’ll be sharing more soon.

“Faith alone can see the reality of what the Gospel saith.”

“God’s people are faithful in good works according to the proportion of their faith. If they be slender in good works, it is because they are weak in faith. … Therefore the way to be a more fruitful Christian; it is to be stronger in believing.”

“I shall propound unto you what it is for a work to be rightly good. First, a good work must have the Word for its authority. Second, it must, as of afore was said, flow from faith. Third, it must be both rightly timed and rightly placed. Fourth, it must be done willingly, cheerfully.”

“Good things mistimed are fruitless, unprofitable, and vain.”

“There are three things that a man should have in his eye in every work he doth. First, the honor of God (1 Corinthians 6:20). Second, the edification of his neighbor (1 Corinthians 14:26). Third, the expediency or inexpediency of what I am to do (1 Corinthians 6:12).”

In a section to the head of the household—

“But mark, when the Word saith thou art to provide for thy house, it giveth thee no license to distracting carefulness; neither doth it allow thee to strive to grasp the world in thy heart, or coffers, nor to take care for years or days to come, but so to provide for them, that they may have food and raiment; and if either they or thou be not content with that, you launch out beyond the rule of God (1 Timothy 6:8; Matthew 6:34).”

“Take heed of driving so hard after this world as to hinder thyself and family from those duties towards God which thou art by grace obliged to: as private prayer, reading the Scriptures, and Christian conference. It is a base thing for men so to spend themselves and families after this world as that they disengage their heart to God’s worship.”

In a section to husbands—

“When husbands behave themselves like husbands indeed, then will they be not only husbands, but such an ordinance of God to the wife, as will preach to her the carriage of Christ to his spouse. There is a sweet scent wrapped up in the relations of husbands and wives that believe (Ephesians 4:32).”

“Oh! How little sense of the worth of souls is there in the heart of some husbands, as is manifest by their unchristian carriage to and before their wives! … Beware that she takes no occasion from any unseemly carriage of design to proceed in evil. And here thou hast need to double thy diligence, for she lieth in thy bosom, and therefore is capable of his espying the least miscarriage in thee.”

“If she behave herself unseemly and unruly, as she is subject to do, being Christless and graceless, then labor thou to overcome her evil with thy goodness, her forwardness with thy patience and meekness. Take fit opportunities to convince her. Observe her disposition, and when she is most likely to bear, then speak to her very heart. When thou speakest, speak to purpose. Let all be done without rancor, or the least appearance of anger.”

More quotes from Christian Behavior coming soon…

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