I just added this new gem to my library. A book called “Christ Crucified: The Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53.”
It is a large book with over 700 pages containing 72 sermons on Isaiah chapter 53. But not just any sermons. These sermons were given by the 17th Century Scottish preacher – James Durham (1622-1658). Durham was the Chaplain to King Charles II, and the Professor of Divinity in Glasgow University.
So far I have only skimmed thru this book. It appears to be the longest, thorough, most comprehensive sermon ever written on Isaiah chapter 53 (at least that I’ve seen). Charles Spurgeon – aka the “Prince of Preachers” said the following of this book. “This is marrow indeed. We need say no more: Durham is a prince among spiritual expositors.”
Oh how insignificant I am, compared to men like this.
I began my Christian life in a postmodern church denomination (though they called themselves “non-denominational”). Consequently I spent the first half of my Christian life reading postmodern contemporary Bible commentaries, and listening to contemporary “Christian” music. Oh what a mistake that was, but I did not know any better. However I am very thankful for that experience, as it made me more grateful for where I am today.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the millennium, that my wife and I ventured out to study more churches, more denominations, Doctrines and Theology. Frankly I learned that I fell miserably short of a deep systematic Theology, and a sounder Doctrine (and I’m still learning, and Lord willing still growing).
“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).
Brethren, the postmodern church has been infected and effected by a postmodern view of the Scriptures. Though the Word of God does not change, sadly man’s view of the Lord’s Scriptures have. Even by some of our more solid Pastors.
Therefore over this last ten years I have slowly replaced most of my postmodern academia driven books, with writings from ‘old dead men’ like the aforementioned. Some of my former books I gave away, others I tossed in the trash can, and yes perhaps burning some books is Biblical (Acts 19:19).
But remember, King Solomon warned that many books (or booklets) can become bad for our spiritual health (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Just as Law Enforcement is called to toe that thin blue line, Christians are called to circumspectly toe that thin Theological line while being amongst this world. All too often many books can blur that line.
Therefore my suggestion to you, is spend more time in the Bible, than in any other book. Today my Christian library is ‘academia focused.’ In other words, my books are about the Scriptures. Books on Theology, Systematic Theology, Doctrine, Greek and Hebrew helps, Bible commentaries, etcetera. Books that give me a more accurate interpretation, understanding, and exegesis of the Scripture.
Thankfully over the latter years my wife and I have transitioned into a more orthodox Christendom. But oh how I wish I could go back to the very beginning, and start all over again. 🙂