Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Kingdom of God Review


“The primary idea of the Kingdom of God in Scripture is that of the rule of God established and acknowledged in the hearts of sinners by the powerful regenerating influence of the Holy spirit, insuring them of the inestimable blessings of salvation, ─a rule that is realized in principle on earth, but will not reach its culmination until the visible and glorious return of Jesus Christ.” –THE KINGDOM OF GOD, pg. 107


For some two thousand years since Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, the church of Christ has had its ups and downs because of the guilt of sin and the corruptions of flesh inherent in every human being since Adam’s disobedience toward a holy God. These days, there is so much out there that calls itself Christianity that is NOT Biblical Christianity, that Jeff Johnson’s book, The Kingdom of God: a Baptist Expression of Covenant & Biblical Theology, is an oasis in a wasteland; a well of refreshment as we weep and grieve and struggle in the valley of Baca.


What is  the basic premise behind the book, The Kingdom of God? It first asks the questions, “Is there a central plot to the Bible? And if so, why is the Bible divided into two different testaments? Moreover, how do these two testaments relate to each other?” Jeffrey D. Johnson tackles the answers to those questions head-on and “explains why the maze of the Old and New Testaments cannot be properly navigated or understood without a knowledge of the dual (law and gospel) nature of the Abrahamic Covenant.” He further explains that “the law of the Old Covenant and the grace of the New Covenant flow out of the Abrahamic Covenant and are wonderfully reunited in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words, out of the earlier dichotomy comes the later unity of the gospel message.”  For many professing Christians today, getting a comprehensive grip on the grace of God from the scriptures can be an overwhelming, and even  sometimes a daunting task. Dr. Johnson puts it all together, clearly, concisely and coherently.


Except for the works of Bunyan and Spurgeon and a select handful of others (who have all passed into glory many years ago), rarely will I read the works of an author more than once. Jeff Johnson has been added to my personal list of re-readables. His book, The Kingdom of God, and his earlier book, The Church: Why Bother? are two of his titles that stand proudly on my ready-reference bookshelf in my home office, next to my worn and cherished copy of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress and my favorite works of C. H. Spurgeon.


The Kingdom of God is not a long book, but it is deep and wide. Dr. Johnson brings forth serious theological thought without being overly academic. The points he ponders and presents are as deep as anything John Owen has written, in my humble opinion, yet they are accessible to every child of God. Like my favorite authors, Bunyan and Spurgeon, author Johnson has a pastor’s heart and desires Christ’s sheep to draw near to the Master in the Biblical truths that sanctify and uplift the humble reader. His passion for Christ’s person and work run passionately through the pages of this book and because of the gospel back of every chapter and every thought, Jeff Johnson makes theology palatable for the everyman. In that regard, he reminds me of Richard Hawker, who points to Christ in everything, whose brevity speaks volumes. Jeff speaks volumes more in 278 pages than others writing 1200 pages and beyond. Because of that, every Christian believer will benefit from this book; and I believe that it is a must-read for every Baptist believer, whether they are Reformed in theology or not. The perspectives gained from the insights contained therein are, as the back of the dust jacket states, “CLEAR, COHESIVE, [and] HISTORICAL.”


If you have read this far in my review, you will have obviously gathered that I most highly recommend this book. I read through it twice since I got my copy in September and I’m sure I will read it again as I can hear many of the truths expounded by Pastor Johnson spilling forth in my own sermons on Sunday mornings and evenings.


The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it is not yet in paperback or on Kindle eBooks. I would love to see this work reach as wide an audience as possible.


And that's the Gospel Truth Review


“It is Christ and His work for us, done on our behalf, that saves us. Faith understands this…. Faith has taught us that all our hope is in Christ and His finished work, not in the work He is doing within us by His Spirit.” –AND THAT’S THE GOSPEL TRUTH!, Kindle Location 180


The book, And that’s the Gospel Truth!, by D. G. Miles McKee, was released in paperback and Kindle eBooks on August 1, 2014, exactly four months from his April 1 preaching engagement at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama (so I knew the book was coming out in April).


Author, pastor and evangelist Miles McKee writes like he preaches: with passion for the truth of the Biblical gospel. The person and work of Jesus Christ. Christ crucified, His finished work upon the cross, is the creed of author McKee… and we could use more writers like him, with a voice that resounds atop the mountains with exhilarating joy, as well as echoing in the valleys to comfort us in the struggles of our darkest despair.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway at Heavenly Springs

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Christina Langella, who blogs at Heavenly Springs, received an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of my upcoming book, The Simple Gospel. She wrote her review of the book on her blog HERE. I must say, to put my own spin on a saying my dear friend Granville Gauldin says from time to time, “I’m so humbled that if I sat on a cigarette paper, I could hang my feet over the edge without touching the ground.”


The following is an excerpt from her review:



In typical Cardwell fashion, each chapter of The Simple Gospel exalts the person and work of Jesus Christ. The common thread in each essay is that the root of all debase thinking is the total depravity of man and the downward tendency toward sin in redeemed men.  In an age when so many have grown weary of the plain gospel, where entertainment is preferred over preaching, where programs and pragmatism, fables and pleasures take the place of truth, Cardwell’s The Simple Gospel is a clarion call to return to the “old paths.”


You can check out the full description of the The Simple Gospel at Amazon.com, from the book’s Pre-Order Page, by CLICKING HERE.



Book Review and Giveaway at Heavenly Springs

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Death of a Dear Friend

My dear friend, Mike Ratliff, or Possessing the Treasure, posts the news of the passing of a dear friend of both his and mine, Ken Silva. Ken invited me to contribute to contribute to Christian Research Network some seven years ago. I am saddened by the news but rejoice in his now rejoicing to see his Lord and mine.


CLICK HERE to read the announcement of Ken Silva’s passing into the presence of the Lord at Possessing the Treasure.



Death of a Dear Friend

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Perfect Logic of Sovereign Grace

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”Romans 8:11-13 


Preaching Christ CrucifiedDo you remember what we read some time back in Romans 6:4? Paul said, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” This verse speaks of our being dead to sin because, in salvation, we have been buried in the likeness of Christ’s burial. Then Romans 6:5 says, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” This speaks of that which takes place because of the reality of regeneration (being a new creation in Christ), referring to our spiritual resurrection as being like unto Christ’s resurrection from the dead; because, before God saved us, we were dead in trespasses and sins, but in Christ we have been raised to newness of life. The apostle continues to shed light on the blessedness of that resurrection in Romans 8


“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). If we have been saved by God’s grace, then it is certain that we have the third Person of the Trinity living in us, as we read in Romans 8:9, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” The power that is in you and me through God’s saving grace is the very power of God Himself, the indwelling Holy Spirit. As the resurrection was the sign and seal of the certainty of God’s provision for atonement in the death of His only Son upon Calvary’s tree, likewise is our resurrection unto newness of life the sign and seal of the certainty of our salvation by a good and gracious God. 



SIDE NOTE:  This text presents to us a proof text for the doctrine of the Trinity, because this verse tells us that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead; whereas in John 2:19-21, Jesus said that He would raise Himself from the dead; and also, Ephesians 1:17-20 attributes the resurrection to the Father. 


Yet, let us take a look at the next verse and follow the perfect logic of God here: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh” (Romans 8:12). “Therefore…” because of what Christ has done in condemning sin in the flesh through His crucifixion (Romans 8:3), because we have been set free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), and since we are no longer condemned because we are in Christ (Romans 8:1), we are not indebted to the flesh to live according to (after) the flesh. Why? Because we have the very Person of the Holy Spirit, with all the resurrection power of God, dwelling in us; equipping us; enabling us; empowering us… to do what? to mortify, that is, to kill the deeds of the body through the power of the Holy Spirit, according to Romans 8:13



“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” 


Now, there are three things that we can say concerning this verse: 


Number 1It draws for us a contrasting comparison between the flesh and the Spirit; a life lived according to the flesh, which is an unsaved unregenerate life that ultimately ends in eternal death, whereas a life lived according to the Spirit, which is a life saved by God’s grace and ultimately receives eternal life. The word “shall,” used twice here in English, expresses the future tense of the original Greek. 


Number 2Yet, it clearly brings instruction for the believer as we see the word “For.” It is saying to us, “For this reason…” It is speaking to believers who are not debtors to the flesh (Romans 8:12), who are “quickened” (being made alive) in our mortal bodies by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In a very real sense, the deeds of carnality bring death to us, especially as it deadens the very power that should be controlling us and enabling us. John Owen wrote,



“The indulgence of one sin opens the door to further sins. The indulgence of one sin diverts the soul from the use of those means by which all other sins should be resisted.” 


Number 3We do not have the authority to mortify the sinful deeds of the flesh in and of ourselves: we are not our own because we have been purchased with a price through Christ’s precious blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); and though we are empowered by God’s Spirit (Romans 8:11), we are debtors to God (Romans 8:12), and therefore, even to put to death the deeds that are in my mortal flesh requires the authorization from God: and we have that right from what has been authorized by God in Romans 8:13


Now, to carry out that authorization, we must surrender to God’s power.


LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.


Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 8:11-17,Surrendering to the Spirit,” on January 3, 2010 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.


Read the previous article in this series, “Surrendering to the Spirit” (Romans 8:11-17).



Perfect Logic of Sovereign Grace

Thursday, September 4, 2014

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