Here is the first in a series of promo videos for some of our favorite books around Solid Ground that we think you should know more about. Enjoy!
By John Murray
It was over 30 years ago that I first wrestled with the issue that is the subject of this booklet: The Extent of the Atonement of Christ. As a young seminary student, preparing to serve in the ministry of the church, I was confronted with this subject in a class on Systematic Theology. Yet my personal struggle had begun nearly two years earlier when a friend gave me a copy of John Murray’s book REDEMPTION—Accomplished and Applied. Having been raised in a church that taught that Christ died for every person in the world, past, present and future, to me the issue was settled. But my friend and the material in Murray’s book challenged me to look more closely at this vital subject.
It is a privilege for me to be able to reproduce material that transformed my understanding of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ so many years ago. No subject demands and deserves greater attention than that which addresses the person and work of our Lord, and no effort will be wasted which begins with an open heart and an open Bible.
John Murray (1898-1975) was a master theologian. Born in Scotland and trained at Princeton Seminary, Murray rose to become one of the most highly regarded theologians in the English speaking world. He was very reluctant to publish because of his genuine humility and high standards, but he finally submitted to the counsel of his friends and colleagues, and at the age of 57 he released the book from which this material is drawn. In his Preface he wrote the following:
“It is with some misgiving that I have ventured to offer for publication the following attempt to deal with an aspect of the divine revelation that has been explored to such an extent. This present study cannot pretend to be in the same class as many of the superb contributions of both the more remote and the more recent past. I can only claim that I am presenting what has passed through the crucible of my own reflection.”
Hundreds of thousands will be eternally grateful that Professor Murray overcame his “misgiving” and gave to the world the precious volume that has passed through numerous reprintings. My edition is a tattered one from 1975 which was already the 6th reprint. Later in his Preface we read the following paragraph:
“On so great a theme as Christ’s redemptive accomplishment I am profoundly conscious of the limitations that encompass our attempts at exposition. Thought and expression stagger in the presence of the spectacle that confronts us in the vicarious sin-bearing of the Lord of glory. Here we must realize that we are dealing with the mystery of godliness, and eternity will not reach the bottom of it nor exhaust its praise. Yet it is ours to proclaim it and continue to expound and defend its truth.”
The material contained in our upcoming booklet may confront you with a position you have never before considered. We must beware of the danger of prejudice concerning such matters. I fear that we often hold to convictions without having ever examined them with care. We become accustomed to certain expressions without taking the time to see if they stand up to the scrutiny of Scripture. Let me encourage you to read these pages only after having spent time in prayer asking the Lord: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18).
On May 24, 1955 John Murray concluded his original Preface with the following words:
“I can only hope that the reader will find these studies consonant with the witness of Holy Scripture as the only infallible rule of faith and that by God’s grace what is accordant with Scripture will elicit the response of faith and conviction.”
compiled by Dr. James Renihan and Michael Gaydosh
Can you name the Baptist pastor who served one church for over 50 years, and left us a marvelous testimony of his faith? Did you know that a famous Baptist wrote a book similar to The Pilgrim’s Progress, and that it was also a best seller? Who was the young Baptist pastor who dedicated himself to missions only to be prevented from going? What foreign missionary became a Baptist, while on his way to the mission field, through careful study of Scripture?
You will find the answers to these questions by spending 2010 in the company of 11 classic Baptist books (July and August are combined). We are pleased to announce A Year with Baptist Classics a reading program designed to encourage worship of our great God, to help Christians grow in their faith, and to introduce outstanding books and authors from Baptist history. By reading one book each month, you will be deeply blessed, have a greater understanding of the Christian life, and learn of the Lord’s kind dealings with others.
Solid Ground Christian Books is working together with Dr. James Renihan, Professor at The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies, in Escondido, California to encourage the brethren to take a year to read eleven books from those committed to the Doctrines of Grace and the Baptist Faith. We are offering at least a 40% Discount off each of the eleven titles, and a 55% discount off the entire Baptist Classics Pack when ordered together.
Here are the books we have chosen:
January – Benjamin Keach The Travels of True Godliness This is a work, written in the style of The Pilgrim’s Progress, tracing the growth, struggles and temptations faced by ‘True Godliness.’ It is an enjoyable journey depicting the path of growth in holiness.
February – Andrew Fuller: A Heart for Missions (Pearce Bio) One of the best Christian biographies ever written! Samuel Pearce was the Baptist version of Robert Murray McCheyne–a young pastor known for godliness and zeal whose life was brief but impact was profound.
March – Hercules Collins Devoted to the Service of the Temple A mighty man of God, Hercules Collins was a pastor of a very large London Congregation during the 17th century. This little book very helpfully collects some of his wonderful doctrinal and devotional writings.
April – Adoniram Judson On Christan Baptism The Congregational Missionary Society was shocked when its first missionary, Adoniram Judson, adopted credobaptist views while on his way to serve in India. In this book, Judson demonstrates the nature of Christian baptism.
May – Southern Baptist Sermons on Sovereignty and Responsibility American Baptist history is full of great preachers. Here is a collection of sermons by Southern worthies, expounding vital topics.
June – John Broadus: Jesus of Nazareth Our Lord Jesus is wonderfully presented by another great Southern preacher, John Broadus.
July/August – Benjamin Beddome’s Exposition of the Baptist Catechism Here is a gem, long out of print, but recently reprinted. Theology is made practical by this pastor from the village of Bourton-on-the-Water in the English Cotswolds.
September – Andrew Fuller: The Backslider Christians struggle with sin–this is a fact. We need to consider this truth, learn about its dangers, and find the right method of recovery. This book will help.
October – John Bunyan: Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ We can’t neglect Bunyan! In this book, he calls us to find our full satisfaction in Jesus Christ.
November – Benjamin Keach: The Marrow of True Justification We live in a day when the doctrine of justification by faith alone is under attack. One of our fathers, Benjamin Keach, ably explains this doctrine here. This is the heart of the gospel.
December – Charles Spurgeon: Sermons on Men or Women of the Bible What a great way to conclude the year! As always, Spurgeon shows us how the men and women of the Bible point us to Jesus Christ.
Join us in 2010 as we learn from these servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Displayed in the Works of Providence and Grace
Dr. Matthews wrote his first book in 1825 and entitled it The Divine Purpose, Displayed in the Works of Providence and Grace; in a Series of Twenty Letters, addressed to an Inquiring Friend. The book passed through three more editions, with the last one (in 1843) a Preface was added by Archibald Alexander of Princeton Theological Seminary. The only change that took place in the last edition was that the first and second letter were slightly altered (by the author) and combined into one letter, so that the total number of letters was reduced to nineteen.
A friend of Dr. Matthews had written to ask him to clarify some issues he had been struggling with about two items: the decrees of God and the perseverance of the saints. The first 16 letters deal with the former subject, and the last three with the latter one. In the Preface by Dr. Alexander he says the following about the letters on Perseverance: “At the close of the volume there are letters replete with solid argument and ingenious illustration on ‘the perseverance of the saints.’ It will be here seen, that the representation commonly given of this comfortable doctrine, by its enemies, are exceedingly distorted, and altogether unjust. When rightly understood it is the very thing which the Christian needs, not only to comfort his heart, but to encourage his efforts. It ought surely to be a pleasing thought that no member of Christ’s mystical body shall be broken off; no sheep of his flock be finally lost; for ‘we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.’”
Of all the books I have read on the doctrines of grace, and especially the divine decrees, I have never had a book speak to my heart the way this one has. I love the way Dr. Matthews lays out a case and seeks to take each case one step at a time. He uses illustrations from all walks of life to seek to explain things about the divine plan and the divine purpose. He uses several examples from the world of architecture which are very helpful in pointing out the folly of trying to say that God can be in control (sovereign) over the big matters, but not over the small matters that produce those big matters. His chapter on the way God raised up and prepared Cyrus to conquer Babylon the great, and to deliver exiled Israel back to Jerusalem is incredible.
Dr. Archibald Alexander, who wrote the brief Preface to the 1843 edition, actually published a 25 page Review of The Divine Purpose in 1831 in the Biblical Repertory and Theological Review. He said the following about the author and his approach to this thorny subject: “In this little volume, very interesting and important subjects are brought into discussion: and it is one recommendation of this work, that a doctrine, most commonly handled in a forbidding and polemical style, is here treated with great calmness, and brought down to common apprehension, by means of familiar and appropriate illustrations. There is not a harsh or censorious word in the whole book. It may, therefore, be recommended as a specimen of mildness in the discussion of a subject, which commonly produces warmth and hard speeches…But this is not the only recommendation of this little volume. It contains much sound, and we may say, profound reasoning: or, to express ourselves more correctly, the result of profound reasoning; for there is no long or elaborate chain of ratiocination—here everything is simple, and remarkably adapted to the capacity of common readers; but no man could render such a subject familiar, and easily intelligible, who had not deeply and maturely pondered it, and viewed it in all its important aspects, and especially, in its practical bearings.”
I was so encouraged to read these words of Dr. Alexander, a man who was considered one of the most brilliant of his day, after I had finished reading the book myself. His words fully confirmed my opinion about the man and his book. The only question that has troubled me since reading it is this: WHY HAS THIS BEEN UNAVAILABLE FOR OVER 160 YEARS? We need such books for our own souls and we need such books to give to those who struggle with these matters in our day.
At a time when educated and respected ministers appear on nation-wide television and make statements like: “God had nothing to do with Hurricane Katrina,” we must have books like this one to give to the common man in the street to explain that the God of the Bible is the One who “works all things after the counsel of His own will.” He is the God who is in control of the fall of a sparrow and the hairs of our head. This book by Dr. Matthews on The Divine Purpose needs to be in every Christian home in America, and throughout the world. May God help us to get the word out before it is too late!
I first came across the name of Peter Jeffery about twenty years ago when I picked up a little book called ALL THINGS NEW. It was a book for those beginning the Christian life, and it immediately struck me as being the perfect book to put into the hands of a new convert. So simple. So clear. Right to the heart of the matter.
I soon began to pick up other books by this unknown author, and each time I found that he wrote in a way that a child could understand, and an educated adult be informed. He wrote from his heart and his words spoke to my heart. I wrote to him and got him to send me some tapes of his sermons, and in October 1992 I welcomed him and his wife Lorna from their home in Wales to the United States for the very first time. Peter had come to preach on Long Island and in New Jersey, and he was a blessing immediately. All who heard him speak loved him and were drawn to his love for the Savior, and his passion for the Gospel.
This afternoon Solid Ground Christian Books welcomed a brand new edition of his justly famous evangelistic booklet SEEKING GOD. It is one of my very favorite booklets to give to those who are unconverted. There is frankness in this booklet that is refreshing. Here is a sample:
“It is for such a person (a genuine seeker for God) that this little book is written. The ‘curious’ seeker will not benefit from it; in all probability he will not read it all the way through, but will lose interest very soon. The ‘intellectual’ seeker will argue with everything and will find no satisfaction in these pages. To both of these I would say very solemnly that there is no virtue in merely seeking. You will seek your way to hell, unless you see that your real need is to seek a Savior.”
The first time I read those last words I was stunned. I was not used to such straight talk in evangelistic books and tracts. I know several people who came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through reading this material, and hundreds, if not thousands throughout the world will look forward to meeting Peter in heaven one day.
Peter has a heart for God, but he has a heart that is very weak. He had to leave the ministry several years ago because of his weak heart, and now he is not strong enough to preach except on a rare occasion. The ways of God with man are very mysterious. He always knows what He is doing and we must trust Him at all times, especially when circumstances seem to be against us. If you know people who need the Lord I urge you to get copies of SEEKING GOD by Peter Jeffery. It may be the most important purchase you will ever make.
One of the most encouraging signs in the modern church is the reviving of the practice of Family Worship. The Puritans were known for the diligent practice of morning and evening times together in the Word of God and prayer. After falling upon hard times for generations, there has been a growing army of those determined to begin this practice again. The reprinting of the book Thoughts on Family Worship by J.W. Alexander and booklets by Jerry Marcellino, Joel Beeke and others have helped give aid and direction to this renewed practice.
Two years ago I was approached by Ray Rhodes of Nourished in the Word ministry from Dawsonville, Georgia with an idea about beginning a series of books to help families as they gather together during certain seasons of the year. Ray’s enthusiasm and devotion won me over to his idea and we soon produced Family Worship for the Christmas Season. This book received such reviews as the following:
“It is rare to find solid Family Worship resources in our day, let alone one for the advent season. Ray Rhodes has provided an outstanding tool for busy fathers during this opportune time of year. May God powerfully use it in the godly instruction of our families and for the generations to come!” – Pastor Jerry Marcellino
“The Christmas season is a great time for daily family worship. If you’ve never enjoyed family worship on a consistent basis, there’s no better time to start. Whether your family already enjoys the biblical and historic Christian practice of family worship or you’re just beginning, consider using Ray Rhodes’ engaging Family Worship for the Christmas Season this December.” – Dr. Donald S. Whitney
Last year Ray worked diligently again and produced Family Worship for the Reformation Season which led people for 31 days into the riches of church history, with special focus on the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Once again the response was encouraging:
“Imagine, leading your family in daily worship in the home, reading the Scriptures, singing and praying, but simultaneously introducing them to the history, leading figures and theology of the great sixteenth-century Reformation – all this in a fresh and interesting way, in just about a quarter of an hour each day. ‘That would be great,’ you say, ‘but it would take me hours and days to put that together. I could never do it.’ Well, Ray Rhodes has done it for you in Family Worship for the Reformation Season. Use this book with joy. It will inspire, inform and instruct you and your family. The studies are simple but meaty. The Scriptures passages are helpfully chosen. And most of the lessons can be completed in fifteen minutes. Employ and be edified!” – Dr. Ligon Duncan
This year Ray turned his attention to the Thanksgiving Season and he hit home once again. His words are informative and his counsel is simple as he leads families to remember the goodness of the Lord throughout history, including their own. Yet again the commendations flowed in.
“What a complete joy it is to offer my blessing and recommendation of Ray Rhodes’, newest book, Family Worship for the Thanksgiving Season. Ray has given us a doxological feast of 31 creative lessons which offer the fruit of both an informed mind and enflamed heart. The beauty of Ray’s writing may only be surpassed by the beauty of his family–the precious community in which our brother has invested so much of his heart and cultivated his tremendous love for the gospel and God’s people. Not only your Thanksgiving season, but your entire year will be enriched by highly accessible and Biblically faithful reflections.” Pastor Scotty Smith
Solid Ground Christian Books has expanded our vision to include new books from living authors who stand upon the firm foundation of sound doctrine. We are honored to be able to introduce men like Ray Rhodes to the Christian community throughout the US and around the world. We are convinced that the world has no hope without the reformation of the Church, and the Church has no hope without the reformation of the family. There is an expression in Latin: Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda, which means “The Church reformed and always reforming.” It is part of our purpose to seek to assist the Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world to fulfill its mission in the world. Family Worship is one neglected instrument toward the fulfillment of that task. Let us press on to know the Lord and to make Him known in our households and to the ends of the earth. Soli Deo Gloria!
Last time I spoke about Thomas H. Gallaudet, the father of deaf
education in America. This morning I would like to speak to you about an outstanding series he wrote over the last 15 years of his life entitled Scripture Biography for the Young. Beginning with Adam he writes to the young about the leading characters of Holy Scripture in a way that is informative, entertaining and challenging all at the same time. I am now approaching 60 years of age and I have found myself moved to tears on many occasions as I have read his words. He never leaves the reader as a mere spectator of history, but always seeks to address us in light of the example he has set before us. I will give a couple brief examples to whet your appetite. By the way, the first five volumes will be available in the first week of November.
EXAMPLE ONE – Joseph’s Brothers Comforting Their Father After Selling Joseph
“Jacob’s sons, trying to comfort him for the loss of Joseph, whom they themselves had sold into bondage, and sent far away from his affectionate father! They pretending to mingle their sorrow with his, when they were secretly rejoicing at the event which occasioned it! They endeavoring to allay his grief, when the deception which they had practiced was the reason why that grief was so excessive! They calling upon him to dry up his tears, when they had it in their power, by simply telling him that Joseph was yet alive, to furnish a consolation which would have turned those tears of sadness into tears of joy!
What base deceivers! What wicked hypocrites! What ungrateful and cruel children! How is their guilt increasing; and how great must be the displeasure of God against them! You see in all this your own danger, if you go on indulging sinful thoughts and feelings, and committing sinful actions. Stop and think of this danger. Think especially of one striking thing which marked the progress of Joseph’s brethren in guilt. I mean their resort to deception and falsehood.
Remember that those who are guilty of wicked conduct, wish and strive to conceal it. Have you not always found it to be so, when you have said or done anything which you knew to be wrong? But those who wish to conceal their evil conduct are strongly tempted to do this by some kind of artifice, or even by a downright falsehood.
You know it is a common saying, that those who steal, will also lie. It is true—and it is equally true, that those who commit wickedness, of whatever kind, will practice deception, and tell a falsehood rather than be detected. How mean and cowardly, as well as sinful, it is, to be a liar! “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are his delight. Liars shall have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.”
Fear then to sin. Fear all wicked thoughts, and feelings, and conduct. For these will lead you to deceive, and if, in your opinion, there is great danger of detection—to lie. There is no security against this, but in loving and obeying God. Have you a heart thus disposed to love and obey him? If you have not—think of the sons of Jacob. Think of their very wicked conduct toward their brother and father. It all proceeded from their evil hearts.”
EXAMPLE TWO – Joseph’s Gracious Treatment of His Brothers
“What an interesting and affecting scene! God has given it to you, my young friends, in the Bible, for your instruction. And you can, indeed, derive a great deal of instruction from it. Mark the conduct of Joseph in it; for it deserves your imitation.
There stood his brethren before him, who had done him so many injuries; and they knew, at last, that in the mighty governor of Egypt they beheld their brother whom they had hated so bitterly, and treated so cruelly. How their guilt must have risen up before them in all its enormity! How mean and degraded they must have felt in his presence! How justly they must have thought they deserved his severest rebuke! They probably were expecting it, as the least punishment, even if he did not inflict any other, which was due to their wickedness!
But what amazement must have filled their breasts, to see, that instead of all this, their injured brother was about to treat them with the greatest kindness. He does not reproach them at all. He even tries to turn their thoughts from the recollection of their own guilt, to the merciful providence of God, who had over-ruled it for his good, and for that of themselves, and their father, and their whole family.
Perhaps, in this respect, Joseph may have been too lenient. But he knew there would be another, and probably a better season, for them to think over all that had happened. He wished to show them how freely and fully he forgave them. And, if anything could lead them to the deepest repentance for their past guilt, it was surely such generous and noble conduct on the part of a brother whom they had so grossly injured.
How have you felt toward those who have injured you; and how have you treated them? No one, I presume, has ever done you an injury anything like that which the brethren of Joseph inflicted upon him. He felt no revenge, no desire to injure those who had injured him. On the contrary, he wished to return them all the good in his power, for the evil which he had received from them. See, too, the kind and affectionate, the noble and generous manner in which he showed these feelings. There was no allusion to their cruel and wicked treatment of him; no exulting because he had them in his power; no boasting of his being willing to forgive them; not even a rebuke or a reproach, or a word said to make them feel their littleness and their meanness.
Have you felt so, and acted so, toward those who have injured you? Do you not think that the conduct of Joseph is worthy of your highest effort to imitate it? It is, indeed, so. If you have not felt and acted at all as he did, toward those who have injured you, then you are like his wicked brethren; and the evil passion of revenge still finds a place within your breasts. You have need, then, of sincere repentance before God on this account. And this should show you the exceeding sinfulness of your heart. For you have not the spirit of Joseph. You have not the spirit of Christ.
Christ forgave his enemies, even those wicked and cruel men who nailed him to the cross! He prayed for them in his dying moments, that God also would forgive them. And he has told us that if we do not forgive our enemies, those who have injured us in any way whatever, and pray for them, and return good for evil, God will not forgive us, but banish us, forever, from his presence.
Think of all this. And seriously ask yourselves the question, if these things are so, whether you must not become very different from what you are; whether you must not have your inmost soul renewed and made holy by the Spirit of God, before you can hope to enjoy his presence and favor in heaven?”
Gallaudet will lead you and your family constantly from the Old Testament narrative to the person and work of Jesus Christ. We are honored to bring these volumes back into print for the first time in more than 125 years. Soon the wait will be over and we will be able to feed our souls on the rich meat of God’s holy word, as we are fed by The Father of Deaf Education in America.
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787-1851) was a renowned American pioneer in the education of the deaf. He helped found and was for many years the principal of the first institution for the education of the deaf in North America. When opened in 1817, it was called the “American Asylum for Deaf-Mutes” in Connecticut, but it is now known as the American School for the Deaf.
After graduating from Yale College in 1805, Gallaudet studied theology at Andover. His interests soon turned to the education of the deaf, and he visited Europe, studying in England and France, where he learned the sign method of communication from Abbé Roch-Ambroise Sicard, head of the French Royal Institute for the Deaf. On Gallaudet’s return to the United States in 1816, he and Laurent Clerc established the American Asylum for Deaf-mutes at Hartford, Conn., in support of which the U.S. Congress made a land grant. For more than 50 years this school was the main training centre for instructors of the deaf.
Gallaudet retired from the school in 1830, later receiving an appointment to the first professorship in the United States for the philosophy of education at New York University (1832–33). In his Plan of a Seminary for the Education of Instructers of Youth (1825), he proposed special schools for the professional training of teachers.
In the kind providence of God I was directed to a book Gallaudet wrote for children entitled The Child’s Book on the Fall, which opened a whole new world for me. From the moment I read the first story I was hooked, and I realized that the man who wrote this book had a special gift for communicating spiritual truth in simple language. This was confirmed when I read that story to my two oldest grandchildren a few years ago. They loved it instantly, and asked me to read it again and again.
This led me to search for everything I could find by Gallaudet which enabled us to produce The Child’s Book on Repentance, The Youth’s Book on Natural Theology, The Child’s Book on the Sabbath (written by his closest friend, Horace Hooker) and The Child’s Book on the Soul. A very precious providence went along with the last of these named.
Gallaudet wrote The Child’s Book on the Soul in two parts and I found it difficult to get both parts in a clean usable form. Thus we began the long process of retyping the entire work. When I came to the last chapter of the second part I was left dissatisfied. The book left the reader in a position of knowing the value of their soul, but without the clear remedy found in the Gospel. It seemed that Gallaudet hoped the child would be directed to one of his other books to find that answer. In my mind, the book was incomplete, so I determined to try to write a last chapter that would present the Gospel in a way that would fit the framework of the book.
A problem arose when I realized that two pages were missing from the middle of the original volume, so I had to go online and search for another old copy of the work that would have those two pages. The only copy I could find was a revised edition written about ten years after the original. When that revised edition arrived I was delighted to discover that Gallaudet himself had written an additional chapter to the book that presented the Gospel in a beautiful and powerful way. I was immediately struck with the kindness of the Lord to have those two pages missing from the book, which forced me to search for another copy to complete the project. And then upon receiving the revised edition to see that Gallaudet had been led to see the very thing I had seen: The Gospel Was Missing! I do not know how he came to write that chapter. Perhaps he had been told by others that it was needed, or perhaps he had seen it himself. But for me it came as an answer to prayer, and now it has gone throughout the world once again leading children and adults to learn the lesson contained in our Lord’s words, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?”