I wasn't sure that I'd like this book.
I don't know why.
Well, I sort of do.
Firstly it came in pdf format, which is always awkward. I can read pdf format on my Kindle, but it's not great. I can convert pdf files to Kindle format, but that's not great either. So the poor book was off to a bad start.
Secondly the conservative evangelical scene has become quite diverse over the past few years. I subscribe to a couple of websites' rss feeds, including the Gospel Coalition and Reformation 21, Desiring God, etc.., and while there is so much to rejoice in - a real growth of interest in Bible Christianity and in the best of our forefathers - there can also be that which is awkward, embarrassing, agressive or snide. As a friend put it, "There's a tone that sets in". Quite. So I've become a bit wary, I suppose. It's so easy to imbibe a spirit of snideness. The "tone" is hiding just our of sight, waiting its chance, waiting to set in.
Anyway, what about the book?
Well it's great! It's a book that has grown out of expository sermons on 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
Oh boy. What do that mean, "expository sermons"?
Well I don't mean expository in the sense of taking sizeable sections of Paul's thought, finding the main point and communicating that, scampering through the letters at a fair old lick. There's books like that, aren't there?
And I don't mean expository in the sense of proceeding slowly through the passage squeezing every drop of goodness from the citrus fruit of Paul's Greek, supported and sustained by historical and systematic studies. There are books like that, too.
Both those approaches are laudable and wholesome, and both have their drawbacks.
This book sometimes scampers and sometimes squeezes. For example chapter 8 is entitled "Hearing the Lord in a world of noise" and deals with 1 Thessalonians 2:13. And it doesn't really deal with the whole verse. It is rather a kind of systematised reflexion on how to hear God's word - expectantly, hungrily, attentively, faithfully, obediently. Chapter 9 then deals with 2:14 to 3:10, Praise in the midst of Persecution.
So this book isn't a manual of preaching, or a preacher's commentary, or anything like that. What it is is a broadly accessible book of messages on 1 & 2 Thessalonians, from an able scholar-pastor who aims to bring the light of all his studies and reflection to bear on the text and to then cross the bridge to where we like today to bring us much-needed help.
Read it expectantly, hungrily, attentively, faithfully and obediently and it will do you good.
Oh yes, and you will look in vain for "hoopla about the rapture", as our writer so quaintly puts it. And you will find a careful, cautious, historically-informed approach to the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians.
I received this book free of charge in the highly esteemed pdf format in exchange for an honest review.