BOOK HIGHLIGHT — Gospel-Powered Humility by William P. Farley


Gospel-Powered Humility by William P. Farley

200 pages | On sale for $8.90 from wtsbooks.com | SAMPLE CHAPTER


About

Humility is not a popular concept in our world today. It is seen as weakness in a culture that prizes self-esteem and validation. Unfortunately, these worldly attitudes about humility have leaked into and influenced the church, as well.

Far from being weakness, humility is the crucial virtue. Not only is it integral to the processes of conversion and sanctification, but from its soil sprout the fruit of the Spirit. Yet many Christians are unaware of this crucial connection and do not see the implications of humility in witnessing, counseling, and preaching.

Gospel-Powered Humility argues that God has designed the gospel to provoke humility. In this vital book William Farley proves that humility, often the least emphasized virtue, is in reality the chief and most necessary virtue. If humility truly matters, our Christian ministry should aim to not only encourage faith, but to encourage a faith that humbles sinners.

Read and learn how much humility does matter . . . and what we can begin to do about it.

 

Endorsement

“In The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul says that the reason he wrote a book on holiness was a deep awareness of his own lack of holiness. Similarly, William Farley wrote this book out of an awareness of his lack of humility. . . . Gospel-Powered Parenting carefully grounds humility in the good news of the gospel. This is a book that will teach and convict every believer.”

Tim Challies

 

About The Author

William P. Farley is the senior pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship, a non-denominational Evangelical church in Spokane, Washington. He is the author of Outrageous Mercy, Gospel-Powered Parenting, and Hidden in the Gospel, and has written articles for numerous journals and magazines. Bill and his wife, Judy, live in Spokane, Washington.


Foreword by Robert D. Jones of Diehard Sins

Here is the forward of Diehard Sins: How to Fight Wisely against Destructive Daily Habits by Rush Witt.


Foreword

I don’t know how many people routinely read book forewords. I myself sometimes skip them in order to plunge right into the introduction. You won’t offend me if you do the same. But if you’re hesitating to read this book and need some preview and perspective, let me help you.

Why a book on sin? Because—despite myriads of theories by philosophers, sociologists, and psychologists—sin, in all its depth, remains the most fundamental explanation for human problems. I recall reading, many years ago, before heated gun-control debates or #MeToo movements, a newspaper article decrying our society’s deterioration. The gist: with all the modern developments of our age, why can’t we come up with a program to solve the problem of societal violence?

The Bible, of course, provides both the deepest diagnosis and the most profound cure for all who will heed its message. In this book, Dr. Rush Witt gives us a theologically sound, gospel-soaked treatment of sin and grace, lacing it with insightful quotes from various voices throughout church history. This is a safe book for you and for those you love.

So why another book on sin? I could list a half-dozen other solid evangelical treatments of this doctrine. But this one is different. Rush writes as a lead pastor who is on the ground with his people and as a trained biblical counselor who counsels men and women in both his church and his community. With the case wisdom of an active shepherd, he tells us (pseudonymously) about Janet, Rob, Kristen, and others and about their struggles to fight against their remaining sin.

Yet this book is not about sin in general but about a particular type—what the writer calls diehard sins. Don’t think about Bruce Willis. Think about your long-term, stubborn, unyielding patterns of sin—not the biggies like murder or adultery but the entrenched ones that don’t lie down and die quickly. Rush shows how these diehard sins manifest themselves in daily ways, dishonoring our Lord and debilitating our Christian walk. Yet he also tells us how the active, saving work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit brings real answers to real people like Janet, you, and me.

But why another book on sin by a writer you don’t know? Because Dr. Rush Witt is worth knowing. I met Rush in 2004 when he served as an associate minister at Open Door Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was completing his MDiv degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. As a new professor at Southeastern, I joined Open Door and in time became a part-time staff member with Rush. His biblical wisdom and relational skills were immediately evident. After Rush graduated, the Lord called him to a pastoral staff position in a large church in Florida. We reconnected when he became one of my doctoral students in counseling at Southeastern and then when our church sent him to plant the church he now pastors in Columbus, Ohio. More recently I had the privilege of supervising Rush through his certification process with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, where his pastoral wisdom again emerged.

It is my hope that this book will gain a wide readership—not only among laypeople and those who pastor and counsel them, but also among Bible college and seminary professors who, like me, crave books that blend sound Bible doctrine with practical life application. With graduate training in both disciplines, and a heart that loves people, Rush models for us how to do this.

Robert D. Jones

Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


Author Interview with Leland Ryken


This week’s author interview is with Leland Ryken. He is the author of our upcoming book, 40 Favorite Hymns on the Christian Life: A Closer Look at Their Spiritual and Poetic Meaning which will release on March 1st.

“A foundation of powerful and beautiful hymns is essential in the development of a community of believers and the expression of God’s goodness through their lives. Thank you, Dr. Ryken, for this resource to the church.”  —Keith Getty

 


  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I am from humble roots, having grown up on farms in central Iowa. I received all of my education through college in my hometown of Pella, Iowa, and my graduate education at the University of Oregon. I am currently in my fifty-first year of teaching in the English Department at Wheaton College. My wife and I have three children and sixteen grandchildren.

 

  • How large a role has publishing played in your life?

It has been huge. I am known around the world not as a professor but as a writer. When people engage me in small talk, the subject is invariably my writing. I cannot imagine having had a fulfilling life as a teacher only, or as a writer on literary subjects only. When I don’t have a book under way, I feel somewhat at loose ends. As I near the end of my public years, it is obvious to me that my chief contribution to the Kingdom has been publishing.

 

  • What is the nature of the book your current book 40 Favorite Hymns on the Christian Life?  

It is an anthology of hymns printed as devotional poems. That in itself would be a great step in getting hymn lovers to experience the familiar hymns in a new and richer way, but it gets even better than that. Each hymn is accompanied by a 500-word literary analysis or explication of the type that I conduct with poems in my literature classes. The effect for my readers will be that they will feel that they have been introduced to hymns they have never known before—not literally, but in the sense that a whole new dimension has opened up.

 

  • How did an academician become an author?

It was all dependent, of course, on having initial success in publishing. But once I started having success, I very consciously decided that I had a writing career as well as a teaching career. It was one of the best decisions of my life. The result is that I never felt constrained to write “in my field.” I have published on a wide array of subjects, and this has given me an entry into many interesting circles. I have entered pretty much every publishing door that has opened before me, and many of the doors have led to modest assignments. In my writing life, I have found that being faithful in little assignments has often qualified me for major writing opportunities later.

 

  • Do you enjoy writing?

Yes and no. For me, writing is laborious. I need to push myself to do it. On the other hand, I come from a background that finds work enjoyable, so the mere fact that writing is hard work does not mitigate its pleasurable aspect. I would not do the work of writing if I did not enjoy it. I enjoy it because of the rewards that flow from it, such as enriching the lives of my readers. Additionally, my speaking career has been the result of my publishing. Only in recent years have I summoned the boldness to answer people’s question about what I enjoy doing in my leisure time with the reply, “I enjoy writing books in my free time.”

 

  • Has writing become easier as your writing career has unfolded?

The process of writing has become more efficient. I accomplish my writing projects faster. I’m not sure the process is easier or less laborious, but it takes less time. Inasmuch as I don’t have quite enough to do when I do not have a writing project under way, my efficiency sometimes has the downside of leaving me without a current writing assignment.

 

  • Do you have a favorite among your nearly sixty published books?

My honest answer is that the book I like best is the one I am currently writing. Although some of my books have been landmark books compared to others, I have learned not to prejudge what my most important books or articles have been. Often it is the seemingly modest or relatively obscure publication that has been the one by which I am known to a given reader, or that a given reader has experienced as a landmark in his or her life.

 

  • How did you come to write the hymns book?

My love of devotional poetry has been present from the very beginning of my career as a literature professor. In fact, I recently published an anthology of devotional poetry of the great poets, following the format of the hymns book, with explications accompanying the poems. The idea of treating familiar hymns as devotional poems has been percolating for a long time, as I have become more and more aware of the verbal beauty and devotional potential of the great hymns. This has been my favorite book to write because of a revisionist subcurrent to the project—revisionist in the sense that I am implicitly countering the familiar perception of the hymns as not being excellent poetry. I have felt like a liberator, breaking down a wall of confinement and saying to my readers, “Look at this—it’s amazing.”

 

  • What do you mean when you say a hymn is a poem before it is a hymn?

Every poem begins as a written text. This text has the properties of a poem. It is written in lines that end with rhyming words. It employs images and metaphors, and it possesses verbal beauty beyond ordinary prose discourse. This written text becomes a hymn only after it becomes paired with music, and this is always a second step, beyond the merely poetic one.

 

  • What does a hymn text gain by being printed and pondered as a poem?

The first thing we gain by reading a hymn as a poem is that we slow down and give it the attention it deserves. When we sing a hymn, we are hurried along and need to keep moving. When we read, we can take as long to unpack the meanings and verbal beauty as is needed. A second thing that happens is that when the stanzas are printed one after the other in linear fashion, we begin to see the carefully worked-out progression of the poem. We see how each stanza adds something new to the movement, while at the same time being related to the other stanzas and to the unifying element that binds the whole poem together. And of course we can take time to unpack the meanings of individual images and metaphors and allusions, as well as savoring the verbal beauty of the evocative phrases.

 

  • What did you discover about the forty hymns as a group?

The most important thing I discovered is what good poetry the great hymns are. My academic discipline of literature pays lip service to hymns as part of the literary tradition of the English-speaking world, but English teachers never actually explicate hymns in class. I now believe that this is a loss. I also discovered what a gift the great hymn writers have for beautiful phrases and other forms of verbal beauty. I discovered how carefully hymn writers compose on a stanzaic principle, with each stanza having its unique “duty” to perform. Along with that, however, hymn writers are very deliberate about maintaining the coherence of their poems, with everything contributing to the unifying theme and purpose of the hymn as a whole. Finally, even though hymnic poems can be explicated just like the poems I normally teach in my literature courses, they also represent poetry under vows of voluntary renunciation, by which I mean that they are not as complicated and dense with literary technique as ordinary poems.

 

  • Were there surprises that emerged?

There were many surprises. Most hymn writers are extremely prolific, and many of them wrote not only hundreds of hymns but thousands.  Many famous hymn writers were ministers or clerics. Many of famous hymns arose of great suffering and tragedy in the lives of the poets.  Very few hymns writers have been professional literary people; they were literary amateurs. How, then, were they able to write so many hymnic poems, seemingly spontaneously? My answer is that God’s benediction fell on their efforts. Finally, some famous hymns express such lofty and seemingly impossible ideals of spiritual experience that we find it hard to take them literally, but if we know enough about the biographical circumstances of the author’s life, it turns out that they express what the author actually experienced. We can therefore assimilate them as expressing an ideal toward which we should aspire, not as something to belittle for supposed exaggeration.

 

  • How do you envision readers using your anthology?

My book is like other literary anthologies of devotional poetry. There is no shortage of literary technique to admire in hymnic poems, so readers can use the book for literary enjoyment. The accompanying explications will seem like to a return to the high school or college literature classroom. But the poems are devotional in content, so they can as well be read for devotional purposes, with the explications serving to enhance the devotional nature of the reading experience.


Preorder your copy of 40 Favorite Hymns on the Christian Life: A Closer Look at Their Spiritual and Poetic Meaning today:

CBD: $11.99

Amazon: $14.99


 

3 New Releases Today!


We are very excited for these 3 titles that are now available!


1. Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them: Schizophrenia through a Mother’s Eyes by Simonetta Carr 

List Price: $15.99 | Currently on sale from wtsbooks.com for $9 | Kindle: $9.99 | iTunes: $9.99

368 pages | SAMPLE CHAPTER

When a son, sister, or grandchild begins to behave in unexpected and disturbing ways, family members hope it is simply a phase. For some, it is instead a lifetime illness—schizophrenia.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia can bring shock, fear, and worry to everyone involved. But in the midst of the numerous challenges, hope doesn’t have to die.

Simonetta chronicles her experience of caring for a son with schizophrenia, along with all the struggles, questions, and fervent prayer that went with it. But this isn’t one person’s story. She has provided information and wisdom from psychiatrists, pastors, parents, and people who successfully live with schizophrenia, uncovering the gospel in each situation and sharing hard-won insights on how to care and advocate for those we love.

“By far the best book I have encountered . . . on a controversial topic. A great resource for families, students, and professionals.”

—Richard Winter, Psychotherapist; Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Counseling, Covenant Theological Seminary

“The most honest and deeply moving Christian book I’ve read in a long time. . . . Opens the door of hope and help for other families by sharing . . . hard-won knowledge and resources.”

—David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; Author, Christians Get Depressed Too

“The most inspiring story I’ve ever read. . . . A story of how God’s grace and love really can and do sustain his people.”

—Brooke Ventura, Assistant Editor, Modern Reformation


2. Passions of the Heart: Biblical Counsel for Stubborn Sexual Sins by John D. Street 

List Price: $19.99 | Currently on sale from wtsbooks.com for $17.99 | Kindle: $9.99 | iTunes: $9.99

336 pages | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Enticed by rage, sensuality, or pride, anyone can become caught up in previously unimaginable acts. Experienced biblical counselor John Street takes a hard look at the heart idolatries that lead even Christians to commit egregious sexual sin . . . showing how to bring lasting change by identifying the underlying motivations of the heart.

Here there is hope: any sin can be forgiven, and Christ gives men and women the grace to mortify fleshly desires and to humbly live for him.

“Dr. Street applies his confidence in the Scriptures from years of experience counseling those entangled in sexual sin. There is hope, and Street makes clear and practical the path to biblical freedom.”

—Dale Johnson, Executive Director, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

“John speaks with great wisdom and unpacks Scripture in a beautifully relevant way. I commend this excellent book to all those who struggle with stubborn sexual sins.”

—Amy Baker, Instructor and Counselor, Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry

“John Street goes beyond ‘stop it’ to address the sometimes hidden or surprising inward motivations that lead to unrighteous expressions of passion. . . . He also offers practical wisdom for counselors . . . . An important resource that will help many to be set free.”

—Jim Newheiser, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte


3. Mere Calvinism by Jim Scott Orrick 

List Price: $14.99 | Currently on sale from wtsbooks.com for $13.49 | Kindle: $9.99 | iTunes: $9.99

224 pages | SAMPLE CHAPTER

There are so many misconceptions about Calvinism that it is safe to say that even most Christians do not truly know what it teaches. You may have grown up in a Reformed church, or you may have heard about Calvinism mostly in arguments. Either way, it may surprise you to know that this belief has huge, and very positive, implications for a believer’s daily life!

Jim Orrick clears up misinformation about Calvinism and explains its basic yet profound ideas and teachings—using the Bible as the basis for everything he says.

Making use of relatable life illustrations, as well as an engaging, clear, and friendly style, he sets out the basics of what Calvinism teaches, explores each of the five points that summarize its positions, and addresses rebuttals and misunderstandings. Learn why the teachings of Calvinism not only matter, but can renew your trust and hope in the gospel!

“Orrick conveys biblical truth so simply . . . but so perceptively.”

—Donald S. Whitney

“Some people make it sound as though you need a college degree to understand the Bible. Orrick presents profound theology in a simple, clear, and thoroughly scriptural way.”

—Iain M. Duguid, Professor of Old Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

“Has characteristics that stand out beyond . . . other worthy expositions. . . . Reads like a good story, incorporating a literary artfulness that is rare in this subject matter.”

—Thomas J. Nettles, Senior Professor of Historical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky


 

Author Interview with Jim Scott Orrick

This week’s author interview is with Jim Scott Orrick. He is the author of Mere Calvinism (releasing tomorrow!).

  • When did you first want to write a book?

I sometimes imagine what it would sound like for me, now not far from sixty years old, to have a conversation with my twelve-year-old self. Young Jimmy would ask me about my family, and he would be slightly dismayed to learn that I am the father of six daughters and no sons. He would cheer up seeing that my wife is pretty. He would be disappointed that I had not played major-college basketball or professional sports of any kind. He would get around to asking, “So, what do you do?” “I’m a preacher,” I’d answer, “but I’m also a college professor.”

Being from 1972, young Jimmy would probably say that being a college professor was groovy, but he would be thrown off his groove when I answered his question about what I had to go through to become a college professor: “I went to college and seminary for twelve years.” Twelve-year-old Jimmy would sit down and cry about that. He read voraciously, but he was not academically inclined. Writing books was an unlikely prospect.

I began preaching at age seventeen when I was just out of high school, and preaching has been my life passion since then. I came from a Baptist family that valued education, but we Baptists do not insist that our preachers have formal education. When I began preaching, among my branch of the Baptists a college education was desirable but optional, and seminary training was nearly unheard of. I went to college mostly to continue participating in basketball and track and field. In college, I was a pretty good student, but I carefully avoided classes in which the professor required a research paper. Some of my college profs would be shocked to learn that I have written books. And that strange thumping you sometimes hear in the middle of the night? That is my Jr. High English teacher turning over in her grave. I did, however, love to write letters, and as incredible as it seems in 2019, I often spent hours every week writing letters. I wanted to write interesting letters, and I think that is where I honed my writing skills. I still write letters with fountain pens. For that matter, I nearly always write the first draft of serious composition with pen and paper.

My attitude towards extended writing projects never really changed until I was pursuing my PhD in English Literature at Ohio University. I wrote my dissertation on George Herbert’s Debt to the Bible, and I loved writing it. I typed the whole thing out – hundreds of pages – on an old 286 computer, and I never saved it anywhere except on the hard drive. I never knew how! But God is merciful. When I was finished with the dissertation, I hit the print button, and my tractor-feed printer started chugging away. Several hours later, the whole dissertation lay complete on the floor.

How did I come to write Mere Calvinism? I grew up hearing my dad’s Calvinistic preaching, so my entire life I have had friendly exposure to the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace. When I began preaching, I preached free grace. When I began teaching, I taught free grace. Although much of my teaching and preaching ministry has been carried on among Christians who would identify as Calvinists, I have observed that their knowledge of Calvinism is often surprisingly limited. Through the years, when I have given the lectures and sermons that formed the basis of Mere Calvinism, the reaction of these self-identifying Calvinists has not been, “Oh, brother, here we go again. We have to sit through another sermon on Calvinism.” On the contrary, many of them have responded as if they were hearing these truths clearly expounded for the first time.

 

  • Which writers inspire you?

William Jay makes me want to read the Bible. John Brown of Edinburgh is my favorite commentator. George Herbert is my favorite poet. My favorite poem is “To a Waterfowl” by William Cullen Bryant. Epictetus is my favorite philosopher. Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophyis my favorite book of philosophy. Shakespeare’s King Learis my favorite play. Pilgrim’s Progressis my favorite book. C. H. Spurgeon is my lifelong hero. For several years I read one of Spurgeon’s sermons almost every day. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has been a huge blessing. Alexander Whyte pushed me into a ministry in which literature figures prominently. As amazing as C. S. Lewis is as a Christian apologist and writer of fiction, he may be even better as a literary critic. Classical music moves me beyond my ability to say. I love hymns.

 

  • What book are you reading now?

Phillips Brooks’ Lectures on Preaching. Other than the preaching book that I co-authored with Brian Payne and Ryan Fullerton, I do not know that I have ever read a book on preaching that compares with Brooks. (I still have about seventy-five pages to read).

 

  • Is there anything unique about you?

I have never had a cell phone. As a young man, I hitch-hiked all over America. I was seeking adventure, but I was also on a mission. I shared the gospel with almost everyone who gave me a ride. I make all-wood, homemade bows and regularly deer hunt with my bows. I tan deer hides using an ancient, all-natural method called brain-tan, and I make clothing out of the resulting buckskin. I have been a beekeeper for close to thirty years. I have set many of the Psalms to music, and I set to music the Baptist version of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

 

  • Do you have a favorite quote?

“Trust in God, and do the right.” See Norman Macleod’s poem by that name. Also, “The stone that is fit for the wall will not be left to lie in the ditch.”

 

  • What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Homemade, hand-cranked cherry-nut.