acting the miraclePiper, John. & David Mathis, eds. Acting the Miracle: God’s Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification. Crossway, 2013.

The essays from this volume are drawn from sermons at a Desiring God conference. The conference seemed designed to address an antinomian tendency among some of the “young, restless, and reformed” whose conception of “grace-based,” and “gospel-centered” leaves no room for Spirit-empowered personal striving toward Christlikeness. I found the essays by John Piper and Kevin DeYoung to be the most beneficial. Piper develops a theology of sanctification and DeYoung demonstrates that the Bible gives a multiplicity of incentives for sanctification. Available for free download or for $13.30 at

lloyd-jones1Murray, Iain H. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years 1899-1939. Banner of Truth, 1982.

Iain Murray always writes biographies for the purpose of edification. This does not mean that he writes hagiographies or that he tolerates historical inaccuracies. It does mean that his biographies are no mere record of events. He attempts, as much as is possible with external records, to chart not only the life events but also the spiritual and theological growth of his subjects. Lloyd-Jones is without a doubt a worthy subject for such a biography. Most relevant today is his conviction that the world and the church needs not political triumph, engaging drama to draw in crowds, or a new program to bring in the unchurched. What we need instead is doctrinal preaching. This message is found in many of Lloyd-Jones’ sermons, but Murray, in biographical form, contextualizes these convictions so that it becomes plain that they were coupled with loving personal attention to the members of his congregation and community. Available for $29 at

lloyd-jones2Murray, Iain H. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981. Banner of Truth, 1990.

An 800 page biography that covers forty years of a man’s life cannot be reduced to a theme or two. Nonetheless two themes stand out in Murray’s sympathetic, yet not uncritical, biography of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The first was the importance that Lloyd-Jones placed on preaching. This volume will encourage readers to value the preaching of the Word that they hear each week. The second theme that pushed itself to the fore was Lloyd-Jones’s concern for true church unity. He believed that the false unity of the ecumenical movement made it necessary for evangelicals to develop a theology of true Christian unity. This true unity was shattered by those evangelicals who insisted on participating in the ecumenical movement. This insistence resulted in breaking ties with Christians who could not in good conscience participate in such endeavors. Murray’s treatment of Lloyd-Jones’s response in such situation contains much wisdom. Yet it also displays the difficulty of the subject. Lloyd-Jones seemed to desire some form of visible, organizational unity that was neither a new denomination nor merely a parachurch organization, but he seemed unable to articulate quite what this meant. Thus his critique remained more telling than his positive vision. All in all, this is a timely and thought-provoking biography and highly recommended. Available at for $30.

51+pPOC8DVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Both volumes have also been combined and condensed into one volume (496 pages), available for $17.10 at