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Posts Tagged ‘free Christian books’

Evaluating Free Christian Book Offers

August 28, 2019 1 comment

Occasionally I have mentioned free online resources, and here are some good ones for monthly offers: a free e-book or audio book each month

  • Christian Audio
  • Logos — this month’s offer (August 2019) is “God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants:  A Concise Biblical Theology,” an abridgement of Gentry and Wellum’s Kingdom through Covenant
  • Faithlife Ebooks — The current offer is Name Above all Names, by Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson

Some book selections are better than others, with some not worth reading, but overall these collections provide many choices for different types of reading—and to ‘fill-in’ some of the categories in the Challies Reading Challenge, such as books “targeted at the opposite gender” or a book “you think you may disagree with.”

These ebooks and audio files usually sit in my account library settings until I get around to them (and some I’ll probably never read, as not worth reading), yet my recent reading has included several of these titles, such as ChristianAudio’s Reset, by David Murray, and Liturgy of the Ordinary (a title I do NOT recommend reading), and a past free monthly book from Logos, James Montgomery Boice’s Commentary on the Psalms volume 1 (Psalms 1-41).  This commentary is very insightful at several points, though again as with all commentaries some parts are better than others; the commentary on Psalm 19 is rather disappointing; he held to the Old Earth views of secular science, assuming these as truth from the so-called experts, thus showing his lack of understanding about presuppositions.

Some other past free offers from the last few years have been good selections, such as Sinclair Ferguson’s The Whole Christ, books by or about Jonathan Edwards, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, and Kevin DeYoung’s Taking God at His Word.

As with every possible book freebie, it helps to first check out the reader reviews at Amazon or Goodreads, especially when the author is unknown or the title doesn’t describe all you want to know about ‘what this book is about’.  Christianaudio.com monthly offers are often decent Reformed/Calvinistic titles, and Logos’ offerings are sometimes by Reformed authors (such as the current August 2019 free book), but many other times the books are from Roman Catholicism or liberal, non-Reformed/non-evangelical viewpoints.

One of the free audio books I read, as a title that sounded interesting and not too long to read (less than 5 hours), turned out as something quite different (as has been noted in the critical reviews at Amazon and Goodreads):  Liturgy of the Ordinary, written by a woman Anglican priest and filled with a lot of Roman Catholic / liberal Anglican ideas about “the importance” of having incense, candles, and other things for the senses as “aids” to our worship.  The reading was beneficial for the overall purpose of reading outside of one’s “comfort zone” and expanding one’s reading to things that differ from our own beliefs and worldview, as something to think about, to be able to articulate why I/you believe what we believe and why this other idea is wrong.  Yet even 4+ hours of an audio book with such content was difficult to keep listening to, to actually complete it; the point of reading and being exposed to the opposing view really should not require even that much time—to reach a point of “enough” and move on to better reading material.

Another month is nearing an end, and I look forward to the next set of monthly free offers from these three sites.  Perhaps September will have some good titles to add to my reading list—or, then again, perhaps a mixture of good and not-so-good or nothing; the next month will always come, with the possibility of a few more good titles.

The Hidden Life: Devotional Book, by Adolph Saphir

August 9, 2013 2 comments

After trying a few different free online Christian books recently (including works from Henry Morris and Alfred Edersheim), I am now reading Adolph Saphir’s “The Hidden Life”.  This work is available in several formats from archive.org, and also free on Google Play: the format I’ve chosen, without the many typo errors in, for instance, archive.org’s Kindle version.

I’ve only read the first three chapters so far, but finding it a good devotional with the proper emphasis on different aspects of the Christian life: prayer, reading of scripture, and the overall question of what it means to draw near to God.  Saphir’s work considers the epistle of James, and specifically James 4:8 – “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” Scripture verses and Christian poetry abound, as Saphir considers the proper way to come to God, how we should approach prayer (along with discussion of our tendency to not pray), and more.

A few excerpts are noteworthy, including this from the preface:

It is right to guard the house against the attacks of foes, or rather to point out the strength and security of the divinely-laid foundation. It is also right to point out the gate wide and open, and to declare to all the freeness and fulness of divine grace. But to describe the home itself, the inner sanctuary, seems to be more essential, and also more in accordance with the practice of the apostles, who declared the whole counsel of God, and regarded the preaching of the gospel, in its fulness, and with the power of the Holy Ghost, as at once the great argument to convince, and the great attraction to persuade.

And

The Word, or the Scripture, is the great, and in many respects the unique, channel of God’s communications to the soul; or rather it is central, round which all other divine influences gather. Scripture is the divine revelation in a special sense, but so that it connects itself with all other manifestations of God to the soul, be they in Nature or Providence, or by the direct influence of the Spirit.

Saphir keeps balance, avoiding the excesses and negative associations of mysticism and Christian mysticism, while noting the proper focus the Christian should have: on the Lord Himself, rather than on the “experience” of communion we enjoy with the Lord (which tends toward self-centeredness).  Notes at the end of chapter 1 specifically address the errors of mysticism, also observing:

The Christian knows not only wherein religion consists, but he also knows the source and power of the true life. The mystics outside Christianity have truly felt the necessity of death, of hating our own will and life, and in this respect put to shame many professing Christians who mind earthly things, and are the enemies of the cross of Christ. But they did not know : ” Ye have died with Christ, and your life is hid with Christ in God. ” They did not know the power of Christ’s resurrection, and the constraining love of the Divine Saviour, who for us died and lived again, that we henceforth may live unto Him. They may therefore be viewed as resembling those who, through the law, have become dead and long for life.

Later chapters deal with worldliness and the Christian’s proper response: to not love the world, yet in our service in the world, The less he loves the world in its God-opposed character, the more he truly loves the world, and is a blessing to those around him.