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Interviews with RHB authors

Read as an act of worship. Read to be elevated into the great truths of God so that you may worship the Trinity in Spirit and in truth. Be selective about what you read, however. Measure all your reading against the touchstone of Scripture.  Time is too precious to waste on nonsense. Read more for eternity than time, more for spiritual growth than professional advancement.

 — Joel R. Beeke

First to be released:

Jeremy Walker – The Brokenhearted Evangelist

1. In three paragraphs or less, please tell me about your conversion to Christ.

I was brought up in a godly home but kicked hard against the goads before and during my teenage years. I did not want simply to accept or assume that a thing was true (such as what I was taught concerning true religion), but to know it as true. I therefore largely turned my back on the things that I was taught. At the same time, I do not recall ever doubting that there is a God, nor did any but the God of Scripture appear credible to me.

I wrestled with the twin realities of a holy Almighty and my own sinful heart. I could not comprehend how the God of heaven and earth could ever love or be reconciled with a creature with a heart and life so full of actual and potential wickedness. I was persuaded on the one hand that there must be something necessary for me to do in order to make myself acceptable to him, and on the other it was increasingly plain that there was in me no good thing: I could not make myself acceptable, and yet I could not see any other way of salvation. Trapped in this vortex, I went into a downward spiral of spiritual aggression and nihilism in which – despite the gracious efforts of my parents and others – I sank to great depths.

However, as I plunged into darkness, the Lord was pleased to deal graciously with me, and – while I cannot recall a particular sermon or conversation that turned things around – I came slowly to grasp that the fact that I cannot save myself nor make myself saveable is, in fact, the very glory of God’s redemption. I had been looking to myself for salvation, but salvation is something that the Lord has done entirely in Christ, outside of the sinner. I cannot merit this, I can only humbly and gratefully receive it by faith. I suppose you could say that I had my own personal mini-Reformation! Over time, and in the face of my rebellion, my God was pleased to make me willing, and drew me to Christ my Ransom. I was baptised and joined the church shortly before my seventeenth birthday, but deeply ingrained patterns of self-reliance meant that it was still some time before I came to any settled assurance of salvation.

2. Please tell me your motivation behind this project.

I suppose that I was motivated by what I fear to be a substantial failure on my part, and the part of many other Christians and churches, to grasp this element of our Christian faith and life. I have wondered if we are shackled by a kind of practical hyper-Calvinism which embraces all the glories of the gospel and even the righteousness of its being freely declared and Christ offered to all men, but for some reason fails to do it. Perhaps we have become too accustomed to being on the back foot. Perhaps we have lost our confidence in the gospel. Perhaps we have unwittingly accepted the world’s agenda and have been muzzled by postmodern diktats. It could be an overreaction to fundamentalism and/or revivalism. Perhaps we have been so introspectively concerned – often rightly – about our failures and struggles as churches and as Christians that we have lost sight of our responsibility to take the gospel to the lost. Maybe we have been waiting for something more to happen before we do so. Perhaps we are just afraid.

As I studied my Bible and church history, I saw and felt the gulf between what I was, and the church to which I belonged, and the godly, faithful, obedient saints of the past. Our attitudes, appetites and actions are simply not measuring up.

I am persuaded that healthy churches do not grow simply by attracting hungry sheep, although I would never despise that. They should also grow, under God, through definite and deliberate intention and action to see sinners of all sizes and stripes and circumstances bowing the knee to Christ Jesus. The saints are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light (1Pt 2.9). A significant part of that is making God known to the lost. Having been saved with so great a salvation, how can I – in terms of my response to God and responsibility to my fellow men – fail to declare his glory in salvation?

I want to persuade others of these truths so that – not abandoning those other things that belong to a healthy Christian life in communion with God and with his people – we are again moved and motivated to take the gospel to the world with joy and confidence in God and in his Christ.

3. Please tell me what you hope people will gain from this book.

My sincere hope and prayer is that this will galvanise the saints of God into considering once again their privilege and obligation to be witnesses for Christ in the world, and then working out those privileges and obligations in the spheres in which God has put them, and in accordance with the graces and gifts that Christ has given them, in real and expectant dependence on the Holy Spirit. I hope that this treatment of God’s word will prove profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2Tim 3.16), and be a means of stirring the church and her members to more active and committed endeavour in taking the good news of Christ crucified to other sinners.

4. How were you personally impacted by working on this project?

I am convicted all over again every time I read what I have written. Sadly, that is not a testimony to the excellence of the book, but to my own dullness of heart. Working on these things has, I hope, helped me to come to a deeper understanding of and greater commitment to my own responsibilities in this regard. I suppose there is a sense in which writing a book like this keeps my feet to the fire: I have to practice what I preach! If I care enough to say it, I should care more to do it.

5. Why did you pick RHB to publish your book?

They picked me. After working with Reformation Heritage Books on A Portrait of Paul I was asked if I had any other writing projects in mind. I had been impressed with the kindness and care shown by RHB during the previous project, and was very pleased to make some suggestions. When I did so, I was instructed to get writing! The manuscript for The Brokenhearted Evangelist was already substantially complete as this has been a matter close to my heart for many years, and RHB kindly acceded to my plea to work on this first.

Dr. Bilkes – Glory Veiled and Unveiled

1. In three paragraphs or less, please tell me about your conversion to Christ.

In God’s providence and mercy, my parents raised me in the fear and admonition of the Lord. After I left home to study, however, the Lord slowly but surely broke down my confidence in myself, and taught me to know in my heart that I could not do anything pleasing to him apart from his sovereign grace for Christ’s sake. I learned to count the things I had prided myself in as loss, and became a beggar for mercy. I am thankful for what the Lord has shown me about myself and Himself, but I find that I need to die daily to myself, and daily be raised up to newness of life through His Spirit. Without that, I am merely running on “fumes,” or to use a biblical expression, “old manna” (Ex 16:20).

2. Please tell me your motivation behind this project.

Many love the parables of Christ because they grip them with their simplicity and beauty, and because they often end in a surprising way. That is certainly true. However, many miss the depth and majesty of the parables, especially as they uncover us to our sin and alienation from God, as well as God’s glorious grace in Jesus Christ, the One telling the parables. I wrote this book to help the common student of the Bible search these parables in a way that would leave their hearts feeling searched by the parable.

3. Please tell me what you hope people will gain from this book.

My desire is that people would 1. Recognize more fully how the parables unfold the glory and majesty of God and His kingdom; 2. Appreciate more deeply how Christ makes himself and the gospel  known in the parables; 3. Become transformed to submit themselves more thoroughly by the Spirit to all the Scriptures, not just the parables.

4. How were you personally impacted by working on this project? 

When Isaiah saw the glory of God, it gave him a sense that he was full of sin and unfit to serve God (Isaiah 6:5).  Studying the parables has renewed that experience in my life. At the same time, it has given me a desire to see the glory of Lord in Jesus Christ transform my life and that of others as well.

5. Why did you pick RHB to publish your book?

RHB majors in books that promote confessional and experiential piety. This coincides with my desire in this book. I am very pleased that RHB has agreed to publish it and has worked hard to bring order out of disorder.

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