Book Review: IVP Pocket Reference Series

The IVP Pocket Reference Series is a great way to build an excellent reference library without having to spend a lot of money. The entire series of 13 books costs $130 ($117 through IVP) and individual pocket dictionaries retail for just $10 ($9 through IVP – less than on Amazon.com and Christianbook.com).

The series includes:

  • Pocket Dictionary of  Theological Terms
  • Pocket Dictionary of Theology
  • Pocket Dictionary for the Study of Biblical Hebrew
  • Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek
  • Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies
  • Pocket Dictionary of Ethics
  • Pocket History of the Church
  • Pocket Dictionary of Church History
  • Pocket Guide to World Religions
  • Pocket Dictionary of Liturgy Worship
  • Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition
  • Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion
  • Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics

Since FaithandSelfDefense is primarily an apologetics ministry, I’ll review the two IVP books about apologetics.

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.27

Reading Plan

In the last part of our series we looked at a serious disagreement in the North African Church between the Egyptian bishop (Alexander) and a Libyan presbyter (Arius). The issue concerned whether Jesus Christ was the eternal Son of God or was a created being.

Arius claimed that “there was a time when the Son was not.” Arius believed and taught that God the Father created Jesus and that Jesus had a different nature and essence from God the Father. This became known as Arianism, named after Arius.

Alexander, along with his chief deacon and secretary Athanasius, responded about 320 AD –

“For who ever heard such assertions before? or who that hears them now is not astonished and does not stop his ears lest they should be defiled with such language? Who that has heard the words of John, “In the beginning was the Word,” will not denounce the saying of these men, that “there was a time when He was not?” Or who that has heard in the Gospel, “the Only-begotten Son,” and “by Him were all things made,” will not detest their declaration that He is “one of the things that were made.” For how can He be one of those things which were made by Himself? or how can He be the Only-begotten, when, according to them, He is counted as one among the rest, since He is Himself a creature and a work? And how can He be “made of things that were not,” when the Father saith, “My heart hath uttered a good Word,” and “Out of the womb I have begotten Thee before the morning star?” Or again, how is He “unlike in substance to the Father,” seeing He is the perfect “image” and “brightness” of the Father, and that He saith, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father?” And if the Son is the “Word” and “Wisdom” of God, how was there “a time when He was not?” It is the same as if they should say that God was once without Word and without Wisdom. And how is He “subject to change and variation,” Who says, by Himself, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me,” and “I and the Father are One;” and by the Prophet, “Behold Me, for I am, and I change not?” For although one may refer this expression to the Father, yet it may now be more aptly spoken of the Word, viz., that though He has been made man, He has not changed; but as the Apostle has said, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” And who can have persuaded them to say, that He was made for us, whereas Paul writes, “for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things?” Deposition of Arius

Alexander and almost a hundred bishops of Egypt and Libya agreed to “anathematize” Arius and his followers. However, that did not end the challenge to Christ’s eternal Deity.

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