The following two books are vital in helping to explain the NRC’s view of saving faith. Both books have been a tremendous blessing to me.
- Murray, Iain H. Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1995. In the late 1800s Charles Spurgeon faced a small but determined group of churches that were under the influence of hyper-calvinistic beliefs. They believed that Spurgeon was thoroughly Arminian and therefore gave people a false hope of heaven. Iain Murray gives a brief historical survey of this controversey (Chapters 3 & 4) and then describes Spurgeon’s four point response from Scripture (Chapter 4). Although the book does not mention the NRC, it has been greatly used of God in the lives of many current and former NRC members.
- Greendyk, Paul., Tanis, Bill. Hypercalvinistic Responses to Arminianism and the Marrow of the Gospel: A Summary of various hypercalvinistic tendencies, and their effects. Privately published, 1999. Click here for to download this book. This is an amazing book. Both authors grew up in the NRC and have an intimate knowledge of the denomination. This book is an evaluation of some of the theological tendencies that they saw within the denomination.
- Lloyd-Jones, Martin. The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1987. This book is simply breathtaking. Several of the chapters speak directly to various issues within the NRC.
- Ryle, J.C. Warnings to the Churches. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, reprint 1967. Ryle was a pastor in the Church of England in the mid 1800s. At that time many members were leaving the Anglican church and joining the Roman Catholic Church. To address this crisis Ryle gave a series of very powerful sermons warning churches of the dangerous influences of false teaching. Like the Lloyd-Jones book above, it specifically addresses a number of key issues within the NRC.
- Baxter, Richard. The Practical Works of Richard Baxter: A Christian Directory Vol. 1. (PA: Soli Deo Gloria, reprint 2000). This Puritan pastor wrote a massive section on the subject of vows (pages 564-581). He leaves no stone unturned.
- D.A. Carson, The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979). A great book written by a godly, reformed NT Greek professor. He addresses several key issues related to the KJV debate: 1) The KJV is the most accurate translation; 2) it is the most durable; 3) the use of old English makes it more durable; 4) the KJV honors Christ more than other versions do.
- Edwards, Jonathan. Religious Affections. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, reprint 1961. This book was written during the 1734 Great Awakening in New England and its purpose was to help pastors and lay people identify characteristics of saving faith in a person’s life. Religious Affections stands in sharp contrast with the NRC belief that a pastor should not examine someone to see if they are truly regenerate.
- Elwell, Walter; ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984). Under the heading “Vow”, this helpful dictionary contains a short but very supportive article on the subject.
- Hoogerland, A. Making Confession and Then…? Sioux Center, IA: Netherlands Reformed Book Publishing Committee, 1984. Published by the NRC, this book is used during the Confession of Faith class taught by the pastor. Containing 17 chapters the author seeks to demonstrate how the Confession of Faith vow relates to a whole range of life issues. I was deeply alarmed, even shocked, when I read this book for the first time. This book played a significant role in helping me to understand a number of key issues within the denomination.
- Lloyd-Jones, Martyn. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1959). Chapter 25 on “The Christian and the Taking of Oaths” is an excellent summary on the topic.
- Murray, Iain. Pentecost – Today? The Biblical Basis for Understanding Revival. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1998). Chapter 4 – “The Holy Spirit and Preaching” and Chapter 7 – “Six Things Revival Will Bring” are simply amazing. My desire is that NRC members would begin to hunger for true revival.
- Murray, Iain. Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism from 1750 to 1858 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994). In my opinion I think this book is the most important reformed book published in the last 30 years. I think this book is very helpful because it helps people compare their own church with a healthy, vibrant church radically changed by the Holy Spirit.
- Pink, Arthur W. An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House,1959). Pink devotes two full chapters to the subject of oaths. He is very thorough in his discussion.
- Webster, William. The Church of Rome at the Bar of History. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1995). This is a book about Roman Catholicism. However Chapter 2 has an excellent discussion on Scripture and tradition and how the latter can create churches that are contrary to Scripture.
Finally, in conjunction with the above books on revival, the following tract may help stir up many within the NRC to seek, hunger for and pray for true revival within the denomination. Dr. J.W. Alexander’s Pray For The Spirit, was originally published as a tract during the 1858 Prayer Revival. Within the span of two years it is estimated that over one million people were genuinely converted. This revival was the last large scale revival in the United States.
By James W. Alexander
In order to have mighty and unexampled revival, what we especially need is for the whole church to be down on its knees before God. Past redemptions should make our cravings great. “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt; open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Thousands have already been seen gathering in one place for prayer, but when the Spirit of grace and of supplications is poured out on the great body of Christians, touched with pity for the desolations of the spiritual Jerusalem, that word will come true: “Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favor her is come, yea, the set time is come; for thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof.” Oh, that God’s people were awake to the privilege of crying aloud for His great gift!
Open your minds, believing reader, to the extraordinary truth, that God has an infinite willingness to bestow, in answer to prayer, that which, since the sending of His Son, is the greatest of all His possible gifts. “If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” 0 parent! Ponder on this blessed verse; there is that within your heart which will reveal its meaning! And what is it that God is so ready to give? It is that which secures and applies all the benefits of Christ’s mediation; that which makes revivals here and heaven hereafter – it is the Holy Spirit!
Ought not all disciples, all over the world, to be prostrate before the throne of grace, beseeching God, for Christ’s sake, to communicate this all comprehensive effusion? To Him only do we look, for with Him is “the residue of the Spirit”. But we ask in the name of CHRIST, for the very name means anointed, and the anointing, which flows from Him as Head, to all the members, is this very gift, the Holy Ghost, “for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him”. He hath it immeasurably, and for His church, and they draw for it in His name by prayer. Occupy a few moments on this great gift; it will aid your prayers.
- There is such a thing as the pouring out of the Holy Ghost. As Moses poured the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, so God pours the unction of His Spirit on the head of our Great High Priest. As the ceremonial fragrance flowed down to the skirts of his garments, so the gift of the Spirit comes on all believers. “The anointing which ye have received of Him”, says the Apostle John, “abideth in you”. But the effusion is sometimes uncommonly great, even to outpouring. Some have found fault with the term, which nevertheless is intensely biblical and consecrated in the church. Among promises to Israel in the latter day, the Lord says: “Neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.” Apostolic comment applies to New Testament times the words of another prophet: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.” So in another place: “Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you.” The idea necessarily presented is that of bountiful effusion. Let us ask for it. The Lord Jesus comforted His sorrowing disciples by the promise of this gift as the result of His ascension. “If I depart, I will send Him unto you.” This Comforter He did send, oh! how graciously and gloriously, at the first Christian Pentecost! “Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost,” says the Apostle Peter, “He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.” There had just been suddenly a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, filling all the house where they were sitting, “and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Do not fail to observe that believers had been in union of prayer for this very gift, thus complying with the Lord’s injunction that they should “wait for the promise of the Father.” The gift was continued under early preaching and the Holy Ghost fell on them that heard the word.” The same apostle, many years afterwards, refers to the known fact of “the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” Every great awakening and plentiful harvest of souls has proceeded from the same Spirit, sought by the same importunity of beseeching prayer. Therefore, pray for the Spirit!
- The influence of the Holy Spirit of God is exceedingly powerful. We ask something mighty and revolutionizing. It is Omnipotence that we are praying for. A wicked city, a wicked world, will yield to no inferior strength. What an encouragement that “with the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength!” It is as applicable to revival of the church as to the rebuilding of the temple. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Let Christians no longer despair of the conversion of high-handed sinners, even the vilest of the vile, in our filthiest and bloodiest dens; as if we expected in answer to our prayers only some weak, half-way operation. “Our gospel,” says the Apostle of the Gentiles, “came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” This is our ground of hope when the ministers of the Word proclaim the glad tidings; that the preaching may be “in demonstration of the Spirit and power.” God grant us deliverance from our unbelief, as to the power of the Holy Spirit in giving efficacy to the truth!
- The Spirit whom we seek is the Author of Regeneration and Sanctfication. If God vouchsafe us these, in wide extent, our revival will be indeed complete. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” All believers shout the same praise: “According to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Look at thousands utterly blind as to spiritual realities and say, ‘what can we ask for them which would be so indispensably important as that SPIRIT OF TRUTH, who will reprove, or convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment? He is just as able to convert the profane person or the fallen woman as the church-going Pharisee; just as able to renew a thousand as one person. Who is sufficiently awake to the necessity of imploring God to convert a multitude of sinners? All revival of the church is increased sanctification and all reclaiming of the impenitent is sanctification begun. For both we need the gift of the Spirit, and we need it now. We need it to break the power of sin in professing Christians and to nail their lusts to the cross; for it is by this influence that we do “mortify the deeds of the body.” Some of the primitive believers had been atrocious sinners, but, says the Apostle Paul, “ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Hope, joy, love, and consequent activity and success are fruits of the same Spirit. In a word, the Spirit of God is the Spirit of revival. Earnest, daily, united prayer by the people of Christ for this high gift puts honor upon God in a remarkable degree; and we already have cause to note how signally He blesses endeavors which were openly begun in prayer. Beloved brethren, let us not mistake the token, nor fail to go in the path pointed out by Providence and the Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit sends those gifts which are necessary for successful work. When miraculous gifts were necessary, they were not withheld. All inspiration, wisdom, and ministry are from the same source. So also are the common qualifications for service demanded in the daily walk of an earnest Christian who seeks to save souls. “There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all; but the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” The Lord promised that the Spirit should prompt His disciples when arraigned. Equally does the blessed Monitor fill their hearts and lips for common service. Apostles themselves sought for “utterance” by means of prayer; and a praying church will have a ministry and members, bold and loving in owning and recommending their Lord. The supplications which bring down such influences are themselves wrought of God when believers, keeping themselves in the love of God, are at the same time “praying in the Holy Ghost.” See thus how completely dependent we are for all upon the Holy Spirit of God. Grace manifestly began the work; grace keeps it alive; grace must carry it on and give it extension.
Brethren, we must pray as we have never yet prayed. Our lack of success is due to our coldness of desire and weakness of request. We are not limited in God, but in our own low, slender conceptions and hopes. We have not because we ask not. If we were under a deep and solemn impression of the divine power, bounty, and faithfulness, how would one chase a thousand and two would put ten thousand to flight! The lesson which the revival should teach us is the duty of being instant in supplication for the larger and more glorious effusion of the Holy Spirit. Acting on this, we shall behold new marvels of love in the place of prayer.