Book Review: Walking in the Way of Love, volume 2

Walking in the Way of Love: A Practical Commentary on 1 Corinthians for the Believer, volume 2, by Nathan J. Langerak. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2019. 544 pages, hardcover. [Reviewed by Rev. Clayton Spronk]

Rare are the biblical commentaries that provide sound theological instruction. Rarer still are the commentaries that provide sound theological instruction and helpful application to the faith and life of the church today. Even a little of both of these oft-missing ingredients would be enough to recommend a commentary to serious students of scripture. That this volume offers a feast of accurate explanations of the truth of scripture and appropriate applications means that I must highly recommend it to the reader.

Living up to its title as a practical commentary the book provides much doctrinal instruction. This is necessary because sound doctrine is the basis for the practice of believing and doing. Rev. Langerak’s teaching is sound because he derives his teaching from the scriptures. The doctrine that he teaches is truly apostolic, a holding fast to and a passing down of the apostles’ doctrine as recorded in the New Testament and confessed by the true church of Jesus Christ in every age. To read this book then is to sit at the feet of the apostles. What do the apostles say about the relationship between the Old and New Testament? What do the apostles say about spiritual gifts? What do the apostles say about the unity of the church? What do the apostles have to say about the instituted church? What about love, the resurrection of the body, and various elements of public worship (such as who should speak in the worship service, and whether offerings should be taken)? These are just some of the biblical truths that Rev. Langerak carefully sets forth from the text of scripture.

What false doctrines did the apostle Paul refute in this epistle, and how does his handling of them apply to the church’s life today? Rev. Langerak does not force his polemics, and therefore does not bring up errors merely because he has an ax to grind. He brings up the errors where they are appropriate because the particular passage he is explaining condemns the error, even if the error may be relatively new. Rev. Langerak shows that it is not he, but the Holy Spirit and the apostle Paul, who condemn dispensationalism, postmillennialism, conditionalism in the covenant, common grace, evolutionism, and a variety of other false doctrines.

But to be a successful practical commentary on walking in the way of love, Rev. Langerak must provide helpful applications to the church’s faith and life. The book is a resounding success. There are many rich applications in this book to family life, school life, work life, and to church life. You may be surprised to find that Rev. Langerak teaches that true love (which is not the false love touted by Rob Bell) really does win. He applies this beautifully to marriage, not only calling husbands and wives to stay married (as if that exhausts the Christian’s calling in marriage), but to live in love for each other (see especially chapter 18).  Stirring is Rev. Langerak’s call to the believer to recognize the beauty of love, personifying love as the most beautiful of women, so that the believer will live in that love. Chapter 31 is basically a profound explanation of the so-called Reformed world-and-life.

Probably the most moving applications in the book are the words of comfort that Rev. Langerak speaks to the believer’s heart. Rev. Langerak believes in salvation by God’s sovereign grace alone. This truth is precious to him, and it is evident that he is committed to preaching this truth to the congregation of Crete PR Church (these chapters are based on a series of sermons that Rev. Langerak preached to the congregation). He clearly understands that without this truth he would have no truth and no comfort to bring to God’s people in his preaching or writing. But because of his conviction of the certainty of salvation by sovereign grace (any other kind of salvation is necessarily uncertain) Rev. Langerak is able drive to home the assurance of salvation in variety of powerful ways. I quote one brief section (my favorite) as an example of Rev. Langerak’s skill in this regard. Before I give the quotation I note that it is from a chapter entitled “Nike.” I note this as an example of how fresh and attention-grabbing (in a good sense) Rev. Langerak is in his exposition of scripture. Imagine how eager the young people of the congregation must have been to hear an explanation of why the sermon title is the brand name of a well-known shoe company! But now the comforting quotation:

The chapter title is the Greek word for victory: nike. It is pronounced nee-kay. Nike means victory, and victory is winning.

Love wins. That is what love does. That is what the Bible says about love in the Song of Songs, the greatest song ever written, the song on love. “Love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it” (Song 8:6). This is the Old Testament parallel to the apostle’s teaching in his ode to love in 1 Corinthians 13, where he says in verse 13 that love abides. Love abides through the fall, through all of history, through the cross, through all sins, through death and the grave, through the end of the world, and through all the endless years of eternity (emphasis added). God will never tire of his people in eternity. Love abides.

Abiding, love wins. Nike.

Non-Protestant Reformed readers may find some subjects Rev. Langerak references to be unfamiliar. They will almost certainly find sections that challenge their beliefs. Perhaps they will find Rev. Langerak’s tone off-putting in some instances. But the challenge for them will be to examine whether Rev. Langerak has accurately explained what the Spirit says to the churches. And if he has, regardless of tone, they must subject themselves and their beliefs to the word of God.

Protestant Reformed readers may also find that they do not agree with or even appreciate everything Rev. Langerak has to say. He does not shy from making sharp (some might say controversial) applications. He speaks with the conviction that he is expounding the truth of scripture and not bringing merely his own opinion. In some instances the reader may disagree. For example, I anticipate that some will challenge some of the things that he has to say about NAPARC. But let such a reader yet be thankful for this commentary for its stimulating instruction in doctrine and life and that overall the teachings of this book are in harmony with the “faith once delivered to the saints.” And let the focus not be on a few areas of disagreement but on the overall message to believe with all of one’s heart in Jesus Christ and so “walk in the way of love.”

________________

Rev. Spronk is pastor of Faith Protestant Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan.

 

Comments

A Review from the Past

*This review by William Hendricksen was published in the September 5, 1969 edition of The Banner.

BEHOLD, HE COMETH! by Herman Hoeksema (author) and Homer C. Hoeksema (editor and reviser), Published by Reformed Publishing Association, 1969; distributed by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503. Price: $9.95.

Truly a formidable volume with no less than seven hundred twenty-six pages, it was the last large work written by the pastor of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, and has been published posthumously. The preparation for publication in book form was begun by the author and completed by his son, who not only did a splendid job of editing but also revised and expanded the exposition of Revelation 19–22.

What is the nature of this book? It is not merely a book of outlines. Neither is it a dry-as-dust exegesis without practical application. It is something far better. It is an exposition in the form of sermons or essays. In serial form the exposition appeared first in The Standard Bearer, of which Rev. Herman Hoeksema was the editor for many years. The author also twice expounded the book of Revelation in sermons. With respect to these his son writes as follows:

His sermons, of which there were two complete sets, totaling well over a hundred…were delivered with a warmth and fervor which kept a large congregation at spellbound attention Sunday after Sunday.

Continue reading...

Comments

Behold, He Cometh! now in its sixth printing

Behold, He Cometh! has recently been reprinted (with a new updated interior design) making this its sixth printing! First published in 1969, the RFPA has now printed 10,500 copies of this title.

_______________

Behold, He Cometh!, is an essay-style commentary on the much disputed book of Revelation. By careful exegesis, the author gives a solidly Reformed, amillennial interpretation of  scripture. This book sets forth in clear, concise language the comforting truths concerning the end times.

"...lucid, simple style...In interpreting the symbolism, the author is refreshingly sane." —Peace & Truth magazine
  • 800 pages  
  • hardcover  
  • ISBN 978-1-944555-45-0

Receive 10% off with code BEHOLD6

 

 

 

Also now available in ebook format for the first time!

Receive 10% off with code BEHOLD6

 

 

 

Comments

Walking in the Way of Love, volume 2 has arrived at the RFPA!

 

VOLUMES 1 & 2



READY TO GET PACKED!

ORDER: Walking in the Way of Love - volume 1

ORDER: Walking in the Way of Love - volume 2

Comments

Full author interview with Rev. Nathan Langerak

Rev. Nathan Langerak was interviewed on his 2-volume series on 1 Corinthians, Walking in the Way of Love. This is the full interview.

"Sit down" with Rev. Langerak as he talks about the complete commentary and why he chose to write a commentary on 1 Corinthians. We also asked Rev. Langerak questions about writing and being an author for the RFPA.

Volume 2 will be arriving at the RFPA today!

Walking in the Way of Love - volume 1

Walking in the Way of Love - volume 2

Comments

Nike

Sneak Peek of Chapter 30 in Walking in the Way of Love (volume 2)

CHAPTER 30: NIKE

54. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:54–57)

Introduction

The chapter title is the Greek word for victory: nike. It is pronounced nee-kay. Nike means victory, and victory is winning.

Love wins. That is what love does. That is what the Bible says about love in the Song of Songs, the greatest song ever written, the song on love. “Love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it” (Song 8:6). This is the Old Testament parallel to the apostle’s teaching in his ode to love in 1 Corinthians 13, where he says in verse 13 that love abides. Love abides through the fall, through all of history, through the cross, through all sins, through death and the grave, through the end of the world, and through all the endless years of eternity. God will never tire of his people in eternity. Love abides.

Abiding, love wins. Nike.

_________

To continue reading this chapter, click the PDF icon.

         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Love: "A More Excellent Way"

 

First Corinthians is scripture's detailed treatment of Christian love. According to the theme text of the epistle (12:21), love is a "more excellent way." It is more excellent in itself, and it is more excellent for all who walk on that way. In that more excellent way the believer, saved by grace alone, is called to walk. 

Walking in the Way of Love is a commentary on and application of the words  of 1 Corinthians for the believer and the true church of Jesus Christ to teach them about the vitally important way of love, as that contradicts the chatter of the world and apostate church about love.

The commentary is laid out with believers in mind. Each chapter of the book focuses on a single aspect of the main theme of love. The chapters are designed to stand alone. Each chapter begins with an introduction to help the reader see the particular subject of the chapter in its immediate and larger context in the epistle of 1 Corinthians.

by Nathan J. Langerak (New Author!)

432 pages, Hardcover

Retail: $39.95 | Book Club USA: $25.97
Book Club International: $27.53

_____________

Nathan Langerak is a minister in the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. He lives in Crete, Illinois, with his wife, Carrie, and six children. He has served as pastor of Crete Protestant Reformed Church since 2007.

 

______________________

JOIN THE RFPA BOOK CLUB!

Why join?
By joining, you are committing to receive our new publications automatically, thus providing enough sales for the association to fund its next publication ventures.

Our Book Club is a simple way to expand your home library and have good Reformed literature at your fingertips for an unbeatable price.
 
More than 1,100 members enjoy the perks of the Book Club, and you can too!

Comments

Walking in the Way of Love

                           

Walking in the Way of Love: A Practical Commentary on 1 Corinthians for the Believer (Volume 1)

by Nathan J. Langerak (New Author!)

432 pages, Hardcover

Coming January 2018!

A love that disciplines impenitent sinners; a love that will not fellowship with the impenitent sinner; a love that will not endure false doctrine or those who teach it; a love that suffers the loss of all earthly things, including earthly friendships, goods, and standing for the sake of the truth; a love that says what the apostle Paul says at the end of his great book on love, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha,” is true love. It is God’s love and Christ’s love manifesting itself in the believer. These and many other hard things belong to the way of love as revealed by the Holy Spirit and in which 1 Corinthians calls the believer to walk.

__________________

Nathan Langerak is a minister in the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. He lives in Crete, Illinois, with his wife, Carrie, and six children. He has served as pastor of Crete Protestant Reformed Church since 2007.

Comments

Faith Made Perfect - Now Available!

                            

Order your copy today! This new title is available in hard copy format and ebook format.

DESCRIPTION
The believers James is writing to faced many problems as they made the transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament. James addresses these issues that the early Christians faced, including trials and temptations, true religion, wisdom, the use of the tongue, the judgment of the rich, patience, and spiritual help in trouble.

This eminently practical book gives instruction for living the Christian life in many of its aspects. A salient feature is the relation between justification and works, which James explains by the examples of Abraham and Rahab.

  • Author: Herman Hanko
  • 304 pages
  • hardcover

Comments

Post Tags

On Twitter

Follow @reformedfreepub