Tolle Lege ("Take up and read") - Book Reviews from CRBC's Library #1

In the year AD 386, Augustine fell under conviction for his sins and cried out to the Lord. As he did, he said he heard the voices of little children singing the phrase “Tolle lege, tolle lege,“ which is Latin for "take up and read.” Taking this as a message from God, Augustine picked up a Bible and began to read and this led to his conversion to Christ. "Tolle Lege" has, since, become a call to believers to immerse themselves in the Word and to spend time in works that help us to understand it better and which challenge us to live faithful lives.

To this end, at CRBC, we have created a library of works to enable you to these things. Although it has just been established, we believe it is already one of the best stocked church libraries (for both adults and children) that we have ever seen. We hope that you will take advantage of this valuable resource.

To help you to get started, we will begin incorporating book reviews/reflections from those who have read books from our library.

“Glory Road: The Journeys of 10 African-Americans into Reformed Christianity” Edited by Anthony J. Carter

Review by Jennifer Linz (June 2023)

Number of Pages:  175 (excluding Appendices, Notes, and Index)


Before I dive right into my review of this book, let me first begin by quoting Tim Challies’ introduction to this book as he does an excellent job of it.

Glory Road is a book of testimonies that describes the journeys of ten African-Americans into Reformed Christianity. Now let’s first make clear that a journey to the Christian faith and a journey to Reformed theology are not the same thing. Yet in order to come to the Reformed faith (which I, like the men in this book, believe to be the most biblical explanation and understanding of the truths of Scripture) one must be saved. And ten times and in ten ways this book describes a journey from darkness to light and then a journey into a deeper understanding of Christian truths. Ten men each describe a miraculous work of God’s grace. They are: Reddit Andrews, Thabiti Anyabwile, Anthony Bradley, Anthony Carter (who is the Editor of the volume), Ken Jones, Michael Leach, Lance Lewis, Louis C. Love Jr., Eric Redmond and Roger Skepple.

This is a unique book for multiple reasons…it is a compilation of several saints’ pilgrimage into Reformed Christianity, it focuses on the African-American perspective of these, and it details the experiences of men whose minds were shaped by, and who are now part of, a long line of godly men who are leaving behind an incredible, Scripture-informed legacy…it is truly thrilling to learn about the stories of those who have walked before us and see how the Holy Spirit guided their steps and lighted their way through the darkness that surrounds us all and equally thrilling to get a glimpse into a demographic we may not have experienced personally and don’t always see in Reformed circles.  Brothers in the faith!

While I enjoyed each of the testimonies for various reasons, I personally thought Ken Jones’ was especially insightful and inspiring.  It was so encouraging to hear how he was convicted and led by God to shepherd His church in a way that brought the most glory to God based on Scripture as opposed to the culture and despite how the church had been led in the past.  His courage to trust in God through tremendous and numerous difficulties was very edifying.  Here was a humble man who recognized his own shortcomings and instead of making excuses for them, he calls attention to them and demonstrates how the Lord used those to conform him more to Christ.  The love he has for the people God has given him to shepherd is clear through the transformation he worked through his church.  I really appreciated his understanding of the needs of his people by his decision to teach them church history and the importance and foundations of their faith.  So few, even in Reformed churches, really have a solid grasp of the history of the church and I think every church would certainly stand to benefit from good and continuous instruction on this subject.  Ken Jones states:

“Greater Union (the church he pastors) is far from perfect or from being perfectly Reformed.  Some would say we are not Reformed enough.  On the flipside, we will not appeal to others because we are not ‘black’ enough in terms of our worship style and in the absence of programs and activities commonly associated with black churches.  However, what I discovered on my personal journey was the gospel of grace as it is revealed in Scripture and centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  My ongoing aim at Greater Union has been to infuse the gospel into every aspect of the church so that the glory of the triune God would be supreme in all things…We are not ashamed of the gospel because it and it alone announces the power of God unto salvation.”

May we all have the courage to do likewise and be unashamed of the hope that is in us!

It was also wonderful to read about all the people who these men learned from on their journeys into the Reformed faith, so many familiar and dear names to me also.  We gain inestimable value when we take the time to learn about these saints of old who have walked the well-trodden paths and glean wisdom from them and now, we can add this book to that same treasury!

This book was not difficult to understand nor was it very time-consuming to read (I read it over a 2-week period but could have probably completed it in a couple of nights if I were consistent).  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Christian biographies or anyone who would like to know more about African Americans who have come to the Reformed Faith.  “Glory Road” will inspire you, encourage you, and take you on an exciting journey with these brothers in faith!  Available for check-out in the CRBC Library!


Briefs on "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer; "The Great Gain of Godliness" by Thomas Watson; "All Things for Good" by Thomas Watson; and "The Heart of Christ," by Thomas Goodwin.

Reviews by Kevin Morgan

"Knowing God" by J.I. Packer

It is no surprise whatsoever that this book is considered one of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicalism. Packer writes powerfully, movingly and lucidly. The subject matter of this book is the most important topic ever to be considered: God. I believe, in my case, that Packer has succeeded in what he intended: to give a deeper, fuller, and more biblical understanding of God that doesn't just expand one's knowledge, but drives one to worship and prayer. This has been the case for me. Each chapter is meaningful in its own way, but chapter 20, on the guidance of God, and chapter 22, which was basically an exposition of Romans 8, have left a significant impression on me. I will carry what I've learned from this book with me for a long time!

"The Great Gain of Godliness" by Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson has never failed to encourage, convict, and galvanize me in my Christian pilgrimage, and this book is no exception. Even from the grave and through the centuries, he speaks clear and timely truth into my life. His practical notes on Malachi 3:16-18 drew out every aspect of the text and applied it skillfully to the life of the believer. Ultimately, because of God's grace to the saints in Christ, they have every motivation to live lives marked by holiness, set apart from the wickedness of the world. I was especially moved by the final chapter in which Watson, working from Psalm 119:65, details how God is indeed deals graciously with His people, even in the midst of the affliction that He has ordained for them. His affliction is grace to them because he pulls them away from their sin, purges it from them, and prepares them to walk in holiness.

"All Things for Good" by Thomas Watson

Watson's exposition of Romans 8:28 is one of the most encouraging and edifying books I've ever read! This was the first puritan I ever read, and it was a great start to a wonderful journey with them. I bought a tattered old copy of this book in the midst of a very difficult and uncertain time. My wife was pregnant, I was unable to work, and I was having issues getting a visa to her home country. In the midst of all of that, Watson's encouraging message that God is sovereignly in control of every aspect of my family's life was a huge part of helping us to trust the Lord and cling to Him. Highly recommended.

"The Heart of Christ" by Thomas Goodwin

The amount of time it took me to read this book is surprising considering its length. Goodwin, like the other puritans, packs a lot of meat and potatoes into each sentence. I was reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading many of them multiple times. If you are willing to take the time and make the effort to follow his logic and understand his points, you will reap a hundredfold. Christ's continued ministry in heaven on his bride's behalf is a wondrous topic to spend time on as a believer, and Goodwin takes us by the hand ands leads us to a deeper and wider understanding and appreciation for this truth.

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