Reforming Joy: A Conversation between Paul, the Reformers, and the Church Today

By Tim Chester

Reforming Joy

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Reforming Joy: A Conversation between Paul, the Reformers, and the Church Today

By Tim Chester

Have you lost your joy? 

Do you feel like you have to prove yourself? Does your Christian life feel routine and performance oriented, driven by duty and obligation?

The letter of Galatians was written to Christians who had lost their joy— confronted with false messages about rules and regulations they needed to follow. Similar false messages provoked the start of the Protestant Reformation, and have continued to threaten the joy of Christians ever since. Exploring how the sixteenth-century Reformation was a return to the gospel joy originally preached to first-century Galatia, this book was written to help today’s Christians rediscover the path to true freedom and lasting joy in Jesus.


Author:

Tim Chester (PhD, University of Wales) is a faculty member of Crosslands and a pastor with Grace Church, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. He is an author or coauthor of over thirty books, including A Meal with JesusReforming Joy; and, with Michael Reeves, Why the Reformation Still Matters.


Endorsements:

“This concise and vigorous book commends gospel joy. It is also, fittingly, a joy to read. Each hard-hitting chapter engages our cultural moment, opens the biblical text, references Reformation wisdom, and points to God in Christ. This energetic manifesto will be of value for personal study, small-group discussion, and classroom reading at a beginning-college level.”
Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

“I am thrilled that Tim Chester has addressed this neglected fruit of the Spirit. When the Reformation happened, it was, among other things, a rediscovery of true Christian joy. This joy had suffused the Christian world of the New Testament but throughout the medieval era had been largely forgotten as being central to the Christian life. Thus it is no wonder that when, in the eighteenth century, the Reformed author Andrew Fuller was seeking a revival among his fellow Baptists in England, he asked the ever-pertinent query, ‘Why is it that Christians in the present day come so far short of the primitive Christians in the possession of joy?’ He knew, as did the Reformers, and Paul before them all, that whenever a renewal or revival of the Christian faith takes place, joy will abound!”
Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Director, Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies

“Charles Spurgeon once told his congregation, ‘It is a great privilege to meet a truly happy man, a graciously happy man.’ Let it never be said that Reformed and joy are uneasy cohabitants in the heart of a Christian. Tim Chester’s work is a much-needed reminder for Reformed Christians that because we have been saved by grace alone, we of all people have reason to live out our days with deep exuberance over such a great salvation. In this volume, you will meet some truly happy men from the past—happy because they recovered a glorious gospel and happy because, in so doing, they restored to the church deep and lasting joy in Jesus. Read, remember, and rejoice! People of grace should be a graciously happy people.”
Jeff Robinson Sr., Senior Editor, The Gospel Coalition; Pastor-Teacher, Christ Fellowship Church, Louisville, Kentucky

“Tim Chester has a well-earned reputation as a writer of clear, accessible, and helpful books for Christians. This is no exception. In a remarkably short space, he moves repeatedly from Luther to Galatia to Paul and to the present day, offering an account of numerous facets of the gospel, a plea for the Reformation understanding of faith and justification, and a vision of what the church is. And at every step of the way, he presses home the importance of joy as part of the content and the goal of the Christian life—though not joy as the world understands it but that which comes from knowing and resting on Christ. A great read!”
Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Grove City College

“We live in a world that tells us to look within ourselves to find joy and lasting happiness. The problem is, looking within leaves us empty-handed, hopeless under the weight of our own unrighteousness. But Tim Chester has a message of remarkable hope. True joy is found in Christ and Christ alone. With help from the apostle Paul and the Protestant Reformers, Chester challenges the church today to return to the Scriptures, for they are the swaddling cloths of Christ. There we will hear the call from Christ himself to put aside our worthless merit and trust in him alone for a righteousness he alone can provide. Only then will we rediscover joy that will not disappoint.”
Matthew Barrett, Associate Professor of Christian Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; editor, The Five Solas Series

“Tim Chester brings the core truths of the Reformation—‘by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone’—to life. This is not a dry tour of history but rather an invitation to rediscover the joy that Paul unpacks in Galatians and that brought Luther to lead a gospel revolution 1,500 years later. If joy is not the first word that comes to your mind when you think about the Reformation, you need to read this book! You could read it in a day, but its impact will last long beyond that.”
Jeremy McQuoid, Teaching Pastor, Deeside Christian Fellowship Church, Aberdeen, Scotland


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Table of Contents:

Introduction: Let’s Talk about Joy

1. How to Hear God’s Voice
The Reforming Joy of Scripture Alone (Galatians 1)

2. How to Know God’s Approval 
The Reforming Joy of Faith Alone in Christ Alone (Galatians 2)

3. How to Recognize God’s People
The Reforming Joy of Mother Church (Galatians 3–4)

4. How to Enjoy God’s Love 
The Reforming Joy of Adoption (Galatians 4) 

5. How to Do God’s Will
The Reforming Joy of Life in the Spirit (Galatians 5–6)

Notes
General Index
Scripture Index


Specifications:

Category: Biblical Studies
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 112
ISBN-10: 1-4335-5842-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-5842-9
Size: 5.25 in x 8.0 in
Weight: 4.6 ounces
Published: September 30, 2018