Item description for On Being Presbyterian: Our Beliefs, Practices, And Stories by Sean Michael Lucas...
Overview In his book, On Being Presbyterian, Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) pastor and seminary professor Sean Michael Lucas suggests that being Presbyterian means embracing distinctive beliefs, practices, and stories as one's own. As new members, church officers, and potential Presbyterians explore beliefs such as God as king over all of life, practices such as Presbyterian church government, and stories such as the founding of the PCA, they will understand and move to embrace this way of being Christian.
Written in a non-technical style, On Being Presbyterian is an unique resource for assimilating and equipping believers.
Publishers Description A lay-friendly introduction to Presbyterian beliefs, practices, and history. Helps readers grasp what it means to be a (conservative) Presbyterian in a postmodern age.
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Studio: P & R Publishing
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.09" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.61" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Mar 27, 2006
Publisher P & R PUBLISHING #97
ISBN 1596380195 ISBN13 9781596380196
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More About Sean Michael Lucas
Sean Lucas is the Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Prior to this, he was Chief Academic Officer and associate professor of church history at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. He received BA and MA degrees from Bob Jones University and the PhD degree from Westminster Theological Seminary.
Sean Michael Lucas currently resides in St. Charles. Sean Michael Lucas was born in 1970.
Sean Michael Lucas has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about On Being Presbyterian: Our Beliefs, Practices, And Stories?
Great Introduction to Presbyterianism Jul 5, 2007
One of my favorite truisms after my years as a minister is "no one grew up Presbyterian". What I mean by that is that in most of our churches, there are very few people for whom the whole idea of being "Presbyterian" is a new thing. Combine this with the fact that, as I'm also fond of saying, "you don't have to be a Presbyterian to join a PCA church", means that a lot of us don't completely understand or buy in to all that a Presbyterian church believes. Sean Michael Lucas, a church history professor at Covenant Seminary, understands this dynamic. He did not grow up Presbyterian either! And to help teach a new members class at his former church, Lucas began writing what became, On Being Presbyterian. On Lucas' blog page, he describes his goal for the book as follows:
"I meant this book to be a lay-oriented introduction to Presbyterianism. As I wrote, I imagined that I was sitting across the table from someone at a Starbucks, trying to explain Presbyterian beliefs, practices, and stories to them. My hope was that the book would represent "vanilla Presbyterianism" in a winsome and warm way." [...]
The book is helpful in many ways. It is divided, as the subtitle suggests, into three parts, 1. Presbyterian Beliefs, 2. Presbyterian Practices, and 3. Presbyterian Stories. The book deals with many of the common struggles people have with Presbyterian beliefs such as infant baptism, predestination, the Five points of Calvinism and rule by elders. It also does a great job of describing Presbyterian views and practices on worship and church discipline. Each chapter also has helpful study questions at the end, along with suggestions for further reading. Lucas generally writes very clearly and helpfully, as you would expect given his stated goal above:
"What Presbyterians (and other Reformed believers) have always understood is that the Christian life is a way of life that is based on doctrine; or, to put it another way, our practices are based squarely on our beliefs." (pp. 100).
"Any progress that we make in the Christian life is due solely to the sovereign work of God's Spirit, motivated by God's amazing grace and rooted in God's glorious gospel. And the practices of piety that we have considered take our focus away from ourselves and our striving for God and plant us firmly in the Gospel itself." (pp. 110).
One brief caution, I love history-but if you don't share that love, than the third section of the book can be a little tough. He basically covers the history of Presbyterianism and the PCA in three chapters. But history lover or not, the first two sections are worth the price of the book. Wondering about infant baptism? Trying to figure out this predestination thing? Can't figure out what a Session is? Lucas' book will be a great help to you.
A Good Introduction To Presbyterianism Jul 4, 2006
Despite being Baptist, I love and admire Presbyterianism. My parents are Presbyterians and raised me in that environment. Though I may not necessarily believe in them, I am at least sympathetic to many of the tenets of Presbyterianism, such as covenant theology, infant baptism and the Presbyterian system of church government. It was with some interest, then, that I began to read On Being Presbyterian by Sean Michael Lucas. This book, recently published by P&R Publishing, is intended to serve as a primer on all things Presbyterian. Lucas wants to show "how a particular type of identity is formed, as the confluence of beliefs, practices and stories." He seeks to introduce the beliefs, practices and stories that have converged to create Presbyterianism as it exists today.
These three divisions form the structure for the book. In the section dealing with beliefs, Lucas looks at God's sovereignty, the priority of grace, covenant and kingdom, the nature and purpose of the church and the signs and seals of God's grace. When dealing with practices, he examines piety, worship and church government. The final section looks at the genesis of Presbyterianism through the leadership of Calvin and Knox, and then turns to an examination of Presbyterianism in America. The book wraps up with an epilogue entitled "On Becoming Presbyterian" where he suggests what would be expected of a person who wished to adopt this system of beliefs and how a person might set about finding such a church body.
This book often recalled memories from my youth, many of which were very good memories. It helped me realize that in many ways I continue to be Presbyterian at heart, for it was necessity rather than desire that drove us out of these churches (there are far more solid Baptist churches in Canada than Presbyterian ones). While I do love Baptist churches, there is a part of me that will probably always be Presbyterian.
Ultimately, as a Baptist, I suppose that my view of this book only counts for so much. Eventually we'll need to ask other Presbyterians for their views on the book. They are, after all, more qualified to pass judgment on it. So let's look at some of the men who have endorsed this book. Ligon Duncan endorsed it saying it is a "popular introduction to Presbyterianism that I can put in the hands of Bible-believing, gospel-loved Presbyterians and other evangelicals interested in this part of the Christian family." Bryan Chapell, President of Covenant Seminary, says "The people who fill Bible-believing Presbyterian churches increasingly have little Presbyterian background. Lucas provides a terrific resource to get everyone up speed." John Muether of Reformed Theological Seminary says it is "A compelling and coherent account of the distinctive features of Presbyterian identity that draws the vital connection between Reformed faith and practice. Pastors, elders, and Presbyterian laypeople will want to study this book and pass it on to their children."
I enjoyed On Being Presbyterian and would recommend it either to those who are interested in learning about the distinctives of Presbyterianism, or those who are Presbyterian and would like to learn and understand more about their beliefs, practices and history. It is well-written and quite easy to understand and absorb.