Best Gospel book from a Reformed Author

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by sparkmanrl, Sep 9, 2018.

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  1. sparkmanrl

    sparkmanrl Puritan Board Freshman


    I am involved with prison ministry.

    I give a small number of books to inmates each month.

    I am looking for a good paperback title relating to the basics of the gospel message, hopefully by a Reformed author. It must be paperback due to the jail regulations.

    The average inmate doesn't know words related to salvation, so the book would need to include those terms.

    If anyone has an idea on such books on the gospel message, it would be appreciated. I am only one of a dozen or so chaplain aides. Sometimes I don't see the same person for a few months, even if they remain in the jail, so I leverage from books like this.

    I like Greg Gilbert's book What is the Gospel? and I use his tracts, but unfortunately the book is a hardback and I cannot give those to prisoners.

  2. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  3. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Ferguson's book The Christian Life is also about the speed you're looking for, and it is paperback.
  4. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Ultimate Questions by John Blanchard would be an excellent tool as well.
  5. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

  6. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    Do an Amazon search for Paul Washer Gospel. He has a whole series and a little pamphlet on the basics of the Gospel. I especially like "The Gospel and True Conversion."
  7. Josh Williamson

    Josh Williamson Puritan Board Freshman

    John Blanchard's material is excellent.
  8. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Freshman

    For a tiny booklet (or large tract), "A Bad Record and a Bad Heart," based on one of A.N. Martin's sermons, is hard to beat. You can find it at Chapel Library.
  9. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    Holiness by J.C. Ryle
  10. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    If you have not, I would strongly encourage you to make use of Chapel Library. They have such a wide variety of really excellent literature in booklet form at reasonable prices. The one Ben mentioned is excellent. If you need a large quantity, you'll need to give them a call.
  11. Loganm

    Loganm Puritan Board Freshman

    I really like Paul Washer, he's a fairly easy read, so that is nice.

    That is super awesome that you are doing that. Prisons are a very overlooked outreach opportunity. How do you get involved in something like that? (I know that question isn't exactly relevant to the topic, I do apologize.) I am looking into getting into ministry, and am looking for places that maybe don't get much attention.
  12. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    Since you are PCA, you may want to look into a ministry called Metanoia.

    I have been doing it a view months and it is really really great.

    Basically you get assigned a inmate and you begin grading their bible study lessons. You also begin writing letters to one another in order to establish a personal relationship and help disciple them. The ironic thing I have found is that I have been equally edifed and discipled by grading the lessons and getting to know the person.

    I believe you will need the recommendation of a PCA Pastor. See the site below. Hope this helps.
  13. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Knowing God by JI Packer
  14. sparkmanrl

    sparkmanrl Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Logan,

    I didn't see your message until today so that's why I didn't answer.

    I have a friend, Phil, who was involved in jail ministry at the same jail. He recommended me to the chaplain. It was over a year before the chaplain contacted me.

    I like it, but it can be challenging because there are multiple chaplain aides each with different theology. For instance, I use the ESV Bible and one guy is a KJV Only guy....he hands out Gail Riplinger pamphlets to prisoners to convince them of modern translation corruption. Additionally, one prisoner was told by a charismatic chaplain aide that he was going to an important teacher or this guy takes it upon himself to criticize my teaching style :) I'm like twice his age and been a Christian longer than he's been alive. I sent him a book called The Blessing of Humility by Jerry Bridges by the way (I need to read it myself).

    I tend to overreact to issues like this sometimes, but I guess I'm maturing to the point where I find them more humorous than anything else. The vast majority of the prisoners are very pleasant to me and appreciate someone who is providing solid materials. I am not really overt with Reformed theology but none of my materials are by non-Reformed authors.

    I will add one more possibility..Crossroads Prison Ministry is looking for mentors, and the program is similar to the one Grant mentioned. It involves grading lessons. They have been growing their ministry and are desperate for tutors. I think you would need recommendation by a pastor or church leader for this program as well. Their website is

    I mentored for them for a while. That may have made a difference with the chaplain's approval of my application.


  15. sparkmanrl

    sparkmanrl Puritan Board Freshman

    I gave this book to one person. I hope to get feedback from him.
  16. sparkmanrl

    sparkmanrl Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks, I have been giving these since being referred to them by you or someone else on the forum. One older man told the chaplain that Spurgeon's writings distributed by me helped him a lot. To be honest, I was a little concerned that the outdated English would be a hindrance to some of these individuals, but apparently not. I noticed that this older man was really responding to my lessons with better answers and more enthusiasm than before.
  17. sparkmanrl

    sparkmanrl Puritan Board Freshman

    I've given a handful of these away. I'm waiting for responses. I bought one myself and it is quite good. It may be a bit too deep for some of them but if they are motivated, I think they can read it fairly easily. I had to look up a few of his words....I guess it's his Scottish background :)
  18. sparkmanrl

    sparkmanrl Puritan Board Freshman

    I noticed that I made a mistake on this thread..I am not involved in prison ministry; it is jail ministry.

    I think jail ministry is a bit more challenging because the participants might be there one week, and gone the next. Additionally, the individuals are sometimes still suffering withdrawal symptoms when I meet them. If you're the overly sensitive sort, that can be disturbing. It takes a while to get used to individuals laughing or giggling inappropriately but I've been told that's a consequence of some drug abuse.
  19. sparkmanrl

    sparkmanrl Puritan Board Freshman


    You make a good point here. I think God has blessed my understanding of Scripture exponentially because I am trying to serve others by teaching. And, some of those guys have mentioned concepts concerning addiction that have helped me in my understanding of idolatry and how it is related to addiction. A seminary professor at church told me this would happen...that as I tried to serve others more, my understanding would be deepened. Gifts aren't for self-edification.
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