The choice for this month is Living Zealously by Joel Beeke and James La Belle. This is one of those rare books which, having finished, I think I am going to start over reading again.
Lewis once said about courage that it was not so much a separate virtue as it was the testing point of all the virtues. It is a similar kind of thing with zeal. No one is able to simply radiate zeal. Zeal always accompanies something else, always has a particular object other than itself. A man might be zealous for God’s honor, or be zealous for evangelism, or have a zeal in preaching, and so on. That said, zeal is a true grace, and it is not optional. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Tit. 2:14).
What Beeke and La Belle did in this book is provide a compendium of Puritan teaching on the subject of zeal. This is a subject that the Puritans knew a great deal about. Their zeal — which transformed the Western world, to insufficient thanks — was not an accident. They knew what they were doing. They pursued it as part of their discipleship. They knew and taught on the dangers of false or misguided zeal. What Beeke and La Belle have done is taken their extensive knowledge of the Puritans and have assembled in one place an orderly arrangement of Puritan doctrine on the subject. This book is a feast for any Christian who is tired of lethargy masquerading as moderation.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:19).