Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Joey Tomlinson

Posted On August 25, 2016

Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)

My name is Joey Tomlinson and I am originally from the state of Georgia but have lived in Virginia for the last 11 years.  I married a Virginia native named Brayden and we have a son who is officially a month old named Henry Jacob.

I have served as a pastor at the same local church for about 10 years in Yorktown, VA.  I am grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to do that. My ministry there is multi-faceted. I oversee our Sunday morning worship services, I lead worship through song from time to time, I preach and teach, and I counsel members at our local church. I have a bachelor’s in Biblical Studies, a Masters of Divinity and am halfway through a doctorate in Biblical Counseling at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. I find joy in spending time with my family and reading and learning about our great Savior.

What are you reading right now?

I am currently reading “The Glory of Christ” by John Owen, “Discipling” by Mark Dever (short, but excellent book), “Grounded in the Gospel” by J.I. Packer & Gary Parrett and I am re-reading the fiction work, “Jayber Crow” by Wendell Berry.

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

I re-read the Narnia series from time to time because Lewis does a tremendous job at communicating eternal truths in a winsome way. I find joy in the Lord by reading the Narnia series and I can’t wait to read them to my son. I also re-read Louis Berkhof’s “Summary of Christian Doctrine” because it is clear, to the point and a good refresher on Christian doctrine.

Piper’s “Brothers We Are Not Professionals” is a breath of fresh air every single time I pick it up.  It is a reminder of the type of shepherd God has called me to be. It keeps me from becoming distracted in ministry.

John MacArthur’s “The Gospel According to Jesus” reminds me how easy it is to get the gospel wrong and how imperative it is for me to get it right.

Heaven Misplaced” by Douglas Wilson is also a good reminder to me that the Great Commission will be successful.  It is a small book that I constantly reference and go back to. I recommend anything by Doug Wilson. He is very consistent in his biblical worldview.

I re-read Thomas Watson’s “Doctrine of Repentance” often to evaluate my own repentance.  I read the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith daily as well as “The Valley of Vision: a collection of Puritan Prayers.”

What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently?

“Hitch 22” by Christopher Hitchens and “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens” by Larry Alex Taunton. Hitchens was fascinating to me. The public Hitchens came across so confidently in his arguments against religion. In some ways, he had a good grasp on the claims of Scripture and rejected them.

The private Hitchens wasn’t as confident in his anti-theist claims. I read these biographies to remind me of the importance of praying for the lost and the importance of faithfully engaging the lost for the glory of God and the sake of their souls. I highly recommend Taunton’s book. I found myself weeping at the end of it and praising God for Taunton’s faithful ministry to Hitchens.

Read Hitchens autobiography with caution. It is vulgar at times and certainly irreverent. There are some parts in Hitchens book that I find his candor refreshing other parts of it, I’m not convinced that he is being honest with himself.

Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?

Delighted in God: George Müller biography by Roger Steer an excellent resource the Lord used to edify my prayer life.

Ian Murray’s biographies on Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Murray’s biography on MacArthur is excellent.

Steve Lawson’s series, “A Long Line of Godly Men”, particularly his works on George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon were short, to the point biographies that were packed full of soul-nourishing truth.

If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?

  • The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification by Walter Marshall
  • The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson
  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
  • Love Your God with All Your Mind: J.P. Moreland
  • 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith

What books have molded how you serve and lead others in the gospel? 

  • The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification by Walter Marshall reminded me of the centrality of the gospel in discipleship.
  • The New Testament Order for Church and Missionary by Alex Raytray Hay is an excellent resource for the nitty gritty details of church life and polity.
  • Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur is an excellent book to fan the flame for gospel proclamation in church life.
  • The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson is an indispensable resource to evaluate your own repentance and to teach your local church biblical repentance.
  • The Doctrine of Justification by John Owen is an excellent defense of the gospel that reminds me of the rich heritage of our faith.
  • Love Your God with All Your Mind by J.P. Moreland was also a critical book for me that has affected the way I disciple people.

Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus? 

Ephesians 6:10 has been on my mind and heart lately: “Finally, be strong in the Lord, in the strength of his might.” The last two years have been uniquely busy in my family’s life and in our ministry together. The Lord has been teaching and reminding us that we are utterly dependent on Him, His grace and mercy for everything in this life and the next.

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