Thursday, October 27, 2011

C.S. Lewis on Pride

"As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hermeneutical Hall Passes

Would the apostles pass one of our modern hermeneutical classes?
Matt Smethurst of the TGC, quoting Greg Beale, thinks we may demand too much from the original historical context in our understanding of the relationship between the allusions and quotes in both the Old and New Testaments.
His test case is Matthew 2:17-18, which is a quote from Jeremiah 31:15:

Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."

Read the TGC blog here >>>

Download Dr. Beale's excellent original article in Themelios here>>>

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Free Audio: Luther, In His Own Words

Reformation Day is just around the corner!
It was October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg. Outraged by the church's practice of selling indulgences as a means of forgiveness, Luther wrote the theses in protest. He argued that forgiveness was a gift of God freely given, and the church was wrong to profit from such sales.

Word of Luther's challenge to the church quickly spread through Europe and his Ninety-Five Theses are considered to be the genesis of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that forever changed the church. October 31 is observed by many as Reformation Day, in recognition of Luther's work.

In honor of Martin Luther, is pleased to offer Martin Luther: In His Own Words as a FREE audiobook download through October 31. This title is a compilation of many of Luther's most important writings, including the Ninety-Five Theses and six other works. In addition, there are other resources on sale for our enjoyment! Hope it is a blessing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

C.S. Lewis & the Four Loves Concert

If you happen to be anywhere near Newark, DE, this weekend, come on by to hear a wonderful evening of vocal music as we explore through music C.S. Lewis’s book ‘The Four Loves’. Each of the pieces chosen will highlight an aspect of C.S. Lewis’s thinking as it relates to love. The audience will be engaged with the program through spoken word and world-class singing. You don’t want to miss this!

This concert of art song, musical theatre and sacred music will take place on Sunday, October 9 at 6pm.

Can there be meaning without God?

Dr. William Lane Craig discusses the difference between objective meaning and subjective meaning, answering the question: "Can there be meaning without God?"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Redux: The Gospel of Steve Jobs

I'm reposting a link that I referred to in my January blog post, A World Without Jobs?

The original article by Andy Crouch is about former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, and his ability to articulate a "perfectly secular form of hope" Christianity Today ran the article again today and retitled it The Gospel of Steve Jobs.

I do pray that he found the only truth that can satisfy, after all the years of technology's empty promises. Perhaps, like the laborer who was hired at the 11th hour in the parables or the thief on the cross, Jobs met Jesus Christ in the last hours of his time with us here on earth.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: The World-Tilting Gospel

Update: Just for today, October 4th, is offering the book for Free on Kindle!

The World-Tilting Gospel: Embracing a Biblical Worldview and Hanging on Tight by Dan Phillips 


Dan Phillips has written a witty, highly-readable and well-researched presentation of the Good News that turned the early church upside down and that is still guaranteed to upend today's world just the same.  Recommended for all readers - from those who are new to Christianity through veteran faith warriors who want to bolster their faith and be encouraged. 

About the book
Like primordial glue, the content of this book pulls together four essential Biblical truths that together answer life's most important questions: who we are, what God has done for us, how we may come to Him, and how we then live. This book is like a satisfying meal that sticks to your ribs and sends soul-lifting, truth-telling endorphins to your cranium. Totalling just over 300 pages in all, its weighty material is easily consumed in a few sittings by the average reader. 

Who are we?
Following John Calvin's formula from The Institutes, Phillips begins with self-image and sets forth several examples of how holding wrong answers about who we are causes great damage in our lives. Through the examples of three specific faulty views, he show us how we need a whole-Bible view of ourselves, and not just a slice of scripture that supports our pre-conceived notions. He has creatively devised three characters that are representative of our typical false positions about man (which invariably lead to false views of God).

What has God done for us?
Phillips deftly deals with God’s overarching plan of salvation in section two by beginning with a glimpse of the holy, covenantal God who has planned our ultimate “Rescue Operation”.  He then unfolds that great plan by showing how God’s rescue mission is executed by sending Jesus Christ, who conquers our enemy for us.  

How do we get in?
In Section three, Dan covers what he terms the “Two Towering Truths” of how God deals with our record of sin and our sinful nature. When we are saved God deals with our “record” through the atonement, which can only take place by God's power of regeneration -- a complete reorientation of our nature and will.  

How do we get going?
In part four, Phillips tackles some difficult areas of application and practical theology. I thoroughly enjoyed this section of the book, especially the sections where he deals with understanding what the scripture means by “the flesh”; how the Christian’s biggest problem isnt’ external; and the critical role of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and sanctification.

In addition, he deals with some typical gospel errors, such as: misunderstandings of grace and obedience. He illustrates three faulty views of sanctification that are prevalent today by creating corresponding caricatures: the gutless gracers (who basically see Jesus as Lord as optional), crisis upgraders (who come up with quick fixes that don’t exist), and muzzy mystics (who limply let go and Christ do the living).

This is probably a good time to mention the only thing that I would consider a possible negative about the book. While I am in agreement with the author's content and assessment of the prevalent faulty views, I am concerned that other readers who may have been persuaded by his work may instead be put off by these negative labels. "Gutless Gracers", "Crisis Upgraders", and "Muzzy Mystics" are colorful descriptions that could do as much to alienate the reader as they do to help portray particular views of sanctification.  What is perhaps worse from my perspective is when Phillips actually ascribes names to the faulty views in part one of the book: Bud Goodheart, Lodo Legup, and Misty Call. Personally, I don't mind the use of this device. I'm just concerned that non-Calvinists might see the labels and names as too divisive. (Back to the rest of the review).
Chapter 14, "Culmination" is not just a conclusion, a summary, or an effort to avoiding ending the book on an unfortunate chapter number "13". His culiminating section outlines nine ramifications of the world-tilting Gospel:
  • God over everything,
  • Sin is a universal massive factor,
  • The world does not define its own significance,
  • Meaning and fulfillment cannot be found within the world,
  • What we see is not how God wanted it to be,
  • We are being restored to our intended being through Christ,
  • Jesus is the most important person in all history,
  • We have been given everything we need for godly living in Christ through the cross, and
  • God's provision for us in Christ allows us to live to His glory.
A lot of readers will want to jump right to the fourth part, which contains the application or "so what" portion of Phillips book. Unfortunately, many too many of us, myself included, see the doctrines of grace laid out in parts one through three as dessert or the icing on the cake, when in reality these doctrines are our sustenance. They are the engine the makes practical theology possible. Without the doctrines of grace (who we are, what God has done for us, and His plan for rescuing us), practical theology is impossible. And I am extremely grateful for Phillips' contribution in all four parts.
The World-Tilting Gospel is in my top three most worthwhile reads this year! Buy it. Read it. Share it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why the Church Needs Bioethics (I won!)

Each Wednesday the Koinonia Blog ( hosted by Zondervan Academic and Friends) offers a free resource giveaway to readers and commenters. I've actually won a few of these already, so I highly recommend participating if you like this sort of thing. This week, they were featuring an amazing resource that I am elated to have won. It's called Why the Church Needs Bioethics, and the contributors include leading Bible and theology scholars, such as D. A. Carson and Kevin Vanhoozer; leaders in the areas of preaching, ethics, and other experts in the fields of biblical-theological studies, ministry, communication, business, law, healthcare, and bioethics.

Here is an introduction to the book by John Kilner  (PhD, Harvard), the Franklin Forman Chair of Ethics, Professor of Bioethics and Contemporary Culture, and Director of Bioethics Programs at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.