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Showing posts from February, 2014

on God's anger

More highlights from David Wells' God in the Whirlwind ... "In all Western cultures, I have suggested, the love of God is welcomed and the holiness of God is given inhospitable treatment. Western nations will tolerate almost anything except a hard truth like this. We therefore do need to do a little ground-clearing work—because this idea has been so widely misunderstood and is so easily caricatured... "If we are to understand the biblical teaching, we must distinguish between wrath in God and what we so often see in human anger. Human anger is often accompanied by malice, vindictiveness, retaliation, revenge, and hatefulness. God’s wrath, of course, has no such defilements. It is a pure expression of his holiness. It is not an outburst of irrational temper. Temper, malice, revenge were seen in some of the ancient gods and goddesses. They could be capricious, bad-tempered, and destructive. God, though, is not. He is none of these things and never could be

he is the center

"God is elevated over all of life. God is God. We are but a part of his creation and dependent on him. He is its center. We are its periphery. He is infinite. In our humanity, we are but fading and finite. Between Creator and creation is a boundary. There is no place for pantheism in a biblical worldview. All spiritualities that begin within the self, building on the self as their religious source, are false. The self cannot reach out, in, or up and find God in a redemptive way. All of these cultural spiritualities have assumed that the boundary set between Creator and creature, between the holy God and sinners, can be crossed from our side and crossed naturally and easily. It cannot. Only God, the infinite Creator and the one who is utterly holy, can cross these boundaries."  (David Wells, God in the Whirlwind )

why c s lewis attended church

"I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn't go to the churches. . . But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren't fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit."  (C. S. Lewis) Quoted by Ed Stetzer here .

finding common ground in a divisive world

Here's a very good interview with Francis Schaeffer Institute Director Mark Ryan, entitled “Finding Common Ground in a Divisive World” (Covenant Seminary, August 27, 2013)  There are some excellent real-life examples. Here are a few highlights... When looking to engage others honestly with the gospel, we must not let ourselves validate the common stereotypes. There are enough other barriers to the gospel already; we don’t need to add to them by behaving in ways that play into the negative or restrictive images many people have of what they think Christians are like. Also, we have to learn to approach people not as evangelistic projects, but as fellow human beings—made in the image of God even though fallen and imperfect—and so give to them the same consideration and attention that we would like and expect for ourselves... My emphasis is to help people reframe apologetics and get them to see that it’s not so much a discipline to be mastered as it is an orientation of the he

reading highlights from jerram barr

Also reading Delighting in the Law of the Lord: God's Alternative to Legalism and Moralism (Crossway, 2013) by Jerram Barrs. [ Regarding societies that have no belief in inherent human depravity... ] We could say that the more idealistic and utopian the ideology, the more disastrous will be its recipe for change when it is put into action. This conviction that humans are sinful has been one of the most liberating doctrines in political history. All biblical study of the law begins with the conviction that God’s own character stands behind the moral order of this world and behind the commandments that he gives to us his creatures. This is the fundamental reason why the Scriptures speak so positively about the law. Praising a set of commandments is an alien notion in our cultural context, but that is where the biblical view begins: with praise and thanksgiving for the law. Psalm 19 is an example of this high view of the law of God. -- Jerram Barrs, Delighting in the Law of the Lo

reading highlights from david wells

Reading God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World , by David Wells (Crossway, 2014).  Here are some highlights so far... This is the direction in which our culture is pushing us: God does not interfere. He is a God of love and he is not judgmental... We see him as a never-ending fountain of these blessings. He is our Concierge.   We have exited the older moral world in which God was transcendent and holy, and we have entered a new psychological world in which he is only immanent and only loving.   We are now thinking of ourselves in terms, not of human nature, but of the self. And the self is simply an internal core of intuitions. It is the place where our own unique biography, gender, ethnicity, and life-experience all come together in a single center of self-consciousness.  And none of it is framed by absolute moral norms. This is where the overwhelming majority of Americans live.   This is not a generational matter. It was, and is, a cultural matter.   T

the ultimate shrink wrap

Here are some of my highlights from A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You , by Paul David Tripp... The fundamental core of sin is selfishness. It is a solitary universe turned in on itself. Sin really is the ultimate shrink wrap. It shrinks the size of your care and concern to the contours of your life. The kingdom that is to capture and motivate us was meant to be no smaller than the size of his grandeur. I was never meant to shrink the size of my life to a size smaller than the contours of his glory. I was never created to establish my own kingdom, but to give myself in wholehearted, sacrificial devotion to his. The size of my living was meant to be connected to the depth of his greatness. The fathomless greatness of God is the more that I was designed to live for. We were not designed to settle for personal survival, temporal happiness, or individual success. We were created to find our meaning, identity, and purpose in the existence, character, and plan of God. We