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Showing posts from August, 2019

attitude to authority

"By the very nature of the Christian faith... the Christian mind has an attitude to authority which modern secularism cannot even understand, let alone tolerate.  It follows from all that has been said about the God-given nature of the Christian revelation and the Christian Church that they must command a whole-hearted allegiance from Christians; for Christians are, by definition, men who accept the revelation and the Church for what they are, the visible vehicles of God's action in the world.  That which is divinely established and divinely guaranteed calls forth from men, not an egalitarian attachment, but a bending submission.  One cannot seriously contemplate the first elementary truths of Christianity -- the doctrine of the divine creation of man and his world, the doctrine of the Redemption, and the doctrine of the Church, without realizing that here is something which is either authoritative and binding, or false; deserving of submission or of total neglect.  Reason a

the little things

Does a holy life consist of one or two noble deeds,  some remarkable specimens of doing or enduring or suffering? A holy life is made up of a multitude of small things.   It's the little things of the hour,  and not the great things of the age,  that fill up a holy life.  Little words, not eloquent speeches or sermons,  little deeds, not miracles, nor battles,  nor one great heroic act or mighty martyrdom,  make up the true Christian life.   The constant sunbeam, not the lightning --   the gentle waters which bring refreshment,  not the noisy torrent of a flood --  are true symbols of a holy life (Isa 8:6, 8).  It is the avoidance of little evils...   -- little sins, little inconsistencies,  -- little indiscretions and foibles,  -- little indulgences of self and of the flesh,  -- little acts of indolence or indecision or cowardice,  -- little departures from high integrity,  -- little bits of covetousness and worldliness,  -- little indifferences to t

what faith is, what faith does

"Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.  And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness..."  (Romans 4:4-5 ESV) "We must always distinguish what faith is from what faith does .  Faith does many things; it is always active, bearing fruit.  However, in the act of justification, faith only receives, embraces, and clings to Christ; it does not do anything but receives everything .  Faith is not a probable opinion or conjecture, nor mere assent to an external authority -- even the Bible or the church.  Nor is faith an immediate certainty, like the knowledge of logical, geometrical, or mathematical axioms.  Nor is it merely something we infer from sense experience.  It is not a general attitude, characteristic, or virtue -- such as an optimistic outlook or positive thinking.  Faith is not a genus of which faith in Christ is a species, as is often assumed especially

never alone

"In a multitude of people is the glory of a king..." (Proverbs 14:28a ESV) "The believer, therefore, never stands apart by himself; he is never alone.  In the natural world every human being is born in the fellowship of his parents, and he is therefore without any effort on his part a member of a family, of a people, and also of the whole of mankind.  So it is also in the spiritual sphere.  The believer is born from above, out of God, but he receives the new life only in the fellowship of the covenant of grace of which Christ is the Head and at the same time the content.  If by virtue of this regeneration God is his Father, the church may in a good sense be called his mother.  In the world of heathendom also there is no believer or no gathering of believers except by way of the mission which the church of Christ sends them.  From the first moment of his regeneration, therefore, the believer is, apart from his will and apart from his own doing, incorporated in a gre

joyful tiding

"The Gospel is a joyful tiding, not only for  the individual  person but also for humanity,  for the family, for society,  for the state,  for art  and science, for the entire cosmos,  for the whole groaning creation."   ~ Herman Bavinck  From "The Catholicity of Christianity and the Church"  Calvin Theological Journal. 27 (2): 220–251 (1992).

driven to distraction

Detail, Perelandra, painting by Jeremiah Briggs In Perelandra , the second book in C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, the protagonist, Ransom, seeks to protect the innocent woman (the Eve of Venus) from the temptations of the Unman, who would bring about the fall of the planet.  The dialogue, like that of The Screwtape Letters,  illuminates the nature of the conflict between good and evil -- and the resolution takes a surprising turn.   But at one point the battle of wits between Ransom and the Unman takes this direction, beginning with the Unman's words...  "Ransom... Ransom..."   "What is it?"  "Nothing." “Ransom,” it said again.  “What is it?” said Ransom sharply.  “Nothing,” it answered.  Again there was silence; and again, about a minute later, the horrible mouth said: “Ransom!”  This time he made no reply.  Another minute and it uttered his name again; and then, like a minute gun, “Ransom . . . Ransom . . . Ransom,” perhap

top 10 apologetics books imo

" your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..."  (1 Peter 3:15 ESV) Apologetics is the study and practice of giving a reasonable defense (from Gr., apologia ) of the Christian faith. As a field of study this has grown immensely in recent years.  I thought I would list ten of the books that I have found most helpful in this area.  This is just my opinion of the top ten, but I hope it may be useful for you in deciding out of all the resources who or what might be best to read.      There are a number of approaches represented in this list.  It's a bit of a mix, but all of them have been helpful to me.   I've starred two books that are recommended as good introductions to apologetics, along with some honorable mentions.  Blomberg, Craig L. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (IVP Academic, 2007).  This is