Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Union with Christ

2 December 2011

An historically underemphasised, yet crucial, topic is union with Christ. Just try to explain any aspect of the christian life (conversion through to glory) apart from union. So, it is with great enthusiasm that over the last week I received two books, both titled ‘Union with Christ’. The first is by Robert Letham and the second by Todd Billings. Now it is time to dig in. I’d also recommend Edward Donnelly’s Life in Christ, which is probably more accessible if someone is looking for a place to start.

While you are waiting for yours to arrive, read and meditate on Colossians 2 and 3. Paul grounds the whole of the christian life in union as well. Enjoy!

What is the mission of the church?

18 November 2011

I’m about a third of the way through DeYoung and Gilbert’s book. In short, making disciples is their answer. Should we be surprised? It is curious however, if not frustrating, how many people take issue with that answer. Apparently DeYoung and Gilbert (both pastors of CHURCHES) are not qualified to speak on the mission of the CHURCH? I guess that is for other folks to figure out rather than those leading churches. Just be sure to let us know what to do guys, OK?

As usual, Trueman has some helpful thoughts on the topic, as does Horton in his contribution to the debate.

It is interesting how many people in church want the question answered, ‘What’s the church’s purpose?’ Part may be due to poor communication, but I imagine part (the bigger part) is symptomatic of the tilt within evangelicalism. Something hip, something new, something that is a game changer for the church and society in this world. Those aren’t necessarily wrong desires, but neither are they the mission of the church, or, I guess, that’s the question being debated. Neither are they things promised to God’s people. BUT, there is the promise of a city that is unshakable who’s builder and architect is God.

I’d like to think I’m too young to be old fashion, but then, my hairline condemns me each day. Guess I’ll stick to the old paths.

Not everyone can be this lucky

21 October 2011

Maybe one day I’ll get to participate in an activity like this. A large library could be a means of staying fit. All kinds of perks!

What should the church be doing?

8 September 2011

Just started reading The Mission of the Church by DeYoung and Gilbert. So far it is excellent. One of the strengths of the book is that these guys know the right questions to ask, thus starting on the right road to arrive at the right answers. I think this book will be a sensible, articulate, and insightful corrective to some of the confusion on why Jesus established the church. If the mission of the church is a bit blurred in your vision or understanding, reading this book will be like putting on a pair of glasses making your sight sharp and clear. I’d recommend this book for all involved in ministry, at any level.

What was that?

14 March 2011

No doubt, the church in the West has many new things to learn. But for the most part, everything we need to learn is what we’ve already forgotten. The chief theological task now facing the Western church is not to reinvent or to be relevant but to remember.

~ Kevin DeYoung – The Good News We Almost Forgot

Things you should read if…

11 March 2011

…You want to be challenged and grow in godliness – anything about Robert Murray M’Cheyne (start with Bonar’s biography and then move on to L.J. Van Valen)

…You want to see Christ centered, Christ exalting, sinner pleading preaching – the sermons of M’Cheyne

…You want to grow in you love of Christ and appreciation of his work – anything by Hugh Martin (The Atonement, The Abiding Presence, The Shadow of Calvary)

What to do with books you won’t read?

4 March 2011

Here is an idea. These are simply amazing. Every house should have at least one.

See more here, here, and here.

HT: Chailles

Rob Bell gets the gospel right…

28 February 2011

…unfortunately, it is what he is arguing against, not for.

Musing on the thought that someone said Ghandi was in hell, Bell says, “Will only a few select people make it to heaven?…How do you become one of the few? Is it what you believe, or what you say, or what you do, or who you know?…or something that happens in your heart…converted, born again? How does one become one of these few?”

Not bad really. I’d give an affirmative to most all of that statement (Matt 7.21-23 and John 3.3 among others).

Then discussing the traditional explanation of the gospel he suggests that believing this message distorts who God is “What is God like?…God is going to send you to hell unless you believe in Jesus…Jesus rescues you from God.” His point, who would want to believe in a God like that?

It’s interesting, if I remember correctly one of the studies that put Rob Bell on the map was his series/tour on Leviticus. I think that one of the most frequent words in that book is ‘holy’. Maybe that tells us something about what God is like and why Jesus does need to rescue us from God’s holy wrath.

His book is called Love Wins. I wonder how Bell defines love. Suppose someone has had a spouse murdered. The widow is in the room with the killer. How do I show love towards the widow? Do I treat the killer that same as the widow? Is that truly loving?

Love wins, but justice is exterminated. If there is anything people want in the world today, it is justice. And rightly so, because we are made in God’s image. If Bell’s video preview accurately reflects the message of his book, then there is no such thing as justice, and Jesus is not returning to judge the quick and the dead, and there is no need to repent, and, oddly enough, in his attempt to be generous and get everyone in, Bell will most likely offer some system of works righteousness and requirements instead of the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation.

You can read more about this HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Zondervan’s New Emergent Book Line

4 February 2011

I picked this up for Anna only to realise it was intended for emergent folks. I probably won’t let Anna read it until she gets some dark rimmed glasses. I know Zondervan do (did?) have a line of books aimed at emergent readers, but I didn’t realise they started them so young.

This evening in preparing to read to Anna I looked at the back of the book and there they listed who the different books were for.

This is part of the ‘My First’ series, and the description reads:

Well, I never thought it would be my children that pushed me over the fence, but there you have it.

The law: legalism or antinomianism

31 January 2011

There seems to be confusion surrounding the matter of the use of the law. This is a critical issue and one worth some serious thought and study. You can see some of the to and fro around the web last week. Frank Turk wrote a letter to Michael Horton about a perceived imbalance. Horton responded, as did Scott Clark (to which Turk then replied). And quite apart from these interactions CT had an article about antinomianism.

There is not time or space to interact here with all that has been said, but in reading Matthew 11 this morning something stood out to me.

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” (Matthew 11:18-19 ESV)

So John was branded a legalist, and Jesus was branded an antinomian. My guess is that they both got things right and the response probably had more to do with those making it than with the accused. The fountainhead of both legalism and antinomianism is the same, void of the gospel of grace.

Now back to The Marrow of Modern Divinity.