Sunday, November 29, 2015

God's authority

"Beyond all doubt, biblical religion is authoritarian in nature.  The sovereign God, creator of the universe, Lord of history, dispenser of destiny, determines and rewards the true and the good.  God commands and has the right to be obeyed, and the power also to punish the disobedient and reward the faithful.

"Behind God's will stands omnipotent power.  The notion that the individual subjectively determines what is ultimately good and evil, true and false, not only results in an encroaching nihilism, but also presupposes the illusion of a godless world.  God can be ignored only if we assume the autonomy of the world.  

"But it is God who in his purpose has determined the existence and nature of the world.  The divine sovereignty extends to every sphere of life--the sphere of work, whether in the laboratory or in the forum; the sphere of love, whether in the home or in neighbor-relations; the sphere of justice, whether between the nations or in local cities and towns. 

"Divine sovereignty can be thus formulated because it extends also to the sphere of truth.  We cannot understand the inner secret of the cosmos without God's Word nor interpret anything comprehensively apart from its relation to the Creator and Sustainer of all. Human beings are commanded by him not only to love the truth but also to do it (John 3:21; 1 John 1:6); knowledge is not simply an intellectual concern but involves ethical obligation as well.  Impenitence spells doom, for man can in no way justify his spiritual revolt.  

"God's authority was firmly stamped on man's conscience at creation, and clearly republished in the Bible which meshes man's fall and need of moral rescue with God's gracious offer of forgiveness and promise of new life to all who repent and trust him."  

~ Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, IV:15-16. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

my way of seeing things

But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:4-6 ESV) 

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools...  (Romans 1:21-22 ESV)


"Their [Adam & Eve's] disobedience entailed two things that are now characteristic of all of us as humans. On the one hand, for each of us, sin is the claim to the right to myself, and so to my way of seeing things, which—far more than class, gender, race and generation—is the ultimate source of human relativity.

"On the other hand, sin is the deliberate repudiation of God and the truth of his way of seeing things. If my way of seeing things is decisive, anyone who differs from me is wrong by definition—including God. No, especially God, because his way of seeing things is more powerful and therefore more threatening than anyone else’s."

~ Os Guinness, Fool's Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion.   

Sunday, November 22, 2015

differences

Enjoyed listening to this 9Marks interview between Mark Dever and Carl F. H. Henry in 1997.  This would be six years before Henry's death in 2003.  

Dever asked Henry to identify some differences that he sees in evangelicalism between today and earlier in the 1950 and 60s.  Two points came out: 

1) Earlier there was a need to call evangelicals, who had largely withdrawn from the culture, to be more active in, and engaged with, the culture. Today the problem, Henry says, is to get the contemporary culture -- very much degenerated -- out of the evangelical. 

2) In the 1950s and 60s evangelicals saw that they needed one another and so worked together.  Today, Henry said, they do not feel that they need each other the way they needed each other then.  Too many evangelicals and churches are pursuing their own agendas and individual ministries apart from a relationship to the wider body of evangelicalism. 

Listen to the full interview here.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

favorite biographies

I was asked recently to suggest some biographies that I have read and would recommend to others. Most of the biographies that I have read are about men, and specifically, theologians and pastors, and sometimes soldiers.  I read biographies to find people to emulate and to serve as historical mentors. 

Here are my top ten biographies, in alphabetical order...




Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, by Peter Brown.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas. 

Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life, by Colin Duriez.

Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, by Roland H. Bainton.

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret, by Howard Taylor and Geraldine Taylor. 

Jonathan Edwards: A Life, by George M. Marsden.
(Or, A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards, by George M. Marsden).

Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, by Iain Murray. (Either the two-volume original set or the new one-volume edition.)

Robert E. Lee on Leadership: Executive Lessons in Character, Courage, and Vision, by H.W. Crocker III.  

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, by C. S. Lewis.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand.


Monday, November 9, 2015

ABCs of living like Christ



"Let the one who says he abides in Him, walk in the manner in which He walked."  (1 John 2:6 NAS)

Jack Hall, former VT professor and long-time member of BCF, spoke briefly during Sunday announcements about our upcoming conference...   

One of the themes of the upcoming conference is "Living with a Missional Mindset," that is, seeking to live in such a way as to draw people to Christ with every encounter. In other words, emulate Christ.  So, to figure out how well you are doing in that regard, let's go through the alphabet using words that describe Jesus's character or personality, and then assess in your own mind how you measure up....

Amazing/assuring
Bold in testimony
Caring/compassionate
Divine/dependable
Energizing
Faithful
Generous
Holy/helpful
Infallible/immaculate
Just
Kind/source of all knowledge
Loving
Majestic/magnificent
Needed
Omnipotent/omnipresent/omniscient
Powerful/parental
Quiet
Rejuvenating
Savior/shepherd
Triumphant over satan  
Understanding/uniting
Victorious/valiant
Wonderful
X = died on a cross for our salvation
Yahweh/source of youth
Zesty ... because of Jesus we can be "zesty"!