"Every autumn I have a spate of letters from fond parents, teachers, guardians, and monitors, appealing to me to follow up on such and such a youngster who is away from home at college for the first time, and who has to be hunted, followed, shadowed, intercepted and driven to Christian meetings. I have scarcely ever known this desperate technique to work. I understand the panic of parents and guardians, but it is too late then to try high pressure tactics. Prayer, example and precept, in that order, are the means of bringing up children and young folk in the faith. Nor will high pressure tactics and brainwashing techniques avail when young folk have gone off on their own. Some young folk, alas, will have their fling and sow their wild oats, and come at last to heel, sadly, like the prodigal son. It is where Christians pathetically put their trust in external techniques and artificial stratagems that young folk go astray. Nothing takes the place of the realism of holy living and secret wrestling before God in prayer for our youngsters. We must commit them to God so utterly that we dare not interfere or tamper with their precious souls."(William Still, late Pastor of Gilcomston South Church, Aberdeen, Scotland)
A week or so back, cent went on vacation and had a bunch of sidekicks guestblogging. Well, they came up with some pretty good stuff. Check out this post on sacrifice vs. obedience and this one on "Christian" superstition.
Justin Taylor links to an excellent and thought provoking article on Christian counseling and the Ambiguously Cured Soul. His commentary on it was very good.
Godward Thoughts makes a spot on observation on Jacob's wrestling with God. He writes,
If we see this struggle primarily as Jacob trying to get something out of God then we have missed the point. This passage is about God getting something out of Jacob. What God was getting out of Jacob was for Jacob to cling to him in order to bless him. God is faithful and just to complete the work he has started in us, and one of the main works He does in us is to get us to stop placing confidence in ourselves and to place our trust in Him.Read the whole thing.
A friend of mine does some thinking on a Christian and the law. His blog as a whole is fairly cool and filled with great links as well.
Calvinist Gadfly laments the state of modern day preaching. And gives some solutions
Exegetical laziness is epidemic among many Evangelical pastors. Sloth, says Vanhoozer, is one of the interpreter’s sins. This is indicative that the flock-feeding elder has lost a genuine trust in the effectiveness of the Spirit and Word.Read the whole thing.
Why this laziness? I will submit to you two significant reasons:
1) If elders do not have a working knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, how do we expect them to exegete God’s Word in any meaningful depth? (And there is absolutely no excuse for them not to know the original languages with the embarrassing cornucopia of language resources available).
Non-exegetical preaching results in the flock being fed pablum.
2) Pastors wrongly assume, or underestimate, that their flock are not interested in in-depth exegesis of lexical-grammatical, historical-literary explanations. Some time in their ministry a sheep must of come up to them and lamented hearing the meanings of Greek words, grammar, etc. And given the dispositions of many pastors today who tailor their preaching to assuage the concerns of their sheep, they have watered down their Biblical preaching (And indeed, many “Reformed” preachers are not immune from this).
Dan Phillips posts on "Doomed evangelism." Moses knew his cause was lost, but he went in anyways. Most interesting post.
God's glory—not redemption, nor any other concomitant good—is the center of history, the center of the Bible, the center of everything.He also posts on prayer, echoing what I said earlier in my post, but in a far clearer manner.
It should be the center and focus of our evangelism.
Christianity Today has a very fair and accurate article of the rise of Calvinism in modern day Christianity. w00t w00t I say.
John Macarthur continues his blogging ways by pointing out that God choose ordinary unschooled men to shame the strong. He doesn't choose you because you're strong, but He chooses you because you're weak, that He may display His glory.
Bookwise, I'm still chugging through the few books I mentioned earlier. I finished "Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. (Scroll down)" It was a good read, about who Christ is and what He did. Very insightful. It's free online and a quick read. I read it in a few hours. This paragraph on the wealth of God was particularly great.
But, strikingly, the New Testament describes the wealth of God not mainly in terms of what he created and owns, but, mainly in terms of the glory he has from all eternity. Repeatedly we read of “the riches of his glory” or “his riches in glory” (for example, Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 1:27). If God were only rich because he made and owns all things, he would have been poor before creation. But that means he would have created out of need and would be dependent on his creation. But that is not the picture of God we find in the Bible. God did not create to get wealth; he created to display wealth—the wealth of his glory for the enjoyment of his people (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).Also reading "Hand Me Another Brick" by Charles Swindoll. A leadership book based off of the character Nehemiah. Useful in some regards, but for the most part "eh." It's not bad.
I'm also reading Calvin's Commentary on Genesis. Definitely different from Luther's commentaries in that he is significantly more exegetical. A treasure trove. I'm looking into reading a biography of Calvin eventually. Anyone got a good one they'd recommend?
Labels: Reading Deeply