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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Thought I’d start posting reviews here along with on my GoodReads account…

The Courage To Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World by David Wells

An excellent read and challenging critique.  This book is a summary of Wells’ previous 4 volumes, so at times I wished I could have gone deeper into some of his arguments in order to fully understand them.  But nonetheless, a very challenging, edifying, and refining read for me.  Wells challenges the church “Let God be God” in the church and cling to the solas of the reformation.  Here is a quotation that is close to capturing both the thesis and the tone Wells uses throughout the book.

“In practice, many evangelicals – especially those of a marketing and emergent kind – are walking away from the hard edges of these truths in an effort to make the gospel easy to swallow, quick to sell, and generationally appealing.  They are well aware of the deep cultural hunger for spirituality in the West, and they are trolling these waters.  The problem, however, is that this spirituality is highly privatized, highly individualistic, self-centered, and hostile to doctrine because it is always hostile to Christian truth.  Evangelicals gain nothing by merely attracting to their churches postmoderns who yearning for what is spiritual if, in catering to this, the gospel is diluted, made easy, and the edges get rounded off.  The degree to which evangelicals are doing this is the degree to which they are invalidating themselves and prostituting the church.” (p. 237)

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From A.W. Pink’s The Sovereignty of God, quoting scripture and Spurgeon in support of predestination:

“As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed” (Acts 13:48). Every artifice of human ingenuity has been employed to blunt the sharp edge of this Scripture and to explain away the obvious meaning of these words, but it has been employed in vain, though nothing will ever be able to reconcile this and similar passages to the mind of the natural man. “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.” Here we learn four things: First, that believing is the consequence and not the cause of God’s decree. Second, that a limited number only are “ordained to eternal life,” for if all men without exception were thus ordained by God, then the words “as many as” are a meaningless qualification. Third, that this “ordination” of God is not to mere external privileges but to “eternal life,” not to service but to salvation itself. Fourth, that all-“as many as,” not one less-who are thus ordained by God to eternal life will most certainly believe.

The comments of the beloved Spurgeon on the above passage are well worthy of our notice. Said he, “Attempts have been made to prove that these words do not teach predestination, but these attempts so clearly do violence to language that I shall not waste time in answering them. I read: ‘As many as were ordained to eternal life believed,’ and I shall not twist the text but shall glorify the grace of God by ascribing to that grace the faith of every man. Is it not God who gives the disposition to believe? If men are disposed to have eternal life, does not He-in every case-dispose them? Is it wrong for God to give grace? If it be right for Him to give it, is it wrong for Him to purpose to give it? Would you have Him give it by accident? If it is right for Him to purpose to give grace today, it was right for Him to purpose it before today-and, since He changes not-from eternity.”

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A couple resources for the newest and best in books to fill out your reading plan:

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Summer Reading 2009

Summer is an excellent time for reading.  Winter is also an excellent time for reading.  Actually, so is Fall and Spring!  So what makes “summer reading” plans so popular?  I have no idea.  But I’ll follow suit with the rest of the blogosphere and list my summer reading plan, hopefully motivating others to be intentional about their reading as well.  Below is the list of books I’d like to work through by the end of August.  I’ve listed them in the respective order of biography, theology, history, apologetics, evangelism, and classics.  I like variety.

Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes.  If you want to learn about the limits of human endurance, check this one out.  Dean Karnazes writes about his journey becoming one of the world’s top endurance athletes.  This was written before his completion of the 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days and running 350 miles without sleeping.

A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers by D.A. Carson.

Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity by Mark A. Noll.

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis S. Collins.

Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Gregory Koukl.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

What about you?  Please share your summer reading plans.

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The last “Weekly Notables.”  I have resolved to read more edited, published writing rather than spontaneous “off the cuff” blogging.  I’ll still send some good links along sporadically.

Reading: Francis of Assissi said what?  Preach the Gospel, Use Deeds When Necessary.

Health:  Do you think you know pain?  Check out this guy‘s visibly wincing pain at mile 22 of the San Diego Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon.

Reading:  Lot’s of it.  D.A. Carson’s contribution to the church is real nice, and so is making nearly all of it availabe for free.

Listening: Free audio download from Christianaudio: Eugene Petersen’s Christ Plays in Ten-Thousand Places.

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Nonpolar

A good quote from Timothy Keller in his book “The Prodigal God.”  He is describing the two basic ways that people pursue happiness and fulfillment in light of the parable of the prodigal son: the elder brother’s way of moral conformity, and the younger brother’s way of self discovery.  Keller explains that both ways are dedicated to “self-salvation.” He continues:

Jesus’s message, which is “the gospel,” is a completely different spirituality.  The gospel of Jesus is not religion or irreligion, morality or immorality, moralism or relativism, conservatism or liberalism.  Nor is it something halfway along a spectrum between two poles – it is something else altogether.

The gospel is distinct from the other two approaches: In its view, everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, and everyone is called to recognize this and change.  (p. 44-45)

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Weekly favorites in…

Evangelism: A two part article from Grace Community Church (John MacArthur) called “Evangelizing Children.”  Part 1, Part 2

Historical Theology: An essay titled What Happened at Nicaea by Fred Sanders, covering the early church Arian controversy.

Science:  The illusion of the curve ball.  Does it really curve?  (HT: Abraham Piper)

Historical Theology 2: Another set of essays from Fred Sanders at the Scriptorium Daily called Why Protestants Should Read Thomas Aquinas (4 Parts)

Biography: I’ve read a lot about this guy in Runner’s World and TIME Magazine, but never actually read his book “Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All Night Runner” .  Last night at Barnes and Noble, I spotted it on a shelf and started reading…before I knew it I was nearly 3 chapters deep.  This is guy is incredible.  He completed 50 marathons in 50 days straight, ran a 200 mile relay race solo, and completed a 350 mile run.  Here’s his Wiki.

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