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Archive for the ‘Reformation’ 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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Lutheranism vs Calvinism.  An excellent podcast from Issues Etc, in which two pastors discuss the differences between the main streams of the Reformation.

Real Christianity by William Wilberforce.  The next Reading Classics Together from Tim Challies.  Anyone want to take part in this with me?

The greenhouse effect from Anthony Watts.  A good “primer” for those who want to understand it better than the press does.

What is Lent? Allen Yeh from The Scriptorium gives a good reminder of what Lent is and is not.

Cloud streets.  A great satellite image of some perfectly aligned cloud streets off of greenland.

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Here I Stand

I figured some quotes I’ve recently read from Roland H. Bainton’s Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther would be a great place to begin this blog.

Bainton describes the dramatic scene in which thousands gathered at the Diet of Worms as Luther was summoned by Charles the V to recant his works:

The scene lends itself to dramatic portrayal. Here was Charles, heir of a long line of Catholic sovereigns – of Maximilian the romantic, of Ferdinand the Catholic, of Isabella the orthodox – scion of the house of Hapsburg, lord of Austria, Burgundy, the Low Countries, Spain, and Naples, Holy Roman Emperor, ruling over a vaster domain than any save Charlemagne, symbol of the medieval unities, incarnation of a glorious if vanishing heritage; and here before him a simple monk, a miner’s son, with nothing to sustain him save his own faith and the Word of God. Here the past and future were met. Some would see at this point the beginning of modern times. (141)

And later on during the meeting:

“I ask you, Martin-answer candidly and without horns-do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors which they contain?” Luther replied, “Since then Your Majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason-I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other-my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

The earliest printed version added the words: “Here I Stand, I cannot do otherwise.” The words, though not recorded on the spot, may nevertheless be genuine, because the listeners at the moment may have been too moved to write. (144)

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