A two-hour Q&A session conducted last week at Bethlehem Baptist Church with author Paul Tripp:
“I believe in the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love.” – Charles Spurgeon
HT: Mike Busch
Justin Taylor interviews Tullian Tchividjian on gospel and law, a topic unpacked in Tullian’s latest book, Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels. Their first exchange:
Is the gospel a middle ground between legalism and lawlessness?
This seems to be a common misunderstanding in the church today. I hear people say that there are two equal dangers Christians must avoid: legalism and lawlessness. Legalism, they say, happens when you focus too much on law, or rules. Lawlessness, they say, happens when you focus too much on grace. Therefore, in order to maintain spiritual equilibrium, you have to balance law and grace. Legalism and lawlessness are typically presented as two ditches on either side of the Gospel that we must avoid. If you start getting too much law, you need to balance it with grace. Too much grace, you need to balance it with law. But I’ve come to believe that this “balanced” way of framing the issue can unwittingly keep us from really understanding the gospel of grace in all of its depth and beauty.
Read the whole thing. Also, James Grant recently reviewed Surprised by Grace.
“The works of monks and priests, however hold and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone…..Indeed, the menial housework of a manservant or maidservant is often more acceptable to God than all the fastings and other works of a monk or priest, because the monk or priest lacks faith.”
From The Babylonian Captivity of the Church(one of the Three Treatises published here)
Quote from The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness.
Dorothy Sayers, a contemporary of C.S. Lewis, wrote a penetrating essay entitled Why Work? published as a chapter in the volume Creed or Chaos? Why Christians Must Choose Either Dogma or Disaster (Or, Why It Really Does Matter What You Believe). Tim Keller referred to Sayers in his sermon on work (about which I previously posted). Sayers writes:
What is the Christian understanding of work? I should like to put before you two or three propositions arising out of the doctrinal position which I stated at the beginning: namely, that work is the natural exercise and function of man — the creature who is made in the image of his Creator…..The first, stated quite briefly, is that work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.
Sayers goes on to argue that remuneration should not be the driving force for our labor, but rather love of the work itself. Therefore, people should do what they are “fitted” to do. In addition, she argues:
We should no longer think of work as something that we hastened to get through in order to enjoy our leisure; we should look on our leisure as the period of changed rhythm that refreshed us for the delightful purpose of getting on with our work.
Sayers adds that we should “clamor to be engaged in work that was worth doing, and in which we could take pride.”
On a related theme, I’ve previously published an article on vocation and one on leisure.
Note: I first posted this in November 2009, but found the Sayers chapter online and decided to re-post it.
David Farber, Professor of history at Temple University, has recently published (with Princeton University Press) what sounds like a fascinating book, The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism: A Short History. According to the product description:
The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism tells the gripping story of perhaps the most significant political force of our time through the lives and careers of six leading figures at the heart of the movement. David Farber traces the history of modern conservatism from its revolt against New Deal liberalism, to its breathtaking resurgence under Ronald Reagan, to its spectacular defeat with the election of Barack Obama.
Farber paints vivid portraits of Robert Taft, William F. Buckley Jr., Barry Goldwater, Phyllis Schlafly, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. He shows how these outspoken, charismatic, and frequently controversial conservative leaders were united by a shared insistence on the primacy of social order, national security, and economic liberty. Farber demonstrates how they built a versatile movement capable of gaining and holding power, from Taft’s opposition to the New Deal to Buckley’s founding of the National Review as the intellectual standard-bearer of modern conservatism; from Goldwater’s crusade against leftist politics and his failed 1964 bid for the presidency to Schlafly’s rejection of feminism in favor of traditional gender roles and family values; and from Reagan’s city upon a hill to conservatism’s downfall with Bush’s ambitious presidency.
It is somewhat ironic that the book ends with Obama’s election — nothing about the backlash, the Tea Party, the election of right-leaning governors in Virginia and New Jersey. Looks like an updated edition may be in order.
A 10th anniversary Director’s Cut edition of To End All Wars is coming out this summer. Wind Cinema is releasing the Director’s Cut, followed by a DVD release (check out the trailer). Brian Godawa, the screen writer, says:
“This edition has added some more of the spiritual story that was cut from the original release. Their goal is to reach the Christian audience as well as secular. The movie is still R-rated, but without the F-bomb and other extreme language, and a tad less violent.”
Check out the Director’s Cut website. You can get on their Facebook page to get updates on when the release is coming out.
This movie is one of my all-time favorites. It is an amazing story of forgiveness and grace in the midst of horrific circumstances. Brian Godawa is a top-notch screen writer. Check out some of his other work.
A four-part seminar by David Powlison delivered at Bethlehem Baptist Church. The title of the seminar is “What Is Biblical Counseling?”
The interview covers:
What Is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism?
Why You Can’t “Be” the Gospel
What We Should Learn From the Mainline Denominations
Is the New Perspective on Paul Dangerous?
Why Is the Resurgence of Reformed Theology Encouraging?
Michael Horton’s Advice to the Young Reformed
What Is the Greatest Theological Challenge Facing the Next Generation of Pastors?
Building a Kingdom vs. Receiving a Kingdom
The Gospel-Driven Life
For CA residents, I think you’ll find this interview informative and helpful. As you likely know, Steve Poizner is running for Governor of CA. He faces Meg Whitman in the Republican primary on June 8. The winner will take on Jerry Brown (D) in the general election.
FWIW, I’ll be voting for Poizner. Briefly, I believe that his diagnosis of CA’s problems are spot-on, his proposals are rooted in data and sound principles, he has an exceptional grasp on what’s going on in our state, and excellent credentials for the job.
Full Disclosure: Google also hosted Jerry Brown. Meg Whitman apparently declined to attend.