I am going to be taking a break from blogging for an indefinite amount of time.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I am going to be taking a break from blogging for an indefinite amount of time.
I can now confirm that Grudem's Systematic Theology has been put on line illegally. I apologize for the initial link as I should have confirmed its internet release with Grudem before posting it online. Below is an update from the publisher:
It has recently come to the attention of Wayne Grudem and myself that an illegal copy of his "Systematic Theology" has been posted on the Internet and that word of this, along with links to the site where the illegal copy is posted, has found its way to many Christian blog sites. I am working with Dr. Grudem to contact all sites that have links to this illegal copy of his book to ask them to remove the links immediately.
Dr. Grudem and I jointly hold the copyright to all electronic versions of his "Systematic Theology." My company, Bits & Bytes, Inc., is the publisher of the Libronix, PC Study Bible, Pradis, and Olive Tree versions of this book. Posting a complete copy of "Systematic Theology" online is intellectual property theft -- a federal crime. Posting a link to the illegal copy or a link to a link is at the very least directing people to stolen goods.
On behalf of Dr. Grudem and myself, we respectfully request that all links to, and all links to links to, the illegal copy of "Systematic Theology" that is on the Internet be removed from all Christian blog sites.
Thank you for honoring this request.
John Hughes, President
(HT: Adrian Warnock)
Thursday, June 19, 2008
"All the things that make for the enriching of this present life are sacred gifts of God, but we spoil them by our misuse of them. If we want to know the reason why, it is because we are always entertaining the delusion that we will go on forever in this world. The result is that the very things which ought to be of assistance to us in our pilgrimage through life, become the chains which bind us." -John Calvin
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
It appears that the online version of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology may have been posted without the permission of the publisher. If you want more details on the story click here. Until it can be verified whether or not it has been put online legally I have disabled the link in my previous post and would ask you to consider not visiting the site. Thank you and sorry for the confusion.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Some audio messages for your commute and the gym:
1) C.J. Mahaney--The Troubled Soul: God's Word and Our Feelings
2) Tim Keller--Changed Lives, Inside Out Living, and How to Change
3) Sam Storms--The Supremacy of Christ
Monday, June 9, 2008
"How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! ... You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure."--Augustine
Friday, June 6, 2008
There is an understanding of faith in our day that is so lifeless and devoid of any spiritual affection that it ceases to be real faith. It disheartens me that there are those who advocate a "gospel" that requires no level of delight in the person of Christ. A.W. Tozer saw this tragedy taking place in the church several decades ago and says it much better than I can:
"The doctrine of justification by faith--a Biblical truth, and a blessed relief from sterile legalism and unavailing self-effort--has in our time fallen into evil company and been interpreted by many in such manner as actually to bar men from the knowledge of God. The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be `received' without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is `saved,' but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God. In fact he is specifically taught to be satisfied and encouraged to be content with little."
Thursday, June 5, 2008
“Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is here, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”- John Stott, The Message of Galatians (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1968), 179.
(HT: Of First Importance)
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
If you want to read some of the earliest post-biblical documents written by the early church leaders you can do so by clicking here. Last summer I did an independent study where I translated through several of the writings of the early church fathers and it was extremely rewarding. I walked away from the study thinking that many Christians would benefit a lot more from reading these documents than the latest Christian author. In other words, these documents should not just be viewed as the scholar's treasure chest that cannot be unlocked and explored with profitability by normal believers. Below are a couple of quotes from The Martyrdom of Polycarp (a document from the second century) to give you a bit of a flavor for some of the things you will find:
"Eighty and six yeas have I served him, and he has done me no wrong; how then can I blaspheme my king who saved me?"
"Let me be as I am. He that granted me to endure the fire will grant me also to remain at the fire unmoved, without beings secured with nails."
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
"This first thing to remember, of course, is that we must never separate the benefits (regeneration, justification, sanctification) from the Benefactor (Jesus Christ). The Christians who are most focused on their own spirituality may give the impression of being the most spiritual ... but from the New Testament's point of view, those who have almost forgotten about their own spirtuality because their focus is so exclusively on their union with Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished are those who are growing and exhibiting fruitfulness. Historically speaking, whenever the piety of a particular group is focused on OUR spirituality that piety will eventually exhaust itself on its own resources. Only where our piety forgets about ourself and focuses on Jesus Christ will our piety nourished by the ongoing resources the Spirit brings to us from the source of all true piety, our Lord Jesus Christ."--Sinclair Ferguson(HT: Monergism)
Tim Keller has a great article called Advancing the Gospel into the 21st Century. The following paragraphs are particularly insightful:
The gospel produces a unique blend of humility and boldness/joy in the convert. If you preach just a demanding God, the listener will have "low self-esteem"; if you preach just an all-loving God, the listener will have higher self-esteem. But the gospel produces something beyond both of those. The gospel says: I am so lost Jesus had to die to save me. But I am so loved that Jesus was glad to die to save me. That changes the very basis of my identity- -it transforms me from the root.
I can't tell you how important this is in all mission and ministry. Unless you distinguish the gospel from both religion and irreligion–from both traditional moralism and liberal relativism–then newcomers in your services will automatically think you are simply calling them to be good and nice people. They will be bored. But when, as here in Acts 15, the gospel is communicated in its unique, counter-intuitive balance of truth and love, then listeners will be surprised. Most people today try to place the church somewhere along a spectrum from "liberal" to "conservative"–from the relativistic to the moralistic. But when they see a church filled with people who insist on the truth, but without a shred of superiority or self-righteousness–this simply explodes their categories. To them, people who have the truth are not gracious, people who are gracious and accepting say "who knows what is the truth?" Christians are enormously bold to tell the truth, but without a shred of superiority, because you are sinner saved by grace. This balance of boldness and utter humility, truth and love–is not somewhere in the middle between legalistic fundamentalism and relativistic liberalism. It is actually off the charts.
Paul knew that 'getting the gospel straight'–not falling off into either legalism on the one hand or license on the other–is absolutely critical to the mission of the church. The secret of ministry power is getting the gospel clear. To be even slightly off to one side or another, loses tons of spiritual power. And people don't get really converted. Legalistic churches reform people's behavior through social coercion, but the people stay radically insecure and hyper-critical. They don't achieve the new inner peace that the grace of God brings. The more relativistic churches give members some self-esteem and the veneer of peace but in the end that is superficial too. The result, Archibald Alexander said, is like trying to put a signet ring on the wax to seal a letter, but without any heat! Either the ring will affect the surface of the wax only or break it into pieces. You need heat to permanently change the wax into the likeness of the ring. So without the Holy Spirit working through the gospel, radically humbling and radically exalting us and changing them from the inside out, the religion either of the hard or soft variety will not avail.