What I Read Online – 10/01/2010 (p.m.)

01 Oct
    • Though marriage and procreation were fundamental to the propogation of God’s people in Old Testament times, the New Testament affirms singleness as a calling for some Christians. Redeeming Singleness expounds a theology of singleness that shows how the blessings of the covenant are now directly mediated to believers through Christ.

      Redeeming Singleness offers an in-depth examination of the redemptive history from which biblical singleness emerges. Danylak illustrates the continuity of this affirmation of singleness by showing how the Old Testament creation mandate and the New Testament kingdom mandate must both be understood in light of God’s plan of redemption through spiritual rebirth in Christ.

      As the trend toward singleness in the church increases, the need for constructive theological reflection likewise grows. Redeeming Singleness meets this need, providing encouragement to those who are single or ministering to singles and challenging believers from all walks of life to reflect more deeply on the sufficiency of Christ.

    • tephen Hawkings’ The Grand Design has shot straight to the top of the New York Times list of bestsellers. The book is his atheistic answer to questions like these ones: Why is there a universe—why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why are the laws of nature what they are? Did the universe need a designer and creator? Edgar Andrews was kind enough to allow me to post his review of the book. Andrews is author of Who Made God?: Searching for a Theory of Everything, Emeritus Professor of Materials at the University of London and an international expert on the science of large molecules. Which is to say that he is well-suited to write a review of a book like this one. Here is what he says about The Grand Design:
    • “I have been teaching more decades now that I can count and if I have learned anything from all of this teaching, its this: my students…learn what I’m excited about.  So within the church of the living God, we must become excited about the gospel.  That’s how we pass on our heritage.  If, instead, the gospel increasingly becomes for us that which we assume, then we will, of course, assent to the correct creedal statement.  But, at this point, the gospel is not what really captures us. Rather, is a particular form of worship or a particular style of counseling, or a particular view on culture, or a particular technique in preaching, or – fill in the blank.  Then, ultimately, our students make that their center and the generation after us loses the gospel.  As soon as you get to the place where the gospel is that which is nearly assumed, you are only a generation and a half from death”. 
    • Of course, this will ebb and flow.  Some of the sweetest gospel lessons are in the doldrums of the Christian’s walk.  Some of the brightest rays of grace can only break through the thick, muddy clouds of providential difficulties.  But, even in our day to day routine, which the world disdains as a curse, we can begin to take delight. 
    • In other words, because of the gospel – and I mean the full-orbed glory of a whole-Bible gospel – we can begin to be excited about the right things.  That doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about other things, no matter how trivial (like college football) or amazing (like getting married or having children or going to college).  Rather, just because we are excited about the gospel will be able to rightly enjoy these other things.  Pray that you will be excited about the gospel.
    • Attraction is fun, and in Western systems of courtship and marriage, it is the way couples get started, but attraction is about me. It’s about how someone makes me feel. In that sense, attraction is rubbish. It gets people together but it is powerless to keep them together. Even more, attraction, without the addition of other forms of love, promises to separate marriages and any once-close relationship.
    • What must supplant attraction goes by different names – commitment, faithfulness, love that only death separates, covenantal love and others.
    • When we owe someone, there is a slight imbalance in the relationship. This is what “I do” means. We commit ourselves to give more than we receive.
    • This vow aims to do at least two things. It dethrones the usurper Attraction, separates it from Jesus’ style of love, and re-establishes the imbalanced nature of Christian love. Unity shows up, as it should. Unity reminds us that real love is not silent when the other spouse is loveless. We can and should speak out when the other person is aiming for lesser things, such as mere attraction.
    • For the next generation to get it right, we must loose our infatuation with attraction. We must prefer arguments about who is in debt to whom. “No, I owe you love, and I’m not listening to one more word of your protests.” I owe you more than you owe me – that’s where we go when we meditate on the love of Jesus. Then we can know exactly what we are doing when we say “I do.”
    • I believe couples ought to enter into dating relationships with the expressed goal of determining whether they should be married.
    • The potential spouse must be growing in his/her relationship with Christ.  The question of “equal yoking” does not answer once you know what the other person’s believes.  He/she must also be striving faithfully grow as a follower of Christ.
    • If you are a sinner married to a sinner, then it is very dangerous to allow yourself to coast as a couple. You simply will not live a day together where no act of thoughtlessness, self-interest, anger, arrogance, self-righteousness, bitterness, or disloyalty will rear its ugly head. Often it will be benign and low-level, but it will still be there.
    • You can have a good marriage, but you must understand that a good marriage is not a mysterious gift. No, it is, rather, a set of commitments that forges itself into a moment-by-moment lifestyle.
    • How do I and our church minister to a man who appears radically converted, desires to come to our church, but is an habitual child molester and long-time sex offender?
    • As Smith argues,the Bible is emphatic in condemning divorce. For this reason, you would expect to find evangelical Christians demanding the inclusion of divorce on a list of central concerns and aims. But this seldom happened. Evangelicals Christians rightly demanded laws that would defend the sanctity of human life, Not so for marriage. Smith explains that the inclusion of divorce on the agenda of the the Christian right would have risked a massive alienation of members. In summary, evangelicals allowed culture to trump scripture.
    • An even greater tragedy is the collapse of church discipline within congregations. A perceived “zone of privacy” is simply assumed by most church members, and divorce is considered only a private concern.
    • Professor Smith is concerned with this question as a political scientist. Why did American evangelicals surrender so quickly as divorce gathered momentum in America? We must ask this same question with even greater urgency. How did divorce, so clearly identified as a grievous sin in the Bible, become so commonplace and accepted in our midst?
    • But divorce harms many more lives than will be touched by homosexual marriage. Children are left without fathers, wives without husbands, and homes are forever broken. Fathers are separated from their children and marriage is irreparably undermined as divorce becomes routine and accepted. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin, but it is sin, and it is a sin that is condemned in no uncertain terms.
    • Evangelical Christians are gravely concerned about the family, and this is good and necessary. But our credibility on the issue of marriage is significantly discounted by our acceptance of divorce. To our shame, the culture war is not the only place that an honest confrontation with the divorce culture is missing.
    • Divorce is now the scandal of the evangelical conscience.
    • In light of the controversy regarding a recent profile of Dr. Albert Mohler in the newest issue of Christianity Today (not yet online), I thought I would rework and release a brief bio which I did on Dr. Mohler a few years ago for a website of Tennessee Baptist conservatives.
    • “It is a sad thing when a woman longs for her man to step up and take responsibility in leading the family spiritually and he won’t do it,” explains John Piper.
    • Dave Black on What Greek Teachers Won’t Tell You
    • Our worship songs should be full of truth about Jesus’ character and deeds.  Therefore we want to make every word as doctrinally accurate as possible.
    • “But if I change it to ‘You’ve declared us righteous’ that will be too many syllables – it won’t fit the rhyme scheme,” I said.  My friend responded, “Truth affects peoples’ lives.  We don’t want people thinking that somehow they can ever be righteous apart from Christ’s righteousness.   Better the song be a little less easy to sing than doctrinally inaccurate.”
    • Be diligent.  Be ruthless.  Make sure every word and metaphor is clear and accurate.  Get your pastor to look at your lyrics.  And read sound theological books like Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem.  It matters what we sing.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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