My 2010 Writing Leave: What? and Why?

From February 4 through March 17, I will be on my annual writing leave (with a couple speaking trips thrown in). Thank you for supporting me in these focused times away. They are not vacation. I usually work longer hours during writing leave than during regular ministry seasons.

So please pray for me that I would love my family well and that I would be very productive for the glory of Christ. Pray that I would devote more time to prayer, not less; that I would give more time to read and meditate on the Scriptures, not less; and pray that I would see beautiful truth in God’s word and be able to write about it in spiritually compelling ways. What will I work on?

  • First of all, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, which I wrote last year, is scheduled for publication in September and needs final editing. That will take some days.
  • Second, Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christians, which I also wrote last year, needs significant revision and will demand more work than Think to put it in a final form.
  • Third, Don Carson and I hope to turn our two talks on The Pastor as Theologian, and The Theologian as Pastor into one book. I need to expand my talk so that it’s worthy of being called half of a (small) book. We hope this will be useful and encouraging to many pastors.
  • The short piece I wrote the day before my surgery back in 2006, Don’t Waste Your Cancer, has proved surprisingly useful around the world. Crossway wants to put it in a small booklet. There are a few things that might make it better for that purpose.
  • Finally, after two books on the life-and-death doctrine of Justification (Counted Righteous in Christ and The Future of Justification), I have one more in mind. I will not finish it this year, but I would like to make a start. This Fall I am to lecture on justification at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society and serve on a panel with N.T. Wright. So I hope to combine forethought on that lecture with a start on the book.

There are numerous other projects I hope to live long enough to finish. But we will take it one year at a time.

Why do I pursue writing in this way? There are other very important things to do. Here are the reasons that I am aware of, moving from general to specific.

  1. I exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. Writing is one way of spreading this passion. God says I exist for his glory (Isaiah 43:7). Therefore, I write to make him look great.
  2. I write to serve the church. Speaking the truth about important things is a good thing for the health of the church. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth (John 17:17). I pray that the church will be helped by what I write.
  3. I learn most when I am writing. So since God commands me to grow in the knowledge and the grace of the Lord (2 Peter 3:18), it seems like a good method for me.
  4. I find a good deal of pleasure in the craft of writing. Some people delight to paint. Others to sculpt. Others to remodel old furniture. Others to crochet and cross-stitch. I delight to make words effective in awakening passion for the sake of Christ-exalting truth.
  5. I have been profoundly changed by reading books. So I know that God uses books to change people for his glory. I would like to see others experience some of the things I have experienced in seeing God through the eyes of others.
  6. Finally, there is an inner impulse that I cannot explain that drives me to write. I would write if there were no possibility of publication. I have hundreds of pages that no one has ever seen but me, and it would not matter ultimately if they were destroyed. I wrote them not to be published but because there is an impulse from within.

Thank you for praying for me in these weeks.

Pastor John

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