In his Touchstone article about evangelicals and literature, Donald Williams looks at the fiction of Flannery O'Connor and how her Catholic faith made her art possible. The question he wants to answer by considering O'Connor is why there are no evangelical writers who are recognized for their similarly high literary quality. Here is one of the reasons that he notes:
[T]he popular Evangelical subculture seems ... addicted to pragmatism in its approach, as a brief trip through the “Christian bookstore” will show. Fiction can only be justified if it has an overt evangelistic purpose; works of visual art must have a Scripture verse tacked under them.
Evangelistic fiction a…
This is part 2 of a 4-part series on how to talk about God's sovereignty over sin.
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The following is from The Doctrine of God, Chapter 9, “The Problem of Evil,” by John Frame. The headings are added; the paragraphs are Dr. Frame’s.
2) Does God Cause Sin?
Causes is another term which has led to much wrestling by theologians. . . . Reformed writers have . . . denied that God is the cause of sin. Calvin teaches, “For the proper and genuine cause of sin is not God’s hidden counsel but the evident will of man,”1 though in context he also states that Adam’s Fall was “not without God’s knowledge and ordination.”2 Some other examples…
This is part 1 of a 4-part series on how to talk about God's sovereignty over sin.
In his last three sermons, John Piper has made some provocative statements about God’s sovereignty over sin.
- August 12: “God created [Satan and his demons] knowing what they would become and how, in that very evil role, they would glorify Christ. Knowing everything they would become, God created them for the glory of Christ.”
- August 19: “God is sovereign over Satan, and therefore Satan’s will does not move without God’s permission. And therefore every move of Satan is part of God’s overall purpose and plan.”
- August 26: “[E]verything that exists—including evil—is ordain…
Eric Johnson’s magnum opus has just been published by IVP Academic. It is titled Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal. Knowing Eric and his love for God, and his allegiance to Scripture, and his deep appreciation for the worldview of Jonathan Edwards, and his own walk with Christ through dark valleys, I am encouraged by the conclusion of this book. Don’t stumble over the academic terms (modalities, analogical, theocentric). Penetrate to the amazing claims made here. Then consider pondering the 600 pages that go before.
In concluding the chapter (and the book), it would be good to summarize its major underlying assumption: the different modalities of Christian soul…
When Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, gave the 2005 Stanford commencement address, he essentially challenged the graduates to not waste their lives. Although his conclusions about how to not waste life fall short, it is interesting that Mr. Jobs tells his listeners to 1) trust in Providence, 2) see purpose in their suffering, and 3) reflect every day on the reality of death.
One common response to John Piper's thoughts on baptism and church membership is to say that being unbaptized is to live in sin, and anything besides immersion as a believer is not baptism, therefore those who have not been immersed after their profession of faith are, in fact, living in sin. In Mark Dever's recent post on the issue, he writes,
Jesus clearly commanded baptism and to disobey this command is sin [whether intentional or not]. To continue in such an unbaptized state is unrepentant sin [whether intentional or not].
His point being that if we as Baptists do not believe infant baptism is legitimate, then we can't in good conscience have paedobaptists in ou…
Tyndale House is where I did my sabbatical last year. It is an evangelical study center in Cambridge, England. Bruce Winter was the "warden" then (like a president). I saw first hand what a crucial role that was. Now after Winter's many fruitful years there, Peter Williams is stepping into that strategic place as warden. Meet him and get to know about Tyndale House over at Justin Taylor's blog. You will be encouraged. I am.
Douglas Wilson offers some wisdom on the effect of resentment: If you are bitter, you are siding against yourself with the person you're offended at. Wilson writes:
What this means is that someone came into your home and smashed your precious things. And let us say that you are not imagining it—he really did this. And so what does bitterness do? Bitterness goes to the workroom in the basement, finds a hammer, and goes through the house, smashing any of the remaining precious things that the other may have missed. At the basic heart level, this means that bitterness agrees with the vandal. For all the appearance of conflict, it is a false conflict.
Last Sunday, for the first time in my life, I sang on request in a Sunday morning worship service. Another one of those milestones I said I could never do. The pastor saw me in the audience and said that he loved the song I sang to Talitha (that I mentioned in my article last week) and wondered what the tune was. Would I sing it?
I did. Admittedly, there were only 40 people in the congregation.
So according to the request, here’s my shot.
I wrote the words, and I sing them to the tune of "If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee" (listen).
Come rest your head and nestle gently,
And do not fear the dark of night.
Almighty God keeps watch intently,
Thank you for the kind, gracious spirit in your response!
And thank you for your friendship, which has meant so much to me for so many years.
And thank you for helping me to think more clearly about the details of what I have written. You write so persuasively! In fact, last night I printed out what I had written and your response, and gave it to Margaret, and before we went to bed Margaret informed me with a smile, “I agree with John.” Now what can I say to that??
Nevertheless, here are some responses:
(1) I do not see denial of church membership as “virtually the same as excommunication,” nor do any of the Baptist churches known to me.