Friday, March 05, 2010
An apt comment on preaching the whole council of God, from Calvin's Commentaries:
We ought carefully to examine the context, for he shews that men cannot be led to repentance in any other way than by holding out assurance of pardon. Whoever, then, inculcates the doctrine of repentance, without mentioning the mercy of God and reconciliation through free grace, labours to no purpose ... And indeed, as we have formerly said, a sinner will always shrink from the presence of God so long as he is dragged to his judgement-seat to give an account of his life, and will never be subdued to fear and obedience till his heart is brought into a state of peace.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
By Tim Keller in The Reason for God:
It is possible to avoid Jesus as Savior as much by keeping all the Biblical rules as by breaking them. Both religion (in which you build your identity on your moral achievements) and irreligion (in which you build your identity on some other secular pursuit or relationship) are, ultimately, spiritually identical courses to take. Both are "sin."
Tim Keller has penned an excellent analysis of what the church ought to be doing to address the huge challenges it currently faces. One of his recommendations stands out in my mind - a renewal of apologetics in the church. Keller believes that the contemporary church's laxity in this area reflects a larger hole in western thinking. Keller cites two primary reasons for renewed Christian apologetics:
First, Christians in the West will finally be facing what missionaries around the world have faced for years — how to communicate the gospel to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and adherents of various folk religions. All young church leaders should take courses in and read the texts of the other major world religions. They should also study the gospel presentations written by missionaries engaging those religions. Loving community will be extremely important, as it always is, to reach out to neighbors of other faiths, but if they are going to come into the church, they will have many questions that church leaders today need to be able to answer.Emphasis added. I think this analysis is spot-on. If you are interested in apologetics, I can recommend a wonderful starter book called the Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics by Doug Powell.
Second, there a real vacuum in western secular thought. When Derrida died I was surprised how many of his former students admitted that High Theory (what evangelicals call ‘post-modernism’) is seen as a dead end, mainly because it is so relativistic that it provides no basis for political action. And a leading British intellectual like Terry Eagleton in recent lectures at Yale (published as Religion, Faith, and Revolution by Yale Press) savaged the older scientific atheism of Dawkins and Hitchens as equally bankrupt. Eagleton points out that the Enlightenment’s optimism about science and human progress is dead. Serious western thought is not going back to that, no matter how popular Dawkins’ books get. But postmodernism cannot produce a basis for human rights or justice either.
Please note that if you elect to purchase the book through the above link, I will receive a small percentage of the sale price.