Month: May 2012

Book Review The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness: The Path to True Joy

Whether it is struggling with low self-esteem or with some other issue many Christians today struggle to live the Christian life from their identity in Christ. In his helpful little book The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness: The Path to True Joy Dr. Tim Keller writes to address this issue in order to help Christians to understand the change that occurred at salvation.. a change “at root, by the grace of God, and what that changes looks life in real life” (5).  The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness originally began as a series of sermons delivered by Dr. Keller to his church Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. The book examines 1 Corinthians 3:21 – 4:7. The three things he will seek to demonstrate in this short book from 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7 are: 1) The natural condition of the human ego, 2) the transformed sense of self (which Paul had discovered and which can be brought about through the gospel), and finally how to get that transformed sense of self (12). Dr. Keller gets to the heart of the matter about pursuing our own plans and desires when he notes, “By comparing ourselves to other people and trying to make ourselves look better than others, we are boasting. Trying to recommend ourselves, trying to create a self-esteem résumé because we are desperate to fill our sense of inadequacy and emptiness. The ego...

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Why They Dislike Us: Christians and “Branding.”

“and this is why so many people reject the church . . .” How often have you read this in the last year? In the last month? In the last week? It’s a premise for a wide variety of ideas about the Church, a repeated refrain that has almost become a cliche. It goes something like this. The church has a bad public image because it is too narrow-minded, too political, too legalistic, too patriarcal, and too a lot of bad things. And there seems to be research to bolster these arguments. Seems every day, some organization is releasing a poll that shows the Church is out of touch and must change. It can be dizzying, actually because if you actually followed every new conflicting prescription, you’d be spinning in circles. Sometimes I imagine how the apostles managed without all that research to help them out. Now, don’t get me wrong. We need to be wary of our standing before people (Colossians 4:5), we must adorn the gospel well (Titus 2:10; 1Peter 3:3-4), we must strive, as Paul to be “all things to all men.(1 Corinthians 9:19-23)” (Though, let’s be honest, this has been stretched to defend some pretty crazy church ideas.). It’s important that we conduct ourselves in a way that demonstrates the attractiveness of our faith. However, I think the Church is a little obsessed with its image. I think...

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The Sure Hope of the Glory of Heaven

Walter Marshall, from The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification: The sure hope of the glory of heaven is made use of ordinarily by God, since the fall of Adam, as an encouragement to the practice of holiness, as the Scripture abundantly shows. Christ, the great pattern of holiness, ‘for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame’ (Heb. 12:2). And, though I cannot say that the first Adam had such a sure hope, to preserve him in innocency, yet he had, instead of it, the present possession of an earthly paradise and a happy estate in it, which he knew would last, if he continued in holiness, or be changed into a better happiness. The apostles did not faint under affliction, because they knew that it brought for them ‘a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory’ (2Cor. 4:16, 17). The believing Hebrews ‘took joyfully the plundering of your goods – knowing in yourselves that you have better and more enduring riches in Heaven’ (Heb. 10:34). The apostle Paul accounts all his sufferings unprofitable, were it not for a glorious resurrection, and that Christians would be of all men most miserable, and that the doctrine of the Epicures were rather to be chosen: ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ And he exhorts the Corinthians to be ‘abundant in the work of the...

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Book Reviews, Discernment, and the Gospel

Today rather briefly, I wanted to give a few reasons why I do book reviews, and why they are important.  The first reason I do book reviews is that I love to read and regularly read well over one hundred books a year. Ever since I learned to read, I loved reading books of all genres. At the age of thirteen I became interested in theology and started reading everything I could from studying the Bible to church history. People in church at this time often commented that if I continued to read the way I was doing the Lord might call me to be a Pastor; the ironic thing about that statement is they had no idea at this point I was called to be a Pastor. Most of my reading today is either reading from my Bible or in the areas of biblical or systematic theology, or church history; although I occasionally read Christian fiction. One thing that my readers do not know about me but my closet friends know is that I am happiest when I am surrounded by a stack of books; reading, reflecting and evaluating what they teach from the Word of God. In other words, I have a deep love for research and am passionate about it. The second reason I review books is tied to why book reviews are important. While reading...

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