Hit List: Taking Aim at the Seven Deadly Sins: An Interview with Brian Hedges

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Author Interviews, Featured

Hit List: Taking Aim at the Seven Deadly Sins: An Interview with Brian Hedges

Recently I had an opportunity to endorse a new book “Hit List: Taking Aim at the Seven Deadly Sins” by my friend Brian Hedges. Here is what I said about his book:

“We live in a culture in which spirituality is on the rise, including a resurgence in mysticism, Gnosticism, and every other -ism. Many are confused about what they believe and why it matters, and sin is often minimized or hidden. Hedges draws on the best wisdom of the church to help readers better grasp the seven deadly sins and how the gospel frees God’s people from them. As Hit List blows away misconceptions about the sinfulness of man, readers will be captivated by the magnificence of what Jesus has done so sinners can put their sin to death and grow in the grace of God. This is an excellent and needed book. It can convict you of your sinfulness while pointing you to the sufficiency of the finished work of the Savior—Jesus Christ.”
While we were chatting over email recently, we both thought it would be fun to do an interview about his new book. The following is our conversation about his book Hit List.
Dave, “What is Hit List about?”

Brian: Hit List is about sin and grace, brokenness and redemption, vice and virtue. It is a collection of detailed dossiers on seven of our most lethal enemies, those vices traditionally known as “The Seven Deadly Sins” – namely: pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust. But the goal of this book isn’t just to see our sins more clearly, or even to repent from them, but to experience the transforming power of Christ and his Spirit in our lives.

Dave, “This is your second book with Cruciform Press. What’s the relationship to your previous book with Cruciform, Licensed to Kill?”

Brian: Licensed to Kill is subtitled “A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin.” My purpose in that book was to give detailed help on how to kill any sin. Hit List, written as something of a sequel, builds on the general principles in Licensed to Kill, but with the aim of attacking the specific sins themselves.

Dave, “You acknowledge in the book that the seven deadly sins isn’t an explicitly biblical list, but you’ve still written a book on it. Why?”

Brian:  The origin of this list is almost 1500 years old and has been used by Christians of all stripes for helping them understand the nature of sin. Some of the early theologians called these “capital” sins – “capital” coming from caput, the Latin word for head. They viewed these sins not as the worst sins, but as the “head” sins, or root sins: the leading, breeding sins, which produced all the others. The idea was that you could never deal with the fruits of other sins unless you addressed these root sins. And while this specific list of seven sins is not given in Scripture, the idea of root sins certainly is, and a good case can be made from Scripture for seeing these seven sins as root sins – or to use Dorothy Sayers’ phrase, as “the Seven Roots of Sinfulness.”

Another reason I’ve written the book is because studying the history of the seven deadly sins has helped me personally. It started several years ago when I first began realizing my own propensity to the sin of acedia – the older designation for sloth. Sloth, in ancient Christian spirituality, wasn’t just laziness, though that could be a symptom. It was an inward spiritual resistance to God, what Dante called lento amore, slow love. My interest in understanding this particular vice lead me into a study of the other deadly sins as well. And then I began to see just how influential the list has been not only in theology, but also in literature and in popular culture. All of that lead to writing this book.

Dave, “One of the rubrics you use for explaining these sins is “disordered love.” Can you say more about that?”

Brian:  Augustine, who believed that sin was the result of wrongly ordered love and desire, developed this concept. Augustine said that “living a just and holy life requires one . . . to love things . . . in the right order, so that you do not love what is not to be loved, or fail to love what is to be loved, or have a greater love for what should be loved less, or an equal love for things that should be loved less or more, or a lesser or greater love for things that should be loved equally” (De Doct. Christ. Bk. 1).

The idea, in other words, is that there is a proper order to our loves, with God obviously deserving our highest love, and that we flourish as human beings only when that order is observed. The roots of this are clearly in Scripture, for example, in Jesus’ teaching on the two greatest commandments (Matt. 22:37-40), and the New Testament’s frequent use of the word epithumia, which means inordinate desire.

I find it helpful because (1) it affirms the legitimacy of our human longing for happiness, but teaches us to relocate our happiness in God; and (2) it affirms the inherent goodness of created things, such as food and sex, while reminding us to keep our desires for these things ordered under the Lordship of Christ. Sin results when we seek our joy in created things, rather than the Creator (this is the essence idolatry) and when we fail to observe God’s revealed will in how we use these lesser goods. But the practical solution to such sin is not asceticism – severe bodily self-denial — but the reordering of our desires, such that we embrace all created goods in their proper order.

Dave, “What do you hope lay Christians get out of the book?”

Brian: I hope they will get both practical help and gospel hope. Practical help, in understanding their own hearts and their propensities to specific sins. And gospel hope, in seeing afresh the riches of God’s grace, the redemptive power of Christ, and the transforming ministry of the Spirit. I also think believers can be helped by recovering a basic understanding of this list of seven sins. I regularly use the list in confession by simply praying through the list and asking the Lord to show me where these sins are evident in my life. We all need help in self-examination, so perhaps others would benefit from this as well.

Dave, “How advice would you give to pastors on preaching the seven deadly sins?”

I would suggest three things:

(1) Be biblical: if you preach on these sins, be sure to expound what Scripture actually says about each one. Because there is such a wealth of material written about these sins, it would be tempting to build sermons on that material rather than Scripture. I think we have to resist that temptation, start with the text of Scripture, and then judiciously use the other material to help with illustration and application. But as expositors, we must let the text itself speak.

(2) Be practical: teaching on these sins is a great opportunity to talk about the nitty-gritty ways in which we sin and to offer practical help in “putting off” and “putting on.”

(3) Point people to Jesus: teaching on sin that fails to hold out gospel hope is nothing more than moralism. One of the weaknesses of the monastic and medieval writing on the seven deadly sins is that they spend a lot more time in diagnosis than cure, and the remedies they do suggest sometimes fall short of the full-blooded gospel. The way to fight sin is not merely with spiritual disciplines, as important as these are, but with a strong dose of justification by faith alone and the transforming ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Dave: Thanks for your time today Brian. I truly enjoyed reading your book and interviewing you today about it.

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#58: Author Interview Michael Williams[Podcast]

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in Author Interviews, Theology For Life Podcast

#58: Author Interview Michael Williams[Podcast]

In this episode Shaun Tabatt interviews Michael Williams about his book How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture (Zondervan, 2012).

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Many Christians today experience Bible teaching in isolated, unconnected pieces, receiving little or no guidance into how these pieces form a coherent picture in Christ. How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens presents Christ as the central focus of each biblical book and the primary way the Bible relates to contemporary circumstances. Each book of the Bible has an identifiable theme ultimately fulfilled in the person and work of Christ. Williams provides the following for his readers:

  •  Succinct statement of the theme of every biblical book
  • An explanation of how that theme finds its focus in Christ
  • A brief discussion of how the New Testament treats that theme as fulfilled in Christ
  • Suggestions for contemporary implications
  • Scripture memory electronic flashcards
  • A convenient summary chart
  • An excellent tool for Bible teachers, ministry leaders, and students

How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens facilitates other Christian disciplines such as Bible reading, Scripture memory and evangelism. By demonstrating how each theme relates to living the Christian life, this book promises to be an invaluable guide for reading and understanding the Bible. Michael Williams

About the Author: Michael Williams (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is Professor of Old Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary and a member of the NIV Committee on Bible Translation. He is the author of Deception in GenesisThe Prophet and His Message, and How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens, and editor and contributor of Mishneh Todah. His passion is to equip students with knowledge of the Old Testament and its languages so that they may grow in their comprehension and appreciation of redemptive history and be adequately prepared to promote and defend the faith through word and action. Michael resides in Grand Rapids, MI, with his wife, Dawn. For additional information on Michael Williams, see his Amazon author page and faculty bio at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Books by Michael Williams:

Other Resources Mentioned in this episode:

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#56: Author Interview Latayne Scott[Podcast]

Posted by on Jun 3, 2013 in Author Interviews, Theology For Life Podcast

#56: Author Interview Latayne Scott[Podcast]

Latayne C. Scott about her book Discovering the City of Sodom: The Fascinating, True Account of the Discovery of the Old Testament’s Most Infamous City (Howard Books, 2013).

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About the Book:

From respected archaeologist Dr. Steven Collins and award-winning author Dr. Latayne C. Scott comes the fascinating, true account of the frustrating search and exciting excavation of the city the Bible calls Sodom, which scholars and others had “misplaced” for hundreds of years.

Like many modern-day Christians, Dr. Collins struggled with what seemed to be a clash between his heritage of belief in the Bible and the research regarding ancient history and human evolution. This crisis of faith led him to embark on a quest to put both his archaeological education and the Bible to the test by seeking out the lost ancient city, an expedition that has led to one of the most exciting finds in recent archaeology.

Challenging the assumptions of academics around the world, Discovering the City of Sodom may well inspire a revision of the history books. Dr. Collins has become a new voice in the controversy over using the Bible as a credible source of understanding the past—and opened a new chapter in the struggle over the soul of biblical archaeology.

About the Authors:

Latayne C. ScottDr. Latayne C. Scott is author of 16 published books, including the recently-released The Hinge of Your History: The Phases of FaithLatter-day Cipher and The Mormon Mirage. Latayne is the recipient of the Distinguished Christian Service Award by Pepperdine University for “Creative Christian Writing.” She has also won national awards and contests for poetry, humor and radio plays.

Dr. Steven Collins is Executive Curator of the Museum of Archaeology and Biblical History, Dean of the College of Archaeology and Biblical History at Trinity Southwest University, and Visiting Professor of Archaeology at Veritas Evangelical Seminary.

Links & Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Books by Latayne C. Scott:

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#54: Author Interview Vicki Tiede[Podcast]

Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Author Interviews, Theology For Life Podcast

#54: Author Interview Vicki Tiede[Podcast]

In this episode Shaun Tabatt interviews Vicki Tiede about her book When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart (New Growth Press, 2012).

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About the Book:
When your husband’s addiction to pornography leaves you shattered, betrayed, and alone, where do you turn? Who do you turn to? Vicki Tiede, writing from personal experience, gently guides women toward God and away from despair. Through daily readings and questions on six important topics: hope, surrender, trust, identity, brokenness, and forgiveness, you will grow in healing and hope. Allowing God to meet your greatest needs is a long and learned process, but he promises to help you every step of the way. Questions and daily readings are suitable for both individuals and small groups.

Vicki TiedeAbout the Author:
Vicki Tiede, MEd, MMin, is a Bible teacher; conference speaker; author of When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart (2012) and Plug Me In and Let Me Charge Overnight (2009). Her passion is to share God’s grace and faithfulness with women through the Scriptures. Vicki transparently relates life experiences that resonate and draw others into a lifelong pursuit of knowing God. Living in Rochester, Minnesota, Vicki is also a wife, homeschooling mom, and women’s ministries coordinator at her local church.

Readers can connect with Vicki on her website (VickiTiede.com)Facebook,TwitterGoogle+ or read her work here on Servants of Grace

Resources/Websites Mentioned in this Episode:

Books by Vicki Tiede:

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#52: Author Interview Sam Storms[Podcast]

Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Author Interviews, Theology For Life Podcast

#52: Author Interview Sam Storms[Podcast]

In this episode Shaun Tabatt interviews  Sam Storms about his book Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions (Crossway, 2013).

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About the Book:
Will there be sex in heaven?
Are miraculous gifts for today?
Does God ever change His mind?

Such difficult questions often intrigue us, readily confuse us, and sometimes disturb us. Drawing on nearly 40 years of teaching and ministry experience, pastor-scholar Sam Storms answers 25 challenging questions Christians are often too afraid to ask, addressing thorny issues ranging from the eternal destiny of infants to the roles of demons and angels.

The robust, thoughtful answers provided in this book offer a helpful alternative to relying on simplistic explanations, and will encourage you in the search for truth and clarity on such tough topics.

Sam StormsAbout the Author:
Sam Storms has spent 38 years in ministry as a pastor, professor, and author. He was visiting associate professor of theology at Wheaton College from 2000-2004, and is currently Senior Pastor at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City. He has authored 20 books and founded Enjoying God Ministries. He’s a graduate of The University of Oklahoma (BA), Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM), and The University of Texas (PhD). He and his wife Ann have been married for 40 years and are the parents of two grown daughters and four grandchildren. On a more personal level, Sam loves baseball, books, movies, and anything to do with the Oklahoma Sooners.

Books by Sam Storms:

 

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#44: Author Interview Randal Rauser[Podcast]

Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Author Interviews, Theology For Life Podcast

#44: Author Interview Randal Rauser[Podcast]

In this episode Shaun Tabatt interview interview Randal Rauser about his book The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails (IVP, 2012).

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About the Book:
In the real world, we don’t usually sit in lecture halls debating worldview issues in systematic arguments. Chances are that we’re more likely to have haphazard, informal conversations over a latte in a coffee shop.

Meet Randal Rauser, a Christian, and Sheridan, an atheist. Over the course of one caffeinated afternoon, they explore a range of honest questions and real objections to Christian faith. Do people hold to a particular religion just because of an accident of geography? Is believing in Jesus as arbitrary as believing in Zeus? Why would God order the slaughter of infants or send people to hell? How do you know you’re really real, and not just a character in someone’s book?

Their extended conversation unfolds with all the rabbit trails, personal baggage and distractions that inevitably come in real-world encounters. Rauser provides substantive argument-based apologetics but also highlights the importance of apologetics as a narrative journey. As we get to know Sheridan, we better understand the personal history that drives his atheism and the issues that motivate his skepticism.

This imaginative narrative is a model of the rigorous pursuit of truth in conversation. Apologetics is not just about winning arguments; it is a transformative apprenticeship where eternity touches down in everyday life. It’s about the discovery of truth through winding, weaving, honest, aimless, pointless and completely purposeful conversations between people who desperately want to know the way things really are.

You, dear Reader, are already in this book. Randal has written you into the story, and you’re sitting with him and Sheridan in the coffee shop, listening in on their dialogue. Discover what they have to say to each other–and to you.

Randal RauserAbout the Author:
Randal Rauser is associate professor of historical theology, teaching in the areas of theology, apologetics, worldview and church history, at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, Canada, where he was granted Taylor’s first annual teaching award for “outstanding service to students” in 2005. He earned his Ph.D. at King’s College, London, where he focused on the doctrine of the Trinity. You can connect with Randal at RandalRauser.com.

Apologetics Books Recommended in this Episode:
Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, Third Edition By William Lane CraigOn Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision By William Lane CraigPhilosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview By William Lane Craig & J.P. MorelandReason for the Hope Within By Michael MurrayTactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions By Gregory Koukl

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