Three Views of the Christian Life

In his sermon this morning at my church (Sovereign Grace Church), one of my pastors, Tab, noted that there are three different views of the Christian life that a Christian can take. Only one is helpful.

1. Legalism: You must obey in order to be loved.
2. License: You are already loved, so there is no need to obey.
3. Gospel: You are loved, so obey. (John 15:9-11)

You are deeply loved by a God who sent his obedient Son to die in the place of wretchedly disobedient men & women. Therefore, obey.

2011 Reading List

At the end of every year, I always find it interesting to list out all of the books I read in the past 365 days and compare them to what I read in years past.

Below is my list of the books I read in 2011. Each book is ranked using the highly sophisticated star system (more stars is better). Let me know if you have any questions about any of the books.

  1. Lit! by Tony Reinke (5 stars)
  2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (4 stars)
  3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (4 stars)
  4. Auschwitz by Miklos Nyiszli (4 stars)
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (5 stars)
  6. Knowing God by JI Packer (5 stars)
  7. Manhunt by James Swanson (3 stars; stopped at 25%)
  8. The Roots of Endurance by John Piper (4 stars)
  9. What Is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert (5 stars)
  10. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (4 stars)
  11. Jim & Casper Go to Church by Jim Henderson (2 stars)
  12. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (3 stars)
  13. The Prodigal God by Tim Keller (5 stars)
  14. King's Cross by Tim Keller (5 stars)
  15. The Holiness of God by RC Sproul (5 stars)
  16. Money by Jamie Munson (4 stars)
  17. Power Encounters by David Powlison (4 stars)
  18. Getting Things Done by David Allen (5 stars)
  19. First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham (5 stars)
  20. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (3 stars)

It Isn't Fair!!

"We have come to expect God to merciful. From there the next step is easy: We demand it. When it is not forthcoming, our first response is anger against God, coupled with the protest: "It isn't fair!" We soon forget that with our first sin we have forfeited all rights to the gift of life. That I am drawing breath this morning is an act of divine mercy. God owes me nothing. I owe Him everything. If He allows a tower to fall on my head this afternoon, I cannot claim injustice."   - RC Sproul in The Holiness of God

2010 Reading List

Here's what Aaron and I read for the year of 2010.

Jonathan's Reading List 

  1. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem (70% complete) 
  2. Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraff (30% complete) 
  3. When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert & Steve Corbett (50% complete)
  4. Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas (5 stars)
  5. The Mortification of Sin by John Owen (5 stars)
  6. Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo (5 stars)
  7. The Life of Edward Irving by Arnold Dallimore (5 stars) 
  8. The Glory of God edited by Christopher Morgan (4.5 stars)
  9. The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy (5 stars)
  10. Evangelicalism Divided by Iain Murray (5 stars) 
  11. The Masculine Mandate by Richard Phillips (5 stars) 
  12. Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey (4.5 stars) 
  13. Is God Really in Control? by Jerry Bridges (4.5 stars) 
  14. A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards by George Marsden (5 stars) 
  15. The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels by Gordon Fee (4 stars) 
  16. Radical by David Platt (5 stars) 
  17. Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff (4 stars) 
  18. Family Worship by Don Whitney (5 stars) 
  19. What Is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert (5 stars) 
  20. Be Still, My Soul by Nancy Guthrie (5 stars) 
  21. In the Land of Believers by Gina Welch (3.5 stars for interesting read, not content) 
  22. Holy Subversion by Trevin Wax (4 stars) 
  23. Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller (5 stars) 
  24. Family-Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham (5 stars) 
  25. God's Big Picture by Vaughn Roberts (5 stars)
Aaron's Reading List
  1. Finally Alive by John Piper (75%)
  2. The Future of Justification by John Piper (75%)
  3. Justification by N. T. Wright (45%)
  4. What Is The Gospel? by Greg Gilbert (4 stars)
  5. The Case for Classical Christian Education by Doug Wilson (15%)
  6. The Kingdom of God by Martin Lloyd-Jones (25%)
  7. The Prodigal God by Tim Keller (80%)
  8. The Reason for God by Tim Keller (5 stars)
  9. Young, Restless and Reformed by Collin Hansen (4 stars)
  10. Gospel and Kingdom by Graeme Goldsworthy (4.5 stars)
  11. Church Planting Is For Wimps by Mike McKinley (4 stars)

Christmas Is the End of Redemptive History

Merry Christmas everyone! Here's an appropriate quote from John Piper (1981) to as Christmas comes to an close:
"Creation out of nothing was an awesome event. Imagine what the angelic spirits must have felt when the universe, material reality of which they had never imagined, was brought forth out of nothing by the command of God.
The fall was an awful event, shaking the entire creation.
The exodus was an amazing display of God’s power and love.
The giving of the law, the wilderness provisions, the conquering of Canaan, the prosperity of the monarchy—all these acts of God in redemptive history were very great and wonderful. Each one was a very significant bend in the river of redemptive history, bringing it ever and ever closer to the ocean of God’s final kingdom.
But we trivialize Christmas, the incarnation, if we treat it as just another bend on the way to the end. It is the end of redemptive history.
And I think the analogy of the river helps us see how.
Picture the river as redemptive history flowing toward the ocean which is the final kingdom of God, full of glory and righteousness and peace. At the end of the river the ocean presses up into the river with its salt water. Therefore, at the mouth of the river there is a mingling of fresh water and salt water. One might say that the kingdom of God has pressed its way back up into the river of time a short way. It has surprised the travelers and taken them off guard. They can smell the salt water. They can taste the salt water. The sea gulls circle the deck. The end has come upon them.
Christmas is not another bend in the river. It is the arrival of the salt water of the kingdom of God which has backed up into the river of history. With the coming of Christmas, the ocean of the age to come has reached backward up the stream of history to welcome us, to wake us up to what is coming, to lure us on into the deep.
Christmas is not another bend in the river of history. It is the end of the river. Let down your dipper and taste of Jesus Christ, his birth and life and death and resurrection. Taste and see if the age to come has not arrived, if the kingdom has not come upon us. Does it not make your eyes sparkle?"
 Thanks to: Justin Taylor

Articles on Idolatry & Free Will

 Here are a two more articles that I added to the Articles page of this blog today.  "Soul Idolatry" by David Clarkson is a tough one and will take a while to trudge through, but it is definitely a must-read!

New Articles

I'm finally going to start updating the Articles page on this blog.  As I read a good article, I'll put it on the page and let you know that I've added a new one.  Here's the first one that was added.

9Marks eJournal on Multi-site Churches (PDF also available)