Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Book Review: The Barbarians Are Here

The Barbarians Are Here. Michael Youssef. 2017. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]

The Barbarians Are Here by Michael Youssef was a thought-provoking read. I was reminded of several authors, actually: Martin Luther and A.W. Tozer.

I was reminded of Martin Luther because essentially what Youssef is calling for is a new reformation of the church. Just like Luther listed out his grievances with the church of his day, Youssef shares his. To clarify, Youssef is boldly saying that every preacher, every teacher, every person or group that calls himself/herself a "Christian," is not actually a Christian. It doesn't matter if you've got book deals and radio and television slots. If your gospel does not line up--is not true, is not pure--with Scripture, your worshiping a god of your own creation and encouraging others in idol worship.

It was interesting that I was reading The Barbarians Are Here at the same time I was reading Martin Luther's To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation. The two books are surprisingly similar in goals. Luther was calling for the German nation to come together and be great again, to embrace the true gospel message, to reject the false gospel of the Roman Catholic church, to reform all areas of life, not just "the church," but everything. Youssef's goals are similar. He's calling for repentance, for revival, for reform. He wants Americans on their knees in prayer, wants the morals of the nation to change--from the inside out, not some ill conceived outside-in. People need changed hearts. People don't need to do better, try harder. If you consider every church, every denomination, every preacher or teacher with a large following, every bestselling author as "the church in America," it is easy to see why it needs reform and where it needs reform.

Here's how Youssef sees it:
What would that New Reformation look like? It would call men and women in the church to repent of all the things they have added to the gospel—or have taken away from the gospel. It would call them to preach God’s truth out of pure motives, instead of from a lust for wealth or fame. It would call them to put away the false teaching and idols of the Prosperity Gospel, the Social Gospel, the Emerging Church, and all the other distortions and perversions of the good news of Jesus Christ. A New Reformation would expose the lies that have blinded so many professing Christians in our time. A New Reformation would awaken our Western civilization from the false hope that we can bargain with the barbarians or persuade them to turn from their way of destruction. A New Reformation would be rooted in realism, not wishful thinking, and it would recognize that those who seek to destroy our civilization and our faith will never abandon their quest. Only the good news of Jesus Christ can melt a barbarian heart. A New Reformation would stand in opposition not only to political Islam but would also stand in opposition to the City of Man—our secular Western society, drunk on wealth, power, sexual immorality, and drugs. Much of the Islamists’ hatred of Western civilization is rooted in a mistaken belief that all of the ills of secular society are somehow caused and condoned by the church. A New Reformation would draw a clear distinction between the City of God and the City of Man. A New Reformation would show the world the face of authentic biblical Christianity—a Christianity that preaches the good news of Jesus Christ without compromise, that demonstrates truth and love in perfect balance, and that cares about people in need but refuses to back down from the truth in the face of threats and terrorism.

I was reminded of A.W. Tozer because of Youssef's passion and zeal. Youssef, like Tozer, calls it as he sees it. He can be brutally honest and confrontational. Youssef's book may prove shocking, revolting, offensive to some readers. Why? Because Youssef affirms a few things that make people squirm. He affirms that God is God and we are not. He affirms that we are all--one and all--SINNERS. He affirms that God hates sin, and justly and righteously punishes sin. He suggests--without apology--that God is punishing America as he punished Israel and Judah in the Old Testament. He clearly states that TERRORISM is our "Babylonian captivity;" that our exile isn't to be sent to a foreign country, but to have terrorists--within and without or borders--terrorize us. I can see why Youssef's message that we are in part responsible--by our sins, by our immorality, by our idolatry, by our compromising doctrines--for the rise of terrorism would be seen as either ridiculous or offensive. But is there any truth to it? That is the question at hand.

Here's what we know: God is God. We are not. God takes sin seriously regardless of whether we do or not. IT is not our thoughts of God that determine his character, his being. God, we are told time and time again, is sovereign. He is also never-changing. Is it that big a stretch to see that the God who punished nations in the Old Testament--not just Judah and Israel, but Egypt and Assyria, etc.--might still be 'punishing' nations for their idolatry? God cannot be anything but true--true to His Word, true to His Promises, true to Himself--his character, his attributes. The Word clearly reveals that a day of judgement is coming. We don't know when. We don't know how--exactly. But the day that every man, woman, and child stands before the judgment seat of Christ--is coming sooner or later. It's just a matter of when. People can try to laugh it off, try to forget it, try to deny it, try to numb it, whatever.

He writes,
History repeats itself. This was true throughout Old Testament times, and it is still true today. When we are unfaithful and will not repent, God has no choice but to hand us over to our enemies to be shaken and oppressed. Only when we realize that we are reaping the just consequences of our sin do we cry out for deliverance. Only then will He rescue us from the oppressor. God has not repealed this principle. It remains in force today. That’s why I believe we are living in times like the era of the Judges and the era of Jeremiah. I’m convinced God has handed Western civilization over to our enemies. Who are the enemies of Western civilization? The barbarians, the radical Islamists, the violent jihadists, those who are still waging a religious war against the so-called Crusaders of the West.Terrorism is our exile. The terrorists are our Babylonians. Just as God handed over a rebellious and unfaithful Israel to the Babylonian Exile, God has handed over a rebellious and unfaithful Western culture—both our secular culture and our apostate church—to be shaken by terrorism, as Israel was shaken during their captivity in Babylon. God has given us plenty of warning in His Word.
Youssef's message is not just that America is doomed and better repent while she has the chance. Though that is one aspect of his message. No, his message is that every person needs to hear the gospel. Every person--even your enemies, especially your enemies, especially those you discount or discredit as being unlovable, unworthy, a waste of time--needs to hear the gospel.

I think Youssef would fully support Tozer when he says, "Nobody is a challenge for the Holy Spirit," and "What is not built upon the Scriptures will not stand and is not of God."

Youssef talks a good deal about Islam, Isis, the refugee crisis, and the potential dangers--for America, for Europe, for all nations really--of immigration. He is not writing to cause panic or anxiety so much as he's writing to gently or not so gently wake up the church. He's writing from a historical point of view--tracing the history of Islam and the on-again, off-again conflicts with "the West" or the Christian church. His message is not: hate Muslims, fear Muslims, judge Muslims, bully Muslims. It is love Muslims, show grace and be kind, share the gospel with Muslims. Be aware of the dangers of terrorism, but don't stop seeing Muslims as individuals. I mention this because I want to be honest in my review. This content is part of the book.

His title of the book is The Barbarians Are Here. I'll let him explain--in his own words--what that title means.
What is barbarian? Why do I use this term to describe the Islamists who want to destroy us? This is not merely an exercise in name-calling or resorting to insults. I don’t use the term barbarian to hurt anyone’s feelings or to make someone out to be culturally inferior. This word has a specific meaning, and I am using it in a precise and careful way to convey a specific shade of significance. A barbarian is a person who is not part of our civilization, who wants no part of our civilization, and who seeks the conquest and destruction of our civilization. The Islamists—Muslims who seek to restructure all governments and all of society in accordance with the laws of Islam—are cultural chauvinists who see Islam’s Sharia law as vastly superior to Western secular law. They believe a totalitarian Islamic culture would be infinitely superior to the free societies of Western civilization, which are based on Judeo-Christian values. The seek the destruction of Western civilization, and that makes them—by definition—barbarians. As Christians who seek to live in obedience to the Great Commission (the command of the Lord Jesus to preach the gospel to all people in every nation, recorded in Matthew 28:19–20), we want to convert people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ—but only those who come willingly and freely. Unlike the Islamist cult of the barbarians, Christians do not make converts at the point of the sword. We do not conquer in the name of Christ through murder, war, terror, and political subversion. That is one of the many differences between the Christian faith and the cult of the Islamists.

The Barbarians are Here is first and foremost thought-provoking. It is because it is so thought-provoking that I'm recommending it.
How have we, as Christians in the twenty-first century, been unfaithful to God? Answer: by adding to—and taking away from—the crystal-clear purity of God’s Word. The Western church has adulterated the gospel. The good news of Jesus Christ is simple and transparently clear—yet we have clouded and adulterated it with false philosophies, ideologies, and doctrines. We have added business principles, psychological principles, worldly philosophies, “new revelations,” political ideologies, and human greed to the purity of the gospel message. Then we call this poisonous stew “Christianity.” Oh, we have not denied Jesus. We love Jesus. We sing songs about Jesus. We preach sermons about Jesus. We’ve just added a few “harmless” ideas to make Jesus more “relevant.” When we blend worldly philosophies and ideologies with the gospel, we are practicing friendship with the world—and making ourselves enemies of God.
Youssef spends a great deal of time in his book discussing Augustine's notion of the City of God and the City of Man. For the first time, I'm actually contemplating reading Augustine for myself, not just about Augustine. Youssef's passion is contagious!
While we have a Christian duty to oppose injustice and immorality—abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and other forms of depravity in our culture—political action can never take the place of the good news. We will never create a utopia on earth by legislating a conservative social agenda. God’s way of changing society has always involved preaching the good news of salvation—changing one heart at a time through the pure gospel. Many Christians on both the Right and the Left have lost faith in the power of the gospel to change hearts—and to change society. So instead of preaching the gospel, we have tried to force change on society through political power. We’ve tried to change laws instead of hearts.
The notion that Christians ought to mingle biblical truth with the falsehoods of other religions is spiritual poison. Jesus never said, “Tolerance for other religions will set you free,” or, “Doubt will set you free,” or, “Uncertainty will set you free.” Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32; emphasis added). Truth comes from the teachings of Jesus, and only the truth of Jesus will set us free.
We live in a time of moral and spiritual anarchy, when the Christian church has added so many false ideas and unbiblical notions to the gospel that the good news of Jesus Christ has become obscured and unrecognizable.

I will say one thing, however, and I mention this not because I want to discourage you from picking this one up, but I didn't always agree 100% with every little thing he said. For example, he loves, loves, loves to apply 2 Chronicles 7:14 to America. In my humble opinion, we can't just pick verses out of their context and make them fit because we want them to fit. While I think one could argue that God is good and faithful, gracious and merciful, sovereign and wise, compassionate and comforting, and therefore likely to answer the prayers of the Christian church if they pray for repentance and revival and for God's will to be done among the nations, for HIS name to be glorified, and HIS kingdom to come... I don't think one can convincingly argue that GOD PROMISED THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in his Word THAT HE WOULD ALWAYS PROTECT US BECAUSE WE'RE SUPER-SPECIAL AND GOD'S CHOSEN NATION. You can't make every verse in the Bible concerning the nation of Israel (or Judah) BE about America. This isn't an episode of Super Why. You can't just replace the word 'Israel' with the word 'U.S.A.' and be done with it and say GOD IS ON OUR SIDE. It says it right here in his word, and his word is true. God has never abandoned His people, never left us alone or forsaken us. But there is a difference between the church--the elect he has called from all nations, all countries, from the beginning to the end of time--and the concept of NATION.

Even with as long as this review has become, it still isn't doing this book justice. It covers so much.


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My Year with Newton #15

Today I am continuing to share my reading experience with John Newton. I have completed John Newton's sermon series on Handel's Messiah. I am moving on to his LETTERS. 

Today I'm sharing snippets from "The Inefficacy of Mere Knowledge."
Dear Sir, To be enabled to form a clear, consistent, and comprehensive judgment of the truths revealed in the Scripture, is a great privilege; but those who possess it are exposed to the temptation of thinking too highly of themselves, and too lowly of others, especially of those who not only refuse to adopt their sentiments, but venture to oppose them.
I know nothing, as a means, more likely to correct this evil, than a serious consideration of the amazing difference between our acquired judgment, and our actual experience; or, in other words, how little influence our knowledge and judgment have upon our own conduct.
If we estimate our knowledge by its effects, and value it no farther than it is experimental and operative (which is the proper standard whereby to try it), we shall find it so faint and feeble as hardly to deserve the name.
How firmly, for instance, are we persuaded, in our judgments, that God is omnipresent! Great as the difficulties may be which attend our conceptions of this point, the truth itself is controverted by few. It is generally acknowledged by unawakened people; and, I may add, too frequently known even by believers—as if they knew it not!
If the eyes of the Lord are in every place, how strong a guard should this thought be upon the conduct of those who profess to fear him!
Even in the exercise of prayer, by which we profess to draw near the Lord, the consideration that his eye is upon us, has little power to engage our attention, or prevent our thoughts from wandering, like the fool's eyes, to the ends of the earth.
Farther, if our sense that God is always present, was in any good measure answerable to the conviction of our judgment, would it not be an effectual preservative from the many importunate though groundless fears with which we are harassed?
God says, "Fear not, I am with you;" he promises to be a shield and a guard to those who put their trust in him; yet, though we profess to believe his word, and to hope that he is our protector, we seldom think ourselves safe, even in the path of duty, a moment longer than danger is kept out of our view.
Little reason have we to value ourselves upon our knowledge of this indisputable truth, when it has no more effective and habitual influence upon our conduct!
The doctrine of God's sovereignty likewise, though not so generally owned as the former, is no less fully assented to by those who are called Calvinists. We zealously contend for this point, in our debates with the Arminians; and are ready to wonder that any should be hardy enough to dispute the Creator's right to do what he will with his own.
While we are only engaged in defense of the election of grace, and have a comfortable hope that we are ourselves of that number, we seem so convinced, by the arguments the Scripture affords us in support of this truth, that we can hardly forbear charging our adversaries with perverse obstinacy and pride, for opposing it. Undoubtedly the ground of this opposition lies in the pride of the human heart: but this evil principle is not confined to any party; and occasions frequently arise, when those who contend for the Divine sovereignty are little more practically influenced by it than their opponents!
This humiliating doctrine concludes as strongly for submission to the will of God, under every circumstance of life, as it does for our acquiescing in his purpose to have saving mercy on whom he will have mercy. But, alas! how often do we find ourselves utterly unable to apply it, so as to reconcile our spirits to those afflictions which he is pleased to allot us!
He chooses for his people better than they could choose for themselves! If they are in heaviness, there is a need-be for it. And he withholds nothing from them but what, upon the whole, it is better they should be without. Thus the Scriptures teach, and thus we profess to believe.
But when the case is our own, when we are troubled on every side, or touched in the tenderest part—how difficult is it to feel the force of these reasonings, though we know they are true to a demonstration! Then, unless we are endued with fresh strength from on high, we are as liable to complain and despond, as if we thought our afflictions sprung out of the ground, and the Lord had forgotten to be gracious!
We seem to be as sure that we are weak, sinful, fallible creatures—as we are that we exist; and yet we are prone to act as if we were wise and perfect.
Without renewed and continual communications from the Spirit of grace, he is unable to withstand the smallest temptation, to endure the slightest trial, to perform the least service in a due manner, or even to think a good thought!
From hence we may observe, that believers who have most Biblical knowledge, are not therefore necessarily the most spiritual.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, December 5, 2016

Book Review: Sketch of the Life and Labors of George Whitefield

Sketch of the Life and Labors of George Whitefield. 1854. J.C. Ryle. 80 pages. [Source: Bought]

A Sketch of the Life and Labors of George Whitefield is a little gem of a biography by J.C. Ryle. The book seeks to do five things: provide readers with a 'hasty sketch' of the times in which Whitefield lived, provide readers with a 'hasty sketch' of Whitefield's life, provide readers with a 'hasty sketch' of Whitefield's theology, provide readers with a 'hasty sketch' of Whitefield's preaching, and finally to draw some conclusions for readers about his 'actual work' on earth (what good he was able to do).

I loved how focused and precise the biography was! The chapters build on one another--as you'd expect--and by the end, you may just find yourself persuaded that Whitefield was one of the greatest evangelists ever.

In forming your opinion of the comparative merits of Christian men, never forget the old rule: "Distinguish between times." Place yourself in each man's position. Do not judge what was a right course of action in other times, by what seems a right course of action in your own.
The times of the eighteenth century, at any rate, were "bad old times," unmistakably. Whitefield was born in 1714. He died in 1770. It is not saying too much to assert, that this was precisely the darkest age that England has passed through in the last three hundred years. Any thing more deplorable than the condition of the country, as to religion, morality, and high principle, from 1700 to about the era of the French Revolution, it is very difficult to conceive.
The distinguishing doctrines of Christianity—the atonement, the work and office of Christ and the Spirit—were comparatively lost sight of. The vast majority of sermons were miserable moral essays, utterly devoid of any thing calculated to awaken, convert, save, or sanctify souls.
Justice has not been done to him, because the condition of the times he lived in is not considered. The times he lived in were extraordinary times, and required extraordinary means to be used. And whatever quiet men, sitting by their fireside in our day, may say to the contrary, I am satisfied that Whitefield was just the man for his times.
In the thirty-four years of his ministry, it is reckoned that he preached publicly eighteen thousand times.
His journeyings were prodigious, when the roads and conveyances of his times are considered. Fourteen times did he visit Scotland. Seven times did he cross the Atlantic, backward and forward. Twice he went over to Ireland. As to England and Wales, he traversed every county in them, from the Isle of Wight to Berwick-on-Tweed, and from the Land's End to the North Foreland.
There were four main things that he never lost sight of in his sermons. These four were: man's complete ruin by sin, and consequent natural corruption of heart; man's complete redemption by Christ, and complete justification before God by faith in Christ; man's need of regeneration by the Spirit, and entire renewal of heart and life; and man's utter want of any title to be considered a living Christian, unless he is dead to sin and lives a holy life.
Whitefield was just as full and explicit in setting forth the way to heaven as he was in setting forth the way to hell.
The crowning excellence of Whitefield's teaching was, that he just spoke of men, things, and doctrines, in the way that the Bible speaks of them, and the place that the Bible assigns to them.
God, Christ, and the Spirit—sin, justification, conversion, and sanctification—impenitent sinners the most miserable of people—believing saints the most privileged of people—the world a vain and empty thing—heaven the only rest for an immortal soul—the Devil a tremendous and ever-watchful foe—holiness the only true happiness—hell a real and certain portion for the unconverted; these were the kind of subjects which filled Whitefield's mind, and formed the staple of his ministry.
He seemed to live for only two objects—the glory of God, and the salvation of immortal souls.
One thing is abundantly clear and beyond dispute, and that is, that his sermons were wonderfully effective. No preacher has ever succeeded in arresting the attention of such enormous crowds of people as those he addressed continually in the neighborhood of London. No preacher has ever been so universally popular in every country he visited, England, Scotland and America, as he was. No preacher has ever retained his hold on his hearers so entirely as he did for thirty-four years.
First and foremost, you must remember, Whitefield preached a singularly pure gospel. Few men ever gave their hearers so much wheat and so little chaff. He did not get into his pulpit to talk about his party, his cause, his interest, or his office. He was perpetually telling you about your sins, your heart, and Jesus Christ, in the way that the Bible speaks of them.
For another thing, Whitefield's preaching was singularly lucid and simple. You might not like his doctrine, perhaps; but at any rate you could not fail to understand what he meant. His style was easy, plain, and conversational.
For another thing, Whitefield was a singularly bold and direct preacher. He never used that indefinite expression, "we," which seems so peculiar to English pulpit oratory, and which leaves a hearer's mind in a state of misty confusion as to the preacher's meaning.
He was not content, like many, with sticking on a tailpiece of application at the end of a long discourse. A constant vein of application run through all his sermons. "This is for you: this is for you: and this is for you." His hearers were never let alone.
He drew such vivid pictures of the things he was dwelling upon, that his hearers could believe they actually saw them all with their own eyes, and heard them with their own ears.
It was no uncommon thing with him to weep profusely in the pulpit. He felt intensely for the souls before him, and his feeling found a vent in tears. Of all the ingredients of his preaching, nothing, I suspect, was so powerful as this. It awakened sympathies, and touched secret springs in men, which no amount of intellect could have moved.
He wrote no books which were to be the religious classics of the million, like John Bunyan. He was a simple, guileless man, who lived for one thing only, and that was to preach Christ. If he succeeded in doing that effectually, he cared for nothing else. He did nothing to preserve the memory of his usefulness. He left his work with the Lord.
He did not wait for souls to come to him, but he went after souls.

.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week in Review: November 27-December 3

NKJV

  • Ezekiel 8-48
  • Daniel
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Romans
  • Galatians


NLT

  • Psalms 1-89
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians


Tyndale New Testament

  • Matthew


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, December 3, 2016

True or False with A.W. Tozer

My last game of True or False with A.W. Tozer was in September. Today's quotes come from Alive in the Spirit.

True or False: "Our society is obsessed with entertainment, and this has come into the church of Jesus Christ."

True or False: "Worship and entertainment are opposites and cannot be mixed. It is either one or the other."

True or False: "No subject could be more crucial to the church today than the Holy Spirit."

True or False: "No matter how much I know about God, there is much more I do not know."

True or False: "We must do more than just believe the truth; we must allow the truth to transform us radically into new creatures in Christ."

True or False: "God does not choose us for who we are, or how qualified we are, but rather for who He is and what He is permitted to do through our lives."

True or False: "Nobody is a challenge for the Holy Spirit. It is not my imperfections that challenge the Holy Spirit, because He is perfect and works according to His perfections."

True or False: "The focus of everything God does is His people."

True or False: "Each generation believes they have the right perspective on spiritual things and are convinced they know better than their forefathers."

True or False: "We have become a culture of Christians trying to do God’s work apart from the enduement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We acknowledge Him in our creeds but rarely in our work and in our lives."

True or False: "We need to know from where we have come, we need to know our heritage, and we need to know the message that has come down to us from the days of the apostles. That message has not changed."

True or False: "You cannot be an evangelical Christian without believing in the Trinity."

True or False: "The Holy Spirit can communicate with you, He can love you, and He can be grieved and quenched when you ignore Him."

True or False: "Many Christians are so busy reading Christian fiction they never get around to reading the creeds written by the church fathers."

True or false: "Nobody can deceive the Holy Ghost."

True or false: "When we deal with God, we must deal with Him on His terms, not ours. When we come into a church setting, we must leave behind us our will and our intentions."

True or false: "Worship is never about the person worshiping, but rather the Person we are worshiping."

True or false: "Christians should be the happiest people in the world, and should not have to look anywhere but in the Bible and to God above for satisfaction and joy."

True or false: "Any Bible doctrine not rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ is not understood correctly."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: God the Son Incarnate

God the Son Incarnate. Stephen J. Wellum. 2016. Crossway. 480 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Jesus of Nazareth has been and still is an enigma to many people. Even though he has been the dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost twenty centuries, a majority of people are still confused regarding his identity.

In case you were in doubt, Stephen J. Wellum's God the Son Incarnate is theology written primarily with a scholarly focus. To clarify, I think you'd need to be a scholar (or have the patience of a scholar) to unpack the information and then be able to make practical use of it. In other words: SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED. BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED. It has some BEAUTIFUL, GENUINE gems in it. I found it ultimately a satisfying read because even though it took concentrated effort and plain, old-fashioned WORK, it delivered.

The short summary: Who is Jesus? How can we know who Jesus is? How can we know how we know who Jesus is? Who can we trust--if anyone--? What can we trust--if anything? Why isn't the Bible enough anymore to "convince" skeptics and scholars? Who does the Bible say Jesus is? How can we--why can we--trust the Bible? How has the church understood the question 'who is Jesus?'? How has the church understand and explained the incarnation? Has the church always gotten it right? What is the result of arguing about words and phrases? What are some of the heresies the church has addressed in the past two thousand years? How has philosophy and culture impacted the church? and impacted how the church views the bible? and impacted how the church views Jesus Christ? When culture and society clash--what is the church to do?

That's keeping it short. This one is PACKED with so much information. The good news is that it is super-organized and logically arranged. I will say this, Wellum walks you through the difficult journey step-by-step. He always seems to be a few steps ahead. But he also seems patient to wait--now and then--and let you catch up and catch your breath. This book has built in pauses. I think he's aware that it's a dense, heavy subject. And equally aware that it's a vital, essential subject.

Part One: Epistemological Warrant for Christology
"In Part I, we will establish the epistemological warrant for Christology. In our current context, we cannot take it for granted that everyone agrees on how we can and do come to know who Jesus is. In fact, the possibility of objective truth is questioned openly in today’s world. It is difficult to jump into the propositional statements about the identity of Jesus Christ without first providing a well-reasoned account for how we can know anything about him."

Part Two: Biblical Warrant for Christology
"In Part II, we will turn to biblical warrant for Christology by following the Bible’s own presentation of who Jesus is. The Bible presents itself as one story that moves across four parts and through six covenants, unfolding the promises of God in the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New Testament. To have biblical warrant for Christology today, what the Bible says about Jesus Christ must be read and understood according to this authoritative structure. "

Part Three: Ecclesiological Warrant for Christology
Instead of quoting the author--I'll just mention this is a seemingly thorough presentation of creeds and heresies of the church, concluding that doctrines are worth fighting for and holding onto.

Part Four: A Warranted Christology for Today
"In Part IV we will conclude our investigation by developing a contemporary articulation of classical Christology for evangelicals today."

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
"Biblical truth does not change from generation to generation, but the issues that confront the church do. "
"In light of Scripture, the church has confessed consistently that to identify Jesus correctly we must affirm that he is the divine Son who has become incarnate, that to know him is life eternal, and that to know him not is judgment unto death. Biblically speaking, getting Christ right is a matter of life and death."
"Systematic theology does not merely articulate doctrines in timeless propositions; systematic theology, rather, is best understood as the application of Scripture to all areas of life."
"Our present-day confusion regarding the identity of Christ has a long history that is best understood by looking at pivot points that led thinking and theology away from orthodox Christology. Historic Christianity has uniformly affirmed that Jesus is the eternal Son of God made flesh, who, as a result of the incarnation, now subsists as “one person in two natures.” And until the Enlightenment era, the church invariably agreed that the “Jesus of history” is identical to the “Jesus of the Bible” or the “Christ of faith.”"
"Attempting to remove Jesus from the storyline of Scripture, or accepting certain parts and rejecting others—something all modern and postmodern Christologies do—will only lead to a subjective, arbitrary, and ultimately false construction of Jesus’s identity."
"Only by tracing out what the Bible says and how it says it do we discover what God intended all along: all of Scripture leads us to behold the glory of God in the person and work of Christ. But biblical theology alone is not sufficient. In addition to interpretation, the church is called to the application of Scripture. Even with the results of reading the Bible on its own terms, we must still make theological conclusions that make the best sense of the Bible’s own presentation of Christ."
"“Jesus” has almost become a meaningless word due to its separation from the content and framework of Scripture. When this occurs, the unfortunate result is that Jesus becomes anything we want him to be except the Jesus of the Bible."
"It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the doctrine of creation. Many Christians are naturally interested in the doctrine of salvation, but without creation there is no understanding of the Christian faith as the Bible describes it."
"There is no substitute for reading the Bible on its own terms to identify the real Christ."
"But to understand the biblical Jesus correctly, to come to know him rightly, and to place all of our confidence in him personally, we must also come to know something of our own guilt before God and why it is that we need the kind of Redeemer he is. For it is not until we know ourselves as lost, under the sentence of death, and condemned before God, that we can even appreciate and rejoice in a divine-human Redeemer. It is only when we realize that we cannot save ourselves that we clearly see that he is the Redeemer we need. Yet, for people who by God’s grace come to see their need of him, then the Jesus of the Bible is not only understood for who he is but he is also embraced, loved, and adored as Lord and Savior."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Quotes from the Cloud #40

This year, I hope share weekly posts of quotes. These quotes are from authors I'm reading and enjoying from the Clouds of Witnesses Reading Challenge

EARTH was waiting spent and restless,
With a mingled hope and fear;
And the faithful few were sighing,
‘Surely, Lord, the day is near;
The Desire of all the nations,
It is time He should appear?’

Still the gods were in the temples,
But the ancient faith had fled;
And the priests stood by their altars,
Only for a piece of bread;
And the oracles were silent,
And the prophets all were dead.

In the sacred courts of Zion,
Where the Lord had His abode,
There the money-changers trafficked
And the sheep and oxen trod;
And the world, because of wisdom,
Knew not either Lord or God.

Then the spirit of the Highest
On a Virgin meek came down,
And He burdened her with blessing,
And He pained her with renown;
For she bare the Lord’s Anointed
For His cross and for His crown.

Earth for Him had groaned and travailed
Since the ages first began;
For in Him was hid the secret
That through all the ages ran—
Son of Mary, Son of David,
Son of God, and Son of Man. ~ Walter Chalmers Smith