Saturday, July 26, 2008

Stand & Wonder At The Reality Of Being Called A Son!

Mr. Kettler - a very, very dear brother and small group leader here in our church sent this to me and what a great encouragement it was to my soul! Thank you sir, for always directing me to "stand and wonder" at the Cross of Christ! There are too many times I "stand and wonder" at the wrong things where there is no hope! Thank you for directing me to see through the grace of God, how my Father sees me in The Son. You are a dear friend my brother and this piece really ministered to my heart! I will take this with me on vacation as a daily exhortation of how good our Savior is! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Oh stand and wonder!
(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity")

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us—that we should be called the sons of God." 1 John 3:1

It is an infinite condescension in God, to honor us with the title of sons, and therefore we should never think of it, nor ever speak of it—but with much admiration. O sirs! what matter of admiration is this—that the great and glorious God, who has many millions of glorious angels attending Him—that He should . . .

  • look upon all holy people as His sons,
  • and love them as His sons,
  • and delight in them as His sons,
  • and clothe them as His sons,
  • and feed them as His sons,
  • and protect them as His sons,
  • and stand by them as His sons,
  • and lay up for them as His sons,
  • and lay out Himself for them as His sons; that those who have not deserved . . .
  • a smile from God,
  • a good word from God,
  • a bit of bread from God,
  • or a good look from God,
  • should be made the sons of God!

What manner of love is this—that those who have . . .

  • so highly provoked God,
  • walked so cross and contrary to God,
  • were so exceeding unlike God,
  • preferred every lust, and every toy and vanity before God,
  • fought many years under Satan's banner against God,
  • refused all the offers of mercy that have been made by God, —that those who have deserved to be reprobated by God, damned by God, and to be thrown to hell by God—that these should be made the sons of God!

Oh stand and wonder! Oh stand and admire the freeness of His grace, and at the riches of His grace!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Christ & Culture: D.A. Carson on "Redeeming The Culture"

At this last year's "Together For The Gospel" they gave out D.A. Carson's book, "Christ & Culture Revisited." I must confess, it is still in the pile of my reading in my office that I am working my way through. Below is an interview of Dr. Carson by Derek Thomas from the "Reformation 21 Blog" of where he addresses this issue of "Redeeming the culture." To read the entire article click here.
(Derek Thomas) DT: Why don't you like the terminology of "redeeming the culture"?

(Don Carson) DC: Redemption terminology in the NT is so bound up with Christ's work for and in the church that to extend it to whatever good we do in the broader world risks a shift in focus. Not for a moment do I want to deny that we are to serve as salt and light, that exiles may be called to do good in the pagan cities where Providence has appointed them to live (Jer 29), that every square foot of this world is under Christ's universal reign (even though that reign is still being contested), that the nations of the world will bring their "goods" into the Jerusalem that comes down from above. But many of those who speak easily and fluently of redeeming the culture soon focus all their energy shaping fiscal and political policies and the like, and merely assume the gospel. A gospel that is merely assumed, that does no more than perk away in the background while the focus of our attention is on the "redemption" of the culture in which we find ourselves, is lost within a generation or two. At the same time, I worry about Christians who focus their attention so narrowly on getting people "saved" that they care little about doing good to all people, even if especially to the household of God. Getting this right is not easy, and inevitably priorities will shift a little in various parts of the world, under various regimes. Part of the complexity of the discussion, I think, is bound up with what the church as church is responsible for, and what Christians as Christians are responsible for: I have argued that failure to make this distinction tends to lead toward sad conclusions.

DT: What are some key things for young pastors to keep in mind when they are urged to "engage the culture"?

DC: Know what the gospel is first, comprehensively, accurately, faithfully. Work out from there. Learn to preach to your own people, not to the aggregates set out in books by Barna and Wuthnow (though much can be learned from such books). Whether the "engagement" is part of how you engage people evangelistically, or part of how Christians in your church do good in your own community, keep thinking through what the Bible itself says -- and then try, like the men of Issachar, to understand your own times.