Doug Phillips posted a terrific article about the importance of theology. Here are a few snippets:
We are all theologians.
Whether or not we think about God and his will, etc., in ways that are faithful to his Word substantially determines whether or not we will relate to Him in ways that are actually pleasing to Him (cp. Col. 1:9-11). Are we the kind of worshipers he actually seeks and wants? (Jn.4:22-24).
Authentic spiritual transformation is dependent on increasingly bringing our thinking (and ‘theologizing’) increasingly in line with Scripture. We are transformed, Paul says, by the renewing of our mind. And our Lord says that sanctification occurs in connection with the truth – the truth of God’s Word.
Read the whole thing.
HT: Kevin DeYoung
Not able to make it to Advance this week? Enjoy the sessions from your iPod.
The cover story for this month’s Christianity Today profiles Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian. Here’s the intro:
When Tim Keller came to Manhattan in 1989, New York City had a well-deserved reputation as a snarling, scary place. Violent crime, drug dealing, and other urban pathologies had weakened or chased off many of the faithful. While a barely perceptible renewal was under way, it seemed as if the few remaining orthodox Protestants were huddled together in historic buildings. All of Keller’s formal pastoral experience had happened in a small, blue-collar town in Virginia.
Yet today, almost 20 years later, he steps onstage before a packed auditorium at Hunter College on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His church, Redeemer Presbyterian, has five crowded Sunday services in three rented locations—Keller dashes between them—with an average total attendance of 5,000. The service at Hunter is the largest, the “tourist service.” (For many years, Redeemer deliberately avoided publicity, but word has spread lately, and Keller estimates that hundreds of out-of-towners show up each Sunday.) Well over 2,000 people—mainly young whites and Asians you would expect to be sleeping off a late Saturday night—have come to this morning’s service.
Read the rest at ChristianityToday.com
In case you missed it
Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:
The Challenge: What Have I Learned? What did 40 days without podcasts and theology books teach me?
Book Review: Love or Die Reviewing a wonderful book on the need to return to the love we had at first.
Made in the Image of God: Wisdom, Emotions and Morality A look at how humanity images God through our thoughts, emotions and morality
The Persevering Prophet: My Heart is Sick! Jeremiah addresses the source of human depravity: The heart.
Recommended: A helpful, Christ-exalting look at the pursuit of a most elusive character trait.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5b)
We live in a culture that is built on pride. Facebook, blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, our self-esteem centered education system (our city has a no-fail policy), marketing… Everything about our culture is centered around “me.”
The message we constantly receive is, “You’re special. You’re worth it. You’re a winner. You’re unique. Be the best you that you can be.”
It is a message designed to bolster our pride. Without question, pride is considered a (if not the) primary virtue in our society. And, most troublesomely, it’s an attitude that’s crept into the church. It affects how we serve, how we give, how we participate in corporate worship, how we interact with non-believers.
But, God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, doesn’t He?
In Humility: True Greatness, C.J. Mahaney reminds us of the spiritually-critical need for every Christian to pursue humility by the grace of God, and provides readers with some helpful tools to aid us in our pursuit.
Humility is, without hyperbole, is the most needed character trait for all Christians. It’s also the most elusive, because as soon as we profess to be humble, we reveal ourselves to be proud. But what is biblical humility? Mahaney defines is as, “honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness” (p. 22). It is an honest assessment that affirms the need of the Savior. We cannot possibly hope to be holy as God is holy without grace. And grace requires humility.
As Mahaney methodically moves through both his arguments about the perils of pride and how we can cultivate humility in our own lives, he reminds us that pride is not simply a sin, but it is one hated by God with a particular passion—indeed, John Stott calls it “the root of all sin.”
Because of pride, we make idols for ourselves (or of ourselves). Because of pride, our first parents rebelled. Because of pride, Satan fell. Because of pride, Jesus was beaten and crucified.
This book is particularly helpful to me because I struggle with pride to a frightening degree. As those who know me can attest, I can be extremely prideful about everything. It tempts me to rebel against the authorities over me. It tempts me to indulge my selfish desires over the desires of my wife and friends.
I’ve read this book several times, and every time I’ve found something that I didn’t notice or appreciate in the previous reading. But every time, I’m struck by the profundity of what I believe to be the heart of the book:
Reflect on the wonder of the cross of Christ… To truly be serious and deliberate in mortifying pride and cultivating greatness, you must each day survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died.
And (quoting D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones):
Nothing else can do it. When I see that I am a sinner…that nothing but the Son of God on the cross can save me, I’m humbled to the dust…Nothing but the cross can give us the spirit of humility (p. 66).
The cross destroys our pride as we see our true selves when we gaze upon it. May we gaze upon it all the more as we appreciate the important reminder from a “proud man pursuing humility by the grace of God” (p. 13).
He wrote, “All we did was discuss the question, ‘How do you mobilize and equip students to go share the gospel?’ The only answer which came to mind initially was, ‘I treat them like adults.'”
I read this and was fired up in a really good way. Our church has a really great youth pastor who, from all accounts, challenges Jr. and Sr. High students with deep biblical material. Our lead and worship pastors (our primary preachers), with increased emphasis in the couple of months, try to challenge us with weighty issues. This is something I’m very grateful for.
But I got to thinking: I wonder how often we—the larger church, not our specific congregation—treat the larger congregation like adults? [Read more…]
ReSound, the Resurgence’s new record label, has made available a sampler EP for download.
Head over to ReSound.org and download before June 11, when the site officially launches.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9)
Jeremiah defines the depravity of man in a way that is surpassed by few other passes in it’s uncompromising honesty:
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick!
There is nothing more deceitful than the human heart—the center of our will and desires. We want, what we want, when we want it, consequences be damned!
Me, I have a horrible sweet tooth. I love sweet things, and when I eat something sweet, it’s like something in my mind says, “You should have more of this; it’s awesome!”
I try to restrain, and often fail. I try to avoid, but doesn’t help me in the least that my mother owns a bakery, dang it. Sweets aren’t good for me; they cause me to gain weight rapidly; they can lead to diabetes… all this stuff is serious. But, dang it, I want them, and I would not restrain myself were I left to my own devices.
This is the deceitfulness of the heart. It tells me that bad things are good for me. It makes morally neutral things gods. And we consume, we indulge, we capitulate to whatever the desire we have is, and we worship our false god. [Read more…]