The adventures of moving continue—Lord willing, our stuff will arrive today, and then the fun part begins: unpacking!
If you’re looking for something to read this weekend, consider The Revolt by Douglas Bond. For a “lighter” read, today is the last day to get these books by Bruce Ware from Crossway:
- The Man Christ Jesus—$4.99
- Big Truths for Young Hearts—$4.99
- God’s Lesser Glory—$5.99
- God’s Greater Glory—$5.99
- One God in Three Persons—$5.99
Today is J. I. Packer’s 90th birthday. Longevity in life and ministry is often taken for granted in our day. We quickly forget that Thomas Aquinas died at the age of 49. Both John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards were 54 when they entered the presence of Jesus. Charles Spurgeon died much too soon at the age of 57. Martin Luther outlived them all, passing away at the age of 62. The church of Jesus Christ should pause and thank God for sustaining Packer’s remarkable life for as long as he has.
As I reflect on who J. I. Packer is and what he has meant to me personally, several things come quickly to mind.
If you have followed the recent upheaval over the Trinity and gender, you may have asked yourself that question. This doctrine was once taken for granted by basically everyone, from the earliest days of the church through to the Reformation and beyond, and only became unfamiliar quite recently. I’m not going to be able to explain all the details of the idea here. My objective is twofold: to give a basic outline of the idea, and to explain why the tradition of classical Christian theism held to it.
I am among the ranks of those who have been convicted over this past year for being relatively indifferent towards the scourge of abortion in this country. Like many of you, I have always been principally “pro-life;” I have liked tweets, shared articles, written Facebook statuses, and engaged in the casual conversation about how wicked it is that we are a country that has slaughtered some 54,000,000 humans in a single lifetime. And, like many of you, I was unnerved by the recent undercover journalism which shined a spotlight on barbaric people doing (big surprise…) barbaric acts (namely, selling the severed body parts of murdered infants). And, like many of you, I was unnerved by how unnerved I was at this discovery. The shocking thing about this whole revelation is how shocking it was: what invisible line was crossed to make these actions intolerable? Would it somehow be less barbaric if these hitmen used ultrasound technology to dismember little babies and then throw the remains into the dumpster rather than selling the remains for a profit? Let’s be real here, Planned Parenthood didn’t get more evil when it decided to get even more bang out of its buck by getting into the business of body snatching, it has always been human slaughterhouse, which is about as vile as you can get.
As it pertains to having the living God draw near to us, fear and trembling assume it is truly God and the glorious Christ we have encountered and not some pitiful caricature. The god of the prosperity gospelists is a pathetic doormat, a genie. The god of the cutesy coffee mugs and Joel Osteen tweets is a milquetoast doofus like the guys in the Jane Austen novels you hope the girlsdon’t end up with, holding their hats limply in hand and minding their manners to follow your lead like a butler or the doormat he stands on. The god of the American Dream is Santa Claus. The god of the open theists is not sovereignly omniscient, declaring the end from the beginning, but just a really good guesser playing the odds. The god of our therapeutic culture is ourselves, we the “forgivers” of ourselves, navel-haloed morons with “baggage” but not sin. None of these pathetic gods could provoke fear and trembling.
When I was writing my first book, I bought into self-help in a big way. In fact, that’s how I got on the self-help guru’s email list. As I was sitting in my bedroom, reading a well-thought-out action plan for building my audience, I was inspired and hopeful. I could use this prescribed social media strategy and then build an email list using these five steps. So I jumped in. I pictured the book signings and the lines of people who wanted to buy the book. I just needed to follow the plan.
But it didn’t work.
When we really dig into Scripture’s teaching on forgiveness, we find that it stretches and challenges us, forcing us into the uncomfortable territory of being more like Jesus. Without further ado, taking our cues from God’s Word and God’s forgiveness, here’s what we should mean when we say “I forgive you”.
For some of us, we can’t learn to say “No” when others ask us to volunteer for projects or sit on boards. For others of us, it’s because of our kids, who “can’t drive themselves to band practice, you know.” Some of us, unfortunately, keep ourselves busy because it makes us feel important.
Then there are those of us who are too busy because we worship our work, no matter how much we enjoy it or hate it, because we worship the provision and security it provides.
Bringing back the backlist: What to do when your friend is reading a crazy bad book
Now, when friends are reading crazy bad books, should we be concerned? Yep, absolutely. If we’re not, we’re probably not the best friends in the world. But what should we do, since grabbing the book out of your friend’s hands and setting it on fire probably isn’t the best solution—unless you don’t really want to be friends with that person anymore, that is.
Rather than the “smash and grab” approach, I recommend a different take, which is to do as the Bible encourages: correct with gentleness and patience (2 Timothy 2:25; Ephesians 4:2). Here are a few recommendations as to how to do this well.