Links I like

The Gospel for a Gay Friend

Garrett Kell:

For many of my Christian friends who love Jesus and struggle with same-sex attraction, the beauty of the gospel is that it addresses every area of their life, not just one expression of the fall. All believers know this truth. Whether we were once atheists, liars, Muslims, or self-righteous church attenders, there’s no magical gospel just for “our sin.” At the foot of the cross we are all equally in need of God’s amazing grace.

At the same time, Josh has real questions that need to be answered. In the same way an atheist, Muslim, or self-righteous person would need the gospel to address them personally, we should learn to love Josh in his particular consideration of Jesus’ claims. We should seek to help him find sound answers.

Justification and Sanctification: What’s the Problem?

Kevin DeYoung, Richard Phillips and Bryan Chapell discuss the sometimes tricky connection between justification and sanctification:

God of the Womb

Kristen Gilles:

The Lord has closed my womb. He opened it. He filled it. He emptied it. And then he closed it. The Lord has kept me from having children. He enabled me to conceive a son two years ago. Then he took my son to be with him 10 months later. And since then, he has kept me from having children. This reality, rather than disturbing me, actually comforts me.

Avoiding Burnout

Archie Parrish:

The term burnout was coined by rocket scientists to describe shutting down a jet or rocket engine by exhausting or shutting off its fuel. Dr. Herbert J. Freudenberg, in his 1974 book Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement, was the first psychologist to use this term. He defined burnout as “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results.”

Christians committed to Christ’s work can experience physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion similar to what non-Christians experience. Christians also have to deal with the added challenge of spiritual burnout. If burnout detectors were placed at every church entrance, we would be shocked to see how many who began by the Spirit are now trying to be perfected by the flesh (see Gal. 3:3).

I need this shirt

If you give online, you’ve probably felt like doing something like this:

2014-01-17-tithing-solution1

(Audio)Book Review: Justified by Faith Alone by R.C. Sproul

Justified By Faith Alone by R.C. Sproul

Title: Justified by Faith Alone
Author: R.C. Sproul
Publisher: Crossway Books/Christian Audio (2010 edition)

Martin Luther famously said that justification by faith alone is “the article by which the church stands or falls.” So certain of its importance to the Christian faith was Luther that it became the crucial dividing issue between the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches.

Today, however, many evangelicals “know” that we are justified by faith alone but are not entirely sure what it means. And because of this uncertainty, we begin to ask—does it really make sense? And is it really that important?

In his (very) short book Justified by Faith Alone, R.C. Sproul answers that question with a resounding yes as he lays out the Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrines of justification.

One of Dr. Sproul’s greatest gifts as a teacher is his ability to clearly and charitably examine positions with which he disagrees. In doing so, he manages to clear up a great number of misconceptions that Protestants have regarding Romanism.

A key example is whether or not Roman Catholicism offers a works-based salvation. Sproul argues that it is, in fact, not accurate to make this claim. As he examines Roman Catholic teaching, he reveals that faith in Christ is essential to salvation… it’s just not all you need. The congregant’s works of penitence, his acts of contrition, are also required. In essence, the Roman Catholic position is that of faith in Christ plus works equal justification (Justification = Faith + Works).

The Protestant position, however, is that faith in Christ alone brings justification, and our works are our response to and the evidence of our right standing before God (Faith=Justification + Works).

Sproul is also quick to address the common complaint against the Protestant position, which is that it is Antinomianism. In this error, we are saved by faith in Christ alone (justification), and there need be no evidence of saving faith (Faith=Justification – Works). However, the Scriptures are clear that one who says that he has faith, but there is no evidence of it in his life is a liar (cf. James 2:14-26).

Moving from the content to the audio production, this is one place where I find that the book falls a bit flat. Sean Runnette is a wonderfully clear narrator and I’ve enjoyed his work on other productions, but in this instance, I found his reading to be a bit bland. His reading seemed to lack the passion that tends to come out in Sproul’s text (as well as in his speaking). This is only a minor criticism, but it was bothersome enough that I felt it warranted mentioning.

Justified by Faith Alone is an important book, one that I believe readers of all ages and stages would benefit greatly from. Read (or listen to) the book, and gain a greater understanding and appreciation for this crucial doctrine—and praise God that it is by faith in Christ alone that we are saved.

A complimentary download of this book was provided for review purposes by ChristianAudio.com