Theologians on the Christian Life
One of my favorite series from Crossway is on sale right now, with 10 volumes available for $3.99:
- Augustine by Gerald Bray
- Owen by Matthew Barrett and Michael Haykin
- Bavinck by John Bolt
- Packer by Sam Storms
- Newton by Tony Reinke
- Luther by Carl Trueman
- Edwards by Dane Ortlund
- Calvin by Michael Horton
- Warfield by Fred Zaspel
- Wesley by Fred Sanders
It’s overwhelming to have the entire broken world at your fingertips.
That’s what flows from Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. A constant stream of grievances and injustices cascade before our eyes, one after another, intermingled with funny, tangential one-liners and more pleasing accounts of happier news. Sometimes we see a cute puppy!
Before all time; prior to all worlds; when there was nothing “outside of” God Himself; when the Father, Son, and Spirit found eternal, absolute, and unimaginable blessing, pleasure, and joy in Their holy triunity—it was Their agreed purpose to create a world. That world would fall. But in unison—and at infinitely great cost—this glorious triune God planned to bring you (if you are a believer) grace and salvation.
Marrieds love to tell singles going through transitions and hard times, “At least you’re not tied down! At least you’re free to be flexible! At least you can make your own schedule, etc.” Singles love to tell marrieds going through transitions and hard times, “At least you have each other! At least you’re married! At least you don’t have to do it alone!” The truth is that painful circumstances in our own lives can bring offensive, short-sighted, and dismissive platitudes to real struggles in the lives of other people.
Freedoms that exist within singleness come with a cost and the partnership that comes within marriage can mean a similar cost.
Of course, anytime I think I need something to grow spiritually other than what the Bible says I need, I’m wrong. But to look to a few conferences or other “mountaintop” experiences as primary sources of nurture and guidance was especially dangerous.
Why? It reinforced a sinful mindset I already had: that if I just consumed the right spiritual things, I would be mature.
On a casual reading of Paul’s letters, some might assume that Paul ignores philosophical questions. Yet Paul did not shy away from the deepest, most complicated questions at all. In fact, he tackled them with the strength and confidence of a bull in a rodeo. But unlike many philosophers, Paul’s philosophy was wrapped in pastoral garments. He thought that our understanding of time and space should determine the types of jokes we tell and what sort of husbands and wives we should be.
To some of our students, we faculty probably present a daunting picture of excellence. After all, we are professors at one of the most distinguished private Christian universities—we excel in our fields, publish scholarly works about topics they may have never even heard of, are the authorities within our classrooms, and they come to us for advice in matters ranging from the scholarly and the professional, to the familial and romantic. We are teachers, preachers, mentors and even sometimes employers.
But that only tells part of the picture—a very small part, in fact. It altogether ignores our humanity, our fears and insecurities (as people, as professionals and as professors), and perhaps most importantly, our failures.
The past few weeks have been very difficult for my family and I, with my mother, who has been battling ovarian cancer for over three years now, being hospitalized and facing an uncertain earthly future. (Please keep her and our family in prayer.) The past few days have been an emotional rollercoaster for us to say the least. I think in situations like ours, it is natural to ask God serious questions.