How a Recent Thesis Defines the Glory of God

Philippe Paul-Luc Viguier, “A Biblical Theology of the Glory of God” (MDiv thesis, The Master’s Seminary, 2012 [advised by Michael J. Vlach]), 34–36, 80 (format and numbering added):

A study of key terms concerning the glory of God reveals many common threads which help us define the concept more precisely.

  1. First, the glory of God is similar to the power of a king. [Read more…]

A 10-Point Summary of Chris Brauns’s Book on the Principle of the Rope

BraunsChris Brauns, Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013), 179–82:

In The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis set out to write a Christian reflection on suffering. Soon enough, he arrived at the doctrine of original sin. . . .

Inevitably, a consideration of the doctrine of original sin brought Lewis face-to-face with the truth that all humanity was represented by Adam. Lewis allowed that it is hard for us to comprehend that Adam represented all his descendants, but he also noted that our inability to understand something does not mean it is untrue. . . .

Notice the emphasis here: there may be a tension between individuality and some other principle. I have named this principle “the principle of the rope.” In a sense, this entire book has been an extended reflection on Lewis’s observation that there must be some other principle. Summarized by chapter, the argument has developed as follows: [Read more…]

How Addiction Works

Paul David Tripp, Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies  Tripp (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 22–23 [22-page sample PDF]:

The dynamic of addiction is that if you look to something that God created, to give you what it wasn’t intended to give you, either you get discouraged quickly, and wisely abandon those hopes, or you go back again and again, and in so doing, you begin to travel down addiction’s road. That created thing will give you a short-term buzz of euphoria, it will offer you temporary pleasure, it will provide a momentary sense of well-being, it will briefly make you feel that you’re something, and it may even make your problems seem not so bad for a bit. [Read more…]

How to Disagree with Other Christians about Disputable Matters

That’s the title of a sermon I preached on Sunday on Romans 14:1–15:7.

  • I open by explaining triage in order to introduce the idea of theological triage. We must distinguish between first-level, second-level, and third-level issues.
  • I suggest about 75 disputable matters (grouped into 17 rough categories) that can be extremely divisive in some churches.
  • I present 12 principles from Rom 14:1–15:7 about how to disagree with other Christians. I borrow these from a forthcoming commentary on Romans that veteran missionary J. D. Crowley wrote for people in Cambodia: [Read more…]

An Unmistakable Sign of a Legalistic Spirit

25Sam Storms, Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions  (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 311–12, 314–15 [32-page sample PDF]:

Legalism has been defined in a number of ways, but here is my attempt: Legalism is the tendency to regard as divine law things that God has neither required nor forbidden in Scripture, and the corresponding inclination to look with suspicion on others for their failure or refusal to conform. . . .

2. Do you elevate to the status of moral law something the Bible does not require? . . .

Hold your conviction with passion and zeal, but do not seek to enslave the consciences of others who may disagree with you. . . .

One unmistakable sign of a legalistic spirit is [Read more…]

Exulting in Harry Potter

edenTim Keller calls this book “the most accessible, readable, and yet theologically robust work on Christianity and the arts that you will be able to find”:

Jerram Barrs. Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Arts. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. (14-page sample PDF)

Chapter 8 is a gem: “Harry Potter and the Triumph of Self-Sacrificing Love” (pp. 125–46). It’s the best treatment I’ve read that (1) responds to Christians who think that the Harry Potter series is evil and (2) exults in its dominant (Christian) theme—self-sacrificing love. [Read more…]