Spurgeon: A Living Theology of Suffering

9781781911228v3Tom Nettles, “Sickness, Suffering, Depression,” ch. 17 in Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Fearn, Scotland: Mentor, 2013), 594:

Spurgeon never doubted that his exquisite pain, frequent sicknesses, and even despondency were given to him by God for his sanctification in a wise and holy purpose. [Read more…]

Don Carson on the Providence of God

tinkerD. A. Carson, “Foreword,” in Melvin Tinker, Intended for Good: The Providence of God (Nottingham, England: IVP, 2012), 9–10:

Fewer than two hundred years ago, a student writing an advanced paper in most history departments in British or American universities might well include some reflections on what his or her historical treatment implied about divine providence. Today it is unthinkable to include such reflection. At a more mundane level, reflections on divine providence continue to surface in trivial conversations. Not long ago I was flying home after speaking at a conference somewhere, and it appeared that our plane was going be delayed by an hour or two because of bad weather, or perhaps forced to land at another airport. Suddenly the pilot announced that there was a small break in the weather, and we were heading straight in with minimal delay. The passenger in the next seat smiled and muttered, ‘Someone up there loves me: I’ll make my connecting flight.’ I confess I smiled back and asked him, ‘If you missed your flight, would that constitute evidence that he doesn’t love you?’ [Read more…]

Piper Illustrates for Children How Faith Glorifies God

In his sermon on Romans 4:16–21 (9/26/1999), John Piper directly addresses the children and illustrates how faith glorifies God. Listen from 27:28 to 33:30.

Here’s what’s in the sermon manuscript (which isn’t a transcript):

Let’s illustrate this for the children. Your daddy is standing in a swimming pool out a little bit from the edge. You are, let’s say, three years old and standing on the edge of the pool. Daddy holds out his arms to you and says, “Jump, I’ll catch you. I promise.” Now, how do you make your daddy look good at that moment? Answer: trust him and jump. Have faith in him and jump. That makes him look strong and wise and loving. But if you won’t jump, if you shake your head and run away from the edge, you make your daddy look bad. It looks like you are saying, “he can’t catch me” [i.e., he’s incompetent] or “he won’t catch me” [i.e., he’s mean] or “it’s not a good idea to do what he tells me to do” [i.e., he’s unwise]. And all three of those make your dad look bad. [Read more…]

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…]