And in regard to the necessity of His bodily resurrection:
Thursday, May 30, 2013
And in regard to the necessity of His bodily resurrection:
Monday, February 25, 2013
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
I just finished teaching a two month series to our college ministry on the topic of “The Will of God.” For many in the group this was their first exposure to this critical topic and the process of biblical decision making. This age group is facing many important life decisions as they transition out from under their parent’s authority and unfortunately many lack a framework to intelligently face the decisions that they are being called on to make. But college students are not alone in this quandary – through my years of pastoral ministry I have taught on this subject a number of times, having found that it holds wide interest for the church at large – particularly as the winds and waves of subjectivity, mysticism, and biblical illiteracy toss people to and fro.
In preparing to teach the material this time, I read a good little book (128 pages including endnotes) from Moody Publishers entitled “Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will” (ISBN 978-0-8024-5838-4) by pastor Kevin DeYoung. Pastor DeYoung has been the senior pastor of University Reformed Church in Ann Arbor, MI, since 2004. Although he is young, God has given him a breadth to his ministry through writing and conference speaking. I have profited from a number of the things he has written.
In this book DeYoung includes an important statistic which sets the foundation for the entire book (and the reason for my recent series in our college ministry). He writes “In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men completed all the major transitions into adulthood by age thirty. These transitions include leaving home, finishing school, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having a child. By 2000, only 46 percent of women completed these transitions by age thirty, and only 31 percent of men….”Adultolescense” is the new norm” (pg. 13).
In order to address this problem DeYoung introduces a presentation of the two aspect of God’s will, which he entitles God’s will of decree and God’s will of desire. He notes that God’s will of decree is secret (Deut 29:29), while His will of desire is plain and abundant in the pages of Scripture. In chapter three, DeYoung introduces five reasons why people fret over finding God’s will for their lives, and in reason four he hits upon one that is very pertinent to those of us living in the prosperous West – “We have too many choices” (pg. 32ff.). Later on in addressing some of the weaknesess of the mystical view he writes, “Just because you pray [it] doesn’t mean your decisions are beyond objection…if we say that ‘God told me to do this’ or ‘God’s leading me here,’ this puts our decisions out of the reach from criticism or concerns” (pg. 49).
In his chapter entitled “A Better Way?” DeYoung introduces the discussion with a quote from Matthew 6:25-34 in which Jesus rebukes anxiety for the future and commands a pursuit of the kingdom of God and His righteousness, elaborating the meaning by looking at examples in the life of the apostle Paul. Flowing out of that discussion, DeYoung introduces the doctrine of God’s providence and guidance through the clear statements contained in the Scriptures (Chapter six). The book closes out with a chapter entitled “Work, Wedlock, and God’s Will” in which the principles taught in the book are specifically applied to these two important and potentially scary situations.
I recommend this book for a number of reasons. It is short and readable – thus making it accessible to those wanting help in this area of the Christian life but who are not disciplined in their reading and would be turned off by some of the longer works on this topic. I also appreciate the practical examples that DeYoung has salted throughout the book which help the reader grasp the meaning of his teaching. But perhaps most of all I appreciate the book’s subtitle which in and of itself makes this a book that is well worth the price: “A Liberating Approach to finding God’s Will, OR How to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky etc.”
Friday, December 23, 2011
“Your best friend is turning to Buddhism; your young nephew is confused about his sexuality; your wife is learning new spiritual techniques from a spiritual guide; you are beginning to wonder if Christianity is too restrictive. If these and other such issues are a concern for you, your friends or loved ones, then this book is for you.”
So writes Dr. Peter Jones in the preface to his latest book entitled One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference (ISBN 978-0-9746895-2-4). Dr. Jones is well qualified to write this book, holding an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a ThM from
The title of the book refers to the competing worldviews which Dr. Jones has named “One-ism” and “Two-ism.” “One-ism believes that ‘all is one’ and shares the same essential nature…everything is a piece of the divine. Two-ism believes that while all of creation shares a certain essence (everything apart from God is created), the Creator of nature, namely God, is a completely different being, whose will determines the nature and function of all created things” (17).
The book is divided into three sections each of which is organized around a different aspect of Rom. 1:18-32. Section One establishes the need for the church to hear Paul’s ancient words afresh – pointing out through numerous examples and supporting documentation the major inroads paganism has and is making into the culture, and consequently into the church. The militancy of the spiritual/political powers behind the rise of paganism have in many cases forced believers from public discourse and are succeeding in redefining true and acceptable “spirituality as a combination of social justice and mysticism” (13).
Dr. Jones writes that the two issues over which the church is being intimidated into silence are “Christian uniqueness” (basic theology) and “homosexuality” (basic anthropology – humans as male and female) (58). Among young Evangelicals a growing commitment to mystical experience and deeds of social justice are replacing the gospel’s claim that Jesus is the only way of salvation, and absent a Biblical worldview, many eighteen-to thirty-year-olds think homosexuality is a valid lifestyle.
Section Two of the book is by far the longest and is devoted to an exposition of Romans 1, with particular emphasis upon “The Lie” of paganism (Rom. 1:25). In this section Dr. Jones traces the outworking of that lie in three areas: First, the overturning of sane thinking by making nature its own creator. Second, the overturning of sane worship by the abandonment of the Creator God and the substitution of created images, and thirdly, the overturning of sane sexuality by the embrace of unnatural sodomy (80). Dr. Jones provides an interesting and insightful subsection on homosexuality, paganism and the new spirituality (173-183) – shedding light on the driving politicalization of the gay agenda both nationally and internationally.
If you read only one book in 2012 this may well be the most important you can select. The infiltration of ancient paganism into our culture and churches present us with a scenario that would be easily recognized by the NT Apostles. In the last century the threat to Biblical Christianity came from atheistic humanism. In this new century the threat is not secular but spiritual - the pantheistic spirituality characteristic of the "Age of Aquarius"