The Wrong Questions and the Right Ones

“People who are content with the avoidance ethic generally ask the wrong question about behavior. They ask, What’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with this movie? Or this music? Or this game? Or these companions? Or this way of relaxing? Ot this investment? Or this restaurant? Or shopping at this store? What’s wrong with going to the cabin every weekend? Or having a cabin? This kind of question will rarely yield a lifestyle that commends Christ as all-satisfying and makes people glad in God. It simply results in a list of don’ts. It feeds the avoidance ethic.

The better questions to ask about possible behaviors is: How will this help me treasure Christ more? How will it help me show that I do treasure Christ? How will it help me know Christ or display Christ? The Bible says, ‘Whether you eat or drink , or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Cor. 10:31). So the question is mainly positive, not negative. How can I portray God as glorious in this action? How can I enjoy making much of him in this behavior?”

Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper

Worldliness, Rules, Holiness, & Love

“worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange … Incidentally, I’ve learned over the years that the simplest way to judge gray areas like movies, television, and music is to ask one simple question: can I thank God for this? … It sounds really spiritual to say God is interested in a relationship , not in rules. But it’s not biblical. From top to bottom the Bible is full of commands. They aren’t meant to stifle a relationship with God, but to protect it, seal it, and define it. Never forget: first God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, then he gave them the law. God’s people were not redeemed by observing the law, but they were redeemed so they might obey the law … Obeying the commandments is how we fulfill the law of love, and love is at the heart of holiness. If you care about love you will love to obey the Ten Commandments.”

The Hole in Our Holiness, Kevin DeYoung

Evolution and Probability

“There are really two separate issues here: the origin of life and its evolution. In the case of life’s origins, the question is how did lifeless matter come alive? In the case of life’s evolution, the question is, once life appeared in its simplest form, how did organisms of greater and greater complexity develop?

Evolution proper addresses only the latter question; the former question is much more difficult. As Dawkins says, the origin of life is an ‘extremely improbable event, many orders of magnitude more improbable then most people realize.’ But there’s one consolation, he says: ‘The origin of life only had to happen once.’ So, at least there’s that. But evolution too, is monumentally improbable. As Stephen Jay Gould put it, if we were to rewind the video of life and ‘let it play again from an identical starting point,’ ‘the chance becomes vanishingly small that anything like human intelligence would grace the replay.’ (Note: vanish: ‘to pass completely from existence’; ‘to assume the value of zero.’) …

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Why Did God Save You?

“Why did God save you? … But there is another answer — just as good, just as biblical, just as important. God saved you so that you might be holy … As J.I. Packer put it, ‘In reality, holiness is the goal of our redemption. As Christ died in order that we may be justified, so we are justified in order that we may be sanctified and made holy.’ … Not only is holiness the goal of your redemption, it is necessary for your redemption … The best theologians and the best theological statements have always emphasized the scandalous nature of gospel grace and the indispensable need for personal holiness.”

The Hole in Our Holiness, Kevin DeYoung

Youth Ministry in a Secular Age

About a month ago, I posted about James K.A. Smith’s new book, You Are What You Love. Here’s a short piece by Peter Leithart that quotes extensively from the book on the subject of youth ministry in a secular age.

I love this quote, ‘As Smith says, “form matters,” and if our youth ministry is formed by secular liturgies, it will form the young to be comfortably at home in a secular age.’ As I said in the previous post, rather than exclusively using contemporary forms, Smith argues that we should make use of the ancient liturgies of the church.

Youth Ministry in a Secular Age

The One Grand End and Purpose for Christ Coming into the World

One of my favorite later Puritan authors is J.C. Ryle. His book, Holiness, is a classic and a favorite of mine. In 2012, Kevin DeYoung wrote a modern-day Holiness titled, The Hole in our Holiness. It’s a wonderful book and like everything he writes, both accessible AND weighty. I highly recommend it.

“J.C. Ryle, a nineteenth-century Bishop of Liverpool, was right: ‘We must be holy, because this is the one grand end and purpose for which Christ came into the world … Jesus is a complete Saviour. He does not merely take away the guilt of a believer’s sin, he does more — he breaks its power (1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 12:10).’ My fear is that as we rightly celebrate, and in some quarters rediscover, all that Christ has saved us from, we are giving little thought and making little effort concerning all that Christ has saved us to.”

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