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Archive for May, 2011

Why Do We Need So Many Books on the Gospel?

By Dane Ortlund

After all, after 2,000 years, don’t we know by now what the gospel is? Haven’t we “been-there-done-that”? Why do we need one book after another on the same old topic?

  1. Because the gospel is “of first importance” (1 Cor 15:3). In describing his ministry—a ministry that communicated “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)—Paul described it as testifying “to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
  2. Because you’re going to roll out of bed tomorrow a functional Pharisee. The instincts beneath your instincts, the impulses way down deep inside you, are law, not gospel. A good night’s sleep, not a heretical sermon, is all it takes to forget the gospel of grace.
  3. Because the gospel is disputed and debated today. What is the gospel? What are the implications of the gospel? What is the relationship between the gospel and the kingdom of God? How does the gospel relate to growth in godliness? What is the connection between the gospel and community? These questions need answers from different people, with different voices and different backgrounds, who love the same gospel.
  4. Because the church is always one generation away from losing the gospel. Every generation must rediscover the glories of free grace for itself.
  5. Because for every book exulting in or explaining or defending the gospel, a hundred more roll off the press which, wittingly or unwittingly, distract us from that which is of first importance.
  6. Because the gospel is the central message of the entire Bible. Jesus said that even Moses was writing, ultimately, about him (John 5:46). The last verse of the Bible sums up the core message of the Bible: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Rev. 22:21).

The gospel is the scandalous news that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, our disobedience cannot dent God’s approval of us and our obedience cannot help God’s approval of us, as we look in trusting faith to Christ. And the priority of this gospel, the functional need of the gospel, the contesting of the gospel, the retaining of the gospel, the constant sidelining of the gospel, and the unified biblical testimony to the gospel all unite to say—yes, we need more books on this gospel.

Dane Ortlund is senior editor in the Bible Division at Crossway and blogs at Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology.

May 25, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life,The Gospel | Author: Crossway Staff @ 9:03 am | (2) Comments »

Four Ways a Person Can Die in Their Sins

Modified from Truth Endures by John MacArthur:

There are four elements from John 8:21–30 that show how a person can die in his sin:

Be Self-Righteous:
The first way to guarantee that you will die in your sin is to be convinced that you don’t need to be saved, that you are spiritually all right. Satan is clever. When he puts together a phony system based on human achievement and works‑righteousness, he does it in such a complex and supposedly biblical way that it is tremendously deceiving. People become captivated in cults and falsely assume they can gain righteousness by what they do. But no one ever comes to Christ who doesn’t see Him as a Savior who takes away sin and himself as a sinner who needs his sin taken away.

Be Earth-Bound:
In John 8:23 Jesus says, “I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” He tells the Pharisees that they are part of the world system of which He is not. The term “world” simply refers to the invisible spiritual realm of evil. You could characterize the system in this way: it is materialistic and humanistic, believing that man is going to solve his problems by himself and rule his own fate; it is lost in preoccupation with sex; it is plagued by carnal ambition, pride, greed, jealousy, envy, self‑pleasure and selfish desire, murder, and so on. Its opinions are wrong, its aims are selfish, its pleasures are sinful, its influences are demoralizing, its politics are corrupt, its honors are empty, its smiles are phony, and its love is fickle. Furthermore, it is in the process of dissolution; according to 1 John 2:17, “the world is passing away.” It will self‑destruct.


Be Unbelieving:

In John 8:24 Jesus says, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” So the third way to guarantee you will die in your sins is to be unbelieving of the gospel. You don’t have to go out and kill someone and be bad to go to hell, because hell is not just for criminals, it is for everyone and anyone who refuses Christ.It isn’t enough to believe that Jesus is the One you think He is; you must believe that He is the One He claimed to be—“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35), “he who believes in Me will never thirst” (6:35), “I am the Light of the world” (8:12), “I am the good shepherd” (10:11), “I am the door” (10:9), “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (14:6). Because Jesus was identifying Himself with God, saving faith not only becomes a question of turning from sin, but trusting the Son as well. It’s a question of believing Jesus is who He claimed to be.

Be Willfully Ignorant:
When someone hears a speech about Christ, but doesn’t let it register, that person is willfully ignorant. The Jewish leaders had enough evidence about Christ, they just refused to believe, and in their chosen ignorance, even mocked Him. They were willfully ignorant of Christ’s identity: “So they were saying to Him, ‘Who are You?’” (John 8:25). Far from being an honest question, this could be paraphrased, “Who do you think you are, fella? These are some pretty ridiculous things you are saying, telling us that we’re going to die in our sin.

Learn more about Truth Endures by John MacArthur

May 18, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 1:00 pm | 0 Comments »

Interview: Thinking Rightly About Adoption & Caring for Orphans

Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary and author of Adopted for Life, speaks with Dennis Rainy and Bob Lepine on FamilyLife Today about thinking rightly about adoption and caring for the needs of orphans. Tune in to their three segments below:

  1. Grappling with Infertility? Could God be leading you to adoption? Moore talks honestly about his family’s struggle with infertility and recalls the precious moment when he opened his heart and mind to the idea of adoption.
  2. Embracing Adoption: Does God want to bless your life through adoption? Moore fondly remembers the days when he and his wife waited for a word from their adoption agency to go pick up their sons. He describes the orphanage in Russia where his sons lived and the emotions they felt as they prepared the boys to travel to their new home in the United States.
  3. Welcome to the Family: Adoption is close to the heart of God. Moore, father of two adopted sons talks about the challenges of adapting his adopted children to their new life and the blessings they’ve seen since expanding their family through adoption.

Learn more about Adopted for Life or read a sample chapter.

A Book You May Want to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Remember that book that John Piper said he couldn’t stop reading? If you’re interested in reading it this summer, Jim Hamilton and some others have put together a reading plan, outline, and discussion questions for God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment. Enjoy!

By Jim Hamilton (original post here).

Thinking about reading through God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology this summer? Maybe it would help to gather some friends and go through it as a group, discussing things along the way. If you don’t have a quorum where you are, a group from Kenwood Baptist Church will be going through it on a 13 week schedule covering about 40 pages a week, and John Michael Larue has started a blog to facilitate discussion among those who might be scattered far and wide (dates and pages on the first post).

Some guys doing doctoral work at SBTS led church groups through the book as part of an application assignment, and they’ve given me permission to make some of their material available. John Lake provided an outline that guided the discussions in the group he led, and Allen Cagle worked up a set of discussion questions that he used.

Please don’t write this book off as too academic!

My 76 year old great-uncle has finished all but the last two chapters. He’s a farmer near the Mississippi river hoping the levee holds, and he loves the Bible and has faithfully taught Sunday School for lo these many years now. And if you need some encouraging testimonials, try this two-parter from a member of Kenwood whose husband is studying at SBTS: Part One and Part Two.

Steve Davis of WCTS Radio also interviewed me on the book, and you can hear that here.

May the Lord give us hearts that rejoice in his justice and mercy.

May 16, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 1:48 pm | 0 Comments »

Video: Relational Dynamics in “The Gift”

Learn more about The Gift by Bryan Litfin.

May 13, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News,Video | Author: Crossway Staff @ 2:00 pm | 0 Comments »