Every Wednesday we like to share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These links are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting break for the middle of your week, encouraging your faith and equipping you for life and ministry.
An important topic, and great contributors. As I write, it is December. Is this book perhaps one you should give to others or put on your own Christmas list?
The answer is no if you believe strongly in “unlimited” or “universal” atonement and do not wish to have your holiday cheer disturbed. While the book lacks fireworks (as already noted), it does engage many detractors of definite atonement like McCormack (and his inspiration Barth), M. Eugene Boring, Mark Driscoll, Bruce Ware, David Allen, Clark Pinnock, and several others. In my opinion, it does so effectively.
Five years ago, WORLD founder Joel Belz suffered a journalistic disaster. He had traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, to interview octogenarian J.I. Packer, author of many terrific books on theology. Joel recorded 90 minutes of conversation and placed the recording in the side pocket of his suitcase. Somewhere on his luggage’s journey back to North Carolina, someone or something ripped off that side pocket. Joel lost his Bible and the recording.
After a long search, Joel sadly concluded the interview was not meant to be—yet last year he received a package containing the lost items, without a sender’s name or return address. Joel had the interview transcribed but suspected it was dated. This past week he sent me the transcript and modestly (as always) suggested, “There might be some excerpts” that could be useful. I read the interview and found all of it useful. Joel asked good questions and Packer, now 87, was both wise and charming. Please read and enjoy.
The fundamental flaw of Hinch’s article, however, is taking the likes of Schuller and Bell as representatives of evangelical trends. I know that there is great disagreement over the definition of “evangelical,” and the issues here are complex. But if evangelicalism has any theological identity at all (I’m thinking here of the Bebbington quadrilateral), then Schuler and Bell were at best on the margins of the evangelical movement. They were not leading lights. In fact by the time Bell and Schuller were winding up their ministries, they were not recognized as evangelical by many who remain committed to the authority of scripture, the necessity of personal conversion, and the great commission mandate.
The Bible is a dangerous book in the hands of neurotic Christians. Many read it to find out what they have to do to please an angry God or be a better Christian than all the slackers who don’t really understand the scriptures. There is a better way. . . .
Because the central message of the Bible is God’s grace, it can be a source of great hope and joy instead of a tool with which to bludgeon ourselves and others. Join Dr. Bryan Chapell and Dane Ortlund on Steve Brown Etc. as we talk with them about the new Gospel Transformation Bible. You really can read the Bible without making yourself and others suicidal!