Posts Tagged ‘douglas wilson’

This week: God using Survivor? Some solid personal notes to bookend the current discussion of hell by Tim Challies, Wilson blows up some conventional wisdom, and how not to just drift away from Kevin DeYoung.

‘Survivor’ Update: Hat Tip to the Almighty (by Mark Morning, CT): My wife and I are fans of this show and after we watched the episode that aired this past Wednesday, I was intrigued by what Julie shared and wondered if she meant it. From this article, it looks like she did!

I Hate Hell (by Tim Challies)

I hate hell. I hate that it exists and hate that it needs to exist. I’m amazed to realize that, when we are heaven, we will praise God for it and that we will glorify him for creating such a place and for condemning the unsaved to it. But for now I am too filled with pride, too filled with sin to even begin to justly and rightly rejoice in the existence of such a place of torment. I cannot rejoice in such a place; not yet. It is just too awful, too weighty. And I know that I deserve to be there.

Seven Memes for Keeping Christians in their Place (by Douglas Wilson)

Darwinian evolution is actually the funniest thing I ever heard of. It is so dumb that the average Christian needs at least three years of graduate study from white-haired profs to get adjusted to it.

Lest We Drift Away: A Sermon for Good Friday (by Kevin DeYoung)

Most church people drift away from God not because they meant to, but because they got busy, they got lazy, they got distracted, they had kids, they got a mortgage, a few illnesses came, then some bills, then the in-laws visited for a week, then the mini-van broke down, and before you knew what was happening the seed of the word of God had been choked out by the worries of life.

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This week: the Muslim world’s resistance to the gospel, women and porn, knowing the Bible (not merely defending it), and the usual fantastic sarcasm from Doug Wilson on some freedom of speech issues.

Why is the Muslim World so Resistant to the Gospel? (by Al Mohler)

In the mind of many Muslims, the Crusades are what feels like a living memory. To many within the Islamic world, Christians remain Crusaders, and evangelism is just another way of continuing the crusading mission.

Freedom (by Ali C.)

I was addicted to pornography for over eight years.
I’ll give you a moment to get over your shock, to say to yourself, But isn’t she a girl? Girl’s don’t struggle with that! Trust me; it’s nothing I haven’t heard before, and it’s part of the reason it’s often so hard to tell people. When a man confesses to a struggle with pornography, it’s par for the course and you move on. But women are a whole different story, and I’ve been met with reactions ranging from the incredulous to the downright horrified.

Don’t Merely Defend the Bible. Know What’s in it. (by Mike Conroy)

Paul was not embarrassed because he was vindicated before God in the heavenly places since God united him to Christ and His death and resurrection through the Gospel. Will we be embarrassed when we explain to people what the Bible teaches and what we believe? Of course. But woe to us if we are looking for arguments that take the offense out of the Gospel. Woe to us if we are in search of arguments in order to impress the wisdom of the world. Woe to us if we look for arguments so that we don’t look like fools for giving the Gospel to the people around us. Once we go down that road we are already starting to bow down and worship the very thing that we claim to be trying to help the unbelievers we know and love turn from.

In Burkas in No Time (by Douglas Wilson)

nobody says about the rioters in Afghanistan that they should chill, because we have lots of unstable pastors over here, and if they don’t stop beheading people over there, we might have some more Koran burnings over here. No, that’s not the direction we push.

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When it comes to cussing most Christians are either surreptitious Platonists, thinking that the librarian of Heaven keeps an official register of “bad words,” and that it is a sin to say any one of them, ever, or they are libertines who scoff at such reification of bad words, concluding falsely that there is no such thing as evil speaking. But there is evil speaking, a lot of it, and more than there ought to be in your midst.

I lived the first 18 years of my life without Jesus and that means I went through junior high and high school using the same language as everybody else. Though my speaking of foul language has diminished, the flesh patterns are still there. So I was stirred yesterday by a blog post written by Doug Wilson called “Understanding Bad Words.” I appreciated his candor and usual bluntness in dealing with the topic and bringing up issues we hesitate to bring up. I would say that I tend to swing towards the direction of the “Platonists,” simply avoiding certain “bad words” as he describes above, but the following comments resonated with me and were very convicting:

There is an additional category that we might call “shoot cussing,” which traffics in hecks and darns and goshes, and which calls the driver in front of you a “wall-eyed son of a whatnot.” Again, note the presence of that damned Platonism again . . . did that on purpose, it really is damned . . . where it is assumed that all a word has to do in order to be clean is be off that list. But you can hit your thumb with a hammer and run around the house screaming doorknob, and be as deep in sin as it gets. And you can use the word Hell in a way that should offend no one, and not just in sermons about the last judgment either. Say someone says that something is blacker than the Earl of Hell’s riding boots. That a sin? Or just colorful?

Last week, I was in the field doing some sediment sampling on the Platte River with a few coworkers and this topic actually came up! My coworkers are not Christians which made the conversation even more interesting. What precipitated it was a comment by one coworker talking about another coworker who used the phrase, “Aw, stink!” He thought that was so ridiculous and said he thought, “Don’t you mean: ‘Aw, Sh**!” That then brought on a rewriting of numerous phrases like “Fornicate!” “Intercourse you!” “Aw, poop!” and, my personal favorite, “You Richard!” You might be laughing right now or maybe cheesed off, saying to yourself that these phrases aren’t that different from the original. But don’t we do this all the time? Words matter and yet… the heart matters as well. I was convicted by how easily I may speak a phrase not falling into the “bad words” register and yet think the bad word in my head anyway along with being given over to anger or grumbling internally. My unbelieving coworkers could sniff this out immediately!

Doug Wilson closes his post (actually a talk he gave) with some good questions for us:

Is your use of such words a matter of self-conscious Christian discipleship? If not, then stop saying them. Who taught you this word? Who are you imitating in using it yourself? How confident are you that there are no strings attached to the word? How confident are you that you learned nothing else along with the word? Is your use of these words paired up with an ungodly attitude? Is it connected to Ezekiel’s prophetic use or to some hard-R sex comedy? Jesus says that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34). Is your speech a fresh water spring or a sewage pipe? When you speak, are you respectful of the presence of women? Does that kind of thing matter to you at all? Are you aware of the difference between not speaking like a gentleman all alone, which is bad enough, and when you are with others not speaking like a gentleman in such a way as to insult a lady? When you speak, is it for the edification of the hearer, or is it to get a laugh for your own glory? Do you speak for them or for you? And are you like a poor stand-up comedian who tells dirty jokes because nervous laughter is better than no laughter? Do you use the existence of verbal Platonists as an excuse to be a libertine?As we finish, consider the explicit teaching of the apostle Paul on the subject. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29).

I commend the entire article to you, I know I was personally convicted by his well put thoughts.

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This week: parenting thoughts from Doug Wilson, thoughts on living in a post-feminist world, the sexualization of our kids (big props to TV and public schools!), and the desperate need for actual discipleship from Matt Perman.

Parenting Young People I and Parenting Young People II (by Douglas Wilson)

The hallmark of whether or not a father is experimenting on his kids, as opposed to bringing them up in obedience, is how open he is to the idea of someone else actually measuring what he is doing. How open is he to true accountability?

The Church in a Post-Feminist World: An Interview with Mary Kassian (by Paula Hendricks)

Feminism, as a cultural movement, is over. This is not to say that feminism has ended. On the contrary. The only reason the feminist movement is over is that it has been so wildly successful. Feminism has transitioned from being a movement to being the prevailing mindset of the masses.

The Sexualisation of Britain’s Youth (by Robin Phillips, Telegraph)

In treating sexuality as common, we end up neutralizing its potency, turning it into something tame, benign and trivial. But in doing that, we put our children at risk. When Camille Paglia argued that if rape is a totally devastating psychological experience for a woman, then she doesn’t have a proper attitude about sex (because rape is just like getting beaten up and “Men get beat up all the time”), she was merely following the itinerary of desensitization to its final destination.

The Cape Town Commitment on the Need for Developing Godly Leaders (by Matt Perman)

Arguably the scale of un-Christlike and worldly leadership in the global Church today is glaring evidence of generations of reductionist evangelism, neglected discipling and shallow growth. The answer to leadership failure is not just more leadership training but better discipleship training. Leaders must first be disciples of Christ himself.

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I usually share out encouraging and worthwhile reads that I find during the week over Twitter or Google Reader. However, I thought it might be helpful to weed through those a bit and share my favorites of the week. This week: Piper on Jesus as mediator, Douthat on the abortion paradox of our culture, Baxter on fighting sin, Keller on Christians and culture, and Wilson on technology.

Don’t Make Jesus More of a Mediator Than He is (by John Piper)

This is astonishing. Jesus is warning us not to think of God Almighty as unwilling to receive us directly into his presence. By “directly” I mean what Jesus meant when he said, “I am not going to take your requests to God for you. You may take them directly. He loves you. He wants you to come. He is not angry at you.”

The Unborn Paradox (by Ross Douthat, NY Times)

This is the paradox of America’s unborn. No life is so desperately sought after, so hungrily desired, so carefully nurtured. And yet no life is so legally unprotected, and so frequently destroyed.

Directions for Hating Sin (by Richard Baxter)

Think well what pure and sweet delights a holy soul may enjoy from God, in his holy service; and then you will see what sin is, which robs him of these delights, and prefers fleshly lusts before them.

Work and Cultural Renewal (by Tim Keller)

The most powerful way to show people the truth of Christianity is to serve the common good. The monks in the Middle Ages moved out through pagan Europe, inventing and establishing academies, universities, and hospitals. They transformed local economies and cared for the weak through these new institutions. They didn’t set out to ‘get control’ of a pagan culture. They let the gospel change how they did their work and that meant they worked for others rather than for themselves. Christians today should be aiming for the same thing.

Calvinism, Eschatology, and the New Media (by Douglas Wilson)

The constant and ever present temptation in the Church is the gnostic temptation of locating sin in the stuff, sin in the matter, sin in the wealth, sin in the technology . . . instead of locating it where it belongs, in the heart of man.

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Books I briefly review in this post (click to jump to a specific book):

My Top 6

Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson

Future Men by Douglas Wilson

CrossTalk by Michael Emlet

The Cure of Melancholy by Richard Baxter

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Other Interesting Reads

ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Tipping Point/Blink/Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson

Give me priests. Give me men with feathers in their hair or tall domed hats, female oracles in caves, servants of the python, smoking weed and reading palms. A gypsy fortune-teller with a foot-pedal Ouija board and a gold fishbowl for a crystal ball knows more about the world than many of the great thinkers of the West.

What more can I say about this book than what I’ve said in this post? This is easily the best book I’ve read all year, a profound read that has impacted my theology, how I view creation, how I trust God in hard circumstances, and the very vocabulary I use now. Wilson’s book is an absolute must-read that has blown away everyone I know who has read it.

Future Men by Douglas Wilson

Great lessons can be acquired by small boys in a small garden. A rich farmer was once rebuked for having his sons work in the fields when they didn’t have to. His reply was apropos to this discussion. He wasn’t raising corn, he explained, he was raising boys. Boys therefore should be learning to be patient, careful, and hard-working.

Doug Wilson, N.D. Wilson’s father, has tremendous thoughts here for dads of sons, as well as daughters. Wilson’s wit always cracks me up and it’s always directed with a purpose. I appreciated the amount that he has to say here but also how well Wilson simplifies things and doesn’t merely give a recipe. Wilson is centered on the gospel and the centrality of God’s glory and it taints all his writing here about guiding sons into becoming men.

The point of discipline with boys is to channel and direct their energy into an obedient response to the cultural mandate. It is not to squash that energy, destroying it or making it sullen.

CrossTalk by Michael Emlet

We confess that all of Scripture is helpful for all of life, but that’s not the way the Bible actually functions in our lives and ministries. The challenge is not just in moving from present-day problems to the Scriptures. Many modern-day struggles and problems don’t seem to be addressed in the Scriptures.

I’ve already written a review here but I’ll just say again not to be intimidated by a book that seems to be more geared towards being an effective counselor for others. The first 6 chapters are extremely helpful in understanding and studying the Bible and see the Word with new eyes.

The Cure of Melancholy by Richard Baxter

And so, if he[Satan] can cast you into melancholy, he can easily tempt you to overmuch sorrow and fear, and to distracting doubts and thoughts, and to murmur against God, and to despair, and still think that you are undone, undone;

This is an excellent book, written in the 1682, by Richard Baxter, in which Baxter shows remarkable understanding of depression and deep discouragement. Read my thoughts here and here.

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

What a fool, quoth he, am I, thus to lie in a stinking Dungeon, when I may as well walk at Liberty. I have a Key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any Lock in Doubting Castle.

I finally got around to reading this classic this past summer and I was not disappointed. Bunyan wrote the book in the mid 1600s and, through the help of John Owen, it was published in 1678. It is still one of the bestselling books of all time, second only to the Bible! Yes, the English is old and it starts a bit slow but give it a shot and you will find yourself encouraged by it. When you read it, remember that Bunyan likely wrote it while languishing in prison for 12 years because he refused to stop sharing the gospel.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

My friends, this is much, it is a terrible task that we undertake, and there may be consequence to make the brave shudder. For if we fail in this our fight he must surely win, and then where end we? Life is nothings, I heed him not. But to fail here, is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him, that we henceforward become foul things of the night like him, without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best. To us forever are the gates of heaven shut, for who shall open them to us again? We go on for all time abhorred by all, a blot on the face of God’s sunshine, an arrow in the side of Him who died for man. But we are face to face with duty, and in such case must we shrink?

I wrote about this book not long ago here and here and I’ll say it again: I loved this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, loved the thrill, the characters and their love for one another, the masculinity and femininity displayed, Van Helsing, and theme of the sovereignty of God grounding everything. The last quarter of the book is such a ride.

Other Interesting Reads

ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Why don’t we just call plans what they really are: guesses. Start referring to your business plans as business guesses, your financial plans as financial guesses, and your strategic plans as strategic guesses. Now you can stop worrying about them as much. They just aren’t worth the stress.

I read this book most recently out of any of the books on this list and I’m still processing the paradigm shift Fried and Hansson present here. I don’t like most business philosophy “most effective people” leadership type books but I enjoyed and was stirred up by this one. From their thoughts on professionalism to changes in the workplace to trusting employees to encouraging inspiration, you will not be disappointed in taking the time to read this. I started reading this on a Friday afternoon and finished it about 24 hours later!

What is it about growth and business? Why is expansion always the goal? What’s the attraction of big besides ego? (You’ll need a better answer than “economies scale.”) What’s wrong with finding the right size and staying there?

The Tipping Point/Blink/Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Out of the Gladwell triumvirate, my favorite was Blink. Gladwell’s writing is very easy to read and the research he chooses to pull together is very fascinating. Why did I like “Blink?” The best thing that I took from this book is how we can transform our involuntary responses by training and by what we think about. This book is a demonstration of Romans 12:2 and power of our minds. We cannot overcome sin apart from the Holy Spirit’s power working in our hearts but the Holy Spirit will not work against us – we need to be diligent.

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

Could I really call this an enjoyable read? Not really, but I both identified with CS Lewis in how his grief is displayed as well as many places where his grief seems wholly his own. That’s why this book is so valuable and worth reading – CS Lewis’ processing of the death of his wife displays what a fog grief can be, how it is truly different for everyone and yet how there are commonalities for all of us who have deeply grieved. If grief is relatively foreign to you, read this book and immerse yourself in the chaos and process that Lewis goes through and so vulnerably displays. If grief is fresh for you, read this book and let Lewis help you walk through it.

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