Kindle Deal of the Day: Discipleship: An Introduction to Basic Christianity by Trevor Laurence and Derek Radney. $2.99.
This book is an attempt to outline a comprehensive introduction to the Christian faith by two pastors who desire to be faithful to the task of passing on the truth once for all delivered to the saints.
Russ Moore – The First Christmas Carol was a War Hymn:
We have a rich and complicated and often appropriately dark Christmas hymnody. We can sing of blessings flowing “far as the curse is found,” of the one who came to “free us all from Satan’s power.” Let’s sing that, every now and then, where we can be overheard.
The papacy is mysterious and magical: it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar while revealing almost nothing about the man himself. And it raises hopes in every corner of the world—hopes that can never be fulfilled, for they are irreconcilable. The elderly traditionalist who pines for the old Latin Mass and the devout young woman who wishes she could be a priest both have hopes. The ambitious monsignor in the Vatican Curia and the evangelizing deacon in a remote Filipino village both have hopes. No Pope can make them all happy at once.
Ultimately progress must be measured against the ideal, the goal, to which we as individuals or as a society are striving. If the ideal to which we are striving is holiness, we can be said to be progressing towards the ideal to the degree that we live more virtuously. Thus we can speak of making progress in our spiritual life. If we forsake such an ideal in the interests of self-gratification, we have to radically change our understanding of progress; it is no longer connected to a growth in virtue but to the gratification of selfish desire. Any progress made in the direction of the first ideal will ipso facto be an act of regression with regard to the other, and vice versa.
“In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there’s no danger that we will confuse God’s work with our own, or God’s glory with our own.”
Thanks to Joey Cochran for his comprehensive review of Gospel-Centered Teaching!
I will never forget the first time it clicked. I had been teaching bible lessons in Sunday school for four years. Off and on I succeeded at pointing teens to the gospel. Nonetheless, my effort was precarious at best.
Then one morning I taught on an Old Testament passage about the conquest of Israel. I made a gospel connection between Joshua and Jesus. I pointed these young men to how they are warriors for Christ on conquest for His kingdom on earth. Jesus is the better Joshua. Their goal is to position their life to ask the Lord to “let [His] kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”
This clicked for those young men. They saw how the Old Testament connected to the gospel and the gospel connected to their mission. That morning we celebrated the gospel and committed to the mission. That is the aim of teaching — go to the gospel!