Latest


Proclaim The Gospel, Not Your Own Thoughts

Aug 16, 2014 | Trevin Wax

sunlight-in-your-homeCharles Spurgeon:

Brothers and sisters, if you have learned the truth of God, manifest it and make it plain to others!

Proclaim the gospel, not your own thoughts, for it is Christ whom you are to make manifest! Teach not your own judgments, conclusions, and opinions, but the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!

Let Jesus manifest Himself in His own light. Do not cast a light on Him or attempt to show the sun with a candle. Do not aim at converting people to your views, but let the light shine for itself and work its own way. Do not color it by being like a painted window to it, but let the clear white light shine through you that others may behold your Lord.

Scatter your light in all unselfishness. Wish to shine, not that others may say, “How bright he is,” but that they, getting the light, may rejoice in the Source form which it came to you and to them.

Be willing to to make every sacrifice to spread this light that you have received! Consecrate your entire being to making known among the sons of men the glory of Christ.

- Charles Spurgeon, from “The Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ”

View Comments

Know Your Southern Baptists: Karen Swallow Prior

Aug 15, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Karen Swallow PriorName: Karen Swallow Prior

Why you’ve heard of her: Prior is a contributing writer at Christianity Today, The Atlantic, and Think Christian, and has been published in numerous other print and online magazines.

Position: Prior is an English professor at Liberty University. Along with her popular writing, she has also contributed articles to scholarly journals. Prior also serves as a research fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, on the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States, and on the Board of Trustees of Faith and Action in Washington D.C.

Previous: Before coming to Liberty in 1999, Prior was a principal at a Christian high school in New York.

Education: She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. at the State University of New York at Buffalo and her B.A. at Daemen College.

Books: Her books include Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More – Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist and a literary and spiritual memoir, Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me.

Why she’s important: Prior says her primary calling is teaching, and she has been recognized and honored frequently by Liberty. Her Twitter handle (@LoveLifeLitGod) comes from her desire that each of her students leaves class loving life, literature, and God more than when they started.

In addition to serving as an academic, Prior speaks about cultural topics from a Christian perspective in a wide variety of venues. She is carving out a place as a respected public intellectual and is doing so as a committed believer. Writing on topics ranging from Common Core to birth control on sites both religious and secular, Prior has worked to demonstrate the necessity of taking every thought captive to Christ.

Along with her passion for teaching and gift of writing, she and her husband are active at Rivermont Avenue Baptist in Lynchburg, VA, where they serve as deacons.

Notable Quotes:

“The greatest gift of marriage is the formation that occurs through the give and take of living in lifelong communion with another.”

“We must not try to remedy injustice with error.”

“Literature is like the cleft of a rock that God has taken me to, a place from which I can experience as much of the glory of God as I can endure. Great literature allows me, like Moses, to see the back of God.”

“What good literature can do and does do—far greater than any importation of morality—is touch the human soul.”

“Self-esteem is the dark, distorted shadow of self-possession. Self-esteem gazes inward and wills the inner eye to like what it sees; self-possession looks inward only long enough to take a measure then looks outward at the world in search of a fitting place—and settles for no less.”

Others in the “Know Your Southern Baptists” Series:

View Comments

Ferguson is Ripping the Bandages off our Racial Wounds

Aug 14, 2014 | Trevin Wax

483852_Police-Shooting-Missouri10The policy successes of the Civil Rights movement have given rise to the narrative that the worst of our racial and ethnic prejudices are behind us. Unfortunately, politics and policies show only one side of the story.

The truth is, we are still a country divided.

White Americans who look back on the 1950′s and 1960′s with the nostalgia of Mayberry may be surprised to discover how radically different their black friends and neighbors interpret the past, and the present.

The Trayvon Martin shooting was a good example. In general, blacks saw that event as an outrageous display of unjust violence. Whites tended to see Martin’s death as an isolated incident, an unfortunate tragedy that should have been avoided, but, in any case, doesn’t tell us much about society or injustice on a larger scale.

Ferguson, Missouri is worse.

This time, it is a police officer killing a teenager who, according to witnesses, had dropped to his knees with his hands in the air. This is not a neighborhood watchman with a hero complex; it’s an officer invested with trust and authority. And though not all of the details of the altercation are clear (and we shouldn’t confuse rushing to judgment with enacting justice), the protests and calls for transparency are certainly understandable.

That’s why the unfolding situation in Ferguson is disturbing on a number of levels: the militarized police in the streets of Ferguson, the arrests of journalists, the overreach of authorities charged with maintaining the peace during these protests, not shutting them down.

The events of Ferguson are heartbreaking and harrowing. Heartbreaking because the pain of this community is palpable. Harrowing because the response of the authorities seems so utterly out of proportion that one can’t help but wonder, Who’s next?

Ferguson is ripping the bandages off the racial wounds we thought were healing but instead are full of infection.

It is exposing the scabs of our failure to live up to the ideals put forth in our Declaration of Independence.

It is exposing the ongoing, deeply rooted structures of society that continue to feed and reinforce our prejudices.

It is exposing how, decades after desegregation, we we have self-segregated into neighborhoods and suburbs. Economic stagnation, family breakdown, and a drug culture are three strands of a noose with strangling force, suppressing people on the margins as the rest of society moves forward, blithely unaware of the realities faced by their fellow citizens across town.

Too many of us think: If we can just contain the problem, our way of life won’t be affected. Self-preservation and the support for our own way of life closes our ears to the cries around us.

But make no mistake. Privilege is real, and so is oppression. We live in the same country, in different worlds. The town of Ferguson is speaking up; this is the time to listen, and pray for justice.

View Comments

The Moral Logic of the Apostle Paul

Aug 14, 2014 | Trevin Wax

006063796XI’m blogging through Richard Hays’ The Moral Vision of the New Testament over the next several weeks. In case you’re wondering why, read this. If you’re just joining us, don’t miss last week’s post that sets the stage for how we understand the ethics of the New Testament.

Today, we’re looking at two chapters: the first lays out Paul’s moral vision, and the second analyzes development in the later Pauline tradition. (Hays does not believe all the letters attributed to Paul are authentically Pauline. I do, and so I’ve chosen to treat them together in one blog post.)

What is the theological framework for Pauline ethics? Hays finds three major pillars:

1. New Creation: Eschatology and Ethics

  • The eschatological perspective: suffering and joy are present together.
  • The Christian community is engaged in a cosmic conflict.
  • Believing in the imminence of Christ’s second coming heightens the imperatives of ethical action.
  • God is at work preparing the community for the Day of the Lord.
  • Paul’s gospel proclaims the redemption of all creation.

2. The Cross: Paradigm of Faithfulness

“In community with others, believers find themselves conformed to the death of Christ. Thus, the cross becomes the ruling metaphor for Christian obedience, while the resurrection stands as the sign of hope that those who now suffer will finally be vindicated by God” (31).

3. Redeemed Community: The Body of Christ

“God is at work through the Spirit to create communities that prefigure and embody the reconciliation and healing of the world” (32).

~~~~~

What is the moral logic of Paul’s vision? Here, Hays lays out “warrants, norms, and power” for living according to the moral vision of the apostle.

Why Obey God? Warrants for the Moral Life

  • Through union with Christ, we undergo transformation. “We are to walk in newness of life.”
  • Because God has liberated us from the power of sin, we should transfer our allegiance to the one who has set us free.
  • Because the Spirit is at work, His fruit should be manifest in community life.
  • We also live with the expectation of future judgment, and we recognize the threat of punishment for disobedience.

What is the Shape of Obedience? Norms for the Moral Life

  • Following in the footsteps of Jesus means the relinquishment of self-interest for the benefit of others.
  • We live with concern for the health and purity of the community.

How is Obedience Possible? Power for the Moral Life

  • The Holy Spirit is a source of power enabling Christ’s people to “walk” in a way that fulfills the real meaning of the Law.

~~~~~

What about the later letters attributed to Paul? What does the development of the later Pauline tradition look like? Hays focuses on two letters in particular:

  • Ephesians, where he notices a cosmic ecclesiology. The church’s moral action manifests the truth of God’s cosmic design and extends God’s reconciling power into the world through the growth of the body of Christ toward maturity.
  • 1 Timothy, which lays out the proper behavior in God’s household. Hays believes the impulse in 1 Timothy is toward church stability and order, thus suppressing Paul’s earlier focus on freedom.

Some Personal Considerations 

Hays’ strongest and most persuasive point is that Paul’s eschatology impacts his ethical vision. Paul’s writings are not “timeless” ethics; they are grounded in a specific vision of the world’s history and future.

Also helpful is Hays’ treatment of the cross as paradigm for Christian faithfulness, including the expectation of suffering. Whereas many in the gospel-centered movement today see “cross-centered” mainly in terms of motivation toward holiness (the gospel empowers us to obey), Hays would define “cross-centered” more in terms of the shape of what holiness and obedience looks like.

To sum up, motivation for the Christian life is eschatological, the power to obey comes from the Spirit, and the form and shape of our obedience is modeled on Christ’s sacrificial death. Overall, I find Hays’ treatment of Pauline ethics to be a solid introduction to the moral logic of the apostle’s teaching.

(As a complementarian, it’s no surprise that I find Hays’ appendix on male and female relationships frustrating. He dismisses textual evidence from 1 Corinthians as interpolation (55), and he takes a similar approach to 1 Timothy’s treatment. In my opinion, Hays’ treatment of Pauline texts that do not correspond to the egalitarian position he believes is reflective of Paul’s earlier writings undermines Hays’ previous assertions that the text stands over against us as ultimate authority. At least in this case, Hays seems unwilling to even consider or interact with a textual case for equality of men and women expressed in complementary roles in the church.)

View Comments

Worth a Look 8.14.14

Aug 14, 2014 | Trevin Wax

WorthALook1Kindle Deal of the Day: The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story by D. A. Carson. $3.99.

In this basic introduction to faith, D. A. Carson takes seekers, new Christians, and small groups through the big story of Scripture. He helps readers to know what they believe and why they believe it.

Jason Sanders – Those Who Weep:

Whenever a celebrity dies, we can count on someone being there to make us feel guilty for being sad. Those reminders usually come about 7.221 seconds after the tragedy itself goes public. And they’re usually said by the same people who remind us of how many people starved to death around the globe while we were watching the Super Bowl. But in this case, I didn’t hear the reminders until the following morning.

Jon Bloom – Help for Those Fighting or Grieving a Suicide:

One thing you need to remember is that the oppressive darkness and the temptation to despair is common to man. You are not alone. About ¼ of the Psalms are written to help you. And one man’s surrender to the darkness does not at all mean that’s where you’ll end up.

J. D. Greear – God Uses Two “Gardens” to Grow Our Children:

That means our primary responsibility for our children is to teach them the gospel—and to equip them to teach it to others. That is the most important task any parent has. And I don’t exaggerate in saying it’s the most important task of any church.

Moral Relativists in the University: They Aren’t Who You Think They Are

Conservatives too often pick a “conservative” position on a certain policy and then justify it using the language and tenets of progressivism. If I don’t want my children to grow up to be moral relativists, I need to make sure that I myself don’t sound like a moral relativist when I talk about the world.

View Comments

Reflections on the Gospel Project Panel on Calvinism and Mission

Aug 13, 2014 | Trevin Wax

SBC14_727a

Earlier this summer, The Gospel Project hosted more than 500 people for breakfast and a panel discussion on God’s sovereignty and missions.

Ed Stetzer, general editor of The Gospel Project, moderated a discussion that included me, David Platt (pastor of the Church at Brook Hills), and Frank Page (president of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention). The audio from this discussion is now available. Click here: Gospel Project Panel – Soteriology and the Mission of God.

As I listened again to the conversation, a few thoughts came to mind.

1. Discussions about soteriology must be connected to missions.

When Matt Capps, brand manager for The Gospel Project, first asked me if we should do a panel discussion on Calvinism, I was hesitant. I felt like the panel discussion from last year — on Christ-centered preaching — was helpful for pastors navigating the hermeneutical issues involved in showing how all the Bible points to Jesus. I worried that a conversation about Calvinism would draw a crowd but wouldn’t be as beneficial.

Eventually, we decided that if we tackled such a controversial subject, the discussion would need to be connected to mission at every point. I’m not interested in people theologizing for theology’s sake. Theology matters because theology impacts mission. Listening to the audio from our discussion, I was pleased by how the conversation was relentlessly driven by bigger questions related to missions and evangelism.

2. It is possible to have a light-hearted, friendly conversation about serious theological issues.

The tone of the panel discussion was set by Ed, who, because he fell off a ladder a few days before and injured his back, was on painkillers. I doubt we would have had as much fun without narcotics being involved. All kidding aside, I hope the camaraderie of the panel shows that serious theological ideas and meaningful differences can be discussed in a friendly manner, as brothers who are partners in fulfilling the Great Commission.

Tone is important. We ought to have serious conversations about serious issues while we show love and affection toward each other. Banter does not hinder serious conversations. Sometimes, lightheartedness is the way we show that, even as we are serious about the gospel and Great Commission, we don’t take ourselves too seriously in the process.

SBC14_716a3. Soteriological views in the Southern Baptist Convention are best represented as a spectrum, not sides.

There aren’t two “sides” on soteriology in the SBC; instead, there is a spectrum. According to LifeWay Research, most Southern Baptists today do not fit neatly into categories of “Traditionalist” or “Calvinist.” Neither do many Southern Baptist heroes of the past, men like E. Y. Mullins (who rejected original guilt but affirmed unconditional election) or W. A. Criswell (who rejected limited atonement but affirmed the effectual call).

In this particular discussion, it was clear that Frank Page, David Platt, Ed Stetzer, and I agreed on a lot of things. But, interestingly enough, no one on the platform had identical views on the points of Calvinism or the ordo salutis (the logical order of salvation events). Our Convention is not monolithic on soteriology. We are on a spectrum, not sides.

4. God can use our feeble attempts to do theology for the greater good of His church.

One of the comments I made in the discussion is that the SBC may be better because of our diversity on this issue. I know many disagree with this perspective — Calvinists who believe the SBC would be stronger if everyone shared their soteriological views and others who believe the SBC would be stronger if there were no Calvinists at all. I understand these perspectives, but my strong belief in God’s sovereignty gives me confidence that God will use our differing conclusions for the good of His people.

What if, in God’s good providence, He uses our debates and discussions as the means by which He keeps us on mission for His kingdom?

What if the way God keeps our Calvinist brothers and sisters from hardening into the evangelistic apathy of Hyper-Calvinism is through ongoing conversations with those who disagree with their soteriological position?

What if the way God keeps our non-Calvinist brothers and sisters from softening into the inclusivism that dilutes our evangelistic passion is through tough conversations with the more Reformed?

Perhaps God makes the SBC stronger through these discussions and debates. That’s why it would be wrong to claim an artificial harmony where we say the differences don’t matter, and unwise to chase out brothers and sisters who are not of the same theological persuasion.

Conclusion

I want the conversation about Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention to bring glory to God by causing us to dig deeper into the Scriptures, by teaching us how to love people with whom we have substantive disagreements, and by leading us to greater engagement in God’s mission. For after all, there is no gospel-centrality apart from mission.

Enjoy the conversation! Gospel Project Panel – Soteriology and the Mission of God

View Comments

Worth a Look 8.13.14

Aug 13, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Worth a Look MagnifyingKindle Deal of the Day: The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places by Nik Ripken. $2.99.

“We have the high privilege of answering Jesus’ call to go,” Ripken says. “But let us be clear about this: we go on His terms, not ours. If we go at all, we go as sheep among wolves.”

Todd Adkins – 6 Ways to Lead Staff You Don’t Like:

You are eventually going to end up with someone on your team that you don’t really like. I am not talking about someone who is downright toxic to your culture, those people should be removed from your organization. I am speaking of someone who adds value to your work and team but there’s something about their personality that rubs you the wrong way. When push comes to shove you are a leader and you are going to have make some adjustments so that your team can continue to function at a high level.

Surprise! Pro-Gay-Marriage Christians Reject the Rest of Christian Teaching about Sex and Marriage, Too:

Churchgoing Christians (who were comparably much fewer in number as a pool of respondents), register much higher support for pornography, cohabitation, casual sex, and higher support than the general population for abortion rights.

Jen Wilken – Our Children, Our Neighbors:

If you asked me the single most important insight that has shaped my parenting, it would be this: Children are people.

These States Have the Fastest Internet:

Virginia comes in first; Alaska is last.

View Comments

Spiritual Disciplines, Legalism, and Laziness

Aug 12, 2014 | Trevin Wax

Spiritual Disciplines Don WhitneySpiritual disciplines are a lot like physical exercise. You know it’s important, but it’s not always easy to get excited about leg lifts and pushups. Watch someone who seems naturally drawn to various disciplines, and you can quickly get discouraged, as the subtle strain of legalism infects and paralyzes your efforts toward spiritual growth. It’s no wonder some throw up their hands and give up trying.

I hesitate to recommend a book on spiritual disciplines, simply because I know too many people who will consult a book like this and think that if they aren’t fervently and thoroughly practicing everything recommended here, they are behind the curve spiritually. I also harbor concerns that spiritual disciplines can turn us inward, make us become too introspective, and lead to a privatized piety that harms our mission.

But they don’t have to. That’s why, when I consider my own spiritual life, I can’t help but think about certain practices and disciplines that the Lord has used to shaped me over the years. It’s with that heart and mind that I approach this topic.

Don Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently revised his respected work - Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. I asked Dr. Whitney to respond to a few questions about his book and the formative power of spiritual disciplines. His website is BiblicalSpirituality.org.

Trevin: You write of spiritual disciplines as “the means to godliness” and point to biblical evidence and historical examples to make this case. Are you speaking of spiritual disciplines in a general sense or particular practices, some of which are not prescribed in Scripture (journaling, for example)?

Don: I am speaking of specific practices found in Scripture by command, example, or principle. I’ve never seen a supposed “definitive list” of the spiritual disciplines, and I state in the book that I am not attempting to present an exhaustive list, but I do think a case can be made that the ones presented in the book are the most prominent ones in Scripture.

Admittedly, there’s less biblical evidence for keeping a spiritual journal than for other disciplines in the book. But in the book as well as in this Baptist Press article I have argued that there is something very much like journaling in the Psalms of David and in the Lamentations of Jeremiah.

Trevin: I hear two common concerns with regard to spiritual disciplines. The first is from the Christian who fears that emphasizing spiritual disciplines turns Christianity into a checklist of rules and can weigh Christians down with unnecessary guilt. How do you respond to those who worry that spiritual disciplines detract from our experience of grace?

Don: This reminds me of a famous line from Martin Luther that Jerry Bridges more recently popularized: “We need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” At times during the day, we need to be reminded of that part of the gospel that tells us what God requires of us to live a life for Him. At other times each day, we need the reminder of the grace in the gospel, the assurance of forgiveness in Christ for not living up to God’s standards — that God accepts us because of what Jesus has done, not what we do.

Moreover, the spiritual disciplines—both the personal disciplines (which are the subject of this book) and the interpersonal ones (the subject of my Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church)—are means of grace. In other words, these disciplines are God-ordained means by which we experience God and His grace. Our job is to place ourselves before God by means of these disciplines, and then, when we look to Him by faith through them, we can expect to experience Him and His grace.

Think of how many times you awoke on Sunday morning and said to yourself, “I don’t feel like going to church today.” But you disciplined yourself to do what you knew you should do and what was best, and you went. There, after a meaningful encounter with God in worship you said, “I am so glad I came!”

That you had the desire and the power to gather with God’s people to worship Him was all by grace. Anything fruitful that came from the experience was all by grace. But God didn’t drag you out of bed. That was your grace-enabled discipline.

The same is true with all the spiritual disciplines. Grace doesn’t mean we coast spiritually until we get to heaven. Grace gave us the disciplines; grace gives us an affinity for the disciplines, and grace is experienced through the disciplines.

Incidentally, for those who fear that practicing the spiritual disciplines can lead to legalism, be aware that there’s a greater concern out there. While it’s true that legalism in all its forms is a legitimate danger, a danger we should preach about and warn against, a proclivity we all have in one way or another (for not all legalism looks the same outwardly), I see far more of the opposite error today.

For every legalistic practitioner of the spiritual disciplines I come across, I see ten who ignore or minimize the disciplines. So while on the one hand we need to preach grace to our legalistic tendencies, on the other we need to emphasize the spiritual disciplines against our tendencies to sloth and spiritual laziness.

Trevin: The second concern deals with specific spiritual disciplines, primarily those concerned with meditation on God’s Word or spending time in silence and solitude. How do you respond to those who believe time in silence is a misinterpretation of Psalm 46:10, an extrabiblical innovation that can lead us to place personal experience over God’s revealed truth?

Don: First, I trust that no Bible-believer has an issue with the responsibility, privilege, and value of meditation on God’s Word. Passages such as Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:3, 2 Timothy 2:7 and others should settle that. How could anyone who loves God and His Word discount the importance and benefits of meditation on Scripture? And the fact that meditation would frequently be most fruitful when done in privacy stands to reason.

But to unite the two (solitude and meditation on Scripture) on the basis of Psalm 46:10 is an error. Psalm 46:10—”Be still, and know that I am God”—is indeed frequently misinterpreted. In fact, I would say that when it’s used in the context of the devotional life it’s always misinterpreted.

While I do think it represents a biblical principle, namely that it’s always beneficial to stop and be reminded of the sovereignty of God in the midst of all circumstances, that’s not what Psalm 46:10 is about. Rather the context there is international, not personal. It’s about God’s exaltation above the nations, not about an individual’s personal piety.

Meditation on Scripture, done rightly, leads to the richest “personal experience” (with God), but never at the expense of God’s revealed truth. Rather I would contend that the richest experiences with God come most consistently by means of meditation on His Word.

Why is it that so many Christians, people who read the Bible every day, cannot remember the last time their daily time in the Word of God changed their day, much less changed their life? Why is it that most days, if pressed, as soon as they close their Bible they would have to admit, “I don’t remember a thing I read?” I would argue that the reason is a lack of meditation.

While reading the Bible is the exposure to Scripture—and that’s essential; that’s the starting place—meditation is the absorption of Scripture. And it’s the absorption of Scripture that leads to the experience with God and the transformation of life that we long for when we come to Scripture. My contention is that people just don’t do that, even people who read the Bible every day.

It’s not that people can’t meditate on Scripture; they just don’t. Often it’s because they’ve not been taught about meditation, and/or they just don’t know how to meditate on a verse of Scripture. That’s why in the section of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life where I write about meditation I conclude with seventeen different ways to meditate on Scripture, ways that are doable by any Christian (for any devotional practice–like meditation–expected of all God’s children has to be fundamentally simple).

Trevin: One of the reasons why worship attendance is down in some denominations is that the faithful Christian who is active in church is attending less often. In your opinion, does it help us to see the public worship gathering as a “discipline,” or is conceiving of worship as an “obligation” one of the reasons of why Christians are attending church less often?

Don: In my opinion, the reason the “faithful Christian” you mention attends church less often has nothing to do with the intentional rejection of an “obligation” imposed by the church. Having no interest in gathering when God’s people gather for the purpose of publicly honoring and enjoying God, finding no delight in the incarnational (not merely recorded) proclamation of God’s Word, and having no appetite for the grace of the Lord’s table comes from a deeper root than an avoidance of legalism. In the New Testament, the concepts of “faithful Christian” and avoidance of church life never characterize the same people.

Because of the internal war of the Spirit against our flesh and our flesh against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17), there remains within us while in this world a gravitational pull of our hearts away from the things of God (such as public worship) as well as a Spirit-produced gravitational pull toward them. For the one who intentionally fights against the flesh and who “sows to the Spirit” (Galatians 6:8) it’s right and biblical to speak of participation in congregational worship as a discipline.

As I mentioned earlier, the blessings experienced in the worship of God with His people will often be forfeited if we attend only when we feel like it when we awake on Sunday morning (if indeed we even awake on time without discipline).

Trevin: In this newest edition of your book, you have added more than 10,000 words of new material, adding more Bible references and a more cross-centered focus. What led you to make these adjustments in the new edition?

Don: The single biggest addition to the book was the expansion of the section on methods of meditation from six to seventeen. Some of the book’s enlargement came simply from including things I’ve learned about the disciplines in the twenty-three years since the original edition was published. I also took the opportunity to delete a few lines and quotations that could be construed as inclining toward mysticism.

Most importantly, I added more of the gospel in every chapter. In 2011 I did a year-long series on “The Gospel and the Spiritual Disciplines” for Tabletalk magazine. Much of that material found its way, chapter-by-chapter, into the revised and updated edition of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. I wanted to do my best to ensure that no one separated the gospel from the disciplines or became tempted to think that by the diligent practice of the disciplines they could earn God’s favor.

I’d also like to mention that the terminology of the book has been updated, and I believe it’s now a better-written book. I reviewed every line, and I hope I’ve learned a few things about writing in the last twenty-three years. Overall, I think this edition is a big advance for the book in style, but especially in content, and I hope your readers find it to be so.

View Comments

Worth a Look 8.12.14

Aug 12, 2014 | Trevin Wax

WorthALook1Kindle Deal of the Day: Truth with Love: The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer by Bryan Follis. $1.99.

Follis examines Schaeffer’s apologetic argument and the role of reason in his discussions and writings. The position Francis Schaeffer took against modernism and its applicability in this day of postmodernism are studied as well.

If you are like me, you feel burdened and helpless regarding the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Philip Nation provides some counsel on how we can pray for and support our brothers and sisters overseas.

As I’ve pondered it all, here are five things that we can do about the persecution of the church in Iraq.

In a fight with authors, Amazon cites Orwell, but not quite correctly:

Amazon’s post gave Orwell a big weekend on the Internet. “Altering Orwell’s words to fit your agenda seems rather … Orwellian,” Josh Centers, a tech writer, said in a Twitter message.

Emily Wierenga – An Open Letter to My Friends Struggling with Eating Disorders:

Dear friend, I want to take you back 20 years, to when I am thirteen years old. I am a pastor’s kid standing in a hospital room with clumps of hair in my hand. My nails are splintered, and you can see the outline of my braces through my cheeks. I weigh sixty pounds.

Multiplying Disciples in Bivocational Ministry:

This process of multiplication can take place in the ministries of bivocational pastors both in their church work as well as in the supplemental work that they do. For bivocational pastors there are some distinct challenges and some real blessings that come from the work of multiplying disciples in both contexts in which they live and work.

View Comments
1 2 3 4 5 417