A Great Theological Primer

Cover of "Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What ...

Cover via Amazon

I really enjoyed reading Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris.  Harris has written a serious theology book in a way that new or your Christians can understand.  He deals with doctrines such as God, Scripture, Jesus, the Cross, salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, and the Church.

For each doctrine, Harris introduces the basics of it and then he gives examples from his life that illustrate the importance of the doctrine.  Harris does not shy away from the theological terms.  He defines them and them describes then in ways that are practical and memorable.  This method makes the teachings he gives more enjoyable to read.  Often, I think those reading the book would not realize they are being taught.

I think this book would be an excellent primer for a youth group or a new believers class.  The book includes a discussion guide for this very purpose.  I am considering having my daughters to read this book or to read it with them.  I can highly recommend this book to you.  Reading it will be time well spent.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Marching Orders for Christians…..

If you are content with the state of Christianity in the United States today then this book (Radical:  Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream) is not for you.  David Platt examines the implementation of the American Dream into our churches that has occurred over the last couple decades and compares it to biblical Christianity.

Platt begins by giving a biblical picture of who Jesus is.  He follows this up with a biblical explanation of what the true Gospel is.  This is as it should be because this is the foundation of all that we are and do as Christians.  He then identifies and challenges many of the aspects that have come to define what a successful church and Christian are in our current society.  Movements such as the prosperity gospel and the seeker-sensitive church model are not mentioned by name but are taken to task and their reliance in their own abilities is proven to be non-biblical.  Waste and opulence in the church and the individual Christian’s life is contrasted with the want of the poor around the world.  Christians are challenged to change the way they think and they way they live out their faith.  Platt shows the biblical model of evangelism and discipleship.  God’s word is spread God’s people meeting the needs of those around then and teaching them all that they have been taught.  It involves God’s people going into the places where the poor are.  Our modern methods often involve trying to get the poor to come to us.  Platt finishes the book by challenging the readers to take up his radical challenge for one year.  He promises that if the challenge is accepted and completed it will change the life of the person taking it.  The challenge consists of five parts:  pray for the whole world for one year, read the Bible completely in one year, sacrifice your money for a specific purpose, spend time in another context, and commit to multiplying the community of believers.

This book was definitely a convicting read.  It should make every Christian examine how he currently lives out his faith and when not in agreement with the Bible to make appropriate changes.  This process should also drive people back to God and a dependence on Him for all that He has given us to do.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Multomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Do You Know My King?

Open Thread: What Does Christ’s Death On The Cross Mean To You?

Today is Good Friday and I have been thinking some about the significance of the events of this day in my life.  For those that are not familiar with Good Friday, this is the day we (Christians) celebrate the death of Jesus on the cross and what it accomplished.

I am very thankful for what Jesus did for me.  I know that He was thinking about me as He suffered for my sins.  I know that He did it willingly and with joy because He could see the reward for what He was doing.  It is hard for me to imagine what He went through.  I have read the accounts in the Bible and I have seen Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ but I can’t help but think that the reality is far worse than my mind can comprehend without seeing it first hand.  I have read some modern medical explanations of crucifixion and I am glad that I did not see it first hand.  I am more glad that I did not have to experience it firsthand.

I am most thankful that God chose to provide a way that I, in my sinful depraved state, could be reconciled to Him and that I do not have to pay for my sinfulness myself for all eternity.  It is a debt that I can never pay in full.  Christ, however, could and did pay my debt in full.  He has purchased my freedom with His blood.  He is now my Savior and my King.  If you are His, then He has done the same to you.

Christ’s death has given me freedom to be who I was designed to be in God’s plan.  It has allowed me to not fear the circumstances of my life because I know that God is in control of all things.  That does not mean that I don’t have fear or worry but it means that if I am relying on Him I don’t have to have those things.  I can now seek only to please God and not worry about anything else.  He is sovereign in my life.  Even though I fail Him, He still loves me and still works in my life.

Is He sovereign in your life?

The Atonement: Universal or Particular (Limited)?

Also posted at Exploring Theology.

————————————–

This is one of the “hot button” issues in the debate between reformed and non-reformed believers.

Reformed (Calvinistic) brothers believe in a particular (or limited) atonement. They say Jesus died on the cross to save only the Elect.  That He accomplished His intended task which was to save the Elect.  They cite verses like Matthew 1:21 to make this point.  It says “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” [emphasis added] This position says that only the Elect will have the opportunity to be saved and that all the Elect will be saved because this was the intention from the beginning.

Non-reformed (Arminian) brothers believe in a universal atonement.  They say that Jesus died for every and all men but that the atonement is only effectual on those who knowingly and willingly accept it.  This position basically says that everybody will have an opportunity to accept the call to salvation but only some will do so.  They cite verses like John 3:16 to make this point.  It says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” [emphasis added]  This position says that people must agree to accept the gift of the atonement before it is applied to them.  Basically it says that Jesus died only to make salvation possible for all people.

This was a very brief description of the two alternatives.  Much longer posts could be written about both positions but that is not my purpose here.  I have a simple purpose:  to get you to share what your position you hold and why.  So here is the question:  DID JESUS DIE TO SAVE HIS PEOPLE OR TO MAKE SALVATION POSSIBLE FOR ALL PEOPLE?  DO YOU BELIEVE IN UNIVERSAL OR PARTICULAR ATONEMENT?  WHY?  PLEASE GIVE YOUR REASONS (WHATEVER THEY MAY BE).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 414 other followers