Paul Valentine, senior pastor at Providence Community Church, preached a very good sermon this morning on the sovereignty of God in salvation, which I commend to you. In his sermon Paul shared an outstanding quotation from the late Darrell Champlin, Paul’s professor of Missions at Northland International Univeristy, and missionary in the Belgian Congo and Suriname:
The eternal purpose of God is to call out from every kindred, tongue, people, and nation, a multitude redeemed by the blood of His Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world, over whom He will crown His Son, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, King of kings and Lord of lords forever.
This is the passion of the heart of God that cannot be quenched, the obsession of His mind that cannot be denied, the vision of His eye that cannot grow dim, and the destination to which He has committed His omnipotent, immutable, eternal being: a destination He will not abandon.
I’m having a very enjoyable meal at Cousin’s BBQ while in between flights at Dallas – Ft. Worth Airport. Pictured below: a chopped brisket sandwich, a cold bottle of Shiner Bock, and a fine detective novel, Death of a Red Heroine, which I’ll have finished by the time I’m back home.
I’m reading Paul and the Law by Brian S. Rosner and along the way I plan to chart my progress with chapter summaries. When I’ve finished I hope to write and post a full book review. Rosner summarizes his book’s thesis in his own summary of chapter 1:
In his letters Paul undertakes a polemical rereading of the Law of Moses, which involves not only a repudiation and rejection of the law as ‘law-covenant’ (chapters 2 and 3) and its replacement by other things (chapter 4), but also a reappropriation of the law ‘as prophecy’ (with reference to the gospel; chapter 5) and ‘as wisdom’ (for Christian living; chapter 6). This construal finds support not only in what Paul says about the law, but also in what he does not say and in what he does with the law. And if highlights the value of the law for preaching the Gospel and for Christian ethics. [pgs. 43-44]
Ray Ortlund, Jr. on a lesson learned from his father:
He used to say, “Halfway Christianity is the most miserable existence of all. Halfhearted Christians know enough about their sin to feel guilty, but they haven’t gone far enough with the Savior to become happy. Wholehearted Christianity is happy, and there is no other happiness.”
How did my dad get there and influence me to go there? He really, really knew that God loved him and had completely forgiven all his sins at the cross of Jesus. He did not wring his hands, wondering what God thought of him. He believed the good news, his spirit soared and he could never do too much for Jesus.
Well, new to me that is. I just found out about Qiu Xiaolong, who has written a series of detective novels with Inspector Chen Cao at the protagonist. The first in the series is Death of Red Heroine, set in Communist China during the time of Deng Xiopeng’s reforms. Hope to have a Brief Book Review up for this in a week or so.
March Violets, set in 1936 Nazi Germany, introduces Bernie Gunter, a former police detective who, disgruntled with the Nazi bureaucracy, resigned from his position and is now employed as a private detective. Kerr does a good job of capturing the viciousness, corruption and seediness of Nazi Germany. Gunther is an interesting character, but I felt at times that Kerr overdoes the harderned, wise-cracking detective routine. The plot is interesting for the most part, but occasionally it lurched from from one plot twist to another with a slightly unconvincing ending. But Kerr has apparently had success with Bernie Gunther, and there are ten novels in the series, with an eleventh due in 2016. I might try the 2nd installment, The Pale Criminal.
Christianity Today reports on the Larycia Hawkins affair at Wheaton College. CT links to this post on Hawkins’s Facebook page, which includes this statement (emphasis mine):
Whether or not you find this position, one held for centuries by countless Christians (church fathers, saints, and regular Christian folk like me), to be valid, I trust that we can peacefully disagree on theological points and affirm others like the Triune God (albeit there are differences here as well–Athanasian Creed, anyone?), the virgin birth (or Immaculate Conception depending on your persuasion), and the Resurrection. Let there be unity in our diversity of views about all of the above.
Apparently Hawkins doesn’t understand the difference between the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception. I am not surprised that she would not understand why the god of Islam is not the God of Christianity.