Christianity as a football game

Doug Wilson had a great post recently explaining how Christianity at large approaches the battle with the enemy.   The last paragraph is the best:

“We are two minutes into the second quarter, and half of our coaches (trained in Dallas, but not by the Cowboys) want all our plays to be “taking a knee.” “But the wide receivers . . .” I say, and then trail off. We go into the huddle and I suggest that we air one out. Send the receivers downtown. Our opponents will totally not be expecting that, since we have taken a knee for the last eighteen plays. One of the other players looks across the huddle at me, and says that we really need to guard against a spirit of triumphalism. And I say to myself, but only to myself, “I can’t believe Isaiah said we were going to win this game. I can’t wait . . . the fourth quarter is really going to be something . . .” “

My list of most influential books

I love book lists.  I have too many book lists on the computer.  But some books are more influential than others.  The following is a list of the five books that most reflect my Christian walk.  I’m not including the Bible in this list, although if you want me to, it would be #1.  They aren’t in any particular order, so here goes.

  • Desiring God – John Piper  This book changed the way I thought about God, myself, and the way the Church does business.  Reading it required me to reorganize my priorities and unsettled my thoughts about the process of salvation.
  • Chosen by God – R.C. Sproul  When I started reading this book, I believed man’s free will trumped God’s sovereign will in salvation.  After reading it, I knew I had to submit to God’s sovereignty in everything (including salvation) or live a lie.  There may be other books that explain God’s sovereign grace more clearly, but none ever gripped my heart like this one.  I’ll never forget the feeling of my old belief system crumbling as I read.  It was truly life changing. 
  • Angels in the Architecture – Doug Wilson and Doug Jones  This book was also a surprise, somewhat because of the title.  It isn’t about architecture (which I knew) but it is about almost everything else.  It highlights Christian culture in the past and crafts a vision for what the rule of Christ looks like in every area of life.  Many can describe abstractly what Christianity should look like when it’s lived out, but this book puts flesh on the bones of those descriptions.
  • Orthodoxy – G.K. Chesterton  I had no idea what I was getting into when I first read this book, but it changed the way I look at, well, everything.  Chesterton’s thought is best summarized in this volume, which turns everything upside down in order for us to look at it right side up (if you don’t understand what I mean just read a page of this book, you’ll get the idea).  Many books talk about Christians having joy in their lives, but this one describes what that looks like.  Chesterton does include a few nasty references to Calvinism, but they are straw men arguments that can be easily ignored.   
  • Postmillenialism: an eschatology of hope – Keith Mathison  This book is the best combination of several books that influenced me in the area of prophecy.  I came into a little maturity in this area through the likes of Gary DeMar, Gary North, Doug Wilson, and R.J. Rushdoony.  Mathison presents the ideas of the gospel spreading throughout all the earth by way of sound exegesis.  It’s a great introduction to the topic. 

Suffering in the Kingdom of God

In discussing prophecy views with others, the question has been presented to me more than once (as a postmillenialist), “What do you do with all the passages that involve suffering?”  With the revival of postmillenialism among the rising generation, there has been a lack of teaching on the role of suffering in God’s kingdom.  Because we live in America (and face fewer trials than previous generations) we’ve neglected the fact that God is still sovereign and He sends things that are impossible to understand.  So when that happens, what do we do?  Does this mean our belief for the future should be negative instead of positive?  No.  It means we must be biblical in our beliefs, not just systematic.  James Jordan has a great article on that subject, entitled Yuppie Postmillenialism.  It presents a balanced view of how those who believe the kingdom of God will conquer in history should look at suffering and calls them to embrace the sovereignty of God while believing His promises.  Great stuff!

It can’t be that simple

I came across this posting by Doug Wilson recently and found it interesting, especially since I’d just told a student the exact same thing not a few hours earlier.  He discussed how many Calvinists have to do exegetical gymnastics to make the universal passages of Scripture (I John 2:2, John 3:16) fit with their theology.  How can we be Calvinists and not have to play footsey with God’s Word?  Wilson does a good job of saying this. 

“Not surprisingly, postmillennialism is the answer. Not only does postmillennialism ride to the rescue of the world, it also rides to the rescue of a decrepit, rationalistic Calvinism. Calvinists don’t like to be told that when they are hobbling through the universal texts that they look just like the Arminians hobbling through the sovereignty texts. But they do.  So try this out. The world will be saved. The nations will come to Christ. The families of the earth will turn to the Lord. The earth will be as full of the knowledge of God as the Pacific is wet. Why will all this happen? Because Jesus died so that it would. Jesus died to secure the certainty of it.”

It seems so simple, it’s hard to understand why people would reject it.