Book Review, Worthwhile

Worthwhile March 8, 2019

Don’t you just love how Friday can sneak up on you! Well here we are, another week and another opportunity to be encouraged, challenged, or educated by something worthwhile.

Plagiarism, Calvinistic church planting, and a song, in that order.

First off is another take on the Rachel Hollis phenomenon. The social media star and author has a second book, “Girl Stop Apologizing,” making its way around and lots of women are checking it out. There is an itching ear lure to it, you are the dream holder, go get it. But it is quite another gospel as Jen Oshman clearly shows.

So the general message found on the pages is dangerous and not the Christian gospel. But it might also not be genuinely Hollis’. Katelyn Beaty has a piece on Christianity Today that outlines the ways in which this latest book is rife with plagiarism.

Not only is the self-worshiping tome bad theology, it is stolen philosophy at best. Be warned!

What’s the big deal about church planting?

Recently I have found myself in conversations that questioned church planting as a key missional instrument. To be honest I was a bit taken aback that people would see church planting as a detraction from evangelism in the least reached places of the world. Surely no one could be out of step with statistical benefits of church planting when it comes to conversion, and the importance of indigenous churches, I thought to myself.

Then I wondered if perhaps it is the theological environment – like the old accusation that Calvinists don’t evangelize. To the rescue comes Jeff Medders.

Author of Humble Calvinism, Medders makes a point of the relationship between church planting and cherishing the doctrines of grace.

“Calvinism is meant for more than theological headiness; it’s meant for mission… God’s sovereignty in salvation maximizes our mission. When we know that God is the only unstoppable and unfailing force in the universe—and that we are on mission with him—then our hearts and eyes widen for the lost. Far from hamstringing our efforts and endurance, the doctrines of grace energize us and remind us why we plant churches: because God saves sinners.”

Medders goes on to tie TULIP to planting as well as pointing out a couple of great catalysts of church planting, who happened to be Calvinists. And it is worthwhile for those wondering… read it here.

Finally, this week was one full of meetings with other pastors. It was encouraging and at one session the group worshiped together in song. While singing with these men we were all stirred by the truth conveyed in He Is Worthy.

While the style of call and response is new to some, it is a historical way of liturgy in the church and man does it declare Scripture well here.

Have a great weekend. Go to church. Hang with friends. Have an adventure!

Book Review

Grace as an Intoxicating Drink

Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones have written a book unpacking the doctrines of grace in such a way that the reader will want to drink up and swim in the goodness of Christ. PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxication Joy of Irresistible Grace has been a joy to read and revel in the truth presented.

The authors walk the reader through five aspects of the gospel of grace following the Canons of Dort but don’t for a second think that this is a theological tome beyond the grasp of the average reader. Jones and Montgomery have presented thick doctrine with ease, comfortable wit and relevant language. From boozing to zombie analogies, the truth of the grace of Christ will come alive to you in this great book.

Planned Grace, Resurrecting Grace, Outrageous Grace, Overcoming Grace, and Forever Grace make up the new acronym I imagine we will see a lot more of in Evangelical circles. But regardless what the acronym is or the savvy language, the gospel truth declared of the pages of PROOF is historic and earth altering.

If you have been wrestling with the doctrines of grace or are a card-carrying reformed type, this book is for you. I could not put the book down despite some design features I didn’t like. This book has left me worshipful and grateful for the gift of grace I could never deserve and the security I could never maintain. Get the book for yourself and see how you are encouraged.

Here are a few highlights from my reading:

“At the root of every counterfeit deity and every human religion is the notion that our performance can achieve some sort of negotiated settlement with a holy God.”

“If you are resting in Jesus alone to be made right with God, that’s sure and certain proof that God’s planned grace has always included you.”

“If you’ve trusted Jesus Christ, all that you contributed to your own salvation was a sin-bloated spiritual cadaver – blind to God’s glory and dead to his grace – that God inexplicably chose to enliven and to love.”

“The only right response to such grace is simply to say, “Thank you,” and to share the news of grace with everyone we meet.”

“Whenever we find ourselves face-to-face with a living example of one-way love with no strings attached, our tendency is to change the subject – or to switch the story so that God’s grace doesn’t land in the lap of an active slave trader or our delusional next-door neighbor or a dance in some sleazy downtown club. We live by law but call it grace. Such grace isn’t amazing because it isn’t grace at all; it’s law in a cheap mask. And whenever you show up at a party that’s hosted by the law, you’re the one who’s left with the bill.”

“God changes our desires so that we love holiness and long to see God’s justice flow all around us. With will healed and hearts transformed, we run to Jesus “freely, being made willing by his grace.”‘

“Deep inside, you are starving for someone whose opinion really matters to declare once and for all that you belong, that you’re loved, and that he is pleased with you. The good news of grace is that someone already has, and not even the slightest measure of his pleasure is based on anything that you will ever do. It’s based solely on what Jesus has already done.”

“Because we are people called to overcome, opposition is inevitable. Jesus himself made clear that the people will “insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11).”

“Apart from the Word of God being preached, no one will ever hear of this glorious grace that saves us, sanctifies us, and sends us into the world. And apart from the work of God’s Spirit giving us new life, strengthening us through the sacraments, and empowering us to live this new life, the contagion of sin would overwhelm us all.”

“Perseverance is not you contributing your part to your salvation so that you and God are partnering together to keep you saved… your perseverance is no less a work of God’s grace than your justification and preservation.”

His offer is free. You can’t earn it or deserve it. Come thirsty and empty-handed. Drink deeply and dance for joy. It’s on the house.