Review: Getting to Know the Church Fathers

Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction by Bryan M. Litfin. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2007. 301 pp. $14.47 paperback. Bryan Litfin (Ph.D., University of Virginia), associate professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute, provides a much needed introduction to the church fathers for evangelical Christians. Burdened by the fact that many evangelicals lack any kind of connection to the rich history of the church, Litfin writes so that Christians will learn to think of the fathers as those who can play a guiding role for the faith today (p. 18). Every Christian should find himself on the path … Continue reading Review: Getting to Know the Church Fathers

Long, Overseas Engagements Will Give Sweet Victory

A lot of you know that I’m engaged while living here in South Africa.  Carly lives in Nebraska, and will finish up her degree at UNL  in three weeks.  I wouldn’t recommend long engagements to anyone, especially Christians, however when you are separated by God’s call to minister the gospel and 10,000 miles of ocean, you fight through it and endure. St. Augustine offers a wonderful comfort for why longsuffering and pain usually always result in sweet victory.  He says: The victorious general marches home in triumph, but there would have been no victory if he had not fought, and … Continue reading Long, Overseas Engagements Will Give Sweet Victory

Distinguishing Between Love and Lust

Augustine of Hippo, the great Christian theologian of the 4th Century, struggled mightily with sexual addiction before his conversion to Jesus.  In his autobiography, Confessions, he writes about his problem between figuring out what was love and what was lust in his early life: Bodily desire, like morass, and adolescent sex welling up within me exuded mists which clouded over and obscured my heart, so that I could not distinguish the clear light of true love from the murk of lust. I doubt that this is uncommon for most people — especially for nonbelievers, but for Christians as well.  So … Continue reading Distinguishing Between Love and Lust

The Christian Life is All of Grace

In 1 Timothy 1:11-17, Paul uses some key vocabulary to make it unmistakeably plain to the reader that the Christian life, and its service, is all of grace and none of personal merit.  The gospel-centered life is all about Christ.  We decrease as we make Christ look great.  Listen to Paul.  He writes: That he has been entrusted with the gospel (v. 11). God has given him strength and appointed him to service (v. 12). That he has received mercy (vv. 13, 16) The grace of the Lord has overflowed for him (v. 14). He has faith and love in … Continue reading The Christian Life is All of Grace

Idolatry and Grumbling Are More Closely Related Than You Might Think

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul warns his Christian readers to not be idolaters (v. 7) and not to grumble (v. 10) in the same breath.  At first glance, these probably don’t seem like related sins.  But if we zoom in on the context, Paul is clear: you grumble because you are an idolater. The story of the Israelites, Paul says, was written for us as an example (vv. 6, 11).  The Israelites did little right as they made their way through the wilderness.  Their perspective was limited.  Their hearts were not inclined toward God.  They constantly looked to creation instead … Continue reading Idolatry and Grumbling Are More Closely Related Than You Might Think

What Kind of Free Will Exists?

In my morning study of 2 Peter today, I was camped in 1:5-7.  Here, Peter writes, For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knoweldge, and knowledge with self-control, and sef-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. As I studied this passage, I was referencing Calvin’s commentary on 1 Peter.  At the end of verse 7, he made this note: It may, however, be here asked, whether Peter, by assigning to us the work of supplying or adding virtue, thus far extolled … Continue reading What Kind of Free Will Exists?