Finding Contentment in Christ

41EVF82B6nL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“Contentment is the cultivation of a satisfied heart. It is the discipline of being fully alive to God and to others whatever our material circumstances. Contentment is not achieved through getting everything we want but by training the heart to experience full joy and deep peace even when we don’t have what we want.”

Jeff Manion’s new book, Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption  (Zondervan, 2013; 224 pages) challenges and coaxes readers to think about their “stuff.” Rather than being identified and possessed by our possessions, Manion reminds us that in Christ we have been adopted, bought and sealed. We are God’s possession, and we need to see ourselves that way. He expounds the power of both serving and sharing as a sure way to detach us from our possessions. Manion constantly takes us to Scripture in this volume, skillfully weaving biblical stories with compelling exhortation. For anyone who feels the suffocating weight of discontentment, this book will encourage and motivate to simplify and find contentment in Christ alone.

Recent Books on Theology

9781433512766_p0_v3_s260x420From Heaven He Came and Sought Her

The doctrine of definite atonement (popularly known as limited or particular atonement) is one that evokes strong reactions in many Christians. John Wesley called it horrible blasphemy that presented Christ as “an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity” and represented God “as more cruel, false, and unjust than the devil!”

David and Jonathan Gibson’s new book, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective (Crossway, 2013; 704 pp.) is a collection of essays on the topic that explores all the areas in the subtitle. Contributors include historians Michael Haykin and Carl Trueman, biblical scholars Alec Motyer and Tom Schreiner, theologians Robert Letham and Henri Blocher, and pastors Sinclair Ferguson and John Piper. If you want to explore the case for definite atonement from the best scholars who subscribe to the doctrine, this is the volume to read. 



By Faith, Not by Sight, 2nd Ed.

The New Perspective on Paul (NPP) argues that when Paul became a Christian “he did not as the Reformation tradition holds, abandon a religion of personal salvation by works for one of salvation by grace through faith. Rather, he exchanged one understanding and experience of divine grace for another.” The result is that the gospel for Paul, according to NPP proponents, is not about how one gets saved in an individual sense, but rather about broad, corporate, Israel-and-the-nations concerns.

In the new edition of his book By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation, 2nd ed. (P&R, 2013; 110 pp.), Richard Gaffin explores biblical theology and redemptive-historical interpretation, and finds that union with Christ and individual justification by faith through grace are indeed the center of Paul’s theology. For a quick read on the subject of the NPP with a refutation of some of its errant proposals, and a rich and compelling development of Paul’s theology, Gaffin’s book cannot be beat.

The Sad and Ugly Reality of Sexual Slavery

The Sad and Ugly Reality of the Sexual Slavery

No one chooses that lifestyle. No one asks to be raped, exploited, trafficked, paraded, blackmailed, or abused. I never use the word prostitute because it doesn’t matter to me how much money a girl, or her captor, pimp, father, brother, or trafficker, is getting for her body: she is not the one making a living there.

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Incredible Source for Defending the Doctrine of Scripture

ImageThe doctrine of Scripture is in need of defense in every generation. In our day the challenge is presented by those who want to say that the idea of inerrancy arose out of a corruption of Christian theology by Greek and modern philosophy, and that the Bible’s testimony about itself is much more chastened regarding its certainty. In two weeks at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting in Baltimore, academic heavyweights such as Al Mohler, Peter Enns, John Franke and others will debate this issue in what could amount to a showdown. In addition, hundreds of papers will be presented on this issue.

Thy Word is Still Truth, edited by Peter Lillback and Richard Gaffin will prove, I believe, to be an important resource in the present “Battle for the Bible.” A critical issue in the debate is which position, inerrancy or non-inerrancy, has historical pedigree. Lillback and Gaffin, president and professor of NT theology, respectively, of Westminster Theological Seminary, have assembled almost 1,400 pages of historical writings on the doctrine of Scripture from the Reformation to today. This volume includes confessions, creeds, sermons, and key passages by orthodox theologians. In the process they establish quite clearly that orthodox theology has always held to the belief that the Scripture is without error in all it affirms, and that it stands as the starting point and authority for all human knowledge. This is a personal matter for Lillback and Gaffin as they explain in the introduction:

In recent years , this understanding of God’s Word has been repeatedly challenged–not simply by those in the liberal Protestant tradition, but also by those in the broad evangelical perspective. In fact, in the past few years, Westminster addressed related issues in its own theological crisis, which was motivated by differing hermeneutical perspectives and broader understandings of confessional boundaries. Resolving the conflict required an extensive and often painful process of theological clarification, historical reappraisal, and financial risks, because the debate impacted friends of the seminary who took varying perspectives on the issues raised.

I was a student at Westminster when this was happening in the mid-2000’s, so I know that this historical study became a critical foundation upon which the defense of the historic doctrine of Scripture stands. Thy Word is Still Truth is an invaluable resource for those who believe historical theology still matters.