Extracurricular Activities 8.9.14 — John Owen's Wisdom, The Elder's Vow, and Tolkien & Lewis
In the modern world, skeptics have long questioned or denied the historicity of Adam. Neo-orthodox theologians added their voices to this chorus in the last century. More recently, and under the pressure of evolutionary theory, some prominent evangelical voices have as well...We may frame the issue in the form of two related questions. First, does the Bible require us to believe that Adam was a historical person? Second, would anything be lost in the gospel if we were to deny Adam’s historicity?
Earlier this week I found myself combing through some favorite John Owen quotes. Owen is easily one of the most quotable Puritans (not to mention one of the most prolific with the pen!). Here are a few great quotes:
"Let no man think to kill sin with few, easy, or gentle strokes. He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until it be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel. And so he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to the death."
Then, a list of seven things that Christ is:
What would you say is the first and most essential thing for pastoral ministry?
I think often times I’m guilty of assuming this thing. I jump right to other important issues: teaching ability, meeting the character qualifications, and so on.
But the first and in some sense most essential thing is that an elder be a Christian. I know. That goes without saying. But it needs to be said. How can a man preach the gospel to others without first having laid hold to Jesus Christ himself? Richard Baxter put it so well in The Reformed Pastor:
If we want evangelistic people, we must model that as leaders. You can’t lead what you won’t live.
Many Christians love evangelism as long as somebody else is doing it. It’s kind of a recurring theme that people want to talk about it or even bemoan the lack of evangelism, but they themselves, are unengaged in the activity. I believe that the vast majority of people have probably never shared their faith and called on someone to trust and follow Christ. And the numbers support that may be the case.
A recent Transformational Discipleship study of church-going Canadians revealed that 59 percent said they had not invited anyone to church in the previous six months. And, even though 58 percent said they feel comfortable in effectively sharing their faith, 78 percent said that they had not shared that faith with anyone in the previous six months. American churchgoers were no different. Those numbers are certainly a reason for concern and only slightly better for Americans.
This month marks the 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I, the conflict that introduced industrial-scale slaughter to the world. Never before had science and technology—the mortars, machine guns, tanks, barbed wire and poison gas—conspired so effectively to destroy man and nature. The Great War savaged popular beliefs about progress, morality and religion.
Yet for two extraordinary authors and friends, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, the war deepened their moral and spiritual convictions. Both fought in the trenches on the Western Front and used their experiences to shape their Christian imagination.
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