Good Christians Make Good Humans: A Q&A with Michael Wittmer on “Becoming Worldly Saints”

Jeremy Bouma on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

Becoming Worldly Saints by Michael Wittmer

Can you serve Jesus and still enjoy your life? That’s the question author and professor Michael Wittmer asks in his new book Becoming Worldly Saints. It’s also a question that gets at the heart of what it means to be a Christian, as much as what it means to be human. Because, as Wittmer argues, “Good Christians make good humans.”

Or at least they should. And yet many wonder if you can do both — be a Christian, with all that it entails, and still live a normal human life. I know I have.

Wittmer maintains you can, because the Christian life and the human life are actually one in the same flourishing life.

An intriguing proposition, to be sure. One I explored in an interview for OnFaith. Our discussion included:

His thoughts on why there’s such a disconnect between our earthly…

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How to Fight the Fallout from the Fall, and Win

Jeremy Bouma on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

worldly_saints

The current issue of Time (Feb. 23/Mar. 2 , 2015) says my nine-month-old, Simon James, could live to be 142 years old thanks to advances in longevity science and technology.

For some—including me—the prospect of adding twenty to thirty years on our life expectancy is thrilling. Others, however, hope to die when they’re seventy-five, arguing “society and families—and you—will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly.”

How should Christians think about Death? Is it something to embrace or resist; is it good or bad?

One famous hymn suggests Death is a release from the prison of life:

When the shadows of this life have grown, I’ll fly away Like a bird from these prison walls, I’ll fly away

Others suggest Death is our reward. Michael Wittmer quotes David…

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Did You Know the Sabbath Was Given as a Gift, to Enjoy? — An Excerpt from “Becoming Worldly Saints” by Michael Wittmer

Jeremy Bouma on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

Becoming Worldly SaintsDo you realize the Sabbath is a gift?

On most Sundays it probably doesn’t feel that way: getting ready and off to church is usually far more hurried than restful; afternoons are often filled with mowing and housecleaning, not enjoyment; and when we do rest, we often feel guilty for doing so, like we should be catching up on work email.

Yet God has gifted us one day at the beginning of the week to rest and enjoy the life he’s gifted us.

That’s what Michael Wittmer helps us realize in his new book Becoming Worldly Saints. It answers an important—yet neglected—question Christians are asking: “Can I serve Jesus and still enjoy my life?”

Yes, he says, you can—especially because of Sabbath…

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Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life?

Jeremy Bouma on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

worldly_saints

I should say at the outset that Michael Wittmer is my hero.

Well, maybe I shouldn’t go that far—he is a friend; he was also my academic mentor and ThM advisor, and wrote the forward to one of my books. I do highly respect him, particularly because of how he “does” theology.

If you’ve followed his writing career you know his sweet spot is doing theology for the Church. And by “the Church” I mean everyone inside your church; he is a savant at popular theology.

His latest book is “exhibit A” in how it looks for the one percent to do theology for the ninety-nine percent in a way that’s pastorally engaging and intellectually accessible, yet theologically rich and biblically accurate.

Becoming Worldly Saints hearkens back to his first book,

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Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth: “The World” — Excerpt from “Becoming Worldly Saints” by Michael Wittmer

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

Inigo Montoya, you keep using this word

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. –Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

[This post is selected from Michael Wittmer’s book Becoming Worldly Saints (releases 2/3/15).]

The Bible says creation is good seven times in its very first chapter, and it never lets up. The story of Scripture centers on the incarnation and resurrection of our Lord — two redemptive events that only work if creation is good (John 1:14; 1 Cor. 15:1 – 20) — and it ends by promising physical pleasures of delight on our new, restored earth (Rev. 21 – 22).

Why then are so many Christians suspicious of their bodies and the material world? Because other passages, such as 2 Corinthians 4:18; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:1 – 2; 1 Peter 2:11; and 1 John…

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What it Means to Be Human (Excerpt from Michael Wittmer’s “Becoming Worldly Saints)

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,.

The following is an excerpt from Michael Wittmer’s book Becoming Worldly Saints (releasing 2/3/15), which asks us: Can you serve Jesus and still enjoy your life?

Becoming Worldly Saints

We learn what it means to be human from Scripture’s opening act of creation and what it means to be Christian from its closing act of redemption. If redemption restores creation, then the point of being a Christian is to restore our humanity. All things being equal, no one should flourish like a Christian.

We may not drive BMWs or vacation in the Hamptons, but we should thrive in every aspect of our human lives. Flourishing is a high-minded and hazy term, and since it’s a key concept in this book, I must explain what I mean by it. Merriam-Webster defines flourish…

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Does Pleasure Fit in the Plot of Scripture? (Excerpt from Michael Wittmer’s “Becoming Worldly Saints”)

ZA Blog on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

The following is an excerpt from Michael Wittmer’s book Becoming Worldly Saints (releasing 2/3/15), which asks us: Can you serve Jesus and still enjoy your life?

We often read the Bible as if it were an encyclopedia, looking up passages on parenting, patience, or whatever we’re struggling with. As helpful as this can be, a selective reading of Scripture can lead us to easily forget that the Bible, like any other story, has a plot. Its plot supplies the outline for this book and a map for integrating the high purpose of heaven with the normal pleasures of earth.

Becoming Worldly SaintsScripture’s story line is straightforward. Genesis 1 – 2 opens with creation, a garden of delight that conveyed but could not contain God’s hopes for the world. God created Adam…

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Anne Rice and Our Modern Sin
by Michael Wittmer

ZA Blog on 7 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

Interview with a Vampire Anne Rice has left the church again.  Raised in “an old fashioned, strict Roman Catholic” home, Anne left the church when she was 18 and became an atheist.  Her godlessness fueled her writing career, and she became famous for such erotic, gothic novels as Interview with the Vampire and The Queen of the Damned.  In 1998 she had a religious awakening and announced that she was rejoining the Catholic Church and henceforth would “write only for the Lord.”

Until last week, when Anne made two posts on Facebook which changed her religious status to “It’s Complicated.”  Anne wrote:

 

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Michael E. Wittmer: Extreme Measures

ZA Blog on 7 years ago. Tagged under ,.

Thoughts on Embracing the Cross

Wittmerm If desperate situations call for extreme measures, then extreme measures are a sign that we are in a desperate situation. When a police car flashes its lights behind me, my wife turns to me and says in her disapproving voice, "What did you do?" If my car is surrounded by police cars and a television helicopter is hovering overhead, my wife’s tone will become more accusatory, "What did you do?" If a fighter jet joins the chase, dropping bombs in the direction of our car, my wife might scream like the leading lady in a Schwarzenegger movie, "What did you do?!"

Consider what God did to save us. He didn’t hand us a brochure or ask us to attend a seminar, as if our problem was merely ignorance. He didn’t hold an intervention or send us to boot camp, as if our problem was merely stubbornness. He answered our need with the cross, which can only mean that we have really messed up. If the cross is necessary to save us, then What did we do?

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Michael Wittmer interviewed on “The White Horse Inn”

ZA Blog on 7 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

Listen to the podcast of Dr. Michael E. Wittmer on Michael Horton's "The White Horse Inn" as they discuss Wittmer's book, Don't Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus is Not Enough.

Some postmodern Christians have begun to argue that what we believe is not as important as what we do, and that Christianity is primarily about "living like Jesus." But are good works enough? Don't we have to believe something?

Z Browse Inside Cover of Don't Stop Believing

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Happy Birthday, John Calvin by Michael E. Wittmer

ZA Blog on 8 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

CalvinJ John Calvin is one of the most misunderstood men in church history. Contrary to popular opinion, John Calvin was not:

1. the dictator of Geneva. Calvin did not gain a free hand in Geneva until 1555, when his Libertine opponents miscalculated and allowed French refugees to purchase the right to vote. These refugees were sympathetic to their fellow Frenchman and they swept the Libertines from power. So Calvin only had the run of Geneva for the last nine years of his life. He never became a citizen of the city, but for most of his life was merely a registered alien.

2. the one who burned Michael Servetus at the stake. Servetus was killed in 1553, when the Libertines governed Geneva. Calvin visited Servetus in prison and pleaded with him to recant his views. When Servetus refused, Calvin agreed that he deserved to die, but recommended a less painful beheading. The Libertines, ever looking to antagonize Calvin, opted to burn him instead. It is true that Calvin thought that Servetus should die, but so did most everyone in the 16th century, including the Roman Catholics, who were furious that Servetus had escaped from their Viennese prison, thereby depriving them of the honor of killing him.

Who was John Calvin?

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Don’t Stop Believing 5 of 5: Should Christians Make the Best Lovers?
by Michael E. Wittmer

ZA Blog on 8 years ago. Tagged under ,.

I want to try out a thesis which may be controversial. I believe that, thanks to common grace, non-Christians throughout the world love their children, care for ailing parents and spouses, and sometimes even sacrifice their lives for strangers (e.g., the New York firefighters who on 9/11 ran up the stairs of the World Trade Center while everyone else was fleeing down).

But non-Christians perform these acts of love despite rather than because of their worldview. I propose that the Christian faith alone supplies the rationale for altruistic love. When Christians love others they are acting in sync with their ultimate beliefs. When non-Christians love others they are unwittingly borrowing from the Christian worldview, for their behavior is better than their ultimate beliefs allow.

I don’t have space to address every non-Christian worldview, but I’ll briefly examine Christianity’s two largest competitors in order to demonstrate how this might go.

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