Posts Tagged ‘Mark Dever’

I just finished Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology after laboring over it far too long.  I just haven’t had as much time to read as I like (this may shock some of you who think I read too much).  It is a collection of messages from one the Together for the Gospel conferences (sample pages).

I found it to be a very uneven book.  There was a great disparity in the length of the chapters, as though some speakers were given far more time than others.  Some of the shortest chapters were from those I most wanted to hear.  Yet, some of those (while good) sounded an awful lot like other messages they’ve done.  Since I don’t preach on the conference circuit, I am probably expecting too much for them to come up with a new message to fit the occasion.  When I was ‘only’ doing pulpit supply during my transition, I would preach the same text a few times, tweaking it depending on the congregation.  But no one travels hundreds, or thousands, of miles to hear me speak.  This was a tad disappointing.

The book kicks off with a rather long chapter on Sound Theology by Ligon Duncan.  He defends systematic theology as necessary for the life of the church.  It is popular today (and most days) to decry systems, but we should be able to summarize doctrine to promote understanding of the whole.  Preaching and teaching should be both expositional and theological, and Duncan notes.   This is, in part, because our theology must be biblical.  Yet, you don’t build a doctrine on only one text.  That is a HOV line to heresy.

“Systematic theology is tied to exegesis.”  John Murray

Duncan notes some problematic views that have popped up.  His charity is on display in that he doesn’t name names.  His goal is not to stigmatize anyone, but point out flaws in certain positions which tend to be anti-theological.


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Yesterday I went to a pastor’s seminar sponsored by Phoenix Seminary, the Alliance Defense Fund and the Center for Arizona Policy.  One of the speakers was Wayne Grudem, relating material from his new tome Politics According to the Bible.  I say tome because it is a mammoth 600 pages.  But it looks good.

The first chapter covers some of the errors people make in thinking about politics and Christianity.  It was interesting to see who Gregory Boyd gets farther and farther from a biblical worldview (Shane Clairborn’s Jesus for President seems to have been influenced by his governments are satanic error).

Grudem’s basic argument is that God’s people (in Scripture) have often influenced governments.  Joseph had a profound influence on Egypt, Daniel was instrumental in Babylon, Esther changed policy under Xerxes, and Nehemiah served as governor under the Persians.  Paul dialogued with Felix about faith and righteousness.  So, Grudem’s view in light of Scripture and our particular circumstances here in America is one of Christians influencing government as one way in which we do good works and love our neighbors.  He then goes on to examine particular issues pertinent to our circumstances today: economics, health care, environmental issues etc.  Here is a sermon of his, Biblical Principles Concerning Government.

Since we are in an election cycle, the issue of politics is a hot topic.  Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist recently preached Jesus Paid Taxes from Mark 12 (which Grudem referenced yesterday).  Collin Hansen thinks it is the best sermon on politics he’s heard.

Justin Taylor also has a few posts (here and here) on another book that is about to be released called City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era.  Tim Keller has written the forward.  One author, Michael Gerson lectured on The City of God at the Kuyper series for the Center for Public Justice.

Carl Trueman has a new book on the subject out as well called Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative.  There are some sample pages available.

Politics are important since we do live in the world.  I think these are books and sermons that will help us think biblically politics and our relationship to the state as individual Christians and churches.

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WTS Books is having a summer sale until 7/30, so you had better hurry up!  They offer flat rate shipping and books are 50% off, so now is the time to buy!  I just wish I had a book allowance to enjoy this great opportunity 😦  However, if enough of you, my fair readers, visit via my blog I’ll get a good gift certificate!

Here are some Cavman recommendations-

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Mark Dever wraps up Sex and the Supremacy of Christ with his chapter: Christian Hedonists or Religious Prudes?  The Puritans on Sex.  The Puritans certainly get a bad rap when it comes to fun and sex.  Of course this comes from a worldview that views sin as fun, so should we be surprised to hear such slander.

The Puritans sought their joy in God, not sin.  The Puritans saw sex as a good gift that was easily abused.  They both encouraged a healthy sex life for the married, and warned against the deceitful pleasures of sex taken out of context.

Why would this be necessary?  Look around at how sexual liberation has turned into a free-for-all.  Without the boundaries God has placed on sex, all things have become permissable.  I grow weary of checking the spam comments on this blog.  If you can imagine a sick, twisted manifestation of sex gone wild (Romans 1), someone has pictures or video of it on their website.  This is what happens when humanity throws crosses the boundaries God has established.  The Puritans wanted to spare people this living hell where there can never be enough pleasure. 

Immoral pleasure is like the joke about chinese food.  You want more in 30 minutes, because you refuse to be content.  Not everyone goes all the way to the worst of those websites, but our hearts still become sewers as we make an idol of our sexual satisfaction and freedom.

So, the Puritans were not suppressing sex in and of itself, but suppressing sexual sin.  That is a big difference, which is lost on libertines.

The Puritans wanted to keep sex within its proper bounds- an expression of affection and companionship within the covenant of marriage.  A healthy experience of marital sex was also helpful to prevent lust from capturing a heart (1 Cor. 7).  Sex is not sinful, but a right and privilege of marriage.  When we make it the right and privilege of humanity, period, we promote sexual sin (of whatever sort) as normal and good.

And so ends my review of Sex and the Supremacy of Christ.  Aside from one very legalistic chapter, it is a very good book.  It is a great aid in helping the Church to think biblically about sex.  Let us end with a positive command from Scripture:

18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.  (Proverbs 5)

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