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Archive for the ‘christian culture’ Category

Man Walking Deserted HIghway in Utah
Some word on Christian and politics.  Most Christians have the intuition that when it comes to political views we shouldn’t choose a position or support someone that’s extreme for extremists sake but I think we also should not be moderate for moderate sake alone either; sometimes moderates mean those who continually compromise on good principles so as to look middle of the road.  More harmful policies has been caused by so called “moderate policies.”  Picking a position merely because it’s in the middle of everything isn’t wise in other instances of life as the pictures demonstrate above so why do we do it when it comes to politics?  We must also not forget that there is a leftward drift in our society and really things that are “moderate” today was what was liberal yesterday.  Again I’m not advocating to be an extremists for the sake of being extreme:  I think we should look for those who have sound economic, national and foreign policies and debate the merit of those policies rather than irrelevant attacks and personal attacks that occur too much today for cheap media sound bites.  Ultimately for the Christian we must ask the question of what is Biblical.

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Francis-Schaeffer the man

Seems like there has been some new materials from Francis Schaeffer being uploaded on Youtube!

Francis Schaeffer has written a book called “A Christian Manifesto.”  Sadly I read it years ago and don’t remember much of it anymore.  Schaeffer has gone on a speaking tour under the same name and this particular talk was filmed at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (Formerly where D. James Kennedy preached at) in 1982.

Enjoy!

Thanks to Francis Schaeffer Studies for the head’s up!

 

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This is a good work on the biblical use of satire. As always, the author Doug Wilson delivers with wit, wisdom and humor along the way. As it is indicated throughout the book, this work was prompted as a defense against some who charge Doug Wilson and the contributors of Credenda/Agenda with sinning in their use of satire. The book begins by first defining satire, notably it’s four necessarily components (object of attack, vehicle, tone and norm) and making the distinction between Horatian and Juvenalian satire by it’s tone, the former being more subtle and the latter being more biting. Since those who use satire is often attacked as arrogant, this is the subject of Wilson’s second chapter in which he notes the two different standards the world and the Bible has in measuring humility and arrogance. One sees humility as focusing on self, while the other preaches Christ; one sees arrogance as believing you have the truth while the other see arrogance as an attack on God. This is followed by a biblical survey of the use of satire by Jesus, the Old Testament prophets and the Apostle Paul. After this survey, Wilson explores some of the reason why satire is needed and answer some anticipated objections. I thought his explanation of the reasons why American Evangelicalism is an appropriate target of satire when they are unbiblical is worth pondering carefully over. Towards the end of the book Wilson also add some caveat that satire ought to be used carefully and only during certain situations in particularly towards false spiritual leaders and fools. He also mentioned (which I’m glad he did say) that those who love to practice satire on their loved ones ought not to be encouraged to practice this and that such a person is being unbiblical. Overall a good book I recommend, and it should make Christians aware of not assuming Victorian prudish expectations to be the same thing as Christian ethics. I’ve highlighted and written all over my copy of this book as I was reading it–especially the principles given and the witty remarks and illustration. They get my mind fired up to adapt, discover and invent more witty sayings and illustration to make the point more forcibly for use in the pulpit and during evangelism and apologetics.

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I’ve enjoyed this book, it was a fun and informative read. Filled with practical advice for writers (maybe I think they are great because I’ve read very little on writing). I’ve enjoyed Doug Wilson’s other works so I had high hopes with this book to reveal the working of a great writer. Wilson had seven points in the book, which he then breaks down into seven smaller points in a format that he describes as “Seven Russian Dolls.” If you find that clever as I did, you would enjoy other witty sayings Wilson has throughout the book. Practical and helpful advice can also be gleamed throughout the book. I like his advice for writers to be readers, and to read widely. I’ve also enjoyed his encouragement for writers to have a book to take notes of what one reads, or witty phrases one might have thought of, so as to use it for it later. Another source of encouragement for me came from the robust theology that a Christian writer would enjoy from theology proper: Don’t feel that you would run out of good and better things to share if you do not hold back but give it your all: Our good God is infinite and is able to provide even more abundantly. I was very convicted about learning grammar for that has always been a major problem in all that I write. The reason why it was convicting was because communication is an act of love, and Wilson has a good point that we ought to be as clear as possible. Wilson is a masterful communicator and certainly readers will learn something about the art of writing. Even as I was reading this work, as a preacher a lot of what he says is helpful for speaking as well.  For the Christian apologist, this book might be helpful in being more conscious of making the deep contents of theology and apologetics more clear for those whom we serve.

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Kinism seems to be a big thing among some quarters of Reformed Theonomists or former Theonomists.  Kinism believes that marriage between different “race” is an unbiblical practice.

Brian Schwertley of Westminster Presbyterian Church located at Waupaca County, Wisconsin has done a four part series on this topic refuting Kinism.  Each audio is about an hour long.

Here are the audios:

PART I

PART II

PART III

PART IV

Thanks to Defective Bit over at Choosing Hats for the information.

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It is my opinion that practical application of apologetics in our contemporary setting would benefit from the use of illustrations and narratives alongside sharp analysis and reasoning, and that those on the fore-front of modeling this should be Presuppositionalists.  If the consistent presuppositionalists were to have Scriptures dictate one’s apologetic methodology (among other things that gives Presuppositionalism it’s distinctive) and how to do apologetics practically, Jesus’ use of narratives in His apologetic is a compelling example for Christians to do so as well (this point is made in one of the chapters in my ThM. thesis).  Furthermore, the worldview conscious apologist  would understand that the different components that make up a worldview is often tied together in the form of an overarching story, or a meta-narrative.  Here is where Robert E. Webber’s book, Who Gets to Narrate the World, is important, in which the author discusses the issue of contending for the Christian story in an age of rivals.  I believe one gets the most out of this book if they were to operate from the vantage point of Presuppositional apologetics as advocated by Cornelius Van Til (and Greg Bahnsen and John Frame).  At times throughout the book I felt there was a presuppositionalist’s flavor.  However, the book does not make any acknowledgement of Van Til.  Webber does mention a “presuppositionalist” of sort, the famous Francis Schaeffer, seventy three pages into the book, in which the author revealed how Schaeffer has influenced the author’s intellectual thought life, particularly with intellectual history and being conscious of “paradigms” (worldviews).  In seven chapters, Webber was able to summarize the Christian narrative,  examine historically how the Christian meta-narrative was able to emerge in a pagan Roman world to such an extent as even influencing the foundation of the Western world, how that narrative was lost in the West, and the need to narrate the Christian story in today’s post-Christian world.  I’ve enjoyed the summary of the intellectual history of the West found in this work.  The author had an interesting way of understanding humanists and rationalists that I found particularly helpful, deeming them as artists and scientists respectfully, and seeing humanists as dreamers and rationalists as those who saw the fulfillment of humanist’s dreams (79).  Of course, the realization of those dreams were not beautifully historically.  The author does a good job discussing how the early centuries of Christianity is much like our post-Christian era, a point that should make Christians have hope and confidence in God’s power to share the Christian narrative and live out the implications of that narrative before an unbelieving world.  In his analysis, Webber sees the threat today as coming from Christians accommodating the Christian story to the contemporary culture, and the current secularism which has sunken to a quagmire of relativism, consumerism, materialism and decadence.  On the other hand, there is the looming threat of Radical Islam with their tryannical absolutes.  The issue of Radical Islam is a big theme from beginning to end in the book, as he sees that Secular Humanism’s story is self-imploding while radical Islam’s absolutes would seem to be a serious competitor in narrating our world (one that would be oppressive).  This work is one that Europe should seriously read and consider.  The solution for the author is not political nor military, but for Christians to share the Christian narrative.  Webber does not stress so much of doing apologetics in the traditional sense of laying down evidences, proving God’s existence, etc., but find the importance of Christian narrative itself as an apologetic.  Readers might want to read pages 86-87 carefully, and he sounds very much like a Presuppositionalist here.  Despite the glowing review here I have of this work, there are some things Evangelical readers would be cautious about with what he has to say.  Webber is a lot more liturgical than the average Evangelical.  He’s also more ecumenical.  On page 117, we do see that he’s willing to see Roman Catholics as part of a different tradition but still within the fold enough “that we come together.”  On page 119 of the same book, the point was made again.  In closing this review, I still appreciate what Webber has to say in this book.  If I am correct, this book was the last work that the author published–shortly after it’s publication, he passed away after battling cancer.  It seems that his message in this work was serious enough for him that he broke away from writing in his usual area of historical theology of worship, which is what he’s known for.  I wonder if history will reveal that this book will be the work that will be his lasting legacy.

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Since this is election year, I thought this free short Kindle book for a limited time by Wayne Grudem might be a good work for readers to know about.

You can download it by clicking HERE.

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Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Lit!, Tony Reinke. Reading about reading can seem somewhat pardoxical (especially since you are reading it), but I don’t think it’s at the point where it’s irrational. In the same way that a person reads a logic textbook even though we do “know” the laws of logic intuitively, so a Christian reading a book on reading might help them to become more conscious and aware what it is one is doing when they, and further refine one’s reason for reading. In that vein, I’ve enjoyed reading Tony Reinke’s work titled “Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books.” I was wondering if it would nothing more than a repeat of the classic, “How to read a book.” Reinke’s unique contribution is his attempt to lay the foundation for a theology of reading, which is the subject of the first half of the book. I enjoyed how he pointed out that as Christians, we must get our worldview from the Bible, and that it should not be from other source of literature. Using the analogy of a “touchstone” which tests for real gold, Reinke wonderfully explain that every literature must be evaluated through the lens of what Scripture tells us reality is. Only then can one find the joy of even benefiting from non-Christian literature if one is already strong in one’s foundation in the Word and reading with a discerning spirit. The second book has been equally as helpful, with practical consideration and tips about how to read, developing a habit of reading, etc. I thought the practical suggestions were suprisingly good, especially since at first I was kind of skeptical if the author would just present things so common sense that everyone could have said it themselves, but it surpassed my expectations. Here in the second half of the book, the author also discusses about reading together as a community, and for the benefit of others and with others, and the importance of asking others for recommendation. As a pastor and a father of a young five month old daughter, I also appreciated the chapter on what pastors and parents can do to foster the desire to read among kids and other Christians. The biggest change in my life from reading this book is a reconsideration on my part concerning reading fictions; I’ve always though fiction were of little significance, but it has made me want to revisit the issue again. I would recommend this book for veteran readers and those who struggle to read as well.

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Part of being more consistent with a Christian worldview is the realization that there is no neutrality when it comes to secularism and a Biblically informed education.  Hence, the topic of homeschooling is important, for those who want to pursue this option in raising up their children.  A practical book is rare in this regards, but one that readers might consider is “Lessons Learned from Years of Homeschooling”by Andrea Schwartz.

This book is authored by a home school mom, and is largely a work that shares veteran experiences of years of homeschooling. As a parent who is looking towards the possibility of homeschooling my children, I thought I look into this book more for the practical wisdom rather than a fully orbed Christian worldview of education. The chapters were short, so it was a nightly reading for my wife and I. There were times when we wondered if the book was bragging about how accomplished her kids were, but we get the point that Christians can homeschool their kids in ways that shows success and achievements. I wished there were more practical wisdom the author could have “handed” down to the readers. However, given that there are probably not a lot of books like these, I would recommend it and something that readers can still learn from and reflect about the challenges of homeschooling

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The topic of this book is the relationship of thinking and the Christian life. As the beginning of the book admits, there have been other Christian works on the topic of the relationship of the intellect and the faith, with each having it’s different emphasis (such as the cultural aspect, role of faith and science, etc). This work emphasized more of thinking in terms of reading, and is more driven by biblical exposition and not a defense higher institution learning per se. I enjoyed the fact that the author is a preacher of the Bible first, who also began his career orignally in academic ministry. The author John Piper devotes two semi-biographical chapters to explain his own intellectual Christian life, including a discussion about the influence of Jonathan Edward’s Trinitarian approach to the relationship of the intellect and action. This gives the readers an honest picture of where Piper is coming from. The book is not a textbook on logic but comes across as a book giving a summarized Christian theology of the relationship of the mind to the faith and I would even say with enough devotional flavor. Piper covers the relationship of the mind to coming Christ and also in sanctification, and presents a balanced approach of both/and when it comes to the life of the mind and living faith. Piper underscores the need for the faculty of the mind to be used to treasure Christ, and that just thinking about the things of God is not loving God with all our minds if we don’t end us savoring him. To use an analogy in the book, the intellect provides the wood to stir our passion in loving Jesus. This works also refutes relativism and also dealt with the issue of anti-intellectualism and autonomous intellectualism, with the call to submit all reasoning in the service towards Christ and helping others and ourselves love Jesus more. Good work–readers might find it a treat to read Mark Noll’s preface, and the fact that Piper and Noll were both roomates at one time during the college days in Wheaton. Of course, Noll’s view on things are not views I would totally agree with (especially in terms of his stance on evolution).

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Several weeks ago, I reviewed this book by Henry Van Til here.  Apparently, you can read this entire work and download it for free on PDF!  Click here.

The work will have the 1972 cover on it–but the content is the same.

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Last year I put together a list of Christmas recommended books for gifts on Presuppositional Apologetics that can still be accessed here. I thought I also put out another list of books that I recommend when it comes to area of Christian worldview and not just presuppositional apologetics or apologetics per se.  It is also important to have the right biblical and Christian view on any given subject or area. Here’s my 10 recommendation and my short summary why I think it’s important for a Christian worldview to have these work. Bookmark this page, since the next few weeks I’ll be loading up book reviews for these books! I think these books are also wonderful for one on one discipleship in developing Christian’s thought in their life and worldview.

1.) World Tilting Gospel Why? It’s important that Christians get the gospel down and correct–if one has parts of a worldview correct and yet misses the gospel as it’s foundation, how tragic that would be.  My review of it is found HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

2.) God Has A Wonderful Plan for Your Life: The Myth of Modern Evangelism After a true understanding of the gospel, it is important to have the Bible direct Christians in how they share their faith–the way the Master did, using the Law of God to show people their need of a Savior.  My review of this book can be found here.

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3.) Foundations of Christian Scholarship An unofficial Festschrift for Cornelius Van Til, this book attempts to lay the foundation of Christian worldview in various academic disciplines from psychology, history,  economics, education, political science, sociology, math, apologetics, philosophy and theology.  Too bad there has not been new editions of this work in print.  It is good even though it is old! My review of this book can be found HERE.

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4.) Honest Money Especially with the upcoming 2012 election, the issue of a Christian worldview of economics would be important.  My review of this book can be found here.

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5.) Money, Posessions and Eternity It’s important to not just have a theorethical side of economics down, but the Christian worldview does spell out what it means practically how one sees money and possessions in the Christian life.  This book good is the best for that and I reviewed it here.

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6.) The Biblical Philosophy of History A lot of apologetics discussion is concern with the historicity of Christianity and it is important to realize that there are a lot of presuppositions behind one’s philosophy of history that shapes how one interpret or understand “facts” of history.  Rushdoony’s short work lays a Christian foundation of history and critiques of other’s worldview when it comes to philosophy of history.  You can read my review of this work here.

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7.) A God of Many Understandings With the big thing about Rob Bell this year, I think it is important to discuss the issue not just only as an issue of universalism vs. exclusivism, but also from the framework of what is a Christian worldview towards a theology of religion?  I review this book here.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

8.) Case for Life This work presents a good defense of the pro-life cause.  One can read my review HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

9.) Redeeming Sociology Christian view of Sociology.  I shall review this work in the future.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

10.) Future Men After arriving at a Christian worldview, it is important to impart that knowledge to the next generation and hence the topic of parenting is important.  Today, there is many problem with the issue of raising boys to become men, I review this book here.

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If you have read any of Doug Wilson’s book previously, you would expect his style and wordsmiths to shine through in this work. My expectation was not disappointed. Wilson did a good job tackling this topic of raising up men from a Christian perspective. The work is filled with practical wisdom concerning raising up boys to be men, applications which derive from Scripture. More fascinating to me is Wilson’s attempt to teach on how to even think about raising a boy. The work is written from a Complementarian perspective and thus recognizes the unique differences and difficulties in raising up boys won’t be the same with raising girls (I understand Wilson has also written on that subject). Wilson also grounds his perspective on raising boys to be future men from the position of Calvinism. Wilson ought to be respected for making the conscious attempt to apply his theology to the question of raising up men. Here is perhaps the weakness I find in the book, when it comes to certain things he prescribe to that I disagree with: Padeobaptism, Padeocommunion, sacremental theology and Postmillennialism. However, I think the book has enough food for thought, such as the discussion of “being cool”,the current education system that can cripple and work against young boys, young boys playing war and fighting, etc that are very stimulating and well thought out. I also enjoyed his critique of pop culture which we (and any of our kids) are heavily surrounded by. In my estimation, Wilson’s work reflect the maturity that often cultural fundamentalists lack in understanding the culture around us, and yet he is able to properly critique it beyond the stereotype of “just don’t do ____” without thinking through the whys. I’ve also thought it was the best concise theological effort in grounding manners that boy should have in honoring women that I’ve read. I recommend this book, with the caution of the areas I’ve already highlighted which I disagree with him.

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For those who are familiar with Cornelius Van Til and his work on apologetics, this book will be a treat. The author happen to be Cornelius Van Til’s nephew, and the work explores the implication of Calvinistic theology on culture. Divided into three parts, the first section is largely devoted to the question of what is culture, the relation of it to culture and the effect of sin upon culture. In light of John Calvin’s 500th birthday, for those who are exploring the rich heritage of this servant of God will enjoy part two of the book that discusses the historical development of Calvin and his Reformed predecessors’ contribution towards the intellectual framework for a Calvinistic culture. This section also has a discussion about Augustine. Finally, the third section goes over some of the implication of the theology of Calvinism as it pertains to culture. Excellent work, rather lengthy read at times, but thought stimulating never the less. It has a vintage Dutch Reformed flavor throughout the book. Despite being dated, it is still relevant for those who are exploring what their theology mean when it comes to culture

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Election Forum posted this voting guide for November 8th, 2011:

Los Angeles County Election, November 8, 2011

Ventura County Election, November 8, 2011

 

  • City
    City of San Buenaventura

(more…)

San Bernardino County Election
November 8, 2011

 

Hope it helps!

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