Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sam Storms' lists the greatest books of the last 50 years.

First, you can read a bit about Sam Storms here. And a little bit about his Enjoying God Ministries here.

Now, for Sam's list:

The Top Fifteen Books of the Last 50 Years

(that should have been most influential but sadly, in many cases, were not)

(1) Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (Multnomah Press), by John Piper. This is the most important and life-changing book I’ve read in the past thirty-five years. The gospel of Christian Hedonism warrants a global hearing.

(2) Knowing God (IVP) by J. I. Packer. I’ve heard Packer say no one is more surprised by the influence of this book than Packer himself. Virtually everyone I know has read it and testifies to its glorious portrait of the grandeur of God.

(3) Systematic Theology, by Wayne Grudem (Zondervan). Grudem’s theology is must reading. Not just for scholars, this wonderful book is being used in Sunday School classes, small groups, and bible studies of every sort.

(4) The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God (Multnomah Press), by John Piper. Runs a close second to Desiring God in the Piper corpus of writings.

(5) The Presence of the Future (Zondervan), by George Ladd. This excellent treatment of the kingdom of God marked the end of dispensationalism in my theology.

(6) Jesus and the Victory of God, by N. T. Wright (Fortress Press). I don’t agree with everything Wright writes, especially his doctrine of justification. But this is a marvelous and ground-breaking achievement in dealing with the ministry of Jesus, the kingdom of God, and the proper understanding of the relationship between Israel and the Church. Having said that, I should say again that you must read Wright with discerning eyes.

(7) The Holiness of God (Tyndale), by R. C. Sproul. This excellent book restored in many of us a reverence for the transcendent otherness of God and how it impacts our daily relationship with him.

(8) God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism (Crossway) by Bruce Ware. Would that all might read this superb refutation of Open Theism. Bruce has done a marvelous job of demonstrating both biblically and theologically the exhaustive divine foreknowledge of God.

(9) The Doctrine of God: A Theology of Lordship, by John Frame (Presbyterian & Reformed Publishers). Although this should exert mind-shaping influence on the Christian world, few are inclined to apply the necessary mental energy required to profit from this wonderful book.

(10) Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (Zondervan), by Jack Deere. Although not all will agree with this selection, I remain convinced that Deere’s careful and biblical refutation of cessationism is the best available on the subject. Highly recommended.

(11) Let the Nations be Glad! by John Piper (Baker Books). The best book on missions I’ve ever read.

(12) Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Crossway). This was one of the first, and certainly the most influential, of books explaining and defending biblical complementarianism.

(13) The Gospel According to Jesus (Zondervan), by John MacArthur. A ground-breaking defense of the Lordship of Christ and a thorough-going refutation of antinomianism.

(14) Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy (Basic Books), and Integrity (Basic Books) by Stephen Carter. These are great books, especially Civility. In a day of selfish disregard for the rights and dignity of others, Carter brings both a rebuke and a refreshing word of instruction.

(15) Jonathan Edwards: A Life, by George Marsden (Yale University Press). I had to include something about Edwards!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fascinating article by an atheist!

I came across this on Between Two Worlds:

"Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good."

Read the entire article here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pro-life MP is making headlines

Here are a few of them:

MP wants to reopen abortion debate

'Pro-life' debate gains modern crusader

Why I am Pro-life

Here is what MP Rod Bruinooge has to say:

"I think it is essential for a society to value its unborn citizens. The importance we give our offspring prebirth affects the importance we place on them post-birth."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Any extra bibles collecting dust at your place?

Tim Challies, blogger at posted this program on his blog. Essentially, it helps you send your unused bibles to pastors and christian workers in other countries. Check out the program at Christian Resources International.

Michael Coren makes some predictions for 2009:

From :

Crystal Ball Time

No Canadian coalition, Barack backlash in the cards for 2009

By Michael Coren

New Year predictions: As risky as they are predictable for a columnist, but here goes.

- There will be no coalition government in Canada.

The entire episode was an NDP and separatist fantasy sold to a weak, vacillating Stephane Dion. At least a dozen Liberal MPs were convinced that any such regime would have cost them their seats in a subsequent election and, anyway, the Liberal establishment despises socialism even more than it does conservatism.

Harper will compromise on his budget as he already has with his economic statements and it will be politically impossible, as well as electorally disastrous, for the Liberals to bring down the government.

Michael Ignatieff will take firm hold of his party but will increasingly alienate his caucus and grassroots Liberals, who can tolerate almost anything apart from admiration for the United States.

- In the U.S. itself the media will begin to turn against President Barack Obama as the new shiny gift is unwrapped and people realize that it's just the same old present in new paper. We already know that it's editors rather than reporters who adore the man and that ordinary reporters find him to be cold and difficult. His policies will be more of the same old, delivered by more of the same old hacks.

- In foreign affairs the most surprising development will be direct negotiations between Israel and Syria. President Bashar al-Assad is terrified of Iranian influence and Islamic fundamentalism. His economy is stagnating and he is desperate to bring Syria into the West's orbit. There will be compromise on the subject of the Golan Heights and Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and most of the Gulf states will marginalize Hamas, Hezbollah and Tehran.

- The economy will not reblossom but it will find a natural equilibrium. The banks have learned a lesson and are now using credit as they should have done several years ago. Governments will use stimulus packages moderately but usefully and the market will recover up to half of its 2008 losses.Lower housing and oil prices will partly compensate for lack of wage increases and unemployment.

- The obsession with the environment will decline and green organizations and special interest groups will lose much of their momentum. While ecology and climate change will always be serious issues, there will be less support for the hysteria of ecological zealots who seem to dislike people but love the planet. The Canadian Green Party will slide into even greater obscurity.

- Human Rights Commissions will have their powers limited and be redirected to do their real jobs in guaranteeing that people are not denied jobs or homes because of their race, faith, disability or sexuality. There will be far less tolerance for extremists posing as human rights bureaucrats trying to limit freedom of speech merely because someone, somewhere, finds something offensive.

- The Michael Coren Show on CTS, available on basic cable throughout Ontario and Alberta and on digital in the rest of Canada, will extend its audience even beyond its current 200,000. Viewers will agree that it's the best current affairs show on television and that its host is also modest.

- Canada will continue to be the most inviting, tolerant and fertile country in the world. The envy of all and the pride of those fortunate enough to live here. They will all, irrespective of politics, wish one another a happy, safe and profitable 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Rise of the Intellectual Charismatic

C Michael Patton of Reclaiming the Mind shared a piece on intellectual charismatics at his blog Parchment and Pen. The entry begins:

In times past, most serious theologians and biblical scholars could look to the modern Charismatic movement merely as the latest movement among folk Christianity that doesn’t take intellectual studies seriously. The sensationalistic tendencies of the movement could be easily written off knowing that soon this fad would end with disillusionment and an “I told you so” that followed.

Such is not the case any longer.

Read the full article here. Of particular interest to me was the mentioning of two of my favourite theologians/authors; Wayne Grudem and J. P. Moreland.

If you have kids...

Justin Taylor is the blogger at Between Two Worlds which is a favourite blog of mine. He shared a recent conversation he had with his son:

The other night while tucking my three-year-old son into bed, I said, "Hey, I've got to tell you a secret."

I leaned into his ear, and said in an exaggerated whisper: "I. Love. You."

He smiled and said, "I got a secret for you, Daddy."

Then he whispered in my ear, "I'm. Hungry!"

Too funny!

Rich Cherry brought this article to our attention.

Say it loud and proud: 'Merry Christmas'

Theo Caldwell, National Post Published: Friday, December 19, 2008

One recent December, a tour guide on Canada's Parliament Hill was overheard referring to the "Christmas Trees" in the main hall. When the guide's heresy was reported to her superiors, she was firmly told that the decorated greenery were most certainly not "Christmas trees," and a heated debate ensued as to just what to call the arboreal splendour. It was decided that guides would refer only to "Festive Bushes" for the remainder of the holiday season.

But this year, Quebec Premier Jean Charest quickly corrected an overeager staffer who declared that a "Holiday Tree" would be lighted in the provincial capital. Charest's commonsensical statement that it was, in fact, a "Christmas Tree" was a welcome rebuke to the seasonal game of sensitivity and silly bears that goes on every year.

In this cold world, a kind word is always welcome, so if one person genuinely hopes for another to enjoy his or her holiday, or wishes to greet that person in the spirit of the season, far be it from me to cast a stone. But, in the weeks leading up to Dec. 25, if you make a conscious choice to avoid saying "Merry Christmas," there's a good chance you have decided that a divine gift that was meant for all mankind, and in which billions of people rejoice each year, is too offensive a notion to cross your lips.

Yes, yes, I know -- folks say "Happy Holidays" and other insipid stuff because not everyone is Christian, so this is a way to be inclusive. But there is no inclusion to be had by euphemizing the warmest wish of a particular religion, presuming it to be objectionable to non-believers.

Of course, there are many different religions and faiths in the world. This is something folks are taught by the age of, say, four or five. So, if you are older than this, yet you eschew "Merry Christmas," what you are putting forward is that one of the world's religions is uniquely unsuitable for public acknowledgement.

No one frets about being "inclusive" during Passover or Ramadan, nor should they. Ironically, the purported inclusiveness of the "Season's Greetings" police is actually about exclusion. To wit, it's about excluding just one religion, Christianity, from any rightful place in modern society.

The left has long since extrapolated vague, fashionable notions of history -- from the horrors of the Crusades to the dull intolerance of the 1950s -- to name Christianity the culprit for all the world's evil. And so, budding iconoclasts can tee off on the faith, or inflict their petty "Holiday Tree" policies with impunity. And well they might, for it is a risk-less proposition. The worst that will happen is they may stumble across a column like this one, calling courage-free conformity by its name.

Indeed, those politically correct paragons who browbeat Christians in movies and television, classrooms and print, would be much more credible if, just once, they decided to try their censorious tactics on one of those religions where the practitioners react, shall we say, stringently to being muzzled or criticized.

Christians, the sensitivity cops point out, are in the majority, and so their holidays do not merit the same exclusive attention and protection as those of other religions. But is tolerance a numbers game? Is courtesy quantifiable? Is the respect a religion merits inversely proportional to its number of believers? Is it calculated like a marginal tax rate, off the last adherent rather than the last dollar earned?

Christmas is about Jesus Christ, Son of God, coming down to Earth to show us how a proper life should be lived, then dying unpleasantly for our sins. Believe it or don't. I may not be the world's greatest Christian, but we do one another no favours by pretending this happiest of holidays is about anything but Him. - Theo Caldwell, president of Caldwell Asset Management, Inc., is an investment advisor in the United States and Canada.