Feeding on Words

I am thoroughly enjoying Alan Jacobs’s, The Narnian. I would heartily recommend it to fans of Lewis. An excerpt,

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Remembering, later, that moment of revelation, [Orual] also rememers her tutor, that philosophical Greek called the Fox, and that is what leads her to the passage with which I ended the previous chapter:

“Lightly men talk of saying what they mean. Often when he was teaching me to write in Greek the Fox would say, “Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that’s the whole art and joy of words.” A glib saying. When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech, which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all the time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble we think we mean?”

The Fox, who is among the dead who thronged that dark courtroom, does not hear her say this, but having heard her speech, he realizes what he has done, and accuses himself more strongly than she could accuse him: “Send me away, Minos, even to Tartarus, if Tartarus can cure glibness. I made her think that a prattle of maxims could do, all thin and clear as water. For of course water’s good; and it didn’t cost much, not where I grew up. So I fed her on words.”

Anyone who thinks this is merely a critique of Greek philosophy or cheap rationalism has, I believe, misunderstood the passage, for it is equally a critique of Christian apologetics. The emptiness of Fox’s words is scarcely greater than the emptiness of the apologist’s words. No doubt, what Lewis had written and said as a defender of the Christian faith was truer than what Fox had taught Orual–indeed, far truer–but it had the defect of being in words, and it is easy to forget that even true words bear the limitations of all language: they are, inevitably, “thin and clear as water.” The gods demand more than water: indeed they demand blood, for, as the author of the letter to Hebrews writes in a passage at which the priests of Ungit would have nodded sagely, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (9:22).

Jacobs, The Narnian, 240-41.

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Finally Alive

This is a very important book by John Piper. Whether or not you track with him 100% on Christian hedonism, this book is a must read. It is staggering to consider how neglected the topic of regeneration has been when we consider its importance for the church. Piper does a fantastic job tracing the doctrine through scripture. He answers the questions: What is the new birth? Why must we be born again? How does the new birth come about? What are the effects of the new birth? How can we help others be born again? Pick this book up and read it. Every pastor should.

D.A. Carson says,

I cannot too strongly celebrate the publication of this book. Owing in part to several decades of dispute over justification and how a person is set right with God, we have tended to neglect another component of conversion no less important. Conversion under the terms of the new covenant is more than a matter of position and status in Christ, though never less: it includes miraculous Spirit-given transformation, something immeasurably beyond mere human resolution. It is new birth; it makes us new creatures; it demonstrates that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. All the creedal orthodoxy in the world cannot replace it. The reason why ‘You must be born again’ is so important is that you must be born again.”

Discerning at Your Christian Bookstore

Outside the local church, there is probably no place in the community with more spiritual influence than the local Christian bookstore. For many believers, books provide the primary supplement to what is heard on Sunday. But just because something is on the shelf doesn’t mean it is doctrinally accurate or spiritual beneficial. After all, biblical discernment is not just for sermons. It must also be applied to chapters and articles.

Nathan Busenitz, Fools Gold, pg. 45

Book Recommendation

I’m not sure that I have read a book recently that has so profoundly moved me. I’m only 70 pages in, but have highlighted at least once on every page. This is proof for any reflective person that there’s someone out there that understands you, but more, challenges you to act.

The Myth of Certainty, Daniel Taylor

A Review of Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor

I must admit, once I started Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor, I could barely put it down. This has to be one of the most challenging and yet encouraging books I have read in quite some time.

As far as biographies go, this one was unlike any other biography I have ever read. We naturally gravitate toward biographies of the heroes of the faith. And we should. God used men such as Whitefield, Calvin, and Luther to alter the flow of Christian history and literally to change the world. We long to know what made them so fruitful in their ministries. What personal disciplines did they practice? What methods did they use in personal Bible study? How did they maximize the use of their time to bring the most glory to God? All wonderful questions we should be asking.

Read on
Buy it

Vintage Jesus

Challies Review of Driscoll’s Vintage Jesus. He offers some balanced thoughts on the book.

Also from Abraham Piper:

A few recommendations of Mark Driscoll’s new book Vintage Jesus:

Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears combine profound understanding of modern culture with weighty Christian doctrine that is faithful to the Bible. It’s written in such an interesting style that it’s hard to put down. I strongly recommend it!

-Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Bible and Theology, Phoenix Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona

This new book by Driscoll, one of the most promising young pastors I’ve met, and his theological partner Gerry Breshears, tells the old, old story in a contemporary, exciting, in-your-face manner. Though written to appeal to today’s younger seekers, nothing of classic Christian theology is omitted. Those of my generation may bridle at some aspects of the book—but it’s good if we do. This book is just what’s needed for us to understand how to reach the postmoderns and a great tool to help all of us connect with young seekers. This is both bold and uncompromising. I can highly recommend it.

-Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship

If you think that you already know Jesus, think again. This book will open the eyes of many who have yet to see the radical nature of Jesus’ life and teaching. For the spread of the gospel and the advancement of the kingdom, I can only hope many will read this book and embrace Jesus as the true Lord, God, Savior, and King that he is.

-Bruce A. Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary