Monthly Archives: September 2006

Young, Restless, Reformed

The current issue of Christianity Today contains an article worth reading. The story mentions several pastors I admire, respect and read: R. C. Sproul, John Piper, Al Mohler, C. J. Mahaney, Mark Dever and Joshua Harris.

One point the article makes is that, contrary to a common accusation, today’s young adherents to Reformed theology see no conflict between the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in election and the call upon the Christian to evangelize the lost.

When I was on staff with a parachurch ministry known for its emphasis on evangelism, I began to be concerned about their apparent “psychologizing” of the gospel. I predicted that if they continued to incorporate psychology into their evangelism and discipleship, they would soon shoot themselves in the foot, because any benefit psychology may bring applies equally to the believer as to the non-believer. In other words, “If all I need to do is learn to set up some ‘boundaries’ in my life, then what do I need Jesus for?” “If I can learn how to deal with my ‘dysfunctions,’ then I don’t need to be forgiven of my sin or conformed to the likeness of Christ.” It occurred to me that if Christians needed the insights of psychology to solve problems in their lives, then either God’s word lacked something, or we lacked understanding of God’s word.

At the same time as I was growing disenchanted with my erstwhile ministry environs, I came across a book by R. C. Sproul explaining Reformed theology for laymen. I wasn’t entirely convinced of his theological system, but I did come away impressed that he taught that scripture actually meant something (rather than whatever we wanted it to mean), and his description of God’s sovereignty actually made God sound truly kingly (rather than as one who hangs out in heaven hoping we’ll come ask him for a favor).

Anyhow, I continued to read in this vein, and I guess according to the CT article, I’m not the only one. One other thing I have in common with the people mentioned in the story is that I’m not particularly fond of the label “Calvinist.” But on the other hand, I’ve found that about every question or problem I encountered in Evangelicalism today I’ve found can be remedied by a dose of the biblically faithful theology of the Reformation and of the Puritans.

P.S. The “Homeboy” T-Shirt seen on the CT cover is part of a collection created by Frank Turk, aka “Centuri0n,” one of the contributors at the Pyromaniacs blog. He refers to them as “cheap junk at ridiculous prices.” Name your Reformed hero, and you can buy your T-shirt here.

Recommended Reading.

So I finished The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott. I recommend it, though I did find the desktop quality publishing a bit distracting. It would be worthwhile to send the book through another editing and have it republished. This said, I still consider the book one of the most biblical and most practical books I have read… perhaps ever.

Up there with J. Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership, I think Exemplary is a book I should read at least once a year. Not only do I consider Scott’s book a helpful resource in my own life, but it’s one of those books I will want to keep close at hand for those times when a friend says to me, “My wife and I are in trouble, what do I do now?”

In typical Mataikhan fashion, I have begun two new books at the same time (never mind that I haven’t finished my Pastoral Counseling paper yet). The first, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, by D.A. Carson, is a thoughtful introduction to and critique of this postmodern movement’s restyling of the Evangelical church.

In the second book, The Battle for the Beginning, John MacArthur argues that every doctrine essential to the Christian faith finds its foundation in Genesis 1-3. Interestingly, today’s post at the recently re-lauched Pulpit magazine is an except from the introductory chapter of this book.

Bêbe Bebê a Caminho

Yesterday, Elsiene’s friends threw a baby shower for her. Us guys went over to another house to watch Narnia. But before I left, I finished making the above lembrancinhas. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. The other mementos available for purchase in the stores were actually enough to give me nightmares. Anyhow, I began working a week in advance and had made about 10 when I discovered I put the “chapeuzinho” on the wrong “e”. It’s bebê, not bêbe. Fortunately, we were able to recover from our mistake, and Lentil didn’t seem to mind.