Cap-Quotes: Losing Our Virtue, Chapter 1 – “A Tale of Two Spiritualities”

Cap-Quotes: Losing Our Virtue, Chapter 1 – “A Tale of Two Spiritualities”

On my shelf and unread for many years is David Wells’ third book in his four-book series on theology and culture, Losing Our Virtue. It is now on the side arm of my reading chair and I am beginning my way through it. Even though it was written in 1998, his analysis of the contemporary Christian culture remains spot-on and vitally important for our consideration. The ills he outlines in the book not only remain nearly twenty years after he composed them, but are more more advanced in their expression and negative impact on the church. Even the contemporary reactions of a new generation to the former generation’s narcissism, remain narcissistic (perhaps I will address how I see that in a future post). Here are a few quotes from his first chapter, “A Tale of Two Spiritualities.” Wells begins to outline a few similarities between the culture of Martin Luther some 500 years ago and our contemporary era (though 20 years removed from today). Technology also reduces all of life to the productive order, to measurable benefits, to the calculus of cost an profit, and what is most efficient rapidly becomes what is ethically permissible or right. In a technologically dominated world, what is real is what is found along the flat plane of human management, where effects can be strictly controlled by our own causes. The use of technology greatly enlarges the sense of autonomy, of being at the center of one’s own world and of pulling the strings of its circumstances, through it is probably also the case that different generations look on technology in slightly different...
Calvin on the Book of Psalms

Calvin on the Book of Psalms

John Calvin, the sixteenth century pastor-theologian in Geneva, known most often for his theological treatise, The Institutes for the Christian Religion, should equally be remembered for his commentaries on almost every book of the Bible. As I finish an overview of the book of Psalms at my church, consider how Calvin introduced his commentary on this penetrating part of Scripture: The wearied and resplendid riches which are contained it this treasury it is no easy matter to express in words; so much so, that I well know that whatever I shall be able to say will be far from approaching the excellence of the subject. But as it is better to give to my readers some taste, however small, of the wonderful advantages they will derive from the study of this book, than to be entirely silent on the point, I may be permitted briefly to advert to a matter, the greatness of which does not admit of being fully unfolded.   I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.   The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us. But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to...
Cap-Quotes: Desiring God Chapter 2

Cap-Quotes: Desiring God Chapter 2

Each Wednesday evening through the summer months, a group of adults are reading through and discussing the implications of John Piper’s book, Desiring God. If you have opportunity, come join us each Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. at Summit Woods Baptist Church.  Here are a few highlights from chapter two. God’s pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure in Him are one and the same pursuit. God’s quest to be glorified and our quest to be satisfied reach their goal in this one experience: our delight in God, which overflows in praise.   …no one is a Christian who does not embrace Jesus gladly as his most valued treasure, and then pursue the fullness of that joy in Christ that honors Him.   The best explanation of Romans 3:23 is Romans 1:23. It says that those who did not glorify or thank God became fools “and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images.” This is the way we “fall short” of the glory of God: We exchange it for something of lesser value. All sin comes from not putting supreme value on the glory of God—this is the very essence of sin.   The wickedness of sin is owing to the implicit disdain for God.   Quoting Jonathan Edwards: Our obligation to love, honor, and obey any being is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority.… But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty.… So sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving infinite punishment.… The eternity of the punishment of...
Shepherding a College-Bound Member

Shepherding a College-Bound Member

Recently, parents of one of our church’s high-school graduates and college-bound students asked if I would contribute to a book of helpful advice from those who have had an impact on him through his life. I was humbled and honored, as his pastor and as a close friend of the family to contribute. While the name has been changed, and a few of the details, below is the contribution I made as a suggestion of what I would recommend not only to this student, but just about any student as they move away to begin their college career. Brad, While it is no doubt harder for your parents to believe, it really does make Kelly and me take a step back to realize that you have reached this very significant milestone in your life and are headed off to college. One of the greatest joys of our family’s life is to have the close friendship of your family. Recently, while taking my son to a friend’s house abut thirty minutes from us, he wanted to know how far away it was from you. When I asked him if he ever wanted to live far out in the country like his friend, he immediately said, “no way, it’s too far from your family.” Each one of you means much to each one of us. You are embarking on a most significant step. It is now, as you step away from the familiar and safe borders of family, church, and hometown, that you will begin to not only develop new relationships and chart a new course, you will will also begin to see...
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