Morning Mashup 04/12

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together | Jared Wilson

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Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture | John Piper

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ARTICLES

THE NEW MARTIN LUTHER MOVIE | PATHEOS

Gene Veith: I’m not a huge fan of this hybrid of documentary and drama, but this one works as well as I’ve seen.  Luther’s life is so interesting and so inherently dramatic that the narrative is gripping and entertaining, even though it is continually interrupted by the scholars.

THE HORROR OF CRUCIFIXION | DESIRING GOD

Tony Reinke: This week we celebrate the death of our Savior. And today we are going to look at the crucifixion from its historical and physical realities.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RECOVERY | CHRISTWARD COLLECTIVE

Nick BatzigWhen we have sinned in our Christian life or made a error in judgment in pastoral ministry, we need to remember that so much of the Christian life and pastoral ministry is in the recovery.

SOME HELPS FOR FAMILY WORSHIP | VASSAL OF THE KING

Geoffrey Kirkland: What is family worship? What does it look like? How does one get started? Is it really doable in our ‘fast-paced society’? This is the outline that I provided our men to guide us in our discussion through this important topic.

PASTOR, DON’T WASTE YOUR EXCLAMATION POINTS | TGC

Jared Wilson: If you’re one of those rah-rah guys firing on all emotional cylinders for everything from bake sales and the book table to baptisms and baby dedications, you create an equality between minutiae and missional milestones that can be disorienting, and ultimately dulling. But more directly, just remember that if everything is exciting, nothing is.

VIDEOS

MARTIN LUTHER | PATHEOS

 THE UNIQUENESS OF THE PSALMS | LIGONIER

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Throwback Thursday: Carl Trueman on Martin Luther

91n23Upf5ILFriends, Carl Trueman’s new book Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom is terrific! I just want to start off by saying Carl Trueman is not merely a gifted historian and theologian, he is also an excellent writer. He has written some of the most helpful biblical and theological books on many numerous subjects. But I have anticipated this book for a long time. Crossway has done an excellent job in this series with picking some of the best writers and scholars to write on Calvin, Warfield, Schaeffer, Bonhoeffer, Wesley, Edwards, and now Luther.
Luther’s significance to Protestantism cannot be understated! In this book, Trueman shows us how important Luther is to the church. For example, Trueman says,

“For Luther, however, faith is the instrument, and there is no place for merit, either before or after the individual comes to trust in God’s Word and be united to Christ. Justifying righteousness is alien righteousness, and justification is always the extrinsic declaration of God, not based upon any intrinsic quality. Further, while Luther does regard the sacraments as important, they are not strictly speaking necessary for salvation, since faith is the one thing needful in this regard” (70).

Faith and justification were at the heart of the Reformation. Friends, faith and justification are at the heart of the gospel (Romans 1:17).

Trueman does not take to task Luther’s opposing views in theology and the sacraments. His goal in this book is to simply address Luther’s massive contribution to Christian living. For any Protestant, this book will be a joy to read. Luther is fun. Trueman is fun. We should be thankful for both of them.

As Luther once said, “When faith grasps the Word, the power of the Word is imparted to the believer as heat is imparted to an iron placed in the fire.”

Friends, you only get one life and it will soon pass, only what is done for Jesus Christ will last!


1557562_10153227664651515_1796309980_nEvan Knies is an undergraduate student at Boyce College where he studies Biblical and Theological Studies. He lives in Louisville, KY with his wife, Lauren. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies.

Reflections on Luther’s “The Bondage of the Will”

51DzquvzHyLMartin Luther is one of the most influential Christians in the history of the Church. He sparked what would become known as the Reformation with his 95 Theses. He heralded the Pauline theme of salvation by grace through faith alone. He also championed the supremacy and sufficiency of God’s revelation in his word, the Bible. He penned a bounty of works, including commentaries, a German translation of the Bible, treatises, and books on various topics.
In light of his vast array of works, Luther said if there were one work of his he would want to last, it would be The Bondage of the Will. Clearly, this work was incredibly important to Luther. The Bondage of the Will is a theological masterpiece that addresses both a theological and philosophical problem. It is in the form of a response to a work by Luther’s contemporary, Erasmus. Erasmus was a Humanist, semi-Pelagian, and one of the greatest scholars of his day, who wrote Diatribe on Free Will, a work that was rebutted by Luther throughout The Bondage of the Will. He felt Erasmus was dangerously errant in his view of the freedom of the will, so much so that he called on Erasmus to repent of his position.

One of the major themes in The Bondage of the Will is that man’s slavery to sin highlights and even makes sense of Christ’s work. It magnifies the glory of the cross. Luther argues that the God’s grace in the gospel is so great, precisely because it shatters the stone of our captive wills that inherently oppose him. Despite the claims of those like Erasmus who see the offer of Christ as a free gift of God’s grace, Luther believes unless you properly understand the sinfulness and helplessness of man, God’s grace will be greatly belittled. For Luther, what are at stake in the theological and philosophical debate over the will are God’s grace and the gospel of Christ.

Luther argues that if man has an innate ability to believe in Christ, then the work of Christ was needless to redeem that portion of man—his will. If man is totally dead in sin, enslaved to sin, and naturally opposed to God, this means his will is enslaved along with him. Luther’s primary concern is the gospel. He fears that upholding the free will of man is a denial of Christ. He writes, “I wish the defenders of free choice would take warning at this point, and realize that when they assert free choice they are denying Christ.”

A notable literary aspect from The Bondage of the Will worth mentioning is Luther’s incredibly strong language. It is so strong in fact that at times it makes reading uncomfortable. However, it highlights Luther’s passion for the glory of God, the integrity of correct handling of Scripture, and the gospel. Today we talk of engaging opposing positions in a winsome manner or with convictional kindness. Many of us believe this means compromising truth and arguing dispassionately. While we should graciously stand for truth, we would do well to learn from Luther’s unabashed passion for biblical truth and the integrity of the gospel.

Luther’s response to a work that he felt was harmful to the message of the gospel is similar to John Piper’s response to N.T. Wright’s theology of justification. Just as Luther responded to Erasmus concerned that he was doing harm to the gospel, Piper responded to Wright’s interpretation of justification with similar concerns. Unlike Luther, Piper demonstrates a restraint on his passion and true convictional kindness. However, the passion for not losing what the Bible teaches about a given topic is present in both Luther and Piper. As a brief example of the similarities in their passion for the withstanding of the true gospel, Piper writes, “My conviction concerning N.T. Wright is not that he is under the curse of Galatians 1:8-9, but that his portrayal of the gospel—and of the doctrine of justification in particular—is so disfigured that it becomes difficult to recognize as biblically faithful.”

All in all, The Bondage of the Will is one of the most theologically significant texts that the Reformation birthed. Due to Luther’s recovering of the authority of Scripture, significant conversations about these issues could be had with integrity. While there are those who believe theological debate is nothing more than nitpicking, Luther shows that doctrines that contradict Scripture are serious gospel issues that carry eternal importance worthy of confrontation.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

Martin Luther on the Relationship Between Justification and Sanctification

luther2_zoomI recently read an essay written by the Reformer, Martin Luther, entitled, “Two Kinds of Righteousness.” I found it to be very helpful and edifying, as well as carrying (as expected) astute theological significance. There has historically been much confusion over the relationship between justification and sanctification. Such confusion is still awry with the whirlwind surrounding Tullian Tchavidjian and The Gospel Coalition, just to give one example.
The relationship between justification and sanctification isn’t mere theological debate reserved for academics. One’s understanding of this relationship directly effects Christian living. For example, if one mistakenly believes justification to function in such a way that neglects progressive sanctification, there would be no motivation to mortify the flesh and sin. However, sanctification should never be viewed as a legalistic method by which one earns salvation as if justification did not exist. There must be a healthy balance between the two, understanding that justification and sanctification is distinct, but connected.

Luther’s “Two Kinds of Righteousness” as a whole serves the Christian in his or her daily battle with sin. I found sections from propositions two and six particularly helpful in clearly stating the connection and distinction within the relationship between justification and sanctification.

Proposition Two: “Therefore, everything which Christ has is ours, graciously bestowed on us unworthy men out of God’s sheer mercy, although we have rather deserved wrath and condemnation, and hell also.”

In explaining what he calls “alien righteousness,” the imputed righteousness that believers obtain by God’s grace through faith in Christ, Luther makes a theologically loaded statement in this second proposition that hits on a few doctrines. Firstly, he concisely describes the essence of imputed righteousness by writing, “…everything which Christ has is ours.” Luther points out the degree of the blessings poured out on the Christian through the imputed righteousness of Christ. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Luther sums up in this statement the blessings Christians receive through this glorious transaction. It is through this doctrine that we are justified and it is only by this doctrine that we can stand before God and be counted blameless in his sight. This statement is highly significant because in it we have a description of the direct effects of Christ’s imputed righteousness, which lead us to say with Paul, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3).

But even further, in this short section we see God’s sovereign grace in bestowing this blessing upon us. Our alien righteousness is nothing that we earn. It is a gift. It is a divine gift of sovereign grace, in which God grants saving faith to those whom he wills, though all are deserving of “wrath and condemnation, and hell also.” So, Luther also shows in this statement his affirmation of the depravity of man and the grace of God in salvation. According to Luther, our eternal destiny depends solely on the grace of God. From this we can apply that all praise, glory, and worship are due God alone. There is no room for boasting in salvation on man’s part.

 Proposition Six: “The second kind of righteousness is our proper righteousness, not because we alone work it, but because we work with that first and alien righteousness. This is that manner of life spent profitably in good works…in slaying he flesh and crucifying the desires with respect to the self…this righteousness consists in love to one’s neighbor…in meekness and fear towards God.”

Luther turns at this point in his essay from an exposition of justification (“alien righteousness”) to discuss the doctrine of sanctification (“proper righteousness”). It is noteworthy that Luther keeps at the forefront the necessity of God’s grace and the total and utter reliance on the work of Christ for salvation. He emphasizes that this “proper” or more active righteousness on our part is not a way by which we merit salvation, but rather a full reliance on the merit of Christ (“…not because we alone work it, but because we work with that first and alien righteousness”). This section is highly significant because it describes sanctification as being motivated by justification.

Though Luther accurately separates the two, he links them by showing the reliance of the one upon the other. To put it practically, Luther shows us that it is by the imputed righteousness of Christ that we do good works, slay the flesh, crucify selfish desires, love our neighbor, and fear God. This gets to the heart of Philippians 2:12-13, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” We are to work out our salvation, yet it is God who works in us for his good pleasure.

According to Luther, our alien righteousness fuels our proper righteousness. God saves us by his grace alone and he works out our sanctification through the means of our obedience.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY. with his wife Erica.