The Puritan Hope is a refreshing read. We should be praying for and working toward revival and reformation in our own time. This book clearly shows thThe Puritan Hope is a refreshing read. We should be praying for and working toward revival and reformation in our own time. This book clearly shows that the Reformation was a time of massive Revival. Our Puritan fathers cast a vast vision for the gospel’s work throughout the world. This book will fill your sails with a fresh hope for the global work of Christianity. Here you will find example after example of men who lived in the light of that reality. All the big names we look back to–David Livingstone, William Carey, Thomas Chalmers, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Isaac Watts–were postmillennial. This book will shape your prayer life, your Sunday worship, and your vision for the world.
“Pray for reformation by the power of the word preached.”-Thomas Cartwright, pg 8
“It may be hoped that then many of the Negroes and Indians will be divines, and that excellent books will be published in Africa, in Ethiopia, in Tartary.”-Jonathan Edwards, pg. 97
“So the prayer that St. Stephen made for his persecutors took place in Saul when St. Stephen was dead.”-Thomas Goodwin, pg. 102
“There are bottles of tears a-filling, vials a-filing to be poured out for the destruction of God’s enemies. What a collection of prayers hath there been these many ages towards it! And that may be one reason why God will do such great things towards the end of the world, even because there hath been a great stock of prayers going for so many ages, which is now to be returned.”-Thomas Goodwin, pg. 103
“Scriptural preaching, accompanied by the power of the Spirit of God, is the divine means for extending the kingdom of Christ. -pg. 127
“[Christ] must reign, till Satan has not an inch of territory.”-William Carey pg. 141
“The work, to which God has set His hands, will infallibly prosper. Christ has begun to besiege this ancient and strong fortress, and will assuredly carry it.”-William Carey on India, pg 140
“Christian education, more than anything else, has prepared a large body of the people for a wide rejection of Hinduism, and for a reception of Christ as the Saviour, should it please God graciously to pour out the His Spirit from on high on that land. All history proclaims that this is the way in which God generally works. There are long seasons of preparation; the truth is spread; obstacles are removed out of the way, and then God comes in His power and turns the people to Himself. A nation is then born in a day.”-Rev Alexander Campbell, pg 180
“Missionaries do not live before their time. Their great idea of converting the world to Christ was no chimera: it is Divine. Christianity will triumph. It is equal to all it has to perform.”-David Livingstone, pg. 183
“Our want of faith has done more mischief to us than all the devils in hell, and all the heretics on earth. Some cry out against the Pope, and others against agnostics; but it is our own unbelief which is our worst enemy.”-Charles Spurgeon, pg. 231...more
An important book that demystifies Postmodernism. The book is almost thirty years old but still accurate for today’s world. When the book was written,An important book that demystifies Postmodernism. The book is almost thirty years old but still accurate for today’s world. When the book was written, the postmodernist project was a small seedling which made it hard to see all that it would become. Today, the postmodernist project has grown up into a forest and all the parts are clearly visible right in front of us. Reading this book today is like walking on a guided tour with Veith through all the parts of the Postmodernist project. Veith labels and identifies all the pieces at play in our postmodern culture. In this way, Veith pulls back the curtain and shows us the little postmodern man screaming his ideology at us all day every day. Reading this book is essential for understanding our times.
Key Terms: Premodern: phase of Western civilization where people believed in the supernatural pg 29 Enlightenment: saw the whole universe as a closed natural system of cause and effect, pg 33 Romanticism: cultivated subjectivity, personal experience, irrationalism, and intense emotion, pg 36 Existentialism: By their own free choices and deliberate actions, human beings can create their own order, a meaning for their life that they and they alone determine, pg 37 Modernism: an unstable mixture of positivism dampened by existentialism, pg 39 Postmodernism: affirm the chaos, considering any order to be only provisional and varying from person to person, pg 42 Objectivist: those who believe that truth is objective and can be known, pg 47 Constructivist: those who believe that human beings make up their own realities, pg 47 Queer Theory: culture as supression of homosexuals, pg 53 Intertextuality: culture is texts interacting with other texts, p 52 Deconstruction: dismantle the paradigms of the past and bring the marginal to the center, pg 57 Social Construct: these paradigms are useful fictions, a matter of “telling stories”pg 57
Key quotes: “While there is no ready-made meaning in life, individuals can create meaning for themselves. By their own free choices and deliberate actions, human beings can create their own order, a meaning for their life that they and they alone determine. This meaning, however, has no validity for anyone else.” –pg. 37
“Whereas modern existentialism teaches that meaning is created by the individual, postmodern existentialism teaches that meaning is created by a social group and its language.”-pg. 48
“‘Performance, not truth’ is the only criterion.”- pg. 50
“According to the postmodernists, all reality is virtual reality.” pg. 61
“Postmodernism has as its project the death of the self.”-pg. 73
“This individuality is only an illusion.” –pg. 76
Michael Foucault: “the concept of liberty is an invention of the ruling classes.” –pg. 77
“The disappearing ego is the victory sign of postmodernism.”-pg. 82
“We believe in what we like.” –pg. 176
“The computer symbolizes the postmodern economy.” –pg. 177
“The premodern and the modern value knowledge; the postmodern is obsessed with data.” -pg. 178
“The modern economy saw people as producers; the postmodern economy sees them as consumers. -pg. 178 ...more
Helpful introduction to Augustine's key works and his thoughts. Gave me a better handle on his overall work as a theologian. Very helpful. A few nigglHelpful introduction to Augustine's key works and his thoughts. Gave me a better handle on his overall work as a theologian. Very helpful. A few niggles with A's personal theology but overall I am very thankful for his work. City of God, Confessions, and his work on Predestination are important for all Christians to know. Key quotes from the book:
Levering: "Even our delight in the beloved cannot be our goal. If we focus on *our* delight, we will lose the beloved." -pg. 7
"Chaste fear desires never to lose the presence of God. Perfect charity and chaste fear go together, since perfect charity desires always to possess the Lord...The person with chaste fear awaits with longing the arrival of God's kingdom." -pg. 65
"Lacking real compassion and charity for others, [Augustine] would take pleasure in weeping and rejoicing with the fictional characters on the stage. His love was not real." -pg. 94
Augustine: God is "good without quality, great without quantity, creative without need or necessity, presiding without position, holding all things together without possession, wholly everywhere without place, everlasting without time, without any change in himself making changeable things, and undergoing nothing." -pg. 162, from On the Trinity
Carl Trueman's book is a key work to understand the issues facing Christians today. He opens by asking how did we get to a place where it makes any seCarl Trueman's book is a key work to understand the issues facing Christians today. He opens by asking how did we get to a place where it makes any sense for a man to say "I think I am a woman trapped in a man's body"? He then works through the godless ideas that support that kind of claim.
Thee key takeaways: 1. The modern self is found and shaped by performance “For such selves in such a world, institutions such as schools and churches are places where one goes to perform, not to be formed–or, perhaps better, where one goes to be formed by performing.” -p. 49
2. Psychology has shaped society “Satisfaction and meaning–authenticity–are now found by an inward turn, and the culture is reconfigured to this end. Indeed, it must now serve the purpose of meeting my psychological needs; I must not tailor my psychological needs to the nature of society, for that would create anxiety and make me inauthentic.” -p. 54
3. There is an inherent lie inside the LGBT movement “As a political entity, it is truly an anticulture: it is defined negatively, by its rejection of past norms and the destruction and erasure of the same. Given the past hostility of the L and the G toward each other, it even involves a significant act of cultural amnesia relative to its own history.”-p. 373
I have other concerns/questions about Trueman (e.g. Aimee Byrd) but in this book he has diagnosed the disease in our time. This is a key read for Christians who want to live in a faithful way in our time. ...more
Key work that unpacks the worldview behind Google, Facebook, and other tech companies. Nothing is free. If you are not paying for it, then you are theKey work that unpacks the worldview behind Google, Facebook, and other tech companies. Nothing is free. If you are not paying for it, then you are the product. The big tech companies are running on a Darwinian social conditioning model. If you understand that, then you understand everything else.
The end goal for these companies is Artificial Intelligence. But these tech companies will not get there because the human mind is different than the human brain. The brain is the hardware, the mind is the software. A materialistic worldview can't build a human mind.
But these tech companies are going to try to get there anyway. In the process, they will fulfill what Lewis saw coming: Man's conquest of nature. Which is really some men who have conquered other men. ...more
Machen understands rightly that Liberal ideology is a rival religion. He unpacks the reigning religion in our day of the brotherhood of man without reMachen understands rightly that Liberal ideology is a rival religion. He unpacks the reigning religion in our day of the brotherhood of man without reference to God. He also rightly sees that our battle is all about language. Liberals misuse and abuse language to get their way and then when they have control, they dismiss all dissenting positions.
Machen shows how Liberal man is ultimately trying to save himself apart from the gospel. But there is no materialistic solution to our spiritual issue. Only Jesus, as presented in the gospel, can solve our problems. True Christian doctrine is the solution.
While Machen is a fierce fighter, he also sets a high value on unity. This is why he fights. Machen sees rightly that true unity can only be found in the Gospel and that unity comes about through slow growth and maturation. All other so-called unity is false, hasty, and ultimately destructive.
Read in 2017 and have revisited it at points ...more
Read this to understand our times. Read it several times. Lewis lays out all the players on both sides of the war: tech gurus, a liberal pastor, lesbiRead this to understand our times. Read it several times. Lewis lays out all the players on both sides of the war: tech gurus, a liberal pastor, lesbian police, shrewd politicians, mindless mystics, patient leaders, faithful professors, a band of rag tag friends, a friendly bear, and a young married couple.
Lewis reveals the spiritual dimension to the current battle. This is not just a battle of flesh and blood but also of principalities and powers. This deeper reality is something that 1984 and Brave New World completely ignore. Lewis also offers a path to victory in the battle: the faithful work of small, mundane tasks and waiting and praying.
Lewis lays out clearly the temptations for both men and women: men are afraid of being left out of the inner circle and women are afraid to submit. But the solution to both is Christian marriage. This book is the story of our time. And it rightly recognizes that a wedding is how it will all end.
I have read this a few times. Most recently did the audiobook in May 2021 ...more
Helpful read in light of recent political trends. Power is our idol. The first section defining idolatry is really helpful. The cycle of idolatry is kHelpful read in light of recent political trends. Power is our idol. The first section defining idolatry is really helpful. The cycle of idolatry is key: 1. place Idol in God's position, 2. Idol fails to deliver and requires more service, 3. we become like the Idol and we are enslaved to it. The discussion at the end on our desire to use power to fix things is important. It was also helpful to consider how we abuse power by not dealing with personal issues at the lowest level. We too often rush to ask the boss, pastor, or politician to fix it, rather than doing the hard work ourselves....more
Fantastic book. I read it a couple of years ago. Here are some key quotes:
“The whole tendency of modern thought, one might say its whole moral impulsFantastic book. I read it a couple of years ago. Here are some key quotes:
“The whole tendency of modern thought, one might say its whole moral impulse, is to keep the individual busy with endless induction.” pg. 11
“The unexpressed assumption of empiricism is that experience will tell us what we are experiencing.” -pg. 11
“The average man has become imbued with this notion and imagines that an industrious acquisition of particulars will render him a man of knowledge. With what pathetic trust does he recite his facts!”-pg. 12
“The staggering number of facts to which he today has access serves only to draw him away from consideration of first principles, so that his orientation becomes peripheral.” -pg. 13 ...more
This book is a helpful history of Catholics in America during the last century. Hart discusses the key tension for American Catholics: trying to reconThis book is a helpful history of Catholics in America during the last century. Hart discusses the key tension for American Catholics: trying to reconcile the American ideals of democracy and religious liberty with traditional Catholic teaching on submitting to church hierarchy. Catholic teaching on submission to the pope seems to contradict the American political system of people voting for leaders.
The primary example of this American Catholic tension is John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic American president. Imagine this scenario: If the Pope gave JFK a direct command, does JFK have to submit to the Pope? This question does not just apply to the president, it also applies to every American Catholic. What do they do if the Pope commands something? Every American Catholic has to answer this question in some way. From this, we see that American Catholics have to live in tension with a political system that cuts against the grain of Catholic teaching.
Hart does a good job in working through JFK's presidency and the Catholic tensions there. This material was wonderful. JFK was a key turning point in American history. One historian described it as the end of "Protestant America." Hart discusses the issues around JFK’s funeral service which was a traditional Catholic service in Latin. This ceremony was rather strange for much of Protestant America. At one point in the funeral, Jackie Kennedy genuflected before Cardinal Cushing and kissed his hand. While this action was a common Catholic practice, some were rather offended at it. What did this genuflecting mean? Was the President less than a Catholic Cardinal? What about separation of Church and State?
I think Hart is at his best when he is working through specific historical moments, like these around JFK’s funeral.
The middle section of the book was slow and it seemed to wander a bit. In the middle part, Hart focused on the ideas of various writers rather than specific historical events. The history of ideas is important but it wasn’t always clear why these ideas were being discussed. If Hart had grounded the ideas in specific moments in American history, that would have helped draw out the tensions he was highlighting. For example, Hart could have discussed other key Catholics in American society and how they were wrestling with this tension in their lives. Jim Lovell, of the Apollo Space program, comes to my mind. How did his Catholicism shape his work with NASA?
I was also hoping to see Hart explain more of how Catholics influenced the rise of the Evangelical Right and the Pro-life movement. It seems this tension that Hart is discussing applies there also. It is also significant that many Catholic politicians disregard Catholic teaching on Abortion and Marriage. Hart did not get into that material very much. He referenced some ideas in that direction but not specific events or moments.
The end of the book was helpful as Hart covers more recent Catholic figures, such as Richard Neuhaus and Ross Douthat. In the last section, Hart shows how the tension for American Catholics has not gone away. He highlights this with his discussions on Neuhaus, First Things, and president Bush.
In summary, this quote highlights the key issue for American Catholics: “There is no longer one way to do theology, to worship at Mass, to confess sin, or to prayer,” Dolan wrote. “There are various ways of being Catholic, and people are choosing the style that best suits them.” Loc. 3387 of 4362...more
Wonderful book. Highly theological and devotional. It is a great meditation on God's character and nature.Wonderful book. Highly theological and devotional. It is a great meditation on God's character and nature....more
This book gives the foundational elements of the work in Moscow, Idaho. You can't cookie cutter this work, but yWonderful tactics for true reformation
This book gives the foundational elements of the work in Moscow, Idaho. You can't cookie cutter this work, but you can learn and imitate it. May many more Christian communities embrace these principles and apply them in their own situation....more
Wodehouse meets Brave New World meets That Hideous Strength. Some fun twists and turns. High gospel sanity in the midst of PoMo chaos. Read a full revWodehouse meets Brave New World meets That Hideous Strength. Some fun twists and turns. High gospel sanity in the midst of PoMo chaos. Read a full review here: https://crosspolitic.com/forgiveness-......more
Yes, America had a Christian founding. Hall does a wonderful job defending and explaining it. He pulls out lots of key quotes and sources to support hYes, America had a Christian founding. Hall does a wonderful job defending and explaining it. He pulls out lots of key quotes and sources to support his argument. This is a key work for American Christians to read in order to understand our own country better and then work to maintain the liberties that we love: religious freedom, etc. Written interview with author here: https://crosspolitic.com/did-america-......more
Two for one: Churchill and Johnson. Lots of great stories about Churchill and a good insight into Johnson's mind. Johnson's take on Churchill is balanTwo for one: Churchill and Johnson. Lots of great stories about Churchill and a good insight into Johnson's mind. Johnson's take on Churchill is balanced and thoughtful. He praises the man but he also provides ample evidence to support this position. Johnson also admits where Churchill made mistakes. My favorite parts were the discussions on Churchill's father, Churchill's work on the prototype tank, and Churchill's bullish leadership. I also appreciated Johnson's main point contra postmodernist history: one man can and really does shape history. ...more
The Trinity is the gospel. Sanders unpacks that truth in a wonderful way. The weakest spot was Sanders quoting Andrew Louth, an Eastern Orthodox priesThe Trinity is the gospel. Sanders unpacks that truth in a wonderful way. The weakest spot was Sanders quoting Andrew Louth, an Eastern Orthodox priest, who elevates church liturgy and tradition above God's word. The quotes from Louth are actually pretty silly. So it is kind of strange that Sanders used Louth in this book. The rest of the book is wonderful. Sanders clearly shows how Evangelicals have a rich history of Trinitarian theology. I also appreciated the hymns that Sanders quoted. ...more
Some helpful practical advice about men and women. Lots of goofy self-help and self-love psycho babble to ignore. The paradigm of Mars and Venus is heSome helpful practical advice about men and women. Lots of goofy self-help and self-love psycho babble to ignore. The paradigm of Mars and Venus is helpful....more
Advice for speaking but good ideas for teachers in class. Got me thinking about how to draw students into a lesson. It also got me thinking about clasAdvice for speaking but good ideas for teachers in class. Got me thinking about how to draw students into a lesson. It also got me thinking about classical rhetoric and good advice to share with students. ...more
I question McWhorter's philosophical assumption that it is good that languages change. He says, "We are utilizing a system that is eternally mutating,I question McWhorter's philosophical assumption that it is good that languages change. He says, "We are utilizing a system that is eternally mutating, in a slow but inexorable process of becoming a new system entirely" (p 13). He doesn't give a defense that change is good. He just assumes it (I think this comes from his evolutionary model of history). I recognize that this book is not written as a defense but more as a description of language's history but I still think he should have defended his position more. At one point, he writes, "Sure, English changes, but for us, the English of five hundred years ago, such as that of Shakespeare, is quite recognizable as the language we still speak" (p 219). In contrast, he points out how in Shakespeare's time, he would have to study the English before his time as a separate language. This is not the case for us; we can pick up Shakespeare and read. McWhorter doesn't consider this ability a positive good for English. But I would argue that it is an incredible good that we can pick up Shakespeare today and still understand much of it quite easily. The reality is a people and culture that can read and understand cultural writings from five centuries ago is a stronger, more robust culture than others. We can read and know our cultural history better because our language has not changed as much. This is a clear counter argument to McWhorter's assumption that it is good for languages to change. While languages do change, it is much better if they do so slowly so that we can read and understand deeper into our past. The importance of maintaining clear, explicit rules of grammar is huge in preserving Shakespeare for the coming generations....more
Well-written story with added commentary on society and politics. I think a larger discussion on religion, specifically Christianity's influence on soWell-written story with added commentary on society and politics. I think a larger discussion on religion, specifically Christianity's influence on society, would be helpful in offering solutions to the problems that Vance lived through. His comments on how the government cannot fix some of these issues was huge. Many will not accept that kind of conclusion, but I agree with Vance. His discussion on how he had to learn and navigate the connections at Yale Law was insightful. That is a great example of how wealth is not just in terms of money but also in terms of relationships. He grew up in a poverty of relationships: broken family, broken mother, etc. He had to find better relationships in grandparents, Marines, college and that made him wealthy....more
Zacharias offers good insights into the spiritualism of our day. A key point: in spiritual matters there is the genuine, the genuine fake, and the fakZacharias offers good insights into the spiritualism of our day. A key point: in spiritual matters there is the genuine, the genuine fake, and the fake fake. Modern mysticism and spiritualism fall into the second category: genuine fakes. These are fakes that have the air of authenticity because they appeal to human desires: this is what we want our spiritual experiences to be like. Examples: Oprah, Chopka, Hindu Gurus, etc. Zacharias dismantles these systems showing that they are non-rational and illogical attempts to build a non-dual worldview. This spiritualist quest relies on intuition and emotionalism. This means it is easy to manipulate people into "feeling" spiritual. Ultimately, these gurus cannot offer true unity because they can't even agree with each other: followers often biting and fighting with leaders. Non-duality also fails to satisfy the human desire for relationship and community which are premised on the foundation of the reality of an I and a you. There must be a duality in order for there to be fellowship, friendship, and community. The genuine answer to this quest is Jesus: God outside of us who comes to save us from our sins. ...more
Great insights into our culture and our sins. Helpful explanation of theonomy and mere Christendom. Wilson also doGood Critique of Anabaptists and R2K
Great insights into our culture and our sins. Helpful explanation of theonomy and mere Christendom. Wilson also does well critiquing anabaptist politics and R2K politics. Both of those errors are dead ends....more