Knowledge and Power

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I read this while prepping a message on economics, and Gilder didn’t disappoint. I won’t say that I understood everything he was talking about, but I definitely get that at this point in the life of our government’s overweening overreach we are threatening what little we have left of economic health.

It made me thankful for the generous and entrepreneurial men I know, and by God’s grace maybe we’ll return to more problem solving than regulation writing.

4 of 5 stars

February 26, 2021 Goodreads economics

The Binding Agent

I know the following is a reminder, but the Lord’s Table is a supper of remembrance, so it fits.

The communion we have is in Christ. That prepositional phrase was one of the apostle Paul’s favorites. Our faith is in Christ” (Acts 24:24; Galatians 2:16), meaning that we trust Him, but there is more to it.

Our redemption is in Christ (Romans 3:24), our eternal life is in Christ (Romans 6:23). There is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8:1), so we are free from sin and death in Christ (Romans 8:2). We are sanctified in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2), we are established by God in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:21). We are sons of God in Christ (Galatians 3:26), all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28), and blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3).

So we, though many, are one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5).

Jesus Christ himself can be established as the binding agent of the fellowship of the church. He in fact must be the lively center of the whole organism of the church; he is like the hub of the wheel, by whose rotations and circular motions the entire effort of the church receives its impulse and is moved. He is that splendid sun, whose shining radiance glitteringly illuminates the whole church body, by whose glowing heat the heart of the whole church is warmed and inflamed.” (Kuyper, On the Church, 23)

He is the Great Shepherd who laid down His life for His flock, He is the Vine who holds and who gives strength to all the branches. The cup and the bread a participation in the body and blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16). All this is God’s grace to us in Christ.

February 25, 2021 communion

More Than Ramping Up Smack Talk

The authors of inspired epistles sometimes addressed different groups in the church. The apostle John addressed little children, young men, and fathers, twice each in 1 John 2:12-14. The apostle Paul gave instructions to Titus for four groups: older men, older women, young women, and young men in Titus 2:1-6. I’d like to commend, and exhort, our young men directly, but in earshot of their parents and the rest of the body.

Many years ago Solomon wrote that The glory of young men is their strength” (Proverbs 20:29). This is what John says, I write to you, young men, because you are strong” (1 John 2:14). Solomon compared that in the second half of the proverb to the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” It’s generally true; not all the young have brawn and not all the old have learned to use their brains. But again, generally, this is something to be recognized and something to be encouraged.

Strength is good. Strength is a gift of God to be used. Strength is also something that requires self-control. Paul said sound doctrine” had six headings for old men, four for older women, and another six for young women, and he boiled it down to one for young men: Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled” (Titus 2:6).

This has application for their bodies, for their minds, for their mouths, for their bedrooms, for their assignments, and for their relationships.

We can be very thankful to God for our young men. Overall they are using their strength for serving others, and some have even chosen new challenges to develop greater discipline. It is because of your growth that I offer this exhortation.

The development of strength and self-control is good, but the process has its own temptations. One temptation is a puffed up attitude toward others. You’re working it, then you let others know about it. Muscles are for more than mirrors, and strength is for more than ramping up smack-talk. A second temptation is to relax too far in other areas, either because of being fatigued or because of too narrow a focus in the first place. Years ago when I wanted to lose some weight, I would run for a few hours training for a marathon, and chased the run with an entire pizza. I deserved it, right? There are more damaging let downs as well. A 45 minute workout in the dark morning cold is good, but not if you wander into dark parts of YouTube later.

Young men, keep running to win the prize and lifting the weight of responsibility. It is your glory. Parents, encourage that glory, and help them see the glory of integrity and humility.

February 25, 2021 confession young men

The Boys in the Boat

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I had heard from so many of my reading friends that this was a great book. Now that I’ve listened to it, I can also say that it is a great book.

The numerous details definitely built anticipation, but I think I could have gotten the same goosebumps with a third less details. Whatever. Many of the races brought me to joyful tears. If you enjoy sports at all, this is a true and good story.

4 of 5 stars

February 25, 2021 Goodreads sports

Epitome of Copernican Astronomy & Harmonies of the World

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I chose this as one of the textbooks for our college astronomy class. It was excellent, and touched all four parts of the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy), but more like an excellent workout rather than an excellent wrap up. Much of Kepler’s work was before his time, and above my head.

Published in 1618 Kepler didn’t even have the word gravity” to work with as he tried to explain the movement of the planets. He did have theology, and the praise He gives to God throughout his work is a fantastic example of acknowledging the Creator while doing science.

Probably don’t read this one first in your astronomical aspirations.

3 of 5 stars

February 25, 2021 Goodreads astronomy

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution

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If you know anyone who lives in the sexually immoral morass that is 2021, have them read this book. Read it for yourself, too. I recommend letting these ideas bounce around in your mental hopper, especially if you’re a pastor or teacher.

It is, however, highly repetitive. It is also proffered as a surprise” that our cultural problems go back a couple centuries, as compared maybe with the 1960s. Trueman does a good job of demonstrating that our problems do go back that far, but it’s more surprising that he doesn’t mention the wayback of Genesis 6, or Genesis 18, or Romans 1. The absence of connection with Romans stands out because he recommends that the current church learn from the 2nd century church.

More than anything, I do not understand why Trueman never mentions the gospel. Like, no joke, there is not even one reference to the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no mention of the cross, either for sake of showing the judgment sinners deserve or showing the forgiveness that Christ offers to any who repent and believe. I know that Trueman knows the true, and only, solution, to sexual immorality, but he does not point to it anywhere in this book. He must have his reason(s), but without Jesus we are without hope.

Again, I appreciate how well Trueman shows the desperate and degenerating nature of a culture without transcendent truth, and how in fact that sort of culture, our culture, is more of an anticulture. But ironically there is a significant lack of the transcendent God’s Word in this book, both in terms of Bible and the Son.

4 of 5 stars

February 25, 2021 Goodreads LGBTQ+ sexuality