09 January 2008

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment


by Frank Turk

(for the record, my Challies book graphic there is the worst ever, but my Photoshop computer is unavailable as I type)

I've known Tim Challies for a long time, in internet time. As I think about it, I think I have known him for about 4 years, dating back to the first time I ran into him at James White's #prosapologian chat channel. And frankly, since I have met him, I have been mostly jealous of Challies.

I mean, Tim's a nice guy. I mean "nice" in a kind of 21st century Ricky Nelson sort of way, except he doesn’t pretend to know how to sing. Ridiculously nice. And he works in an industry which I find fascinating – the internet. And he has a blog – he was actually my inspiration to start blogging, so if you're looking for someone to blame ... anyway, Challies and I go way back – and now he's written a book, so now I'm really jealous of him.

Challies and I have had our moments, however good-natured they usually are at the root. At one point, his mom was worried that I was really mad at him, so we had to lay off for a while. And these days I can admit that Dan and I are little, um, vexed about Tim's general reluctance to link to or mention the TeamPyro blog – but you know what? That's life.

I say that to admit something, or to give full disclosure at least: the dust that got kicked up at Justin Taylor's blog last week over "who is this Challies that he can write a book on discernment" really lit me up.

Tim has apparently been hard at work on a book which clearly has a ton of research invested in it, and the topic is "discernment". You'd think the Baptist separatists, internet puritans, and church purists would be salivating for such a thing, but it turns out that they don't have to read a book to heap criticism on it – they may merely say "ecce homo" in a sort of disapproving way and be done with it. No sense reading a book by (hrmph) "Challies", my dear brother: "Challies" is merely an anagram for "lach lies", which is of course Scottish for "lake of lies". And when you play the audio book backward, you can clearly hear the reader say, "sing hymns to the devil". "Challies"? Whatever good could possibly come from "Challies"?

To be fair to these who were not fair, Steve Camp did apologize for his part in the unfortunate series of events, but you know what? I have said this privately to others and I'll say it publicly here: that looks a lot more the tithe on the discern-mint and the civility cumin than it does like making right with Challies and, frankly, the long list of those who endorsed the book who were "reproached" (that's a nice way to say it) by people who frankly have little or no accountability for what they are willing to say in public.

We review that piece of recent history and my association with Challies to say this about his book: it all unravels to show exact how badly a book on the Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is needed today. It turns out that there are frankly armies of people who need some kind of instruction on this topic because they don’t have grounding in their local church or their educational training. A book on the Discipline of Spiritual Discernment which people have read and implemented in their own faith-lives would have put the brakes on things like impugning the reputations of men like Al Mohler, John MacArthur and Mark Dever, and on throwing rocks at Challies for not being "certified", "qualified" or otherwise "acceptable" to write this book.

Challies vindicates himself from the charge "not qualified" almost immediately in his work here by demonstrating, above all, that he takes the philosophy (or dare we say "theology") of his book serious enough to employ it in the work itself. For example, in his first chapter, not only does he outline the negative example of those who do not have spiritual discernment, he emphasizes the positive examples of what spiritual discernment means to one's spiritual health -- from scripture. And let's be clear: he doesn’t merely drop in verse numbers and give a cursory affirmation. He gives thoughtful exegetical consideration of the texts he employs, seeking to catch the context and the finer points for the reader to consider.

Before I extol the virtues of Challies' book, I did have a few complaints – mostly aesthetic. Personally, I'm a reader – I like to read, and I like to think about how a writer says what he says. Stylistically, Challies' book is written rather stoicly – maybe purposefully so. I mean, I know Tim, and this book is like the serious, cautious, very formal, somewhat-characterless version of Tim Challies. It seemed to me as I read this thing that Tim was really working overtime to make sure "he" didn’t say anything – that is, he wanted to speak in a way which was intentionally impersonal.

And for a guy writing his first book, and that book being on the critical subject of how to tell your left hand from your right, spiritually, maybe he deserves credit for being that reserved. But it's sort of a tough read not because it's so academically dense. It's a tough read because I felt like I was getting the android version of Challies telling me about the things the human Challies programmed him with. No offense Tim – it's a stylistic choice, and when you write your next book you can be more, um, like you.

But that said, one of the great strengths of this book is that it's not written at the grad-school level. It's written at the popular level in spite of its high-brow attributes of subject and scripture indices. Its vocabulary is accessible and frankly simple. Tim's examples from history and current events are intriguing and his use of one in particular to sort of weave the themes of the book together was really good and useful – it makes your brain engage the subject matter in a "apply to me" way and not just a "apply to them" way. You know: you can read this book, no matter who you are. The question is whether you will read this book.

At this point, I feel like I need to dump a bunch of teasers into the bandwidth here so that you get a taste of Challies' work first-hand so you can sort of taste and see – because summarizing his chapter headings and giving you an outline is merely an encouragement to sort of "get" his point and then skip the book as something for people who have a less-mature faith than your own.

I'll give you one blurb, and then my unadulterated endorsement:

Understanding and obeying God’s will is not instantaneous. Because discernment is not given immediately and in full measure, understanding and obedience will require dedicated effort. Thankfully, as we have seen, the power and ability to discern are given at the moment of conversion, so we can have confidence that with effort even a new Christian can be discerning. All Christians must seek to understand and obey God’s revealed will. We are not to concern ourselves unduly with the secret will, for we will never be able to know it fully or finally. [as Dave Swavley has said,] “We should not be concerned with the sovereign will of God when we face a decision (except that we need to be ready to accept whatever the Lord has planned).

The guidance we need for our choices does not have to be somehow mined from the mysterious and unknowable plan devised among the Holy Trinity in eternity past. Rather it is a relatively simple process of finding out what the Bible says and doing it.” We cannot and should not expect God to make known the full details of his plan before we follow in humble obedience. Obeying God’s will is a relatively simple process of uncovering the truths of God so we might do the will of God.
When Tim says "all Christians" and "guidance we need", he doesn’t mean "the other ones who are off the apple cart": he means you and me, reader. And he's right.

You should read this book. Especially if you think you're already qualified to turn the tables over in the temple. Next week in this same space on my normal Wednesday, I'll publish an interview with Tim as part of his "blog tour" promoting his book. Stay Tuned.

And by the way, Happy New Year.








66 comments:

steve said...

I agree this book is sorely needed today. I haven't gotten my copy yet, but hope to do so soon. Thanks for affirming that Tim tackled his subject with diligence and care.

In the excerpt you quoted, is that Dave Swavely typo from you, or does it actually appear in the book?

Daniel said...

I haven't read the book personally, nor been aware of what sounds to be a graceless academic elitism leveled against it. I do believe that many Christians today think that knowing God's will is some mystical thing reserved for spiritual "mediums" - and the language in many churches reinforces that notion ("God told me in prayer today that I need to..." - "I feel that God wants me to say this to you..." etc.) The language used in many congregations sounds like God speaks to people in impressions and voices rather than as a settled conviction that a known truth of scripture should be applied in a given situation.

I think therefore (and this is my guess) that the book was likely written in answer to something Tim sees in either in his meta, or his ministry elsewhere - a lack of discernment amongst believers.

I am quick to remember that the idea that universities and colleges qualify men for ministry rather than a call to follow Christ in the ministry and gifts He gives - this demanding of an academic endorsement for the purpose of legitimacy is really a very recent historical invention, and I marvel that the world has infiltrated the church to the degree that a man's calling is no longer measured by the grace given him by God, but rather by the degrees given him in some human institution.

BugBlaster said...

That's good enough for me...I will read it. Thanks for the review.

Jerry said...

I am slowly and carefully reading the book at present, finding myself in Chapter 3.

I posted a comment on another blog during the tour, that went something like this:

Tim, frankly, I am disappointed.... Disappointed that this book wasn't around when I was a new believer.

I still stand by that, and plan to obtain extra copies to place in immature hands.

Johnny Dialectic said...

I read through the "dust up" about the book. Much of it saddening. I think there's more than a little bit of envy going on (probably the same sort of grumbling that was heard when Spurgeon first got his pulpit). The book should be judged on its merits and not on whether one has issues about who is "qualified" to write under some subjective standard.

The book does represent a new reality, that a popular blog can lead to a book contract. It's simple marketing. Publishers are looking for writers with a "platform" that can help them sell a lot of books. An established readership, as it were. That's certainly the case here. But it seems the author has established his platform by being, in the main, solid theologically.

So when is the TeamPyro anthology coming out? It could include recipes by Dan, workout tips from Cent and sartorial suggestions from Phil...oh yeah, and the theology stuff.

stratagem said...

It turns out that there are frankly armies of people who need some kind of instruction on this topic because they don’t have grounding in their local church or their educational training.

It has occurred to me, after watching a theological train-wreck at the local-church level, that the problem reduces to "too many books, not enough Bible."

Lots of people are grounded in their local church, but that's no antidote to the Current Unpleasantness with regard to theological drifting, since the "teachers," pastors and elders at many local churches are about 60% influenced by authors, and about 40% influenced by the Bible. (Actually, that's being generous because the lens through which Bible study is done nowadays, is created by the authors, which brings any independent Bible study largely under the influence of their cleverly-conceived arguments, as well).

I hope Challies (or some other future author) addresses this issue. If he doesn't, this treatment (yet another book) could be part of the disease, in my opinion.

donsands said...

"We are not to concern ourselves unduly with the secret will, for we will never be able to know it fully or finally."

Amen.

"..Neither do I engage myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, ... as a weaned child of his mother; my soul is even as a weaned child." Psalm 131

Happy New Year to you Cent.
Thanks for this review.

Kent McDonald said...

Cent, just so you know,Pyromaniacs is listed on Tim's blogroll seventh from the top.

Fred Butler said...

and now he's written a book, so now I'm really jealous of him.

Frank,
You ought to write something on Contemporary Christian Marketing: bookstores, merchandising, radio. Your article exchange with IMonk back a year or more ago on this subject was golden. Great book fodder.

Of course that is just me. I sort of geek out on that stuff.

Fred

centuri0n said...

Fred:

I'm not interested in trying to tell CBA and ECPA what they lack. Frankly, they don't "lack" it: they know the criticism and aren't interested in the change. There is zero effort to address the challenge of abiding by some doctrinal affirmation because it will alienate some segment of the potential marketplace.

Seriously: you can't imagine the looks one gets when one, in a room full of publishers and bookstore owners, says something to the effect that people shopping our bookstores are looking for some spiritual guidance and we should take that seriously.

I have a story about a new book out called "the Shack" that I'll share later this month. Some things are scarier than others.

centuri0n said...

All typos are mine, btw. As usual.

centuri0n said...

And I'm not going to turn the meta of this post into a symposium on what I meant by "general reluctance to link to or mention the TeamPyro blog". That's simply a condiment in this post, and unless it offends Tim just let it slide. Nothing offensive is meant by it.

DJP said...

By you.

steve said...

I'm not interested in trying to tell CBA and ECPA what they lack. Frankly, they don't "lack" it: they know the criticism and aren't interested in the change. There is zero effort to address the challenge of abiding by some doctrinal affirmation because it will alienate some segment of the potential marketplace.

I'll one-up you on that, Frank. Not only do the majority of those at the top echalons of the Christian publishing industry lack interest, they also lack the discernment to even recognize what's wrong. The level of ignorance regarding truth is truly astounding. They're a prime market for both the Bible and Challies's book.

That from an industry insider.

Puritan said...

stratagem said It has occurred to me, after watching a theological train-wreck at the local-church level, that the problem reduces to "too many books, not enough Bible."

I agree there is a problem, especially with new believers when people pile up books in their hands "you need to read this book" "and that book" "and this book" "and that" etc, and suddenly they are so busy reading other books, they have no time to read the Bible.

But there is a place for other books. The Puritan Paperbacks, especially anything by John Owen are of great value. As are John MacArthurs' books. In fact reading Charles Leiters-Justification & Regeneration and Voddie Bauchams-Family Driven Faith, have paid massive dividends on my spiritual growth last year, so much so that I'd compare them to finding the doctrines of Grace. Spurgeon I think used to read three books per week. The Bible just needs to be the priority.

Al said...

Frank, even if you put quotes around it

"ecce homo"

It is still Latin and I am pleased.

al sends

centuri0n said...

WHo knew Dan was really the crazy-mean one on this team? I thought that was my job description.

centuri0n said...

Al --

Notice it was Latin used to say something about people who use Latin to say something.

centuri0n said...

I have this great story, btw, about a president of a Christian publishing company and his wife which relates to the question of discernment which I will share later. It speaks directly to the question of how they regard discernment at that level in the industry.

DJP said...

When Phil invited me to join, he explained that it was because he needed someone to make you look more Misterrogerish by contrast, Frank.

Sorry, thought you knew.

Al said...

"Notice it was Latin used to say something about people who use Latin to say something."

Mea Culpa

al sends

DJP said...

In vino veritas.

(h-t to discussion at Frank's blog)

stratagem said...

Puritan, I agree with you, there are plenty of good books out there. But, there is only one Good Book. At the train-wreck church I mentioned, it is now Donald Miller and Rob Bell and Stanley Hauerwas, and their respective bunny trails.

The problem seems to be that once people accept the idea that reading Christian books is the way to grow, there is little that can be done to effectively safeguard them from bad teaching via popular authors. And as we know from Scripture, that which is popular is most likely untrue.

We need to be cautioning people on the reading of Christian books as a means of growth. Not only are they tapping into spurious sources for doctrine, they are feeding the "christian" publishing monster with their dollars. Not good.

As regards the theory that people can became mature Christians via primarily feeding on Christian authors, quod erat demonstrandum.

Tim Challies said...

Tim's general reluctance to link to or mention the TeamPyro blog – but you know what? That's life.

I just kind of figure that our readership overlaps about 100%. Or that's the best reason I can come up with, anyways.

Thanks for the review though, and the honest review at that.

Cent, just so you know,Pyromaniacs is listed on Tim's blogroll seventh from the top.

And that only because your blog falls seventh alphabetically. Had you gone with AAAAAAAAPyroManiacs you'd be right at the top.

C.T. Lillies said...

Or if they drank more Cokes. That might help too.

DJP said...

...that's the best reason I can come up with, anyways

Hm.

centuri0n said...

Tim --

It really is a sharp book, and I'm looking forward to your answers to my questions and any follow-up/clarifiers in that.

And in spite of Dan, you know I don't harbor any hard feelings. Much. Well, today. Since coffeebreak.

I think.

Johnny Dialectic said...

There is truth in Boone's Farm? What was really in Dan's pizza? Should he be teaching?

Chris said...

I got my early autographed copy, but I haven't read it yet. It came in right after Nettle's 3rd volume on 'The Baptists' came in, and I'm currently engrossed in that.


As an aside, considering the content of the latter and the title of the former, I think they're going to go together pretty well.

pastorbrianculver said...

Great to hear he has a book. What is sad is the fact that so few churches are teaching about discernment. Do you suppose that has to do more with the pastor's don't want their people to have discernment? I mean, if they did, then they would be able to discern exactly what the preacher is preaching! Anyway, I think it is very necessary for us all to gain some experience in discernment and to do it biblically! good post!
God bless
Brian

Carrie said...

for the record, my Challies book graphic there is the worst ever,

I am glad you said something b/c that is the first thing I noticed when the page opened. I thought Phil was slipping.

centuri0n said...

Pastor Brian:

That is an interesting question, and it is well worth asking. Factually, I know of pastors who are telling their people that they need to "stay away from" theology books and "stick to devotionals and self-help books".

That's frankly criminal, spiritually speaking.

stratagem said...

I also know of pastors who are saying that we need to stay away from theology and just focus on Jesus, but that's another story altogether...

Tim said...

And that only because your blog falls seventh alphabetically. Had you gone with AAAAAAAAPyroManiacs you'd be right at the top.

Then again, there's something really spiritual about being in the seventh position.

Sled Dog said...

Strat,

A theologically adrift church is terrible. It can bring many woes to the flock, and result in a lame or non-existent presentation of the Gospel. Truly sorry you had that experience.

Interseting, the hardest time I ever had in a church was a situation when leadership was, IMHO, overly consumed with theology, at the expense of living out the simple directives of Scripture. Spiritual pride was off the charts. Much pain ensued, and that church, some many years laters bears scars.

A healthy, balanced, Biblical church is hard to find.

A stroll through the local Christian bookstore gives testament that there are plenty of works not worth the time it would take to read them. But it sounds like Tim's work is the type that comes alongside our interaction with the Word, and helps us become sharpened Christians.

Bill said...

Well, here at TeamPyro's site they have Tim's blog listed in BIG BOLD RED LETTERS..

:)

Seriously though, I am very interested in this book. I believe the lack of discernment is the biggest problem in the so-called 'church' today.

As for the author, I don't know Tim personally but if his book speaks the truth then I know the real Author.

God bless.

DJP said...

Good point, Bill.

Phil Johnson said...

Carrie: "that is the first thing I noticed when the page opened. I thought Phil was slipping."

I tried fixing it, but I'm afraid my graphic isn't a whole lot better than Frank's was. Challies' book is just so . . . . orange. It clashes with the look and feel of our blog.

Libbie said...

You need the 'apply directly to the forehead' graphic, Phil. Orange and purple together would be lovely.

edohio said...

Frank wrote, "It turns out that there are frankly armies of people who need some kind of instruction on this topic because they don’t have grounding in their local church or their educational training. A book on the Discipline of Spiritual Discernment which people have read and implemented in their own faith-lives would have put the brakes on things like impugning the reputations of men like Al Mohler, John MacArthur and Mark Dever, and on throwing rocks at Challies for not being "certified", "qualified" or otherwise "acceptable" to write this book."

Looking at what's coming out of some of the seminaries these days, you have to wonder if Tim ought to be teaching a class on discernment at some of them.

I recently perused the syllabi for a TEDS extension and found some really questionable content. One class had a Pagitt book for required reading; a class on counseling used a Richard Foster book and the students were required to "try out" one of the spiritual disciplines (the "Foster model" is the main focus of the class); another class used Mormon Stephen Covey's book and required the students to review a movie; choices included "Jerry Maguire (rated R for sex scenes and profanity) and "The Life Aquatic" (Rated R for topless women, profanity).

You've got to wonder if these seminary degrees are worth the paper they're written on. I've got to wonder if there are God-fearing young men who are standing up and saying "NO" to this nonsense. Those are the men who should be teaching in our churches and writing books! Which seminary is actively recruiting the young men who are getting thrown out of these schools for being insubordinate or divisive? We should pray that God would raise up a generation of fearless men who are intolerant and that He would see fit to provide places for them to receive a great biblical education.

Phil Johnson said...

Libbie:

Good call. Hit reload and you'll see that I fixed it. You're now the official Pyro-graphics consultant.

pastorbrianculver said...

I agree on the seminary point of view. There are some excellent ones, but unfortunately, all churches are looking for is an MDiv from "somewhere" out there! Seems they don't do any more research on the quality of the seminary than they do on the expectation that the pastor exposit the Word of God. Just a quick look at requirements for churches looking for pastors and you will see that they don't have a clue. hey, if you can play an instrument, you will be one of the leading candidates at one church for their pastor!!

stratagem said...

Interesting, the hardest time I ever had in a church was a situation when leadership was, IMHO, overly consumed with theology, at the expense of living out the simple directives of Scripture. Spiritual pride was off the charts. Much pain ensued, and that church, some many years laters bears scars.


SLED:
The example you are using sounds like a church that was possessed of bad theology, not one that was preoccupied with true theology, per se.

Being consumed with discovering true doctrine leads to the fruit of the Spirit. The only way one can end up with overbearing pride is via bad doctrine, no matter how sound one's official doctrinal statement may be.

Sled Dog said...

Strat,

Yes, the doctrinal statement was great. But the problem was the theology was being worshipped, rather than the actual God the theology described. It was simply taking theology and making an idol out of it. Knowing the info was more important than knowing God. It was all processed through the head but made a detour when it came to the heart. So instead of producing the same type of response Isaiah had when he caught a glimpse of God, men acted as if they more they knew about the theology, the more power they had in regards to leadership and influence among the flock.

As long as men struggle with the flesh, even churches with solid doctrine must be careful that pride not creep in and take that which is good and make in abominable.

The challenge for believers and churches is to grow in both the grace and the knowledge of Christ.

Too much grace without knowledge obviously can produce an anemic, unfocused, undisciplined, ignorant church. Too much knowledge without grace produces something akin to the Pharisees that Jesus found to be most frustrating. Both our severe danger zones.

I find it interesting as I talk to people who have been in either situation, there is a temptation to run to the far extreme of what was experienced. May we have the discernment to know what is good and true, and not just jump from one insanity to the next!

stratagem said...

Sled: Other than the fact that the need to keep both truth and grace is also an example of theology or doctrine, I have nothing to really disagree with in what you wrote. Sounds right to me.

Sled Dog said...

No debate here. Just sharing.

Your post just made me think about another way we humans can mess up the concept of church so easily.

If I had an application it would be:

Read the Word more and pick up Tim's book! One of the major struggles in the church is lack of discernment, both at the lay and leadership levels!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Here's an article about the interface between Emergent churches and Liberal Mainline Churches:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/januaryweb-only/102-32.0.html

The article says that both Emergents and Liberal Mainlines regard theology as important. Taking them at face value then, one would assume that Challies book on Discernment would be very timely and useful for both Emergents and Liberals.

marc said...

Challies wrote a book?

dec said...

"Challies' book is just so ...orange. It clashes with the look and feel of our blog."

Now this is a book review!

DJP said...

lol

Jake said...

edohio- I don't know anything about TEDS, but I wonder if perhaps they simply are trying to expose their students to a wide variety of Christian authors? The fact that a book is assigned reading certainly doesn't mean they approve of everything inside it. Or even that they approve of most of it.

For example, I know Covenant Seminary, which is the official seminary of the PCA (and therefore extremely tied to the Westminster Confession) will assign non-reformed books to their students if they feel the book is helpful. Sometimes they even assign a book they know their students will dislike and assign them a paper that talks exclusively about the strong points of the book. I think it's a good exercise in teaching graciousness and humility, which are two of the things I most love about everything I see coming out of Covenant...

steve said...

You need the 'apply directly to the forehead' graphic, Phil. Orange and purple together would be lovely.

Apply discernment directly to the forehead.

Great advice.

stratagem said...

The article says that both Emergents and Liberal Mainlines regard theology as important.

Ha ha ha... The trouble is (how can I say this briefly? How about: THEY SPEND THEIR EFFORTS TRYING TO CHANGE GOD, RATHER THAN LETTING GOD CHANGE THEM.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Stratagem, you're hurting the feelings of both Emergents and Liberals with that mocking tone. To express disagreement with an Emergent/Liberal automatically means that you're tone is wrong.

And if your tone is wrong, then that means you're unloving and expressing yourself in an unloving way. And if you're unloving in your tone, then they can't hear your message, or the substance of your message.

But if you agree with them, then that's loving. And your tone is loving. And then they'll be able to hear the substance of your loving agreement and affirmation of them.

That is how it works. Obey the rules of discourse with Emergent/Liberals and you will be fine. Disobey and you will earn their name-calling wrath and be demonized. The choice is yours.

(Tongue planted firmly in cheek.)

stratagem said...

TUAD: By Jove, you're right!
You see, I joined a smallish rock band named the Dukes of Discernment; then my tone control knob dropped off somewhere along the line, and I've been too busy to replace it.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hmmmmmm, I wonder how Tim Challies and Team Pyro readers would practice "Spiritual Discernment" regarding this article by a Catholic Cardinal about "Who Can Be Saved?"

http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=6126

AFAIK, both the author and the journal are highly regarded.

centuri0n said...

TUAD:

He's pretty broadly wrong.

That's how I'd respond.

Daryl said...

What a load of hooey that article was...

NoLongerBlind said...

TUAD:

Regarding the "Who Can Be Saved" article:

At the outset, in his numerous references to Scripture, his article might seem on track to some.
It seemed to me right from the get-go he was placing too much emphasis on "baptism" in addidtion to faith--typical of Romish soteriology. Made me think that maybe there was some hope for this guy.....
but, alas, his true colors showed up when he started straying from Scripture, and then, BLAM---he got me---(by applying my hand directly to MY forehead)--with those oh-so-familiar words, "no-one outside 'the church' will be saved". Then, it unraveled steadily from there.....

Now, if only I'd read that article AFTER I'd read Tim C's book, I might have been discerning enough to not have ANY initial positive expectations about a catholic crow's, err, make that, cardinal's views of things Spiritually discerned.....

NoLongerBlind said...

Minor editorial correction:

It was his numerous references to belief in Christ, faith, etc.--NOT the additional sacramental baptism---that gave me the "undiscerning positive expectation" for this article!!!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Centurion, Daryl, No Longer Blind,

Thank you for affirming my thoughts as well. I kid you not, however, that Cardinal Dulles is highly regarded by the RC's.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Here's a brief bio of Cardinal Avery Dulles for anyone who's interested.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avery_Cardinal_Dulles

Daryl said...

TUAD,

I'm sure he is. That article wasn't saying anything unusual for the Roman "church".

It only reemphasizes the non-Christianness of that organization.

Thank God for the Reformation!!

stratagem said...

I kid you not, however, that Cardinal Dulles is highly regarded by the RC's.

So is medieval heretic Julian of Norwich!

Gilbert said...

Wow. That discussion on that other board between Steve camp et al on this book really burned me. You want to know who is able to write a Christian book? Look at Romans, etc, when Paul writes. there are three qualifications:

1. The person is a mature Christian.

2. He seeks the Lord in prayer in writing the book.

3. The book edifies the saints.

Then, and only then, can the book and its writer be judged on Scriptural merits.

In other words, as their witness has shown, Tim is qualified. The Pyros are qualified. Any book will stand or fall on the merits of God's word, on how faithful it is to it's teaching.

PuritanReformed said...

I haven't gotten the book, but then I guess it would be quite hard for me to get it as 'Christian' bookstores my area are ... well, let's say it's certianly very much easier to get a Joel Osteen or any "Apostle's" book than let's say a MacArthur book. Does sound like a good book to get though, after I have finished reading the ones I have bought the last time.

And it is certainly regrettable that Tim Challies and his book were attacked not based on their merits/demerits. Academic elitism is manifestly unChristian. As long as the person is mature enough spiritually and able to contribute something of worth for the edification of the saints, that is the only criteria that we should use.