A new book...

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cwbjr67
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A new book...

Post by cwbjr67 » Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:40 am

Here is a link to the website for The Reason for God. It is written by Timothy Keller who is a Presbyterian minister. It is an interesting read along the same lines as Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life that was designed for the person who is considering the faith. It has some jewels that I had not considered before. I'll share them a little later.

http://www.thereasonforgod.com/index.php

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Post by Hostrauser » Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:02 am

I gave it a chance. I went to the site and started listening to the "Exclusivity" link. The clip immediately starts with a passage from the bible. Mr. Keller then begins talking about a lot of social concerns, etc. etc., but once he finally starts making his arguments, his primary supporting "facts" are... guess what? The Bible passages.

So, basically, Mr. Keller's arguments are simply the same old, self-referential crap ("it's true because the bible says it's true") in freshly bloated, verbose language. I'm not impressed. Nothing new to see here.

Interestingly, of the five major concerns with Christianity that he lists on the main page, only one of them is a concern of mine.

Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.
--Dan Barker

...and now that I've said my piece, those who might be interested in this book can feel free to discuss it without further interference from me.
"I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am."
-- Joseph Baretti

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Post by Jim Anello » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:54 pm

That's OK, Kevin. I'll still pray that God touches your life.
Jim Anello

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Post by SCVStar » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:18 pm

Well if the book is anything like 'The Purpose Driven Life", then I'll probably pass. As a son of a pastor, I was somewhat upset with his book. First off, NO ONE should misuse scriptures for their own benifit..He does it over and over in his book. Even going as far as mixing scriptures up to make his point..Warren also claimes in his book, that whenever God wanted to prepare for his purposes, he took 40 days...He tries to mix and misuse scripture to make his point, yet all who know the bible can see that is a lie..He should be ashamed. Or at least go to some bible studies to have a better understanding of the the bible..

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Post by cwbjr67 » Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:28 am

No, it isn't like Warren's book, and the website does it an injustice. Some of the material is standard Christian apologetics, and the reader should understand that a book trying to convince a skeptic about the veracity of Christianity will contain Biblical material. The book is designed with a theological bent. I have lent the book to a friend for now, but when I get it back. I'll share some of it.

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Post by SCVStar » Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:24 am

cwbjr67 wrote:No, it isn't like Warren's book, and the website does it an injustice. Some of the material is standard Christian apologetics, and the reader should understand that a book trying to convince a skeptic about the veracity of Christianity will contain Biblical material. The book is designed with a theological bent. I have lent the book to a friend for now, but when I get it back. I'll share some of it.


Ok, great to see..Looking forward to hearing more about it.

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Finally got the book back...

Post by cwbjr67 » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:03 pm

Well, one of the best parts of "The Reason for God" is the discussion of the significance of law and grace. Though the section is short, it gets straight to the spiritual meat of the debate between the concepts of Pharisaism and Antinomianism. I hear a lot of people talk about spirituality in their lives while some rail against organized religion. Topics such as living the so-called moral life (self-salvation) and looking at Jesus of Nazareth as merely a teacher rather than as Savior are questioned.
[Trusting in your own goodness rather than in Jesus for your own standing with God], ironically, is a rejection of the gospel of Jesus. It is possible to avoid Jesus as Savior as much by keeping all the Biblical rules as by breaking them. Both religion(in which you build your identity on moral achievements) and irreligion (in which you build your identity on some other secular pursuit or relationship) are, ultimately, spiritually identical courses to take. Both are "sin." Self-salvation through good works may produce a great deal of moral behavior in your life, but inside you are filled with self-righteousness, cruelty, and bigotry, and you are miserable. You are always comparing yourself to other people, and you are never sure you are being good enough. You cannot, therefore, deal with your...self-absorption through the moral law, by trying to be a good person through an act of the will. You need a complete transformation of the very motives of your heart.
Here's the clean-up hit...
The devil, if anything, prefers Pharisees--men and women who try to save themselves. They are more unhappy than either mature Christians or irreligious people, and they do a lot more spiritual damage.
Keller goes on to exposit the orthodoxy of grace...
In religion, we try to obey the divine standards out of fear. We believe that if we don't obey we are going to lose God's blessing in this world and the next. In the Gospel, the motivation is one of gratitude for the blessing we have already received because of Christ. While the moralist is forced into obedience, motivated by fear and rejection, a Christian rushes into obedience, motivated by a desire to please and resemble the One who gave His life for us.
Keller critiques the religious standards in political circles. The liberal religious, for example, feel superior to bigots and narrow-minded people while conservatives tout superiority over those considered to be immoral or less devout. It's interesting to note that what he is really talking about is hubris--PRIDE, VANITY, and IDOLATRY.

Moralistic religion presupposes that if one lives a "good life" then God owes them something. The irreligious feel these self-determined relativistic standards should elevate their position in life whether it be in fame, fortune, or physical pleasure.

Keller, then, discusses the danger of antinomianism, that is, using grace as a license to sin. Salvation by grace has an edge to it. It is not a coercive love, but it does make one MORE subject to the sovereign Lordship of God. Why? It's because the new believer is not living for an ideal; they are living for a REAL Person that loves you and deserves your love.

A quote from a Christian newbie who realized the gravity of grace...
If I was saved by my good works then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with "rights"--I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if I am a sinner saved by sheer grace--then there's nothing He cannot ask of me.
8-)

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Martin Luther King Jr

Post by cwbjr67 » Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:33 pm

Another outstanding section of the book deals with the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties. There has been a bit of legendary development concerning its ideological origins. Secularists would exhort that "education and enlightenment would bring about social and racial progress." They would have us believe that this was solely a political movement.

However, King and his contemporaries had a Biblical understanding of the problem of sin and "in the denunciations of injustice that they read in the Hebrew prophets."

Keller writes...
When Martin Luther King Jr confronted racism in the South, he did not call on Southern churches to become more secular. Read his sermons and [his] "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and see how he argued. He invoked God's moral law and the scripture. He called white Christians to be more true to their own beliefs and to realize what the Bible really teaches. He did not say "Truth is relative and everyone is free to determine what is right or wrong for them." If everything is relative, there would have been no incentive for white people in the South to give up their power. Rather, Dr King invoked the prophet Amos, who said, "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." The greatest champion of justice in our era knew the antidote to racism was not less Christianity, but a deeper and truer Christianity.
An excerpt from King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
Throughout the twentieth century, the Christian church was the leader in creating real social change in the world. Consider the works of Desmond Tutu, Jerzy Popieluszko, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Billy Graham, Pope John Paul II, and the countless anonymous martyrs and servants of Christ as evidence that true Christianity is the catalyst for change in the human heart.

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Post by SCVStar » Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:00 pm

Thank you.

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Post by Blurae1 » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:11 am

Agreed................Bill

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