Monday, January 26, 2009

The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists - by Ravi Zacharias

"A worldview basically offers answers to four necessary questions - questions that relate to origin, meaning, morality, and hope that assures a destiny. These answers must be correspondingly true and, as a whole, coherent." (pg. 33ff)

"I want to add that our arguments for the existence of God do not hinge on debunking evolution. Evolution is a straw man that has been thrown up, as if all that needs to be done to achieve the crashing down of belief in God is to posit evolution." (pg. 37)

"The greatest disappointment (and resulting pain) you can feel is when you have just experienced that which you thought would bring you the ultimate in pleasure - and it has let you down. Pleasure without boundaries produces a life without purpose. That is real pain." (pg. 41)

"To believe that there is no moral order, one must assume knowledge of what a moral order would look like if there were one. But why should one person's opinion of what the moral order should look like be any more authentic than anyone else's? And besides, if there truly is no moral order, any attempt to enforce one is sheer pragmatism, open to any challenge for other pragmatic reasons." (pg. 60ff)

"Denying the existence of God leads us to preposterous conclusions so that, in the end, the amoral world of the skeptic who simply cannot explain good is worse than the world of the theist who has an explanation of evil." (pg. 67ff)

"Wickedness is always excused as anything but the moral degeneracy that has resulted from each one of us becoming the god of God." (pg. 68)

"Given a starting point of primordial slime, one is forced to live apart from the moral law, with no meaning, no real understanding of love, and no hope." (pg. 79)

"For the believer in God and the follower of Jesus, there is more than the existential test, which is subject to circumstance and condition. We also have the empirical test of the person, teaching, and work of Jesus Christ." (pg. 79)

"It boils down to this: for the follower of Jesus Christ, the fact that the universe cannot explain itself, added to the obvious intelligence behind the universe, linked to the historical and experiential verification of what Jesus taught and did, make belief in him a very rational and existentially fulfilling reality." (pg. 120)

Ravi Zacharias, The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008)

Monday, January 19, 2009

God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself - by John Piper

"The acid test of biblical God-centeredness - and faithfulness to the gospel - is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or because, at the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever?" (pg. 11)

"If the enjoyment of God himself is not the final and best gift of love, then God is not the greatest treasure, his self-giving is not the highest mercy, the gospel is not the good news that sinners may enjoy their Maker, Christ did not suffer to bring us to God, and our souls must look beyond him for satisfaction." (pg. 12)

"When I say that God Is the Gospel I mean that the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment." (pg. 13)

"Nothing fits a person to be more useful on earth than to be more ready for heaven." (pg. 16)

"The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It's a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don't want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel." (pg. 47)

"The glory of Christ is not synonymous with raw power. The glory is the divine beauty of his manifold perfections. To see this requires a change of heart." (pg. 54)

"The natural self-centered condition of human hearts cannot believe, because they cannot see spiritual beauty. It is not a physical inability, as though they can't act even if they have a compelling desire to act. It is a moral inability because they are so self-absorbed, they are unable to see what would condemn their pride and give them joy through admiring another. That is why seeing the glory of Christ requires a profound spiritual change." (pg. 54)

"...the glory of God in Christ, revealed through the gospel, is a real, objective light that must be spiritually seen in order for there to be salvation. If it is not seen - spiritually tasted as glorious and precious - Satan still has his way, and there is no salvation." (pg. 64)

"This is the way the Holy Spirit does his ongoing change in us. He does not change us directly; he changes us by enabling us to see the glory of Christ." (pg. 90)

"The purpose of the gospel - both its central events of Good Friday and Easter, as well as their proclamation in the world - is to make the glory of God in Christ the foundation and the means of all salvation and sanctification and glorification. There is no gospel where the glory of God in Christ is not shown. And there is no salvation through the gospel where the glory of God in Christ is not seen." (pg. 97)

"Something else must be present in faith if it is to be saving faith that honors Christ rather than just using him. Saving faith must have a quality to it that tastes what is Christ-exalting and embraces it." (pg. 129)

"...gratitude that is pleasing to God is not first a delight in the benefits God gives (though that will be part of it). True gratitude must be rooted in something else that comes first - namely, a delight in the beauty and excellency of God's character." (pg. 136)

"Divine love labors and suffers to enthrall us with what is infinitely and eternally satisfying: God in Christ." (pg. 155)

John Piper, God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005)