Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs In The New Spiritual Openness - by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

"...we live among the ruins of a moral value structure destroyed by the wrecking ball of a radical secularist agenda, but already weakened by compromise from within - even from within the church." (pg. 21)

"These days, most people think themselves to be imperfect, leaving room for improvement - but they do not think of themselves as sinners in need of forgiveness and redemption." (pg. 25)

"For millions of persons in the postmodern age, truth is a matter of personal choice - not divine revelation. Clearly, we moderns do not choose for hell to exist." (pg. 32)

"Sin has been redefined as a lack of self-esteem rather than as an insult to the glory of God. Salvation has been reconceived as liberation from oppression, internal or external. The gospel becomes a means of release from bondage to bad habits rather than rescue from a sentence of eternity in hell." (pg. 43ff)

"...Augustine suggested that Christians uniquely understand that the good, the beautiful, the true, and the real, are indeed one, because they are established in the reality of the self-revealing God - the triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He alone is beautiful, He alone is good, He alone is true, and He alone is real." (pg. 50)

"Several years ago, a major study of religious belief revealed just how radically our culture has compromised the doctrine of God. Sociologists asked the question, 'Do you believe in a God who can change the course of events on earth?' One answer, which became the title of the study, was 'No, just the ordinary one.' That is to say, modern men and women seem to feel no need to believe in a God who can change the course of events on earth - just an 'ordinary God' who is an innocent bystander observing human events. Measured against the biblical revelation, this is not God at all." (pg. 117ff)

"The decline of church discipline is perhaps the most visible failure of the contemporary church. No longer concerned with maintaining purity of confession or lifestyle, the contemporary church sees itself as a voluntary association of autonomous members, with minimal moral accountability to God, much less to each other." (pg. 121)

"The very notion of shame has been discarded by a generation for which shame is an unnecessary and repressive hindrance to personal fulfillment. Even secular observers have noted the shamelessness of modern culture." (pg. 126ff)

"Unable or unwilling to deal with moral categories, modern men and women resort to the only moral language they know and understand - the unembarrassed claim to 'rights' that society has no authority to limit or deny. This 'rights talk' is not limited to secular society, however. Church members are so committed to their own version of 'rights talk' that some congregations accept almost any behavior, belief, or 'lifestyle' as acceptable, or at least off-limits to congregational sanction." (pg. 129ff)

"The Bible reveals three main areas of danger requiring discipline. These are fidelity of doctrine, purity of life, and unity of fellowship. Each is of critical and vital importance to the health and integrity of the church." (pg. 149)

"We are no longer seeing the first signs of cultural trouble, but rather the indicators of advanced decay. The reality is that people now do not even know what they have lost, much less that they themselves are lost." (pg. 158)

"...in a truly post-Christian age, the saddest loss of all is a loss of the memory of what was lost. The saddest aspect of our dawning post-Christian age is that there is no longer even a memory of what was discarded and what was denied and rejected. Having lived for so long on the memory of Christian truth, without the substance of Christian truth, the culture now grows hostile to that truth." (pg. 164)

"Postmodernism claimed that this new postmodern age - with the end of modernity, the demise of scientific objectivity, and the openness to new forms and understandings of truth - would lead to an opening of the mind. But as is always the case, the totalitarian opening of the mind always ends with the radical closing of the mind. There is nothing less tolerant than the modern ethos of tolerance." (pg. 169)

"We must recognize that the church has been compliant for far too long, and if we are effectively to challenge the prevailing worldview of postmodern culture, the church must become a post-compliant people." (pg. 176)

"...numerous influential voices within evangelicalism suggest that the age of the expository sermon is now past. In its place, some contemporary preachers now substitute messages intentionally designed to reach secular or superficial congregations - messages that avoid preaching a biblical text, and thus avoid a potentially embarrassing confrontation with biblical truth." (pg. 190)

R. Albert Mohler Jr., The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs In The New Spiritual Openness (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2009)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Growing Up In Grace: The Use of Means for Communion with God - by Murray G. Brett

"...communion with God consists in giving, receiving, and returning; we might even say, a gracious giving, a humble receiving, and a bold returning." (pg. 12)

"Our egos will never be satisfied until clothed in gospel humility. And the essence of gospel humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking more of Christ than ourselves." (pg. 37)

"Our flesh cannot possibly pump repentance out of a heart that is indifferent to God's covenant graces. The flesh cannot possibly produce power to overcome even one single sin, but the covenant grace of God in the gospel can." (pg. 65)

"Enjoying the sweetness of felt communion with God is the highest motive for repentance. The more pleasure we derive from our communion with God, the stronger our desire for His fellowship will be and the more dissatisfied we are without it." (pg. 93)

"The key to answered prayer is abiding in Christ. That is the key to our motivation for prayer and the key to obtaining answers to prayer." (pg. 123)

"To take delight in God's law means that we take 'exquisite pleasure' in it, and Isaiah [58:13] reasons that when we take exquisite pleasure in God's law, we take exquisite pleasure in God Himself." (pg. 158)

Murray G. Brett, Growing Up In Grace: The Use of Means for Communion with God (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2009)