Prayer and Theological Study – K. Kapic and St. Anselm

little-book-theologians-kapic“One of the great dangers in theology is making our faith something we discuss rather than something that moves us. We lapse into this problem when we treat God as the mere object of our study rather than as the Lord we worship.

“…So how do we avoid depersonalizing our theological endeavors? How do we avoid not knowing the person we study? There is no substitute for prayer. Here we speak not merely of times set apart when we fold our hands and bow our heads, but also as a way of being. We are concerned not only to have a few minutes a day set apart for God but also to have a constant communion [with] him (1 Thess 5:17; cf. Jn 15:1-17). Whether eating, drinking, laughing or working, all that we do is done before the face of God. This is what undergirded the Reformation slogan coram Deo – living before God in all areas of life. This especially applies to our theological studies. Here we are on holy ground, and thus our attitude must be an attitude of prayer. If we are to be faithful, we must always be aware of his presence.

“…Anselm (1033-1109), the archbishop of Canterbury, explored questions about everything from the incarnation to potential proofs for the existence and essence of God. Modern students who read extracts of his work, however, often do not realize that he framed some of his writings not as logical puzzles but as extended prayers. Anselm begins his Proslogion by calling his readers to pray while reading, as he does while writing. His prayer gives us a model for our own studies:

I acknowledge, O Lord, with thanksgiving, that thou hast created this thy image in me, so that, remembering thee, I may think of thee, may love thee. But this image is so effaced and worn away by my faults, it is so obscured by the smoke of my sins, that it cannot do what it was made to do, unless thou renew and reform it. I am not trying, O Lord, to penetrate thy loftiness, for I cannot begin to match my understanding with it, but I desire in some measure to understand thy truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand in order to believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this too I believe, that ‘unless I believe, I shall not understand.’

Taken from chapter 6, “Prayer and Study” in Kelly Kapic’s A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology (IVP Academic, 2012), pp.64-70.

Augustine-hope-pic

As an aside, the words at the end of Anselm’s prayer are often attributed to Augustine (354-430), as this prized picture in my home office has it. Perhaps Anselm was only quoting his spiritual forefather.

The BIG List of Books for Family Gift-Giving – Grace & Truth Books

read-good-christian-books

Last week (December 6) Grace & Truth Books – a good Christian family book webstore came out with a BIG list of books as a guide for family gift-giving during the holiday season. This is how they introduced it:

Gift  Ideas for the Entire Family – The BIG List! 

When it comes to buying a gift for someone you love, a book is a good choice! Sharing a book you love is like sharing a little bit of your heart with someone else. And who doesn’t love help completing their personal library?

With these things in mind, we’ve put together some of our favorite volumes to help you take the guess work out of buying a book as a gift.

I will not produce the whole list here, but I will give you the first part, which is a great list of titles for the whole reading family.

17 Gift Ideas for the Christian Reading Family  

16 Gift Ideas for the Christian Reading Family
The Rhyme and Reason Series – Author Catherine Zoller knows how to reach children with the message of the Bible!  She understands the importance of reading aloud to children and filling their lives with the Word of God. Her Rhyme and Reason series does this very thing with beautiful and entertaining colorful illustrations as she retells the stories of books of the Bible, in rhyme!

The Pilgrim’s Progress– The cloth cover is a beautiful work of art. Inside, the volume contains 171 well-crafted illustrations from an original 1891 edition. Share with your family the greatest allegory of the Christian life ever written.

The Holy War The story: Righteous and honorable King Shaddai and His Son Immanuel are the kind rulers the city of Mansoul, always directing the lives of the city with justice and equity. But the ruler of darkness – Prince Diabolus – has his own plans for the city. With the assistance of his evil captains, he plots the destruction of the once happy town. The first to fall to his deceptions is Captain Resistance, so that Mansoul is now open to Diabolus’ wicked lies about their king. Diabolus knows that he may only possess Mansoul if the people open the gates to him by their own choice; and soon, sadly, through the vantage point of Eargate, the inhabitants believe his lies and the city falls. So begins this story of treachery and deceit, foolishness and pride, but forgiveness and final redemption. The fact is, as Bunyan intended it, this is the story of a sinner saved by the grace of God.

Dangerous Journey– One of our best pictorial “gift” books for children 6 to 12 years of age. Beautifully illustrated with full color, artistic drawings on every page, most of them full page or even double-page spreads! The plot is faithfully preserved but the artwork makes this book a rare and special piece of work in itself, very detailed and full of action. This beautiful volume has long been a favorite, first introductory version of The Pilgrim’s Progress for parents to familiarize their young children with the story.

A Theology of the Family – This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are 56 authors featured in this volume, among whom are: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson. Each of them give a powerful testimony that the 21st century church needs to be reminded of what she used to believe about family life. These authors bring a measure of the correction and the balm necessary to heal our amnesia and return us to biblical order.

Building on the Rock Series– Full set of all 5 devotional books in the Building on the Rock series. Each contains a true story from history which is used to illustrate truths of Scripture. For children 8-12 to read, and makes great read-alouds for ages 4-7.

The Baker Family Adventures– Meet Mr. and Mrs. Baker and their four children: responsible Phil, sensible Abby, daring Andy, and inquisitive Tom. The Bakers are a Christian homeschooling family who love helping others, and they seem to have a knack for finding people who need help. In the seven (7) volumes of the Baker Family Adventures Series by C. R. Hedgcock.

Reformation ABCs – This informative book by historian Stephen J. Nichols offers kids of ages three to six an engaging way to learn about that pivotal era in church history – while they learn their ABCs! Featuring charming illustrations by Ned Bustard, this book introduces families to a host of important figures, locations, concepts, and events, including John Calvin, justification by faith alone, Heidelberg, Westminster, and more. Families will be able to see God’s hand in the Reformation and how he used it to shape his people’s understanding of his Word.

Barn Chronicles Series – Winner of the 2013 Christian Small Publisher’s International Book of the Year Award (Children’s Category, 8-12 years) | “The Barn Chronicles are the best books I have ever read! They are full of fun, adventures, celebrations, broken legs, and heaps more! I would love to live in a barn like that and live on that property with a river, animals, swings, eels and everything else!” — Maria (10)

Jack and Jenny Series – Full of adventure, suspense, and all while learning Biblical truth and applying the Word of God to daily life, the Jack and Jenny Mysteries are a new and exciting set of six (6) volumes for readers 8-12 years of age. Greatly reduced to a bargain price when bought as a set!

The Knight’s Map– In this allegorical tale, theologian, pastor, and author Dr. R.C. Sproul continues his life’s work of making deep biblical truths clear and understandable to children of all ages. The Knight’s Map is the story of a knight who undertakes a perilous journey, but his course is full of people who give him bad advice and send him on wrong turns. In the end, he must decide whether or not he will trust the map provided by the King. Beautiful, full color illustrations by Richard Lawnes reveal this rich, textured world and discussion questions with Scripture references help parents guide their children into the deeper meaning of the story.

The Priest With Dirty Clothes – In this new edition of his classic story, The Priest with Dirty Clothes, Dr. R.C. Sproul continues his project of illustrating theological concepts for children. In this book, he teaches the concept of imputation, which lies at the heart of the important biblical doctrine of justification.Using the story of Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1–5) as his jumping-off point, Dr. Sproul weaves a classic tale about a young priest who is invited to preach his first sermon before the king and his court. But on his way to the palace, he falls from his horse, getting his clothes hopelessly muddy. Jonathan finds that he needs powerful help if he is to stand before the king. This edition of The Priest with Dirty Clothes includes all-new illustrations by Justin Gerard.  Also includes a new “For the Parents” section to help them bring out the truths of the book for their children.

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New – A Page-Turning Storybook of Theology for Kids In the cellar of the old stone cathedral, Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure, a carefully wrapped ancient book known as The Ology. What adults might describe as a beautifully illustrated storybook of systematic theology, the kids discover to be a story of adventure, mystery, and wonder that leads them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them. Truth is for kids, not just for adults! So The Ology gives kids of all ages a beginner’s theology book to help them understand who God is and how we, as his children, relate to him. Arranged within a traditional systematic theological framework, each truth in The Ology is also connected to the larger redemptive story of Scripture. The doctrine of God, for example, is presented in the larger framework of creation, where the attributes of God are on display and easier to understand. Designed for six-year-olds through preteens, this flexible resource includes built-in adaptations for use with younger or older children, so that entire families can enjoy it together.

Christian Biographies for Young Readers (Simonetta Carr) – The Christian Biographies for Young Readers introduces children to important people in the Christian tradition. Parents and school teachers alike will welcome the excellent educational value it provides for students, while the quality of the publication and the artwork make each volume a keepsake for generations to come. Furthermore, the books in the series go beyond the simple story of someone’s life by teaching young readers the historical and theological relevance of each character.

Kingdom Tales (David & Karen Mains)Like the Terrestria Chronicles, each Kingdom Tales from Terrestria book was written to honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ as King and challenge the reader to love and serve Him. The stories are fast-paced and captivating, but each was written to deliver a powerful message and draw your heart to the King. Unlike the Chronicles, which are sequential and should be read chronologically, the Tales are stand-alone books and can be read in almost any order. Books 2 and 3 belong together, and Books 4 and 5 should be read together. It is our prayer that the Kingdom Tales from Terrestria will challenge your entire family to serve the King of kings.

The Jungle Doctor Series-Paul White was an Australian missionary doctor in Africa early in the 20th century, who gained great skill at teaching the Bible through creative stories based on his missions work. These tales have a timeless quality which has captivated readers for three generations now.  When Dr. White returned home to Australia, his stories were discovered and published with an enthusiastic, world-wide reception.  Children of all ages delight in the Jungle Doctor series, which are written for readers about ages 9-13, but adults love their creative stories, and they make superb read-aloud stories to children from 5-8, who will have no difficulty understanding them!  The full collection is 19 volumes and we have compiled them into three collections for easy purchase: Volumes 1-6 as an introductory set. Volumes 7-12 for more. And Volumes 13-19 to complete your entire collection!  The Jungle Doctor series are exceptional for family reading.

Great Composers Series: Complete set of 16 books! (Opal Wheeler)- For the first time in decades, a treasure is back in print: the complete set of all 16 Opal Wheeler volumes on The Great Composers — and now offered as a set for a terrific sale price! Each volume is an enlarged, lay-open, beautifully illustrated paperback. Each book also contains a skillful biography of the composer, which young people from 4-15 will enjoy. Illustrations are found on almost every page, and many of the compositions of the composer.

The list includes sections for your pastor, your boys, your girls, your wife, and your husband. I did not find the list on their website, but if you sign up for their newsletter, I am sure you can request this email newsletter. In any case, it will be for your profit to be on their email list.

Best Books (Non-fiction) for 2017 – T. Reinke

It is indeed that time of year when we see postings on websites and blogs for the best books of the year. Over the weekend Tony Reinke of Desiring God posted his, so we will start with that one this week. In the weeks to come we will post more.

We do this so that you may see what other Christians suggest for the benefit of your own reading and library-building, but also so that you may have some gift ideas for your holiday shopping.

Below is Reinke’s introduction to this list, followed by a paragraph I think our readers will find of interest (note the reference to Abraham Kuyper). By the way, Reinke himself has a good one published this year – 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.

Once again, I’m honored to choose my favorite nonfiction Christian books published in the last calendar year, my twelfth consecutive list. 2017 proved to be the most difficult year yet (and I’m sure I said the same thing last year), all driven by aggressive publishing momentum.

This year about 120 new titles caught my attention, and I set out to read the best of them until I could whittle down a list of my 17 favorite reads from the year. But before getting to the list, a few overall comments.

Female authors continue publishing new books at a swift pace, strong in 2014 and a little less prominent in 2015, but with more steam in 2016 and 2017. Women are now a mainstay and growing proportion of Christian publishing.

Christian publishing continues to deliver on aesthetics across the board, both on cover design and interior design, illustrated by projects like the ESV Illuminated Bible from Crossway and the beautiful Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon series (volume 1 and volume 2) from B&H.

Once again, 2017 did not quite deliver biblical theology or commentaries like we saw in 2015, although we do continue to see solid contributions in two premier series: New Studies in Biblical Theology (IVP) and Short Studies in Biblical Theology (Crossway).

And here is the paragraph about some titles that will grab our readers’ attention:

Several significant books in 2017 again attempted to unknot the questions over how Christians best relate to politics and society (no small task). The most talked about book of the year was Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, a strategy of withdrawal from culture in order to better engage with it. Also noteworthy was James K.A. Smith’s Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology, a call to return to a robust Augustinian and Kuyperian model in all its glory. Speaking of Abraham Kuyper, Craig Bartholomew wrote a captivating book, Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition: A Systematic Introduction (a book I reviewed for The Gospel Coalition). And 2017 marked the midpoint in Logos/Lexham Press’s ambitious English-translation work of the 12-volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology.

Published in: on December 5, 2017 at 6:49 AM  Leave a Comment  

“How was church today?” Ordinary is “quite extraordinary indeed.” – M. Horton

ordinary-MHorton-2014I continue to read Michael Horton’s Or-di-nary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014), taking in chapter 4 today – “The Next  Big Thing.” In this chapter Horton takes on the contemporary church’s craving for the new and novel, while ignoring and shunning God’s ordinary means of grace for His church and people.

Toward the end of the chapter the author has a section headed by those words “How was church today?” Here’s what he has to say in response to that common question raised in our day:

…In most times and places of the church, this would have been an unlikely question. In fact, the hearer might have been confused. Why? Because it’s like asking how the meals at home have been this week or asking a farmer how the crops did this week. ‘How was the sermon” ‘Was it a good service?’ Same blank stare from the ancestors. In those days, churches didn’t have to be rockin’ it, nobody expected the preacher to hit it out of the park, and the service was, well, a service.

Now, that doesn’t mean that what happens at church through these ordinary means in ordinary services of ordinary churches on ordinary weeks is itself ordinary. What happens is quite extraordinary indeed. First and foremost, God shows up. He judges and justifies, draws sinners and gathers his sheep to his Son by his Word and Spirit. He unites them to Christ, bathes them and feeds them, teaches and tends them along their pilgrim way. He expands his empire even as he deepens it. It is through this divinely ordained event that ‘the powers of the age to come’ penetrate into the darkest crevices of this passing evil age (Heb 6:3-6).

Which leads Horton to add these thoughts:

So one way people might have responded in times past, at least in churches of the Reformation, would have been something like these expressions: ‘Well, it was one more nail in the coffin of the old Adam’ or ‘God absolved me’ or maybe something as simple as, ‘It’s been good to understand the Gospel of John a little better over these past few months.’ [p.83]

How will we answer that question after we have been to our “ordinary” houses of worship and prayer tomorrow? May we realize again how “quite extraordinary” God’s good way of feeding us and caring for us in His church is.

Refresh – “Reset” for Women

Refresh-Murray-2017You may recall my posts on David Murray’s profitable book for men, Reset (Crossway, 2017). Now, he and his wife Shona have collaborated on a version for women – Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in  a World of Demands (Crossway, 2017).

While Dr. David Murray is a pastor (Free Reformed Church) and professor (Puritan Reformed Seminary), his wife is a medical doctor. Being married with busy careers and raising five children together means they know the stresses and strains of life in our do-it-all, burn-out society. But as Reformed Christians, they also know the refreshing, resetting character of God’s sovereign grace in Jesus Christ. And it is about that that they write in this book, this time specifically with our overwhelmed women, wives, mothers, and daughters in view.

Crossway gives this brief introduction to the book on its website:

“I feel so overwhelmed.”

Do you race from one thing to the next, unable to keep up with all the demands of your ever-growing to-do list? Are you overcommitted and overstretched, but don’t know how to slow down when the world just says to speed up? Is there any hope for rest in a world of never-ending demands?

Many women don’t realize they’re running at an unsustainable pace until it hurts them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Drawing on many years of counseling and their own experiences of burnout, wife and husband team Shona and David Murray want to help you slow down to a more grace-paced life—enabling you to avoid the pitfall of burnout, cultivate sustainable habits for the future, and experience the rest of body and soul that God intends for you.

I have received a review copy and would love to see one of our ladies take it and do a short review of it. If you are interested, please contact me here or at my email address.

Perhaps before the book gets taken we can take a further look at it and pull a few choice quotes from it.

Faith and Reason: Faith-ful Reason

little-book-theologians-kapicIn the last few months we have been sampling a small book on theology I recently came across – Kelly Kapic’s A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology (IVP Academic, 2012). While the book is “little,” the theology found in it is large, as we have noted before.

As I continue to make my way through this easy but profound read, I just completed chapter 5 titled “Faithful Reason.” In this chapter Kapic tackles that “sticky” subject of the relationship between faith and reason. Philosophers and theologians throughout the history of the church have debated their proper roles in dealing with the major issues involved in true spiritual knowledge.

I appreciate the way Kapic relates the two – “faithful reason” is his understanding of the proper connection between faith and reason. This is how he defines that term and explains it:

I am advocating here an approach that might be called faithful reason. Our approach to God must acknowledge that our reason works properly only when it is full of faith. Reason apart from faith is empty, just as faith without reason can be blind and lead toward idolatry. Faith must precede reflection for true Christian theology to occur. God alone, as he has revealed himself, must be our firm foundation, and in particular, Jesus Christ, as he is made known through the apostles and prophets (1 Cor 3:10-16; Eph.2:20; cf. Lk 24:25-27). [p55]

A little later Kapic adds this:

Faithful reason is chiefly a matter of relating to the triune God in humble dependence on him. We find ourselves faithless when we see only pain and chaos and not the Creator and Redeemer. Yet, according to the Gospels, the only way to see and understand the truth of God is by the power of his Spirit. Not only does the Spirit empower God’s redemptive activities (e.g., Mary’s pregnancy and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, Mat 1:18; Rom 8:11), but also it is the Spirit alone who opens the eyes and illuminates the heart to bring understanding (Eph 1:18).

About which he says further:

…the specific point of the Spirit’s revelatory action is to draw people to the Father through the Son. The Spirit leads us into the truth by solidifying the memory of Jesus Christ and drawing people to trust the crucified Lord (Jn 16:13-15; 17:17). The Spirit alone brings a person from the blinding bondage of sin to the freedom of faith and communion with God (cf. Jn 3:5-8; Rom 8:1-16). In this way, the Spirit does not work against reason, but rather the Spirit empowers us, in and through our rational faculties, to acknowledge the truth by redirecting us to the trustworthy God as he has made himself known in his Word [pp.57-58]

Bright Book Friday Sales 2017

Keepcalm smell booksYes, I am going back to my new name for “Black Friday” sales. Today starts the “bright book sales” event! And yes, it has been going on for hours already, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get some good book deals – today and through the weekend (not the Lord’s Day, of course).

Challies.com is the site to go to keep up with all the Christian book sales taking place today and “Cyber Monday.” This is how Challies introduces his list:

While there are many places you can go today to find deals on electronics and other big-ticket items, I like to provide a place for Christian retailers to make their deals known to Christians who are trying to kick-start their Christmas shopping. I will update this list regularly throughout the weekend, so check back often. Be sure to check back on Monday for Cyber Monday deals.

And here are a few I have selected from his list to highlight:

Ligonier
Ligonier Ministries has more than 80 items on sale today.

Reformation Heritage Books
Reformation Heritage Books has Thanksgiving Specials (which to me sound suspiciously like Black Friday specials). There’s a pretty good list of books and Bibles to sort through there.

Westminster Books
There are lots of good deals at Westminster Books, most of them from Crossway. They include books and Bibles, as you might expect. Highlights: The Whole Christ, ESV Study Bible, 12 Ways Your iPhone Is Changing You, This Changes Everything, etc.

Plus, do not forget that the PRC Seminary Bookstore also has some great deals (at all times!) on new and used books, including RFPA books. Plus, we have the latest Hope Heralds CD (2017, as well as previous years) and Voices of Victory (quartet) CDs, including their new one (2016, and previous years). Come on in!

Published in: on November 24, 2017 at 2:00 PM  Leave a Comment  

Loving Leaders in the Home – T. Witmer

TT-Nov-2017As we mentioned two weeks ago, the November 2017 issue of Tabletalk is on “Leadership.” One of the main articles I read yesterday is by Dr. Tim Witmer (author of The Shepherd Leader at Home) and is titled “Leaders in the Home”.

In his article, Witmer treats the leadership role assigned to husbands and fathers as prescribed by God in His Word. While he begins with the calling of wives to submit to their husbands, it is the section on the calling of husbands that I focus on today. Because I need this reminder as God’s appointed leader in my own home, and I believe my fellow husbands/fathers do as well.

Witmer heads this section of his article “Husbands: Loving Leaders,” and this is part of what he has to say in connection with the kind of loving leadership we are to provide:

The wife is called to a difficult role, but it is a role that will be much easier to bear if her husband fulfills his responsibility to provide loving leadership. It is interesting to note that Paul addresses forty words to wives but 115 to husbands. In Ephesians 5:25–33, he describes the role of husbands in marriage. The key is verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

What is the standard of love that is set before husbands? It is the sacrificial love of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His loving servant leadership that provides the environment for wives to follow. Let’s see how Christ’s love sets the example for the love of husbands for their wives.

First, Christ’s love is unconditional. There was nothing about you or me that deserved or required Christ’s love. Quite the contrary, “God shows his love for us in that while were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Not only did we not love Him, but we were heading the opposite direction in our sin. It is the classic case of unrequited love. This is why our relationship with Him is solely by His grace.

Our love for our wives must be unconditional as well. We have to admit at the outset that the analogy breaks down because we are sinful human beings. We must admit that there were “conditions” that attracted us to our wives including personality, interests, and even good looks. However, our love for our wives is grounded in the commitment that we made in our wedding vows in the presence of God and witnesses. Your love for your wife must be unconditional in that it does not change based on circumstances. Husbands need to beware of communicating to their wives that their love is based on how they look today or how they respond to them today. Our love is based on commitment, not conditions.

Good food for thought as we begin this week. To finish reading the article (good for wives/mothers too!), visit this link at the Tabletalk website.

The Christian’s Helmet: The Hope of Salvation

SpiritualWarfare-Borgman&VenturaTonight we gathered again with some fellow believers from Faith PRC for our Sunday night discussion group. This Fall we are continuing our study of spiritual warfare using the book Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical & Balanced Perspective by Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura (RHB, 2014).

Tonight we discussed Chapter 9 , “The Helmet of Salvation,” based on Eph.6:17, with its parallel passage in 1 Thess.5:8, where the additional element of hope is included. Toward the end of the chapter the authors stress this aspect of the Christian’s saving hope as our helmet that protects our minds as we battle Satan and his hosts in this world. Here are a few of those thoughts – for your benefit too.

We can infer from his mention of hope the idea that despite all the trials and hardships we face in our battles with Satan, we will not always be combatants in this war. There is a coming day of triumph. Before long, fellow Christian, we will be in glory! Before long, we will be with Jesus! Before long, Satan and his minions will be vanquished foes, and we will be worshiping and serving our God without opposition – days without end!

What great joy and confidence these facts should impart to us in the midst of difficulty. the devil may sorely try us at present, but soon, in Immanuel’s land, he will be banished! Though at times it seems as though the enemy gets the upper hand in our lives, his day is coming (Matt.25:41; Rev.20:10), and so is ours (Matt.25:34)!

…Christian, let these wonderful thoughts fill your mind and think on them often. Just as the helmet protected the head of the ancient soldier and gave him confidence in confrontation, so also this firm assurance of your final and complete salvation protects you under the relentless blows of your spiritual adversary.

Daily meditate on the eternal glory with Jesus that awaits you. Regularly dwell on the reality that a day is coming when you will have no more struggles at all! Let these thoughts constantly fill your mind. As they do, you will be comforted and confident in the present struggle. as these truths saturate your thinking, you will be sustained, strengthened, and steadfast in the battle. Believer, in light of such things, never take off this spiritual helmet. Let it always be part of your daily protective covering. As [William] Gurnall says, ‘Take it so as never to lay it down until God takes off this helmet to put a crown of glory in its place.’ [Kindle ed.]

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November 2017 “Tabletalk” – Leadership

TT-Nov-2017We start the week with our periodical features: yesterday the Nov.1 Standard Bearer and today Tabletalk.

The November 2017 issue is on “Leadership,” and editor Burk Parsons introduces it with his “Coram Deo” comments under the title “Faithful Servants”. Part of what he says on this subject is this:

Leadership and servanthood are not mutually exclusive. Leaders are first and foremost servants of God who serve by leading. The most essential quality of leadership is humility, and authentic humility is manifested by courage, compassion, and conviction. A faithful leader is a humble leader who leads foremost by love, not fear. A faithful leader is not concerned with being liked by everyone. A faithful leader knows how to delegate, trusts his delegates, and isn’t concerned with who gets the credit. A faithful leader knows his shortcomings and sins and leads a life of repentance and forgiveness. Ultimately, a faithful leader is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, who has led us by serving us with humility, sacrifice, and joy.

Dr. Al Mohler has the opening article on the theme, writing on the subject “Leading with Conviction.” Here are a few of his thoughts:

The leadership that really matters is all about conviction. The leader is rightly concerned with everything from strategy and vision to team building, motivation, and delegation. But at the center of the true leader’s heart and mind, you will find convictions that drive and determine everything else.

I find many of my most encouraging and informative models of convictional leadership from history. Throughout my life, I have drawn inspiration from the example of Martin Luther, the great sixteenth-century Reformer who was so convinced of the authority of the Bible that he was willing to stand before the intimidating court of religious authorities that had put him on trial, and even to stare down the Holy Roman emperor, declaring, “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me.”

Here I stand. Those words are a manifesto of convictional leadership. But Luther was not merely ready to stand; he was ready to lead the church in a process of courageous reformation.

Other articles treat leadership in the church and in the home, as well as “leading for the glory of God.” I encourage you to check out the new Tabletalk website, where you will find these and many other edifying and encouraging articles to read.