Thursday, June 18, 2015

Carl Trueman on Luther

"TO THE ONE who has been told that he is under the damning wrath of God because of his failure to fulfill God’s law, grace comes as a serious thing, with serious consequences. He receives it with joy and gladness and revels in his subsequent freedom, a freedom shaped at a deep level by his
understanding of God’s holiness. To the one who has not been told that he is first of all damned in God’s sight because God is holy and he is filthy, grace breeds presumption and a lack of concern for a truly Christian response. It should be redundant to say this, but I will say it anyway : we live in an age where the fear of a holy and righteous God is not something that one finds in the wider world. Western culture, particularly affluent Western culture, is self-absorbed and overindulged."

Trueman, Carl R. (2015-02-28). Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom (Theologians on the Christian Life) (p. 173). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Are Intellectuals the Problem?

SUNDAY, JUNE 21, IS FATHER'S DAY. In 1989 my wife gave me one of my best all time Father's Day's gifts, Paul Johnson's Intellectuals

Don't let the title intimidate you. The book is not for intellectuals. It is a series of short chapters about key intellectuals that, for the last 250 years, have shaped the modern world. It is accessible, readable, and highly entertaining.

The author describes the scope of the book on the first page. "With the decline of clerical power in the eighteenth century, a new kind of mentor emerged to fill the vacuum and capture the ear of society...He proclaimed from the start a special devotion to the interests of humanity and evangelical duty to advance them by his teaching...[However] he felt himself bound by no corpus of religion...For the first time in human arose to assert that they could diagnose the ills of society and cure them with their own unaided intellects...They were not servants and interpreters of the gods but substitutes."

Succeeding chapters paint short biographical sketches of men such as the philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau; the poet, Shelley; the political ideologue, Karl Marx; the playwright, Henrik Ibsen; the authors, Tolstoy, Ernest Hemingway, Bertrand Russel and more. These men, and others like them, have enjoyed a massive influence upon modernity. They are the architects of the modern world.

In each case the individual professed great love for the world at large. They designed plans and programs to aid humanity. However, they were unable to love those with whom they were closest. In fact, their treatment of specific family members was barbaric. In each case, was massive hypocrisy was the rule. Despite this the progressives and the academic community think of  them as heroes to be modeled.

Intellectuals is a stimulating read, a tremendous aid to discernment, and an indispensable aid for understanding the modern world. It is available in paper, hardback, or kindle versions.