Saturday, October 13, 2012

Moving to my main blog

I've decided to end this blog and consolidate onto my main blog - Sojourner Between Worlds, rather than trying to maintain 2 blogs.

I'm not reading as much as I used to and my tastes in reading have changed quite a bit over the last couple years. I will still post about what I've read, but will do so on my regular blog rather than keeping a separate blog just for books.

Please feel free to join me over at Sojourner Between Worlds.

More on The Vanishing Conscience

I've completed this book, except for the appendices, which I actually plan to read at some point. But I'm wanting to move on to other topics right now, so I'll go back to read them later. Here are some more quotes from this challenging book. How far we have fallen from Jesus' day and the call to repentance and turning from sin! We do not seem to want to challenge people on sin anymore; it's considered taboo. Yet Jesus didn't shy away from confronting people about their sin and challenging them to repent and leave their wayward ways to follow Him. We must return to teaching about the reality and seriousness of sin and the need for repentance, not just "feel-good" Christianity or the "self-esteem" movement.

"The conscience, to operate fully and in accord with true holiness, must be informed by the Word of God."

"The conscience reacts to the convictions of the mind and therefore can be encouraged and sharpened in accordance with God's Word. The wise Christian wants to master biblical truth so that the conscience is completely informed and judges right because it is responding to God's Word. A regular diet of Scripture will strengthen a weak conscience or restrain an overactive one. Conversely, error, human wisdom, and wrong moral influences filling the mind will corrupt or cripple the conscience."

"...the good news about salvation starts with the bad news about sin." "There can be no salvation for those who aren't convinced of the seriousness of their sin." " attempt to eradicate the human conscience is one of the most spiritually destructive pursuits any individual or society can engage in."

"People who follow the culture rather than obey God's Word are utterly without excuse."

And these are some powerful and sobering words to consider,
"With so many dampened consciences and hardened hearts, it would take a revival of unprecedented proportions to reverse the downward direction of our culture. The problems are spiritual and cannot be solved through politics or education. Christians who believe political activism can reverse the trends in our society do not understand the nature of the problem. True believers must realize that the state of our society is the result of the righteous judgment of God. God has not commissioned His people to reconstruct society. We are not called to expend our energies for moral reform....our primary task is to preach the truth of God's Word, live in obedience to that truth, and to keep ourselves unstained by the world (Jas. 1:;27). Our influence on society must be the fruit of that kind of living, not the product of fleshly energy or political clout. What we can do, and must do, is keep our own consciences pure. We must saturate our minds and hearts with the truth of Scripture, and refuse to yield to the spirit of our age." (emphasis mine)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Vanishing Conscience by John MacArthur

Currently reading:
The Vanishing Conscience: Drawing the Line in a No-Fault, Guilt-Free World

We have moved away from the reality and seriousness of sin.
"Remove the reality of sin, and you take away the possibility of repentance. Abolish the doctrine of human depravity and you void the divine plan of salvation. Erase the notion of personal guilt and you eliminate the need for a Savior. Obliterate the human conscience, and you will raise an amoral and unredeemable generation. The church cannot join hands with the world in such a grossly satanic enterprise. To do so is to overthrow the very gospel we are called to proclaim."

"The weakness of the church is not that we're too uninvolved in the politics or administration of our society, but that we too easily absorb the false values of an unbelieving world."

"'Reclaiming' the culture is a pointless, futile exercise."

"As believers, then, our duty with regard to sin is not to try to purge all society's ills, but to apply ourselves diligently to the work of our own sanctification. The sin we need to be most concerned with is the sin in our own lives. Only as the church becomes holy can it begin to ahve a true, powerful effect on the outside world - and it won't be an external effect, but a changing of hearts."

"It is an appeal that we commit ourselves to biblical thinking, that we see ourselves as God sees us, and that we deal honestly with our own sin."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Grief & Its Affect on Reading

Sometimes a book just doesn't grab me. Other times the circumstances going on in my life keep me from really being able to enjoy a book. Due to events that happened in the past week, I have not gotten much reading done.

December 2003 - September 24, 2012

We took Storm to the vet on Monday as she was not eating normally. They discovered that she had cancer and it was advanced. It was time to let her go.

Life will never be the same. Storm came into our lives on June 19, 2004 and has been a huge part of our lives ever since. There is a gaping hole now and we miss her tremendously. We are so thankful for the 8 years that we were able to enjoy her.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall into Reading 2012

I love this challenge as it is very laid-back and low-key without a lot of pressure. But it is fun to see what everyone is reading. I am not getting much reading done these days other than the Bible between the Bible in 90 Days that I am doing and starting a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) study. So this list is hopeful but not sure how much of it I will actually be able to complete.

For more information on this challenge and to join, go here (info) and here (to sign up).

My list:

1. Finish the Bible in 90 Days

2. Read Don't Stop Believin' by Robert Johnston, Craig Detweiler & Barry Taylor (editors) (review book from Netgalley) - GAVE UP ON
Don't Stop Believin': Pop Culture and Religion from "Ben-Hur" to Zombies

3. Finish through Chapter 18 of Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. I'm currently on chapter 12.
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine

4. Read either The Vanishing Conscience or Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur. COMPLETED
The Vanishing Conscience: Drawing the Line in a No-Fault, Guilt-Free World
Ashamed of the Gospel REV/E

5. Read Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan.
Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thinking Against the Grain by N. Allan Moseley

Thinking Against the Grain: Developing a Biblical Worldview in a Culture of MythsThinking Against the Grain: Developing a Biblical Worldview in a Culture of Myths by N. Allan Moseley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spectacular book and well needed in this day of relativism. Too many Christians do not have a biblical worldview, but instead are caught up in whatever the culture around them says and does. We need to think critically and evaluate based on what the Bible says, not just what makes us feel good or happy. This book addresses the importance of having a biblical worldview, and what that worldview looks like relating to current popular cultural topics.

I wish every Christian would read this book and listen to what it has to say. It bothers me that so many Christians do not think critically or exercise discernment. Right thinking leads to right living while wrong thinking leads to wrong living. Living according to the Bible is not popular. It will be costly. But it is what God commands us to do as disciples of Jesus.

"So, this book has several purposes, but two of these are primary. First, we would motivate and enable people to think biblically. What does it mean to think as a Christian, and how does that thought process differ from other common ways of thinking? Second, we would demonstrate the contours of a consistently biblical worldview. What are distinguishing benchmarks of a Christian worldview? What are some practical, or ethical, implications of thinking that is faithful to the Bible?"

" unprecedented level of immorality is being accepted and practiced within the church because Christians have not developed a Christian view of the moral issues of our time. They are not thinking biblically. This book is written with the prayer that all the church will yet practice biblical thinking and living, and will influence the culture to do the same."

"What does it mean to love God with our minds? It means to become more mentally equipped to live the Christian life, more committed to the propositional truth of the Word of God, and more dedicated to use our minds for the glory of God."

"...Christians ought to be thinking and studying people..." "...we ought to know the content of the Bible and how to interpret it...we ought to be fully conversant with the substance and proscriptions of historic Christian orthodoxy....we should know what we believe and why we believe it."

"Christians have an appalling lack of knowledge of, and commitment to, the Bible. They understand little of theology."
"If those who identify themselves as Christians either do not know basic biblical concepts or are not committed to those concepts, it would be optimistic in the extreme to expect them to have constructed a biblical view of life and to be able to respond cogently to philosophical challenges to that worldview."

"...theology is disappearing among the clergy." "Greater importance is placed upon the minister as manager of a corporation, agent of growth, counselor of the codependent, and motivator of volunteers, than on theological preparation to lead people to know God and to shun false ideologies. Wells states that the point in the modern church seems to be to respond to the felt needs of people, giving them what they want, rather than to respond to the truth of the Bible, giving them what they need."

"...many Christians live by the premise that the church and God exist to 'meet my needs,' and they would be shocked to find out that it is really the other way around - we exist to glorify God."
"Within two generations we shifted from the values of self-restraint and deferred gratification to self-love and the psychology of entitlement."

So many more good points are brought out in this book such as how morality has suffered because of the lack of biblical knowledge and living by God's principles. Postmodernism, relativism, pluralism and naturalism are all examined and how they affect worldview. Excellent book and recommended highly.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Reading Time & Current Reads

I am not getting a lot of reading done these days as I am reading through the Bible in 90 Days and that is taking up most of my reading time. I am currently reading Thinking Against the Grain  and enjoying it though I would like more time to read it consistently and digest it.
Thinking Against the Grain: Developing a Biblical Worldview in a Culture of Myths

I enjoy books about culture and worldview. I think it is critical that as Christians we develop a biblical worldview. This book addresses that.
I also have a couple books from Netgalley that I need to read and review. Another book on popular culture Don't Stop Believin' Don't Stop Believin': Pop Culture and Religion from "Ben-Hur" to Zombies and also Understanding Biblical Theology Understanding Biblical Theology: A Comparison of Theory and Practice. Looking forward to diving into these 2 books as well.