Biblical Fundamentalism*

(Volume 22, Issue 2, Mar/Apr 2016) I am a Fundamentalist. There I said it. And yet, although I inherited a few guns I don’t know where the bullets are. I don’t hate anyone, not even my neighbor whose cat keeps my songbird population thinned out. Knowing my own weaknesses and sinfulness I refrain from being particularly judgmental of others. Some might call me a “Bible-thumper” but I have not actually thumped anyone with a Bible since junior high when I was trying to impress the girls (I learned many years later that punching girls did not impress them nearly as much as I originally thought). I have some strong preferences and opinions about everything from politics to entertainment (just ask me), but I recognize that not everyone shares all my views and I am at peace with that. I believe in separation from sinful practices and compromising associations, but I…

My Favorite Books – Part 4

(Volume 21, Issue 3 May/June 2015) Introduction: This is the fourth time I have attempted to list books that I find are of considerable value. This is an important endeavor for a number of reasons. First, thousands of Christian books are published every year, yet the majority of these are superficial at best and often counterproductive to spiritual maturity, and many others are heretical. With the limited time that each of us has we need to be exposed to materials which enhance growth, draw us to Christ and are biblically sound. This list aims to offer just such books in a variety of areas. Secondly, as I critique and review books on a regular basis I find that many volumes combine some excellent teaching and insights with unbiblical concepts. My reviews attempt to reveal “the good, the bad and the ugly” within these works. And while no book except the…

Love Wins – Universalism’s New Champion

(June/July 2011 – Volume 17, Issue 3) There was so much hype surrounding the publication of Rob Bells new book Love Wins that even before it was released emotional critiques were flooding the Internet and the bloggers were in full swing. When John Piper, who had not yet read the book, tweeted three little words, “Farewell Rob Bell,” the blogosphere exploded and the war was on. Bell, who claims credentials within the evangelical camp, was purported to be teaching universalism. When the book was finally on the market it immediately rose to the top of everybody’s bestsellers list. Bell was featured on the cover of Time magazine, interviewed on both secular and Christian television and radio programs and perhaps became the “rock star” that Time claimed he was some years ago. When I reluctantly determined I needed to read what everybody was talking about I was speaking at a conference…

Important Books

(June/July 2010 – Volume 16, Issue 3) The evangelical press is pouring out hundreds of new books every year, most are forgettable but a few leave a valuable imprint upon the Christian community.  Given the limited amount of time that even a serious student has to read it is important that attention is given to books that make a difference.  I would like to devote this edition of Think on These Things to a few recent volumes that have caught the attention of many today.  These are books that I am being asked about via e-mail or as I travel to conferences.  Some are most helpful, others are of a serious concern, and others are mixed bag. Crazy Love by Francis Chan The basic thesis of Crazy Love is sound.  Since God loves us with a crazy, inexplicable love, our love for Him should be just as crazy and our…

My Favorite Books – Part 3

(December 2009/January 2010 – Volume 15, Issue 7) A little over five years ago I wrote two papers identifying my favorite books in various categories.  At this time I want to supplement that list for a couple of reasons.  First, as readers of my articles and book reviews know, Think on These Things is largely a discernment ministry and, as such, many of our reviews are of a warning nature.  Some have even asked if I am in agreement with any book.  My standard answer is that I certainly am, as long as, and to the extent that, the book is faithful to Scripture.  Realizing that all human efforts fall short at some point, it is important that we endeavor to be Bereans and examine books, not for the purpose of criticism, but for their compliance to the revealed Word of God.  With that in mind, listed below are numerous…

What, Me Worry?

(February 1998 – Volume 4, Issue 2)  In Jay Adams’ little booklet What to Do About Worry, he begins with this humorous tale: Joe used to worry all the time about everything, in fact, his friends knew him as a worrier. One day Bill was walking down the street when he saw his worrying friend bouncing along as happy as any man could be. Joe was actually whistling, humming and wearing a huge smile; he looked as if he did not have a care in the world. Bill could hardly believe his eyes — it was obvious that a radical transformation had taken place. He stopped Joe and added, “Joe, what’s happened to you? You don’t seem worried anymore; I never saw a happier man.” Joe replied, “It’s wonderful, Bill. I haven’t worried for several weeks now.” Bill continued, “That’s great — how did you manage it? What brought about the…

Trusting God

(February 1996 – Volume 2, Issue 4)  Our suffering has meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan, and He brings or allows only that which is for His glory and our good to come into our lives. Trusting God can often be a difficult thing even for the child of God. However, the most difficult time for us to trust Him is during times of adversity. During such times the believer needs to understand that the Scriptures teach three essential truths about God: God is completely sovereign; God is infinite in wisdom; God is perfect in love. God in his love always wills what is best for us (Rom 8:28). In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to bring it about. GOD IS COMPLETELY SOVEREIGN The question that many ask is if God is both powerful and good, why is there…

The Sovereignty of God – Part 3

(November 2001 – Volume 7, Issue 10)  Few words from Scripture both encourage and challenge us more than James 1:2, Count it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials. When God inspired James to pen these immortal words could He possibly have known that a crazed sect of Islamic fanatics would one day slam hijacked airliners into huge buildings crammed full of innocent people? And if He knew, why did He allow such wicked plans to succeed? Could He not have done something to stop the terrorists? At the very least, when God saw where those 767s were headed surely He could have stepped in and stopped this senseless act. Since He did not, we are left with only a few options. Maybe God did not know any more about the hijackings than we did; maybe He watched things unfold as they were happening and was totally caught off…

The Sovereignty of God – Part 2

(October 2001 – Volume 7, Issue 9)  One of the hardest things I have ever done was to walk away for the last time from the house in which I had been raised. My parents had both passed away and it was no longer feasible for my siblings and I to keep the homestead, so we had to sell. It broke my heart because it closed a chapter in my life that I did not want to close. I felt a huge loss, a keen disappointment, as I realized afresh that nothing in this life is permanent and almost everything ultimately comes up short of expectations. Of course such loss is minor compared to the tragedies that many people, even godly people, face every day. Seeing this as wrong and unfair many complain, as we saw last time, “If God is truly loving and all-powerful then how can He stand by…

The Sovereignty of God – Part 1

(September 2001 – Volume 7, Issue 8)  “All of life runs unsettlingly close to the ditch,” Joseph Stowell assures us in The Upside of Down (p. 17). But that does not mean we like such a life, much less, understand it. Even while we consistently and constantly remind our children that life isn’t fair, down deep we somehow believe it should be. This concept is often reinforced by preachers and Christian authors who all but promise that if we honor God then surely God will honor us – and that in the form of tangible reward and blessing. So, it catches many of us by surprise when God doesn’t seem to keep His end of the deal. If instead of my “borders being enlarged” God sees fit to take away my job, or shrink my bank account, or saddle me with a prolonged and painful illness, then our conclusion too often…