Had the privilege of filming some promo spots for Samaritan Ministries. They are a phenomenal approach to funding health care needs. It isn’t insurance. It is sharing the financial burden of healthcare expenses with other believers. If you are looking at a low-cost way of making sure your medical expenses are covered, this is a really wise and, I believe, scriptural way of doing it.
You’re Gonna Want the Men Around
My friend, Pastor Toby, recently wrote a great piece highlighting the admonition of Lemuel’s mother in Proverbs 31 that he not give his strength to women. Men are prone to abdicate their responsibility, and rather than truly lead and care for those who they are called to lay their lives down for, they bequeath their strength and pitifully forfeit leadership to the women in their lives. This leads to a whole world of iniquity for both the man, and the women in his life. Toby called men to be strong, and to lead. This exhortation though was received with numerous objections. “What about abusive men?” And such winning sentiments as “patriarchy itself is a form of abuse.” I’d already begun work on this post, and thought that some of Toby’s thoughts, as well as those of his interlocutors, would be useful to tie in here.
The 21st century is deeply confused over which end is up. For over a generation, the feminists have marched to “smash the patriarchy.” Cowardly men have muttered under their stale breath at how they just “disagree with how things are, they just ain’t right,” as they grab another beer, and settle into the couch. Wicked men, have been eager participants in cheering on the downfall of masculine leadership because it removes the inconvenience of facing the consequences which masculine leadership brings. Nothing intimidates wicked men more than righteous men, it is why the wicked plot the demise of the righteous (Ps. 37:32). The civil magistrate bears the sword to reward the righteous and restrain and punish the wicked. The sword is intrinsically masculine. You want righteous men representatively wielding the sword of justice.
Multiplying the Wicked
However, what we are currently observing is that when once you have allegedly smashed the patriarchy, what you get in its place is the sinister sneer of the perverts. History shows that when virtuous men fail to lead and protect, bad men are happy to rape and plunder. “When the wicked rise, men hide themselves,” as the proverb puts it (Pr. 28:28). And another proverb for good measure, “When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth (Pr. 29:16).” Masculine leadership is most certainly not the problem when it comes to the now endless stream of sexual abuse stories. What we have is a failure of masculine leadership. Remove righteous men from authority, you will not get a decrease in abusive men, you will get an increase and a multiplication of wicked men at all levels.
Remove righteous men from authority, you will not get a decrease in abusive men, you will get an increase and a multiplication of wicked men at all levels.The solution to what the feminists are outraged over (and in many instances rightfully so) is found in submitting to and obeying God’s law. The best way to stop wicked, lecherous men, is to confront them with the hurdle of good men. The patriarchal system of Israel––with men set up over 10s, 50s, 100s etc.––insisted that a rapist be put to death (Deu. 22:25), and even adultery carried the death penalty (Lev. 20:10, cf. Ex. 20:14). It is the feminine sensibilities of nurture and charity which have been perverted to slacken the courage of righteous men in executing severe punishment on wrong-doers. You want justice served to the perverts, seek to place godly, fearless, courageous men in civic authority.
The Inescapability of Masculine Authority
The way God created the world is inescapable. We live in an age that is attempting to rebel against God and nature. Cultures throughout history have rebelled against God and nature before, and without fail their empires are now dust, haunted by jackals. God made man first, and the woman second. He set man as the head of the woman, and this is an inescapable fact. Men are designed to be initiators. If these men are submitted to God’s Word, they will, on the whole, initiate and lead virtuously. They will work hard, put food on the table, and chase away robbers in the middle of the night with their shotgun. They will take their families to church, discipline the foolishness out of their children, instill the importance and joy of hard work, and tell great stories after dinner. The majority of godly men in my acquaintance are like this, and their wives are happy to have it so and wouldn’t want it otherwise.
But conversely, if men are allowed to “define their own truth” (as feminists have insisted our culture do), these men will initiate and lead: viciously. When men are given over to their own heart’s desires, the wickedness of their heart will soon be ruled by every vice under the sun. They will be––in the older sense of the word––vicious. The guardrails of Christian virtues protect the whole society. However, tear these down, and lecherous men will immediately put they warty hands on the wheel and take the whole caravan off into the porn-fields to smoke the greed. These sort of men want ownership, without responsibility. They may own the trailer, but based on the height of the weeds, the smell of the place, and the half-dozen broken lawn mowers, they have taken no responsibility.
Smashing the patriarchy will not bring about an egalitarian utopia, it will only create a leadership vacuum that will inevitably be filled with men who are demon-worshippers. Such sons of Belial will always insist on having temple prostitutes readily available, and that the expediency of offering their offspring to the fires of Molech never be restrained. They will rape and feast, and the only way to stop them is to put the sword into the hand of righteous men.
Bunyan is marvelous. Pilgrim’s Progress is of course his most famous work, but The Holy War is in much the same vein. However, whereas Pilgrim’s Progress is much more of an allegory for a Christian’s sojourn from earth unto heaven, The Holy War is more of an allegory about the internal war which takes place in a man. Bunyan presents us with a town called Mansoul, and describes how it was lost to Satan, and how Shaddai and His Son Emmanuel regained it. Bunyan does allegory like none other, and while many have tried and done quite shabbily, Bunyan knows what notes to hit, and throughout are gems of wisdom, insight and edifying truths. One statement that struck me was this one, which Bunyan put in the mouth of Diabolus (the Devil):
Their looseness of life is a sign that there is not much heart in what they do, and without the heart things are little worth.
Truly, the Devil knows, often more than Saints do, that true religion must be from the heart and engage the whole man, body, soul and spirit.
One of the most insightful (and edifying) points was when Mansoul had fallen into a state of backsliding and indifference, it is the character Mr. Prywell whom Bunyan selects to be the means of grace whereby God (Shaddai) awakens the town of Mansoul. This was one of the more useful tidbits from the book. I’ve discipled folks who are so introspective, and have all the self-evaluation of the Puritans without any of their Gospel freedom. We must often reflect on our spiritual state, but we ought to “prywell.” It doesn’t do any good to simply find all your faults, fears, and doubts, and then fail to ring the warning bells of the town. True introspection and pious self-reflection ought to be done with the goal of awakening grace within us to fight.
This was my first time through this classic. There was only one thing that felt “off” to me and it was that the allegory’s portrayal of God lacked trinitarian robustness. The Father was presented as “Shaddai,” and His son, the Prince Emmanuel; however, the Holy Ghost didn’t quite play as integral a part as I think would be more Biblically accurate. Perhaps I missed it, but the character the Lord-Secretary, I believe was presented as being the Spirit, but Bunyan didn’t seem to quite give Him the right sort of attention. That could have been by design, for the Spirit moves mysteriously. That would be my only quibble, and perhaps on a subsequent tour through Mansoul, I might be made to change my mind.
Finally, in the final chapter, Prince Emmanuel gives a message of comfort to the inhabitants of Mansoul, and it is quite moving. I’ll leave you with the first paragraph of His speech:
You, my Mansoul, and the beloved of mine heart, many and great are the privileges that I have bestowed upon you; I have singled you out from others, and have chosen you to myself, not for your worthiness, but for mine own sake. I have also redeemed you, not only from the dread of my Father’s law, but from the hand of Diabolus. This I have done because I loved you, and because I have set my heart upon you to do you good. I have also, that all things that might hinder thy way to the pleasures of Paradise might be taken out of the way, laid down for thee for thy soul a plenary satisfaction, and have bought thee to myself; a price not of corruptible things, as of silver and gold, but a price of blood, mine own blood, which I have freely spilled upon the ground to make thee mine. So I have reconciled thee, O my Mansoul, to my Father, and entrusted thee in the mansion-houses that are with my Father in the royal city, where things are, O my Mansoul, that eye hath not seen, nor hath entered into the heart of man to conceive.
Recently, a young couple in my acquaintance lost their first child a few days before it was due. Another friend received a suicide note from her unbelieving brother, and after a month-long search, the police finally found his body. Our culture is currently in a “pervicane;” the bill for the sexual escapades of many powerful men is now come due. Islam is slowly conquering Europe. An Anglican bishop is praying that young Prince George is gay. And…on the bright side, it looks like the GOP is finally going to cut our taxes. When we look at the current events, personal tragedies, and even the blessings which God has granted us, we must remember that the greatest temptation in both hard times and good times is to forget that the Child born in Bethlehem is relevant to every crisis we face, and every blessing we receive.
Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.
Overview of the Text
From Isaiah’s heavenly vision in chapter 6 until the events described in this chapter, up to eight years have transpired. Isaiah is with his son (Shear-jashub, “a remnant shall return”) during the pronouncement of this sign (Isa. 7:3). In forming an alliance with Assyria, King Ahaz sent the gold and silver which was in the temple to “sweeten the deal” (2 Kgs. 16:8); he also unlawfully rearranged, replaced, and even defaced the holy items in the temple (2 Kgs. 16:14-18).
God sends Isaiah to exhort Ahaz to believe that the Lord was Judah’s salvation from all her enemies (Is. 7:1-9). The “punchline” of Isaiah’s sermon: “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established (Is. 7:9b).” God offers Ahaz a sign to confirm the promise of deliverance, but Ahaz refuses, not because he was humble, but because he was apostate (v. 10-12). Isaiah then rebukes the house of David (not just Ahaz as an individual) for wearying not only God’s prophets—by ignoring their admonitions—but also God Himself (v.13). However, a sign was given all the same.
The sign was that a virgin would conceive, bear a son, and she would name him Immanuel (v.14). This child, though bearing such a messianic name, would grow up the same as every other child: eating the food common to infants at the time, and progressing from infancy to maturity in the natural manner (v.15, cf. Lk. 2:52). Isaiah then shifts the focus back to current events and informs Ahaz that before long (i.e. the span of time it takes for a child to grow to maturity), the two kingdoms he so feared would be left kingless and conquered (v.16). Finally, though Ahaz sought protection by bribing the Assyrians, the end result of that unbelief is that God would use the Assyrians to bring about the eventual downfall of Jerusalem, and the Jews exile (v.17). Ahaz submitted to being a puppet of his Assyrian puppet-masters, and when once this compromise was made, it paved the way for later political compromises (cf. Is. 39, 2 Kgs. 18:16, 24:12, 17 & 25:1-7).
A Sign of Mercy and Judgement
Signs are given to confirm faith, but where there is no faith, signs become a condemnation. To unbelieving Ahaz, the sign of a coming child named Immanuel spelled his doom. God had promised the house of David that “There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne (1 Kgs. 8:25).” This was the throne upon which Ahaz sat, and rather than believe that God would bring from his line One whose dominion would stretch from sea to sea (Ps. 72:8), whose kingdom would subdue all other nations (Ps. 72:11), and “His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed (Ps. 72:17),” Ahaz chose to place his faith in policy, treaties, alliances, and contracts. His faith was in what he could see. The judgement that came upon him was that the idol he worshipped would soon swallow him and his kingdom up. The sign of Immanuel means that unbelief will receive the swift judgment it deserves.
But this sign was also mercy.“For on what did the deliverance of Jerusalem depend, but on the manifestation of Christ? This was, indeed, the only foundation on which the salvation of the Church always rested (Calvin).” Isaiah’s faith is the foil to Ahaz’s unbelief. Isaiah shows how we ought to understand God’s transcendence and imminence. In the midst of the current events which faced Judah, Isaiah weaves in and out of present circumstances and future hope. Isaiah saw the yet far off virgin birth as being of utmost relevance and importance to Judah’s present situation.
True faith is a sort of double vision. A good marksman is somehow able to view the bullseye of the target and the sights on the barrel as one object. The seed promised to Eve, the descendant of Abraham who would bring a blessing to all nations, the man who would sit on David’s throne and yet was David’s Lord, was of utmost relevance to Jerusalem’s present salvation and deliverance. Christ is, as Spurgeon wonderfully put it, the hinge of history. Every other event must bow to the momentous coming of the Incarnate Christ, Immanuel. “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” Your present circumstances, both the hopes and the fears, must bow to the fact that God was manifested in the flesh, in the person of Jesus. And by faith, the sign of Immanuel is all mercy, for “Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.”
One distinguishing mark of Calvinism is the emphasis that is laid upon the doctrine of the total depravity of fallen mankind. The reason this is important is that mankind, when he denies the wickedness of his own heart, will quickly erect monuments honoring his own goodness, which only leads to just as quickly being disillusioned by the manifest wickedness that is done by mankind. The Roman Catholic position believes man is simply out of wonk, and when God’s grace is added, things sort of “rebalance.” Humanism wishfully believes mankind is basically good, and society is what taints him, thus the need for social progress to refine the “system” for bringing up the wee-ones––this of course leads to total Statism.
However, the Bible makes it plain there is none righteous (Rom. 3:10), none that does good (Ps. 14:3), every thought of man’s heart is continually wicked (Gen. 6:5), and while God made man upright he has rebelled thoroughly against his created purpose (Ecc. 7:29). The reason total depravity is such a vital doctrine is that man is not simply “out of whack,” a little wonky, or in need of mere “remedial therapy,” rather, he is dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). The Scripture being our authority plainly teaches this, but our own heart reveals this, and any history textbook should make it plain that mankind has rebelled against God and defrauded his neighbor at every turn. Apart from God’s restraining grace, things would be a lot worse.
If we teach that man has some goodness in him––enough to choose of his own free will to follow God––we leave a portion of our salvation to us, and a portion to God. We have just enough goodness left in us to reach out and take the life-preserver God has thrown to us––or so the thinking goes. However, both experience and Scripture reveal that when given the choice, mankind always spits in God’s face rather than take hold of the salvation offered.
Solomon expressed the thoroughness of our wickedness in this way, “The thought of foolishness is sin (Pro. 24:9).” It is not that we are morally neutral beings always being pulled in a cosmic battle of good and evil. That is pagan anthropology. Rather, according to the Bible, we are enemies of God. This is evident in the news headlines, history books, but most plainly in the most secret places of our inward man.
We are not all murderers, robbers, or rapists. However, an unregenerate man is full of envy, covetousness, lust, greed, avarice, bitterness and all sorts of wickedness. An unregenerate man or woman plots ways to snub those he is bitter towards. He indulges himself in undressing––in his mind, of course––the sexy vixen who just caught his gaze. He murders, in his heart, the jerk who just cut him off in traffic. She envies the woman with perkier curves, cheering for her downfall. She broods over all the nice things that the neighbor down the street has. All of this can be done without ever coming to the sight of our fellow man. At its core, though, it is the foolishness of lying to ourselves. We are deceived by our own wicked heart that God doesn’t see what is going on inside of us. We think we can put on a moralistic front, to cover the tomb of blackest envy and lust within. Solomon tells us, however, that the very thought of foolishness is itself sin. We are damned for even thinking we can coddle our sins that “don’t hurt nobody.”
This spiritual death has so permeated every part of us that unregenerate man’s very motives are sin. Even our “best” is tainted by pride, selfishness, and unbelief. You harbor sinful thoughts, thinking you can coddle those foolish notions without any consequence. But God’s Word tells us that, in and of itself, IS sin. In the Arminian scheme, the insistence of the total freedom of man’s will is nothing more than an attempt to preserve some small portion of self-congratulatory pride. The pride of self-righteousness insists, “No, I chose to believe in Jesus, a loving God wouldn’t coerce me.” This is only a foolish attempt to preserve a shred of our dignity. To employ an illustration which Lewis once used, this is like a corpse putting on lipstick: it only adds to the revolting reality of our deadness.
True repentance is a gift. The gift of sight to a blind man.The only remedy for man’s sin is God’s free grace. Not of our own merit, deserving, work, goodness, or choosing. No room for boasting here. Our folly in thinking we have even the smallest shred of goodness which we could muster to decide upon Christ, is itself a sin.
Only a new heart––a new birth––worked by the Spirit of God will suffice to save. True repentance is a gift. The gift of sight to a blind man. Suddenly he sees the worthlessness, and the wretchedness, of all his own righteousness, and clings to Christ as the lone hope of salvation. The thought of folly is sin. The unregenerate mind says, “There is no God (Ps. 14:1-3).” Thus, it will take the mighty work of the Holy Spirit to deliver us, that we might be able to see the wisdom of the Father’s salvation which is offered to us in Christ.
The GQBLT gestapo informs me that congratulations are in order. Playboy has paved the way for all of us to someday become the Playmate of the month. Ines Rau is the first man to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to reshape, contort, twist and mangle his body into a mimicry of the female form and be rewarded with the coveted front cover of that bastion of dignity and respect for femininity. Playboy has built its brand on the basis that it will always ooze with sex appeal. Now, for the right price, any of us can ooze, too.
But Playboy airbrushes away the ugly reality. The horror stories of reality are anything but scintillating. We rarely hear about individuals who scraped together enough money to undergo some surgeries for so-called “sex change.” Years of bleeding genitals don’t make for a good centerfold. An endless roller coaster of hormonal therapy isn’t a recipe for a “sizzling hot” photoshoot.
We are being adjured by all that is spineless to affirm that “trans women are women, too.” This mantra, however, only opens the floodgates for womanhood and femininity to become entirely meaningless. To top off the madness, what is being normalized and glamorized only perpetuates the abusive objectification of women. Young girls have been told not to find their worth in trying to look like magazine covers. Ines Rau strikes the most cliché “come hither” pose which has conditioned a generation to treat women as objects. We now have men not only objectifying women, we have men posing as objectified women.
Trans Women Ain’t Women
The glorification of transgender “models” is nothing short of irresponsible. This is an age old sales tactic. Prey on peoples’ insecurities and discontentments. Convince them they shouldn’t be content with how they are, and persuade them to shell out money to obtain what they could be. What Playboy doesn’t glamorize is the small fortune that must be shelled out in order to “look the part.” On average we are talking tens of thousands for basic surgeries, and anywhere from $55k, to over $1,000,000 in some instances.
Feminists have complained for years about the media’s tendency to objectify women. Yet when it comes to transgenders, they get a pass. Ines Rau and Bruce Jenner might have the hundreds of thousands of dollars to get all the surgeries necessary to play out their fantasy. They are held up as the “role models” for all transgenders, but they don’t show the price tag. Being a sexy transgender is sexpensive.
It is true that sex sells. Hospitals, like the ones we have here locally (Grittman and Pullman Regional), love a steady stream of revenue. Sex change surgeries provide a great bottom line. Lust and greed are best of friends. Playboy has made its hay by taking advantage of the insatiable thirst of sexual lust. Collective, society-wide lust will never know when it has had enough, and will gladly watch others mutilate themselves for its own enjoyment.
Leeches Gonna Leech
Leeches don’t ever have enough (Pro. 30:15). Hollywood has objectified women for years, degrading them from glory to shame, from queens to harlots. Women are no longer enough to satiate the lusts of our erotic addictions; so it should be no surprise that our culture is now turning to lust after men who pay enough money to be sufficiently titillating. “It’s kind of kinky, I guess I could be turned on by that,” the bleary-eyed fellow engorged with decades of porn consumption mumbles. We have objectified and degraded women for decades in our entertainment, and it is clear that until God grants repentance or sends judgment we will happily objectify anyone in order to feed our lust and greed.
Christians must insist on the grotesque reality of transgender temptation. It isn’t time to be polite or nice. We must plead against the insanity and the impending harm that will be done to a generation of young people. The ratio of sex change surgeries is 75% men becoming women. Our entertainment industry, like a drug dealer giving away free samples, has hooked a generation on objectified women. Sin perpetuates sin. Thus, some of these young men are so obsessed with the feminine physique, they wouldn’t mind having it around 24/7. They can’t get enough, so they become their lust itself.
Sexual liberation, however, only brings sexual exploitation.Further, the suicide rate amongst trans is off the charts. Mind you, this is not because of bullying. Bullying is a sin (1 Pt. 3:9). However, discontentment is a far more deadly enemy because it kills you from within. It is not shocking that after shelling out all the money to become the “real you,” they find that they are still discontent. The truth of that folk proverb comes to mind, “Money can’t buy everything.” Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Tim. 6:6), and ungodliness with discontentment is a recipe for earthy and eternal misery.
Beauty is now something to be bought, not beheld. It is no longer objective, it is procedural. It isn’t transcendent, it is “whatevs.” We sought all this world could give, and found it cannot give what our heart truly seeks. We thirst and yet settle for sand. Our hearts will be forever restless, as Augustine might have put it, until they rest in God alone. Every other cistern is dry. Every false god demands your blood. Christ gives his blood.
While those who identify as transgender are somewhere in the ballpark of 0.3-0.6% of the population, we have convinced ourselves to bend society over backwards to not only accommodate, but to glamorize the whims of this segment of society. This is all part of the programme of sexual liberation. Our culture has been demanding sexual liberation for an entire generation or more. One form of God’s judgement is giving a nation exactly what it asks for. Sexual liberation, however, only brings sexual exploitation. We’ve weighed the cost, and deemed that endlessly consuming our fellow man is worth it for a burst of erotic pleasure. Cannibals would likely understand.
This is the first book I’ve read by Archibald Alexander, the American theologian who served as Princeton Theological Seminary’s first principal. This was wonderful. It carries the scent of the American frontier’s optimism and hope, and the Puritan instinct for true, devout religion of the heart. The main thrust is that true religion must affect the heart. Think of this book as a “Reader’s Digest” version of Jonathan Edwards’ “Religious Affections.” Christianity cannot be mere intellect, but must get “into” a man. Of course, this can only be the result of the Holy Spirit’s work.
Those Christians, therefore, who are most diligent in attending upon the Word in public & private, will be most likely to make progress in piety. –A. AlexanderAlexander ranges over the topography of the Christian life and shows how the Holy Spirit works in various ways to win souls to Christ, and thus we should be careful of laying down “schemes” for how conversion happens. It is not some formulaic recipe. God brings men to conversion in a multitude of ways, but the fruit and experience of it will always become evident.
He touches on various other ordeals the saint must face, and pastorally guides how we should approach sickness, health, wealth, poverty, and death. All in all, very helpful. You can also read it for free over at GraceGems.
Here are some pull quotes to enjoy:
Many an accurate & profound theologian has lived & died without a ray of saving light.
— Ben Zornes (@benzornes) October 20, 2017
Those Christians, therefore, who are most diligent in attending upon the Word in public & private, will be most likely to make progress in piety.
— Ben Zornes (@benzornes) October 20, 2017
Every victory over any particular lust weakens its power; & by a steady growth in grace, such advantage is obtained over inbred sin, that the advanced Christian maintains the mastery over it. –A. Alexander
— Ben Zornes (@benzornes) October 20, 2017
Chester and Timmins exposit the book of 1 Peter to demonstrate what Christian fellowship and community should look like. They are not concerned with creating new “programs” in which to squish people into. All too often, churches can tend to start programs which their people must serve, rather than programs which actually serve the people. They put it this way, “Programs are what we create when Christians are not doing what they’re supposed to do in everyday life.” This book was quite insightful, a refreshing reminder that Christian community need not be complicated or overly “programmatic.” Humans are organic, but this does not mean there shouldn’t be any sort of organizational ordering of our fellowship and interaction. However, it ought to go “with the grain” of everyday life. Rather than piling on the burden of more meetings, programs and events, Chester and Timmins remind us, “It is not simply that ordinary Christians live good lives that enable them to invite friends to evangelistic events. Our lives are the evangelistic events.”
They look at how modern western culture is increasingly “distant” from the Church, and rather than panic about being marginalized, they encourage the immense necessity for vibrant Gospel community. In fact, “We have been saved to be God’s holy people, to be Christ’s bride, to be a new family.” Thus, this new family, saturated in the Gospel should be so vibrant and alive with joy and fellowship as to expose the deep need which unbelievers or “the dechurched” have, drawing them to the Lord Jesus through His body, the Church, as she lives daily in Community. I appreciated the wise and circumspect way in which this book approached the topic of forming and encouraging community in a congregation. In one place they put it this way, “Gospel community matters. But this does not mean the gospel Word is less important.[…] [One] problem is that the desire for community with people can outgrow our desire for community with God.” While they did use a few of the buzzwords of this topic (i.e. the overuse of the word missional as an adjective), the whole book was judicious, careful, and most importantly, followed their chosen Scripture text (1 Peter) very closely. This was a “pastoral commentary;” helpful in putting the passages into “live action.”
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