A Reformation Q & A w/ Carl Trueman…

Dr. Carl Trueman, professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, and author of Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Christian Focus, 2011), kindly took a few moments to answer some questions I had in relation to his book…

KF: It is no question that various historical and theological misunderstandings of the Reformation abound.  Volumes such as Ken Stewart’s recently published Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition seek to address and provide a corrective to such misunderstandings.  In regard to the Reformation, what is the most common misunderstanding (theological and/or historical), and what corrective(s) would you provide in response?

CT: The most common error, at least among evangelical Protestants, is that it marked a clean theological break with the past.  It did not.  The Reformers built very positively on early church theology, especially the Creeds, Augustine and the fourth and fifth century Trinitarian and Christological discussions.  In the last fifty years, numerous scholars have also brought to light the significant debts which the Reformers owed to medieval theologians on matters such as the doctrine of God and predestination.

KF: In your opinion, what is the greatest doctrinal/theological threat to Christianity today?  How would a more thorough knowledge of the Reformation be profitable in light of this issue?

CT: This is a difficult question to answer.   Christianity is under huge pressure on a number of fronts at the moment.  Theologically, challenges to the historicity of Adam are coming thick and fast even from within the church.  Ethically, the cultural normalization of homosexuality continues apace.  Both of these issues ultimately challenge the church’s view of scripture: is it authoritative?  If so, how is this to be understood?  How is it to be interpreted?  These three questions are inextricably connected.

In one sense the Reformation is of limited use on this matter because the Reformers did not face either the same critical challenges to scripture as we do or the overwhelming cultural tide flowing against any form of theistic belief. Nevertheless, studying how the Reformers used and applied scripture is very useful because it allows us to see how an authoritative Bible and theological proclamation can and should be connected.  We simply have much more prolegomenal work to do and more battles on this issue to fight than they had.

KF:  In chapter 2, “Meeting the Man of Sorrows”, you refer to some misunderstandings of the gospel (i.e., ‘gospel as therapy’ and ‘gospel as entertainment’), and how they are often preached in the name of relevance.  Would you briefly explain what you mean by each, and note how the theological center of the Reformation provides a corrective in this regard?

CT: The idea of the gospel as therapy is reference to the kind of teaching which uses biblical language and idiom to promote notions of self-esteem.  It is essentially a gospel designed to meet needs that are defined not by scripture but by the secular society around us.  The prosperity gospel would be the most obvious example but there are subtler forms: `Come to Jesus and your marriage will be happier’ would be a `gospel as therapy’ sales pitch.

The idea of the gospel as entertainment is simply that of a gospel watered down to attract.  It impacts both aesthetics and content.

The Reformation, by stressing human sinfulness and rebellion against God as the problem and the suffering and cross of Christ as the answer, precludes any such form of teaching.

My sincere thanks goes to Dr. Trueman for his kindness in answering my questions, along with Christian Focus Publishers in coordinating the interview.  For more information on Dr. Trueman’s book and the subject matter at hand, check out the following links:

REFORMED FORUM Audio Interview with Carl Trueman 

“Dr. Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, returns to Christ the Center to speak about the republication of his book The Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Dr. Trueman speaks about the abiding significance of the Reformation even today as he adroitly describes its salient features and applies them to the contemporary church. Trueman’s insights are truly a joy to hear.” (cited from source)

RADIO INTERVIEW: Carl Trueman on the Janet Mefford Show (click to download mp3 of broadcast) 

“Rev. Dr. Carl Trueman, professor of historical theology and church history, discusses his book Reformation: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.  The show aired Friday, July 22, 2011, on the Janet Mefferd show.” (cited from source)

MY REVIEW of Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 

This book review was posted as a part of the Christian Focus Booknotes Blog Tour.  For more information, as well as other blogger reviews, click here.

For a list of many of Dr. Trueman’s resources, CLICK HERE.  Dr. Trueman also regularly blogs at Reformation21, the online magazine of The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

REVIEW: Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, by Carl Trueman

What bearing and import does a movement, nearly half a millennium old, have on the church today?  Lest we be counted guilty of what C.S. Lewis and Owen Barfield called “chronological snobbery”, viewing the thinking of our own day as far superior to those who have gone before, we would do well to be reacquainted with the life, thought, and convictions of the Reformation.  Carl R. Trueman, in his recently republished book, Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Christian Focus, 2011), hopes to encourage the church by examining the movement known as “the Reformation,” and demonstrating how “a critical appropriation of the Reformation is vital to a healthy church today.” [Scroll down for a link to a Christian Focus giveaway of 3 Trueman titles, including Reformation!]

Originally written in 1999 in order to be delivered at the Evangelical Theological College in Wales, Reformation is no less filled with the lively wit and searing insight that characterizes much of Trueman’s writing today.  The book is a clear demonstration that Trueman, nearly a decade younger, was still a diligent exegete of history and its significance upon contemporary Christianity.

Reformation is divided into 4 brief chapters:

Chapter 1: “The Pearl of Great Price: The Relevance of the Reformation Today – Here, Trueman argues that “the key insights of the Reformers are as relevant today—and as applicable to situations today—as they were in the sixteenth century.”  Defining the Reformation in light of its broad theological contribution to the church, Truman proposes the following definition: “the Reformation represents a move to place God as he revealed himself in Christ at the centre of the church’s life and thought.”

Chapter 2: “Meeting the Man  of Sorrows” – Trueman focuses largely upon Luther’s Christology in this chapter, and particularly his “theology of the cross.”  In my estimation, Trueman surpasses the work of Gerhard Forde in his explanation and application of Luther’s “theology of the cross.”  Trueman’s ability to effectively articulate Luther’s position, with a thorough knowledge of the historical context within which it arose, allows him to draw out applications in plain language which are accessible to even the one never exposed to this facet of Luther’s theology before.  This chapter exceeds its size in its importance for effective gospel preaching and understanding within the context of human suffering!

Chapter 3: “The Oracles of God” – A chapter devoted to the Reformers’ view of Scripture and its impact on the church today.  Trueman examines the nature, authority, purpose, and significance of the Scriptures noting how it played a central role in the piety of the Reformers.  Ringing of “Machen-esque” insight and lucidity, this chapter is especially helpful as it notes the necessity of a high view of Scripture and its central place within the church today; especially as it relates to the preacher in the pulpit.

Chapter 4: “Blessed Assurance” – Noting that one of the key elements of Protestant theology is the experience of assurance in the life of the believer as it pertains to salvation in Christ, Trueman begins by briefly summarizing Luther’s struggle with personal righteousness and how he came to understand that righteousness is something God graciously credits to the believer through faith because of Christ (cf., Rom 1:17).  The significance of Luther’s discovery of justification by faith, Trueman notes, is “that God’s love is unconditional and total, that it brings us salvation as a gift, and that, most amazing of all, we can know this salvation for certain ourselves.”

Though the volume as a whole is brief, it is an excellent primer on the practical significance of the Reformation upon the church today.  Trueman ardently examines the landscape of the Reformation and provides valuable insight as to its practical and theological importance for the church today. A note of caution to the reader: if you’re looking for a book primarily devoted to the history of the Reformation you’d do well to read Reeves’ The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation or Nichols’ The Reformation: How a Monk and Mallet Changed the World.  However, if you’re looking for a book by a first rate historical theologian that effectively draws out the significance of the Reformation for the church today, you couldn’t choose a better volume than Trueman’s Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.  Additionally, this book is by all means accessible and beneficial to those of varying levels of knowledge of Reformation history.  This volume is a valuable addition to the church that understands or is growing to understand, “ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est.”  (trans: “The reformed church is always in need of reforming.”)

I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Read inside (PDFs): Sample Pages

Publisher: Christian Focus
Author: Trueman, Carl R.
ISBN-10: 1845507010 | ISBN-13: 9781845507015
Binding: Paperback
List Price: $10.99
BUY NOW at Westminster Bookstore: $7.69 – 30% Off

*As a part of the Christian Focus Blog Tour, the publisher, at no charge, for the purpose of review, provided a copy of this book.  I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.

CHRISTIAN FOCUS GIVEAWAY: Click here to be redirected to the Trueman book giveaway!

TRUEMAN REFORMATION INTERVIEW: Click here to be redirected to the audio archive of Trueman’s recent interview on the Janet Mefferd Show.

The Holy Spirit…”it” or “him”?

Dr. Kim Riddlebarger has written a very helpful synopsis on the person and work of the Holy Spirit at Westminster Seminary California’s blog, “Valiant for Truth”.  You may read it below in its entirety…

Far too often we hear people speak of the Holy Spirit as an “it,” not a “who.” One reason why this is the case is that the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work is to bring glory to Jesus Christ, not to himself. This is why J. I. Packer calls the Holy Spirit the “shy member of the Trinity.” But this self-effacing role of the Spirit does not mean that the Holy Spirit is impersonal and not God. The Spirit possesses the same divine attributes as do the other members of the Trinity. Even as we speak of the Father as God, the Son as God, so too we must speak of the Holy Spirit as God. He is the third person of the Holy Trinity.

While there is not as much biblical evidence for the deity of the Holy Spirit as there is for the deity of Jesus, it would be a mistake to conclude that the evidence is neither clear nor decisive. We start with the Bible’s direct assertion that the Holy Spirit is God. In Acts 5:3-4, we read the story of Ananias and Saphirra, specifically of their deceit and the charge brought against them. “You have not lied to men but to God.” To lie to the Holy Spirit (as they did) is to lie to God. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul tells us that the Spirit who indwells us, is God’s Spirit. He makes the same point in 1 Corinthians 6:19. At the very least, both of Paul’s comments are indirect assertions of the deity of the Holy Spirit.

There is significant evidence for the deity of the Holy Spirit found in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 63:10, Isaiah speaks of the Spirit of God, as does the Psalmist in Psalm 95:9. In Hebrews 3:7-9 the author of Hebrews attributes the words spoken by God in Psalm 95 to the Holy Spirit. “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test . . . for forty years.” What the Old Testament prophets attributed to God, the author of Hebrews attributes to the Holy Spirit.

Throughout the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is said to possess divine attributes. In Genesis 1:1-2 we read that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Even as John and Paul attribute the work of creation to the Son (who is true and eternal God), so too, Moses assigns the work of creation to the Holy Spirit. In Psalm 33:6, the Psalmist states that the Holy Spirit (the Ruach, the breath of God) creates all things. As the Son is eternal, so too, is the Holy Spirit, who was with God before all things were created.

In Job 33:4, we read, “the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” As the Father and the Son are said to give us life, so too does the Holy Spirit. But not only does the Holy Spirit grant us life and breath, he also gives the new birth, something only God can do (John 3:5). We cannot enter God’s kingdom until God’s Spirit gives us eternal life.

Then we have a whole catalog of divine attributes applied to the Spirit. He is omniscient (in Psalm 139:7-10, the Psalmist says that the Holy Spirit is everywhere present). In 1 Corinthians 2:11, Paul says the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. God is omnipresent. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is God. The Scriptures also teach that the Holy Spirit is omnipotent. In Isaiah 11:2, the Holy Spirit is described as possessing the power which God alone possesses. He is, in fact, all-powerful, because God is all-powerful.

The Scriptures mention other divine attributes of the Holy Spirit as well. The Holy Spirit is the author of our sanctification (1 Peter 1:2), he seals us unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14), ensuring that the work God has begun in us will reach completion (Ephesians 4:30). It is through the Holy Spirit that the prophets and apostles spoke (1 Peter 1:11). And Peter proclaims “[that] prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (1 Peter 1:21). Finally, there are those verses which speak of the work of the Spirit in uniting believers to Jesus Christ, enabling them to approach God without fear. The Holy Spirit is described by Paul as the “Spirit of prayer” (Romans 8:15-16). It is the Spirit who unites us to Christ and enables us to cry out to God. It is the Spirit’s work to ensure that the saving benefits of Christ become ours.

Given this vast amount of biblical data and the great confusion of our age regarding the God of the Bible, it is vital that since the Holy Spirit is God (with the Father and the Son), we worship God in unity and the Godhead in Tri-unity. For God is one, yet revealed in three distinct persons who are each God.

Since the Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity and is true and eternal God, then we must invoke, worship, and serve the blessed Holy Spirit, even as we do the Father and the Son. After all, we are baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:9). The apostolic benediction is given in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must ascribe all glory, majesty and honor to the Holy Spirit, even as we do so to the other members of the Godhead. We pray to the Holy Spirit, we worship the Holy Spirit, we invoke the blessed Holy Spirit.

(HT: Valiant for Truth)

REVIEW: The Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms

It goes without saying that, for many, the Psalms are a place within Scripture that tend to be more familiar and read more regularly than many other places within the Bible.  I’m sure that there are many reasons that people turn to the Psalter quite regularly, one of which being the fact that they cover the full breadth of human emotion and experience.  Within the Psalms, we see the writers’ real life responses to a variety of human joys and struggles anchored in the reality that God is in control and worthy of our praise.

For many, being acquainted with the Book of Psalms may be just that…a mere acquaintance.  Though, the depth and riches to be mined within this collection of Hebrew poetry cannot be measured.  And to be sure, there are many who would like to plumb deeper the depths of this beautiful portion of God’s inspired Word, but often there may be the need for effective tools to help along the journey.

For one excellent resource we can turn to Brian L. Webster and David R. Beach’s, Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms (Zondervan, 2010).  Webster and Beach have sought to bring better understanding to the reading of the Psalter by examining each Psalm’s theme, type, author, background, and structure.  This analysis, along with the  “special notes” and “reflection” sections, construct a helpful guide for pastors, students, and lay persons to gain a firmer grasp on the Psalm they’re studying.

Positively, the Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms provides a very helpful introductory section that does a fine job of introducing the reader to aspects of Psalm construction and study that they may not normally encounter.  Additionally, the layout and concise nature of each analysis keep the volume helpful while not being tedious in nature.  NOTE: for the student who’s looking for in-depth, technical, analysis of the Psalms, this is not the volume to consult.  That doesn’t necessarily speak negatively of this volume, but it is not targeted for the advanced student of Hebrew poetry.

Critically, the volume could do a better job at helping the reader gain a further grasp in terms of a redemptive-historical reading of the Psalms.  It would be helpful to see a bit more clearly how to read the Psalter in light of the person and work of Christ and God’s overall plan of redemption.

Overall, I would recommend this resource as a valuable tool as one looks to study the book of Psalms.

*The publisher, at no charge, for the purpose of review, provided a copy of this book.  I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.

THE BIBLE IS NOT ABOUT YOU…

(HT: Nick Batzig)

The Holy Spirit & Preaching Christ

I’m almost finished with Al Martin’s recent book, Preaching in the Holy Spirit (Reformation Heritage Books, 2011).  I came across the following section about 15 pages before the book’s end, and found it insightful, challenging, and worth noting here on my blog.

In Martin’s chapter entitled, “Restrained or Diminished Measure,” he writes of different areas of the preacher’s life and study that could, in some measure, grieve the Spirit, stifling his powerful work in the act of preaching.  Martin writes, “The Holy Spirit is grieved when there is an insufficient measure of preaching Christ in our sermonic endeavors” (p. 49).

Noting that it is the Spirit’s delight, “To make the person and work of Christ understood, cherished, and believingly embraced in the hearts of men,” Martin offers the following questions to aid in evaluating whether one’s sermon was centralized on, and saturated with, Christ:

  • “Where was the person and work of Christ in [my] sermon?
  • “Have I traced back to Christ, the source of all grace and power for sufficiency to perform the duty, all the duties I have articulated?
  • Have I drawn motives for obedience from our hearers’ relationship to Christ?
  • Have I traced back to Christ, who is the great fountainhead of all redemptive privilege, the privileges of grace I have expounded?

Martin concludes this section stating, “When we move away from the nerve center of all truth, namely the person and work of the Lord Jesus, we grieve the Spirit of Christ.  While it is neither biblical nor realistic to expect that Christ must be the explicit focus of every sermon we preach, it is biblical and realistic to expect that every sermon we preach will something of the savor of the person and work of Christ” (pp. 51-52, emphasis mine).

Do you make it a regular practice in your preaching and teaching to ensure that Christ be at the center?  How do you go about this?  Or, if you disagree with this emphasis, why?

I’ll be posting a full review of Preaching in the Holy Spirit in the days to come.

BOOK INFO:

Read inside (PDFs): Sample Pages

Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
Author: Martin, Albert N.
ISBN-13: 9781601781192
Binding: Paperback
List Price: $8.00
BUY NOW at Westminster Bookstore: $6.00 – 25% Off

DID JESUS REALLY SAY/DO THAT?

This past weekend I had the privilege hearing Dr. Peter Williams, Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House, lecture on the historicity/reliability of the eyewitness testimony in the Gospels/Acts, sponsored by the Fox Valley Theological Society.

It was truly remarkable to see how meticulous the writers were in their testimony as they reported the events/people/places/geography; this being something we often overlook or take for grated.  Disambiguating common names, exhibiting precision with regard to lesser known towns, and accurately reporting the plant life and health with regard to the time of year are only some of the validating points of the writers’ testimony.

Below are 3 videos, in the “Experts’ Evidence” series, recently released by Dr. Peter Williams & Tyndale House examining evidence for the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.  I trust they’ll be encouraging/eye-opening to you as we approach the Easter season.  Additionally, for helpful reading on the issue Dr. Williams suggested Richard Bauckham’s, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. [An additional resource on the historicity and credibility of the resurrection, in particular, is: The Resurrection of the Son of God, by N.T. Wright]

EXPERTS’ EVIDENCE FOR JESUS’ TRIAL

Dr. Dirk Jongkind, a Research Fellow at Tyndale House, pieces together the earliest manuscript evidence for the New Testament and shows how it tells the story of Jesus’ trial before Pilate.

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EXPERTS’ EVIDENCE FOR JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION

Dr. Peter Williams and Dr. David Instone Brewer look at the Munich Talmud, which contains traditional Jewish teaching, and discover how even the deleted text provides evidence for Jesus’ crucifixion! More…

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EXPERTS’ EVIDENCE FOR JESUS’ RESURRECTION

Dr. Peter Williams gives a summary of the biblical evidence for the heart of the Christian faith – Jesus’ bodily resurrection.

THEOLOGY FOR LIFE.

Paul David Tripp, in the new P & R releaseThese Last Days: A Christian View of History, writes some timely and altogether helpful words on the massive importance of vigorously pursuing theological truth, while avoiding the danger of reducing it to merely an intellectual pursuit.

Tripp writes:

“Now, as we think about things like this life and the life to come, let me encourage you to resist the temptation (real as it is) to make theology something you just do with your brain.  It must never be something you just do with your intellect.  It must never be just outlines and syllogisms and denominational commitments.  Theology must be your life.  We must reject all forms of theology that are ends in themselves.  This is because the gorgeous theology of Scripture…has been revealed by the God of wisdom and glory and grace.  It was not meant to be an end in itself, but to be a means to an end.  And that end has a radical, awesome claim on every dimension of your life.”

[Paul David Tripp, "The Radical Implications of Eternity" in These Last Days: A Christian View of History, eds. Richard D. Phillips & Gabriel N.E. Fluhrer (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2011), 170.]

As it has been said, “Theology that doesn’t lead to doxology is an incomplete theology.”

MORE ON “THESE LAST DAYS”…

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION:

This is a book about an evil age.

Specifically, it is about “the present evil age” that we live in right now. For many Christians, the expression “these last days” refers to the time right before the second coming of Christ – but according to the apostles, the last days started with the first coming of Christ and continue even today.

How do we biblically understand our time as the final age of world history? What does this mean for our faith?

Reformed Christians have often avoided the field of eschatology – but it was the doctrine of history that thrilled the first disciples. They realized that with the coming of the “last days” they had entered the time of the kingdom, and this understanding will strengthen our faith too.

Here the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology address this important Topic and Presents the following speakers’ insights on:

  • Sinclair Ferguson – The Christ of History
  • D. A. Carson – This Present Evil AGe
  • Alistair Begg – TheAge of the Spirit
  • Michael S. Horton – The Resurrection Hope
  • J. Ligon Duncan III – The Eternal Glory
  • D. A. Carson – Partakers of the Age to Come
  • Cornelis P. Venema – The Four Main Millennial Views
  • Richard D. Phillips – A Pastoral Guide to Life after Death
  • Jeffrey K. Jue – Evangelical Eschatology, American Style
  • Paul David Tripp – The Radical Implications of Eternity

Together some of the most gifted communicators of God’s Word explain the Christian’s view on life, death, and the hereafter.

208 Pages
Published March 2011

MISSING THE SUBTLETY.

Early on Sunday, my mind revisited the whole Rob Bell/Love Wins controversy as I was thinking about his words in the book’s video trailer.  Bell says:

“And then there is the question behind the questions, the real question: What is God like? Because millions and millions of people were taught that the primary message—the center of the Gospel of Jesus—is that God is going to send you to hell, unless you believe in Jesus. And so, what gets, subtlely, sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God. But what kind of God is that; that we would need to be rescued from this God? How could that God ever be good; how could that God ever be trusted? And how could that ever be good news?” (emphasis mine) [CLICK FOR VIDEO]

Then, by God’s grace, I thought…THERE’S NOTHING “SUBTLE” ABOUT ROMANS 5:6-11!

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

(Romans 5:6-11 ESV, emphasis mine)

We can trust Paul’s good news about this good, gracious, saving, faithful, merciful, consistent, compassionate, trustworthy, promise-keeping, reconciling, just, and justifying God!

For a compilation of resources relating to hell, divine judgment, and the Rob Bell controversy, see my earlier post: HELPS ON HELL

SUMMARY: LEVITICUS

Justin Holcomb and The Resurgence are continuing their  “Bible Book Summaries” series, providing helpful overviews of the main topics, themes, and theology of each book of the Bible.  Below is the summary posted for Leviticus:

Author and Dates:

The book of Leviticus was written by Moses to the Israelites on the plains of Moab as they were preparing to enter the Promised Land (around 1410 B.C. or 1255 B.C., depending on the exact date of the exodus from Egypt).

Purpose:

To instruct Israel in proper worship both in the wilderness and the land.

Outline:

I. Regulations for sacrifice (1-7)

II. Regulations for priests (8-10)

III. Regulations for uncleanness and its treatment (11-16)

IV. Prescriptions for practical holiness (17-27)

  • Regulations of holy living (17-25)
  • Blessings and curses (26)
  • Regulations of vows (27)

Major Characters:

Israelite priests, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu

Book Summary:

The book of Leviticus is a fascinating retelling of the desired religious life for ancient Israel. Various rituals and practices are performed that symbolize and address a variety of practical and significant parts of people’s lives before God. Every element of this religious program was designed to reveal different aspects of God’s character, as well as bring healing and blessing to those who have faith. While many of the customs appear unusual at first glance, Leviticus offers contemporary readers an alluring invitation to the cleansing, hopeful, personal, social restoration and intimate life with God that only the Creator could provide.

Leviticus is the part of God’s story where the Israelites are given instructions on how to be holy, truly acceptable to God, and in right relationships with one another—which they could not achieve without God’s gracious provision.

Themes:

  • Holiness – The various laws have to do with holiness before God and with love of neighbor.
  • Repentance – The acknowledgment and turning away from sin.
  • Forgiveness – The satisfaction and removal of sin.
  • Restoration – The recovering of a meaningful relationship with God and others.
  • Doubt and Assurance – Obedience flows from confidence in God’s promises.

(HT: TheResurgence)

OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:

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