Thursday, February 21, 2008

In Samuel's world...

Here is a pic of Samuel eating his carrots - mmmm! And also today's adventures playing with his frog. The video is today getting dressed with Grandma Peggy. What a little ham!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fuller Critiques of John Piper's "The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright"

Check out this website for multiple reviews of Piper's book - "The Future of Justification"
Reviews written by Trevin Wax  © 2007 Kingdom People blog 
Here are the different posts' titles:
1. Some Preliminary Thoughts
2. Piper's Introduction
3. On Controversy
4. Historical Research
5. Covenant and Law-court
6. Penal Substitution
7. Defining "Righteousness"
8. Imputation
9. What is "The Gospel" Anyway?
10. The Gospel is "Jesus is Lord"
11. Our Standing Before God
12. Justification and "The Gospel"
13. Justification By Works
14. Common Ground?
15. Judaism in the First Century
16. Self-Righteousness
17. The Righteousness of Christ
18. Piper's Conclusion

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Piper and Wright - post 4

I could probably go deeper and deeper into these issues, but I need to get back to the things I am supposed to be studying for my seminary classes.

Here’s my final word. Whenever I read John Piper, I am challenged to behold the glory of God. He inspires me to worship the God above. Piper moves me, through the Scriptures, to never boast in anything but the finished work of Jesus Christ. There is nothing I can do to inherit the free salvation God offers to all who will surrender their lives to Jesus Christ. Christ makes my salvation sure. Christ makes my obedience possible. We must be careful to never allow our deeds or our human efforts to distort the righteousness that is only possible through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory!

Should you read this book? yes! Piper repeats himself a lot in this book, which gets a little annoying at times, but overall, his thoughts are cogent and helpful. Good luck!

Piper and Wright - post 3

2. How Law Court terminology works: Now if righteousness is defined as the type of behavior that is always fitting to the glory of God, it makes sense that humans might take on the righteousness of Christ. Christ did everything in accordance with God’s will . . . Jesus always did what was right. He was perfectly righteousness. So when we talk about God as the judge in a courtroom and we argue that He makes a declaration in regards to our position before him, this is how the court scene works. Though we (all sinful humans) have not done right (we are thus unrighteous), God declares us not guilty of sin because of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. But he doesn’t look down just at SIN-FREE people . . . He also looks down and sees righteous people. But it is not our righteousness!! He sees Christ’s righteousness. Jesus’ perfect life is the only possible way we can account for righteousness! Here’s a few verses that give this idea some weight . . . “God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21, see Piper’s argument for this to be interpreted as us taking on Christ’s righteousness, 174-80). “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:21-22).

3. Justification is the gospel: Wright argues that the gospel that is pronounced is simply, “Jesus is Lord.” Piper suggests that this is definitely true, but if “Jesus is Lord” and we have opposed Him and rebelled against Him by our sin, then it is nothing but dangerously bad news. For the Lord God has made it known He will pronounce damning judgment upon all who have rejected his laws. If the gospel does not include how a person comes to peace (come to rights) with the Lord of universe, it is not good news. That is,, humans can be made right through Jesus' death and life is good news . . . thus the gospel is in the traditional doctrine of justification. Romans 5:1-2 reads, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” It seems from this verse justification is HOW we have gained access to God, not just the pronouncement that it has happened. And that it happened at the moment of faith and because of faith we now have the hope of future glory.

Concluding remarks . . . final post to come

Piper and Wright - post 2

Piper defends the traditional view of justification/imputation and argues that justification gets reckoned at the moment of faith, not a declaration that awaits the completion of the life lived. He also heralds that the gospel (the good news of how one enters into a relationship with Jesus Christ) is firmly seen in justification.

Here are Piper's ideas that I think are worthy of special mention:

1. The definition of righteousness: (pages 69-70) By far the most helpful piece of work Piper does is define what righteousness is. Wright argues that God’s righteousness is simply God’s faithfulness to His the people of His covenant. This is why Wright thinks it’s silly to think humans take on God’s righteousness . . . how can humans take on HOW God interacts with humans (yes, it just sounds silly). But Piper argues (convincingly I think) that righteousness is more than what God does. Yes, the righteous God is faithful to His covenant. But the righteous God also punishes the wicked. The righteous God upholds creation. So what is righteousness?? Righteousness is “his unwavering commitment to act for the sake of his glory” (page 68). That’s why when humans disobey God they are called unrighteousness . . . they exchange (or waver in their commitment to) the glory of God for wickedness (see Romans 1-3).

answers 2-3 next post . . .

Piper's "The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright"

Thanks to Mom for picking up this book for me at Christmas!

In this book, John Piper gently, yet very directly, discounts much of N.T. Wright's views on justification. Here's my take (please correct my view if you think I misrepresent either position or my understanding of theology proper).

Background on N.T. Wright . . . the key issue is justification. Justification is the theological belief that God declares sinners (people who commit unrighteous acts) as righteous (that is ones who in God's sight have committed non-sinful/obedient acts). Traditional Reformed Theology, believes that this happens at the moment someone puts their total trust in the salvation and Lordship of Jesus Christ. They believe that God does not only forgive a person, that is wipe away their sins . . . but God actually gives them the righteousness of Jesus Christ. His death provides the sacrifice we need for forgiveness (passive obedience) and his perfect life lived gets credited to us (active obedience). Traditional Reformed Theology calls the reception of Christ's righteousness as imputation . . . that is God places (imputes, reckons) the perfection of the life of Christ upon us!

N.T. Wright argues against some of these traditional ideas. One key issue is that N.T. Wright thinks it is irrational to believe humans can take on the righteousness only God can have. He believes God's righteousness is His unique possession and so the traditional view of humans taking on the righteousness of the divine Son/Christ (imputation) does not hold up. Another key issue (connected to what it means for God to declare someone righteous) is that Wright believes God's final declaration of righteousness does not occur at the moment of faith, but in light of a whole life lived. That is, people are righteous IF they have lived a life of faith. One key N.T. Wright view also says justification is more a declaration of who IS saved/in the Christian family. This stands against the traditional view that justification describes HOW one enters into salvation and the Christian family. Some may wonder why Wright’s opinions matter. The reason is that Wright is great Biblical scholar. He cherishes the Bible and has argued extensively that the Bible is accurate and trustworthy for all things. Wright says and believes a lot of great things and seeks to honor God in all he does. Piper does a nice job of honoring Wright’s work and faith. Piper demonstrates the humility and tact that is required to disagree, but not demonize someone who takes a different (and potentially dangerous) theological position.

My reaction to the book will be in the next post!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Seminary anyone?

Justin Taylor has provided several links on a recent post concerning seminary. For those who are interested in why people go to seminary and the kind of experience it is, check out the 3 articles by Owen Strachan called Seasons of a Seminarian (Beginning, Middle, End).

And for those who are considering seminary or wondering if theological education is for you check out the other links on the

God's blessings to you today.

Verses of scripture I was reading this morning (Ezekiel 33:12-16, NIV):

12 "Therefore, son of man, say to your countrymen, 'The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him when he disobeys, and the wickedness of the wicked man will not cause him to fall when he turns from it. The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness.' 13 If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered; he will die for the evil he has done. 14 And if I say to the wicked man, 'You will surely die,' but he then turns away from his sin and does what is just and right- 15 if he gives back what he took in pledge for a loan, returns what he has stolen, follows the decrees that give life, and does no evil, he will surely live; he will not die. 16 None of the sins he has committed will be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he will surely live.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Emergent Church Discussion Not an Easy One

Michael Patton did some work to provide a picture of the various trends going on in the discussion on evangelicalism and the Emergent church. I found his article interesting too. Read his blog for more info.

Happy Valentine's Day

Samuel wants to wish everyone a very special Valentine's Day from his new big-boy high chair. He was helping Mommy do her Valentine's Day baking, playing with toys, and eventually eating in this chair. I think he likes it. :)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Aunt Heather and Uncle Jase come to visit

Aunt Heather helps feed the growing boy, and Uncle Jase holds up Samuel wearing a onesie that reads, "Think I'm Cute? You Should See My Uncles!"

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

More pics of Samuel...

Here are some more photos of our little man during his eating adventures. Also, there is a photo of the three of us on Samuel's first train ride. It was a chilly Iowa night, which is why it is a little tough to see Samuel through all the layers in that little car seat!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A scary statement from Mrs. Bill Clinton

Hillary was interview today on Fox News Sunday. Here's one question and answer I thought was very illuminating:
WALLACE: Senator, the high profile your husband has had on the campaign trail has raised, as you no doubt know, new questions about the issue of a co-presidency.
Have you thought if you were to win how you would set up the White House to make it clear who was the boss?
CLINTON: Oh, I don't think there'll be any doubt about that, Chris, you know, just as there wasn't any doubt that he was the president and the commander in chief. And all of us, including everyone in the White House, and that was me as well, were there to support his efforts.
That's what it will be when I'm in the White House. I will be the decision-maker. Obviously, I'm going to seek advice from a wide range of people who have expertise and experience that will be helpful in making decisions, and that certainly includes him, because I think he'll play a very important role in representing our country around the world.
But at the end of the day, I know very well, having been there for eight years, that the weight of decision-making falls on the president. I'm ready to accept that responsibility. I don't believe in government by advisers. (my italics)
I believe we need a president who is a hands-on manager of the government. I think that's what I offer, and that's what I intend to do.
My thoughts/questions:
On one hand she says she wants advisors . . . then on another she thinks a government let by advisers is a bad idea. What is it? Is the president supposed to be a manager? Or is the president supposed to be a leader? There's a big difference between leading and managing.
The whole interview can be found here:,2933,327951,00.html

Matthew W. Proctor
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Friday, February 01, 2008

Eat your heart out!

Today was Samuel's first solid food adventure. At first he was a little hesitant. But after a few bites, he was in the game. (The eating game, that is.) Here are just a few clips from his first big-boy meal...