Thursday, January 19, 2012

Piper and Chesterton

Here is an excerpt from Piper's The Sovereign God of "Elfland", a delightful little essay on Chesterton.

It is a great irony to me that Calvinists are stereotyped as logic-driven. For forty years my experience has been the opposite. The Calvinists I have known (English Puritans, Edwards, Newton, Spurgeon, Packer, Sproul) are not logic driven, but Bible-driven. It’s the challengers who bring their logic to the Bible and nullify text after text. Branches are lopped off by “logic,” not exegesis.

Who are the great enjoyers of paradox today? Who are the pastors and theologians who grab both horns of every biblical dilemma and swear to the God-Man: I will never let go of either.

Not the Calvinism-critics that I meet. They read of divine love, and say that predestination cannot be. They read of human choice and say the divine rule of all our steps cannot be. They read of human resistance, and say that irresistible grace cannot be. Who is logic-driven?

For forty years Calvinism has been, for me, a vision of life that embraces mystery more than any vision I know. It is not logic-driven. It is driven by a vision of the ineffable, galactic vastness of God’s Word.

Let’s be clear: It does not embrace contradiction. Chesterton and I both agree that true logic is the law of “Elfland.” “If the Ugly Sisters are older than Cinderella, it is (in an iron and awful sense) necessary that Cinderella is younger than the Ugly Sisters.” Neither God nor his word is self-contradictory. But paradoxes? Yes.

We happy Calvinists don’t claim to get the heavens into our heads. We try to get our heads into the heavens. We don’t claim comprehensive answers to revealed paradoxes. We believe. We try to understand. And we break out into song and poetry again and again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lee Strobel

The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger (Strobel, Lee)The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger by Lee Strobel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very quick little read, and immensely worthwhile. I differ with him on a few points--I would guess that Matthew was written before Mark, and as far as a "Q" existing, I fail to see why it wouldn't be Matthew instead of some other source that's no longer extant. But other than this and a few other wholly non-essential points, I thought it was nearly flawless.

However, I did go into it with a slightly different view of what I'd be taking away: I was expecting something defending the date of Christmas, not the fact of Christ being the Messiah and the Gospels being accurate. But it is excellent for what it is, and is a great introduction to one of the great apologists of our time.

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The Princess and the Goblin The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well this was just great. "I do not always do what I ought, and I don't always try." I am now fully convinced that I will be reading a great deal of MacDonald for many, many years to come. It is the perfect book to read as a family, and I recommend it highly.

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Wodehousian Fun