Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves.  B&H Publishing Group. 211 pages. 2013 

The author, who has written extensively on the Protestant Reformation, states that the Reformation was a revolution, and revolutions not only fight for something, they also fight against something, in the case of the Reformation, this was the old world of medieval Roman Catholicism.  He states that most Christians at the time were looking for the improvement, but not the overthrow, of their religion. They were not looking for radical change, only a clearing-up of acknowledged abuses.  He tells us that the Reformation was not principally a negative movement about moving away from Rome, but a positive movement about moving towards the gospel.
In this fast-moving history, the author, using his knowledge and wit to introduce us to John Wycliffe (who organized a translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible into English), indulgences, Luther nailing his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church on All Saints’ Eve, Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli, the Anabaptists, Mennonites, John Calvin and his ministry in Geneva, and William Tyndale, whose life’s work was translating the Bible from its original Greek and Hebrew into English.
He writes about John Knox, the history of the English Reformation, including the Puritans, who thought that the Reformation was a good thing that was not yet complete. We are introduced to the preacher Richard Sibbes, the Westminster Assembly and John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress. And much, much more.
The author asks if the Reformation is over. He writes that Roman Catholicism continues its belief in purgatory and indulgences, sure signs that the traditional Catholic doctrine of justification is at work. He states that without doubt, there has been something of a change in Rome, but concerning those theological issues that caused the Reformation, no doctrine has been rescinded. As a result, while attempts to foster greater Christian unity must be applauded, it must also be recognized that, as things stand, the Reformation is anything but over.

  • New Albert Mohler Book on Religious Liberty. The Gathering Storm: Religious Liberty and the Right to Be Christian is a new e-book from Albert Mohler that addresses some of the most pressing challenges to religious liberty faced today. From the case of a fire chief in Atlanta to student organizations at Vanderbilt University, religious liberty is undoubtedly under attack. Mohler has been on the frontlines of this fight for religious liberty for over two-decades. As the Supreme Court of the United States prepares to hear the case of a cake baker in Colorado, “The Gathering Storm: Religious Liberty and the Right to Be Christian” looks not only at how we got here, but where we are going. Download it free.
  • Eric Metaxas Interview with Glenn Beck. Listen to this interview in which Eric Metaxas states that Martin Luther’s legend misrepresents the real man.
  • 5 Theses: Suggested Reading on the Reformation. Barry York writes “Remember that reformation took time and it still often does. These guidelines are offered so that your congregation might start and even complete a thesis or two before Reformation Day, yet it also provides you with steps toward a comprehensive approach that will keep these figures and events before you for some time to come.”
  • Make Your Organization Smarter. Matthew Hall reviews Gordon Smith’s book Institutional Intelligence: How to Build an Effective Organization. He writes “
  • Book Review of Single Gay Christian. Denny Burk reviews Gregory Coles’ book Single Gay Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity. He writes “I really enjoyed getting to know Coles’s story. I can’t help but admire his continuing commitment to celibacy and traditional marriage. I want to cheer him on in that and say “amen.” Still, I am concerned that the celibate gay identityperspective he represents is not biblically faithful or pastorally helpful. And the issue is important enough to flag in a review like this one. Evangelicals need to think their way through to biblical clarity on sexuality and gender issues, but the celibate gay identity view is muddying the waters.”
  • New Sinclair Ferguson Book. Banner of Truth will soon be publishing Sinclair Ferguson’s 824- page Some Pastors and Teachers: Reflecting a Biblical Vision of What Every Minister is Called to Be. This looks excellent.

BOOK CLUBS – Won’t you read along with us?

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch. 224 pages. 2017

In this important new book, Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making, draws on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, and shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology’s distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.

Chapter 4 Waking and Sleeping 

  • Sleep is absolutely essential to human flourishing.
  • Nothing about our lives at home has been so thoroughly disrupted by technology as sleep.
  • We need a simple discipline: our devices should “go to bed” before we do. And to add a nudge to that discipline, it’s by far the best if their “bedroom” is as far from ours as possible.
  • Find a central place in the home, far from the bedrooms, and park the screens there before bedtime.
  • You slept and allowed God to be enough. Now, for at least a moment, wake and be still, letting him be enough for this day. Then you can say good morning to whatever the day brings.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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