The Cambridge Declaration (Alive and Kicking)

20 years after the Cambridge Declaration was first released, it’s worth asking:

—Is the Protestant Reformation over?

—Aren’t the five Reformation “solas” a footnote in religious history with little to no bearing on modern ministry and life?

—Isn’t the Cambridge Declaration  (published 20 years ago) yesterday’s leftovers?

We don’t think so, and we’re doing something exciting about it.

Specifically, we’re working on a new book with the following authors:

  • Michael Horton
  • James Montgomery Boice (previously published content)
  • David F. Wells
  • Aimee Byrd
  • Carl Trueman
  • (and more)

Here are some teaser promotional cards:

unnamed-1.jpg

unnamed.jpg

What’s that I hear you ask?

—Who’s the publisher?

—When will it be released?

—Are there other authors in the works?

—Why does this matter?

—Why should I care?

—Will it be a bestseller on Amazon?

—Will there be a blockbuster tour of the book’s authors coming my way in the very near future?

Great questions.

Sign up for updates about the book at alliancenet.org/CD20 or on Twitter at #CD20.

 

 

Robustly Reformed Best Baggage?

Even though he uses “robust” twice in a quick span (a word First Things Editor R.R. Reno recently retired from his vocabulary due to overuse), Carl Trueman’s article on why Reformed Christianity provides the best basis for faith today is worth reading.

An excerpt:

“The Reformed Church has its own baggage, but given the nature of its origins and our own moment, it is the right baggage….”

Yes, this article is in a (gasp!) Roman Catholic periodical. Ironic?

Read Trueman’s article here.

Sanctification For Real Life

Carl Trueman nails it:

As recent events have shown, churches contain perverts. Churches contain perverts who are Christians. Churches contain perverts who are Christians who do real harm to others and to themselves in their sin. And pastors are called to confront such people, to protect the flock, and to ensure that civil authorities deal with them.

But they are also called to pastor such perverts, to call them to repentance, to faith, and to lives that reflect their status in Christ. How is that done? Our theology of the Christian life needs to be able to address all Christians in their sin in a consistent manner. (Emphases mine.)

Read Trueman’s post on how sanctification and justification have significant, and often difficult, pastoral implications here.

Blustery Brouhaha Over Law and Gospel?

There’s a serious and worthwhile discussion unfolding among notable Reformed folk regarding the Law and Gospel. Here’s a chronological summation:

  1. May 2: Jen Wilkins wrote a blog post, “Failure Is Not a Virtue” for The Gospel Coalition, introducing (and dismissing) “celebratory failurism,” which (says Wilkins) effectively truncates Law and obedience and inflates grace. Jen asserts this is an unbiblical and misguided understanding of the relationship and between Law, Gospel, obedience and grace.
  2. May 9: Tullian Tchividjian was asked (apparently by TGC blog’s editors), to respond to Jen’s initial post. In his post “Acknowledging Failure IS a Virtue: A Response to Jen Wilkin,”  Tullian sharply draws a distinction between Law and Gospel, making some accusations regarding Wilkins (see below).
  3. May 9: Mike Kruger quickly responds to Tullian, who, he says, “accuses her of ‘theological muddiness,’ of having ‘deep theological confusion,’ and of mixing law and gospel in a way which ‘prevents the reader from hearing (and being relieved by) the real good news.'” Kruger then defends Wilkins while raising pointed questions regarding Tullian’s response to her initial post.
  4. May 10: Mark Jones proposes a debate between him and Tullian regarding the Law and Gospel.
  5. May 12: Carl Trueman weighs in, heightening concerns about Tullian, defending Wilkins, and throwing his name in the hat to debate Tullian.

Some may view this brouhaha over Law and Gospel as damning evidence of unnecessary theological in-fighting over minor issues.

Except these aren’t minor issues.

Instead, these discussions have significant implications for how today’s church understands Law, Gospel, grace and obedience.

In other words, they have everything to do with how the church understands and lives the Christian life.

Driscoll and the Complicit Reformed Leaders

Carl Trueman, writing in First Things,

And then, finally, there is the silence. The one thing that might have kept the [young, restless and reformed] movement together would imgreshave been strong, transparent public leadership that openly policed itself and thus advertised its integrity for all to see. Yet the most remarkable thing about the whole sorry saga, from the [T.D.] Jakes business until now, has been the silence of many of the men who present themselves as the leaders of the movement and who were happy at one time to benefit from Mark Driscoll’s reputation and influence. One might interpret this silence as an appropriate refusal to comment directly on the ministry of men who no longer have any formal connection with their own organizations.

Read the article here.

The Atlantic on Driscoll: Who’s Promoting Who?

lead

Pastor Mark Driscoll preaches at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. (AP)

The Atlantic:

Mars Hill Church spent $210,000 getting its pastor’s book to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. Where is the line between a pastor promoting his own career and promoting the ministry of his church?

Fair question.

I usually avoid the comment section in these types of articles. However, commenter Wendy Alsup (a former member of Mars Hill Church) astutely notes,

This statement in the article is incorrect. “… emphasizing that all profits from Driscoll’s book sales have always gone to the church.” The BOAA statement said only that profits of books sold AT MARS HILL CHURCH go back to the church. Mark received royalties for books sold outside of the church.

I’m not following this story’s every nuance, but I’d call that a serious omission.

Read the article here.

Trueman on Wells’ God in the Whirlwind

Carl Trueman wrote a review at First Things of Wells’ new book God in the Whirlwind. He interprets the title’s “whirlwind” as referring to the book of Job. His review is worth reading, but I especially enjoyed the concluding paragraph:

This is a book all Christians should read. And, while generally positive in its proposals, it has sufficient pessimism (though David, as a good fellow pessimist, will no doubt tell me he is not such a one) that this Englishman still enjoyed it. Christianity in the West is shifting to the status of an annoying, perhaps even unwelcome, sect. The future is, humanly speaking, bleak. David’s books in general are a good argument for seeing ourselves as a large part of our current problem and this book in particular offers helpful thoughts on what must now be done.

I heartily agree.

I have a review of God in the Whirlwind forthcoming for The Gospel Coalition, so stay tuned.

The Benefits of Historic Liturgy

Carl Trueman:

…the use of historic liturgy, like the use of historic creeds and confessions, can carry with it powerful biblical impulses: it can give the church service dynamic, intelligent, theological movement; it can prevent people from saying stupid and heretical things in public worship; it can teach people profound theology; it can give people exalted, appropriate, and beautiful language to express themselves; and it can remind us that we connect to a past.

Read Trueman’s take on the benefit of liturgy in contemporary churches here.