Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Reading

My Advice for 2014 For Arminians and Calvinists

Each year we all start out with fresh ideas for the new year (or at least I suppose we do).  I typically wrestle with what Bible reading plan am I going to use in the upcoming year.  Will I stick to my old one year Bible or will I develop my own reading habit or will I turn to a Bible reading plan?  All of this is in my mind as the new year dawns.  I don’t make resolutions because I have found that I simply am not good at keeping them.  Most of us aren’t.  Our sinful nature is such that we are lazy, often become easily focused on other things, and we are self-centered.

However, as I was thinking today about Arminianism and 2014, I begin to wonder how many Arminians will take the time in 2014 to read a Calvinist theologian writing on Calvinism and likewise how many Calvinists will take time to read an Arminian theologian writing on Arminianism?  Too often I find it comfortable to read a book on Calvinism written by an Arminian and I am sure Calvinists enjoy reading a Calvinist theologian writing against Arminianism.  It is comfortable, easy, and enjoyable to read from our own theologians.

So my challenge to you this year is to read someone you don’t agree with.  Read a Calvinist writing on Calvinism.  For my Calvinist friends, read an Arminian such as Roger Olson, Vic Reasoner, Robert Picirilli, or Leroy Forlines on Arminianism.  We often will say things about what Calvinists believe or what Arminians believe when in fact we have not even taken the time to read their works.  How many Arminians have read Calvin?  How many Calvinists have read Arminius?

Make it a simple goal this year to read a book by a theologian from another camp about their own theology.  I am planning on reading John Piper’s book, Five Pointswhich is a short work on the five points of Calvinism.  I plan to read it without comment on my blog.  I am not reading Piper to generate another blog post against Calvinism.  I simply want to understand the Calvinist viewpoint.

I pray my Calvinist brothers and sisters will do the same toward us Arminians.  And most of all, I pray that in 2014 God will be glorified among us all.  Jesus alone is worthy to be praised and exalted and may we spend much time doing just that in a world full of darkness and sin.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/01/2014 at 9:25 PM

Life With My Kindle

When the Kindle first came out, I was one of those who mocked it.  I said that it would not be a success.  I said that I would rather hold a book in my hand than to read from a computer tablet.  I said that printed books would not be taken away from us and that the Kindle would fail because of that.

How wrong I was.

My first Kindle was given to me for Father’s Day by my wife back in 2008.  I didn’t know that it would change my reading.  Before Kindle, I had to either purchase my books online at Amazon or CBD, go to the library, visit a local used bookstore, or order from Lifeway.  Now I go online and in seconds can have a book downloaded to my Kindle.  It has changed my reading.

In 2013 I purchased only about 3 or 4 printed books.  That is amazingly low.  For the first time I spent more time reading from my Kindle for my own Bible reading.  I have begun to use my Kindle to read Bible commentaries.  My reading now consists of 90% in my Kindle.

What is amazing to me about the Kindle is that I currently have about 15 books that I am reading.  I am reading one book intensely while browsing the others.  I have four Bibles that I am reading from.  Two MacArthur Study Bible (ESV and NKJV), ESV Study Bible, and the Spirit-Filled Study Bible (NKJV).  I purchased the NIV One Year Bible earlier this year but I am enjoying reading from my ESV Study Bible that I will probably just stay with that in 2014.  I also am reading a commentary on the Gospel of Luke. With the Kindle, I can jump from reading the book of Psalms in the ESV Study Bible to reading 1 Samuel in the Spirit-Filled Study Bible to reading Matthew in the MacArthur Study Bible (ESV).

What helps is that there are websites dedicated to offering free to reduced priced Kindle books.  I visit this site everyday.

Let me end with my fears about the Kindle.  I fear that printed books will fade and this will spell the end of bookstores as we have known them.  Barnes & Noble is suffering.  Borders books has already folded.  Walden Books is gone.  I fear that Christian bookstores such as Lifeway will suffer.

One brother commented, “What would happen if Amazon went away?  If all we had was the Kindle, what would become of those books?  What is the Internet vanishes?  What is someone deleted all those books?  Without printed books, what would we do?”  I don’t fear that much.  After all, mankind has only had the printing press for the past 500 years or so and we have done just fine before that.  People still had books though not on a widespread level.

The other negative side to the Kindle is that I have noticed more “printed porn” being the top sellers at Amazon.  These “romance novels” are nothing more than porn in print.  They are hurting women and more and more women are addicted to this filth that will do nothing but destroy (Romans 6:23).  I pray that the Church would preach Philippians 4:8 to our people even about reading.

The blessing of the Kindle is that it allows people to read books.  I use to enjoy carrying my book bag full of books from my Bible to a commentary to a book I was reading.  Now I enjoy the Kindle because I just carry it only and it has all that I need.

These are just some random thoughts on my Kindle.  Happy reading!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/30/2013 at 1:24 PM

Posted in Books, Kindle

Tagged with , , ,

Short Thoughts on Reading Secular Books

I love to read and read many different types of books.  My favorite reading is the Bible followed by theology books.  After that would be biblical commentaries and Christian biographies.  Finally, I enjoy reading history books with either the American Civil War or World War II being my favorite time periods to read about.

However, I was asked recently about reading secular books of fiction particularly horror books.  My mother enjoyed reading horror books from authors such as Stephen King.  King is a good writer (there is no doubt about that) but his books are full of sexual perversion and ungodly language.  Most horror books glorify human suffering, death, Satanism, the occult, vile sinful acts such as murdering, rape, fornication, etc.  The fad lately on horror has been zombie stories.  Zombies are the dead who come to life to feed off humans.  Zombie books are vile as well full of language and the wicked sins of man.

That is my problem with many secular fiction books, they are full of ungodliness.  I have read the books of John Grisham and his books are likewise full of sex, language, corse jesting, using the Lord’s name in vain, and many other sinful acts.  This is also true of others such as Dan Brown or even the late Michael Crichton.

If you want to read “Christian” horror, I recommend the works of Frank Peretti.

I believe the Christian should be careful with what they read and listen to.  We are not often aware how much we are products of the world around us.  We must allow the Word of God to be our guide and to abstain from every form of evil  (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).  We are to love God with all our minds (Mark 12:30) and this would mean that we must be careful not to fill our minds with sin.  May the Spirit of God help us to be holy (John 16:8-11) and pure before God (Philippians 4:8).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/01/2013 at 2:47 PM

Posted in Books, Holiness

Tagged with ,

Books I Am Reading Now (May 2013)

Seems one cannot get enough books to read.  Just when I think I am satisfied with a book, I find another book that I desire to read and purchase that one.  My budget has holes all in it from my love for books.  Here is a short list of books that I reading right now.  Most of these are on my Kindle Fire.

1.  Black & Tan by Douglas Wilson.

2.  Faithful Lightning by Allen Guelzo.

3.  Azusa Street: How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles by Frank Bartleman.

4.  Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder.

5.  Kings of Cocaine by Guy Gugliotta and Jeff Leen.

6.  Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher.

7.  Classic Christianity by Thomas Oden.

8.  Romans by Jack Cottrell.

9.  Revival Praying by Leonard Ravenhill.

10.  ESV Study Bible
“Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.” – Mark Twain

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/16/2013 at 2:51 PM

History and the Bible

I am convinced that history and the Bible go hand in hand.  I have been reading Doug Wilson’s excellent book, Black & Tan: A Collection of Essays and Excursions on Slavery, Culture War, and Scripture in America.  The book focuses on the history of race in the United States.  I enjoy Dr. Wilson’s writing style, humor, and honesty.

In the beginning of the book, Wilson states that all preachers should be amateur historians.  I agree.  His reason is that we learn from history.  He asks questions like, “What is a Wesleyan?” or “What makes us separate from Rome?” or “Why do some churches go down front to be saved while others do not?”  He believes the answers are found in history.  One can make a defense from the Bible but we learn from history where we come from and why we are what we are.  He also points to the fact that the Bible is a history book.  The main focus of the Bible is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ which was a historical event that transformed history forever.  Our love for Jesus begins with an event that happened in time and space.  Christianity finds its power not from the teachings of Jesus primarily but from a historical event, His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-11, 17).  Peter likewise states in 2 Peter 1:16-21 that his focus begins in history with the Lord Jesus and His fulfillment of prophetic Scripture.  This took place in history so history must be important.

I love history.  Always have.  Last week my family and I ventured down to Charleston, SC (which is only about a 2 hour drive for us).  We spent most of our time at Sullivan’s Island which is where Fort Moultrie is.  Fort Moultrie was not just the site of the famous firing on Fort Sumter that launched the American Civil War in April 1861.  Fort Moultrie saw action and use in every American war until it was officially closed by the US Army in 1947.  We visited the site and found not just information about the Civil War but also how the Fort was used during WWII to help defend the Charleston harbor from German U-boats.  History has a way of coming alive when you visit famous sites such as Fort Moultrie or Fort Sumter or Plymouth rock in Massachusetts.  I have also visited several Civil War sites including Gettysburg, First Bull Run, and Montgomery.  I have visited Washington DC, Boston, New York City, Atlanta, and several other historical cities.  I love to read history but I love to see history.

When it comes to theology, history is important.  As Wilson stated above, how can we understand many of our denominations without studying revivals or divisions from whence they came.  I have been also reading Frank Bartleman’s account of the Azusa Street revival.  His account helps one to understand where the Pentecostals came from and why they believe what they believe.  When one looks at the various types of church government in the evangelical church such as elder led in the Presbyterian church or congregational led in the Baptist church, one need only look at where these movements came from and you’ll see that they often reflect the culture that they came from.

History informs us not just about movements but also practices.  From the altar call to the seeker movement, these are found in history and reflect the cultures in which they came from.  Even movements such as the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) find their roots in history.  They came forth during a time in American history when modernity was gripping the church.  The IFB is a reactionary movement that finds its roots in the early 20th century when Darwinian evolution and prohibition were sweeping the nation.  Men such as Billy Sunday became the leaders of the IFB along with men such as J. Frank Norris and William Jennings Bryant.  Sunday reflected the early IFB rages against modernity.  All of this comes from history and when you study this time period, you begin to see why the IFB is like it is today.  Why does, for example, the IFB practice what they call “biblical separation“?  History helps you to know.

I encourage you read and study history.  You’ll learn where you came from in the process.  You’ll learn about your culture and about your own values.  You’ll learn much about the Church and why she is the way that she is.  You’ll learn that all of history ultimately belongs to God who rules over history.  As Wilson points out about race issues, in Christ we begin to see that blacks are helpful to whites and whites are helpful to blacks but this must begin with Christ and Christ must be our focus.  Wilson believes, and I do too, that race cannot be helped or healed by history because history is full of hypocrisy on both sides but in Christ, we can begin to redeem history and show the world that Jesus makes all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17) and that in Jesus Christ, we are all one (Galatians 3:26-29).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/13/2013 at 4:11 PM

Top Ten Books

The top ten books in the world.  Interesting.  You can find them here.

HT: Scot McKnight

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/29/2013 at 9:33 PM

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