N. T. Wright on the New Creation

The world is created good but incomplete. One day when all the forces of rebellion have been defeated and the creation responds freely and gladly to the love of its creator, God will fill it with himself so that it will both remain an independent being and also be flooded with God’s own life. This is part of the paradox of love, in which love freely given creates a context for love to be returned, and so on in a cycle in which complete freedom and complete love do not cancel each other out but rather celebrate each other and make one another whole.

N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope

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Love, Selflessness, and Pleasure

If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

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The Fast Track to Killing Calvinism

All around the world blogs, study groups, conferences, podcasts, and unusual little publishing houses are churning out material on election, justification, covenantalism, ammillennialism, postmillennialism, Christo-centric hermeneutics, Augustine, Calvin, Luther and, yes, even the differences between infra-, supra- and sub-lapsarianism. Frankly, it is indeed cool to be a Calvinist right now, and more resources are available to the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” crowd than ever before. Don’t get me wrong: I celebrate this resurgence and hope to see it flourish. Yet we should be careful to make sure that we are not busy polishing windshields just to mutually admire each other’s techniques.

Loving Calvinism for its own sake, even with all of its rich internal language and traditions, is the fast track to killing it. There is a better way.

Greg Dutcher, Killing Calvinism

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