Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ Asks What It Really Costs to Follow Jesus

Martin Scorsese adapts Shusaku Endo’s acclaimed novel about faith, mission, and suffering

Based on the acclaimed 1966 novel by Japanese Catholic writer Shusaku Endo, Silence is a book about 17th century Jesuit missionaries trying to make inroads for the gospel in the inhospitable “swampland” of Japan, facing intense persecution by a Japanese shogunate determined to wipe out Christianity’s influence in their realm.   It’s been 28 years... Continue Reading

Assurance and Introspection (Hodge)

Charles Hodge has a good word on the grounds, or basis, for assurance in volume three of his Systematic Theology

"Many sincere believers are too introspective. They look too exclusively within, so that their hope is graduated (or grows – spl) by the degree of evidence of regeneration which they find in their own experience. This, except in rare cases, can never lead to the assurance of hope. We may examine our hearts with all the microscopic care prescribed by President Edwards in his work on “The Religious Affections,” and never be satisfied that we have eliminated every ground of misgiving and doubt."

The Head of the Household Called to Women’s Work?

Westfall teaches that in Ephesians 5 men are called to model Christ by doing women’s work.

"When the husbands are addressed, the male role is not described in terms of the expected categories of responsibilities in the public domain of warrior, protector, provider, and patron. Instead, the imagery quickly shifts to household scenes of bathing, clothing (spinning and weaving), laundering, feeding, and nurturing, because Jesus is depicted as providing these services for the church, which is both his bride and his body."

Why Christmas Is Even Better than You Think

In his engaging style, Keller interacts with a series of well-known Christmas passages with both clarity and depth; he seeks to be edifying to believers and compelling to unbelievers

“Keller beautifully displays multiple facets of the gospel within the Christmas story. In fact, insofar as it’s the fulfillment of God’s promise to save his people, the Christmas story is the heart of the gospel. Keller’s extended exposition of what it means for Jesus to be Immanuel—God with us—is an enriching section in which the core truths... Continue Reading

From One Reader to Another: Books to End a Year’s Reading, or to Bring in a New Year

Books are almost always read alone, but they are seldom truly enjoyed alone.

Columnist Dave Barry got this one just right: “The problem with winter sports is that — follow me closely here — they generally take place in winter.” On the other hand, winter is a great season for reading. Herewith I offer some books I think are well worth your reading, whether warm or cold.

Forgiveness and Fancy Eating Tables

Forgiveness is a grace basic to the gospel. But what exactly is it and how is it practiced?

Our understanding is not for idle curiosity. Forgiveness of sin comes to us as the beating heart of the gospel, and it radically affects our peace of mind and our interactions with others. God instructs us to forgive as we have been forgiven. Understanding how we have been forgiven by God is the prerequisite to the course on how we are to forgive others.

Faith, Film, and Advent

The greatest stories are stories that show in some way the drama of creation, fall, and redemption.

When Penny Serenade or It’s a Wonderful Life becomes the handmaiden of that greater transcendent vision, and the longing is named—our Lord Jesus who has come to fill the eternity in our hearts with His life lived for us and His death on the cross on our behalf—and we receive the gift of heaven by repentance of our sins and faith in Jesus Christ, or share His life with another, then—then—we really get the picture.

The Ghost At The Atheist Feast: Was Nietzsche Right About Religion?

Reviews: “The Age of Nothing” by Peter Watson and “Culture and the Death of God” by Terry Eagleton.

Reared on a Christian hope of redemption (he was, after all, the son of a Lutheran minister), Nietzsche was unable, finally, to accept a tragic sense of life of the kind he tried to retrieve in his early work. Yet his critique of liberal rationalism remains as forceful as ever. As he argued with masterful irony,... Continue Reading

Review: Martin Luther by Simonetta Carr

Just in time for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation next year

I've reviewed some of the biographies in the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, and this is another great addition. These books make important figures in church history very accessible to young readers. I also appreciate the author's honesty about their failings, such as Luther's anti-semitic writings, briefly mentioned in "Did You Know?". We should honor the saints of old but recognize that they were fallible human beings in need of a Savior, too.

John Owen on Mortification of Sin (2)

Specific Directions for Mortification

Trust in the Spirit to convict you of sin, to uncover its ugliness, and rebuke your defenses. Trust in the Spirit to reveal to you the fullness of Christ and his love for sinners. Trust in the Spirit to give you hope that Christ will grant relief from sin. Trust in the Spirit to bring the cross of Christ into your heart with its sin-killing power. Trust in the Spirit to be the author and finisher of your sanctification, despite your weak resolve. Trust in the Spirit to enable you to pray with sighs and groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26) through which you will find victory over your sin.