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Tim Keller Blog Notes — “Revival: Ways and Means”

In a recent blog post, Keller carefully describes several “factors that, when present, often become associated with revival by God’s blessing.” Tim’s favorite book on this topic is William B. Sprague’s Lectures on Revivals of Religion (1832) — an oldie but a goodie, apparently 🙂

Here is the list of factors that Keller shares:

  1. Extraordinary prayer
  2. Recovery of the grace-gospel — that we are saved by God’s grace, not by moral effort
  3. Renewed individuals
  4. The use of the gospel on the heart in counseling
  5. Creativity

Keller’s addition of creativity to the list encouragers believers to unwed themselves to specific techniques or programs, and to instead be on the lookout for new ways to communicate the timeless truths of the gospel. “For example, under Wesley and Whitefield, outdoor preaching was a new, galvanizing method. Mid-day public prayer meetings were important to the Fulton Street revival in downtown NYC in 1857-58. I’m ready to say thatcreativity might be one of the marks of revival, because so often some new way of communicating the gospel has been part of the mix that God used to bring a mighty revival.”

May the gospel be the centerpiece of all that we do.

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J. I. Packer on the Incarnation

“‘Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies,” wrote Wesley; but there is no comparable mystery in the Immortal’s resurrection. And if the immortal Son of God did really submit to taste death, it is not strange that such a death should have saving significance for a doomed race. Once we grant that Jesus was divine, it becomes unreasonable to find difficulty in any of this; it is all a piece and hangs together completely. The Incarnation is in itself an unfathomable mystery, but it makes sense of everything else that the New Testament contains.

–J. I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 54

Bible study notes – lead by Trent – Book of John “Search the Scriptures” study – 4/29/08

Bible study notes – lead by Trent – Book of John “Search the Scriptures” study – 4/29/08

  • Kevin shared his story. I am drawn to Kevin after hearing it. He prayed in the bathtub at 3.5 years old! He’s excited thinking about church right now with his new wife. I wonder if he’s considering planting a church?
  • Johnathon reads John 6 as a juxtaposition of supernatural and natural concepts, Jesus positing or doing supernatural things and the people interpreting them on natural terms.
  • Martin Luther was once asked, “Why did God love Jacob and hate Esau? How could God do that?” Luther’s response: “I have no idea why He loved Jacob, either.”

How does the doctrine of predestination change our everyday life?

Spectrum of responses to the doctrine of election: On one end, what we say and do matters to the utmost, with everything pivoting on our words and deeds as witnesses; this paralyzes us. On the other end, what we say and do doesn’t matter at all, God’s going to do what He’s going to do with or without us; this tranquilizes us.

The gospel: Not in the middle, but beyond both extremes! His absolute sovereignty combined with His use of us makes our actions more important than ever–we reach our potential in His purposes–yet our mishaps and mistakes fall within that absolute sovereignty, His will being ever unchanged and the circumstances of any given moment being the best possible situation possible out of all possible situations in God’s grand scheme.

  • “Preach like Wesley, believe like Calvin.”

Dingle’s Einstein quote: Perfection of means and confusion of goals has plagued our age. (We lose the point in the means.)

Kevin: Anything we’re sovereign of we have complete control of. We have no idea what it’s like to be sovereign of something that also has free will.

Dingle: There’s theoretical theology and plied theology. There’s a balance, a tension between them.

Kevin: Predestination is a very important and practical doctrine, because if I know that no one comes to the Father unless drawn, I’m going to need to pray before and after witnessing to people, because I know it’s the Holy Spirit that does it, not my words.

The gospel is the breadth and width and height of Christ’s love. It’s impossible to grasp, and yet a child’s mind can fathom it.