Mining Grace

…the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified

Archive for November 2007

Moral Compass

Moral Compass – Carl Trueman questions the usefulness of boycotting movies, particularly The Golden Compass, and follows up with a further thought.


Written by Joe Holland

November 29, 2007 at 1:36 pm

Atheism Sunday Schools

Sunday School for Atheists – Al Mohler reveals a new trend amongst atheistic parents.

Written by Joe Holland

November 29, 2007 at 1:33 pm

Posted in haste

SBC going Calvinistic?

SBC going Calvinistic? – John Bunyan would be pleased with data that seems to show a rise in Calvinistic seminary graduates in the SBC.

Written by Joe Holland

November 29, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Posted in haste

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Husbanding and Fathering

Husbanding and Fathering – Don’t miss Steve Shank interviewing C.J. Mahaney on issues surrounding biblical masculinity in the family.

Written by Joe Holland

November 29, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Posted in haste

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Why I Can’t Stop Reading Thomas Boston

A while back, I took some good advice and upgraded my meager but expanding Puritan library with the Works of Thomas Boston.  My only exposure to Boston before the purchase of his works was through his book, Human Nature in its Fourfold State, a classic on covenantal and redemptive-historical theology.  My goal in purchasing this set was to read through Boston’s works, slowly but steadily.

I steeled myself for what it would take to work myself through Boston’s 12 volumes.  Past experience has taught me that multiple volume collections of an author’s work can pose particular challenged.  You see, when someone buys the complete works of an author it is because they have already read and fallen in love with some of that author’s work.  The illusion is that all of an author’s works will be as profound as the favorite selections of an author’s work.  The reality though is that all authors, like most skilled artisans, produce great work in addition to a good bit of mediocrity.  The table in your house is not always decked with a Thanksgiving feast and you would be sorely disappointed if you expected it to be.  It is for this reason that I was prepared to be patient with Boston, willing to trudge the valleys to reach the peaks. There has been only one problem.  I can’t seem to get off of the peaks!

Boston has made for excellent reading and I’m barely through the first volume.  That sentence should stand out to those avid readers of theology.  The way most sets of an author’s works are organized place at the forefront of volume one whatever work qualifies as that author’s explanation of general theology.  For Boston it is no different.  Volume 1 and the beginning of volume 2 are devoted to Boston’s unfolding of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, thereby providing the reader with a general sense of Boston’s systematic theology before diving into his work on more specific points of theology.  What this tactic can often amount to is a certain amount of monotony that comes from seeing endless forest instead of examining more interesting trees.  But that has not been the case for Boston.

What I have come to joyful discover in Boston’s writing is an intentional grounding of all his theology in Jesus Christ and the plan of redemption. This may sound more simple than profound but it is not. It actually raises a good question. Is the unfolding of the covenant of grace in the person and work of Jesus Christ a topic solely relevant to studies in soteriology and christology or is it a topic that shapes and crowns all areas of theology? Or put another way, “How Christ centered should our theology be?” To this second question, Boston answers with a firm, “Very!”

To provide an example, I have just finished reading his work on the attributes of God as explained by question four of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. That answer reads, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” Boston takes ample space to explain each attribute. These attributes could be described accurately without talking about the plan of redemption in any detail. After all, in the scheme of the Shorter Catechism, Jesus isn’t mentioned until well into the section on God’s providence. But in each of these attributes Boston pauses, after giving a general biblical description, to show how Jesus Christ and salvation in him highlights the true richness of the attribute of God in question. How gloriously refreshing.

This is why I love reading Boston. He can’t help but take his reader to the Cross. That is where he sets up his seminary, on the hill of Golgotha. He is a peripatetic that walks the Via Dolorossa. This is not to say that he succumbs to Christo-monism or that he neglects the depths of the whole counsel of God. He is thoroughly balanced in the seven loci of systematic theology. But what Boston understands and exemplified is the simple truth that Jesus articulated on a country stroll to place called Emaus. All Scripture, and by deduction all theology, is about himself. All our theology should be Christo-centric.

That is why I have found it a distinct pleasure to read Boston. He ministers to my soul by consistently taking me to the only One who can satisfy my soul. This is why so much of the modern, cross-centered movement has latched onto Puritans like Boston. They and I have found in him a kindred spirit, a teacher, a pastor, a theologian, a man thoroughly captivated by Jesus Christ. It is my hope that you will join me in reading Boston and learning from him how to exalt Christ in all you do.

Written by Joe Holland

November 28, 2007 at 8:52 am

Reviving African-American Theology

Written by Joe Holland

November 26, 2007 at 11:18 am

Multi-Campus Church Biblical?

Multi-Campus Church Biblical? – JD shares some of Piper’s thoughts on the subject and adds some of his own.

Written by Joe Holland

November 23, 2007 at 1:39 pm

Posted in haste

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