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Monday, August 15, 2011

Dr. Robert Letham on Union with Christ

Robert Letham's new book, Union with Christ: In Scripture, History, and Theology can be ordered here.

Also, to get a taste of this subject, listen to Lane Tipton here.

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Joshua Butcher said...

Are you planning on purchasing it Ron? If so, I'd love to know how closely his book matches with his sermons on the subject.

Reformed Apologist said...

I placed my order, but it's not expected to ship until the third week of September given that it's not officially released. I have no doubt that this book will be superb on many levels, including pastorally relevant.

I have believed for a long time that the church needs a good dose of the indicative. We might say that it’s imperative that we hear the indicative, if for no other reason than for its intrinsic value, but ironically we need to hear it first and foremost if we’re ever to respond joyfully and steadfastly to the imperative! Today’s preaching might give rise to many Marthas but not so many Marys.

Sadly, much of the preaching today reminds me of Emma’s remark about Mr. Knightly: "A mile’s walk and a daily scolding of Emma is just what Dr. Perry prescribes." Parents of teenagers too often think that the only way to got their money’s worth on Sunday is for the pastor to lay down two or three dos and don’ts for the kids in an hour, and if the preacher can get it done in under fifty minutes, then all the better – he might even get a raise. When we come to a verse like “Our Father” in Matthew six, can you imagine not hearing of the glorious truth that God is our Father through our union with Christ but rather, in exchange, hearing an exhortation to examine ourselves to see if we’re submitting to God as our Father? Or can you imagine even hearing a challenge that brings into question whether we’ve appropriated Christ aright in order for God even to be our Father? Even when the indicative hits us the square in the face from the Scriptures, congregants have been too well trained by misguided preaching whereby the sheep gladly exchange the restful reality (that by grace spawns one on to good works(!)) for a works oriented imperative that isn’t in the text. I asked a Reformed minister once why he didn’t preach the indicative and in all sincerity he asked me: What benefit can be derived from preaching out of the indicative mood? He sincerely wanted to know, he even said so. He truly had no idea.

“The Bible is not a book with just an appeal to us to do this, that, or the other—to accept certain ideas and put them into practice. It's not a book teaching morality or ethics or anything else. I'll tell you what it is—it's not a book, I say, that asks us primarily to do anything—it's a great announcement of what God has done! It's God acting!” Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Joshua Butcher said...

Good thoughts Ron. I've thought for awhile now that the church's primary problem is self-righteousness, which loses its thrust in the face of indicatives from Scripture that place all of the power in Christ. We are happy to do, do, do, provided we get some sort of credit for our efforts to please God. It is like a child patting himself on the back when the Father hoists him into his lap.

revmark said...

Amen to these comments brothers, Dr. Letham will edifyingly clear as usual, looking forward to it.