Starbucks and Gospel Reactions

I’m sure you’ve heard about the “boycott Starbucks!” debacle, right?

We, as Christians, need to think twice, research first, and respond in grace and not in haste.

Here are three articles discussing what really was said by Starbucks’ CEO:

  1. Starbucks, Same-Sex Marriage and Getting Facts Straight
  2. Did Starbucks CEO Really Say, ‘We Don’t Want Your Business’?
  3. Beware Before You Share: Starbucks, Worldviews, and Jumping to Conclusions

 

Update – 3/27/2013

The Christian Bandwagon Effect

Signs of the Times: 5 Gay Marriage Myths

Gay is Not the New Black

Should Christians Boycott Starbucks?

If you are going to boycott Starbucks, do it for the right reasons.

Don’t forget to read the fine print.

When Did Idolatry Become Compatible with Christianity?

Tim Keller – Evangelicals Face Growing Tension Between Political And Personal Views Of Gay Marriage

The Truth About Christianity

Jesus Ruined My LIfe is a great little post about the meaning of being a Christian.

Everyone is all for the pop-cultured American (small ‘c’) christianity. Instead of lifting Jesus up as our glorious Savior, he’s a used rung on the ladder of success to step on so those who step on him can be seen from a farther distance.

Albert Camus nails it when he wrote in his novel, “People naturally tried to get some help from his death. After all, it was a stroke of genius to tell us: ‘You’re not a very pretty sight, that’s certain! Well, we won’t go into the details! We’ll just liquidate it all at once, on the cross!’ But too many people now climb onto the cross merely to be seen from a greater distance, even if they have to trample somewhat on the one who has been there so long. Too many people decided to do without generosity in order to practice charity.” ~The Fall, p.114. “We long to be immortal. We are too much in love with ourselves not to want the precious object of our love never to disappear.”

Do we want a relationship with God or simply the assets He provides? We often oscillate between being both prodigal sons (). They both want the Father’s assets at the expense of a relationship with the Father. The tale of the Prodigal Sons describes American christianity.

Michael Horton wrote, “I would argue that the reason so many unbelievers can sit comfortably in our churches and even call themselves born-again Christians is that we give them very little to deny. The offensive message of the cross has been replaced with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” with the cross tucked somewhere underneath it.”

This American christianity is a lie of the Devil. We must be watchful. Satan comes in like an angel of light and departs with a fiendish cackle over carcasses strewn in the wilderness – .

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“As a poor wicked sinner, I cannot but indulge the hope that God will save me from eternal death, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~John Cruver –1862.

God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very being as God for your salvation. In Jesus Christ God has actualised his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself.

Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. ~T. F. Torrance, “The Mediation of Christ”, 94

That is the truth about Christianity.

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” (ESV)


Listen

Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (ESV)

Recommended Books for New Believers (for Anyone!)

Here are a few recommended books to read particularly if you are a new believer. However, these are good books for any Christian to read.

I have listed the books in an order that should build a solid foundation of the Christian Gospel upon which our faith is built. What books would you recommend?

What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert
Gospel by JD Greear
Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent
Gospel Deeps by Jared Wilson
Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson and Matt Chandler
Gospel as Center by various
Grace Transforming by Philip Ryken
A Hunger for God by John Piper
Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian
Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by JD Greear
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
Living the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney
Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous
Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes
The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges
If God is Good by Randy Alcorn
The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges
The Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges
When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll
The Work of Christ by RC Sproul
You Can Change by Tim Chester

Other recommendations:
Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church by Matt Chandler
Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem
Basic Christianity by John Stott
Reason for God by Tim Keller
Reasons for Belief by Norman Geisler
Why Church Matters by Joshua Harris
Everyday Church by Tim Chester

[amazon asin=1433515008,1433673126,1885904673,1433526409,143353021X,143351561X,1433534002,0891079661,1433507781,1433679213,&template=carousel&live=1]

[amazon asin=1600061400,1590525787,1433677814,1581347588,1576835073,160142132X,0891099417,1617479225,0875526004,1400203856,0781407265,1433512319&template=carousel&live=1]

Other recommendations:
[amazon asin=1433678624,0310255996,0830834036,1594483493,0764210572,1601423845,1433532220&template=carousel&live=1]

The Invisible Change

No doubt exists that God changes you and begins transforming you at the time of conversion ().

But are all changes God makes in your life visible?

The oft asked question, “does your life look the same after conversion as it did before conversion?” is really the wrong question to ask.

Sure, many people’s lives will dramatically change after conversion. Drug users will quit cold turkey, alcoholics will end their abuse, money launderers will cease and desist and even repay what was taken, but what about the people who are law-abiding citizens, ethical and moral in their behavior and speech?

For some people, their lives will change dramatically; others’ lives ever so slightly

We love to make the point that every life will change dramatically. But this is not always the case.

The real change is in motivation

For whose glory are we doing something?

If for the glory of self, then we will pursue money laundering, alcohol, drugs, sex, escape from reality because they become not only an end to themselves but a false ultimate end.

But if we do everything to God’s glory, we may not change what we do but why we do it. The change is invisible to the naked eye:

– So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.


Listen

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (ESV)

Legal Schizophrenia

If we found on mars what we find in the womb, there would be no doubt life was discovered. – Garrett Kell

The inconvenient truth to Atheism is David Attenborough’s conclusion: Humans are [a] plague on Earth.

Let that sink in

The law of (un)intended consequences of this kind of thinking says old people should hurry up and die (Taro Aso, Japan’s deputy prime minister), not to mention Roe v. Wade.

Humans are viewed as enhanced animals

Humans are not viewed as made in the image of God (; ). Man as enhanced animals precludes human rights simply because the survival of the fittest rules, and if the survival of weak people relies on large numbers, then the largest group will overcome the weak who are alone and outcast. No one wants to admit this, of course, but the reality is, no one has a right to life if others deem them inferior and unwanted.

We are plagued with Societal Schizophrenia

Google defines Schizophrenia “(in general use) as a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.”

Abortion is Legal Schizophrenia

John Piper explains,

It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother wants the baby, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if she doesn’t. In the first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights. Humanness is defined by the desire of the strong. Might makes right. We reject this right to define personhood in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism, Confederate race-based slavery, and Soviet Gulags. When we define the humanness of the unborn by the will of the powerful we know what we are doing.

The website Case for Life nails the whole point of this discussion: What is the unborn? They write, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.”

Science

Keith Mathison makes an important point: “Every embryology textbook states that a new genetically distinct human being begins its life at conception.”

C. Ward Kischer, Ph.D., expresses this point in more detail in his article When does human life begin? The final answer (HT),

Every human embryologist and every major textbook of Human Embryology states that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being. The reason why this is true is the following:

From the moment when the sperm makes contact with the oocyte, under conditions we have come to understand and describe as normal, all subsequent development to birth of a living newborn is a fait accompli. That is to say, after that initial contact of spermatozoon and oocyte there is no subsequent moment or stage which is held in arbitration or abeyance by the mother, or the embryo or fetus. Nor is a second contribution, a signal or trigger, needed from the male in order to continue and complete development to birth. Human development is a continuum in which so-called stages overlap and blend one into another. Indeed, all of life is contained within a time continuum. Thus, the beginning of a new life is exacted by the beginning of fertilization, the reproductive event which is the essence of life.

Herein lies the importance of distinguishing between the science of developmental biology and the science of Human Embryology. Within the science of Human Embryology, the continuum of life is more fully appreciated. The fact that development and developmental principles do not cease with birth becomes more fully realized. So, the continuum of human development does not cease until death, whenever that may occur, in utero or at 100 years of age.

In other words, We know what an apple really is.

 

Updated 6/17/2016

Surprise! Life Does Begin at Conception:

It seems that sometimes, when it serves the story, the fact that life begins at conception is perfectly clear to both scientists and the media. Sarah Knapton, Science Editor at the UK Telegraph, writes in an article titled “Bright Flash of Light Marks Incredible Moment Life Begins When Sperm Meets Egg”:

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

Update: 1/23/2017

The Gospel Coalition:

Here we have the core of the pro-choice argument: You are not a human person if I don’t want you to be. And I have the power to make it so.

The pro-choice regime has nothing deeper, nothing more rational, nothing more humane. That’s the whole argument. I don’t want you to be a person.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-abortion-makes-sense

 

The Gospel Coalition:

How did change Rosaria Butterfield‘s mind about abortion?

“Here was the line of my undoing: ‘And peoples yet uncreated shall praise and magnify the LORD’ (). I got it: abortion is not a right or an entitlement. Abortion steals praise from God by denying image-bearers the opportunity to live through and for him. Abortion despises and attacks and destroys the image of God.”

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/i-thought-planned-parenthood-protected-family-values

 

Crossway:

https://www.crossway.org/blog/2016/05/10-things-you-should-know-about-abortion/

 

National Review:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430152/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life

 

 

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (ESV)


Listen

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image. (ESV)


Listen

102:1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!

For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake;
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
All the day my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread
and mingle tears with my drink,
10 because of your indignation and anger;
for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
11 My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.

12 But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations.
13 You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold her stones dear
and have pity on her dust.
15 Nations will fear the name of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
16 For the Lord builds up Zion;
he appears in his glory;
17 he regards the prayer of the destitute
and does not despise their prayer.

18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:
19 that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die,
21 that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,
and in Jerusalem his praise,
22 when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “take me not away
in the midst of my days—
you whose years endure
throughout all generations!”

25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you. (ESV)


Listen

18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord: (ESV)

Thirteen Texts Showing how the Gospel Annihilates Racism

1. Every human is created in the image of God. ()

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

2. The Covenant blessing is to all nations. ()

12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

3. The pathetic example of Jonah’s racism. ()

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.

4. The gospel-melted heart is that of the tax collector not the Pharisee. ()

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed [1] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

5. The Lamb was slaughtered for the world. ()

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

6. We are justified by faith not race. ()

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

7. Christ has broken down the dividing wall of hostility. ()

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

8. Racism, by definition, counts “us” better than “them”. ()

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

9. Racism is not “in step with the gospel”. ()

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

10. Racism categorizes while the gospel unites. ()

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave [1] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

11. Partiality gives glory to someone. The gospel gives glory to Christ. ()

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

12. The gospel creates one race. ()

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

13. Racists will be uncomfortable in heaven. ()

8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, “Letter from Birmingham Jail)

By: Chris Gonzalez

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (ESV)

12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (ESV)


Listen

4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. (ESV)


Listen

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV)

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (ESV)


Listen

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. (ESV)

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (ESV)


Listen

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (ESV)


Listen

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (ESV)


Listen

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (ESV)


Listen

2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. (ESV)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (ESV)


Listen

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” (ESV)

If God is Good: Developing a Theology of Suffering

Sadly, suffering is a fact of life. At one point or another, to one degree or another, you will face suffering. Suffering will consume your being.

It is never too late to develop a theology of suffering. We all need a proper foundation because it is not a question of if but when we will suffer (; ; ).

How do we develop a theology of suffering?

Read and study. Here are resources to help you in your pursuit of a good foundation in the theology of suffering.

  1. If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn (Kindle edition)
  2. When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  3. Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Kindle edition)
  4. Kindle edition)
  5. O Love That Will Not Let Me Go: Facing Death with Courageous Confidence in God by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Richard Baxter, Nancy Guthrie and John Piper
  6. A Lifetime of Wisdom: Embracing the Way God Heals You by Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  7. Why, O God?: Suffering and Disability in the Bible and the Church by Larry J. Waters, Roy B. Zuck, Randy Alcorn and Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  8. Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace by Michael S. Beates and Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  9. The God I Love: A Lifetime of Walking with Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)
  10. Glorious Intruder: God’s Presence in Life’s Chaos by Joni Eareckson Tada (Kindle edition)

Do you have other books and resources? Please share!

Update: 1/15/2013
Don’t You Dare Be Caught Rejoicing with Those Who Weep, an interview with Joni Eareckson Tada and Marvin Olasky.


Listen

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, (ESV)


Listen

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, (ESV)


Listen

then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, (ESV)