“Therefore, the task of all Christian scholarship- not just biblical studies- is to study reality as a manifestation of God’s glory, to speak and write about it with accuracy, and to savor the beauty of God in it, and to make it serve the good of man. It is an abdication of scholarship when Christians do academic work with little reference to God. If all the universe and everything in it exist by the design of an infinite, personal God, to make his manifold glory known and loved, then to treat any subject without reference to God’s glory is not scholarship but insurrection.”-John Piper
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John Piper wrote in 1981:
Since wisdom is found in the Word of God, we must apply ourselves in study and meditation to know the Word and do it. “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7). Therefore, we must devote ourselves to know and understand the testimonies of the Lord. And here I commend not only faithful Bible study, but also regular reading of great books on theology and biblical interpretation, books that distill the wisdom of the greatest students of the word over the past 1900 years.
Now, I know what you are thinking: I don’t have the time or the ability to get anywhere in books like that. So I want to show you something really encouraging. When this was shown to me about four years ago by my pastor, it changed my life. Most of us don’t aspire very high in our reading because we don’t feel like there is any hope.
But listen to this: Suppose you read about 250 words a minute and that you resolve to devote just 15 minutes a day to serious theological reading to deepen your grasp of biblical truth. In one year (365 days) you would read for 5,475 minutes. Multiply that times 250 words per minute and you get 1,368,750 words per year. Now most books have between 300 and 400 words per page. So if we take 350 words per page and divide that into 1,368,750 words per year, we get 3,910 pages per year. This means that at 250 words a minute, 15 minutes a day, you could read about 20 average sized books a year! (from http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/advice-for-reading-theology-books-even-though-youre-busy)
Wow. What a great conference! The 2013 Desiring God conference, entitled “The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life & Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis” was held in Minneapolis and was a great blessing to this old theologian! Held in the Minneapolis Convention Center from September 27-29, presenters included John Piper, Randy Alcorn (author of “Heaven”), Lyle Dorsett (a noted Lewis scholar), Philip Ryken (president of Wheaton College), and others. Young people (under 30) made up the almost 3000 attendees. The worship was amazing, the plenary and breakout sessions encouraging (both intellectually and spiritually). This ancient theologian had no responsibilities, so I could just soak it all in. All of the sessions’ videos will be posted on the DesiringGod.org website by October 4, a blessing to all who were not able to attend — and a reminder to those of us who want to review what we heard. Some of the titles of the plenary sessions were: “Myth Wars: C.S. Lewis vs. Scientism” (N.D. Wilson), “The Friendship of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien” (Colin Duriez), “C.S. Lewis and the Care of Souls” (Lyle Dorsett), “Lessons from an Inconsolable Soul: Learning from the Mind and Heart of C.S. Lewis” (John Piper), “Inerrancy and the Patron Saint of Evangelicalism: C.S. Lewis on Holy Scripture” (Philip Ryken), “C.S. Lewis on Heaven and the New Earth: God’s Eternal Remedy to the Problem of Evil and Suffering” (Randy Alcorn), and “Lessons from C.S. Lewis for a Life of Joy” (John Piper). Watch the videos or download the audios. You won’t regret it! My heart and mind was drawn more deeply to the eternal, for, as Lewis said, “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.” [Many thanks to my dear wife Linda for her encouragement in letting me go this soul-refreshing event].
I just became aware of the 2013 Desiring God conference for this year. Here’s a brief intro to the main topic, C.S. Lewis as a Romantic Rationalist!
Here are the conference details. Join me?
1. How does a poor theology of suffering support the Prosperity Gospel?
2. What books or sermons have influenced you in this area of theology?