Willing to Believe

I’ve just finished R.C. Sproul’s Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will, a clear and balanced presentation of the different views that Christians hold on Free Will. Sproul, of course, prefers the Reformed view, and at a number of places he tries to answer the objections posed by other views. But his critique of other views is I think fair and courteous. A good and enlightening book, whichever side of the divide you belong. Here’s his conclusion:

How we view our fallen condition, then, has radical implications for how we understand both the nature and necessity of regeneration as it relates to faith. This in turn greatly influences how we understand the biblical doctrine of election… [Those] who believe that the fallen sinner retains the capacity to choose what he desires but is enslaved by these desires, rest their confidence in the knowledge that salvation is of the Lord and those whom the Son makes free are free indeed.

Built to Last

I’m almost halfway into Collins and Porras’ business book: Built to Last. I like their idea about the “Genius of the AND,” as opposed to the “Tyranny of the Or.” So, for example, in the matter of profits – profit is not everything, but “a reasonable profit is right, but not too much.” So a visionary company is one which can embrace both idealogy AND profit.

Profit is not the proper end and aim of management – it is what makes all of the proper ends and aims possible.

— David Packard

Here’s another quote:

Profit maximization does not rule, but the visionary companies pursue their aims profitably. They do both.

Profitability is a necessary condition for existence and a means to more important ends, but it is not the end in itself for many of the visionary companies. Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life.

This is sound and sane business advice, and not greedy at all.

Click HERE to learn more about the book

Democracy on Trial

Just a few more pages and I’m through with Bethke Elshtain’s Democracy on Trial. I guess the long and short of what I’ve learned from this books is that –

… human beings will always fall short of an absolute ideal… “the only reasonable hope for salvation from evil and wickedness at which men might arrive even in this world and even by themselves, without any divine assistance,” must be the imperfect workings of government, the flawed actions of citizens among citizens.

Year of the Bible

This year for me is the year of the Bible. I plan to read other books less and the Bible more – much much more! Last night I read the whole of Mark, II Corinthians and Ecclesiastes straight through into the wee hours of the morning, and I really enjoyed it! Incidentally, I’m shifting to the Holman Christian Standard Bible; I gave my English Standard Version to my wife. Click here for Bible reading plans you might want to use for 2009. (I’m using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan.)

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton’s really something. Yesterday I started reading his The Sign of Jonas and I found gems scattered all round!

I have only one desire and that is the desire for solitude – to disappear into God, to be submerged in His peace, to be lost in the secret of His Face.

Let me keep silence in this world, except in so far as God wills and in the way He wills it. Let me at least disappear into the writing I do.

God’s love takes care of everything I do. He guides me in my work and in my reading…

Reading Merton makes me want to leave the law profession and become a monk! Maybe it’s not too late.

More!

“To him who has more shall be given.” I was in Iloilo yesterday on a book-buying spree. Here are some of my finds which are a cause for rejoicing:

  • Martin Luther’s Three Treatises
  • Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters (ed.by Donald K. McKim)
  • The Constitutional Philosophy of Philippine Jurisprudence (subtitled The Writings of Senior Associate Justice [now Chief Justice] Reynato S. Puno) by Jose Midas P. Marquez
  • A Philosophy of Law by Fr. Rahnilio Callangan Aquino (Fr. Aquino was one of my professors at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City where I enrolled for a time in an LLM course)

Here’s a good quote from Luther’s Three Treatises:

It is not many books that make men learned, nor even reading. But it is a good book frequently read, no matter how small it is, that makes a man learned in the Scriptures and godly.

John Stott

I only recently came to know that Evangelicalism’s elder statesman, “Pope” John Stott has retired at the age of 86. I add my small voice from the Philippines to the torrent of thanksgiving pouring out from all over the world for the ministry of this great and wonderful man of God. Many years ago I read his book, Between Two Worlds, which has made a difference in my preaching. Other books of his which I have read are: Understanding the Bible, The Message of Romans (which I will be using in the Romans class which I will be teaching this coming June at the Baptist Missionary Association Bible College) and The Cross of Christ (which I have just recently finished). I also enjoyed vol. 1 of his biography. Presently I’m halfway through his The Contemporary Christian. John Stott has been a great blessing to the global church. I thank God for him.

Os Guinness on Truth

I’m presently rereading Os Guinness’ Time for Truth (Baker Books, 2000) a small but very important book. I’m convicted by it to do my best to seek the truth, speak the truth and live the truth.

“The discipline of living in truth is urgent today because modern life reduces community and accountability to its thinnest, thereby tempting us to live in a shadow world of anonymity and nonresponsibility where all cats are gray. In such a world, becoming people of truth is the deepest secret of integrity and the highest form of taking responsibility for ourselves and our own lives.” (p. 18)