What is the Point of a Martin Luther King JR Holiday?

If not to challenge all of us to recognize and celebrate the brotherhood of all humanity, despite one’s ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, politic bent–and in the process, we create safer space for all.

It’s time for us to seek to understand our differences and eliminate the “other.”  We tend to fear what we do not understand.

True love drives out fear, and love seeks to understand so that there will be no fear.

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Merry Christmas!!!

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” –Luke 2:8-14 ESV, bold added

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Book Review: “Who is this Man?” by John Ortberg

  • 9780310340492_p0_v4_sPaperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Reprint edition (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310340497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310340492
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches


An Overview

A few weeks ago, with Christmas around the corner, I wanted to read a book on the life of Jesus. I had purchased John Ortberg’s Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus a couple of years back. It was sitting on my shelf.

While a number of Ortberg’s titles are in my collection, Who Is This Man? is the first I’ve read in its entirety. Ortberg explores how the life of Jesus has impacted human life and history, from humanity’s dignity, to the arts, culture, government, marriage, education, womanhood, etc. Along the way, Ortberg interacts with a number of authors here and there, from different traditions and so on.

A Critique

As mentioned above, this is my first Ortberg in its entirety. He did not disappoint. Who Is This Man? reads quite well. While written on the bottom shelf, so to speak, the reader gets the impression that the book is well researched.

I was reminded once again, especially with Christmas only days away, of the impact of the life of Jesus, Immanuel, “God with us” (Isa. 7:14; see Matt. 1:23).  Ortberg does an outstanding job of reminding us of this. We tend to forget this. Only consider the calendar and how we refer to someone’s death. “Joseph Stalin died in the year of our Lord 1953” (p. 181).

Before the “Epilogue: A Staggering Idea,” Ortberg titles the three preceding chapters, beginning with “Friday,” “Saturday,” and “Sunday,” respectively. I like the concluding structure to the book. For the most part I get “Friday” and “Sunday” but thought he could’ve done more with “Saturday.” Of course there are the silence, disappointment, and despair of “Saturday.” But I believe Ortberg missed a great opportunity to point to Jesus as our Sabbath, our Rest, if you will. “On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56 ESV). Now reflect on Matthew 11:28-30 and Jesus invitation to rest in him.

At any rate, I commend Ortberg’s Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus. We really need to be reminded of how Jesus has indeed impacted human life and history. It’s not just about a book.

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Chosen by God: A Tribute to RC Sproul (1937-2017)

80225.jpgWhen I read the announcement of the death of RC Sproul from Ligionier Ministries in my email inbox, a sad feeling came over me.

Days before his death, I had just consulted Sproul’s Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology (now What is Reformed Theology?) I first read this volume in toto back in 2006, over ten years ago.  I was new to Reformed Theology. I wanted to learn more. I came across Sproul’s work and ate it up.  However, it’s a work I always return to.

But it’s his work Chosen by God that really did me in. On January 9, 2007, I posted the following on Amazon.com after reading Sproul’s Chosen by God:

Honestly, I fought the doctrine of election. But I had to surrender to the teachings of Scripture. It is at the heart of the Scriptures, and RC does a great job in this wonderful volume spotlighting the difficulty with it.

This is one of the better volumes on a difficult subject. Highly recommended!

For the 500th anniversary celebration of the Reformation, it’s Sproul’s Ligionier Ministries live streaming that I tuned in to.

Sproul loved Martin Luther. Leading up to the Reformation 500, I remember viewing Sproul’s passionate talk on The Insanity of Luther on Youtube, which is a chapter in his The Holiness of God, what is considered by many as Sproul’s finest work.

God, over the years, has used the late RC Sproul, his humble servant, to teach me and countless others, near and far, so much about theology, Scripture, church history, Reformed theology, etc.

Now Dr. Sproul can know for certain whether Martin Luther was insane or not.

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