Well, it is Reformation Day. While some people are dressing up like witches and ghosts (I haven’t gotten my “Jonathan Edwards Is My Homeboy” shirt from Yale yet, sadly- that was going to be my costume: http://edwards.yale.edu ), I would like to draw our attention to this date in history. On this day, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses onto the Wittenburg Door in Germany. With that, the call to a return to biblical Christianity resounded, and still resounds today. I thank God for the Luthers and Zwinglis and Calvins and Melancthons and Husses and Tyndales and many others who gave their lives to make biblical Christianity known. God used them to make Himself known to me centuries later.
I also praise God for their insistence on a biblical Gospel, as demonstrated in the solas: Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone), Sola Gratia (by Grace alone), Sola Fide (by Faith alone), Sola Christus (by Christ alone), Sola Dei Gloria (for God’s glory alone). The Gospel is grounded on the authority of God’s Word, given by God’s grace through faith, accomplished through God’s Son, so that God and God alone would be glorified. This magnifies God! May we continue to spread the Good News of God exalted in accomplishing our salvation.
I wanted to give you a list of books that really convinced me that “God exalted” is the God of the Bible (some of you can read between the lines to see what I mean). Here is, in no particular order, my top 10:
1) Piper, The Pleasures of God (This book made me love theology. It was my first book by Piper, and I had never seen God like he did before.)
2) Sproul, The Holiness of God (I remember trembling while reading this book. The greatness of God is all over this book.)
3) Piper, Desiring God (After reading Pleasures I read this. I’m amazed at how not-so-subtly Reformed this book is. Piper is saying that only an exalted and supreme God can make you supremely happy. In other words, you cannot be fully happy unless you have a Reformed [i.e., biblical] God as your chief affection. I also loved how he shows that this changes EVERYTHING!)
4) Packer, Knowing God (This and Tozer were the catalysts in me wanting to be a teacher of the Word. I remember thinking how badly I wanted to read the Word to know—by Packer’s definition of “knowing”—all that God had to reveal of Himself to me.)
5) Swenson, More Than Meets the Eye (This book really exalts God’s brilliance in creation. It reminded me once again that all that God does is for His glory and praise.)
6) Piper and Edwards, God’s Passion for His Glory (The only reason I put this lower is so that there wouldn’t be too much Piper at the top. But really this is all Edwards. I saw here much more deeply that God is the end of all things. This actually helped me in seeing the reasonableness [is that a word?] of God creating all things for His glory and enjoyment. Praise God for great minds used for His glory.)
7) Johnstone, Operation World (This expanded my little American mind to see that God is working around the world, and longs to be glorified by all peoples.)
8) Johnson, Expository Hermeneutics and Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation (These books shaped the way I view language. Authorial intent and the “type-trait” theory greatly affected how I approach Scripture and validate views of Scripture. Johnson also helped me in my understanding of dispensationalism as a biblical theology, and how biblical theology affects application. The reason why these books are on my list, though I do not believe that Hirsch is an evangelical, nor do I know Johnson’s soteriology, is that their approach to literary theory led me to see that Scripture does in fact reveal God to be sovereign over all things, including my salvation.)
9) Tozer, The Pursuit of God (This book introduced me to the idea that the one who has tasted of God hungers for more. I read it first in the summer between high school and college, and I remember crying to God that He would make me a “child of the burning heart”.)
10) Stott, The Cross of Christ (Growing up in Christian school, I learned that “Jesus died for my sins”. I never saw the depth and magnitude of those five words until I read this book. Praise God for His awesome grace, and may His name continue to be praised in the spreading of His sin-atoning, shame-bearing, wrath-satisfying, justice-declaring, relationship-establishing, eternity-altering, glory-radiating good news of Christ crucified, risen and exalted to all the nations of the world!)