So, Christian Book Distributors has a special site for Reformed Christians. For some reason, that seems really signficant to me. Honestly, it’s looks really helpful – all the books I’ve been interested in, all in one place! It also feels really strange. Imagine CBD Pentecostal, or CBD Mainline liturgical.
Have Reformed Christians expanded their influence to the point that they warrant their own directed marketing? Or is it merely a function of the fact that the Reformed stream of Christianity has always been the most bookish?
I fear that Reformed Christians are often in danger of making the same mistake about the glory of God that most evangelicals tend to make about God’s love: Having managed somehow to distill the nature of God and all his plans and purposes under the unifying heading of a single word, we then proceed to demolish our own system by mis-characterizing that word according to human standards. Love degenerates into sentimental affection and glory into public acclaim, neither of which comes close to the true Biblical meaning of those terms.
The love of God is a frightening thing. The glory of God is often hidden.
* Prayer is more important than Bible reading.
* Prayer is clumsy and ineffective without a sufficient Biblical foundation.
One of my difficulties in prayer the last 7 years or so has been that my theology was changing.
When I was in high school and earlier, I was pretty proficient in prayer. That is to say, I found it relatively easy to pray – frequently, in private or in public, and for relatively sustained periods. But going into ministry school, college, and even seminary, it became increasingly more difficult to pray, because I had a hard time agreeing with the sort of things I was used to saying when I prayed. I would start to pray something and realize I didn’t really think that was the way it worked. To give an example, I might have prayed something highly metaphorical, along the lines of “Lord, I pray that you would pour out your Holy Spirit in my workplace, that your river would flood in and overwhelm them, so that they are consumed by your fire!” And in the middle I would get stuck by the mixed metaphor. Moreover, it would occur to me that I really hadn’t said anything more significant than “Lord, please do something about this,” which of course left me with a very short prayer. It began to occur to me that I really didn’t know what I was talking about and that I therefore really didn’t have anything to say.
As I’ve been becoming more “essentially reformed” in my perspective, my sense of not knowing what I’m talking about has been lifting. I was helped especially last year by teaching Ephesians in my New Testament class. Ephesians has just the sort of big picture perspective that I needed to get into my mind. And that perspective has helped dramatically in my prayer life, as Valerie can attest. But now I have a new problem:
I can again pray now for nearly hours on end, but despite my best efforts, I can really only pray Ephesians.