Monday, January 19, 2009

Food for Thought

Today's the day! The Preacher's Wife is kicking off the Spectacular Sins Book Club.

All I can say is Wow! This book has some great stuff in it. And what great timing as we look at the events going on in our world and wonder what God's part is in all this.

Lisa & Missy will be leading the Book Club each Monday, and while our discussions are taking place at Lisa's site, like Xandra, I wanted to post my answers here so that I will have them for my own record. And maybe it might pique your interest if you haven't gotten the book.

And don't be overwhelmed by thinking this is a massive theological tome - it's a mere 112 pages. But it is packed with meaty truth!

So here are this week's discussion questions and my answers:

1. Let's ease into this. I'm a huge quote girl so tell us, what is your favorite quote from the Introduction? What about it resonated with you? (Try to keep the quote to two sentences. I only say that because I find myself quoting entire paragraphs!)

God is weightless in our lives...His sovereignty is secondary (at best) to his sensitivity. What is missing is the Bible. I mean the whole Bible. . .and all of it under the massive hand of God. . .Knowing great things about God will make us ready not to collapse under cataclysmic conflict and personal catastrophe.

2. Piper opens the book by describing the most spectacular sin ever committed - that of the murder of Jesus Christ. What does he say the commission of this sin actually accomplished? (p.12, paragraph 2) How do you interpret the phrase, "He made evil commit suicide in doing its worse evil"?

He made evil commit suicide in doing its worse evil. While evil was trying to destroy God, it really succeeded only in destroying itself.

3. How is evil defined? (p.12, paragraph 3) How does the understanding that "the apex of evil achieved the apex of the glory of Christ" impact your thinking? How will you allow this truth to shape your thinking when you are tempted to ask 'why' in the midst of calamity?

It brings to mind the words of Joseph to his brothers "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good" Not to mention Romans 8:28. God's hand is on everything. Even that which we deem evil.

4. I was stopped cold when I read, "The coddled Western world will sooner or later give way to great affliction. And when it does, whose vision of God will hold? And also, "Christians in the West are weakened by wimpy worldviews. And wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians." (p. 13 paragraph 4). Continuing along that line of thought, what false teachings do you recognize as being popular but unable to prepare us for catastrophe? In what ways have you discovered you've been influenced by those those lies?

The prosperity gospel. The idea that God wants our comfort and happiness in this world. Cheap grace. The world has made God in its image. And even though I may disagree with it, just the inundation that is constantly out there makes it hard for it not to seep in.

5. Piper states that the purpose of Spectacular Sins is not "to meet felt needs, but to awaken needs that will soon be felt, and then to save your faith and strengthen your courage when evil prevails." (p. 16) If you feel compelled, share a time when evil prevailed in your own life. Refer back to Question Two and give God praise if He has revealed how that evil served His glory. Also feel free to note any relevant Scripture God used for your healing. I know this will be a difficult exercise for many. Please know we will be so tender with your responses and will pray with you if you are in a place of suffering.

In my younger years, I was easily frightened by world events and evil that manifest itself in the world. After going through an inductive study of Daniel, that changed my whole view. Fortunately, that was shortly before 9/11. Although I was obviously disturbed by the events of that day, I had a complete peace that it was all under His Sovereign control.

So grab a copy of the book and join us as we stretch our brains!


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A Stone Gatherer said...

I love this Book Club! It's going to be so great getting together with all of you!

Mel said...

oh my i think i missed it about this book club, now i am going to have to go get the book (Lord help me have discipline in the book store) as the questions are entirely thought provoking!!!

thanks for putting this up Linda

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

I think it's interesting that most of us listed the prosperity gospel as one of the current false teachings in the church, as well as the fact that the real gospel and character of God is watered down.