I recently read the Kindle for iPhone Edition of Unfashionable by Tullian Tchividjian. This is an excellent book written at a popular level to help Christians see that they “make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don’t make a difference by being the same” (Location 284).

That makes sense. If you want to change something, you have to make it different in some way. If what you want to change is a culture / people group / nation, you have to create a different culture within it.

One excerpt:

Ironically, the more we Christians pursue worldly relevance, the more we’ll render ourselves irrelevant to the world around us. There’s an irrelevance to pursuing relevance … To be truly relevant, you have to say things that are unfashionable eternal, not trendy. It’s the timeless things that are most relevant to most people, and we dare not forget this fact in our pursuit of relevance. (Location 405)
There is another way to look at this. A subject’s relevance to me really depends on my situation, not my perception.

A train coming down the tracks is relevant to me if I am standing on the tracks in front of it, no matter whether I perceive the train’s whistle to indicate a threat. Whether I think the train is important, it will crush me if I don’t move. If you bring the train and its threat to my attention, I will consider it relevant immediately.
The gospel is like that. If we bring to someone’s attention that they are under the wrath of God, then they will see that Christ having died for the sins of the world is important to them. The gospel is relevant in the extreme.

(Additional comments on the book can be found here.)


Steve Martin said...


The law and the gospel cover all people throughout the whole of time.

J. K. Jones said...

Does it surprize you that a Calvinist can use the phrase "for the sins of the world?"

Steve Martin said...

You only think you're a Calvinist.

You're a Lutheran at heart. It may take your brain awhile to catch up to your heart.

J. K. Jones said...

Maybe you are more of a Calvinist than you think.

Or are the two camps really that far apart? The White Hourse Inn bunch sure seems to get along famously.

Steve Martin said...

I get along with Calvinists just fine.

Just because they have a faulty theology doesn't mean that they aren't great people (many of them) (and many Lutherans are too!).

Like my buddy Larry says, who was a Baptist, then a Calvinist, and who now is a Lutheran..."why mess around when you can have the straight deal right now!"

We're not that far apart, but one link of a chain holding the prisoner is one link too many.

But the radical freedom of the gospel has never been that popular, and I'd be willing to bet that it never will be.

Take care, J.K.!

J. K. Jones said...

I find in Calvinism the freedom to fail and try again, the freedom to be forgiven when I sin on account of Christ, the knowledge of God's grace to me in His soverign choice and the freedom to be humble as a result, and more freedom than I ever had as a Semi-pelagian.

Calvinism's five points are all about freedom.

Anonymous said...

We have all that freedom in Lutheranism..and more.

The freedom to know that the pure gospel and assurance of our salvation is given to us freely and tangibly in Baptism and Holy Communion...totally apart from anything we do, say, feel, or think.

Calvinism ain't bad...but why not go all the way?

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