The Ordo Salutis

Over the last several weeks, the term Ordo Salutis — or, the Order of Salvation — has come up a couple times. I thought then that I would post a few of my favorite resources for studying one of the most pivotal areas of theology: How does God save people?

Besides going through an entire systematic theology (such as this one by Wayne Grudem), one of the most helpful books I can recommend is Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, by John Murray (my review). There is also a very helpful summary and outline of Murray’s thought progression available free here. Murray lists the steps in the order of salvation this way:

  1. Effectual Calling
  2. Regeneration
  3. Faith & Repentence
  4. Justification
  5. Adoption
  6. Sanctification
  7. Perseverance
  8. Union With Christ *
  9. Glorification

* Note: Murray does not actually treat this as a sequential “step” in this order, but addresses the believer’s union with Christ at this point in the book. Believers are “in Christ” through the entire process.

Those who learn better graphically may benefit from this infographic produced by Tim Challies (click to enlarge):

You can purchase a print of this graphic or download a much higher resolution PDF here.

Recently I became aware (HT: Bob Wilson) of a much, much older “infographic”, designed by John Bunyan, the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress. You can read a little about this one here, or go directly to Bunyan’s “Map Shewing the Order & Causes of Salvation & Damnation” here. I need to get myself a poster-size print of this one!

What helpful study tools have you found to aid you in your understanding of salvation?

Combing the Net – 7/3/2012

How Many LEGOs Would It Take to Build the White House? — No, not the scaled down version in the actual LEGO set… we’re talking about the REAL one! This website quickly calculates the number of LEGO bricks it would take to construct full-scale models of any building (exterior only). It’s 158,783,167 for the President’s house… how about yours? (HT: Robert Wardwho is now on Twitter!)

Chesterton on Patriotism, with an Application to U.S. Elections — G.K. Chesterton is one of my favorite thinkers, and even though he was British and writing 100 years ago, his words always seem to be relevant to what’s going on today! Thabiti Anyabwile’s application to current American politics is also excellent.

5 Questions to Ask of a Book — Tim Challies is one of my favorite book reviewers, and has also helped me a great deal in learning how to approach reading. This is a great post for anyone who reads! Of course, to put this formula to the test, you’ll need a good book! Here are a few suggestions:

Cheap eBook Alert! — One of Amazon’s many deals of the month for July is Voddie Baucham’s The Ever-Loving Truth: Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture? For the next few weeks, the Kindle version is only $2.99! If you’ve never read Baucham, you’re in for a treat.

Free Audiobook of the Month — The ChristianAudio free book of the month is The Sword, a novel by Brian Litfin. While I can’t vouch for the audio recording, I did enjoy this fantasy tale in its print version (my review). If you like it, you can check out the other two books in the trilogy: The Gift and The Kingdom, which is due to release at the end of this month.

The Slavery of Student Loan Debt — Denny Burk’s brief commentary on the following video:

Combing the Net – 6/19/2012

The Libraries, Studies, and Writing Rooms of 15 Famous Men — Trying to reign in my covetousness…

What the Bible Says About the Heaven Books — Tim Challies’ follow-up post to the one he wrote about the new genre of “I went to Heaven” books, which I linked to yesterday.

So what did Don Piper and these other authors experience? And what about the many people who can attest that they experienced something while they were clinically dead or otherwise near death? I don’t know. Some are liars, some are sincere, I am sure. Some have had a Near Death Experience, whatever a Near Death Experience is. We need to be very cautious because the fact is that Satan is capable of manufacturing experiences; I’m sure it is well within his power to convince people of an experience, to give them a kind of assurance that what they have experienced is real. The more variance there is between a person’s experience and God’s Word, the more we are obligated to doubt that experience.

What Is Wrong with Performance-Enhancing Drugs? A Thought Experiment with Robots and Baseball — A thoughtful article by Justin Barnard, who spoke recently in Cookeville at the Humanitas Forum.

God Desires All to Be Saved, and Grants Repentance to Some — John Piper writes an excellent short study on reconciling two difficult texts, which can go a long way to helping us understand the current debate going on within the Southern Baptist Convention about “God’s Plan of Salvation”.

How to create a culture of reading in your church — This is excellent stuff from Mark Dever! (HT: Matthias Media)

Combing the Net – 6/18/2012

Southern Baptists Set for a Notable First — The biggest news from this year’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention is the election of the denomination’s first black president.

Guide to the SBC — Baptist 21’s guide to the annual meeting, which will show you everything going on in NOLA this week. If anything catches your eye, you can watch the entire thing through live video stream here.

Heaven Tourism — Tim Challies takes on the recent glut of books (e.g., 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven Is For Real) which supposedly tell the story of people who have been to Heaven and back… which is total hogwash.

A Closer Look at Teen Online Video Consumption — How much video do teens watch online? An interesting infographic.

The Free Will Song — I’m so thankful my wife managed to escape from Pensacola Christian College, where the legalism and bad theology are perhaps worse than the music (HT: John Samson)

Messing With “Come Thou Fount”

An interesting blog discussion happened this week about a line in the lyrics of the 18th century hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson. Mark Altrogge, a pastor and hymnwriter, questions the lyric “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love“. Are Christians really prone to wander, and to leave God?

Read his article here.

Tim Challies wrote a very good response, seconding a commenter from Altrogge’s original post defending the original lyric, while expounding on some very valid points that Altrogge made.

Read the Challies article here.

I commend both articles to you. While I agree with Challies on this one, I am grateful to Altrogge for asking the question in the first place. I love when Christians take hymn lyrics seriously enough to insist on their truthfulness!

Combing the Net – 5/4/2012

Mozart and Vince Gill — Douglas Wilson on if, how, and when we should condemn certain types of music, and our freedom in Christ to enjoy a wide variety of cultural artifacts.

If we reject a form of music out of hand because it is not the form of music we prefer, then we are trying to kick against the variegated world that the triune God created. And if we are doing this in a spirit of musical snobbery, we are demonstrating that, however adept we are in the form we prefer, when it comes to music at large, we don’t really know what its for.

McDonald’s, Jonathan Edwards, and Holy Affections — Eric Geiger uses a simple story to which we can all probably relate to illustrate a great truth from the teaching of America’s greatest preacher. (HT: Trevin Wax)

How Classical Education Shapes Us as God Intended — This is a great concise summary of the many benefits of a classical education, written by the author of The Gospel and the Mind (my review), which is now less than $3 on Kindle. I also highly recommend a book Green references in this article called Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (my review).

Fiction & Literature: An Interview With Russell Moore — I loved this interview by Tim Challies of one of my favorite authors and thinkers, about the value of reading fiction and literature (including where the line between those two may be). I respect and trust Russell Moore’s book recommendations very highly (and Challies’ too, for that matter). Last fall I read Hannah Coulter (my review) based solely on Moore’s recommendation.

Last night, Ben Swann posted yet another excellent installment of his news program “Reality Check”. He is doing more than just about any other journalist right now to keep up with the actual rules of the Republican Party’s delegate selection process, and this is one of his best reports yet. If you don’t already, I highly suggest you follow him on Facebook to stay informed on what’s really going on!

What to Think About KONY 2012

By now, many of you have probably seen the short film “KONY 2012”, which has had well over 60 million views since being published to the Internet Monday by the nonprofit group “Invisible Children”. It’s been making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook about as fast as anything I’ve ever seen, and has been generating a lot of talk. In case you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll take the time to watch it here (but stick around for a bit of discussion afterward):

What are we to make of all this? Here are a couple of my thoughts.

First, the good:

  • This video is really well done. This is an example of how great art has the power to move people to action, and potentially to bring about cultural and political change on a global scale.
  • There is also something very powerful about a moving visual presentation to force people to engage with an issue they might otherwise overlook. We might compare it to the efforts of William Wilberforce to show people (he also targeted influential culture- and policy-makers) the horrors of slavery first hand, through various means such as showing them up close the conditions under which slaves were transported across the oceans.
  • Surely, if there has ever been a nonpartisan issue worth supporting, it is bringing down the man responsible for these unthinkable crimes. While there may be disagreement as to how it ought to be done, hopefully everyone can agree that seeing Joseph Kony brought to justice in 2012 would be a good thing.

Next, some reservations:

  • I’m not going to rush to send money to an organization about which I know nothing. “Invisible Children” may turn out to be a very worthwhile cause, but the track record of financial accountability and effectiveness of similar humanitarian organizations is not great. Is a monthly donation to IC the best way for me to get personally involved in improving the plight of children in Central Africa? Maybe it is, but I don’t know enough to make that judgment yet. But even some very superficial preliminary research turns up results that aren’t very promising.
  • I have no way to fact-check this video, and would like to give those who can do this the opportunity to do so. Already, articles like this one (published last year after Obama deployed U.S. Troops to Uganda) and this one (from back in 2009) call many of the video’s statistics into question.
  • The question of responsibility for dealing with international humanitarian violations is a complex one. Absolutely, Joseph Kony is a bad man, but there are many bad men. Is it the responsibility of the American government/military to bring them to justice? I would lean toward saying “no”. Let me balance that out, though, with the caveat that if our country is going to use the military to intervene overseas, I’d much rather see us helping foreign nationals apprehend a criminal than waging unconstitutional preemptive wars and maintaining an active military presence all over the world. Also, a democratically-driven and Congressionally-approved use of force (which the video advocates) is far preferable to the Executive Order when it comes to putting our troops in harm’s way.
  • I’m skeptical that a few million Facebook posts are going to make much of a difference. After all, it’s not like this guy was a total unknown last week. I first learned of Joseph Kony back in 2006, and as the video itself shows, he has been the #1 Most Wanted criminal since the International Criminal Court put together their list. Will a bunch of young people (who probably can’t find Uganda on a map) giving money to a filmmaker really help apprehend him?
  • So far, I’ve been granting the film’s premise that apprehending Joseph Kony is actually what is going to best help those he has hurt. My biggest reservation is that I really don’t think that this is what the people of Central Africa need most (and neither does this survivor of Kony’s atrocities). For those moved to compassion for the people victimized by Kony (and the many other warlords like him), there are many other reputable charities with a very long track record of real success.

A few other assorted observations:

  • Because I try to never miss an opportunity to point out what an uninformed windbag Rush Limbaugh is, the beguilingly popular “conservative” talk show host accused President Obama of sending American troops to “wipe out Christians in Uganda”, after defending Kony and the LRA as a Christian organization with valiant objectives. How anyone can ever take this guy seriously is beyond me.
  • It never ceases to amaze me how inconsistently pro-life almost all Americans seem to be. Many on the political Left rightly accuse conservatives of only caring about children until they are born, and showing very little concern for the plight of children like those highlighted in the video. Yet the fact that this video has garnered so much attention makes me wonder how our nation as a whole can be so blind to the fact that America legally slaughters more children each month than Kony has abducted in 30 years.

At the very least I will be interested to see whether or not this video campaign succeeds in maintaining the level of interest it has generated in its first week. Will people continue to care about Joseph Kony after the novelty has worn off?

For some more well-thought reading on the topic, please check out these articles:

  • Breathe — Tim Challies also counsels patience in discerning the value of the KONY 2012 campaign
  • Missions 101 — Darren Carlson, a fellow former CAMP-of-the-WOODS music staffer, is now the president of a missions organization called “Training Leaders International” (affiliated with Bethlehem Baptist Church and Desiring God Ministries). His thoughts and reflections on this topic are excellent.
  • Growing Outrage in Uganda Over the Film — Apparently the people in Uganda aren’t too thrilled about this thing.
  • Why You Should Feel Awkward About the KONY 2012 Film — Which accuses the filmmakers of appealing to the “white man’s burden complex”
  • Invisible Children’s Response to Critique — In the interest of fairness, be sure as well to check out the filmmakers’ responses to many of these criticisms in their own words.