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Tweet Cred

On March 19th I tweeted this tweet. It was a pretty bold claim, I admit.  So I am going to take the opportunity to back it up through a series of blog posts.

Get yours today!
I claim that the book, By Faith, Not By Sight may be the best theological-pastoral-practical-pastoral counseling book I have ever read. I am saying this book and its subject matter has implications in all of these facets in ways I have not found (or can't remember) in any other book I've read.  To be sure, there may be better theological books out there, better pastoral books, better books that are more accessible practically, etc. But Dr. Gaffin's work is multi-faceted in its implications for all of these areas in ways I haven't seen before. My goal in this series of blog posts is to make my way through the book and highlight these implications.

But first, maybe some definitions would help.

Theological-This is a study of the Apostle Paul's view of the theology of salvation, or his soteriology.

Pastoral-How is one saved? How does one "stay" saved? How can one have assurance of salvation? What is the relationship between works and the gospel message; sanctification and justification?  How you answer these questions effect how you will lead, pastor and shepherd the people in the church you serve.

Practical-The answers to the previous questions will inform how a pastor preaches, prays and pursues his call. And the answers to the previous questions (and there are many, many more questions that could be asked) will effect every single Christian's walk; the root of their joy, their walk of repentance; their fight against their flesh, the world and the devil. Again, I hope to tease this out as we move forward.

Pastoral Counseling-I admit that I may be making a distinction with little difference between pastoral and pastoral counseling. Please grant me some license here as the distinction I am making is born out of my experience as a pastor. When I think pastorally I am thinking in terms of the gathered people of the church; ministry to the many. When I think in a pastoral counseling sort of way, I am thinking in a personal, individual, face-to-face formal counseling ministry; bringing the gospel to bear on a particular person or a couple or a family who has asked me to serve them as they struggle. So the implications I will draw out here will carry with them, I hope, an immediate address to a specific issue. And in some cases, a principle drawn from the book (or, more properly, Paul's theology of salvation faithfully presented in the book) that will inform a formal pastoral counseling posture.

So that is the primary goal; to draw out the implications of Dr. Gaffin's work with these four areas in the cross-hairs. I will also include the following goals in my posts:
  • I plan to be brief in each post. I will not cover a chapter per post (the book has four chapters that are relatively long, cover a whole lot of ground and can be fairly complex). My goal of being brief is also based on my personal preference. If I look at a blog post and it will require a lot of scrolling, I will either skip it, save it for later or print it out. I am under no illusions that what I post will be worth saving or printing, so I hope to be brief so that those who are interested can read it quickly. (Just as an example, this present post is most probably longer than the future posts I will post.)  
  • I will not hit on the implications for each area in each post. Sometimes I will, but not every time.
  • I hope to be consistent in posting, not waiting months between posts.
So there you go. If I am going to tweet such a claim, (and commend a book to you) I want to be prepared to back it up.

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