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Transforming Texts That Shaped My Life and can Change Yours Too

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Transforming Texts: Review of Craig Carter, Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition
Transforming Texts: Review of Craig Carter, Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition

There is nothing better than a good book and a good cup of java.  I am a bibliophile. Though, my wife might suggest I am a book hoarder. She’s wrong of course! The great early modern scholar Desiderius Erasmus had the right priorities in life. He is often quoted as saying, “When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” (Letter to Jacob Batt (12 April 1500); Collected Works of Erasmus Vol 1, (1974))

Why do I love books? I love books because I see them as life changing. Great books can be transforming texts. Transforming texts have changed my life. I have adopted the phrase “transforming texts,” from my favourite from one of my favourite writers, Anthony Thiselton.

Why the World Needs Wisdom, or How to Save the World

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Why the World Needs Wisdom: or, how to save the world.
Why the World Needs Wisdom: or, how to save the world.

What the world needs now is  wisdom. The fate of the Western world hangs in the balance today.  It is in a serious, possibly terminal decline. Things are falling apart in education, politics, culture, and society. You and I need wisdom today. It is vital. It is the only think that can save the world. Wisdom, for Socrates, and Augustine, and today’s leading thinkers, is the only thing that will do. This is also the view of the wisest man who ever lived. He wrote:

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7).

Will Durant, in The Story of Philosophy: The lives and opinions of the world’s greatest philosophers from Plato to John Dewey (Amazon; .ca; .co.uk), describes the 5th century BC as an age of “destroyed faith” and “disintegrated individualism” (p. 7).

RC Sproul explains, in The Consequence of Ideas: Understanding the Concepts that Shaped Our World (Amazon; .ca; .co.uk), how this Greek culture ended up with “a crass politicization of education, economics, law, and public works led to a decline in both substantive thinking and civic virtue, both of which are enemies to any democratic enterprise that thrives on compromise and the relativization of ethics” (p. 27).

Do we not live in something of the same kind of world today? If you need a political illustration, simply compare the speech that got the United States’ first Republican President (Abraham Lincoln) elected (NPR), with the kind of speech that saw the most recent Republican (Donald Trump) installed in the White House.

Successful Parenting: Inspiring Minds to Shape Lives

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Successful Parenting: Training up a Child
Successful Parenting: Training up a Child

The way we are trained to think and to behave as children has a lifelong impact on us. This impact is both a proverbial biblical truth, and a truth learned from experience. So, successful parents are focused on inspiring minds and shaping lives.  It is critical that parents inspire, reform, and train the minds and hearts of their children to prepare them for life. 

Successful Parenting: Getting the Right Start

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Successful Parenting: How Should I Educate My Children
Successful Parenting: How Should I Educate My Children

What does successful parenting look like? Can a child’s life be ruined by something I do as a parent? Are there things I can do to set my child up for their future?

Prospective parents wonder what raising children is really like. New parents wish they were given a user manual for this parenting thing. Experienced parents begin to see mistakes we have made and look for ways to make things better. Grandparents, extended family, children’s and youth workers in church, or parachurch want to know how they can help. As Christians, we all want to know what God has in mind for our families.

Successful Parenting Made Simple: One Focus

So where do we start? Two essential biblical ideas set up successful parents to get the right start in raising their children.