The Broken Way

Ann Voskamp's style is hard for some people to take. Her books are prose poetry, and those who are interested in a strictly academic systematic theology will be disappointed. I find that her writing style is the most common criticism by people who don't like her books. I, however, love the way she writes. It's like an amalgam of T.S. Eliot and Bonhoeffer.

Another criticism I've heard of Voskamp is that her theology is heretical mysticism that perverts the gospel. I read one "discernment" blogger saying that she could hear the whispering of the serpent through Ann Voskamp's writing. I honestly don't get this one at all. I didn't find any trace of bad doctrine in this book at all. Maybe she emphasizes things in a different way than I would, maybe she uses non-standard theological vocabulary, but what she is presenting here is a pretty solid theology of suffering such as Martin Luther would have undoubtedly approved. She's also probably more well…

Commonplace Wednesday 2

Okay, I realize that it isn't Wednesday. I've been traveling the last few days, and so this Commonplace Wednesday is going to be on a Friday. Here are my quotations for the week.

From Our Reasonable Faith by Herman Bavinck

All those expressions and statements which are employed in the confession of the church and in the language of theology are not designed to explain the mystery which in this matter confronts it, but rather to maintain it pure and unviolated against those who would weaken or deny it.
 Although in the gospels the life of Jesus is comparatively briefly depicted, His last passion and dying is comprehensively told. Just so the apostolic preaching rather rarely goes back to the conception and birth of Jesus, but puts all emphasis upon the cross, the death, and the blood of Christ. It is not by the birth buy by the death of His Son that we are reconciled to God.
 Mary enjoyed a high honor, an honor greater than the prophets and apostles ever had. She is the blessed, the favored, among women, and the mother of the Lord. But she herself was like all flesh, like all men; and that holy thing which was born of her was not owing to the purity of her nature, but to the creative and sanctifying activity of the Holy Spirit in her womb.
 The communion into which Christ, according to the Scriptures, has entered with us is so intimate and deep that we cannot form an idea or picture of it. The term substitutionary suffering expresses in only a weak and defective way what it means…This is the mystery of salvation, the mystery of the Divine love. We do not understand the substitutionary suffering of Christ, because we, being haters of God and of each other, cannot come anywhere near calculating what love enables one to do, and what eternal, infinite, Divine love can achieve.
 The Resurrection is the Divine reversal of the sentence which the world passed on Jesus.
 The perfect sacrifice which Christ accomplished on the cross is of infinite power and worth, abundantly adequate for the reconciliation of the sins of the whole world. Holy Scripture always relates that whole world to the redemption and re-creation.
 At the creation the morning stars sang together and all the children of God rejoiced. At the birth of Christ the multitude of the heavenly hosts raised the jubilee of God’s good will. On the birthday of the church that church itself sings the wonderful works of God in myriad tones.
From The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas

“Bah! With my friends I reckon neither bottles of wine nor years.”
 “God has made all these things that we see, Raoul; He has made us also,—poor atoms mixed up with this monstrous universe. We shine like those fires and those stars; we sigh like those waves; we suffer like those great ships, which are worn out in plowing the waves, in obeying the wind that urges them towards an end, as the breath of God blows us towards a port. Everything likes to live, Raoul, and everything seems beautiful to living things.”
…D’Artagnan had time to observe and reflect that women—mild doves—treat each other more cruelly than tigers.