Published on March 22, 2018 by Joshua R Monroe

Crossway, 2016 | 240 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books at a Glance

By Matthew Claridge


About the Author

Vern S. Poythress is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he has taught for nearly four decades. In addition to earning six academic degrees, he is the author of numerous books and articles on biblical interpretation, language, and science.


Table of Contents

Part 1: The Call to Serve Christ

1. Being Radically Christian
2. The Story of Redemption
3. Reasons for Obedience to Christ
4. Serving Christ in Our Knowledge
5. Contrasts with the World

Part 2: Resources for Serving Christ

6. Basic Spiritual Resources
7. Resources from Theology, Especially the Reformation
8. Abraham Kuyper and His Successors
9. Newer Resources

Part 3: Areas of Service

10. Christ the Lord of Life and Religion
11. Politics
12. Science
13. Art
14. The Future
15. Education
16. Work

Part 4: Traps to Avoid in Our Service

17. Traps in Motivation
18. Traps in Norms
19. Traps in Situations
20. Traps concerning Future Hopes

Appendix: Two Kingdom Theology



Chapter 1: Being Radically Christian

Poythress begins by reflecting on the scope of Jesus’ final words in the Great Commission: “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” These words are not only intended to encompass our spiritual, emotional, and psychological lives but also our social, cultural, and intellectual lives. It is particularly this latter, less reflected on or poorly reflected on, cluster of implications that Poythress seeks to explore in this book.

To understand how far reaching Jesus’ authority extends, we must consider how far reaching the change in our lives Jesus brings about through regeneration. After noting cultural and social ways of defining a “Christian,” Poythress returns to the biblical definition rooted in the monergistic and comprehensive reorientation of the “new birth.” Regeneration brings about a fundamental shift in our view of ourselves, God, the universe, and others. It not only reorients our beliefs about these things, but reorients the “standards of judgment we bring to the table when we are considering claims about truth.” We begin to realize, or ought to realize, that we cannot take at face value the way others, who have not experienced regeneration, process and view the world.

Part of a Christian’s calling is to correct, frustrate, and reorient the thinking of the world around a biblical understanding. It is a calling to clarify in what ways “every square inch in the whole domain of our human experience” (Abraham Kuyper) belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ.


Chapter 2: The Story of Redemption

Poythress opens, “if we are going to think through the life of the mind in the most radical way, we must do it in the context of the complete picture given in the Bible.” Our new approach to the world must be filtered through the Bible’s understanding of the world. Poythress then summarizes the main contours of the gospel message, rooted in the story-line of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. He notes the particular ways this narrative reveals the distinctive nature of the biblical God and his relationship with the world.

Having given us this broad outline, Poythress expands on several important details or implications. Particularly, he highlights how Christ’s incarnate nature informs our understanding of the purpose of history and creation, the significance of inaugurated eschatology for how we balance the already/not yet of Christ’s exaltation, the continuing work and gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives as “justified sinners,” and the authority of Scripture where Christ’s lordship in our lives is given concrete specificity. Continual awareness and. . .

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The Lordship of Christ: Serving Our Savior All of the Time, in All of Life, with All of Our Heart

Crossway, 2016 | 240 pages

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