Table of Contents: The Happy Christian

1 · Happy Facts Facts > Feelings = Positive+

Chapter 1 is on the sometimes uncontrollable sway of our emotions, and how we can gain mastery over them. It uses the Psalms as a guide for this.

2 · Happy Media  Good News > Bad News = Positive+

Chapter 2 speaks to issues of negative outlook, eagerness to criticize. Need to replace with Paul’s instruction in Philippians 4:8 and exhortation to meditate on the good, pure, and noble. The Gospel provides a new focal point.

3 · Happy Salvation Done > Do = Positive+

Chapter 3 focuses on the Law/Gospel distinction. In particular speaks of peace in conscience, to serve, and for life, and death.

4 · Happy Church Christ > Christians = Positive+

Chapter 4 is about overlooking faults in the local church (like hypocrisy, and the hypercritical) to see the importance of fellowship and community for happiness. In particular: talks about how to bear with the weaknesses of other Christians, and also the ‘inadequacy’ of virtual church to meet our community needs.

5 · Happy Future Future > Past = Positive+

Chapter 5 talks about the importance of remembering the past works of God (creation, redemptive-history, church history, world history, and personal history). But also talks about the problem of our past history of sin, and how to deal with it. Challenges us to contemplate the future God has for us. Discusses Christian hope. Also discusses the application and present benefits of hope.

6 · Happy World Everywhere Grace > Everywhere Sin = Positive+

Chapter 6 is about God’s common grace, and learning to find value in the world and in other people.

7 · Happy Praise Praise > Criticism = Positive+

Chapter 7 is about speaking words of affirmation, and being people who encourage. Also talks about right and wrong ways to give criticism.

8 · Happy Giving Giving > Getting = Positive+

Chapter 8 is about sacrificial giving and money. It’s also about giving thanks and gratitude. It applies principles of self-giving to marriage, leading, and following, as well.

9 · Happy Work Work > Play = Positive+

Chapter 9 is about vocation. Talks about God’s providential work through us. Talks about work as a form of worship to God. Also discusses rest and leisure, and danger of over emphasizing work

10 · Happy Differences Diversity > Uniformity = Positive+

Chapter 10 discusses multi-culturalism, racism, and how to reach out to those of a different ethnic background. Talks about pursuing diversity in the church.

Conclusion: Grand Total = Positive Faith = The Happy Christian

The “Conclusion” gets into the ‘yeah, buts…’ like: besetting sin, and suffering. Also points us ultimately to heaven.



It is Hard to Admit Our Prejudices

“None of us like to admit that we have sinful prejudices, and even fewer of us want to deal with them and drive them out of our lives. Part of that is not wanting to accept how sinful we are. But part of it is that it is really, really hard to believe we can be happier and our lives can actually be enhanced and improved by embracing and pursuing more diversity than uniformity. Can diversity really be a positive in our lives?” -David Murray, The Happy Christian

Why Can’t Everyone Be More Like Me?

“The seminary where I taught had a good number of international students from almost every continent, and their diverse learning and preaching styles began to challenge me and reveal a little of my barely hidden sense of cultural superiority. Why can’t everyone be more like me?” -David Murray, The Happy Christian

The ‘Highest’ Calling Is What God Has Called You To Do, Whatever That Is

“If we accept this biblical view of work, we will stop thinking that gospel ministry is the highest calling. The work that God has given you is the highest calling and is itself a God-given ministry. The ministry is the highest calling only for those whom God has called to ministry (and as Paul said, God usually calls the least of all saints to that work). But if God has called you to another kind of work, that is His highest calling for you.” -David Murray, The Happy Christian

Can We Forgive Someone Before They Ask for it?

“I’ve lost count of the number of times some tragedy has occurred—a mass shooting, a terrorist attack, a drunk-driving fatality—and the victims or their relatives, usually Christians, start forgiving the offenders within hours or days of the crime. I understand the motive and the desire to present an attractive witness about Christian forgiveness to the world. But it is not a faithful witness to God. It does not reflect how God forgives, which is to be our pattern and model. Here’s why: God does not forgive those who do not want forgiveness. Here’s how God forgives:

1. God is willing, ready, and eager to forgive everyone. That’s His beautiful nature, His compassionate character, and His constant desire.

2. God offers forgiveness to everyone. God offers to release those who have offended Him from their deserved punishment and alienation from Him. There’s a big difference between offering it and giving it. Offering it is unconditional; giving it is conditional.

3. God does not forgive everyone regardless of the response to His offer. Although He offers forgiveness to all, not all respond. Some don’t even think they’ve done anything needing forgiveness.

4. God’s forgiveness is conditional on repentance (Luke 13:3; 17:3; Acts 2:38). God’s forgiveness is conditional on the offender’s wanting forgiveness and wanting to turn from his or her offending ways.

5. Forgiveness through repentance produces reconciliation on both sides. Offering forgiveness reduces the temperature of the conflict, but only the giving of forgiveness, in response to repentance, ends it.” -David Murray, The Happy Christian

BTW NOTE: I agree with these theological points about how God offers forgiveness, but I disagree with Murray’s argument that we can’t forgive before someone asks for it. Even if we use God as an example of this, the cross is the ‘material cause’ of our forgiveness, it is the moment when in principle God determines not to hold the sins of believers against them anymore–even though they have not yet asked for it. Thus, even with God’s forgiveness there is a ‘judicial act within the heart of God’ to forgive even before this forgiveness is experienced by both parties in the relationship.