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Redeeming the Time: A Christian Approach to Work and Leisure [Paperback]

By Leland Ryken (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   301
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.06" Width: 6.14" Height: 0.76"
Weight:   1.08 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 5, 2012
Publisher   Baker Academic
Age  18
ISBN  080105169X  
EAN  9780801051692  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This fully developed biblical perspective of work and leisure finds in the Puritan enjoyment of both as important to life a holistic balance often missing today.

Publishers Description
Very few works attempt to analyze and apply the biblical principles that relate to work and leisure. Leland Ryken hopes to change that, reframing labor and leisure around God's purposes for a holistic lifestyle.
Ryken finds the answers in Scripture and in the rich heritage of theological thinking, while weaving together insights drawn from a wide array of sources. The result is one of the most informed and practical studies on our day-to-day activities.

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More About Leland Ryken

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Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for nearly 50 years. He has authored or edited over fifty books, including The Word of God in English and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible. He is a frequent speaker at the Evangelical Theological Society's annual meetings and served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version Bible.

Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois. Todd has spent over a decade in pastoral ministry, previously serving on staff at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, and Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the cofounder and chairman of the Center for Pastor Theologians, a ministry dedicated to resourcing pastor theologians. Todd and his wife, Katie, have seven children.

David Jackman (MA, Cambridge University) is a renowned Christian speaker and author. In addition to serving as a visiting lecturer at London's Oak Hill Theological College, he is also a former president of The Proclamation Trust, a ministry dedicated to encouraging and equipping Bible teachers around the world.

D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is a cofounder of the Gospel Coalition and has written or edited nearly 120 books. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.

Paul R. House (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He has been a pastor or teacher in churches, Christian colleges, and seminaries for over thirty years. He is a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society, an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature, and a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version Bible. House is the author of numerous books, including Bonhoeffer's Seminary Vision.

Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, and has published over 20 books.

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of the Master's College and Seminary. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

Bruce William Winter (PhD, Macquarie University) is the director of the Institute for Early Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World. Winter was previously the warden of Tyndale House at Cambridge and is currently a part-time lecturer at Queensland Theological College in Australia.

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.

Duane Litfin (DPhil, University of Oxford; PhD, Purdue University) is president emeritus of Wheaton College where he served for seventeen years. He is the author of numerous articles and books.

Phillip D. Jensen is an evangelist, a Bible teacher, and the director of Two Ways Ministries.

Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College. Formerly, he served as senior minister of Philadelphia's historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited more than 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and preached at universities and seminaries worldwide.

Peter Jensen is a retired Australian Anglican bishop, theologian and academic. From 1985 to 2001, he was principal of Moore Theological College. From 2001 to 2013, he was the archbishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of the Province of New South Wales in the Anglican Church of Australia.

Jon M. Dennis (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; MLA, University of Chicago) is the founding pastor and senior pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, Illinois. He has helped to establish the church's four congregations and various ministries including Hope for Chicago, the Charles Simeon Trust, and the Chicago Partnership for Church Planting. He is the author of several books and is currently working to complete his doctorate of ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary. Jon and his wife, Amy, have five children.

David R. Helm (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as lead pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. He also serves as Chairman of The Charles Simeon Trust, an organization which promotes practical instruction in preaching. He is the co-author of The Genesis Factor (with Jon Dennis), a contributor to Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching, and the author of The Big Picture Story Bible and 1 and 2 Peter and Jude in the Preaching the Word commentary series.

Leland Ryken currently resides in the state of Illinois.

Leland Ryken has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Christian Guides to the Classics
  2. Reading the Bible as Literature
  3. Writers' Palette Book

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Very good overview  Oct 31, 2009
The book is an overview of the Christian view of work and leisure throughout the ages. As usual, Ryken has great quotes from Puritan writers, as well as many other authors. My gripe with the book is more of structure. He alternates between work and leisure. For example, Ryken would do a section on how the reformers viewed work and then the next section would be how the reformers viewed leisure. He alternates throughout the book. The Bible has some great things to say about leisure, but not a lot of scripture about it. Furthermore, he makes many of the same points for both secitons on leisure and work. The book seems to repeat itself to me. This makes the book seem at times a collection of essays, rather than a book with a thesis and cohesive structure.

Another gripe is that he quotes social scientists about leisure. Ryken, points out that social scientists view that leisure as important and then states the Bible does as well. This tactic comes off a little strange in a book where he quotes the greatest theological minds commenting on scripture's view of work and leisure. The bible seems at times in Ryken's arguments as secondary supporting arguments to me. He also expresses his own views on leisure. He writes about how leisure helps us to become fully human. This seems a little out place in the company of thinkers like Lewis and the puritans. Our becoming fully human is a goal that the puritans would not put much stock in.

I did like his section on "time" and Ecclesiastes. He has some wonderful quotes by Sayers and Lewis and the Puritans. His insights on work are very good. His interpretation of some key scriptural texts is right on. The book has some great insights. It just seems disjointed to me at times.
Sanctified Work and Leisure: Motives, Manners, and Ends  Jul 24, 2008
For high school and college students particularly, this book is an absolute must-read. Prof. Ryken teaches us the right view of work and leisure, both when understood properly, the basis, the motives, the manners by which we ought to do both, and the goals of them, like other creations, are very good in the eyes of God.The issues associated with work and leisure today that show their ugly heads in workers' dissatisfaction, time famine, poor work-ethics, poor-quality or wasted leisure time are treated in the early chapters as Ryken proposes their roots being the godless success and consumer ethics.

Next, the Reformation view of work and leisure are contrasted against other historical views; for examples, those of ancient Greek, Marxism, and sacred-secular dichotomy, usually promoted by the Roman Catholic Church. Here, I am confident the readers would be encouraged by the many related quotations by the Puritans and the Reformers. Some that underline their conviction in the dignity and gratefulness to God of all vocations, as well as the legitimacy of leisure; though they seem to struggle about the latter, are as follows:

"It looks like a small thing when a maid cooks and cleans and does other housework. But because God's command is there, even such a small work must be praised as a service to God far surpassing the holiness and asceticism of all monks and nuns" (Luther, 104).

"In all our cares, toils, annoyances, and other burdens, it will be no small alleviation to know that all these are under the superintendence of God. This, too, will afford admirable consolation in following your proper calling. No work will be so mean and sordid as not to have a splendor and value in the eye of God" (Calvin, 106).

"[God's blessing] at times come to us through our labors and at times without our labors, but never because our labors; for God always gives them because of His undeserved mercy... He uses our labor as a sort of mask, under the cover of which he blesses us and grants us what is His, so that there is room for faith" (Luther, 164).

Perhaps, the best Puritan mandate in regard to work comes from Richard Baxter,

"Choose that employment or calling ... in which you may be most serviceable to God. Choose not that in which you may be most rich or honorable in the the world; but that in which you may do most good, and best escape sinning"(107, 252).

Despite a solid Scriptural understanding of the nature of work, and the legitimacy of leisure, as Adams and Bradshaw implied, "Men may eat and drink even to honest delight.Christ Jesus is no enemy to honest mirth and delight" (p.119), however, Ryken argues that the Reformers have a somewhat defective view of leisure due to an excessive concern of idleness. As a result, though they acknowledge the legitimacy of leisure, they inadvertently treat leisure in a utilitarian manner, yet with a nobler motive than a purely economic motive that is prevailing today. The Puritan utilitarian view that tends to legalism can be seen, for example, from Baxter's seemingly inordinate paranoia about time that Ryken criticizes,

"Keep up a high esteem of time and be every day more careful that you lose none of your time... And if vain recreation, dressings, feastings, idle talk, unprofitable company, or sleep be any of them temptations to rob you of any of your time, accordingly heighten your watchfulness and firm resolution against them"(125).

The last section of the book examines what the Bible says about work and leisure, the key of which is found in Genesis; in the life of God and the life of pre-lapsarian Adam and Eve in the garden before work became a curse that affects our view of leisure as well. The examination also includes the New Testament views from Jesus Himself as well as from Ecclesiastes and the epistles of what sanctified work and leisure look like and what the right view of them is, the most important of which is the fact that both are the gift of God that carries the principles of stewardship and God-centeredness in them, that in the end is intended for both His glory and our enjoyment. Ryken puts it this way, commenting on the Christian work ethic, as well as both work and leisure on 1 Corinthians and Ecclesiastes:

"[quoting Minear] Throughout the Bible, it is the person who works to whom most attention is given, rather than the form or conditions of his work... Biblical writers [emphasize] the agent more than the act, the motive of the laborer more than the mode of his labor"(256).

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). Eating and drinking are thoroughly physical and earthly activities... They might be ascribed with equal plausibility to the life of work and the life of leisure. In either case, they can be the sphere in which we glorify God"(213-214).

"[On Ecclesiastes]There are `under the sun' passages in which the author describes the futility of trying to find meaning and happiness in a purely earthly scale of values, and there are `above the sun' passages in which the author celebrates the God-centered life as an antidote to life `under the sun'... In fact, enjoyment is exactly what the writer finds denied when he limits his quest to the earthly sphere"(263).

Strangely, yet truly, the ultimate goal of work and leisure of a service to the glory of God and our satisfaction is nothing but John Piper's tenet that says that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him (this "in Him" is crucial), even in work and leisure, and everything else indeed. The glory of God and our joy are not two and opposite but one and the same.

The reason why this book is indispensable is because Ryken not only offers careful, solid, true, reasonable and fair analysis, understanding and principles of two important aspects that occupy most, if not all our lives, but also how to translate them into actions. For some, they may guide them how to pick a college major and where to work. For others, they may help determine whether one should get another job. For others still, they may mean forsaking questionable unfruitful wasteful ways to spend leisure and look for more satisfying ones; all these have a single ultimate holy goal in view, whether one is a janitor or a CEO, that is, to honor God our Maker by being happy in doing and being a janitor or a CEO, or everything else in between, living for Him.


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