I’m looking forward to reading Michael Horton’s book Ordinary. There is no missing the allusion in the title to a book like David Platt’s Radical, though — which is another book I’ve found to be very helpful.
I like Horton a lot, and I assume that rather than disagreeing with what Jonathan Edwards called “the necessity of engaging in the difficult duties of religion,” which is what Platt calls for, he will in part be correcting a misunderstanding of what it means to be “radical.” For, compared to the ways of the world, the Christian life truly is strikingly different in many ways (hence, radical — per Platt) while also being strikingly similar in other ways (which I assume Horton’s book helps affirm; for example, the call of Christ is typically not a call to disengage from our vocations, which often seem very common and ordinary). So there is a radical component to the Christian life as well as an ordinary component.
In the spirit of affirming the truly radical nature of the Christian life in the right way, here is a very clear passage. Hebrews 13:12-14 says “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”
The ESV study Bible notes have this to say on that passage, and it is right on: “Go to him outside the camp speaks metaphorically of leaving behind the love of this world and desire for its approval, and embracing the reproach of Christ, emulating Jesus’ response to his shameful sufferings (see 12:2-3). Moreover, such Christian endurance is founded on a realization that this world is a mere temporary dwelling (no lasting city) en route to an eternal abode (cf. 11:14-16; 12:22-24).”
See also John piper’s excellent sermon on this passage, Let Us Go With Jesus Bearing Reproach, as well as his sermon from T4G 2008, How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice.
In relation to Horton’s book, the paradox of “ordinary” and “radical” in the Christian life is too interesting (and important) to overlook, and I expect his book to be a helpful contribution to the discussion. So I’m thinking about doing something unconventional (non-ordinary!) and perhaps interesting with his book. I’m thinking about blogging about my thoughts on what Horton may be saying in the book before I even read it, and then blogging on it after reading it to compare what I expected to what actually was the case, and discuss whether his book updated my thinking in any areas.
If I have the time, that’s what I’ll seek to do.