Daniel J. Mount

Christian Author, Speaker, and Songwriter

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10 Memorable Novels

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Books | 0 comments

Earlier today, a friend challenged me to name the ten most memorable novels I’d read. This list isn’t necessarily the ones I consider to be the ten greatest works of fictional literature (though there is some overlap); it’s also not necessarily the ones I consider to have the greatest message (though, again, there is some overlap). This list is just the novels that have been the most memorable.

  1. Safely Home (Randy Alcorn) – A look at modern-day persecution of Christians. The single most moving novel I’ve ever read.
  2. The Last Sin Eater (Francine Rivers) – It’s a beautiful picture of the power of the Gospel to transform not just individuals, but also communities. (The movie comes nowhere close.)
  3. The Cat of Bubastes (G.A. Henty) – For various reasons, I can’t recommend all of Henty’s children’s novels. But this one, set in Egypt in the time of Moses, was an epic adventure. I consider it to be, far and away, the greatest of Henty’s works.
  4. Dominion (Randy Alcorn) – It discusses the power of the Gospel to transcend tensions between different ethnicities (or, as the media would say, “race relations”).
  5. Rilla of Ingleside (L.M. Montgomery) – Intended as a children’s book, but I’ve never read a more moving book on the impact of war on the home front in WWI (or any other war). It is the only book I’ve ever read that captures the tension so vividly that it is as if I am along for the ride.
  6. The Assignment (Mark Olsen) – While I’m far from saying that this is one of the five greatest books I’ve ever read, it certainly qualifies under the criteria of books that have stuck with me the most. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a novel with a more absurd premise—which, I suppose, is why it stuck with me. The author took the verse “it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment,” and asks, What if there were no exceptions? [SPOILER ALERT] What if Lazarus is still alive? Again, I can’t label this among the ten most profound, but it’s certainly among the ten most memorable!
  7. The List (Robert Whitlow) – It captures the power of the Gospel to break secret societies, family sins, and ancient curses. (The movie comes nowhere close.)
  8. Rainbow Valley (L.M. Montgomery) – This is in the same series as Rilla of Ingleside; it’s the immediately preceding book. Reading it first helped establish the characters for the latter book to have its full impact.
  9. The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells) – Of all the books I had to read for high school or college literature class, this is probably the only one with a plot memorable enough that I voluntarily read it again!
  10. Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan) – It might not have the pace of a modern thriller, but this Puritan classic certainly has a memorable plot and a great message.
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tl;dr Fireworks

Posted by on Jul 4, 2014 in Culture, Humor | 0 comments

We live in a tl;dr culture. It’s a fact I hate to admit, a point I hate to concede, yet I know it’s true. This culture is a soundbite culture—too lazy to do its own original research, but more than that, too lazy to even read a summary of the original research. It has to be a sound bite, or else it will be met with tl;dr.

(For the uninitiated: tl;dr is an abbreviation for people who are too lazy to even type out “too long; don’t read.”)

Perhaps nothing would illustrate the absurdity of tl;dr better than a tl;dr version of a fireworks show. :) Happy Independence Day!

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Time for Solid Meat

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014 in Theology | 0 comments

Hebrews 5:12-13 states: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” (KJV).

Earlier this week, I was visiting with a wise older man from church. We got to talking about theology in general, and this concept in particular. He remarked: “Sometimes you have to put steak on a plate and see if they’re able to chew it!”

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Sheep and Goats

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Theology | 0 comments

In the parable of the Sheep and the Goats, we see only two categories of people: People whom Jesus knew and people whom He never knew. There is no third category for “casual acquaintances,” “occasional visitors at my house,” or “people I know for a little while.” Either you know Jesus or you don’t. There is no middle ground.

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Sheep, Goats, and the role of government

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Culture, Theology | 0 comments

In a 2012 post, I discuss the questions “Was America a Christian Nation?” and “Is America a Christian Nation?” In the context of that discussion, I offered several possible definitions of what, exactly, it means to be a “Christian nation.” The one that has the most relevance to our country’s history—the definition under which we came closest to being a “Christian nation”—is “a nation based on the legal system of Scripture,” or, perhaps, “a nation based on Biblical principles.”

In the last 2,000 years of human history, few societies have attempted this. Eventually, each of these societies either ceased to exist or abandoned Biblical principles. If nations governed according to Biblical principles are God’s ideal, why do they not last?

There are thousands of interconnected factors. It would be reductionistic and simplistic to narrow them down to a single cause. However, as I’ve pondered this notion over the last couple of years, one factor has stood out with increasing clarity.

What exactly are the Biblical principles on which a nation should be based? Let’s start with the New Testament. Most discussions of the principles by which lives should be lived are specifically for how Christians should live. There are a few discussions of the role of civil government, most notably Romans 13′s comment that the civil government is responsible to bear the sword to “execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” In the context of Romans 13, what is evil? What evils should government be policing?

The answers are far too complex to answer in a blog post. Yet I suspect that incorrect answers to that question have been a central part of the downfall of numerous Christian societies.

Matthew 25 relates the parable of the sheep and the goats. Every society in human history has had and will have goats. It is the responsibility of civil government to preserve the peace, to keep the sheep and the goats from killing or harming one another. It is not the responsibility of civil government to make goats act like sheep in every respect.

There are certain things that neither goats nor sheep should do. But Christians are called to a higher standard. Should Christians keep the Lord’s name holy, observe a day of rest, submit ourselves to the leadership of our local churches, pray without ceasing, and meditate on God’s Word day and night? Most certainly. Should we be surprised when unbelievers do not do the same? Ought unbelievers be forced to do the same?

The central sin of the unbeliever is rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Everything else is secondary. In fact, a case could be made that we do unbelievers a disservice if, through cultural pressure or Government imperatives, we reform their conduct so completely that they think that they are “a good person” despite an unregenerate heart.

Civil government has a role: To preserve the lives and God-ordained liberties of its citizens. Its role is not to camouflage goats as sheep; it is not to hide the unregenerate heart of a goat in the wool of a Christian’s conduct.

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Quotes From Thomas Watson on the authority of Scripture

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Theology | 2 comments

This weekend, I had the opportunity to lead a small group study on the authority of Scripture. This small group is working through Thomas Watson’s A Body of Divinity. Watson had several excellent quotes that I wanted to save here for future reference.

On the authorship of Scripture:

I wonder whence the Scriptures should come, if not from God. Bad men could not be the authors of it. Would their minds be employed in inditing such holy lines? Would they declare so fiercely against sin? Good men could not be the authors of it. Could they write in such a strain? or could it stand with their grace to counterfeit God’s name, and put, Thus saith the Lord, to a book of their own devising? Nor could any angel in heaven be the author of it, because the angels pry and search into the abyss of gospel mysteries, I Pet. 1:12, which implies their nescience [ignorance] of some parts of Scripture; and sure they cannot be the authors of that book which they themselves do not fully understand.

On believing Scripture:

Oh give credence to the Word! It is breathed from God’s own mouth. Hence arises the profaneness of men, that they do not believe the Scripture. Isa. 53:1: ‘Who has believed our report?’ Did you believe the glorious rewards the Scripture speaks of, would you not give diligence to make your election sure? Did you believe the infernal torments the Scripture speaks of, would it not put you in a cold sweat, and cause a trembling at heart for sin? But people are in part atheists, they give but little credit to the Word, therefore they are so impious, and draw such dark shadows in their lives. Learn to realise Scripture, get your hearts wrought to a firm belief of it.

Some think, if God should send an angel from heaven, and declare his mind, they would believe him; or, if he should send one from the [condemned], and preach the torments of hell in all flames, they would believe. But, ‘If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one arose from the dead.’ Luke 16:31. God is wise, and he thinks the fittest way to make his mind known to us is by writing; and such as shall not be convinced by the Word, shall be judged by the Word.

He discussed the claim of Roman Catholicism that only the Roman Catholic Church had the power to interpret Scripture. In answer of the question of who may interpret Scripture, he said:

The Scripture is to be its own interpreter, or rather the Spirit speaking in it. Nothing can cut the diamond but the diamond; nothing can interpret Scripture but Scripture.

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