Sweet Counsel: Essays to Brighten the Eyes is now available on amazon. It is a collection of very polished and reworked blog posts along with some new material. Here is the introduction…
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
If, in the language of biblical symbols, gold is solid light and oil is liquid light, then honey is liquid gold.
As the golden Ark contained the Ten Words, and the oil of the Lampstand lightened the path of the king, so honey is the Word of God in edible form. In the wilderness, manna tasted like honey wafers. In Canaan, the law of the Lord was even more desirable than its precious honey (Psalm 19:10; 119:103).
If you are a regular reader, you will have some idea of how I feel about the practice of paedobaptism. But that is only half the story. I have just as much distaste for “baptist” Christianity without a spine. I myself need a Church with a spine, a Church full of grace and light because vows are not only made by baptizands but also understood.
I believe baptists get the “vow” part right, but neglect solid accountability to that vow. Paedobaptists, on the other hand, get the accountability right, but allow the priestly vow to be taken by proxy. This is why I have used the analogy of knighthood to describe New Covenant baptism. Although paedobaptism truncates the New Covenant “boundary,” I’m in agreement with my Federal Vision friends on just about everything else.
So, with that understanding, here is a guest post by a reader, Sarah Culbertson, who, like me, has learned a great deal from the Douglas Wilson camp, where the “front end” of the Christian vow is skewed but the “back end” is right on target.
Some excerpts from Ben Witherington’s long summary of William A. Johnson’s short book, Readers and Reading Culture in the High Roman Empire:
Let me be clear that this book focuses on people like Pliny or Aulus Gellius or Galen, or Fronto or Lucian, but there is much to be learned from this book that can be applied, mutatis mutandis to literate Christians, their scribes, and early Christian communities of reading and writing…
“If the creed is not considered dangerous, divine worship is emasculated.”
A creed is either worthless or worth everything we have. Here’s a classic quote from an essay by Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy entitled “The Peace of the Pirates” in Planetary Service (1978).
I have had the honor to have been considered a public danger more than once in my life. The first time was in 1912 when I wrote, “Language is wiser than the person who speaks it.” My thesis almost foundered on this disturbing reality of the Holy Spirit which I had perceived. Balaam’s ass was considered unscientific!
“Far more can be known about the early recorded history of mankind than is generally allowed, and what is revealed by this history is a story that is very different indeed from the one that we are used to hearing.”
Those who take Genesis 1-11 as literal history are considered ignorant by the “more respectable” echelons of Christian academia. But it turns out that it is these scholars who are the ignorant ones, and there is documentary evidence to prove it. Two thousand years of recorded history which corroborates the testimony of the Bible was deliberately ignored and is excluded from the modern curricula. Bill Cooper writes that this evidence is not difficult either to access or to read, which means that much of Christian scholarship has either been duped by secular historians about the historicity of Genesis, or is deliberately lying to the people of God.
or The Time Appointed by the Father
The Bible is a musical book. It plays the same tune over and over again. However, much of modern Bible scholarship refuses to be caught up in the flow, instead limiting its practice to the particulars. Instead of recognising themes and motifs, it boils down to ”Look, there’s another B flat.” The historical-grammatical method is an instrument which refuses to submit to the music for fear it might get carried away.
Peter Leithart follows the tune concerning the meaning of stoicheia. He has not only identified a B flat, but how it is used in the literary composition – its significance in the Covenant tune as it is presented to us by God, and as it plays out in history. I’ll quote his post, and then I will allow the same tune to carry him somewhere he does not want to go.
James B. Jordan discusses the Confessions and Confessionalism with Steve Wilkins.
“Open the Bible and let the lion loose…”
or What Are You Looking At?
by Steven Opp
I feel their eyes all over me
Itʼs lookinʼ like conspiracy
Iʼm outta friends that I can trust
Maybe theyʼre onto us!
- Needtobreathe: “Maybe Theyʼre Onto Us”
Everybody knows what the word “paranoid” means. Itʼs when somebody is irrationally afraid of something. People who are paranoid are always on the lookout for what might jump out and get them. Comedian Richard Lewis understands this: “Even at home, on my stationary exercise bike, I have a rearview mirror.”
“Show me your tomes, and I will draw you a napkin.”
The usual way to approach a theological problem is to read just about everything written on the subject by just about everybody else, and quote just about every one of them in a book that almost nobody is going to read. And the result most often looks like the same landscape just slightly rearranged. There is little or no progress.
Although the value of such work should never be underestimated, true innovation in any field seems to be achieved by someone willing to attack a problem from an entirely fresh angle. Mathematician and Nobel Prize winner John Nash (the subject of the movie A Beautiful Mind) was one such individual. Another, also a Nobel Prize winner, was physicist Dr Richard Feynman. His approach to science is very much like the approach of the school of biblical theology to which I subscribe. The scientist observing the laws of nature is like someone, who does not know the rules of chess, watching a game and attempting to make sense of it.