Various Thoughts #5

Don’t use relationships as an excuse not to open your mouth and say the hard things. Don’t open your mouth in a way that serves as an excuse not to work hard at building relationships.

To help cultivate a proper fear of hell and a concern for the lost, I highly recommend that everyone spend a couple of hours studying the supermax prisons.

After the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui it was said: “He got what he deserved.” “I totally and wholeheartedly agree with the decision of the jury today.” “Justice has been served today.” We will hear those words from the saints at the final judgment, when the wicked are sentenced to hell for high treason against God. And there will be a trembling joy at the grace of Christ given to us hell-deserving sinners.

If a man should come to my town, and stand on the street corners, telling everyone that God’s wrath is burning against unrepentant idolators, and that He is very soon going to end His patience, and unleash the floodgates of His fury; and if he should herald Revelation 14:10, warning, “he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of His anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (cf. Psalm 75:8); if all these things, should I rebuke him for being a liar, or for being unjust, or for being unmerciful? Shall I be offended or embarrassed by his message? Surely I wish for him to complete his message with the cross of Christ and the grace extended to the humble, but is a man who is not merciful unjust? Is a man who tills the soil of men’s hearts with the justice and law of God unmerciful? God, help me to think of their message like you do: it is accurate, and right, and worth hearing, and it tills the soil of the hearts of wise men, open to reproof. It prepares a straight path to the gospel. Those who reject it, or are embarrassed by it, or scoff at it, or make friends with unbelievers by mutually criticizing it, do so because of sin.

“God does not always act with justice. Sometimes He acts with mercy. Mercy is not justice, but neither is it injustice. Injustice violates righteousness. Mercy manifests kindness and grace and does no violence to righteousness. We may see non-justice in God, which is mercy, but we never see injustice in God.” -R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, p. 145

Resolved: To exit the sphere of “conversation” from which flows the froth of “missional”, “emergent”, “postmodern” rhetoric. Why? Because it seems to be very little more than pompous, empty rhetoric. It is “essentially a kind of semantic gamesmanship, more sophistry than substance.” (>>) Give me the clarity of the Word, objective truth and beauty, genuine piety, the ugliness of sin, the glory of God, the gutsiness of world missions to unreached people groups, and the esteeming of Christ. The average human being lives 70 or so years. I don’t have time for the high-sounding phrases and flippant rejection of time-tested truths and never-ending ambiguity.

“Loving people in a way that they don’t want to be loved.”

“Fruitful evangelism that results from the dark nights of the soul.”

Propositions are not peculiar to any language; a given proposition may be asserted in many languages.” (Irving Copi & Carl Cohen) Those who care more about truth care more about using helpful, clear, propositional sentences. By being propositional, what a person says can stand the test of time through the change of language. It can be translated. Those who play with non-propositional, trite remarks—the kind that are almost sure to make an audience say, “ooh”, and “ahh”—are giving people what won’t last. Knowing this doesn’t require knowing the temporality or weakness of a concept. It can often simply be discerned by the fact that meaningful, propositional language is absent.

God. Truth. Grace. Love. Justice. Power. Glory. Pro-Life. Compassion. Peaceful. Respectful. I suspect that the battle over ideas between communicating, linguistic beings always involves a battle over the ownership of language. When a war over ideas is won, the victor will wave the banner of words, filling them with the meaning he supplies. You often can tell who is winning the battle of ideas by what content is being ascribed to language.

“Christ’s grace [Pelagius] treats with such brevity, barely menitoning grace by name so that his only aim of mentioning it seems to have been to avoid the scandal of having avoided the subject.” (Augustine) “[T]his people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me…” (Isaiah 29:13)

“[A]voiding criticism and… hard questions by the use of the ‘You just don’t understand what I’m saying’ ” -Anna Nymous (>>)

Those who want to reject justification by faith alone blind themselves to everything except the caricature that those who are supposedly justified by faith alone may continue in unrepentance, rebellion, and sin. Easy believism is the perfect strawman for cultists. Those who teach and preach easy believism are cause for slander against the glories of justification by faith alone. It is tragic and ironic, because the only foundation upon which a man may become holy is that of being freely justified—fully forgiven and counted righteous before God. Justification ensures the sanctification that ensues. A man who is not being sanctified is not justified, and never has been. All who are being sanctified are fully justified.

“[T]he Bible requires Christian leaders to know such issues, requiring in effect that Christian shepherds know what a wolf looks like. A man can be orthodox and yet be disqualified for ministry. A man can like the sheep without being qualified to fight the wolves” (Douglas Wilson, “Epilogue” in Bound Only Once, p. 220).