This book by James M. Renihan has arrested me for the past few weeks. It was riveting to hear how my Particular Baptist brothers, with a “primitivist urge to fulfill the dictates of Scripture”, “ransacked the pages of the Bible in order to establish their deeds with a heavenly authority.” (58)
I find myself largely at home with the Particular Baptists of the late 17th century, who themselves admired their Puritan brothers. Their ecclesiological retrieval is inspiring.
The book is a running commentary and synthesis of primary sources. Renihan ended each chapter with cogent summaries without rhetorical flourish.
“As the years pass, God expands the land promise to extend beyond Canaan to eventually encompass the entire world.
“The first hint is the varying descriptions of the geographic boundaries of the Promised Land throughout the Pentateuch (cf., e.g., Genesis 15:18-21; Exodus 23:31-33; Numbers 34:1-12; Deuteronomy 1:7; 11:24; 34:1-4; Joshua 1:2-4). Such variety suggests the borders of the land are intended to expand as Israel dwells there and exercises dominion over it and the surrounding nations.
“A second indication is that God promised Abram descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky or the dust of the earth (Genesis 13:16; 15:5). Even allowing for the possibility of hyperbole, the sheer number of descendants envisioned seems to demand a larger territory than the land of Canaan.
“A third indication comes from Romans 4:13, where Paul asserts that God promised Abraham and his offspring that he “would be heir of the world.” The apostle, following the lead of the prophets, sees in nascent form a promise that encompassed all of creation. The frequent descriptions of the fertility and fecundity of the land portray it as a new Edenic Paradise where God’s original purposes for creation will be realized.”
Harmon, Matthew S.. Rebels and Exiles (Essential Studies in Biblical Theology) (p. 22). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
Scripture is like a good meat rub. The Master Chef says, “Add this.”
And I think, “But how does that help the final taste?”
I don’t understand how it all works. But it’d be foolish of me refuse good counsel.
Scripture is useful for training me in righteousness. Even in ways I can’t anticipate.
Learning these “make us wise for salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15). They give us a taste of what is to come, they reveal the heart of God, they teach us wisdom and the “general equity” principles for holiness, they refine our view of nature, and they prime us for recognizing the Messiah.
And they do this in a thousand ways we aren’t aware of.
“The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8)
We do not think too highly of ourselves in saying, “I represent the King of creation. I am a ruling representative of Nobility over the world.”
What has God given man? God has “crowned him with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:5)
God has given him “dominion over the works of [his] hands”, and put “all things under his feet.” (Psalm 8:6)
What reflective echoes and analogues we have in military pageantry, castles, thrones, courtrooms, and inaugurations!
God intends to array us with a glory that surpasses the most beautiful flowers and “Solomon in all his glory.” (Matthew 6:28–29)
What eminent creatures we are! That killing one of us calls for capital punishment (Genesis 9:6). That our rulers may carry out such a sentence as ministers of God (Romans 13:1-4).
Oh how we mighty nobles have fallen! Our fall was long. We have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
But God has forgiven us as he has forgiven King David (Psalm 51).
Our sanctification conforms us to the image of the Son (Romans 8:29).
Our glorification seats us with Christ on his throne (Revelation 3:21).
Our resurrection will be dramatic: We will shine like the sun (Matthew 13:43).
What shall we say to all this?
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:9)
May we join the elders in casting our crowns before the throne of God (Revelation 4:10).
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” (C.S. Lewis)
“Man’s greatness and wretchedness are so evident that the true religion must necessarily teach us that there is in man some great principle of greatness and some great principle of wretchedness.” (Blaise Pascal)
I am not bothered by traveling between digital geographies.
I want the freedom to do so. May there be many to choose from.
Granted, when you step inside the theme park of a Big Tech oligarch, it is not a public domain sidewalk. Nor should you force him to make it one.
No digital territory is neutral. When you set up shop on a platform you are necessarily under their company’s jurisdiction. Their rules. Using their infrastructure. Adding to their bottom-line.
It’s good for digital pilgrims start their own colonies. It is fitting that communities with fundamentally worldviews stake out their own digital property or town squares: social media, video-sharing, microblogging, podcasting platforms, marketplaces, job boards, news outlets, moderation systems, etc.
Much like a union of states, citizens can freely travel between the territories. But they should know the rules of the land they are operating in.
Perhaps in your community I can’t always use natural pronouns. Perhaps in mine you can’t promote puberty-blockers.
A friend asked me: “Why isn’t anyone trying to create a liberal Parler/Gab?”