Drinking Deeply

Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 12:40 AM

The fight for rest

The Gospel of Jesus Christ promises rest to all who will come. A rest from this weary and broken world, a rest from the darkness and trials and temptations, a rest from backbreaking toil.

And yet this rest is not (as we've been learning in small group) being lazy. It's not giving up and propping your feet up on the table, kick back and relax, it's a fight. I'm good at being lazy, and I'm great at "resting" as the world defines it, but as one small group member said, "finding rest is a spiritual discipline," and I think that's so right. It's a fight.

It's a fight against the world, which beckons every moment with its lures of immediate gratification, of compromising one's beliefs in favor of the approval of man. It's a fight against one's own personal sin, which creeps up when we think we are strongest. It's a fight against Satan himself, who prowls like a lion seeking souls to devour.

Hebrews 4:1
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 10:32 AM

The Lord gives and He takes away

I discovered last week that my car, while still drivable, was going to require about $2000 in repairs eventually to keep it running. And as I was driving back, I was a little disappointed in myself for not making a better purchase, a little frustrated that people would be so shady as to sell lemons, and just all in all sad. Things were working so well.

And I was reminded of Job's testimony when far worse had happened.

Job 1:21-22

21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

In this really is the sovereignty of God at its best. If God is entirely for me and not against me. If He governs the oceans, the waves, the skies, the horses, and chariots, then why would one's car (or lack thereof) worry me at all? Rather, is it not true that all this happened for my good? All this happened for His glory? That whatever mistakes I may have made (and I'm sure that's many), they were all intended for good?

Indeed! I do not boast in horses, or in possessions, or in influence, or in power, but my boast is in the fact that my name is written in the book of life, and a God who was willing to send His Son to the death for me, will now say, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

The Lord is my portion, I will hope in Him.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008 at 11:40 PM

Don't be afraid of Scripture!

Due in part to getting into a rather interesting discussion of Peter Enns' book (Incarnation and Inspiration) with someone, I've been following the happenings at Westminster and the general response in the blogosphere regarding Peter Enns and his book. Justin Taylor's blog seems to contain a number of good links, though you have to scroll through his history, since he's been putting them up as he's received them. Another good resource has been this blog.

But for those who aren't familiar with the book, all the book is about is a challenge to orthodox Christians to look critically at their doctrine of Scripture. While not explicitly challenging the traditional formulation, Enns seems to hint that it's not optimal. But enough about the book, as I only read a few chapters. (I am in much agreement with Douglas Wilson's review)

The thing that struck me about the book was how we shouldn't be afraid of what Scripture says. Now, this could be applied at an inspiration angle (the Bible can look like it poses issues for a believer), it could be applied from a Calvinist angle (what do we do with the "all" passages?), it could be applied from a Protestant angle (James 2?).

While each of these problems can (easily) be resolved simply by examining the context of the texts, one solution that I've always found unsatisfying has been the "actually, that word may be better translated as ____.... which just so happens to make the whole passage a lot simpler."

While I do commend the desire on the parts of the people who suggest such solutions to be systematic and have things fit together nicely, I don't really think that retranslation really will solve our problems. After all, to engage in such retranslation would amount to saying "well, this team of bible translators got it wrong here" (which is not to say that the translators are infallible). But why would they get it wrong if the theological issue is easily resolved if it were actually something else?

I know for a fact that in textual criticism (of the form "which manuscript is most accurate" type, not the "what did Jesus really say" type) will, when faced between two possible variants, often take the more difficult reading because it is far more likely that the easier reading arose out of a (sincere) desire to fix what was seen as a difficulty rather than a more difficult reading arose out of... something.

I think we should do the same thing. Calvinists shouldn't be afraid when the Bible says "choose today whom you will serve" and try to reinterpret the word "choose" somehow. Protestants shouldn't be afraid when the Bible says, "We are his household if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope." There's nothing to be afraid of, and we don't need to engage in some translational revision in order to answer the questions that are raised by such questions. The answers are there if we would just stop and think.

Let's take Scripture as Scripture, God at His Word.

Soli Deo Gloria

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