Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Be a little Jewish - Read a Book

"One thing I noticed about Evangelicals is that they do not read. They do not read the Bible, they do not read the great Christian thinkers, they have never heard of Aquinas. If they're Presbyterian, they've never read the founders of Presbyterianism. I do not understand that. As a Jew, that's confusing to me. The commandment of study is so deep in Judaism that we immerse ourselves in study. God gave us a brain, aren't we to use it in His service? When I walk into an Evangelical Christian's home and see a total of 30 books, most of them best-sellers, I do not understand. I have bookcases of Christian books, and I'm a Jew. Why do I have more Christian books than 98 percent of the Christians in America? This is so bizarre to me."

- Dennis Prager in an interview from The Door magazine

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wars and Warnock

I may take some time later to comment on some of the latest Christian blog war in which our loveable, if less than agreeable, friends sound off against the enemies of Truth (and by "truth", I of course mean that unique hybrid of Reformed and dispensational, premillennial theology with credo-baptist and denominationally independent distinctives, among others) and usurpers of the Bible (and by "Bible" I mean only those theological conclusions that comport with the above). In the most recent struggle against the forces of evangelical naughtiness (like Christianity Today) it's pointed out that those who accuse faithful defenders (those committed to verbal throat-slitting) of the Truth (see above) with "guilt by association" are actually guilty of guilt-by-association. Similarly it seems that those who accuse them of taking themselves too seriously are, in all seriousness, taking themselves too seriously (apply that formula to every criticism and you can create stunning likenesses of some people's posts before they put out the real thing); -but for now I'll just post this evaluation of the whole mess:


If you're interested in a lengthier evaluation, check out Broken Messenger for two excellent, insightful pieces.

But now for something a good deal more refreshing, I'd point you to the eminently likable and relatively controversy-free Adrian Warnock. Even in debate, he's always the model of charity, and he's recently posted a wonderful closer to a dispute about cessationism. In it he's quoted one of his heroes, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and it was such a good read that I just had to reproduce it here:

"What is being taught in Christendom today is this; that since we have got the New Testament canon, since we have got the Word now, we do not need these direct interventions, we do not need God to speak to us directly, as He spoke to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob and these patriarchs. We have got the Word now! Is this superior to the direct speech of God? I think we are mad! There is no other word for this. We are mad. We are meant to be in a superior position to every Old Testament saint because of what has happened in our blessed Lord and Saviour! But this teaching would have us believe that we do not need this direct contact with God now, and that all that has come to an end since the formation of the New Testament canon . . . . .remember that the great point of the whole teaching of the Bible, of all you can deduce from it, is to tell you that God is a God who acts. And our only hope this afternoon is that this is still true. He has not finished acting. He is going on . . . There is only one hope. That is that He is still the living and the acting God. Christ is at His right hand, and He is seated and waiting until His enemies should be made His footstool . . . ."

I have been defending the faith—- and people have praised me for doing it. Rubbish! What a miserable failure it has all been! From now on I am determined to do one thing only, and that is to give God no rest nor peace, until He does prove Himself and show Himself. I have expended so much energy in reasoning with the people about this faith. We have got to do that, it is part of preaching. But if we stop at that, it will avail us nothing. But what I now am concerned about and I am concentrating on is this — asking God to show Himself, to do something,to give this touch, this manifestation of power. Nothing else will even make people listen to us . . . . Nothing is going to call the attention of the masses of the people to the truth of this faith save a great phenomenon, such as the phenomenon of the day of Pentecost, the phenomenon of any one of the great revivals, the phenomenon of a single changed life. This is something that always arrests attention, maybe curiosity — what does it matter? The people come and listen . . . .

We must not be content until we have had some manifestation of the activity of God. We must concentrate on this. This is my plea, that we concentrate on this, because it is the great message of the Bible Let us put it like this: Do we really believe that God can still act? That is the question; that is the ultimate challenge. Or have we, for theological or some other reasons, excluded the very possibility? Here is the crucial matter. Do we individually and personally really believe that God still acts, can act and will act — in individuals, in groups of individuals, in churches, localities, perhaps even in countries? Do we believe that He is as capable of doing that today as He was in ancient times — the Old Testament, the New Testament times, the book of Acts, Protestant Reformation, Puritans, Methodist Awakening, 1859, 1904-5? Do we really believe that He can still do it? You see, it is ultimately what you believe about God. If He is the great Jehovah — I am that I am, I am that I shall be, unchanged, unchanging, unchangeable, the everlasting and eternal God — well, He can still do it.”