Thursday, February 28, 2013

Van Til the Street Preacher

These images of Cornelius Van Til street preaching may seem uncharacteristic of a Reformed apologist and churchman like himself. The stereotype is that numbers are added to the church through the procreation of covenant children by believing parents. While this is certainly true and not something to be embarrased about, there is also nothing un-Reformed about what Van Til did. He simply made the antithesis hit hard. What does this mean?

It means every human being is guilty and is aware of this guilt to one extent or another by virtue of being made in the image of God. Even Francis Turretin posits that there is actually no such entity as an absolute, theoretical atheist, though practical ones abound. The voice of conscience is strong in every man, condemning imperfect obedience to the Law. While the unbeliever tries incessantly to suppress this voice, the Holy Spirit uses the means of the declaration of the Law and the guilt it brings, followed by the Gospel with its attendant grace, to effect the faith that justifies. When the unbeliever is translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, he passes from one side of the antithesis to another.

So, in fact, Van Til was merely being a good agent of divine concursus!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Calvin the Peacemaker

Breaking the bond of fellowship between brethren is no small matter. In fact, it is so serious that Paul could declare, "As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned" (Titus 3:10-11).

Aside from foundational doctrinal differences, churches in fraternal relations, I would think, have no valid grounds for cutting off communion with each other.

Regarding the matter, the ff. piece exposes John Calvin's heart:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


"Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distil to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us, that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him." (John Calvin, Institutes I.1.1)

It is interesting how Calvin opens up his magnum opus extolling the virtues of self-knowledge.

Noteworthy is the fact that this is no gnostic inward-curving but a knowledge of self borne out of a knowledge of God. If all of the Christian life is repentance, as rightly asserted by Martin Luther, then all of this life entails an increase in both the knowledge of God and self, which increase is facilitated by the perichoresis between the two, resulting in repentance that would only cease upon death or the return of Christ.

Knowing oneself through the circumstances of life is only possible if these particular events are interpreted through the grid of God's Word. To benefit from the ups and downs of life in terms of engendering the repentance that breeds sanctification, love and knowledge of God's Word is indispensable.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Write More to Read More

The bulk of my reading lately has been focused on family and marriage books. I got myself Paul Tripp's "What Did You Expect?? (Redeeming the Realities of Marriage)", Andreas J. Köstenberger's "God, Marriage, and Family (Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation)", and Richard Phillips' "The Masculine Mandate (God's Calling to Men)."

Providence seems to have deemed it fitting to rock this area in my life in order to improve it, and the Lord did not leave me wanting for wisdom by guiding me to these works penned by His servants.

With that said, I realize I need to up the ante on my reading. I still have Turretin's IET and Bavinck's RD to go through, along with a host of other books that are more of the ST and BT type. Alan Parsons Project got it right when it sang, "time, keeps flowing like a river." I need to make more time for reading. But I realized that I read more when I wrote and I have not blogged for a couple of months now. So to read more, I need to write more.

This is to tell you that I plan on blogging more (in order to read more) and hopefully to have it continue on until the Lord's appointed time of cessation.

By His grace, may this blog bless you as it has blessed me in its writing.

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