Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HT Phoenix Preacher--Kim Riddleberger The OC, a new Burned-Over District? intro with parts 1-3

EDITED:  part four is now up.

HT Phoenix Preacher--Carl Trueman writes about the distinction between childlikeness and childishness with respect to authority

... The vast amounts of money paid to grown men to play playground games for the entertainment of the rest of us simply beggars belief. ...

Just this little excerpt along could inspire a whole blog post but instead let's just link to the thing for now and write that post about the monetary compensation of the professional football player and his supermodel wife for later. 

Christian Brady (aka Targuman) on Ecclestiastes 7:2-4 "It is better to go to the house of mourning ... "

For those who can't recall large stretches of Ecclesiastes or key themes from just a few words Brady helpfully links to the following:

Ecclesiastes 7:2–4

 2  It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will jlay it to heart.
 3  Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
 4  The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.


Even before our son died, this sounded somewhat platitudinous to me; out of touch with the real depth of loss and grief that such loss brings. I know better, since one thing that a decade and a half of researching and writing on the Book of Lamentations, the rabbinic response, and ancient lament in general taught me was that loss of life and loved ones, hardship and deprivation were constants in antiquity. Even for those fortunate enough to have some power and position, they were not exactly living like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (baby arriving even as I type). Yet to say “sorrow is better than laughter” suggests to me that the author hasn’t really experienced sorrow.

Unless they have. ...

The whole thing is worth reading but this can at least whet your appetite.  The blogging on Ecclesiastes from readings in Martin Shields' fine commentary on the book is obviously substantially overdue but one can't always do everything.  Still, Brady's writing on biblical literature and commentaries on it (i.e. targums) is worth reading and (obviously in my opinion) linking to.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

a brief consideration of Martyn Lloyd-Jones on laying up treasures on earth in ministries

In his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones observed (on page 354) that there are those who cannot be tempted by money itself but who fall sway to the temptation of status and prestige.  Were the devil to tempt them with a bribe directly they would resist with a knowing smile, we could say, but if the devil sneaks in the temptation by way of an appeal to status and position the man will convince himself all that entices him is doing the Lord's work.  Martyn Lloyd-Jones states emphatically that promotion has destroyed the spiritual lives of previously good men who were not alert to this temptation in themselves and succumbed to it. They were laying up treasures in this world without knowing it is how the pastor put it.

Not everyone will realize they have taken the bait and gotten hooked on status, prestige and influence because they think those things can only be good, that the devil will only use as bait on a hook whatever is actually a sin but also obviously a sin.  The idea that in the last day Jesus will turn away even those who cast out demons in His name is not truly understood by the people who take the bait of promotion, power, prestige, and influence while thinking they are promoting the cause of Christ when in the end they may be seen as having promoted merely themselves using Christ as a convenient equivalent.

As Adolf Schlatter put it in his commentary on Romans the idolatry of a man is to fashion God in his image and to make his own lust to be God's will.  There is a kind of idolatry that is all the more pernicious because the person pursuing it is convinced he is pursuing the real thing rather than an image fashioned in the likeness of a thing that does not actually exist.  Not that pastors want any thoughts from Wenatchee The Hatchet but ask yourself what you really love, the church you are actually shepherding or the idea of the church you would like to have at your disposal?