Broken Bread for Broken People

So the emptier you feel, the greater the need to come. There is fullness here, fullness for your emptiness. So the weight of your sin bears you down, but there is one here who will lift all of your burdens and will bear them away. So you feel sometimes as though your heart is black as hell, but here is edible light.

Humble yourself, and do not fear that adverb. Come.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

Douglas Wilson, inviting broken people to the broken bread.

Cutting the Throat of Sin – In Defence of Satire

“I do believe in my heart that there may be as much holiness in a laugh as in a cry; and that, sometimes, to laugh is the better thing of the two, for I may weep, and be murmuring, and repining, and thinking all sorts of bitter thoughts against God; while, at another time, I may laugh the laugh of sarcasm against sin, and so evince a holy earnestness in the defence of the truth. I do not know why ridicule is to be given up to Satan as a weapon to be used against us, and not to be employed by us as a weapon against him. I will venture to affirm that the Reformation owed almost as much to the sense of the ridiculous in human nature as to anything else, and that those humourous squibs and caricatures, that were issued by the friends of Luther, did more to open the eyes of Germany to the abominations of the priesthood than the more solid and ponderous arguments against Romanism. I know no reason why we should not, on suitable occasions, try the same style of reasoning. ‘It is a dangerous weapon,’ it will be said, ‘and many men will cut their fingers with it.’ Well, that is their own look-out; but I do not know why we should be so particular about their cutting their fingers if they can, at the same time, cut the throat of sin, and do serious damage to the great adversary of souls”

-Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 389

HT: Blog & Mablog

Lowly, not servile

"Manly persons are disgusted, and suspect hypocrisy when they hear a preacher talking molasses. Let us be bold and outspoken, and never address our hearers as if we were asking a favour of them, or as if they would oblige the Redeemer by allowing Him to save them. We are bound to be lowly, but our office as ambassadors should prevent our being servile" (Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 344).   

HT: Blog & Mablog

Layered Definitions

One undercurrent beneath the Federal Vision business is a hidden difference in epistemological assumptions. The Hellenistic method strips accidents away from the thing, looking for essences. The Hebraic way of definition adds layer upon layer, looking at the thing from as many different angles as possible, and in as many situations as possible. Peter Leithart talks about this latter way of knowing in his book The Kingdom and the Power, and there is also a section on it in Angels in the Architecture.
This leads to an assumption on the part of the former that once you have a “definition,” it is time to stop, and defend that orthodox definition against all comers. We can see this tendency in the definitions of the visible/invisible Church, or with statements about “outward” Christians and Christians “inwardly.” But I have no trouble with these distinctions, as far as they go. Yes, there are Christians outwardly and Christian inwardly. But I then want to take this matter under discussion and look at it from numerous other directions, trying grasp the whole by means of addition. In contrast, the Hellenistic approach to definition (and I am not using this pejoratively; there is an important place for this kind of definition) seeks to understand by means of subtraction. How much can we take away and still have the thing we are talking about? But the temptation is then to disallow other approaches, approaches that may operate with a different set of descriptive rules. The Hebraic way gives us man worshipping, man playing, man eating, man making love, man working, man sleeping, and man writing poems. The Hellenistic way gives us a featherless, bipedal carbon unit.
For the Hellenistic approach, a true Christian is one who is one inwardly, period, stop. And this is true. But I also want to say that we have inward Christians and outward Christians, faithful Christians and adulterous Christians, temporary Christians and Christians forever, slaves and sons, wheat and tares, sons of Hagar and sons of Sarah, washed pigs and washed lambs, fruitless branches and fruitful branches, Christians who die in the wilderness and Christians who die in Canaan, and so on.
Now if someone of the other party thinks that I am essentially doing the same thing he is doing (that is, picking one and one only out of this list in order to make it the “true” definition), he has every right to be concerned. For example, if we are limited to one, then inward/outward is one of the best metaphors. But it is a metaphor, and needs other metaphors. If I were to isolate “fruitless branches and fruitful branches” to the exclusion of all others, and make it “the definition,” then I have become an Arminian. I think that this is what our critics are worried about. But we are not seeking to substitute; we are seeking to layer.

Doug Wilson