Friday, February 16, 2018
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Indeed, intrinsically connected to revealing the divine will is the two-fold prophetic role of being the mouth of God to the people and an advocate of the sinful party before God (cf. Ezek 13:5–7, Amos 3:7).—Standing in the Breach, page 511
Saturday, February 10, 2018
I believe that the church is worthy of the best hymn texts and the best hymn tunes, and if we don’t treasure them, we become impoverished. I have attended a great many churches over forty years that feature praise bands and praise music, and I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we are robbing the next generations of the deep memory of texts that are not only doctrinally and biblically rich, but also emotionally stirring and communally enriching. My observation is that—generally speaking—praise music trades on repetition, individualism, and theatrical emoting by solo singers. I don’t mean to sound overly critical, but I don’t think there is anything quite like the voices of choir and congregation joined together in the words of a hymn with a text that has a plot—praise and proclamation followed by destabilization and then a powerful, upbuilding resolution with a sense of struggle overcome in the triumph of God—all of it rich in biblical imagery.<idle musing>
Amen and amen! Don't get me wrong, I like the choruses and sing along with them, but we need to keep the hymns of the church alive; they contain the real core of Christianity. We should supplement them with the choruses, not vice versa. Or, as happens far too often, substitute the choruses for the hymns.
Friday, February 09, 2018
I just read a book review of “Thus Speaks Ishtar of Arbela” yesterday in Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok. One of the points made is that the Neo-Assyrian and Mari prophets don't have the same access to the divine council that the Old Testament prophets do. A fascinating observation and a rare privilege that intercessors are given. This idea is developed further in the New Testament. . .
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Wow! Did you catch that? Because of their stiffnecks, not despite their stiffnecks! That is ḥesed at its finest! Prevenient grace, the grace that goes before and awakens the sinner.
Monday, February 05, 2018
Saturday, February 03, 2018
Here's the first one, but the other ones are well-worth the reading, as well.
What is the meaning of weakness in this world? We all know that Christianity has been blamed ever since its early days for its message to the weak. Christianity is a religion of slaves, of people with inferiority complexes; it owes its success only to the masses of miserable people whose weakness and misery Christianity has glorified. It was the attitude towards the problem of weakness in the world, which made everybody to followers or enemies of Christianity. Against the new meaning which Christianity gave to the weak, against this glorification of weakness, there has always been the strong and indignant protest of an aristocratic philosophy of life which glorified strength and power and violence as the ultimate ideals of humanity. We have observed this very fight going on up to our present days. Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its apologia for the weak. – I feel that Christianity is rather doing too little in showing these points than doing too much. Christianity has adjusted itself much too easily to the worship of power. It should give much more offence, more shock to the world, than it is doing. Christianity should take a much more definite stand for the weak than to consider the potential moral right of the strong.—Sermon on 2 Corinthians 12:9, London, 1934 in Works, Vol 13, 402-3 (emphasis added by Englewood)
Thursday, February 01, 2018
Not sure how much I agree with the first part, although 1 John does seem to imply what he's saying. But, I can definitely get behind the second half: prayer should always be our first response, although I sadly confess it isn't always. When we hear of, see, or experience firsthand a person sinning, or first response should be an involuntary one similar to Amos's: "Lord, forbear, Israel is so small!"