Wisdom is reading and living the patterns of life well.
💬 Mark Strom, Lead with Wisdom
Wisdom is reading and living the patterns of life well.
💬 Mark Strom, Lead with Wisdom
I’m reading Divine Rule Maintained by Stephen Casselli and was blown away his description of England’s education system in the 17th cent. I thought I knew how impressive this was; I had no idea. Here’s just one example: By 12 or 13 years old, grammar school students were expected to have already read and understood, in Latin, the major classical authors. An “incomplete list” would include: “Livy , Terence, Isocrates, Justin, Caesa, Erasmus, Virgil, Epictetus, Plutarch, Ovid, Tully, Hesiod, Jomer, Pindar, Xenophon, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Horace, Seneca, and Quintilian.”
In preparing my Sunday School talk on the nature of wisdom, I came across a fun fact in Roland Murphy’s book The Tree of Life. In turns out, there is a clever wink in the first line of Proverbs.
Proverbs starts like this: “The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel.” This seems straightforward enough, but if you calculate the three names, Solomon, David, and Israel, according to gematria, the names add up to 930. And 930 is the exact number of lines in Proverbs! You can see this for yourself if you copy and paste the names, דָּוִד ,שְׁלֹמֹה, and יִשְׂרָאֵל into this gematria calculator. Murphy’s full argument is on page 28 of his book.
If this is right, it is very clever and a perfect way to start the book. It would encourage from the get-go one of the major lessons of proverbs: Wisdom is found when it is sought, patterns are everywhere, pay attention!
So, I’ve been learnig and using Notebooks on my iPad all week and am loving it.
They were getting ready for school in the bathroom when I overheard one sibling say to another, “Maybe you’re supposed to play with it, that’s why it’s called a toilet.”
What happens when a we fail as a community to hear a true accusation or wrongly believe a false one? Elizabteh Bruening considers the first in the Washington Post. Tim Steller considers the second in the Arizona Daily Star.
This mostly vacant mall in #tucson is going to get redeveloped as a town center. 👏
Scrivener’s zoom feature is very useful for those who speak/teach/preach from an iPad. So, I made a little video to show how it works. Apple has a similar feature in Page (it is in Presenter’s Mode), but it’s not as easy to use.
Watched the CSO perform Beethoven’s 9th tonight with the kids. You can too! With your own kids, of course. #csobeethoven
Cool. With iOS 12, Voice Memos are now available on iPad.
Good news! We’re installing a new elder at Covenant this Sunday.
WaPo: In a discovered letter, Ronald Reagan writes to his dying father-in-law about Jesus.
Thus, what we have in Vindiciae Legis is a detailed exposition of virtually every topic found in chapter 19 of the Confession of Faith from one of the committee members charged with helping to draft that very chapter.
💬 Stephen J. Casselli, on a work by Anthony Burgess
Although the title for The Five Theological Orations has “no basis in the manuscript tradition”, as Lionel Wickham points out, there are good reasons to read these five as a unified sermon series. One reason is that they have interlocking parts.
A good example of this occurs at the beginning of Oration 28, where Gregory summarizes what he said in Oration 27: “Last time we used theology to cleanse the theologian. We glanced at his character, his audience, the occasion and range of his theorizing.” In these two sentences, Gregory connects the two sermons.
It’s also worth noticing that in these sentences, Gregory summarizes his previous sermon in a better way than anything he said in the previous sermon. This observation gives us a tip for how to listen to sermons.
Here’s the secret: sometimes it takes a whole sermon plus some resting time for a preacher to figure out the best way to say what he needs to say, even master rhetoricians like Gregory. And so you’ll sometimes find the clearest expression of the preacher’s core message not in the conclusion of his sermon, but in the introduction to next week’s sermon. Just listen for the signal: “Last time we…”
Read @MichaelHorton_’s chapter in Locating Atonement: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics (ed. @FredFredSanders and Oliver Crisp). Lots of great stuff on incarnation, theosis, Irenaeus, Calvin, and more. And, wow, Origen’s theology was a disaster. 📚
If you plan to attend the Theology Reading Group this Thursday, here are some questions to get you thinking:
Perhaps you have topics or questions would you like to discuss. Put your ideas in the suggestion box!
Since it is #2KDay you are probably wanting to either play a video game or review “the agreements and differences between the nature of the civil and of the ecclesiastical powers or governments” of God. Both sound fun to me, but I can help you more with the second. Here’s what you need to do:
Get out your copy of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, Or the Divine Ordinances of Church Government Vindicated: So as the Present Erastian Controversy Concerning the Distinction of Civil and Ecclesiastical Government, Excommunication and Suspension, is Fully Debated and Discused, From the Holy Scripture, from the Jewish and Christian Antiquities, and from the Consent of Later Writers, from the True Nature and Rights of Magistracty, and from the Groundlessness of the Chief Objections Made Against the Presbyterial Government, in point of a Domineering Arbitrary Unlimited Power by George Gillespie, Then find and read chapter 4 of the second book.
Alternatively, you can read J. V. Fesko’s summary of Gillespie, which I’ve copied below. It comes from Fesko’s briefly titled book, The Theology of the Westminster Standards: Historical Context & Theological Insights.
Ten Points in which the Two Kingdoms Agree
- They are both from God.
- Both are required to observe the law and commandments of God.
- According to Luther; civil magistrates and church officers are considered “fathers” vis-à-vis the fifth commandment (Ex. 20:12).
- The magistrate and ministry are both appointed for the glory of God and the good of men.
- Both are mutually beneficial to one another.
- They are both governmental powers.
- Each requires singular qualifications, gifts, and endowments.
- They have degrees of censure and correction relative to the gravity of the offense.
- They may only impose a penalty upon one who is guilty of offense.
- Both have jurisdiction in “external matters” in that, even though churchly power is concerned chiefly with a person’s internal spiritual state, church discipline manifests itself in the excommunication of people, as Andrè Rivet (1572–1651) has explained.
Ten Points in which the Two Kingdoms Differ
- Efficient cause. The King of the nations has instituted the civil power; the King of saints has instituted the ecclesiastical power.
- Matter. The civil magistrate employed the earthly scepter and temporal sword, and it is monarchical and legislative as well as punitive and coercive. Ecclesiastical power possess and employs the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
- Forms. The civil magistrate is an authority and dominion immediately subordinate to God, whereas ecclesiastical power is ministerial and is exercised in immediate subordination to Jesus Christ as King of the church.
- Ends. The supreme need of the civil magistrate is the glory of God as King of the nations. The ends of ecclesiastical authority are twofold, proximate and remote. Proximately the end or goal is the glory of Jesus Christ; and remotely, the glory of God.
- Effects. The civil power effects civil laws, punishments, and rewards. Ecclesiastical power determines controversies of faith, the order and decency of the church, the ordination and disposition of church officers, and church discipline.
- Interests. Civil power only has in view the things of this life—peace, war, justice, and issues related to the king and national interest—all things that are external to man. Ecclesiastical power deals with matters pertaining to God, things relevant to the inward man, as a number of theologians have argued, such as Francis Junius (1545–1602), Lambert Daneau (ca. 1530–1595), and Remonstrant theologian Daniel Tilenus (1563–1633).
- Adjuncts. Ecclesiastical power should not be exercised without prayer, but no such requirement exists for civil power. And in many cases civil power is given to one person, whereas ecclesiastical power is given to an assembly.
- Correlations. Under civil authority people are gathered under a commonwealth or civil corporation, whereas the church is a spiritual corporation.
- Ultimate termination. The church can go no further than excommunication, whereas civil authorities can put criminals to death, as Walo Messaliuns (aka Claudius Salmasius) (1588–1653) has argued.
- Divided execution. Sometimes the church must censure someone whom the magistrate does not deem worthy of punishment and vice versa—that is, someone might suffer the penalty of the spiritual sword but not the temporal swears, and another might suffer under the temporal sword but not the spiritual sword, as David Pareus (1548–1622) has argued.
Fesko’s summary is part of his discussion of the two kingdoms and the Westminster Standards in his chapter on the church.
For those who want Gillespie’s full arguments, you should read Aaron’s Rod Blossoming. It is a fantastic book from which I’ve learned a lot, including the meaning of the word overkill. The man knows his way around an argument.
For the September edition of Anchor Devotional, I’ve written a series of thirty mini-devotions called “Images from the Psalms”. Each day, you will read a psalm and then reflect on one image from that psalm. Today’s image comes from Psalm 51:7, where David prays, “wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Though a little late, I will have print editions for everyone at church this Sunday. You can also get Anchor Devotional in your mailbox each month by subscribing online.
I had a good time meeting teachers and students at the Quest Carnival tonight. Yummy food trucks! This year I’m teaching Old Testament Survey and cello. Classes start Monday, but there is still time to sign up.
Thanks to everyone who came out tonight for my lecture on the Regulative Principle of Worship. I had fun getting it ready for you.
If you could only read one thing for review, read Westminster Confession of Faith 1.6, 20.2, and 21 + the proof texts. For modern-day book-length treatments that deal with the RPW, here are the three I mentioned and one I didn’t.
Worship: Reformed According to Scripture by Hughes Oliphant Old. This book gives you the broad historical background to the reformation of worship.
To focus on the Westminster Standards, read The Theology of the Westminster Standards: Historical Context and Theological Insights by J. V. Fesko. This is the best book available on the Standards that covers the historical context. It’s fascinating and so helpful on a host of subjects, but the chapters on the church and worship are most important for our study of the RPW, followed by the chapter on Covenant Theology.
A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship by Michael Horton. This book is an early and popular treatment of some of the things Horton writes about in his award-winning scholarly work People and Place: A Covenant Ecclesiology. It’s a great book and covers a lot of ground. I read it before I went to seminary and studied with Horton. It reminds me of how excited I was to do that and how thankful I am now that I did.
And how could I forget my OPC buddies? I definitely recommend With Reverence and Awe: Returning to the Basics of Reformed Worship by D. G. Hart and John Muether. It’s a little simpler and shorter book than Horton; another excellent introduction to Reformed Worship.