Sunshine and a Bundle of Joy in the Snow

29 weeks and counting!

The Ground of Meaning in Language: God

One of the features of significant areas of Western thought in the last few decades has been the constant raising of doubt over the ability of language to bear stable meaning.  Most notoriously, thinkers working under the heading of ‘deconstruction’ and ‘post-structuralism’ have sought to show that any claim that a text ‘means’ something is just a baseless attempt by one person to exalt their understanding of it over what others might want it to mean.  In addition, some literary theorists writing under the banner of ‘reader-response criticism’ have sought to show that texts do not have meaning in themselves, but only have whatever meaning readers impute to them.  It is now commonly assumed in many areas of thought in the West that meaning is not ‘out there’, but only ‘in us’.  We do not discover it; we invent it.  It is vital not to miss the underlying fact that this is a theological issue. If God is not taken into account as the ultimate solid ground on which all meaning rests, and as the basis on which our language can be said reliably to bear meaning, then we do indeed end up staring into the abyss in which meaning is for ever undecidable.  It is only a strong commitment to the fact that our linguistic abilities are given to us by God that ultimately provides a satisfactory response to the current crisis of confidence in language and meaning.

– Timothy Ward, Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God, 64-65.

Vos on a Key to Doing Biblical Theology: The Interrelatedness of God’s Living Word and Redemptive Work

“Revelation is the interpretation of redemption; it must, therefore, unfold itself in installments as redemption does.” – Geerhardus Vos

He teases this out quite finely in his work Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, pp. 6-9.  The sum of it is this: that while the two remain distinct, redemption continuing and revelation having ceased, they did for a time coincide as God’s redemptive acts were interpreted and applied by men carried along by the Holy Spirit for such a work.  Reflections on Vos’ statement are numerous.  The Bible is God’s interpretation of His redemptive work in history.  As redemption progressively happened, so revelation progressively developed until its full bloom in Christ (coincidentally the apex of God’s redemptive action).  This understanding of the movement within Scripture is vital to any biblical theology.  On an interesting aside, Vos goes on to say that once objective-central redemption resumes in the second coming of Christ, then the current volume of truth that we hold dear will be added unto.  Ultimately it is essential to understand that the Bible that we claim unabashedly to be infallible, inerrant, a.k.a, inspired, etc., is also living, active, moving, redemptive in its very nature, and while it is the record of objective-central acts, such a record is penned in the ink of subjective application – we would do well to hear it as it truly is the Word of God.

Samurai Letters Updated

This dear brother and his wife have been given, in God’s providence, several opportunities to share the Gospel in a foreign land with little to no Gospel witness.  The emails and letters that they have produced (most of which are yet forthcoming) speak of the manifold grace of God in bringing sinners to them, of unbelievers in their company even speaking about the Gospel with other unbelievers, of many on the edge of conversion and of the movement of God upon their affections.  Their passion for Christ oozes in each letter, and we want to be mindful of them, God’s work in and through them, and those to whom they minister.  The most recent letter has just been posted.  It is very encouraging in keeping with their God-given character.  If you would like to send a letter of comfort and exhortation to them, please feel free to let me know by commenting to this post.  The goal is to shower them with the love of the church, to be a part of the Spirit’s work in shedding abroad the love of God in their hearts.  We want to clothe them with our gracious words and lift them up in prayer to God.  Mercy and grace does He dispense from His Sovereign throne.  Let us then join with them in their labor of love, and may God be pleased to cover that part of the earth with His glory through the preaching of Christ and the outpouring of His Spirit.

I’ve Used This Enough to Post It

Top 5 Commentaries on each book of the Bible by Keith Mathison. Very helpful.

“Embarrassment is the Gateway Drug to Theological Accommodation and Denial”

This line is a sober reminder to evangelical Christians.  It is the second to last line in R. Albert Mohler’s article “Air Conditioning Hell: How Liberalism Happens.”  This is a short but necessary refrain to every Christian regardless of vocation.  It is a call to doctrinal sobriety, to spiritual discernment, to the honoring of our great God, and to an immovable stance upon His infallible Word.  To learn in a brief sketch how liberalism happens, why evangelicals should not apologize for doctrine – particularly that of hell, and more regarding such things – go here.

Suffering in God’s Economy Not Arbitrary: The Counsel of Elihu

This is another sermon, technically entitled “Job: Rebuked in Suffering”, from John Piper in 1985.  In it, he does at least two things, I think – he shows that suffering is not arbitrary, not retributive or punitive, but rather, purposeful, sanctifying, and, ultimately, curative or healing.  That is all one thing!  Secondly, there is a vindication of Job’s acquaintance, Elihu.  Many today think him synonymous with Job’s three friends, another irritator of the man Job.  Piper provides a different look into this biblical figure.  I tend to agree with his assessment on both fronts (Having recently read Job, I too found Elihu to be quite different from Job’s other friends concerning the content of his answer, and held him to be an exemplar in the poetic story; today in one of my classes, that view was challenged – hence my attendance to Pipers – and others – views on this issue).  A truly terrific sermon.  Go here to read or download and listen.