I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-30)

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Baptism is an announcement of adoption; it is no surprise, then, that it is a conferral of glory and honor:

For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1:17, NKJV)

The Byzantine reading of this passage (“Greeks” rather than “they”) clears up a confusion for me:

Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things. (Acts 18:17, NKJV)

I was confused because it seemed as if the Jews were beating one of their own. It’s certainly possible that God sent them into a judicial confusion, but the Greeks doing so makes a little more sense. However, Calvin points out that this is likely the same Sosthenes as 1 Corinthians 1. Perhaps this provocation is related to his conversion. Also, the fact that the church met next to the synagogue (Acts 18:7) is significant to 1 Corinthians 14 and the identity of the unbeliever.

Garrett Soucy comments on the turning of the age:

Churches are not only closing, but they are also thriving, and this for the simple reason that if ministers of God can tell the people what is happening around them and interpret the story for them in light of the Word of God, the hungry will rightly believe that they have found a people with wine and bread to spare. We are entering an era of preaching . . . not an era of celebrity preaching, or internet preaching . . . but of local preaching. It must not simply be an expository analysis of a text, but a deep understanding of the Word and a proclamation of the cross of Christ in the event of eating. We must be men, not only of math, but of myth. Is there a chief in the house? There is a story that needs interpreting, but first it needs a telling.

Many men have been influential in my turn to what you might call an objective covenant theology. I count Doug Wilson, Mark Horne, James Jordan, and Peter Leithart among the most significant influences. But before spending much time with them I read Geerhardus Vos’s Biblical Theology, and I think that he, together with a little bit of Van Til, set all the conditions in place for my theological avalanche.

Here is the summary of Vos I wrote sixteen years ago. These are the points that stick in my mind the most today:

  • Vos makes a point of stressing that the effect of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil is not magical. I think I am borrowing from other writers than Vos to call the results “judicial,” but the thought that sacramental obedience and disobedience is not magical but is an ordinary working out of our standing before God is significant. For example, as I remark above, to be baptized is to receive an objective declaration from God through his church.
  • The unity of God’s work in history through his covenants, and especially the gracious nature of every covenant, is profoundly important.
  • The fact that the old covenants are not only shot through with grace, but also founded on faith in the work of Jesus, and involve the life-giving work of the Spirit, is also profoundly important. This casts the old covenants in a very different light.

‘The counsel of Gandalf was not founded on foreknowledge of safety, for himself or for others,’ said Aragorn. ‘There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark. (Tolkien, The Two Towers)

Written by Scott Moonen

July 24, 2021 at 6:23 pm

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