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Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Biblical Theology’ Category

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-48)

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It is good to belong to Jesus.

To emphasize the pro-noun is to perpetuate systemic injustice against other parts of speech like verbs and prepositions. I have learned to be an ally and thus in this moment I prefer to share my preferred pro-verbs.

The only trouble is, it’s difficult to choose.

The evil will bow before the good,​​
And the wicked at the gates of the righteous. (Proverbs 14:19, NKJV)

They say that a mandate is not discriminatory if it applies to everyone. Ha, good one!

“So, all the months with ‘ber’ at the end, does that mean it’s cold?” (Amos Moonen)

You should read Mark Horne’s reflections on difficulties: legendary mode; training versus hero battle.

I have until now not paid close attention to the ritual symbolism of faces, thinking it was legitimate but a light and mostly extra–Biblical consideration in things that have taken place over the last two years. But this week I stumbled across this word. I am struck by both the tremendous breadth of this, and also how our translations have left it off the face of the text (so to speak), hiding it from our faces (as it were). One book—Esther—takes pains to show how seeing and seeking the face of the king is crucial, and how hiding or having your face hidden from the king is both the cause and the result of the king’s judgment that you are forever banished from his own face. Ritually speaking, then, a ruler who masks his people is laying judgment and humiliation on them; and a worshipper who masks himself is hiding from his king.

But there’s also this:

Other than Bach, I’ve experienced the most musical delight playing versions of La Folía. So I enjoyed this collection:

Written by Scott Moonen

November 26, 2021 at 11:15 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-46)

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Reflecting on That Hideous Strength, I’ve often wondered what it would look like for Merlin to show up. But now, absent any Merlin and simply relying on judicial confusion sent by God, it’s amazing just how incoherent the raging of the nations is all by itself, and how the simplest and most obvious truths now send it into a tizzy.

“Do you validate?” With millions of man-hours being invested in real-time digital systems of validation and badging, increasingly the answer is, “Yes, we insist!”

Praise God that, at the moment, some of these systems are programmed to (tediously) validate by reason of obedience to God rather than man. I’m thankful for the validation but reject the idolatry that lies beneath it; and what an interesting judgment it is to see all those man-hours wasted on raging. See also The Abolition of Man for some reasons why it really is idolatry and raging.

Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus. (Acts 17:7, NKJV)

The NKJV has a wonderful “we” in Joshua 5:1:

“So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.”

This is our history. We have been grafted into a tree (Romans 11), adopted into a family (Romans 4).

This is excellent: I Survived (Because of) Bible Belt Religion.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 13, 2021 at 7:28 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-45)

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It’s November. I used to wait until Thanksgiving to stoke the festivity but I have no such scruples anymore.

If we believe in the sonship-kingship of all believers, that we are all vice-regents (that is, vice-gerents), should we not be doing something like this?

Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20, NKJV)

If Saul had done that, then he had absolutely no excuse when it came to Agag:

Therefore it shall be, when the LORD your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget. (Deuteronomy 25:19, NKJV)

I usually think of the levirate brother as a type of the pastor tending the bride for Jesus’s sake. But there is a way in which all of us are raising our households for Jesus’s sake. Thus shall it be done to the man who does not build up Jesus’s house:

But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’ (Deuteronomy 25:7-10, NKJV)

God commissions families to bring new worshippers into the world (Malachi 2:15), and commissions us to bring them to him:

In ways both explicit and implicit, scripture says that there is a faithful relationship between Christian-infants and God. We are called on to confess this before God, and we are called to teach it to our children. And we can relax theologically in the rest of knowing that recumbency (lying back in the arms) is the picture God gives to portray faith in the womb.

In fact, it is in the very nature of a covenant that it binds generations yet unborn:

I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today before the LORD our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today . . . so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober. . . The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:14-29, NKJV)

All covenants are evangelical; this is from the book that urges circumcision of the heart (Deuteronomy 10, 30), and urges faithfulness to the covenant, “you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 30).

James Madison overstates his case when he says, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Better to say that the governor’s sword would go unused except as a glorious display. There will always be a need to decide whether and where to build the king’s highway, what time we will assemble to pray, etc.; and these decisions need not be purely democratic. In fact, as Chesterton points out, they must not.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 4, 2021 at 11:56 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-44)

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Camping and hiking in the Pisgah!

I have this idea for a Superman serum. I need you to take it and then I will become Superman.

We have seen that there are several ways in which we can speak of the day of the Lord. We have also seen that to participate in the Lord’s weekly service, especially the Lord’s supper, is to be taken up into the heavens, to be taken out of space and time. Psalm 73 links these two ideas together:

When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
​​Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
​​Then I understood their end.

There is a kind of telescoping of the days of the Lord going on in worship. When we come to worship, we participate in a foretaste of the marriage supper. But we also participate in a prophetic foretaste of the end of the wicked, of their utter exclusion.

James Jordan writes:

The Church has always limped in history, and it always will. People look at the manifest weaknesses of God’s Bride, and they spit on her. Yet, while God avenges His saints, He still keeps them limping.

God told Satan in the beginning that the righteous One, Jesus Christ, would crush his head, but that in the process, the heel of the Lord would be bruised (Genesis 3:15). Thus, Jacob, the father of Israel’s twelve tribes, wrestled with God and prevailed, but limped ever after (Genesis 32:31). The limp was a sign of his victory in righteousness! The apostle Paul, father of the gentile Church, was given a thorn in his flesh (and since thorns grow on the ground, it was symbolically in his foot), which kept him limping in the eyes of men (2 Corinthians 12:7). Thus, in union with her Lord Jesus Christ, the Church limps through history, in apparent weakness, so that it is “with a scornful wonder, men see her sore oppressed, by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed.” Yet her victory is assured. How can that be? Because her enemies have had their heads crushed, and thus their resistance is short-lived.

Peter Leithart writes in a recent In Medias Res newsletter:

When “despicable” men rule (Daniel 11:21), the saints get mowed down—not for their sins but for their faithfulness. There are times when the saints’ hope isn’t rescue but resurrection.

For hundreds of millions of Christians, that time is now. Some estimate that two-thirds of all martyrs in the history of the church have been killed since 1900. Every day, brothers and sisters around the world face harassment, violence, and the real possibility of death.

Ask our Father to hear their cries and avenge the blood spilled in North Korea, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Iran, and that faithful U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia. Ask Him to shake the world until the despicable are thrown from their thrones.

Written by Scott Moonen

October 29, 2021 at 5:54 pm

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-43)

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Asher’s been perfecting his cribbage board technique:

The NKJV has a clause in Ephesians 3 that is missing from the Alexandrian texts:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. (Ephesians 3:14-15 NKJV)

This made me wonder about the referent of “whom.” But “family” is patria, so clearly it is the Father. Family is fatherdom.

On the Continent, the ship of State did not move on a sea of troubles such as faced the Englishman when he sailed the five oceans of the world. The object of the recurrent and never-ceasing care for a territorial ruler in Central Europe was the forest. After a thousand years of chopping and cutting, 27 per cent of the area of Germany is still covered by forests. More than one quarter of a country where every square inch has been “cultivated,” furrowed, turned, is covered by trees even today. Forestry was a national concern for the German rulers. The notorious word “Kultur” carries, to begin with, the notion of Landeskultur, cultivation of the soil. A German thinks of planting trees whenever he hears the word “Kultur.” Trees take a long time to grow. It is this long period of cultivation that constitutes the outstanding privileges of a government’s economic policy as against that of the individual. The far-sightedness of a paternal government has protected the German woods. “Paternal” means being unmoved by immediate profits; “paternal” stands for patience and indifference to the incentives of the day. Sports, movies, radio, newspapers, take advantage of our childishness. The German individual State was rigid and austere, its people unswayed by the demagogue; it was paternal because it took thought for a long future. It restored the chief wealth of the soil: its trees. For a poor, sandy, rainy and foggy land, it is the greatest of all services to foresee and discount the results of any waste far in advance. In a rich country waste is less disastrous. In a poor district, where tomorrow is as poor as today, any encroachment of today upon tomorrow leads to destruction. . . .

The likeness of man in all his dignity to a tree in the forest is an everlasting German concept. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Out of Revolution, 423-424)

The forest is an eternal task, never a garden, never a desert. It bears fruit, but never for the man who plants it. Always it asks for patience and thrift, and prays to be spared from greed, haste, or carelessness. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Out of Revolution, 426)

In Numbers 2 it is significant that God’s people constitute an army arrayed around him. But it is also significant that this army is constituted of households. The church is central, the one family that will endure forever; but the earthly family is part of what serves to guard it.

If everyone is special, then no one is special. That’s because to be special is a competitive thing, often fleshly. It isn’t nothing. But spiritual things are not zero-sum. If all God’s people are holy, then so they are.

Man is Adam, earth, dirt. I was listening to some old DC Talk this week and it struck me that the range of skin color and earth color is roughly the same.

Trust me, you should buy yourself every Jamie Soles album:

Evangelicals taught this trick to the world by our obsession with introspection and sincerity and humility. But salvation is by faith in king Jesus and not faith in our own sincerity; navel gazing is a fool’s errand:

Written by Scott Moonen

October 24, 2021 at 2:05 pm

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-42)

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It seems to me that there are at least four strong lines of religious-conscience arguments against vaccination requirements that most people can embrace: my conscience simply does not allow me to participate in: (1) unethical and criminal behavior related to fetal cell use; (2) unethical and criminal approach to rapid approval of novel-experimental treatments; (3) leading to the great potential for personal debasement and self-harm; and (4) unethical and criminal mandates to participate in treatment.

The French word for doctor is medicin. The first gift of the healing arts is the Hippocratic healer himself. Let’s bring back a personal and individualized approach to medicine.

My pastor Duane Garner writes:

The Church has utterly failed to disciple this nation, and the chaos and calamity around us is the fruit of our failures. While I’m thankful for the bravery and fortitude of the airline pilots presently, that opportunity to stand strong was first presented to pastors who failed miserably. Rather than leading with a bold faith, they catechized their congregations in fear and capitulation, and we are still reaping the consequences. I’m thankful for deliverance from wherever the Lord chooses to send it, but boy did the Church drop the ball.

Reading through Leviticus this week, I’m struck by a few thoughts:

  • Leviticus 24 — I’ve held in my mind the thought that bread, beer, wine used at the tabernacle were the work of Israel’s hands. But the oil and light being fruit of their labor strikes me here. We are to live lives of continual light-giving.
  • Leviticus 25 — The rite of purification from death (Numbers 19) has a third day and a seventh day baptism. Back in Leviticus 19 we saw the land had three years of rest, and now there is a seventh year rest. Perhaps God is purging the land of the Canaanite death-filth. It’s also striking to me that God’s miraculous provision of manna (six days on, one day off) now continues in the fruitfulness of the land (six years on, one year of rest). As God’s people mature, his provision for them involves no less faith on their part, but more faith-filled work. Yet it is still His doing.
  • Leviticus 26 — maybe we can make an argument for firstborn infant baptism here, which of course we extend to all of our children.

Numbers 10:35 is what happens when God’s people march out from his table:

So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said:​​​
“Rise up, O LORD!
​​Let Your enemies be scattered,
​​And let those who hate You flee before You.”

It’s interesting to me that, at least in the TR, Jude 1 speaks of the Father sanctifying us.

The Pugcast crew talked about pilgrimage recently. They missed a great opportunity to highlight the centrality of worship: the Lord’s weekly service is the great pilgrimage; the great fulfillment of the feasts; and the great time when the firmament does not merely grow thinnest, but we actually ascend up into it. This is all made possible because worship is in the Spirit. “You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,” &c.

I got a kick out of this XKCD. But isn’t this true of most disciplines, for example, Tolkien studies and the Bible? To be honest, until today I did not know that the cats of Queen Beruthiel were not a cursed problem anymore. But I have just now discovered the vexed problem of knowing exactly how it was significant that there were nine black cats.

Too many good tweets to share this week. Instead I’ll simply say insist that, if you are reading this, you follow Jack Posobiec, Michael O’Fallon, and Boniface Option.

Written by Scott Moonen

October 16, 2021 at 10:02 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-41)

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Although the general employer mandate for vaccination has yet to be issued—and to my surprise it also seems that there is not yet a Medicare requirement against hospitals?—there is an executive order pertaining to federal contractors. My employer is a federal contractor and they are taking the simplifying measure of applying this to all US workers rather than just those who work “in connection with” a contract. I was provided only 350 characters in which to express my religious accommodation:

In accordance with Title VII, I invoke religious exemption from COVID vaccination & testing. I believe unwanted intrusion or tinkering with creation is sinful & degrading, especially in case of my body which is in God’s image (Gen 1) & is his temple (1 Cor 6). I request accommodation of continuing to work from home as I have for 18 months already.

If I had more room the first thing I would have added is a link to my denomination’s religious exemption statement, followed by a citation of Leviticus 19. I found these resources from The Healthy American helpful in focusing my writing: fact sheet, pitfalls to avoid.

Of course I have more reasons than this, but not less. I sincerely believe that there are massive moral-ethical breaches, lies, wickedness, and demonic involvement in what we have experienced over the past two years, from top to bottom. Berenson calls this moment our Chernobyl. The only thing I’m unsure of is the breadth of it, not the depth of it. Thus, I note Lew Rockwell’s team on Marburg and pray they are wrong.

Reading Leviticus this week for To the Word, I am struck by the fact that cleanness is required to come to worship (who may ascend the hill of Yahweh?) but also that cleanness is one of the things that worship itself supplies. Obviously we have to modulate that through the new covenant and definitive sanctification. Perhaps we can say:

  • What good is being cleansed without persevering in it? We cannot come to God without Cleansing (once for all) but we also never come to him without needing cleansing (having something fresh on our conscience).
  • What good is being cleansed without knowing it? In weekly worship God means to give us the most objective experience of being assured of his love for us that we have, apart from our baptisms.
  • What good is being cleansed without going up the hill of Yahweh to enjoy it? We wash our hands and hearts so that we may sit together at table with Jesus and each other.

Wilson says that you shouldn’t ignore your instinct to say second grace.

Matthew Trewhalla’s talk at the County before Country conference was especially good.

Written by Scott Moonen

October 9, 2021 at 8:16 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-40)

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Obeying the second greatest commandment becomes a lot clearer when it moves from the realm of risk and anxiety to a clear and present need. The next year might give most of us the opportunity to swallow our pride and help someone in need—whether that means helping someone who lost their job for not taking the therapeutics, or helping someone else who suffered unexpected side effects because they did.

My friend John has been encouraging me to read Michael Heiser, and perhaps I will sometime soon. I enjoyed this interview with Heiser and also this interview with Christopher Kou where he briefly mentions Heiser. This statement from Heiser struck me:

Stop presuming that there’s a spiritual battle only when you see something bizarre. You are being duped. You are being trained to only take the spiritual world seriously when something strange blows up in your face, or when you see or hear some strange story. That’s a distraction.

I also appreciated this Theopolis episode with Ken Myers, where he refers eloquently to the “worldlessness of faith and godlessness of the world.” Make postmillennialism great again!

Girard describes the church as the “scapegoat of last resort.” This leads me to think that, in a way, the Christian is the peak of intersectionality: the one identity that is the derision of every other identity.

I finished this week Elsie Anne McKee’s Elders and the Plural Ministry. She set herself the task of understanding Calvin’s doctrine of eldership in the context of both preceding and subsequent teaching. She summarizes her findings as follows:

The idea of offices in Paul’s lists of charismatic leaders, and the idea that some of these gifts are no longer present or necessary in the contemporary church, seem to twentieth-century readers the most difficult problems in the Reformed claim to base a plurality of ministries on scripture. In fact, however, neither of these issues appears completely new or even particularly remarkable, in view of the preceding exegetical tradition. There is no doubt that Reformed theologians, influenced by other non-scriptural factors, developed and adapted tradition. The same is true of their (more creative) predecessors. The Reformed school of interpretation is more striking, though, because of its coherence and its use of exegesis to serve a clear theological purpose.

What is probably the most innovative aspect of the Calvinist exegesis of Rom. 12:6-8 and 1 Cor. 12:28 is the lay status of certain ecclesiastical offices. Although this is commonly recognized as one of the most important features of Reformed teaching on the ministry, very few seem to realize that this is also the really shockingly new factor introduced into the interpretation of their biblical texts by Reformed theologians. Innovation does not mean, however, that there was no basis in the tradition for interpreting certain offices as non-clerical. The exegetical tradition of Rom. 12:6-8 and 1 Cor. 12:28 included the possibility of interpreting some of the names in Paul’s lists as civil rulers or temporal tasks, although most leaders and functions were read as ecclesiastical. This is particularly true of Romans, but some similar comments are found in the exegesis of First Corinthians. (190)

Here are some quotes she cited. I believe most of the translations are hers:

Governors [1 Cor. 12:28] were, I believe, elders chosen from the people, who were charged with the censure of morals and the exercise of discipline along with the bishops. For one cannot otherwise interpret his statement, “Let him who rules act with diligence” [Rom. 12:8, cf. Vg.]. Each church, therefore, had from its beginning a senate, chosen from godly, grave, and holy men, which had jurisdiction over the correcting of faults. (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.3.8)

For this purpose courts of judgment were established in the church from the beginning to deal with the censure of morals, to investigate vices, and to be charged with the exercise of the office of the keys. Paul designates this order in his letter to the Corinthians when he mentions offices of ruling [1 Cor. 12:28]. (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.11.1)

What are these [helps]? The care of the weak. Is this, I ask, a gift (charism)? Certainly, to protect and to distribute spiritual things is a gift from God. Moreover he also clearly calls many of our excellent actions “charismata”, not wishing us to be discouraged, but showing that we always need the help of God, and instructing us so that we may be grateful, thus making us more eager, and exciting our feeling for these good deeds. (Chrysostom, MPG 61.266)

He said “helpers”, and he understands deacons of the poor, i.e., administrators, or all those who assist in ecclesiastical business. However, Ambrose has called gubernatores those “who serve as an example to men to restrain them in spiritual and moral matters”, such ones as elders, presbyters, supervisors of Christian discipline, moral censors. (Bullinger, Commentary on Paul’s Epistles)

What single person could fulfill all these various functions of a good pastor? From the beginning of the church, therefore, the Holy Spirit chose to add to the administrators of Word and Sacraments (namely, the chief presbyters and bishops) also other men chosen from the body of the church, serious and skilled in the gift of governing, who would help the ministers of the Word to care for individuals, and to restrain them and encourage them in the teaching of Christ, 1 Cor. 12:28 (Bucer, De Regno Christi, 5.15)

In the letter to Timothy, also [Paul] distinguishes two kinds of presbyters: those who labor in the Word, and those who do not carry on the preaching of the Word yet rule well [1 Tim. 5:17]. By this latter sort he doubtless means those who were appointed to supervise morals and to use the power of the keys. (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1543 edition, 4.11.1)

We have already seen that St. Paul speaks of the elders who labor in the Word of God, and then he adds others, and says (of all of whom he speaks) that “they should preside well”. It follows then that there were elders who were not preachers, who did not have the office of teaching or announcing the Word of God. And what did they do? They watched over morals to rebuke those who sinned and to prevent public scandals, so that there might be an authority established on behalf of all the church. When there was some crime, such as tumult or quarreling or theft or fraud or violence or injury or fornication, these elders were to be vigilant to attend to such vices, as indeed the church had given them this supervision. Now seeing this is so, who among us will dare to oppose the order of the Holy Spirit? (Works of Calvin 53)

Let us note, as has been stated before, that it is an honorable office to govern the church of God. . . What then is this dignity? It is not the way of presiding which princes and lords have, but it is like a service. Let us glory then in serving the flock committed to us, because (as I have already mentioned) it is impossible for us to serve God unless we dedicate ourselves to the service of His people. But we must also know that honor is joined with this service. (Works of Calvin, 53)

To govern well His church, God wished there also to be people to govern, and that those should be elected who were of good and holy life, who had already acquired some authority and also had prudence to equip them for such a charge. (Works of Calvin, 53)

For God does not work the way men do. We on our side can elect one to hold the office of magistrate, another to be a preacher, but we cannot give them what is necessary (to do the job). For we do not create a new person of the one we raise to honor; he always remains what he was, as far as we are concerned. And when there is an election, each person votes. So, the one chosen is in office, but nevertheless he always remains the person he was. It is the same with pastors; we can well elect a man who will be more a beast. For we cannot make him be formed as he ought to be. But when elections proceed from God, and He presides over them, then there are gifts joined by an inseparable bond to the tasks. (Works of Calvin, 51).

Best Nextdoor post ever: I know this isn’t a copperhead.

Written by Scott Moonen

October 2, 2021 at 9:03 am

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-39)

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In Exodus 10 we see that God requires little ones at his worship-feast. In Exodus 14 we further see that you are to be baptized (c.f., 1 Corinthians 10, Psalm 77) before appearing at the worship feast. This is confirmed elsewhere, e.g., Numbers 19.

Exodus 12 is the only time that Passover was celebrated from house to house rather than at God’s own house. The wilderness wanderings served as a total re-centering and re-prioritization of Israel and her houses around and toward God’s house. Acts seems to show us a similar progression, starting with meetings from “house to house” in Acts 2.

Jesus’s statement that “I tell you not to resist an evil person” in Matthew 5 is provocative. Scripture certainly allows some kinds of defense and resistance, but Jesus is concerned about the manner and limitations of this. Calvin in his commentary on this passage helpfully expresses this in terms of retaliation, that is, returning evil for evil:

There are two ways of resisting: the one, by warding off injuries through inoffensive conduct; the other, by retaliation. Though Christ does not permit his people to repel violence by violence, yet he does not forbid them to endeavor to avoid an unjust attack. The best interpreter of this passage that we can have is Paul, who enjoins us rather to “overcome evil by good” (Romans 12:21) than contend with evil-doers. We must attend to the contrast between the vice and the correction of it. The present subject is retaliation. To restrain his disciples from that kind of indulgence, he forbids them to render evil for evil. He afterwards extends the law of patience so far, that we are not only to bear patiently the injuries we have received, but to prepare for bearing fresh injuries. The amount of the whole admonition is, that believers should learn to forget the wrongs that have been done them, — that they should not, when injured, break out into hatred or ill-will, or wish to commit an injury on their part, — but that, the more the obstinacy and rage of wicked men was excited and inflamed, they should be the more fully disposed to exercise patience.

One other helpful category here is whether the offense is merely against ourselves as individuals (or whether we are reacting to it as such) or if there is a broader principle of needing to protect our neighbor and his property and privilege, or especially to protect those for whom we are responsible. “Do you do well to be angry?” is a helpful test. You do find ways to resist when the military draft comes for your daughters.

I’m intrigued enough by Michael O’Fallon that I began listening to his podcast this week. We’ll see how it goes. I’m also enjoying working through Michael Foster’s County Before Country conference recordings.

Even Americans are faced today with the problem of a bureaucracy, a brain trust, a centre of civil prerogative. Now, no seed can spring from a sterile tree. Red tape, bureaucracy, brain trust, central power are all very well for purposes of academic discussion, but they cannot produce branches, because their trunk is dry and sapless. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Out of Revolution, 361)

Luther separated the Middle Ages and the modern era because he believed in the fruits of time: The Gospel preceded the political reality; the pulpit of the university trained boys of twenty so that, as men of fifty, they might run the government. In other words: Luther changed the Church from a neighbour in space to a prophet in time. The Church was to be not a hundred steps from the palace or the town-hall, but a hundred hours or days or months ahead of what was transacted in either of those houses.

As a symbol of this relation, the Lutheran closed his church during the week. It was open only on Sunday because then the “Donnerwort of Eternity” could break in upon the temporal and secular world. The pulpit being a prophetic voice, sowing the future by its preaching of the pure Gospel, the “Katheder” of a German university was surrounded with all the halo of a sacrament. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Out of Revolution, 412)

Written by Scott Moonen

September 24, 2021 at 10:39 pm

Metábasis eis állo génos (2-38)

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Lazy days this week:

Lots of time for swimming and games and reading. Sobering and stirring:

The “elder” is at odds with the “expert.” This is a distinction often ignored by the young and impatient.

The expert deals in information, made more and more abundant by science. The elder deals in wisdom, acquired only through long and patient obedience to law and ideal. The elder is the product of time, the expert the product of training. The elder is reflective, the expert is impulsive. The elder is sensitive to human frailty, especially his own; the expert is cocksure. The elder tends to listen, the expert to assertion. The expert may indeed impress the naive by overwhelming the wise with the quantity of his information—but a Church or a culture which cannot distinguish between the quantitative and the qualitative—between knowledge and wisdom—has not long to flourish. (DeKoster and Berghoef, The Elders Handbook, 223-224)

Faithful plodding:

Often the convert through evangelism comes with a freshness of zeal and ardor which delights those who helped lead him to the Lord. Make special effort to put such enthusiasm to work in the Body along channels for which the convert is qualified. But beware that the warmth of the convert’s new-found faith does not become a cloak for judgment upon the presumably “luke-warm” faith of others. The new-born must always be given to understand that coming into the congregation is but the beginning of an arduous and life-long effort to grow in obedience and sanctity. Not everyone wears, or wants to wear, evidence of the depth of his faith upon his sleeve. It may take a while for the new member to find that out. Be sure that this member realizes that the measure of “success” in Christian progress must be one’s growth from year to year and not some self-made comparison with the growth of others. (DeKoster and Berghoef, The Elders Handbook, 245-246)

Lisa is reading a book which must no longer be named:

“All wars are sacred,” [Rhett] said. “To those who have to fight them. If the people who started wars didn’t make them sacred, who would be foolish enough to fight? But, no matter what rallying cries the orators give to the idiots who fight, no matter what noble purposes they assign to wars, there is never but one reason for a war. And that is money. All wars are in reality money squabbles. But so few people ever realize it. Their ears are too full of bugles and drums and fine words from stay-at-home orators. Sometimes the rallying cry is ‘Save the Tomb of Christ from the Heathen!’ Sometimes it’s ‘Down with Popery!’ And sometimes ‘Liberty!’ And sometimes ‘Cotton, Slavery and States’ Rights!’” (161)

And while this is an important insight, and one which I had never thought to apply to the American Civil War, Rosenstock-Heussy cautions us not to go so far as Rhett; that a love for good things may not sanctify a war or revolution, but may yet warrant one’s involvement in it:

We today are sure that economic forces pull all the wires. Washington was the richest man in the colonies, the Federalists speculated in Western land, the Whigs owned ecclesiastical estates, and the French middle class wished to exploit the farmers. This is all true, but no truer than the fact that economics is part of all our lives every day. Bread and butter is an everyday question. For that very reason it is not the permanent question of history, because history selects one or the other everyday question and makes it the centre of attention for a certain time. History is the passing from one question to another, the putting of different questions at different times.

Because of the very fact that economics is so important all the time, it cannot be the question for every period. History would not be history but a recurrent mechanism if it were one and the same question which raised human fury to the pitch of war or revolution in every age. We vary, the seasons vary, mankind varies in its furies, passions, aims and ends, and the emergencies against which we need government vary likewise. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Out of Revolution, 385)

Thus, Rosenstock-Huessy makes the point that even in the most reprehensible and unjustifiable of revolutions, there may be an element of truth that broke through and which we are now free to affirm even if there is a great deal to be discarded. He summarizes (p. 365):

Russia: Every proletarian a capitalist.
France: Every man of talent an aristocrat.
England: Every gentleman a king.
Germany: Every Christian a priest.

He goes on to stress that “the clue to the success of [these] revolutions was that none of them bribed the respective supporters at the price of diminishing the size of the body politic; they all reached out for a political organization bigger than anything attempted before.” (365) As always, he is over generalizing, but there is still a stimulating idea there. I haven’t finished the book, so I can’t say yet where he goes with that. I do believe that he foresees an end to this age of empires, so perhaps an end to revolution, which he acknowledges has a demonic aspect to it.

Jesus doesn’t want you to panic.

Written by Scott Moonen

September 18, 2021 at 9:08 pm