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Posts Tagged ‘Peter-Leithart

Ends and beginnings and faith

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 Peter Leithart writes about faith:

Ruth begins with death – the death of the land in famine, the death of exile, the death of Elimelech, the death of Naomi’s sons, the death of Naomi’s future. Naomi goes out full, and comes back empty. Ruth 1 is a perfect tragic story, a story of endings and emptyings.

But it is chapter 1, and the author wants us to realize that this series of deaths is not an end. The end of chapter 1 is a beginning, as Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem “at the beginning of the barley harvest” (v. 22). The author makes his point with a touch so light as to be nearly imperceptible, but the import of that “beginning” is as weighty as anything in Scripture.

“In the beginning” and “once upon a time” make rational sense as the beginning of a story. But recognizing a beginning on the other side of an end is an act of faith.

Mark Dever makes a similar point in his treatment of Ruth. To human eyes, all is despair at the beginning of this book. But the writer of Ruth gives us a glimpse of what a sovereign and good God is planning and working behind the scenes. You can listen to Dever preach on the whole book of Ruth, and also on Ruth chapter 1 specifically.

See also William Cowper’s hymn, God Moves in a Mysterious Way.

Written by Scott Moonen

February 7, 2008 at 10:01 am

Hospitality

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Peter Leithart writes of hospitality:

Feasting and care for the poor have been polarized in contemporary culture. If you’re a “conservative,” you’re in favor of free trade, consumption without guilt, festivity without concern for those who can’t join you, who probably deserve their poverty anyway. If you’re a “liberal,” you renounce festivity because other people are hungry and how dare you eat when someone else isn’t.

The Biblical prophets combine a promise of festivity with severe denunciation of greed, luxury, and oppression. But they combine the two seamlessly by emphasizing hospitality. The promise is a feast like the feasts of the Pentateuch, where the widow, stranger, and Levite are not forgotten but included as welcome guests.

Against both “conservative” indifference and liberal asceticism, the Bible presents the ideal of the hospitable society.

Sanctification's dying

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Everything worth keeping, it comes through dying.

— Caedmon’s Call, “Ten Thousand Angels,” Overdressed (Limited Edition)

The one thing that is “not good” in the original creation is Adam’s loneliness. And how does God go about addressing that imperfection? He puts Adam into deep sleep, tears out a rib from his side, closes up the flesh, and builds a woman from the rib. The solution to what is “not good” is something like death, and something like resurrection.

That’s always the solution. When God sees that something is “not good” in us, in our life situation, He tends not to ease us into a new stage. He kills us, in order to raise us up again. That has to happen, because it is a universal truth that “unless the seed go into the ground and die, it cannot bear fruit.”

— Peter Leithart, “Radical Solution”

Written by Scott Moonen

October 4, 2007 at 12:27 pm

Leithart on hearing Christ's voice

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When in distress or confusion, literate medieval Christians would sometimes let the Bible drop open, and took guidance and comfort the first passage their eye alighted on.

This could be superstitious, of course. But it could also come from a deeply genuine faith.

Sometimes, we don’t need to hear specific, or even relevant, instructions. Sometimes, in distress, it’s enough if we can hear our Husband’s voice.

— Peter Leithart, His Voice

I often find after reading the Bible that, even if there is no really obvious way I have been directly edified or encouraged, I am still in better spirits. Peter Leithart has articulated one reason why this is true.