Training in Righteousness
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What redemption does to emotion and intellect

Please indulge me in another Frame quote.  I'll probably be finished the book this week, and the last few chapters are excellent.

In the chapter "The Existential Perspective - The Qualifications of the Theologian," Frame discusses the skills of the theologian, which includes emotion.  He discusses what redemption does to emotion and intellect:

Redemption doesn't make us more emotional (as some charismatics might suppose) or less so (as many Reformed would prefer), any more than it makes us more or less intellectual.  What redemption does to the intellect is to consecrate that intellect to God, whether the I.Q. is high or low.  Similarly, the important thing is not whether you are highly emotional or not; the important thing is that whatever emotional capacities you have should be placed in God's hands to be used according to His purposes.

Thus intellect and emotion are simply two aspects of human nature that together are fallen and together are regenerated and sanctified.  Nothing in Scripture suggests that either is superior to the other.  Neither is more fallen than the other, neither is necessarily more sanctified than the other.

I liked that.  It gives hope for someone like me, who tends to be on the emotional side.


Heart Aflame - Psalm 15:1

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?  As nothing is more common in the world than falsely to assume the name of God, or to pretend to be his people, and as a great part of men allow themselves to do this without any apprehension of the danger it involes, David, without stopping to speak to men, addresses himself to God, which he considers the better course; and he intimates, that if men assume the title of the people of God, without being so in deed and in truth they gain nothing by their self-delusion, for God continues always like himself, and as he is faithful himself, so will he have us to keep the faith with him in return.  No doubt, he adopted Abraham freely, but, at the same time, he stipulated with him that he should live a holy and an upright life, and this is the general rule of the covenant which God has, from the beginning, made with his Church.

The sum is, that hypocrites, who occupy a place in the temple of God, in vain pretend to be his people for he acknowledges none as such but those who follow after justice and uprighteness during the whole course of their life.  David saw the temple crowded with a great multitude of men who all made a profession of the same religion, and presented themselves before God as to the outward ceremony; and, therefore, assuming the person of one wondering at the spectacle, he directs his dicourse to God, who, in such a confusion and medley of characters, could easily distinguish his own people from strangers.

If we really wish to be reckoned among the number of the children of God, the Holy Ghost teaches us, that we must show ourselves to be such by a holy and an upright life; for it is not enough to serve God by outward ceremonies, unless we also live uprightly, and without doing wrong to our neighbours.

David makes mention of the tabernacle, because the temple was not yet built.

The meaning of this discourse, to express it in a few words, is this, that those only have access to God who are his genuine servants, and who live a holy life.


A child of the digital age

I got the laugh of the day yesterday courtesy of my 15 year old son.

En route to taking him to his friend's house, we stopped at the post office so that I could mail a letter.  There are three mailboxes on the sidewalk outside the main post office, and all it necessitated was my pulling up to the curb.  Since my son was on the side where the mailboxes were, I handed him the letter and asked him to pop it in any one of the boxes.

I watched him through the rearview mirror, and to my amusement, I saw him standing before the mailboxes, scrutinizing.  I saw him cock his head a little, looking up and down the box.  I started laughing out loud; clearly this child of the digital age had never mailed anything before.  How did that lesson get left out of homeschooling?

Fortunately, an older man, smiling sheepishly himself, instructed the young fellow and my son returned to the car, where he admonished me immediately.

"I could hear you laughing at me."

I told him I was just glad he hadn't tried to put the letter in the newspaper vending machine that sits beside the mailboxes.  He was quite indignant that I would think he would do that.  I actually didn't think he would have trouble with the mailbox.

The reason for his visit to his friend was an afternoon of various games on Playstation 3.  I told him that he could feel bolstered because he had conquered the mailbox.  He just said that he is looking forward to a day when there is no need for mailboxes.


A little thought about history and theology

Courtesy of John Frame:

Church history illuminates theology by recounting the words of teachers in their life-contexts.  It shows us how the teachers of the church behaved under pressure, how their lives were or were not consistent with their teaching It shows how the gospel teaching took root (or failed to take root) in the lives of rulers, farmers, tradesmen, soldiers, the poor, and the homeless.

As such, historical theology is properly a form of theology.  It is an application of the Word of God, for that Word is the historian's criterion of evaluation.  It applies the Word to the church's past for the sake of the church's present edification, and thus it also applies Scripture to the church of the present.  And so in applying the Word, it reveals its meaning in new and exciting ways, as we see how our ancestors applied Scripture to a broad variety of situations.



"The Incarnation, and Passion"

A poem by Henry Vaughan:

Lord! when thou didst thyself undress
Laying by the robes of glory,
To make us more, thou wouldst be less,
And became'st a woeful story.

To put on Clouds instead of light
And clothe the morning-star with dust,
Was a translation of such height
As, but in thee, was ne'er expressed;

Brave worms, and Earth! that thus could have
A God Enclosed within your Cell,
Your maker pent up in a grave,
Life locked in death heaven in a shell;

Ah, my dear Lord! what couldst thou spy
In this impure, rebellious clay,
That made thee thus resolve to die
For those that kill thee every day?

O what strange wonders could thee move
To slight thy precious blood, and breath!
Sure it was Love; my Lord; for Love
Is only stronger far than death.