Other places I blog




web stats

Follow Me on Twitter

Entries in Leon Morris (6)


Don't let theology rob you of wonder

I'm in the middle of writing a paper about how John uses Isaiah 53:1 and 6:10 in John 12:38-40. It's interesting hopping back and forth between books. Yesterday afternoon, I took a break to hang some clothes on the clothes line. When I returned to my desk, I forgot which passage I was in. But this is great fun.

I have armed myself with a good number of resources:

Among that pile of books is a commentary on John by Leon Morris. It is an older commentary, first published in 1971. It's expensive to buy now because NICNT has replaced Morris's version from the series with one by J. Ramsey Michaels. To buy a paperback version of Morris's is $85 on Amazon. One can purchase it used, but it's still not cheap. The copy I took out has been re-bound with one of those plain, black non-descript bindings common in university libraries. It's seen better days.

But it's a treasure. I like Leon Morris already, and this is simply adding to that sentiment. One of the things that has jumped out at me is the way Morris uses the phrase "Our Lord" to refer to Jesus in the commentary. Most commentators will use the name "Jesus." I love the way Morris continually refers to him as "Our Lord." Even D.A. Carson's commentary (which I love) uses the name Jesus. I have seen in other older commentaries the use of the term "Our Lord." Perhaps it is just a practice not observed any longer.

I love the use of "Our Lord." It reminds me of who Jesus is. He isn't simply a historical figure. He isn't just a man, or a charismatic leader. He is Lord. That title assumes that there are servants. We are his servants. As I read through Morris's commentary, seeing that phrase over and over again, I am reminded of just who it is I am studying.

In seminary, it's easy to get caught up in the work and the details and lose sight of the wonder of God. I think that can also be said of theological debate. Debate is often necessary as doctrine is hammered out and clarified. But there is the temptation to be more concerned with the pursuit than the Lord we serve. Theology does thrill my heart, but it has to be more about the Lord than the academics of it all. I don't ever want learning to come between me and understanding exactly what that means.


What is faith?

Faith is the recognition that there is nothing in the sinner that can avail to bring him salvation.  Faith is the casting of oneself wholly on God.  Faith is the hand that reaches out to God for salvation.  Faith is no more than the means through which salvation is received.

Leon Morris, The Atonement:  It's Meaning and Significance.

I just finished this book yesterday.  It was one of those reads when I felt sad that it was all over.  In a post at Out of the Ordinary, Rebecca suggested that this was one of the six books every Christian woman ought to read.  As with many things, she is correct.  Sometimes, we get the notion that theology books are nothing but academic works, and aren't practical unless someone gives us a list of things to do.  Not so.  When you read this book, you will see very clearly that Morris intends for the significance of the cross to have an affect in how we live our Christian lives.


Love and wrath

I've just finished reading a chapter in Leon Morris's book The Atonement that discusses what propitiation means. Morris points out that recent scholarship has attempted to remove the notion of God's wrath from the understanding of what propitiation means.  This view renders God's wrath something that is a consequence of sin rather than a disposition that God has toward sin.  Morris lays out his arguments to conclude that propitiation in the Old Testament and the New Testament has always meant the turning away of God's wrath.

He points out that many people have a difficulty in seeing a God of love also being a God of wrath.  He emphasizes continually that God's love and God's wrath are related.  He says:

The more he loves the more he will be angry with everything that mars the perfection of the beloved, that is with every sin.  God's wrath is identical with God's love.  God's wrath is God's love blazing in fiery indignation against every evil in the beloved.

The more I read about God's wrath and my own sin, the more thankful I am for His grace.  It truly is amazing and awesome to me that God loves me at all; that God loves me so much that my sin cannot be tolerated; so much that Christ's death turned his wrath away. As we move ahead toward the Easter weekend, what could be more wonderful to think about than that?


Wrath bound up with love

In his discussion of the word propitiation, Leon Morris reminds the reader that the Old Testament reveals that God's anger and his love are intertwined:

We do not do justice to the Old Testament unless we see that God is an incurably loving God and a God implacably opposed to evil.  And that implacable opposition is what is in mind when the Old Testament writers speak of his anger, an anger that is inseprably bound up with his love.  It is because he loves us that he is so opposed to the evil in us, that evil that makes us so much less than we ought to be and cuts us off from so much blessing.  The wrath of God is not a reaction born of pique at being slighted.  It is God's strong opposition to that which cuts us off from the best that we can be.  God's love is not a mindless sentimentality.  It is a purifying fire, a force in the strongest opposition to everything that marks those whom God loves.

From The Atonement:  Its Meaning and Significance

Wrath; a largely forgotten word in our culture. We want the God of love without the God of wrath.


What is peace?

Peace means the defeat of evil.  Peace means breaking down the barrier between man and God. Peace means the presence of God's rich and abundant blessing. Peace means positiveness; it is not the absence of anything - the barrier that separates us from God or anything else.  Peace is presence, the presence of God.  Christ is "our peace."

From The Atonement, It's Meaning and Significance, by Leon Morris