05 May 2011

Briefly: terror (of a certain kind) and theology

by Dan Phillips

I am making my way through Michael Horton's The Christian Faith, at a glacial pace. It is thought-provoking and instructive, to say the least.

Let me lift out and amen! just one snippet from page 97 which, I think, very nicely adorns and unites a lot of our concerns:
...Calvin judged that many theologians of his day who did not sense the importance of justification before a holy God had not yet sufficiently experienced the terrors of conscience that make the knowledge of God's truth such an urgent enterprise.
Bringing to mind also:
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD,
and whom you teach out of your law (Psalm 94:12)
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word (Psalm 119:67)
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes (Psalm 119:71)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)
Books are important. They're just not all-important — except the one Book, when learned and lived.

Dan Phillips's signature


Robert said...

I am always encouraged and frightened when God awakens my conscience as to how sinful my heart is. Encouraged because it drives me to the Gospel; frightened because it is so easy to fall when I don't rely upon Jesus.

donsands said...

Isn't there a fine line between how one fears our Lord when one is His beloved, and when one is a pagan?

"Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling."

This fear is not an afraid fear, but an awe fear, because He loves us.

Jesus said fear God who can destroy your soul in hell. So we need not to fear if we have feared this fear, and understand this fear.

Thanks for the good post.

Solameanie said...

That quote from the book about Calvin to be on posters, mugs and T-shirts across the country. Engraving it on small plaques attached to the lectern area of pulpits might not be a bad idea either.

lee n. field said...

I've seen you quote that book two or three times.

So, are you liking the Horton book so far? It's "kind of" on my list to get, but it's a fair chunk of change, I have other systematic theologies, and too little time to read what I want to.

DJP said...

Yes, I'm liking it so far (p. 128 out of over 1000), but....

What I like about, for instance, Robert Reymond's ST is he works very hard to demonstrate what he's saying from Scripture. That's not Horton's main burden so far. He talks a lot about Barth, Brunner, Bultmann, Hegel, Kant, and on and on, and contrasts them with the Bible doctrine. And I'm finding it stimulating, educational, and helpful. But he doesn't labor to establish that Biblical view first, per se.

But that is only p. 18 out of 1000+.

Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said...

I am convinced that one of the problems with the Evangelical Christian church today is that we really do not believe we are sinners. We believe it intellectually, but we do not believe it deep down. If we do not truly understand this and mean it, it is hard to have a right perspective on redemption and the Christian life.

THEOparadox said...

This is a great quote from Horton regarding Calvin. Today's deficient "Evangelical" Gospel flows from a deficient understanding of sin, which flows from a deficient view of God. The beauty of Calvin's soteriology is that he started with a high view of God, which led to the truth about the awfulness of sin, and thus he preached an accurate Gospel of grace.

Talking about these things and understanding them intellectually doesn't do much for us, though, if we don't have our own Isaiah 6 experience - hopefully (in some measure at least) on a daily basis!

DJP said...

Exactly. Or to put it another way... hm, how to phrase this?.. the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

Seriously, more and more I "get" just how right Solomon was, and how fundamental that framing truth is to Proverbs and everything else.