Volume 11, Issue 2: Sharpening Iron
We recently heard that Gary North's webpage lists Moscow, Idaho as the best place to be when the uncertain New Year is ushered in. Although you may have reason to doubt it, we Credenda Editors felt that we have some sort of journalistic integrity at stake here if we don't give you the truth. Though Mister North's webpage may have painted Moscow to be a cozy little country hamlet, the fact is that Moscow is really a dump. We have lousy restaurants. Our Mongolian Barbecue isn't even staffed by Mongolians (they're Vietnamese). We didn't get Titanic until weeks after it opened. We've never had an Amy Grant concert. And we all drive really slow and spit out the window frequently. However, northern Arkansas on the other hand. . .
BOUND FOR THE BAD PLACE
As a universalist, I quite enjoyed Wilson's article "Conquering Love," until, in the second page, he contradicted everything he was saying. Compare his statement against "a common-place assumption. . . that men will not come to Christ" with his other statement that "Jesus did not secure the salvation of all men distributively." If the latter of these statements is true, and all men are in fact not saved, then the "commonplace assumption. . . that men will not come to Christ" would in fact be true. In what meaningful sense, therefore, does Wilson's view differ from the traditional evangelical view he was refuting, apart from a purely semantical sense?
Has not Wilson done the very thing he criticizes evangelicals for doing, putting conditions on the extent of Christ's victory. . . ?
Douglas Wilson replies:
We have to follow what the Bible teaches, not our own extrapolations from the text. The Bible teaches that Jesus actually (not potentially) conquers the world through His cross. The Bible also teaches plainly the doctrine of eternal damnation for some.
CESSATION OF THE GIFTS
Ephesians 4 clearly states the conditions for the cessation of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (v.13). This contradicts your teaching, unless you regard v.13 as fulfilled. If you do then you must believe that—1: All these gifts have ceased. 2: They are no longer necessary for the purposes mentioned in v.12. 3: Therefore the contextual application of how vv.14-16 can be achieved is nullified.
This forces the question, "What are all you reformed `pastors' and `teachers' doing if you do not exist, and there is no need for you anymore?" . . . . It is humorous to see how authoritatively pastors and teachers expect their teaching to be held, for they consider it fully in step with scripture. But they will not even share a glimmer of that same authority with prophecy. By scripture I have tested your teaching on cessation. It falls short—1 Thess. 5:20.
SIGNS, SIGNS, EVERYWHERE ARE SIGNS
. . .The historical view of the Church has not been Charismatic (in the popular definition) or one of Cessation. The Apostles, Prophets, Fathers and Reformers, all held a view that allowed for the mystery of a transcendent God who involves himself immanently in the lives of His people. . . . I ask therefore that you approach the question with more thought and consideration for the saints and martyrs that went before you. The reformers seriously attempted to reform the Church according to the Holy Scriptures, always considering what the fathers had understood them to say. Let us attempt to do the same.
David W. Scoggins
NO ONE LIKES JACK
How is it that Jack VanDeventer does not see that if God "orchestrates history" He then "orchestrated" the 70's, 80's and the 90's? Were those channels of theology not cut by God? You accuse those with whom you disagree of not founding their beliefs on scripture. The rapture is founded on 1 Thess. 4:13-18 and Matt. 24:29-44. Rev. 13 and 14 warn believers of a mark. On the other hand, Patch Blakey certainly does not found his theology on Isa.1, Deut. 30, or Ezek. 18.
The Puritans (Jonathan Edwards) could afford to look for heaven on earth because things appeared to be improving. We seem in our day rather to be in the beginning at least (or middle?) of the great apostasy. . . .
NATHAN DID IT
Anyone can make sarcastic and irreverent remarks under the guise of "anonymous." It has been my experience that such people are too much a coward to be held accountable in the light and thus their opinions hold little, if any, merit.
THIS ONE ALSO
"If a man mugs you in an alley, and then sets his gun down and starts counting the loot, a good Christian man would kick him in the head. . ." Is not this phrase, taken from the article titled "Patience" in C/A vol. 11 #1, encouraging me to directly disobey the Lord Jesus, who said "resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also," as well as "Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again?" . . . I suppose Mr. Wilson, the author of the above-quoted piece, could interpret these Scriptures to mean, overcome the evil of mugging with the good, loving action of head-kicking, but I have to admit that I am too dull to understand such sophistry. When Jesus said to turn the other cheek, he did not include an exception clause for vigilantes.
Mr Kimball, Nathan has requested that you send him $10,000 in unmarked bills.
While it is obvious that the Bible teaches that God knows the future in detail (Psalm 139), such an argument is of limited value, at least to the free will theists, who, consistent with their view of freedom, deny inerrancy. If this teaching of Scripture, that God knows the future perfectly, is incoherent, as they would argue, then it cannot be affirmed. And they have a better case than any critic I have seen admits. In recent decades, there have been potent arguments in the philosophy of time that since there is such a fact as what time it is now, God must be temporal to be omniscient. . . . As Duns Scotus and William of Occam affirmed, if I remember correctly, God is temporal, as the great mass of philosophers have concluded recently, though our Reformed divines have not, with the possible exception of Ronald Nash.
J. Brian Pitts
A NICE LETTER
I must admit that I know the columns of Nancy Wilson come under much criticism—But I love them! Not only are they convicting and helpful to correct ungodly ways, but the last article in C/A 11-1, "Jammy Rides" was truly heart-warming and God-glorifying. If I could footnote here: the week of my reading "Fruit of Her Hands," might be the most pleasant and helpful week of our marriage! (Newlyweds 12/97). The stories Mrs. Wilson shared in the recent article made me laugh at the simplicity, and cry because of the longing we have for a godly family which might exhibit blessings based on our faithfulness to God's commandments. Also, I thank Mrs. Wilson for her article that bluntfully addressed our failure to love our children as we ought in "Loving Our Kids" (Vol. 10 No . 2). Thank you Mrs. Wilson for your wisdom, and for the sweet complement you give to your husband's wisdom!
Mrs. Andre Louviere
I have enclosed three (3) proofs of purchase from packages of "Holy Smokes." Please send me one (1) WWDWD bracelet with velcro. Also, can you tell me how many proofs I need for the cricket bat?
The cricket bat is traded for fifteen Darwin bumper stickers or any one of the DC Talk band members.
In Doug Jones' recent article, "Nuturing Fat Souls," his thesis is that we can develop a soulful life (fat-souled) in our children only by developing trust through sacrifice, intimacy and the pursuit of beauty.
Concerning the latter. . . . he implies that a rejection of fiction will have an adverse affect upon the spiritual lives of our children. . . .
Such thinking is non-biblical. It suggests that our children can become spiritually mature only if they develop a thirst for fiction. In Jn 17:17 Christ prayed of the elect, "sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth." Sanctification, another way of saying fat-soulness, is done by the truth, that is, by the Word of God or 2 Tim 3:16-17. . . . There is no implication here the Word of God is inadequate to the task of making fat souls and needs to be supplemented by fiction. It is a serious mistake to say otherwise.
Doug Jones replies:
I agree that very serious issues are at stake here, and I do indeed think that a healthy imagination is essential to spiritual maturity. But I worry about your assumption that truth is opposed to fiction. Scripture itself repeatedly teaches truth by means of the "fictions" of metaphors and parables. When Psalm 72:3 teaches "The mountains will bring peace to the people," that is a grand fiction revealing a great truth. Mt. McKinley and Mt. Everest can't really bring peace to God's people. Christ alone does. But God repeatedly sees fit to speak to us as a poet and not an engineer. And if we aren't well-exercised in poetic, fictional thinking, then we'll regularly misunderstand Scripture and life. Weak imaginations have always fallen before Scripture's chief enemies: legalists, rationalists, and libertines. Orthodoxy demands imagination, and so we are just asking for serious spiritual problems if we deny the imaginative life to our children.