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Volume 15, Issue 1: Meander

Melancholy Mojo

Douglas Wilson

A common way of sinning with the tongue is to talk aimlessly, and a lot. This kind of verbal scribbling is certain to lead to tangles, problems, and difficulties. Scripture says, "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding" (Prov. 17:27-28). The flip side of this is that silence often has a healing effect—much like a refusal to pour gasoline on a fire already raging. The man of knowledge, Solomon says, is sparing with his words. This mark of wisdom is striking enough that when a fool adopts it, even he may be thought wise. We have a related proverb in English—it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. When it comes to aimless chatter, silence really is golden.

John Piper has written another good book called Brothers, We are Not Professionals. While I think he misses some things here and there, who doesn't? I recommend this book highly. Written for pastors, it is a wonderful antidote against the ministry machine that eats people.

Outside the Camp, a publication from a Calvinistic paradise on the dark side of the moon, has declared John Robbin's Trinity Foundation to be heretical. This is despite the fact that these organizations have worked together in the past. This declaration is because it has now come out that Robbins (and Gordon Clark too) thinks it is possible for an Arminian to be regenerate. Now the fact that prior to all this Robbins had declared us to be heretical too does not prevent us from rushing to his defense anyway. So here it is: we come out foursquare in favor of the Trinity Foundation's position on this. On this position, Credenda and the Trinity Foundation are sandbox buddies, sharing our little trucks.

When God placed Adam in the garden, there was only one no. Adam and Eve could eat from any of the trees in the garden except for one. Our God is a God of grace, a God who gives to the point of overflow. This can be seen in how He created a garden where virtually every tree was a yes. Parents should remember this when their little ones become mobile and start life within their "garden." Given the nature of things, there do need to be certain things that are off-limits for the kids for various reasons: toddlers shouldn't be able to play with electric sockets, and they shouldn't be allowed to kick the vase off the coffee table. And sometimes there have to be points of testing for the point of testing. After all, God did place one tree in the garden that was off-limits. But even so, the attitude of parents should be one of grace, wanting to bestow, desiring to give. Unless their authority is respected, they cannot give—but authority can be established without having a tempting no every foot and a half. All this is another way of encouraging parents to toddler-proof the house with grace in mind.

Another book recommendation for pastors would be Antagonists in the Church by Kenneth Haugk. Unfortunately, intractable situations within congregations are not rare—in fact, there appears to be a small cottage industry in the publishing world dedicated to it—and this book would do more than a little to help in such a situation. I don't endorse everything in the book, but it is a valuable resource.

Norah Jones has a lovely album out entitled Come Away With Me. Her rendition of "Lonestar" is superb. A lot of CDs are easy to listen to, but this one is easy to listen to again and again.

We can identify the "god of the system" in various ways. All aspirants to deity must aspire to the prerogatives that God holds to Himself. For example, in Scripture God is the ultimate and final source of law. All idols therefore must generate law, produce ethical imperatives for us to follow. The triune God cannot be blasphemed. An idol cannot tolerate blasphemy either—blasphemy being understood as a direct challenge to the authority of the god. Now in culture wars, the fighting begins in earnest when the gods of the system are attacked. It is important to note that with godly satire far more is going on than "being abrasive" in the "name of Jesus." Any obnoxious person can irritate people and then claim he is being persecuted for righteousness' sake. With scriptural satire, a challenge is being mounted against the name of the idol, and against the law that rests upon his name—e.g.; satire against the idol of sentimentalism and the law of universal niceness that proceeds from it.

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