CS Lewis, on Emotion in Thinking

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"Certainly we were talking too lightly and easily about these things a fortnight ago.... One used to be told as a child: 'Think what you're saying.' Apparently we need also to be told: 'Think what you're thinking.' The stakes have to be raised before we take the game quite seriously. I know this is the opposite of what is often said about the necessity of keeping all emotion out of our intellectual processes - 'you can't think straight unless you are cool.' But then neither can you think deep if you are. I suppose one must try every problem in both states." Pg 45.

CS Lewis, on Self-Knowledge, and Conviction

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"I sometimes pray not for self-knowledge in general but for just so much self-knowledge at the moment as I can bear and use at the moment; the little daily dose.... You and I wouldn't at all stages, think it wise to tell a pupil exactly what we thought of this quality. It is much more important that he should know what to do next." Pg 34.

CS Lewis, on Forgiveness

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"To forgive for the moment it not difficult. But to go on forgiving, to forgive the same offence again every time it recurs to the memory - there's the real tussle. My resource is to look for some action of my own which is open tot he same charge as the one I'm resenting. If I still smart to remember how A let me down, I must still remember how I let B down." Pg 27-28.


Rushdoony on the second commandment

Very thought-provoking, regarding law and government and economics. But it is very disconnected from the second commandment. The author assumes the connection on the wrong-headed assertion that the temple is the governing palace, which it grew to not be with David and Solomon. He then rides his hobby horse concern with law and politics, ignoring all the other aspects of forbidding graven images.

Still worthwhile reading and helpful in places.

Altar, then on to Throne

Rushdoony, Institutes of biblical Law, pg 73.

"The tabernacle thus... declares God's throne to be His law... It is truncated and defective faith which stops at the altar. The altar signifies redemption. It sets forth thus the rebirth of the believer. But rebirth for what? Without the dimension of law, life is denied the meaning and purpose of rebirth. Not surprisingly, altar-centered faith is heaven-centered and rapture-centered rather than God-centered. It seeks an escape from the world rather than the fulfillment of god's calling and law-word in the world."

This is really good, though I'd focus more on life, joy and service after redemption, than law. Law is needed for service, but life and joy come by the Holy Spirit.


Reading Rushdoony

I've been in the Reformed Church all my life and didn't hear about Rousas Rushdoony until about 7 years ago.

After reading his introduction to The Institutes of Biblical Law, I can already see what makes him influential and controversial. Here are some of the comments I made in the margin, following words I underlined of his.

"One and the same covenant, under differing administrations, still prevails" (pg 4).
This is labelled monocovenantalism and many say it denies the basic Westminsterian view of two covenants, one of life or works before the fall, and a second of grace.

"The purpose of grace is not to set aside the law but to fulfil the law and to enable man to keep the law" (4).
Yes, and I preached that exact thing Sunday. But don't forget we can't keep the law without continued grace. It's not like grace is an unfortunate necessity for us to do the REAL work of keeping the law. Grace is as foundational to the relationship as law is.

"Civil law cannot be separated from Biblical law" (4).
But was the civil law of Ex 21-23 just for Israel? Were all nations around Israel required by God to adopt Ex 21-23? Are we today? I tend to think not.

"Law is in every culture religious in origin.... the source of law is the god of that society.... humanism... locates law in the state.... no disestablishment of religion as such is possible in any society... the change is simply to another religion" (4-5).
All very true.

"Every law system must maintain its existence by hostility to every other law-system and to alien religious foundation or else it commits suicide" (5-6).
Whoa. Disagree. This is a denial of common grace: that there are principles written on the human heart and in the law that all nations can agree to and legislate, even if they do not adopt the Mosaic law en toto.

"There is no contradiction between law and grace.... Judaism had made law the mediator between God and man.... It was this view of law, not the law itself, which Jesus attacked.... Jesus fully recognized the law, and obeyed the law. It was only the absurd interpretations of the law He rejected" (6-7).
Yes, all very good.

"The sacrament of the Lord's Supper is the renewal of the covenant..." (7).
You betcha.

"... so that the sacrament itself re-establishes the law" (7).
Whoa, again. That's just a strange way to put things. Love and covenant relationship is the point, more than the law. The sacraments re-affirm the ongoing relationship IN SPITE of our law breaking. They are sacraments of the covenant of grace. This phrase gives me a queer feeling that for Rushdoony the law is the end all and be all of religion.

He quotes Calvin: "some deny that a state is well constituted, which neglects the polity of Moses.... The dangerous and seditious nature of this opinion... false and foolish." Rushdoony calls this "heretical nonsense," as Calvin was too much of a humanist.
"Calvin wanted the establishment of the Christian religion; he could not have it, nor could it last long in Geneva, without Biblical law" (9-10).
See, here again, this kind of statement assumes that law is what really changes things, it is the truly efficacious agent of change. NO. It is a means of obedience and sanctification, but can go nowhere without grace and faith and love. Rushdoony over-reacts against anti-nomians and winds up putting too much weight on the law.

"If the state must exercise justice, how is justice defined, by the antions, or by God? There are as many ideas of justice as there are religions" (10).
Here again is a denial of common grace to reveal to all men in their hearts basic ideas of justice by which states can govern. Romans 2:14-15: "for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)."

"Without case law, God's law would soon be reduced to an extremely limited area of meaning. This, of course, is precisely what has happened" (12).
This looks to be the most promising contribution of Rushdoony's to the law, as much as his view of the law with regard to the state may be the most damaging.

Stay tuned for more!


Abide and Cling

John 15:1-5
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

When we celebrate Communion we act out these words. This is our reality. We are united to Christ like a tree trunk keeps a branch alive. Our calling, by grace, is to maintain the connection, feed off the sap from the trunk, sprout leaves and bear fruit. Communion is a way we do this. We delight in God’s words and ways. We cling to Christ. In communion we eat and drink from the source of life, and the only place salvation can be found, the body and blood and life of Jesus Christ. As we do this we taste of the blessing and joy that comes from union with Christ. Treasure time with Him now.


The Long War

A war rages in each one of us. As a nation we have steeled ourselves for a long war on terrorism. But we are far less resolute to be secure and unstained from sin and temptations that war against our souls. The war is not just out there. It is a battle inside us, of who to trust, what to want, whose agenda to follow. We do not win every skirmish, nor should we pretend to each other that we do. The apostle Paul himself cries out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death!” Well, we know who. Let us go to Jesus in prayer, confessing our sins.



Taking or Casting?

Ten Commandments
"Why are Christians so disquieted in their minds? They are taking care when they should be casting care." (pg 21)

1 Peter 5:7 - "casting all your care upon Him..."