The whole of the tremendous debt was put upon his shoulders; the whole weight of the sins of all his people was placed upon him. Once he seemed to stagger under it: “Father, if it be possible take this cup from me.” But again he stood upright: “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.”

The whole of the punishment of his people was distilled into one cup; no mortal lip might give it so much as a solitary sip. When he put it to his own lips, it was so bitter, he well nigh spurned it—”Let this cup pass from me.” But his love for his people was so strong, that he took the cup in both his hands, and

at one tremendous draught of love, He drank damnation dry

for all his people. He drank it all, he endured all, he suffered all; so that now for ever there are no flames of hell for them, no racks of torment; they have no eternal woes; Christ hath suffered all they ought to have suffered, and they must, they shall go free. The work was completely done by himself, without a helper.

-”Justification by Grace,” delivered on April 5, 1857, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

HT: Kevin Hash

The Cup


April 20, 2011 — 2 Comments

Okay movie, great soundtrack. Put those headphones on, sit in SBTS library, turn it up, and write an exegetical paper on Psalm 14.

You can’t put it much better than this:

I suspect that this reflects one of those unbridgeable gaps between liberals and conservatives. Walsh wants to design policy while assuming that the better angels of American life will always win out (with an assist from the soaring rhetoric of progressive politicians), and I would prefer to design policy while keeping the realities of human nature uppermost in mind.

Seven Memes

April 20, 2011 — 1 Comment

Doug Wilson posts seven memes for keeping Christians in their place. Here is my favorite.

5. Darwinian evolution is the Truth.

Darwinian evolution is actually the funniest thing I ever heard of. It is so dumb that the average Christian needs at least three years of graduate study from white-haired profs to get adjusted to it.

More Books to Come!

April 19, 2011 — Leave a comment

I am looking forward to picking up some different books when my wife and I go on vacation after I graduate in May. Here are some of the books I am taking with me.

  1. How to Write a Sentence, And How to Read One: Stanley Fish
  2. Brave New World: Aldous Huxley
  3. Academically Adrift: Richard Arum
  4. Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Recovering a Christian Practice: Daniel Treier
  5. Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity? David Wenham

Concerning Academically Adrift Joel Willitts has a little summary and thoughts about the book which should be noted.

A number of points have already got me thinking. First, students in college have little to no academic focus. Perhaps you’ve met one of those described as “drifting dreamers”: students with “high ambitions, but no clear life plans for reaching them” (3). These students enter college and are largely “academically adrift”. What was not surprising to me since I have experienced is that despite lacking academic focus college students are not suffering in their classes with lower grades. Why? Because, according to the authors, students have developed “the art of college management”. This skill refers to their ability succeed not by hard work, but by “controlling college schedules, taming professors and limiting workload” (4). Students “preferentially enroll in classes with instructors who grade leniently” (4). At my institution, students vote with their feet. I’ve learned to adjust my course expectations so that I don’t have a great migration after the first week of school. One does not have the luxury to stand on principle and demand rigor, when your classes sizes are monitored and less than 10 is unacceptable.

Second, Arum and Roksa make the point that the academic environment on most college and university campuses does not promote academics as its primary element of culture. Today what is encouraged is athletics, social life, and extra-curricular activities. These say nothing to the fact that many students are now working a heavy part-time job of over 20 hours a week.

Third, a consumeristic approach to education and “credentialism” are two interesting and interrelated points. Students today for a number of cultural reasons view education from a purely consumeristic perspective. This approach is fueled by the idea of credentialism. The assumption is that an education serves as a means of admission to a job or future success. What one needs is a credential to get a job or attain a certain position in the market place; thus, one gets an education purely for this end. With these two assumptions at work it is no wonder that students seek to receive services within an academic institution that “will allow them, as effortlessly and comfortably as possible” attain “valuable educational credentials that can be exchanged for later labor market success” (17).

Fourth, Arum and Roksa suggest that part of the problem with the lack of learning taking place in colleges and universities is that professors are encouraged to care more about their profession than about their students. This was a difficult pill to swallow, but I do think that there is a tendency, at least for me, to want to devote less time preparing lectures, teaching, grading, and advising and more time to scholarly activity.

Modern life owes much to ancient Greece, particularly in the use of human reason to ask ultimate philosophical questions, yet it is not to the Greeks but to the Middle Ages that we are indebted for the existence of the university. It was a creation of the Middle Ages and had an almost inherent connection with the church. A line of descent can be drawn from the medieval universities at Bologna and Paris to almost every college and university in the Western world. A line can be seen reaching from Paris to Oxford to Cambridge to Harvard and another line from Paris to Germany to the United States in the nineteenth century.

F. Donald Logan, A History of the Church in the Middle Ages, 225.

For it is man’s obligation to practice virtues, not in order to obtain consideration, or joy, or wealth, or rank, or any enjoyment in heaven or on earth, but solely out of homage to the incomparable sublimity of God, who created our nature to this end and made it for his own honor and praise, and for our bliss in eternal glory.

The sign that anyone possesses grace is a holy life. The sign of predestination is the pure and genuine impulse by which the heart is borne, in living confidence and unspeakable desires, toward God’s honor and toward what befits the incomprehensible divine sublimity.

Hadewijch of Brabant: Letters and Visions

For Our Bliss

I found this on Scot McKnight’s blog awhile back and thought it was hilarious. Here it is re-posted in full.

Mark Twain tells stories so well one never knows how much of it got confused in fiction. It was he who once said, and I don’t remember where, that he never let facts get in the way of his fiction. But let’s assume this story happened. One time Twain was asked to write the Introduction to a translation of the evidence presented in the Joan of Arc Trials and Rehabilitation.

He was pleased to write for this editor. The reason he was pleased was because the editor had made so many wonderful compliments of Twain’s prose. So he did his best to live up to the glowing praise by putting some extra work into the Introduction. (The story is found in the new Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1.)

Before he got the Introduction back from the editor, Twain met someone whose judgment he trusted who told him that the aforesaid editor was not up to the task. Nor was he competent, which was he was not up to the task.

When Twain got the Introduction back he read through it and, knowing he had to respond in a Christian fashion, decided not to follow his friend’s advice in writing back a heated response, and so wrote a blow by blow response to each of the (far too many) edits of the editor.

To begin with, when Twain began to see what had been done to his prose, he said “I will not deny it, my feelings rose to 104 in the shade” (166). Then wrote of what he would not call him — “long-eared animal… this literary kangaroo … this illiterate hostler” — “But I stopped right there, for this was not the right Christian spirit” (166).

The volume then provides the entire Introduction with the edits of said editor. Twain’s blow-by-blow response follows. It is here that Twain’s “Christian spirit” emerges so clearly:

It is discouraging to try to penetrate a mind like yours. You ought to get it out and dance on it. That would take some of the rigidity out of it. And you ought to use it sometimes; that would help. If you had done this every now and then along through life, it would not have petrified.

The editor had the habit of adding “quite” and “however” … to which Twain responded once with this: “There is your empty “however” again. I cannot think what makes you so flatulent.”

And on and on, one after another, he goes.

He closes with this:

It cost me something to restrain myself and say these smooth and half-flattering things to this immeasurable idiot, but I did it, and have never regretted it. For it is higher and nobler to be kind to even a shad like him than just.

I could have said hundreds of unpleasant things about this tadpole, but I did not even feel them.

I posted earlier about Richard Ashcroft’s spiritually themed songs and wondered where he stood. I found the following quote on Mockingbird.

I can’t pin myself on any fixed religion, really. I’m just one of those sad, early-century people who just drifts around and picks up a bit of this and a bit of that. Cuz we are a scanning culture. We are turning over local drug culture and we suck in as much as we can in that given time that we are given, you know. So really, I don’t know. It’s a celebration of Jesus Christ. But whether that means I’m with the whole [malarky] that happened after he died, or left us, who knows… But I’m intrigued by all that, by religions, I’m intrigued by Jesus Christ. It’s all fascinating.

This blogger maintains that pretty much all of Ashcroft’s solo work is criminally underrated, both musically and, yes, as a laudable example of spirituality done right in rock (he very well may be the rightful heir to Mr. Dark Horse himself). Instead, it’s overshadowed by haters who wish he’d record Storms in Heaven over and over again. Sigh…