The End of Many Books

The Religious Affections

This was one of the books that God used in the last half of 2005 to convict me of my mostly head/truth-based Christian life. Rereading it in the last half of 2019 and beginning of 2020 edified me greatly, even as I noticed more of Edwards’ repetitiveness. He also borders on stimulating doubt more than faith, but still a good challenge to loving obedience. The book in one sentence: you always do what you most want to do.

5 of 5 stars

Lord's Day Liturgy

False Comforts and Fear of Comforts

In his book The Religious Affections Jonathan Edwards explained how the defining feature of real religion is love for God. He defines affections, shows how some affects in a person’s life may not be from genuine affections for God, and then spends most of the book describing the characteristics of true love for God.

One of his concerns, as should be a concern for all of us, is the possibility of false comforts. It is possible to think things are great, to be optimistic about your condition, and to believe you have peace with God when there is no peace.

On the other hand, I think that some believers have heard these warnings so much that we are afraid of comforts. We are afraid of communion as a celebration because, Hello?!, we might not take it seriously (enough). These are not the only ways to mess up participation in the Lord’s Table, but they are actual misunderstandings.

What should we do? We should read all the words in Scripture. The communion cup is, for example, “a cup of blessing.” So we thank God for it. We remember God’s favor to us so we are glad in it. And, then we go on to remember that this cup is “a participation in the blood of Christ.” It is a costly cup.

“The comforts of the true saints increase awakening and caution, and a lively sense of how great a thing it is to appear before an infinitely holy, just and omniscient Judge.”

Our comforts are not in oblivion, our comforts are purchased at the cross. We have blood-love, love bought by the blood of the Lamb.

Lord's Day Liturgy

On Not Sponsoring Stupidity

The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom, wisdom for those who need to get wisdom, and wisdom for those who need to give it. Solomon helps the one who already understands obtain guidance and then also give guidance to others.

One of the proverbs most quoted in our house is Solomon’s lesson on the unteachable.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.
(Proverbs 12:1, ESV)

The word “stupid” (translated as such in the ESV, NAS, NIV) usually referred to an animal that lacks sense. To hate correction is “brutish” (KJV). Lots of times parents are up against the worst sort of willful stupidity. Some other times parents are the worst at keeping their kids dumb.

Jonathan Edwards illustrated it this way.

If any of you that are heads of families, saw one of your children in a house that was all on fire over its head, and in eminent danger of being soon consumed in the flames, that seemed to be very insensible of its danger, and neglected to escape, after you had often spake to it, and called to it, would you go on to speak to it only in a cold and indifferent manner? Would not you cry aloud, and call earnestly to it, and represent the danger it was in, and its own folly of delaying, in the most lively manner you were capable of? Would not nature itself teach this, and oblige you to it? If you should continue to speak to it only in a cold manner, as you are wont to do in ordinary conversation about indifferent matters, would not those about you begin to think you were bereft of reason yourself? (emphasis mine)

Who has the bigger problem, the child in the burning house or the dad who sees the child in the burning house and acts as if it’s no big deal? He who hates reproof is stupid. He who hates giving reproof when it is necessary sponsors stupidity, and death (Proverbs 19:18). Maybe the most ironic response is hating correction so much that you get fired up to correct the ones urging your kids to get out of the burning house because you don’t like their tone. We should be wiser than that.