Arguing with a Madman

“If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by clarity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.”

—G. K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy (New York: John Lane Co., 1909), p. 32

A Caution to Aging Men

John Calvin’s commentaries are rich in both biblical exposition and social commentary.  In preparing to preach in Genesis 7 this coming Lord’s Day at Pottsville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, I came across this comment regarding Genesis 7:6 which resonated with me.

 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. Genesis 7:6

“It is not without reason that he again mentions the age of Noah.  For old age has this among other evils – that it renders men more indolent and morose.   Whence the faith of Noah was the more conspicuous, because it did not fail him in that advanced period of life.”

For more hard words about growing older, check out my review of  A Word to the Aged by William Bridge.

Liberty to the Captives

It is of the essence of the gospel to proclaim liberty to the captives.   At Nazareth, Jesus read from Isaiah.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Luke 4:18-19

In reading Arthur Pink’s Gleanings in Genesis, regarding Abram’s rescue of Lot, I found the following passage a good reminder of our calling to proclaim liberty to captive, not tell him “I told you so.”

It is beautiful to observe the effect of this intelligence [regarding Lot’s capture] upon our patriarch. Abram was not indifferent to his nephew’s well-being. There was no root of bitterness in him. There was no callous, “Well, this is none of my doing: he must reap what he has sown.” Promptly he goes to the aid of the one in distress. But note it was not in the energy of the flesh that he acted. It was no mere tie of nature that prompted Abram here — “When Abram heard that his brother (not his ‘nephew’) was taken captive.’’ A brother — a spiritual brother — was in need, and so he

“armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan” (Genesis 14:14).

And has this no voice for us today? Surely the spiritual application is obvious. How often is a “brother” taken captive by the enemy, and the word comes,

“Ye, which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted (Galatians 6:1).

The Sower’s Song

Oh God, I am furrowed like the field
Torn open like the dirt
And I know that to be healed
That I must be broken first
I am aching for the yield
That You will harvest from this hurt

Abide in me
Let these branches bear You fruit
Abide in me, Lord
As I abide in You

So I kneel
At the bright edge of the garden
At the golden edge of dawn
At the glowing edge of spring
When the winter’s edge is gone
And I can see the color green
I can hear the sower’s song

Abide in me
Let these branches bear You fruit
Abide in me, Lord
Let Your word take root
Remove in me
The branch that bears no fruit
And move in me, Lord
As I abide in You

Andrew Peterson from The Sower’s Song on The Burning Edge of Dawn

Art for God’s Sake

Art has tremendous power to shape culture and touch the human heart. Its artifacts embody the ideas and desires of the coming generation. This means that what is happening in the arts today is prophetic of what will happen in our culture tomorrow.  It also means that when Christians abandon the artistic community, we lose a significant opportunity to communicate Christ to our culture. Furthermore, when we settle for the trivial expressions of truth in worship and art, we ourselves are diminished as we suffer a loss of transcendence.  What we need to recover (or possibly discover for the first time) if a full biblical understanding of the arts — not for art’s sake, but for God’s sake.  

Philip Graham Ryken in “Art for God’s Sake”