Book Notes

G.K. Chesterton and the Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare

Thomas Kidd continues to write on all sorts of men that I find highly captivating. First, his interest in Patrick Henry has re-alerted me to the titanic figure he was, and just how much we need more Henry’s in this generation. Then, Kidd enters into Chesterton’s world and offers a little summary of Chesterton and his The Man who was Thrusday, A Nightmare.  Tolle Lege!

Thinking About the Resurrection

In his Raised with Christ, Warnock offers several autobiographical observations about his own renewed appreciation for the Resurrection. In chapter eight–upon studying the apostles’ preaching in Acts–he discovers various ways in which the Resurrection applied. Then he adds:

But prior to that study I had definitely spent more time thinking about hat Jesus’ death had achieved. While his resurrection was in the back of my mind, I was inclined to simply feel glad that Jesus was no longer dead, rather than giving much thought to how the resurrection might impact me personally (103).

One of the helpful features of this book is the admonition to think of death and resurrection as part of the same coin, and to treat the apostolic use of one as an affirmation of the other.

Why the young need more sleep than the old

And so I fell devoutly asleep and slept a long time, because young people seem to need sleep more than the old, who have already slept so much and are preparing to sleep for all eternity. -Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

I assume Eco views sleep here in the sense of resting in the divine presence.

In Favor of…

Adrian Warnock, in his popular defense of the Resurrection (Raised with Christ), argues that too many “Protestants are so busy protesting what they are against that they forget to declare as loudly what they are in favor of.”

Throw Away Your Books

Mortify your intelligence, learn to weep over the wounds of our Lord, throw away your books.–Ubertino, The Name of the Rose

Ubertino’s caution against William’s rationalism goes overboard. Over-reaction is always a possibility when contrasting ideas.

Torture and Hell

A short dispute arises between Ubertino and William in Umberto Eco’sThe Name of the Rose about how heretics respond to torture. William argues that in torture everything returns to your mind, “as if you are being transported, not toward heaven, but toward hell.” “Under torture,” he continues, “you say not only what the inquisitor wants, but also what you imagine might please him.” Under torture, heretics tell the most absurd lies, “because it is no longer himself speaking, but his lust, the devils of his soul.”

Psalm 19, Brief Observations

This psalm contains a three-fold theme. Creation, the law, and forgiveness serve as testimonies to the glory of God. Creation does not serve as an equal manifestation to the Law-Word, but rather in submission to the Word of the Lord, which is perfect and all together righteous. Creation is personified in the passage. This is a poetic way of explaining the world as a harmonious choir praising the excellence of God.

One way to begin to consider this passage is by acknowledging the Creator/creature distinction. Creation is not God. Creation speaks of God. Insofar as creation speaks of God, man is called to respond to that message. However, creation is not the end of that message. Creation points us to the words of God, which are sweeter than honey.

Everything is Allowed

A parishioner gave me a copy of Randy Alcorn’s collection of quotations about heaven, the new earth, and the life after death. The book is over 600 pages, and I can already imagine myself enjoying it for years to come. What will appear here for many months will be various quotations from the book. I hope they will be satisfying and provide a taste of heaven.

Everyone raised his hand to pick the fruit he best liked the look of, and then everyone paused for a second. This fruit was so beautiful that each felt, “It can’t be meant for me…surely we’re not allowed to pluck it.”

“It’s all right,” Peter. “…I’ve a feeling we’ve got to the country where everything is allowed.”

{C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle}

Study on the Book of Revelation

Welcome once again to our study of David Chilton’s Days of Vengeance. I am Uri Brito and I blog at apologus.wordpress.com.

We are going to delve briefly into Chilton’s introduction. There are two important elements in understanding Revelation, and they are to know the author and the date of the book. Concerning the author there is virtually unanimous testimony that it was the same John who wrote the Fourth Gospel (1). John, according to Chilton, writes in an “authoritative, “apostolic” style, not to individuals merely, but to the Church” (1).  There is little to no dispute John wrote this letter. In fact, Revelation uses Johannine language like the expression Lamb of God, which is distinctly used by John in his gospel.

The same question is a lot more complicated. When did John write Revelation? This is a highly disputed question, because once you come to a conclusion on the date, you will most likely be led to a particular hermeneutic; and that hermeneutic will drive your view of the entire book. Chilton’s premise is that Revelation was written before the destruction of the temple in AD 70. This position is typically called Preterism. Preterism means past. That is, the events of Revelation are not primarily futuristic–though there are many principles we can apply to our context– but primarily, Revelation has the first century audience in mind. If you have the energy to pursue this topic further, Kenneth Gentry has written a lengthy and scholarly work entitled Before Jerusalem Fell, which makes a strong case for a pre-AD 70 reading of this book.

David Chilton offers a few reasons as to why he believes John, the Apostle, wrote this letter to his first century audience:

First, as we referenced in our first video, Chilton argues that Revelation is a book about worship. Naturally, the book is full of liturgical allusions; and it actually contains minute details. Who could have known of these details unless he were intimately familiar with the actual service in theTempleitself. John fits the bill. John, as Chilton argues, was a priest. If this is the case, John was writing about aTemplestill in existence, which would lead to a pre AD 70 letter.

Second, Chilton argues that there is an a priori teaching from Scripture that all special revelation ended by AD 70. The argument is that Daniel’s prophecy in chapter 9:24-27 of the seventy weeks would end at the destruction ofJerusalem. And what would happen then, according to Daniel? That period would seal up the vision and prophecy. In other words, the sealing up of vision and prophecy referred to the Word of God, which would be completed before the destruction of the temple. Revelation was not a late first century book, but actually written closer to the other books in the New Testament canon.

Finally, there are time references in chapter one that lead us to conclude that the book is an early book. John says these things will happen “soon,” “quickly,” etc. These are time indicators proving that John was intentional about his language. Soon meant within that generation, not two thousand years later. For John, Revelation was the final judgment on apostateIsrael. It would mark the transition from an old world to a new world with a new Lord, Jesus Christ.

We will stop here, but feel free to leave a comment or any question both here on the youtube page or on my blog apologus.wordpress.com. We will continue our look at Chilton’s introduction next time. Peace be with you.

We need a theology of rest

Marva Dawn has been one of the most gifted voices into my own life. Over the years I have been struck by her profound insights into worship, and her counsel to bathe our souls in the psalms. In preaching through the psalms this Lenten Season, I have been meditating on her book I’m Lonely, Lord–HOW LONG? Her Lutheran background offers helpful liturgical observations as she works through many of the psalms of lament. In a section entitled YHWH Understands Even Betrayal, Dawn pauses to meditate on the poetry of Psalm 55. She focuses her attention on the importance of rest, and concludes:

“We Christians need a better theology of rest. We are often so eager to serve the LORD or are so caught up in our occupations or projects that we forget to balance our work with genuine rest. Somehow we have neglected the importance of the First Testament Sabbath in our New Testament faith. The Jews worked hard for six days and rested on the seventh. They recognized the rhythms of life; they realized that we need space to be restored, to rest, to find healing.”

{Dawn, Marva, pg. 45)