Why ANOTHER Blog?

I have started this blog in order to give me some way to express publicly my dismay at the way in which (evangelical and Reformed) Christians often treat other (evangelical and Reformed) Christians.

When I was fired from a previous job, a good friend gave me a copy of Gene Edwards’ book, CRUCIFIED BY CHRISTIANS. I found that book very helpful. It is my (possibly very naïve) hope that I can at least provide some support for others who have been – or believe they have been – “crucified by Christians.”

That’s my purpose.

At this beginning point, I would like to describe the specific theological position which will inform what I say. This is a quotation from another Edwards – Jonathan to be exact – and this book, TREATISE ON RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS, is, in my judgment, the best ever written by a human being.

We – especially we who are theologically conservative and Reformed – seem to love a good theological fight. This has always been true since the Reformation itself . . . and it was certainly true during Jonathan Edwards’s lifetime when one of the greatest fighting among Christians occurred in the context of what we now call “The Great Awakening.”

Here is exactly what Edwards says about that fight and, by extension, about the fights which seem to consume the (Reformed and evangelical) church today. This will be the kind of perspective that I seek to apply to our ways of handling disagreements over such issues as the days of Creation, the Insider Movement, the role of women in church leadership, worship music, etc., etc.:

But here some may be ready to say, Is there no such thing as Christian fortitude, and boldness for Christ, being good soldiers in the Christian warfare, and coming out boldly against the enemies of Christ and his people?

To which I answer, There doubtless is such a thing. The whole Christian life is compared to a warfare, and fitly so. And the most eminent Christians are the best soldiers, endued with the greatest degrees of Christian fortitude. And it is the duty of God’s people to be steadfast and vigorous in their opposition to the designs and ways of such as are endeavoring to overthrow the kingdom of Christ, and the interest of religion. But yet many persons seem to be quite mistaken concerning the nature of Christian fortitude. It is an exceeding diverse thing from a brutal fierceness, or the boldness of the beasts of prey.

True Christian fortitude consists in strength of mind, through grace, exerted in two things; in ruling and suppressing the evil and unruly passions and affections of the mind; and in steadfastly and freely exerting, and following good affections and dispositions, without being hindered by sinful fear, or the opposition of enemies. But the passions that are restrained and kept under, in the exercise of this Christian strength and fortitude, are those very passions that are vigorously and violently exerted in a false boldness for Christ.

And those affections that are vigorously exerted in true fortitude, are those Christian, holy affections that are directly contrary to them. Though Christian fortitude appears, in withstanding and counteracting the enemies that are without us; yet it much more appears, in resisting and suppressing the enemies that are within us; because they are our worst and strongest enemies, and have greatest advantage against us. The strength of the good soldier of Jesus Christ appears in nothing more, than in steadfastly maintaining the holy calm, meekness, sweetness, and benevolence of his mind, amidst all the storms, injuries, strange behavior, and surprising acts and events of this evil and unreasonable world. The Scripture seems to intimate that true fortitude consists chiefly in this: Prov. 16:32, “He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.”

Edwards’s – and my – point will be to urge us all, starting with myself, to “image” a lamb more than we do “a beast of prey.”

Sam Logan is a minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the International Director of the World Reformed Fellowship, though neither of these is responsible for the comments above. To hold accountable to one who IS responsible, write to sloganwrf@gmail.com

12 thoughts on “Why ANOTHER Blog?

    • I really think this was behind Edwards’s comment. But making general statements such as I have done is easy. Getting specific will be harder (and more dangerous!).

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  1. I looked up your quote and found the guy’s blog post. He has at least three blogs with similar opinions on Christian counseling and even an entire blog to criticize Mark Driscoll. They have the same introductory description (his name) and some of his friends. I’m reminded on the 1990s and how the Bobgans went after everyone they felt to be practicing “psychoheresy.” It illustrated by the Greek letter “psi” as a snake wrapped around a bible. I still reference their venom in my counseling class at Grove City College. Their list of psychoheretics at the time even included R. C. Sproul, if I remembered correctly. They are still around.

    I still go to this lament by Evangeline Paterson quoted by Francis Schaeffer in “The Mark of a Christian”:

    Weep, weep for those
    Who do the work of the Lord
    with a high look
    And a proud heart.
    Their voice is lifted up
    In the streets, and their cry is heard.
    The bruised reed they break
    By their great strength, and the smoking flax
    They trample.

    Weep not for the quenched
    (For their God will hear their cry
    And the Lord will come to save them)
    But weep, weep for the quenchers

    For when the Day of the Lord
    Is come, and the vales sing
    And the hills clap their hands
    And the light shines
    Then their eyes shall be opened
    On a waste place,
    Smouldering,
    The smoke of the flax bitter
    In their nostrils,
    Their feet pierced
    By broken reed-stems …
    Wood, hay, and stubble,
    And no grass springing,
    And all the birds flown.

    Weep, weep for those
    Who have made a desert
    In the name of the Lord.

    Schaeffer also said:
    I want to say with all my heart that as we struggle with the proper preaching of the gospel in the midst of the twentieth century, the importance of observable love must come into our message. We must not forget the final apologetic. The world has a right to look upon us as we, as true Christians, come to practical differences, and it should be able to observe that we do love each other. Our love must have a form that the world may observe; it must be visible.

    Schaeffer, F. A. (1982). The complete works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian worldview (Vol. 4, pp. 203–205). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

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    • Absolutely right! And I remember hearing very harsh comments about Schaeffer himself by some who thought his apologetic approach to non-Christians was “dangerous.”

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  2. More from Schaeffer on this topic:
    I have observed one thing among true Christians in their differences in many countries: what divides and severs true Christian groups and Christians—what leaves a bitterness that can last for twenty, thirty or forty years (or for fifty or sixty years in a son’s memory)—is not the issue of doctrine or belief which caused the differences in the first place. Invariably it is lack of love—and the bitter things that are said by true Christians in the midst of differences. These stick in the mind like glue. And after time passes and the differences between the Christians or the groups appear less than they did, there are still those bitter, bitter things we said in the midst of what we thought was a good and sufficient objective discussion. It is these things—these unloving attitudes and words—that cause the stench that the world can smell in the church of Jesus Christ among those who are really true Christians. . . . The world looks, shrugs its shoulders, and turns away.

    Schaeffer, F. A. (1982). The complete works of Francis A. Schaeffer: a Christian worldview (Vol. 4, p. 195). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

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    • Here, Chuck, I think I am in complete agreement. It is fine to have a disagreement with John Piper — I have several. But I believe it is totally unnecessary to say the kinds of things about him that some “Christian” bloggers are saying. What you call “lack of love” and “bitterness” are exactly what I believe the Westminster Divines had in mind when they argued that the Ninth Commandment requires us “to seek the good name” of our neighbor.

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  3. Sam, as someone with so much experience in conservative Reformed circles, are you truly surprised that like at Rick’s Cafe where gambling went on that fighting goes on among Christians? Didn’t Jesus fight the Pharisees? Didn’t Paul fight the Judaizers? Didn’t Princeton Seminary have a chair of polemical theology? Didn’t Edwards fight Arminians?

    So is your gripe really with fighting? When people genuinely disagree and believe the truths involved are detrimental to something important, don’t they fight?

    In which case, isn’t the issue not fighting but the teachings of practices that provoke disagreement? Was Arminius correct about losing salvation or wasn’t he? Were the founders right about rebellion or not?

    Don’t we still need to discern what is true or right and when we do, if we disagree don’t we argue?

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    • Lots of questions in the above comment and I will try to answer most of them in future blogs. As I have tried to say recently and as I will continue to emphasize, we certainly DO need to stand for the truth. But HOW we do so matters greatly. I am working on a blog right now which will feature Edwards’ comment that THE chief hindrance to the work of God’s Spirit in the Great Awakening was the “censoriousness” of supporters of the Awakening. That is, the way in which they stood for the truth (that the Awakening was truly a work of the Spirit of God) was the thing which Satan used most effectively in attacking the Awakening. We simply do not need to be nasty in speaking the truth. But all to often, we are.

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