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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • Recommended Reading

“Men Without Chests”

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis made some interesting observations about the trends influencing modern manhood.  He considered such men to be stunted men, whose desires never rise above the belly and the groin.  These men conform to the soft despotism of the state and become willing slaves. They are men who do not care about the truth and thus they are malleable clay in the hands of those in political control.  Dr. Benjamin Wiker writes:

Lewis understood, with prophetic lucidity, that our ills today are largely the result of our ongoing attempt to escape from our own nature.

Such is the theme of his first chapter [The Abolition of Man], “Men without Chests.” In it, Lewis pillories a lamentable book (typical of his time and ours) that attempts to indoctrinate  mere schoolchildren with moral and intellectual relativism. The authors, whom he calls Gaius and Titius (in reality, Alec King and Martin Ketley), declare matter-of-factly that words don’t have any real connection to things, but are mere descriptions of our subjective feelings. . . .

For Lewis, these were fighting words, because they were words designed to usher in peace at any cost, even at the cost of truth, words designed to make chestless men who believed in nothing and hence would fight over nothing.

Here Lewis brilliantly ties together two modern trends: the emasculation of society and widespread intellectual and moral relativism. Both of these trends have one aim: to make men peaceful by removing the great sources of war (at least as some see things), the belief that there is truth, and that the truth is worth fighting for. Chestless men, men whose fighting spirit has been entirely quashed by relativism and the belief that manliness itself is one of the great sources of the world’s evil, are at least peaceful men. And for those who desire peace at any cost, the deformation of men and the destruction of the natural human desire for truth is a small price to pay. It is no accident that King and Ketley’s book was written between the two hideously destructive World Wars.

According to this view, we must, for our own survival and peaceful co-existence, escape from our own nature. Maleness must be left behind; it must have no place in our brave new world. Passionate truth-seeking is likewise a thing of our bloody past; it must have no place in our schools, our public discourse, or our media.

Continue reading. . . .

John Stott On The Way To Unity

John Stott

Quoting John Stott:

“The Christian unity for which Christ prayed in John 17:20-23 was not primarily unity with each other, but unity with the apostles (a common truth) and unity with the Father and the Son (a common life). The visible, structural unity of the church is a proper goal. Yet it will be pleasing to God only if it is the visible expression of something deeper, namely unity in truth and in life. In our ecumenical concern, therefore, nothing is more important than the quest for more apostolic truth and more divine life through the Holy Spirit. As William Temple put it, ‘the way to the union of Christendom does not lie through committee-rooms, though there is a task of formulation to be done there. It lies through personal union with the Lord so deep and real as to be comparable with his union with the Father.'” (The Contemporary Christian, Leicester and Downers Grove: IVP, 1992, 267)

Tyrants

Vladimir Lenin, the former head of the Russian...

Vladimir Lenin

Quoting economist Walter E. Williams:

“While America’s liberal elite have not reached the depths of tyrants such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler, they share a common vision and, as such, differ only in degree but not kind. Both denounce free markets and voluntary exchange. They are for control and coercion by the state. They believe they have superior wisdom to the masses and they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. They, like any other tyrant, have what they see as good reasons for restricting the freedom of others.”

The Man Of God Flees Temptation

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good

John MacArthur

confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Timothy 6)

Paul tells us in verse 11 to “flee from these things.” One of the most notable things destroying modern ministries is the love of money.  I touch on that example because the love of money drives pastors to change their theology and wander away from the faith.  You must flee the ministry if you do it for love of money.  The man of God will flee the evils associated with loving money.  It is always discouraging to see a ministry running toward money.  It is a prominent feature of false teachers.  John MacArthur writes about additional temptations that the man of God must flee:

[T]he man of God is known by what he flees from. Notice verse 11, “But flee from these things, you man of God.” Flee. This is a Greek verb, fuagay, from which we get fugitive. It is a vivid one. It is in the present. It means keep on fleeing. You are a fugitive. You are on the run. Your whole life as a man of God, you are on the run. It pictures one running from a plague. That’s how the word would be used; Or running from poisonous snakes, having come across them in their den in a field; Or running from a pursuing, attacking enemy. You are on the run. The man of God is known by his fleeing.

Back in the 1st chapter verse 4, we find some of the things that we have to flee as a man of God. He says, “Don’t pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, giving rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God, which is by faith.” In other words, run away from error and false religion and philosophies and heresies that corrupt the truth. And you’re running, verse 5, toward “A goal, and the goal is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Unlike some who stray from these things and have turned aside to fruitless discussions.” You flee from error. You flee from worldly philosophy.

Chapter 4 verse 7, “Have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women.” Silly, foolish fables rather than the truth. “Rather discipline yourself for godliness.” You’re always running. You’re running from error. You’re running from human folly. 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee from youthful lusts.” You’re running from that, as well. And back in 1 Timothy 6, look at verse 20. “Avoid worldly, empty chatter, the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’ – which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.” Stay away from liberalism. Stay away from those who assault the Scripture. Stay away from attacks on God’s authoritative Word.

We are running men. We are fleeing all the time from error. But that’s not all. We’re fleeing from lust and sin. But that’s not all. Look here, verse 11, “Flee from these things.” And we have to ask the question, “What are these things?” Well, obviously, it’s what come before. Go back to verse 5. “Depraved men…in verse 5…who are deprived of the truth, false teachers, suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” People who are false teachers are always in it for the money. “But godliness…verse 6…actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.” You never pursue money. You pursue godliness. You pursue money, you’re never content. You pursue godliness, you get contentment.

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