“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #145
“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? (1 Cor. 12:15-17).
Before going on to apply the illustration of the human body to spiritual gifts, it is important for us to take in the various points presented by the illustration. The first point is that unity is unavoidable (v. 15). The foot cannot say that being not-a-hand means that the foot is outside the body. Regardless of what the foot says about it, it is in the same body with the hand—despite the fact that they are not at all alike. Their functions are dissimilar, but they are parts of the same body nonetheless. Paul makes the same point over again with the ear and the eye (v. 16). If the ear notices that it is not an eye, and that premise may be true enough, but the conclusion that it is not “of the body” does not follow. It remains in the same body together with the eye. Paul’s second point is that the hidden logic here destroys the very idea of a body. If the whole body were an eye, that whole body would be deaf. If the whole body were an ear, then there would be no way to smell.
“If there are only two final destinations, Heaven or Hell, and there are, and if it is possible for baptized Christians, who have been communing since they were ‘so high,’ with all their external papers in order, to go to Hell, and it is, and if God is sovereign over all history (which includes every biography), which He is, then we must have a robust doctrine of heart regeneration. It is the only way to make sense of the basic data” (Against the Church, pp. 34-35).
“The approach is purely cosmetic. It sees imagination as skill in decorating the cake with no thought given to improving the recipe. Imagination in preaching is not a new technique to be learned but a radical new attitude and outlook to be cultivated” (Wiersbe, Preaching and Teaching With Imagination, p. 27).
“Preachers seldom neglect to prepare some introduction to a sermon, but very often neglect the conclusion; and yet the latter is even more important than the former” (Broadus, Preparation and Delivery, p 277).
“And Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold, as much as he desired, King Solomon gave to Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him, they did not please him. Therefore he said, “What kind of cities are these that you have given me, my brother?” So they are called the land of Cabul to this day” (1 Kings 9:11-13).
Now what Solomon did here was present twenty cities to Hiram as a gift. This kind of thing is a real temptation to the lords of the earth, who tend to view the map as a large-scale game, with the people who live there being just so many interchangeable units. Presumably there was some kind of logic to it — the population in those cities being mixed, or having some kind of natural affinity for Hiram’s rule — although he did not seem to return the affinity. Still, the whole thing comes off like Obama striking up a real friendship with the president of Mexico, and giving him Laredo as a present.
The situation in the Ukraine is impossibly complicated, and the real hazard is presented by those who want things to just be simple again. But the fact that the smart people can just go and do “straightforward” things does not mean that what they do will turn out well. That said, let me make a few quick observations about the whole mess. They may seem somewhat scattered, but maybe I will come back and tighten the whole thing up at some later date.
1. First, it seems obvious to me that Putin has grabbed Crimea, it is now part of Russia, and so we are now in the position of blowing them air kisses as they depart. Moreover, he has managed to do it in such a way as to indicate his contempt for the intelligence and resolve of the Obama administration. As one commentator put it, Putin’s rig is now spinning donuts on the White House lawn.
“Salvation first, then the theology of it. Joy at the foundation, and then the building. Jesus first, then the discussions” (Against the Church, p. 34).
“‘The purpose of preaching,’ wrote Halford Luccock, ‘is not to make people see reasons, but visions’” (Wiersbe, Preaching and Teaching With Imagination, p. 25)
“Like sap in the plant or blood in the body, the vital current of thought must flow through the whole discourse, giving it animation, flexibility, strength” (Broadus, Preparation and Delivery, p. 275).