"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 11, Number 5, May 2008
“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.
For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;
Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.
I will show partiality to no one. Nor will I flatter any man.”
“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”
Earl of Kent
Shakespeare’s King Lear
Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34
[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address. Back issues sent on request. All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org]
J. Gresham Machen’s Estimate of Billy Sunday:
Known by the Enemies He Made--and Kept!
“The Unitarians in Philadelphia are carrying on an active fight against the Billy Sunday movement. . . . Every morning, on the page of the [news]paper devoted to Billy Sunday, a Unitarian statement appears in opposition. I like Billy Sunday for the enemies he has.”
Quoted from J. Gresham Machen by Neb Stonehouse
Eerdmans, 1954. p. 224
Wesley: The Fruit of the Spirit Superior to the Gifts of the Spirit
“Whether these gifts of the Holy Ghost were designed to remain in the Church throughout all ages, and whether or no they will be restored at the nearer approach of the ‘restitution of all things,’ are questions which it is not needful to decide. But it is needful to observe this, that, even in the infancy of the Church, God divided them with a sparing hand. Were all even then Prophets? Were all workers of miracles? Had all the gifts of healing? Did all speak in tongues? No, in no wise. Perhaps not one in a thousand. Probably none but the Teachers in the Church, and only some of them (I Corinthians 12:28-30). It was, therefore, for a more excellent purpose than this, that ‘they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,’ [Acts 4:31].
It was, to give them (what none can deny to be essential to all Christians in all ages) the mind which was in Christ, those holy fruits of the Spirit which whosoever hath not, is none of his; to fill them with ‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness;’ (Galatians 5:22-24) to endue them with faith (perhaps it might be rendered fidelity) with meekness and temperance; to enable them to crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts, its passions and desires; and, in consequence of that inward change, to fulfill all outward righteousness; to ‘walk as Christ walked,’ in ‘the work of faith, in the patience of hope, the labour of love,’ (I Thessalonians 1:3).
Without busying ourselves, then, in curious, needless inquiries, touching those extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, let us take a nearer view of his ordinary fruits, which we are assured will remain throughout all ages;--of that great work of God among the children of men, which we are used to express by one word, Christianity; not as it implies a set of opinions, a system of doctrines, but as it refers to men’s hearts and lives.”
The Works of John Wesley, 3rd edition
Hendrickson 1991 reprint of 1872 edition
Vol. V., p. 38
[Editor’s note: we would dissent from Wesley’s disclaimer that it is a matter of indifference whether the NT-era charismata / “gifts of the Holy Spirit” are permanent features of the current church age (Paul strongly implies not, I Corinthians 13:8), or if they will be restored toward the end of the age. However, we strongly agree that these extraordinary workings of the Holy Spirit were not the end or aim of being filled with the Spirit (as modern charismatics claim), but rather it was to produce in believers the abiding nine-fold fruit of the Spirit, which are to be permanently evident features of the present era, but which are all too infrequently witnessed.]
Spurgeon: ’No New Revelations from God Today’
“I have heard many fanatical persons say the Holy Spirit revealed this and that to them. Now that is very generally revealed nonsense. The Holy Ghost does not reveal anything fresh now. He brings old things to our remembrance. ‘He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have told you,’ [John 14:26]. The canon of revelation is closed; there is no more to be added. God does not give a fresh revelation, but he rivets the old one. When it has been forgotten, and laid in the dusty chamber of our memory, he fetches it out and cleans the picture, but does not paint a new one. There are no new doctrines, but the old ones are often revived. It is not, I say, by any new revelation that the Spirit comforts. He does so by telling us old things over again; he brings a fresh lamp to manifest the treasures hidden in Scripture; he unlocks the strong chests in which the truth had long lain, and he points to secret chambers filled with untold riches; but he coins no more, for enough is done.
Believer! There is enough in the Bible for thee to live upon for ever. If thou shouldest outnumber the years of Methusaleh, there would be no need for a fresh revelation; if thou shouldest live till Christ should come upon the earth, there would be no necessity for the addition of a single word; if thou shouldest go down as deep as Jonah, or even descend as David said he did, into the belly of hell, still there would be enough in the Bible to comfort thee without a supplementary sentence.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The New Park Street Pulpit
Vol. I (1855), p. 38
The Influence of Exodus 34:6-7 in the OT
In seeking reassurance from God that He would continue His Presence with Israel after and indeed in spite of the incident involving the golden calf, Moses boldly asked God to reveal to him His Glory. In a most notable account, God descended and appeared in a Theophany, passing by the shielded Moses and proclaimed the “name” of Yahweh, that is, He described His Divine character. That famous passage reads:
Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “Yahweh, Yahweh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and truth; who keeps loyal love for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave [the guilty] unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth [generations].
(All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise stated, will be from the Updated NASB, usually somewhat modified)
These words had a strong impact on the writers of the OT, and were quoted in part at least twelve different times in seven different OT books, six times in the Psalms alone. Those references to Exodus 34:6-7 include the following (I place the quoted part in bold face):
Yahweh is slow to anger and abundant in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear [the guilty], visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth [generations]. (Numbers 14:18)
Though the statement is shortened in this quotation by the elimination of several phrases, the part of Exodus 34:6-7 which is quoted is verbatim identical in the Hebrew text.
Following the order of books in printed Hebrew Bibles, Joel is the first of three prophets to cite God’s words to Moses:
Now return to Yahweh your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in loyal love and relenting of evil. (Joel 2:13 b)
Note how the first two attributes, “gracious” and “compassionate” are transposed from the order in Exodus 34:6., as is also the case in Jonah, as well as in Psalm 103:8; 111:4; 112:4; 145:8; Nehemiah 9:17; 2 Chronicles 30:9)
Next comes Jonah, who actually objected to God’s attribute of mercy, when shown to pagan Gentiles:
For I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love and who relents concerning calamity. (Jonah 4:2b)
Nahum also recites God’s stated attributes in part:
Yahweh is slow to anger and great in power and Yahweh will by no means leave [the guilty] unpunished. (Nahum 1:3a)
The Psalms repeatedly cite Exodus 34:6-7:
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love and truth. (Psalm 86:15)
Yahweh is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loyal love. (Psalm 103:8)
Yahweh is gracious and compassionate. (Psalm 111:4b)
He is gracious and compassionate and righteous. (Psalm 112:4b)
Gracious is Yahweh and righteous. (Psalm 116:5)
And then, finally, two post-exilic books, Nehemiah and 2 Chronicles, also recite Yahweh’s attributes revealed to Moses:
But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in loyal love. (Nehemiah 9:17)
That these words were specifically drawn from Exodus 34 is clearly evident, for the next verse continues:
. . .and you did not forsake them, even when they made for themselves a calf of molten metal. . .
The Chronicler quotes Hezekiah’s admonition to the people of Judah, when that nation was threatened by Assyrian invaders:
For Yahweh your God is gracious and compassionate, . . . (2 Chronicles 30:9b)
It is evident from this abundant series of quotes and references to God’s appearance to Moses on Horeb, that the faithful in Israel did think much and reflect much on the character and attributes of God, and indeed staked their earthly happiness and eternal destiny on God’s revealed nature. It is to our eternal benefit to do the same:
So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear Yahweh and who mediate on His name. (Malachi 3:16b, NKJB, altered; emphasis added)
On the Obligation, Privilege and Responsibility of Christian Teachers
“What proficiency might have been reasonably expected from these Hebrews [as noted in Hebrews 5:12]--that they might have been so well instructed in the doctrine of the gospel as to have been the teachers of others. Hence learn, 1. God takes notice of the time and helps we have for gaining scripture-knowledge. 2. From those to whom much is given much is expected. 3. Those who have a good understanding in the gospel should be teachers of others, if not in a public, yet in a private station. 4. None should take upon them to be teachers of others, but those who have made a good improvement in spiritual knowledge themselves.”
William Tong (1662-1727)
In Matthew Henry’s Commentary at Hebrews 5:12
“Let the Woman be Veiled”
I Corinthians 11:2-16
I know you probably don't remember me sir. But you came to speak at Alconbury Independent
Baptist Church in England, and you gave me your email address. My spiritual
questions have kind of tapered off as I've grown stronger in my walk, but I
need your advice again.
I was recently reading 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, and now I'm really worried. Have I been sinning all along my Christian walk by not covering my head when I pray? Is this just at church or at school and home too?
The few people I talked to about this say that it was just the culture of the day. But if that's true why isn't that argument used with wives being submissive to their husbands, and homosexuality as a sin?
Thank you for your time,
It seems from the text at first glance that Paul is mandating a veil for Christian woman in public worship assemblies. And incidentally, in that time and culture the veil mentioned was more like the head covering we commonly see worn by nuns in full habit, or approaching to the burka of Middle Eastern Moslem societies, far more concealing than a scarf, hat or headband. A scarf, hat or headband is the common means of complying with this "command" (if it is such) by those relative few in the States, and those in Romania (where the practice is almost universal among Baptist churches--yet the women drop the practice when they come to the States!) who take the statement as a command for today.
I have studied out the passage several times over the years--and I spent well more than an hour this morning reading commentaries on the text. Frankly, I am still unsettled in my mind precisely what Paul meant and commanded. There are a variety of views.
1. Paul was ordering the women in the congregation at Corinth (and, in essence, all Christian woman) to wear a veil in church, this remaining a permanent requirement. Or,
2. While Paul did require the Christian woman of Corinth to be veiled in church, this was a culturally-connected command, since in Greek society, an unveiled woman in public was considered morally loose and unchaste. Since we in our Western societies do not today view unveiled women as necessarily morally corrupt, it is a culturally-connected command, and therefore not applicable today in societies with different customs. A somewhat parallel case: in Soviet Russia under communism, almost the only women who shaved their legs were prostitutes, who were thereby seeking to conform to the expectations for women of men from the West; but today, with the influx of Western influences, it is common if not quite universal for women in the former Soviet bloc to adopt the Western practice of shaving their legs. Twenty years ago, if you saw a woman in Moscow with shaved legs, you would think "prostitute"; today, you wouldn't think anything particular about it.
I think of another example. Many years ago (I was in my teens), I planned to visit a Navajo Indian reservation on a church mission trip. We were instructed that we must not wear shorts (even though we were going in the middle of the very hot summer), but only long pants, since the Navajo culture deemed shorts immoral. For men to go shirtless was not considered a problem, but wearing shorts was. Or,
3. Particularly on the basis of v. 15, it is concluded that a woman's long hair is itself the required covering, with nothing more necessary.
I'm inclined to accept the second explanation.
You ask about how this explanation--a culturally-connected practice that we need not observe--would not also apply to wives' subordination to their husbands or homosexuality. The immediate answer is that of these, there are clear and repeated commands that cannot be simply tied to culture, but transcend all cultures, as the commands against murder, theft, adultery, lying, etc. in the Ten Commands are trans-cultural.
I hope this is of some help in understanding this difficult text.
[Sources consulted in preparing this answer included the commentaries of Adam Clarke, Charles Hodge, and Leon Morris, and Answers to Questions by F. F. Bruce (Paternoster Press, 1972) and Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce and Manfred T. Brauch (InterVarsity Press, 1996--ed.]
Young Sam Johnson by James L. Clifford. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1955. 379 pp, hardback.
As a committed “Johnsonian,” that is, one who has an insatiable appetite for information about the life, writings and conversation of Samuel “Dictionary” Johnson (1709-1784), I am always on the prowl for something more, something new (to me at least) on Johnson, and by way of extension, James Boswell, Johnson’s most famous biographer.
For the uninitiated, Samuel Johnson, born in Lichfield, England, and for an all-too-brief time an Oxford scholar, was a man immense intellect, knowledge and wit, yet was largely frustrated in his life’s endeavors and was plagued by severe depression and constitutional gloom that he heroically battled all his life. In his late 20s, he migrated to London, the scene of most of the rest of his life, where he labored and languished in abject poverty and obscurity for a decade as a hack writer in Grub Street, until by dint of superior abilities and the high merit of his labors, he emerged thereafter as the greatest literary man and conversationalist of his age, famous for his English dictionary (1755) along with many other writings, but especially his private conversation among a circle of notable friends.
Boswell’s justifiably famous Life of Johnson (published in 1791) is notoriously weak and even inaccurate in his account of Johnson’s earliest years, indeed up to about age 40, due to lack of access to sources of information, particularly Johnson’s reticence to speak much about those years. In the century and a half between Boswell and Clifford’s book, a great deal of research, study, and writing was done on all aspects of Johnson’s life, and Clifford, focusing on just that part of Johnson’s life where Boswell is weakest, supplies most of what is wanting in Boswell. As he entered his 40th year, where Clifford concludes his narrative, Johnson was three years into his great dictionary project (it would consume a total of nine) that would secure his fame and fortune, and was ready to emerge into the public eye as the man so graphically and famously presented by Boswell.
My having visited Lichfield, Oxford and London in January/February 2007, the narrative of events in these locales came very much alive for me. The book is supplied with an instructive map of Lichfield, reproduced inside the front and back covers, and again between the adequate end-notes and index. There are numerous photos and illustrations in the volume as well.
James L. Clifford (b. 1901) was an MIT-trained engineer who abandoned the business world for English literature and became professor of English at Columbia University. He is one of the constellation of excellent Johnson and/ or Boswell scholars that graced the middle of the 20th century. His biography of Johnson is worthy of its subject. My copy, signed by the author, came to me used a decade ago, awaiting my attention. I would rate it among the best books on Johnson I have read, along side Boswell, Hester (Thrale) Piozzi’s 1786 sketch, W. Jackson Bate’s 1975 biography , and Christopher Hibbert’s The Personal History of Samuel Johnson (1971).
Fear not--there are still another half-dozen untouched volumes on Johnson, and more than that on Boswell on my shelves, to slake--if only temporarily--my thirst for more information.
The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, edited by Robert G. Clouse. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1977. 223 pp., paperback.
In this small volume, four different views of the millennium are presented by advocates of those views, then critiqued briefly by adherents of the other views. “Historic pre-millennialism” (i.e., non- or anti-dispensational pre-millennialism, which denies a continuing place for Israel in God’s economy) is presented by Fuller Seminary professor George Eldon Ladd. Dispensational pre-millennialism (the standard Scofield/ Chafer/ Walvoord view) is handled by Herman Hoyt, Grace Seminary President and professor (whose class on “eschatology” I took shortly before this book was published). Loraine Boettner, perhaps the only notable advocate at the time, presents the post-millennial view (which teaches the gradual progress of Christianity in winning and renovating the world, followed by Christ’s return). Anthony A. Hoekema, Calvin Seminary professor, advocates the a-millennial view (that the OT promises to Israel have been transferred to the Church, and that there is no future literal fulfillment of earthly kingdom promises to Israel).
I thought that none of the presentations were particularly well-organized, and all could have been better-argued (my sympathies were, of course, with dispensational pre-millennialism, though on some details I differ from Hoyt). But here in a brief compass, the reader can familiarize himself in broad outline with the claims of each of the four views, and therein lies its merit.
The editor closes the book with a four-page postscript which is almost entirely taken up with a diatribe against dispensational pre-millennialists for their pessimistic view of the direction and trend of human history, and their alleged failure to be adequately involved in remedying the ills of contemporary society. I thought this postscript inappropriate to the volume, largely unfair, and better left out.
Gleanings from the Autobiography of John Stuart Mill
Note: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was an English political economist and philosopher, noted early on for the remarkable extent and breadth of his early education. His father began teaching him Greek at 3 and Latin at 8. Before he was in his teens, he had read with comprehension more of Greek classical literature than would be covered by someone with a Master’s (and probably Doctor’s) Degree in Greek today. He read, besides, very broadly in history. His father more or less force-fed him his education, summoning to my mind images of how geese are fattened up for making “pate de foie gras,” a tube being daily forced down their throats and corn being pumped in. This training was, sad to say, theologically agnostic, and Mill grew up with a near complete indifference to the question of God.
I was interested in learning of Mill’s education, and this sparked my interest in the Autobiography. Apart from the information regarding his education, and the narrative of his brief term as a Member of Parliament, I found the account remarkable for its dullness and the tedium it generated. “Obtuse” and “obscure” generally characterize the work. Frankly, the book was scarcely worth the reading, the chief benefit being that I can now safely recommend to others that they can spend their reading time more wisely elsewhere. A good brief account of Mill’s life (4 pages, with bibliography), enough for most person’s needs, can be had in the Macropedia portion of Encyclopedia Britannica.
There were, however, a few comments of interest that were worth preserving:
“But I have thought that in an age in which education, and its improvement, are the subject of more, if not profounder study than at any former period of English history, it may be useful that there should be some record of an education which was unusual and remarkable, and which, whatever else it may have done, has proved how much more than is commonly supposed may be taught, and well taught, in those early years which, in the common modes of what is called instruction, are little better than wasted.”
Autobiography by John Stuart Mill
Edited by Jack Stillinger
Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1969
“. . . a considerable part of almost every day was employed [by my father] in the instruction of his children: in the case of one of whom, myself, he exerted an amount of labour, care, and perseverance rarely if ever employed for a similar purpose, in endeavoring to give, according to his own conception, the highest order of intellectual education.”
“I have no remembrance of the time I began to learn Greek. I have been told that it was when I was three years old.”
“I am persuaded that nothing in modern education tends so much [as training in logic], when properly used, to form exact thinkers who attach a precise meaning to words and propositions, and are not imposed on by vague, loose, or ambiguous terms.”
“If I have accomplished anything, I owe it, among other fortunate circumstances, to the fact that through the early training bestowed on me by my father, I started, I may fairly say, with an advantage of a quarter century over my contemporaries.”
“One of the evils most liable to attend on any sort of early proficiency, and which often fatally blights its promise, my father most anxiously guarded against. This was self conceit. He kept me, with extreme vigilance, out of the way of hearing myself praised, or of being led to make self-flattering comparisons between myself and others. From his own intercourse with me I could derive none but a very humble opinion of myself; and the standard of comparison he always held up to me, was not what other people did, but what a man could and ought to do. He completely succeeded in preserving me from the sort of influences he so much dreaded. I was not at all aware that my attainments were anything unusual at my age. If I accidentally had my attention drawn to the fact that some other boy knew less than myself--which happened less often than might be imagined--I concluded, not that I knew much, but that he, for some reason or other, knew little, or that his knowledge was of a different kind from mine. My state of mind was not humility, but neither was it arrogance. I never thought of saying to myself, I am, or I can do, so and so. I never estimated myself at all. If I thought anything about myself, it was that I was rather backward in my studies, since I always found myself so, in comparison with what my father expected from me.”
“As regards my own education, I hesitate to pronounce whether I was more a loser or a gainer by his [i.e. his father’s] severity.”
“Writing for the press, cannot be recommended as a permanent resource to any one qualified to accomplish anything in the higher departments of literature or thought: not only on account of the uncertainty of this means of livelihood, especially if the writer has a conscience, and will not consent to serve any opinions except his own; but also because the writings by which one can live, are not the writings which themselves live, and are never those in which the writer does his best. Books destined to form future thinkers take too much time to write, and when written come in general too slowly into notice and repute, to be relied on for subsistence. Those who have to support themselves by their pen must depend on literary drudgery, or at best on writings addressed to the multitude; and can employ in the pursuits of their own choice only such time as they can spare from those of necessity.”
“The same inspiring effect which so many of the benefactors of mankind have left on record that they had experienced from Plutarch’s Lives, was produced on me by Plato’s pictures of Socrates, and by some modern biographies, above all by Condorcet’s Life of Turgot; a book well calculated to rouse the best sort of enthusiasm, since it contains one of the wisest and noblest of lives, delineated by one of the wisest and noblest of men.”
“I never, indeed, wavered in the conviction that happiness is the test of all rules of conduct, and the end of life. But I now thought that this end was only to be attained by not making it the direct end. Those only are happy (I thought) who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.”
“. . .The mass of mankind, including even their rulers in all the practical departments of life, must from the necessity of the case, accept most of their opinions of political and social matters, as they do on physical, from the authority of those who have bestowed more study on those subjects than they generally have it in their power to do.”