Folly calls aloud,
Stolen water is sweet,
and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. (Proverbs 9:17)
The water is no different whether stolen or bought. Why does it taste different when stolen? Here is Augustine’s experience from his Confessions which are written as a prayer to God.
I was willing to steal, and steal I did, although I was not compelled by any lack, unless it were the lack of a sense of justice or a distaste for what was right and a greedy love of doing wrong. For of what I stole I already had plenty, and much better at that, and I had no wish to enjoy the things I coveted by stealing, but only to enjoy the theft itself and the sin.
Calvin fell deathly ill in the winter of 1558 at age 49. He thought he was at death’s doorstep and so turned his few remaining energies to the final revision of his Institutes. Until this time, he hadn’t been fully pleased with the shape and content of his often-revised magnum opus. Wanting to leave the church with a definitive edition, he worked feverishly, despite the fever, to finish.
His health returned in the Spring of 1559, and he soon returned to the pulpit. It was at this time that Denis Raguenier began taking extended shorthand notes on Calvin’s sermons, since he didn’t use manuscripts but preached extemporaneously. The sermon manuscripts of Calvin we have today are largely owi…
"Seeking creative-types who want to reach out to a culturally diverse and post-denominational world."
I read this advertisement today from a seminary. I asked myself, "If I was a seminary recruiter what kind of man would I be looking to train to teach and lead the church of the future?"
Does the church need self-labeled creative-types in leadership? What is a creative-type?
Do they have a mac? Do they have messy hair? Do they not tuck their shirt in? Do they create something? Are they the ones who appreciate all kinds of art? Are they entrepreneurial? Do they have a reputation for bucking the establishment?
If we were to look to God's Word about this, especially 1 Tim…
T.H.L. Parker calls 1553–1554 Calvin’s “fateful years.” According to Parker, this was when “two large storms blew from different quarters and raged simultaneously.” One was Calvin’s battle with the libertines; the other was the infamous Servetus affair.
The Genevan air was charged in the Fall of 1553. It was September 3 when the confrontation with the libertines reached its climax, and it was October 26-27 when Michael Servetus was condemned and burned at the stake.
First, the libertines.
A pack of unregenerate Genevans—also members of the church in Calvin’s magisterial (and non-credobaptist) context—stirred up the trouble. Despite their love of license and open embrace of immo…
What follows is one of the greatest reasons for a man to get married and stay married: not the rapturous flame of eros, but the refining fires of holiness.
No relationship is more clearly commanded to model the death of Christ. No relationship is more costly—in both senses of that word (painful and precious).
This quote comes from one of C. S. Lewis’s last books, published in 1960, The Four Loves. In it we hear the wise fruit of a lifetime.
The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the church—read on—and gave his life for her (Ephesians 5:25).
This headship, then, is…
He had the Holy One of Israel in his house, reclining at his table. The Prophet that Moses had foretold was sharing dinner with him. The Lord of glory, the Resurrection and the Life, was speaking with him face to face. The great climactic moment of history he claimed to be living for had arrived. It should have been a deliriously wonderful, breathtaking honor for Simon to host the Messiah.
But Simon was not amazed. As he looked at Jesus, all he saw was a dusty Nazarene whose claims could be interpreted as delusional.
And Jesus’ feet were still dirty. Offering foot washing to guests had been a deeply ingrained custom for Near Eastern peoples for thousands of years. To not offer it was to d…
One of the roots of Christian Hedonism as I have pondered it for the last forty years is C. S. Lewis. Reading Alan Jacobs’ biography, The Narnian has underlined the influence Lewis has had on my thinking.
Here is a striking sentence about Lewis’s lifelong pursuit: “Lewis’s perpetual task both as a defender of Christianity and as an advocate of medieval literature is to call people to delight” (p. 190).
One of his paths to this “perpetual task” was his analysis of the devil’s use of pleasure. Screwtape (speaking for the devil—“Our Father”—in The Screwtape Letters) says to one of his under-devils:
Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy an…
James Baldwin, novelist, essayist, poet, was born August 2, 1924 and
died November 30, 1987. From child evangelist in a store-front church
in Harlem, to the front of TIME magazine as a dominant prophetic voice
of the sixties, to a disillusioned anti-American living and dying in
France, Baldwin’s life was another witness to the power of Christian
roots and the tragedy that comes when the root is severed.
In 1963, when I was a junior in high school, Baldwin published his most powerful book, The Fire Next Time. Unlike his previous Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name, his hope for racial healing in America had almost disappeared when The Fire was published.
Its title is taken from a…
After a golden three-year exile, Calvin returned to the city that expelled him. He didn’t jump at the opportunity but went reluctantly, feeling constrained by God’s will to resume the work.
It was September, 1541 when he stepped back into the pulpit and continued his exposition of the Psalms, picking up at the very place he had left off.
Now that Calvin was back, he would settle in for life in the Geneva he would be famous for.
Severe trials would come the following year in the form of sickness and death. The plague that had come through Strasburg now swept through Geneva. Calvin refused to abandon his flock and seek safety outside town, risking his life to remain and comfort …