Job’s Words Perfected

I’ve noted before that Job is tam, blameless, perfect which is related to the word tamim, spotless, without blemish. In this way Job is a sort of living sacrifice. A form of the same word is used in 31:40 where Job’s words are “ended.” They are literally “perfected.” The perfect man has perfected his words.

Ellul on Constantine

Ellul: “After his victory at Milvian Bridge, faithful to his promise, Constantine favors the church from which he has received support. Catholic Christianity becomes the state religion and an exchange takes place: the church is invested with political power, and it invests the emperor with religious power. We have here the same perversion, for how…

Ellul’s Anarchism

From Ellul’s chapter on political perversion: “he biblical view [of the church] is not just apolitical but antipolitical in the sense that it refuses to confer any value on political power, or in the sense that it regards political power as idolatrous, inevitably entailing idolatry.” (113) He doesn’t have the space or interest to sketch…

Reformation Sunday: The Little One in Our Midst: Mt. 18:1-20

IntroductionIt’s well known that the Protestant Reformers instigated an overhaul of the Roman church system. Luther recovered justification by faith, the centrality of Christ’s life/death/resurrection was reasserted, and right celebration and understanding of the sacraments was worked toward. It’s less well known that the Reformers also worked toward a recovery of faithful Church discipline. One…

1 Peter 2:11-12

Opening Prayer: Gracious Father, we thank you that have bestowed your love upon us. And we thank you that your love is most evident in the fact that you have made us your sons in your Son and by your Spirit. Teach us as a faithful Father now that we might be your faithful sons…

Ellul on Islam

Ellul has an interesting chapter on the influence of Islam on Christianity. Like much else in this book, I think Ellul is something of a perfectionist who is overly critical, only seeing the failures of the Church, but this can of course also be helpful in pointing out real error. Here he says that the…

1 Peter 2:1-10

IntroductionWe have noted numerous times that Peter is applying the Exodus story to his audience, the new Israel of God, and this becomes even more explicit here in chapter 2. Children and FamilyRunning through the beginning of 1 Peter has been this notion of being “begotten again” (1:3), “children” (1:14), God as their “Father” (1:17),…

Tasting God’s Goodness

Peter says that we ought to desire the pure milk of the word like newborn babes that we may grow thereby, “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” Peter is probably paraphrasing Ps. 34 which we commonly sing a metrical version of which says, “O taste and see that the Lord is…

Learning from Infants

There are many children in our congregation. Most of them are still fairly young, and frequently there are a number of baby carriers scattered around the room for our littlest ones. And of course we have the excitement of baby noises and children learning to worship with us. And this is all very wonderful. But…

Ellul and the Cult of the Virgin

Ellul points to the elevation of celibacy as a higher calling and ideal as one example of the crumbling of the original vision of the Christian community. He sees this particularly in the changing views and roles of women. More specifically, he says, “the more feminine liberty was supressed, the more women were accused (of…