After reading your emails, we play #theology, and then we play a slightly modified version of Translating American Evangelicalisms.
St. Matthew 6:24-34
September 28, 2014
Last Sunday in New York City thousands gathered for what was dubbed the People’s Climate March. Writing in the New Yorker , organizer Bill McKibben identified what was driving the participants: “I’ve always thought that … climate change caused a peculiar combination of deep dread and a sense of powerlessness. We area, after all, so small compared to physics” (Sept. 22, 2014). Deep dread, and a sense of powerlessness. We are small, and forces arrayed against us, dangerous and capricious, loom large.
That’s anxiety. Some experience it over a fear that the climate is changing. Others over disease raving a continent. Immigration. Militant Islam. Your mother-in-law.
It works by gripping our memory. When Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “Do not worry,” He uses a term that means “remember.” Worry and remember are verbs, action words. When you make it into a noun, it becomes “tombstone,” which makes sense, because a tombstone is there to remember the dead. Isn’t it startling? When this life is over, your life is reduced to a name, a birth and death date, and perhaps a symbol or phrase chiseled in stone.
Memories fly away, and we sense that’s what is happening with us. Children grow up, old friends growing older.
But memories also gnaw at our minds, eating away at us. She promised! He lied. They laughed at me. If I had said this other thing, I would have gotten that job, and everything would be different. Why did I give in again to my rage, my lust, my despair? I should have spoken up! I should have remained quiet. If I get the chance, I will make him pay.
On and on we worry, and the worries become tombstones, so that we are dying even as we live.
Dread. Powerlessness. We are so small.
How can Jesus say to us, “Do not worry” ? Because He is in control. He invites the birds and flowers to be our preachers. Every morning, the birds sing their song, gather their worms, then return to their nests. And what king ever had such beautiful clothing as a wildflower? And yet these things are nowhere near the value of a human being.
If God cares for these, will He not care for you even more? The bird has no anxiety. The flower has no fear. The sun gives light and heat. The earth spins. Although the world is in bondage to sin and death, yet still we see order in the cosmos, the created things fulfilling their function. Of all the creatures, only one is overwhelmed with dread: man.
Earlier in this sermon, called the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had expounded on the meaning of the Ten Commandments. The Commandments demand a perfect righteousness in us. Your righteousness, He said, must be perfect. The one who calls his neighbor an idiot, the person who is angry, the man who looks, just for a moment out of the corner of his eye, at a woman not his wife; the person who dislikes his enemy – all these have hell to pay. Such is the demand on your righteousness.
In this part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus now says, “Do not worry about these things causing you anxiety; do not build tombstones with the thoughts gripping your mind. Your heavenly Father knows everything that you need. Here is what you should concentrate on: ‘The kingdom of God and His righteousness.’ ” His righteousness, not yours.
His righteousness, God’s righteousness, is His love, His mercy, His pardoning work. The cross of Jesus is the righteousness of God. There all the anxieties of man, all the worries of our race, are jammed like thorns into our Lord.
That was a time of anxiety. The disciples hid behind locked doors, worrying that crucifixions were in their future. Here’s the thing: they were! In their future were loss of property, loss of livelihood, loss of friends, stonings, flayings, crucifixions. The resurrection of Jesus didn’t take away what they feared. The resurrection of Jesus took away the fear. Why? Because death and hell, Satan and sin had lost their power. Christ is risen, and they no longer had worries, for their resurrection was a certainty.
The first among these men, Peter, therefore wrote to us: Cast all your cares, your worries, your anxieties, on God, for He cares for you (1 Pet. 5.7).
Why do we worry? Because we forget, forget that God cares for us, and not only will do, but even now is doing for us better things than we can hope, desire, or understand.
None of this is to say, “Don’t be concerned about anything.” Rather, it means, “Be concerned about yourself, about being a faithful husband or wife, a faithful father or mother, a loyal citizen, an honest worker. Do what is given to you to do, and don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t worry about anything outside of your control. Those things will worry about themselves. “Tomorrow,” Jesus says, “will worry about its own things.”
There are unpaid bills. People are angry. We’re all going to die. But Christ already died for our sins, once for all. He is risen from the dead. By Baptism He is our brother. He is in us, and we in Him, in this Eucharist. Which means, truly, there is nothing—nothing—for us to worry about. +INJ+
1 Corinthians 13:5
September 27, 2014
Social media is not evil. It simply magnifies the evil that is in the human heart.
Status updates rarely reflect one’s real status. We appear always to be doing fun things, important things, exciting things. We are witty, funny, snarky – or bringing a wise, contrarian take on everyone else’s idiocy. We post pictures of ourselves looking our best, and filter our shots to make our lives seem exceptional.
And then we are outraged. Outraged about politicians, outraged about the police, outraged about Israel, outraged about the Palestinians, outraged about religion, the other guy’s religion or lack thereof. And the outrage keeps us from actually learning anything from each other.
Then, when things get really bad? Unfriend . #Blocked .
And at this point you’re thinking, “Hey, I thought this was a wedding; why is this crazy preacher ranting about Facebook?” I’m getting there.
I like to send people pictures of James, my little boy. Someone said to me, “He’s always smiling!” Yes, I sent you the one good picture; I have a hundred others where he is not cooperating, or where you’ll see my house in all its chaos, because I don’t live in a Pottery Barn catalog.
Daniel and Rachel, your life is going to be filled with messes. The best, and worst, parts of your marriage will never make it onto Facebook. But it is precisely in the messes that the marriage is made. It is precisely in the messes that the marriage makes you.
You were made for marriage. “It is not good for the man to be alone.” God made us to be like Himself. St. Irenaeus said, “God made man in order that He may have someone on whom to bestow His benefits.” Being made in the image of God means being made to be like God. Meaning, He made you to bestow your benefits, your love, your possessions, your life, on your neighbors.
Today you get a nearest neighbor, the neighbor that comes first. And their status updates, the decidedly non-exotic kind, become the most important of all. “Going shopping. Did you need anything?” “Cleaning the toilet. Again.” “Missed the deadline on that payment, now there’s a late fee.” And stuff we would never, ever tell the virtual world: “I’m just so sad, and I don’t even know why.”
There, in the mundane and in the messes, is where the marriage is made. The one-flesh union is so much more than sex. The two becoming one flesh will mean that Rachel’s hurts become your hurts, Daniel; and Daniel’s sorrows become yours, Rachel.
Right there is the tension. My own problems, fears, anxieties, addictions are bad enough. Now I have to deal with yours as well? And the day, the season, the year will come when you will want to #mute, #block, #unfriend, #unmarry this one, your nearest neighbor. In that hour, you remember that God put you here, God joined you together not only for companionship, help, and procreation, but also to teach you what it means to love.
The status of every life and every relationship in this broken world is always, “It’s complicated.” In the midst of all those complications is the call to genuine love which seeks not self-interest but my neighbor’s need. “Love is kind,” we heard St Paul say, and he means so much more than being pleasantly civil.
The concept of kindness is connected to showing mercy. The Christian idea of kindness means to go easy on someone. “Come unto Me,” Jesus says, “all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” This yoke, our Lord is saying, is kind; it causes no discomfort.
Most fascinating is how the term kind in the Bible is associated with uprightness. We have been conditioned to think about being upright as being uptight; slavishly following and enforcing rules. But by linking uprightness with kindness, we learn that the upright person is the one who shows mercy, goes easy on the other person.
What does this mean for your marriage, Daniel and Rachel? It means that you can be right and still be wrong. Which is to say, when you insist on your rights, when you try to win, you lose. Precisely by losing the argument, losing the decision, losing your desire, you win. For then you have put your nearest neighbor first.
Marriage is made in the messes, and beginning with our first parents, we have made a terrible mess of this world. So into the mess stepped Jesus. His love for us is likened to a husband for his bride. He loves her throughly, completely, unconditionally, forgiving her sins and wiping the slate clean.
Love is kind, and God’s kindness is His attitude leading to action.
Even when we were dead in trespasses, [He] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:5–7 NKJV)
That kindness, St. Paul says, becomes how you live with each other and for each other: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)
So, for as many years as God gives you together, let this be your constant status update to each other: Please go easy on me, I’m a mess, I love you, I forgive you, isn’t it the best thing in the world that God in Christ forgives us?
May He bring you both, together and unbroken, to the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end. +INJ+
The following was submitted by Vanessa Rasanen, who runs Bible, Beer, and Babies blog.
I became a Christian nearly a decade ago, attending church regularly with my husband. Okay. Mostly regularly. We spent many of those years giving into the world’s priorities, skipping church whenever we were out of town or sick or woke up late or simply didn’t feel like it. And when my husband was gone for deployment or drill? Yeah. I hated going alone, so I often wouldn’t go.
But that changed.
Our move following flight school saw us settling our family in a new community and seeking membership at an LCMS church. For the first time we met a pastor who stood firm and spoke boldly and bluntly. He made it quite clear church attendance was important and regular studying of God’s Word was essential. If he worried about turning us off with these words, it didn’t show. And funny thing. His unwavering on this point and his absolute dedication to our faith and salvation was refreshing. You see, it wasn’t about law law law, you-must-come-to-church-or-God-will-hate-you. No. It was Christ’s Gospel for us and the fact that we could not hear it and receive it enough.
For the first time we had the Lutheran confessions held up, showing us clearly how we had been so inwardly focused that we had completely missed the point of church. We went from seeing church as something good to do ( though optional, of course ) to understanding it is God giving Himself to us in Word and Sacrament. Finally we had a pastor who – at the risk of being unpopular and turning us off – taught us that God’s Word outweighed anything the world shouted or our Old Adam whispered or the devil nudged. And it went far beyond our church attendance record. For the first time we had the Lutheran confessions taught not as a these-are-equal-to-all-others-and-you-believe-them-just-because, but as True Doctrine.
Now, we hadn’t come to the LCMS broken by blatant false teaching, prosperity gospel or seeker-driven preaching as many I know have. But still we found refuge and comfort in the unapologetic, non-wishy-washy and firm teaching of this Pure Doctrine in the Lutheran confessions by our pastor. Shouldn’t that be a comfort and desire of every Christian?
Should, sure. Doesn’t mean it is. After all, our wants rarely, if ever, match up with needs when it comes to God and His Word. We have itchy ears. Deep down we want our pastor to make us happy and tell us things like “nah, it’s fine if you don’t want to come to church because you’re hungover” or “you’re right, it IS all about you!” We want the shepherd who lets us make the rules, who follows our meanderings through the fields and who doesn’t make us do anything we don’t want to. Right?
Pastors, when the wolves come – and they do, often – that is not the shepherd we need. We need the shepherd who stands firm, who won’t daydream and wander off leaving us to fend for ourselves. We need the shepherd ready to fight for us even when the wolf comes dressed as a fellow shepherd, because our very life depends on it.
When false teaching creeps up – and it does, often – we need a pastor who stands firm, who won’t give in to the shiny “new”, “relevant” fad, deluding himself into thinking it’s better for us, because it makes him “new” and “relevant”. We need a pastor who won’t leave us behind to fend for ourselves. We need a pastor who won’t back down to pressure, who values the lives of those in his care to the point that he would risk all to ensure we receive the True Doctrine of Christ which he vowed to teach. We need a pastor who won’t stand by and watch his fellow clergy be led astray by the prowling lions, who will do everything possible to bring them back to the Truth and keep others steadfast in the faith.
To put it bluntly, we need a pastor, not a pansy.
A pastor’s job isn’t to be our buddy or our pal. Though he can certainly be a friend, it is not the duty of his office. Pastors are the caretakers of our souls. Pastors are entrusted to teach us God’s Word and to deliver His Sacraments so that we may have eternal life in Christ Jesus. As such we need you to not only do so faithfully, but to also stand guard against those who would attempt to steal us away from Christ — especially when it comes from the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
No, it’s not fun to engage in conflict. It’s not easy to confront the wolves. It’s not popular to risk the facade of unity in the church by calling for adherence to True Doctrine. You will be challenged. You will find resistance. You will not find an easy path before you. But do not falter, do not waver, and do not waffle. Stand firm in our confessions, in God’s Word, and in your calling.
We are depending on you.
For what shall I say? How shall I complain? I am still living, writing, preaching, and lecturing daily; [and] yet there are found such spiteful men, not only among the adversaries, but also false brethren that profess to be on our side, as dare to cite my writings and doctrine directly against myself, and let me look on and listen, although they know well that I teach otherwise, and as wish to adorn their venom with my labor, and under my name to [deceive and] mislead the poor people. [Good God!] Alas! what first will happen when I am dead?
Indeed, I ought to reply to everything while I am still living. But, again, how can I alone stop all the mouths of the devil? especially of those (as they all are poisoned) who will not hear or notice what we write, but solely exercise themselves with all diligence how they may most shamefully pervert and corrupt our word in every letter. These I let the devil answer, or at last Gods wrath, as they deserve. I often think of the good Gerson, who doubts whether anything good should be [written and] published. If it is not done, many souls are neglected who could be delivered; but if it is done, the devil is there with malignant, villainous tongues without number which envenom and pervert everything, so that nevertheless the fruit [the usefulness of the writings] is prevented. Yet what they gain thereby is manifest. For while they have lied so shamefully against us and by means of lies wished to retain the people, God has constantly advanced His work, and been making their following ever smaller and ours greater, and by their lies has caused and still causes them to be brought to shame.
(Smalclad Articles preface 4-7)
A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; not a novice; holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
– 1 Peter 5:1-4
Wait a second… Did I read that right?
The FiveTwo folks are asking on their website “What does worship mean?” But the definition given so succinctly reads: “Worship is everything we do in response to God.”
So, holy worship is about me, what I’m doing for God? This can’t be right. I’m Lutheran. I know the definition of worship. These guys are saying they are Lutheran, too, but they’re giving the same mixed-up definition given by the Reformed and the dorky megachurch wannabe rock star pastors.
Let me read back through this thing again. Maybe I missed something. Okay, let’s see…
“There is a lot of talk about worship. What kind of music should be played? What form and style of service is best suited for the church? What is best pleasing to God and what is best pleasing to us?”
What is best pleasing to us? Is this really where the Lutherans start their discussion on the theology of worship? Are they really talking this way? My confessional Lutheran congregation isn’t. I know a lot of Reformed churches are. I know the non-denominational churches are. I’d better keep reading because these FiveTwo guys are confusing me…
If we have been in the church for any length of time we have probably heard the word “worship” defined by its English roots, “to ascribe worth to.”
Within the confines of which churches are you spending lengthy periods of time? Like you say, I’ve been in the church for a long time, but I’ve never been taught that. The term “worship” comes from an Old English word that, according to its original meaning, doesn’t have anything to do with man ascribing to or doing anything for God. It describes the person and work of God and His saving action for man. I’ll agree that over time the word has been twisted in so many directions, even being claimed by the dictionary in the way presented here, but we Lutherans have a few really good lexicons that are distinct from the world and help to maintain the word’s integrity: The Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions. And we Lutherans sort of dealt with the definition issue when we rested ourselves upon the term Gottesdienst – Divine Service – God serving us. Even better, because it became abundantly clear in the preceding half century that clarity was needed here, the last two hymnals of the LCMS have iterated the Gottesdienst understanding with solemn precision. Lutheran Worship began its introduction with “Our Lord speaks and we listen. His Word bestows what it says… The rhythm of our worship is from Him to us.” Lutheran Service Book begins by saying “Our Lord is the Lord who serves. Jesus Christ came into the flesh not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” When you guys took the little trip back to the origin of the word, as Lutherans, did you consider this? While we’re on the topic, did you happen to take the Book of Concord along on the outing? Did you notice how over and over again the Lutheran Confessions expose by way of God’s Word that worship is God coming to man and serving him, forgiving him, caring for and restoring him?
Proper worship would include humbling ourselves and listening to God’s word, preferring His words to our own, or anyone else’s.
Now I’m really confused. Haven’t you been saying all along that worship is about me and what I need to be doing to show God what He means to me? You just told me that proper worship means to listen to Him and to prefer His words. Doesn’t that mean that He needs to be the active one, the principle mover in worship? So which is it?
We have to begin to see God as the supreme expert in all areas of our life. We have to worship God by bowing all areas of our life before Him. Here’s something to think about: Does the way that we bow to God in singing resemble the way we bow to God with our sex life, our money commitments, and the way we extend kindness and love to our family and neighbors? May we tune our hearts toward worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth. May we bow ourselves before Him in every way, and then may we come together and sing. Really sing.
Okay. I see what you mean. When you say “preferring His words” you mean preferring the Third Use of the Law. The preaching of Sanctification needs to be the dominant element in worship. The Gospel of forgiveness and all that schnozzle is nice, but really it shouldn’t shine more brightly than what makes worship worth our while as sanctified believers. Worship will finally mean something to us and be worth our while, that is, we’ll finally be able to “really sing,” not when Jesus baptizes us or absolves us or preaches the Gospel to us or administers His body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins or remains the active mover throughout, but rather when we have “bowed” everything in heartfelt ways to Him. When this happens, then we are experiencing worship. When this happens, we are worshipping in spirit and in truth. And so I guess this definition, although it slaps those chains of the Law on us again, in one sense, it sets us free from our confession to run freely with the world around us, incorporating just about anything that pleases us. I get it. The world loves this kind of stuff. Folks will eat this up. Do this and you will fill your entertainment complex… ehem, I mean, church.
Wait a second… You want the Law, as opposed to the Gospel, to predominate in worship? That’s funny. You almost had me. This isn’t Lutheran. It’s dorky, trendy, wannabe rock star jip, and it’s pretty much useless when it comes to actually sustaining souls.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”, says the Apostle. But the temptation to gloss over Scripture, to let it go in one ear and out the other, to fail to truly meditate upon and ponder the depths of God’s riches, to prevent the Wisdom of God from taking root in your heart comes all too easily. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. Read. Mark. Learn. Inwardly digest.
Today the church remembers Jerome, translator of Holy Scripture. He, like the rest of us, struggled with the sinful flesh which would prevent us from letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly. But he nevertheless knew well the importance of reading, marking, learning, and inwardly digesting Holy Scripture. It was for this reason that he devoted himself to not only learning the Biblical languages, but also to translating Scripture into Latin, the language of his day.
Careful study of God’s Word is never an end in itself. We don’t learn God’s Word so that we can keep it to ourselves. No, the Word of God comforts us in all our affliction so that we may likewise comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:4). In our striving for holiness, Satan would have us become absorbed in the selfish care of our own souls and prevent us from living by faith in God and love toward neighbor.
Jerome saw to it that the Gospel was available to the people of his day in language they could understand. In our day the task of translating the Gospel into plain language may not be as urgent as it was in the fourth century, but there nevertheless remains a vast multitude who are ignorant of the Gospel. How are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard (Romans 10:14)? God has given you lips that they might declare His praise (Psalm 51:15). You are his priest, called to declare His glory among the nations (1 Peter 2:9, Psalm 96:3).
But you must first glory in the Word before you can declare the Word’s glory. Listening is the first step in faithful proclamation. The one who teaches must first be taught (Isaiah 50:4). The treasure of the Gospel can only be shared by the one who has first treasured it up in his heart. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Read. Mark. Learn. Inwardly digest.
That God speaks to His fallen creation at all is more than we deserve, and He comes not with a message of wrathful fury, but of loving kindness. For the full measure of His wrath was poured out on the One whose Word we’ve failed to ponder. His righteous judgment fell to Him who spoke the Gospel faithfully until His dying breath. In Christ, you have a gracious God, One who invites you to let His life-giving Word dwell in you richly, who would use even you to bring this life-giving Word to others.
So we thank God this day for giving His Church the example of Jerome, who, by careful study let the Word of Christ dwell in him richly, and by his translation sought to aid others in doing likewise. But even more we give thanks to God for that Word which dwelt in Jerome, for that Word which testifies to the Word made flesh, for the wisdom, life, and salvation that His Word bestows. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, indeed.
Our human condition is such that we are always striving to find our relief, our confidence, in ourselves and our works. But Paul warns against that very strongly in today’s text, going so far as to use some choice Greek…colorful metaphors… Philippians 3:4-14 is not a text to play around with. Once again, while we are looking for Law to do, Paul is busy delivering Christ for us. Don’t miss the sweet Gospel so plainly given in this passage, because the English tradition of translation, once again, hasn’t done us any favors in that area.
Puss in boots hairball – http://youtu.be/6MTIwY3_-ks
Alexander and the terrible… – http://youtu.be/hDFI2uhrdQM
Dang Fetch Oh My Heck – http://youtu.be/-0-WQ5W8NW8
Pharrell Williams – Happy (Despicable Me 2 – Lyric Video) – http://youtu.be/Q-GLuydiMe4
Friends Theme song – http://youtu.be/Xs-HbHCcK58
Ultimate Dog tease – http://youtu.be/nGeKSiCQkPw
Law & Grace: Bill Johnson – http://youtu.be/5OKUdFd_50U
Spock eyebrow – http://youtu.be/5vrXKlO2Jbw
Whatever – http://youtu.be/Yf7MT1p1VNI
Confidence in me – http://youtu.be/vzs0oUUFWmM
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The first of a planned 10 volume collection of Marquart’s Works has been published by Lutheran News and edited by Rev. Herman Otten, longtime friend and colleague of Kurt Marquart. I received my copy in the mail a few days ago and have been going through it with great pleasure. It is in hardback form and is just over a hundred pages in length. There is a brief biography of Marquart’s life included at the beginning of the volume as well as an index.
This first volume of “popular writings” is made up of many brief articles (or series of articles) intended for youth and laymen, banquet addresses, reviews, and other pieces that still seem amazingly timely.
Though I have read many of his academic articles, I was a couple of years too late at Fort Wayne to have had the privilege of learning from Prof. Marquart in the classroom. Therefore it is all the more enjoyable to read this particular collection of the writings of a man who was so beloved as a teacher of the church and a gentleman with a common touch.
Reflecting the sentiment in the Foreword by Rev. Ray Ohlendorf, I was struck by how easily and quickly I could (and will!) give or recommend this book to both pastors and laymen. Marquart certainly had the ability, as all who truly grasp what they are talking about, to speak to a variety of audiences and zero in on the essential points and issues at stake concerning a particular subject. I could easily see myself picking several articles for a weekly book or topical Bible study. The two series of articles which would be especially good for this purpose are: “How Do We Know” (12 articles, 1-3 pages each) and “Seven Deadly Sins” (7 articles, 2-3 pages each) Additionally, Rev. Otten provides questions at the end of each article to aid study and more careful reading.
Perhaps the most fun and slicing piece in this collection is “Intellectual Respectability, Yes! Pseudo-Intellectual Aping, No!” In this essay, Marquart warns of the lure of the world’s praise for Christian of every age. He has hard words for those who take their cues (and marching orders) from the culture and the vanity that tempts Christians to seek favor and standing on the world’s stage:
We must distinguish between genuine intellectual respectability, or better, integrity, and its mass produced imitation. The former is characterized by substance, toughness of mental fibre, interior consistency, breadth of perspective, and a firm ultimate anchorage in Reality–which to the Christian can only mean submission to divine Revelation. Pseudo-intellectualism, on the other hand, is a mere craven subservience to fashion, which mistakes (1) learning for truth, (2) academic standing for learning, and (3) “high fidelity” reproduction of the latest literary “hit parade”, for academic standing!
The pompous vulgarity of the “newly rich” invades also the mind…shining with the splendor of the Establishment, [it] possesses a high degree of snob-value, because it seeks, and receives honor from men, not from God.
Appropriately, the article/book review immediately following, “Your Personal Guide to Head-Shrinking,” exhibits these principles at work. Marquart, from a biblical and informed position, takes a tough-minded approach to modern psychology, poking holes in its unverified and unscientific claims and faulty presuppositions. He clearly warns about the wide ranging effects that psychiatric ideology has on society and morality, and that ultimately, we are dealing with a competing religion:
That secularists have embraced the new values is only natural. But that many Christians have been able to follow suit, indicates a massive failure of Christian thought and of its official custodians. The challenge to thinking Christians could hardly be more provocative!
If this was a belated wake up call in 1972, how much further have we slipped into the coma over 40 years later?
There are many such gems and insights for clergy and laity alike in this volume. I can only hope that the subsequent ones will be swift in appearing…though I have no doubt that they will be just as enjoyable and edifying as this first one has proven to be.
Note on purchasing: This volume is still available at the pre-sale price ($10 instead of $14.95) and can be ordered through the Christian News website here . The second volume “Marquart’s Works: Communism” is now also available at the pre-publication price of $10.00 as well. To pre-order, call or email the Christian News office (same contact information as in picture).