Written by Sam Logan
Thursday, 23 February 2012 00:00
Again (like yesterday), the answer is “yes.”
But the trick is to define such boldness in a way that is biblical, in a way that is “missional. “ Once again, I offer Jonathan Edwards’s words as at least the beginning of a definition:
From the Introduction to Section VIII of Part III of the Treatise on Religious Affections:
Truly gracious affections differ from those affections that are false and delusive, in that they tend to, and are attended with the lamblike, dovelike spirit and temper of Jesus Christ; or in other words, they naturally beget and promote such a spirit of love, meekness, quietness, forgiveness and mercy, as appears in Christ.
From later in that same section:
There is a pretended boldness for Christ that arises from no better principle than pride. A man may be forward to expose himself to the dislike of the world, and even to provoke their displeasure, out of pride. For it is the nature of spiritual pride to cause men to seek distinction and singularity; and so oftentimes to set themselves at war with those whom they call carnal, that they may be more highly exalted among their party.
The Scripture knows no true Christians , of a sordid, selfish, cross, and contentious spirit. Nothing can be a greater absurdity, than a morose, hard, close, high-spirited, spiteful, true Christian.
And exactly why is that?
Behold Jesus Christ . . . How did He show His holy boldness and valor? Not in the exercise of any fiery passions, not in fierce and violent speeches, vehemently declaiming against the intolerable wickedness of opposers, [not in] giving them their own in plain terms; but in not opening his mouth when afflicted and oppressed, in going as a lamb to the slaughter, and, as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, not opening his mouth; praying that the father would forgive his cruel enemies, because they knew not what they did; nor shedding others’ blood, but with an all-conquering patience and love, shedding his own.
How wonderful it would be if the evangelical Christian church in America were known for its “love, meekness, quietness, forgiveness, and mercy.”
How wonderful – and pleasing to God - if I were known for this!
Sam Logan is Special Counsel to the President and Professor of Church History at Biblical. He is an ordained minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He is married to Susan and they have two sons and two grandsons. See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/samuel-logan