Necrology 2007 (Updated)

The year 2007 seems to have hit the world of biblical and theological scholarship particularly hard. Here are the names of five six scholars who have died during this year, and to whom I owe a very great debt of gratitude on account of the innumerable benefits that I have derived from their work. For each, a link to an obituary or suitable memorial site is given.
Metzger was the Master Pedagogue that introduced generations of would-be New Testament scholars to the field, and put in their hands anything from two critical editions of the Greek New Testament to a handbook on the history of the Bible in translation to the standard English translation of the Bible for classroom use, and everything in between. Our debt to him is simply not quantifiable. Kline was a truly venerable teacher of the redemptive-historical hermeneutics and biblical theology usually associated with Westminster Seminary, and along with Vos, Ribberbos, Clowney and Gaffin he helped to shape my thinking in those subjects in more ways than I could possibly account for. I met Webber at a time when I had been awakened to the need of grounding worship and theology in the organic, living experience of the historical Christian Church; without his ancient-future program for liturgy and dogma, I’m not altogether certain that I would be Orthodox today. The sheer amazement at the idea (and the possibilities!) of reading the Bible as the Church’s Scripture that I discovered in Brevard Child’s commentaries on Exodus and Isaiah has not worn off after a number of years, and I’m hoping that it never will. To read Harold O. J. Brown’s work on orthodoxy and heresy in early Christianity was to immerse myself in an unknown world, but one which I immediately knew I wished to inhabit from then onand which, indeed, I have never left since. And no amount of words will suffice to sing the accomplishments of the great C. F. D. Moule, or his influence. Moule’s Idiom Book of New Testament Greek revolutionized my conception of how Greek (and language, in general) functions, and I still keep it quite close at hand when reading my Greek Testament; and who can neglect his Origin of Christology, where he argues (with the full strength of his great intellectual powers) that a ‘high’ Christology is not merely an invention of the later Church, but rather is enshrined in the New Testament itself?

The scholarly world at large has also registered some notable loses, among them:

Of these, the only one without a suitable obituary is Manfred Kerkhoff, the facile princeps of philosophical kairology. He lacks one, of course, because he taught for 40 years at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras, an institution that routinely snubs and humiliates the truly great scholars in their midst, while showering all manner of accolades upon hacks, cretins and other undeserving lowlifes.

Kerkhoff studied classical philology at Tübingen under Wolfgang Schadewaldt, whom he called “the Nestor of German classical philology.” At Schadewaldt’s suggestion he went on to Münich to continue his studies, where he “somewhat unexpectedly” changed his Hauptfach to philosophy. It is rumored (for the details of his biography are the stuff of legend) that at some point he had been a Roman Catholic seminarian; he is also said to have mentioned, shortly after the last Papal election, that he once was a student of Pope Benedict XVI (but it is unclear at what point this could have happened). He possessed a rare gift for languages, and gained mastery in 14 ancient and modern ones in all; by the end of his life, he lamented that his proficiency in Sanskrit had sunk to its lowest ebb due to a lack of opportunity to regularly make use of the language. A wonderfully methodical pedagogue, he prepared with the utmost care outlines and anthologies of philosophical texts for use in his classes in the history of philosophy, poring over each selection to fine tune even the least details of each translation. In class, he would masterfully trace the notion of καιρός (kairos) through each of these choice texts, for this was the organizing center of his philosophical reflection (or “his hobby,” as he often put it). Kerkhoff maintained a wide range of academic friendships around the world, and it seemed as though nearly every book in his immense library had an inscribed dedication from the author. Most notably, he was a friend of Jacques Derrida for many years, and received an early invitation from him to lecture at the Collège international de philosophie, which he did in 1986.

Like a true disciple, Kerkhoff had wanted to follow Schadewaldt’s example by offering as his academic swan song a graduate course on Pindar’s Odes. This pleasure, to which he was abundantly entitled, was denied him by his lessers in the Bureaucracy. Perhaps they feared that the blazing light of his impeccable scholarship would expose their own pathetic incompetence.

To have studied under him was an incomparable privilege, and I only regret that I’ll never have the chance to do so again. Requiesce in pace, magister illustrissime!


Saturday à Machen: Thinking Desperately Low of God

“[I]t has already been observed that when the liberal preacher uses the word ‘God,’ he means something entirely different from that which the Christian means by the same word. ‘God,’ at least according to the logical trend of modern liberalism, is not a person separate from the world, but merely the unity that pervades the world. To say, therefore, that Jesus is God means merely that the life of God, which appears in all men, appears with special clearness or richness in Jesus. Such an assertion is diametrically opposed to the Christian belief in the deity of Christ.

“Equally opposed to Christian belief is another meaning that is sometimes attached to the assertion that Jesus is God. The word ‘God’ is sometimes used to denote simply the supreme object of men’s desires, the highest thing that men know. We have given up the notion, it is said, that there is a Maker and Ruler of the universe. Such notions belong to ‘metaphysics,’ and are rejected by the modern man. But the word ‘God,’ though it can no longer denote the Maker of the universe, is convenient as denoting the object of men’s emotions and desires. Of some men, it can be said that their God is mammonmammon is that for which they labor, and to which their hearts are attached. In a somewhat similar way, the liberal preacher says that Jesus is God. He does not mean at all to say that Jesus is identical in nature with a Maker and Ruler of the universe, of whom an idea could be obtained apart from Jesus. In such a Being he no longer believes. All that he means is that the man Jesus—a man here in the midst of us, and of the same nature as ours—is the highest thing we know. It is obvious that such a way of thinking is far more widely removed from Christian belief than is Unitarianism, at least the earlier forms of Unitarianism. For the early Unitarianism no doubt at least believed in God. The modern liberals, on the other hand, say that Jesus is God not because they think high of Jesus, but because they think desperately low of God.”

(J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism [1923; reprint, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999], pages 110-1.)

The Search for an Orthodox Apologetics

I should like to apologize to both readers of my blog for the sparsity of my posts during the past couple weeks. Behold how I even neglected to post last week’s Saturday à Machen! The greater part of the blame goes, of course, to my beloved ISP, which for the second consecutive week elected to deprive me of service for a day or more right before the weekend, citing “fiber problems” (which to me sounds like the kind of difficulty that should be corrected by a steady intake of oat bran, rather than by interrupting my internet service).

Naturally, once the unwarranted service interruption sets in, I turn solely to my books (or at least to the miserable fraction thereof that is here and not in storage back home in Michigan)and needless to say, once I start on something, I can’t stop! This fact, then, shoulders the remaining part of the blame.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Apologetics lately, and so my reading (supplemented by John Frame’s wonderful lectures on iTunes U) has largely concentrated on this subject. Many moons ago, when Yours Truly was but a wee one, I used to have a visceral aversion to Apologetics. But in time my reading widened, and I came to realize that my antipathy was rather towards the evidentialist method (particularly in its more crass, popularized forms) than towards the field of Apologetics itself. It was also right around that time that I discovered presuppostional apologetics, which coupled with my then recent discovery of Reformational philosophy, effected such a radical, revolutionary change in my own thinking that I’ve always referred to it since as my personal Copernican revolution, my own awakening from dogmatic slumber (with apologies to Kant).

Since becoming Orthodox a number of years ago, I have pondered from time to time what might be the shape of an authentically Orthodox apologetics. (Of course, to the recalcitrant Van Tillian in me, this means something much broader than the mere formulation of a defense of the Christian Faith according to any one “system of proof.” It most certainly should seek to do this, of course, but it also should formulate a comprehensive Christian theory of knowledge and knowing, with clear implications for every field of learning and every area of lifebut I digress.) And as I read during the past few days, it occurred to me that a very rich text that might yield many authentically Orthodox apologetical insights would be the Russian Primary Chronicle, which contains a detailed (theological) account of the conversion of St Vladimir, and the subsequent Christianization of Ancient Rus’.

The report of St Vladimir’s emissaries regarding the otherworldly beauty of Orthodox worship is well known to English-speaking Orthodox and others due to its being minimally cited in Timothy [now Metropolitan Kallistos] Ware’s now classic book The Orthodox Church. I quote the larger fragment in full (rather than excerpt it) for the sake of completeness, and I have italicized phrases that may give us the apologetic pointers of which I’ve spoken. I may return to these in the future, as time permits.

Vladimir summoned together his vassals and the city elders, and said to them: “Behold, the Bulgars1 came before me urging me to accept their religion. Then came the Germans and praised their own faith; and after them came the Jews. Finally the Greeks appeared, criticizing all other faiths but commanding their own, and they spoke at length, telling the history of the whole world from its beginning. Their words were artful, and it was wondrous to listen and pleasant to hear them. They preach the existence of another world. ‘Whoever adopts our religion and then dies shall arise and live forever. But whosoever embraces another faith, shall be consumed with fire in the next world.’ What is your opinion on this subject, and what do you answer?” The vassals and the elders replied: “You know, O Prince, that no man condemns his own possessions, but praises them instead. If you desire to make certain, you have servants at your disposal. Send them to inquire about the ritual of each and how he worships God.”

Their counsel pleased the prince and all the people, so that they chose good and wise men to the number of ten, and directed them to go first among the Bulgars and inspect their faith. The emissaries went their way, and when they arrived at their destination they beheld the disgraceful actions of the Bulgars and their worship in the mosque; then they returned to their own country. Vladimir then instructed them to go likewise among the Germans, and examine their faith, and finally to visit the Greeks. They thus went into Germany, and after viewing the German ceremonial, they proceeded to Constantinople where they appeared before the emperor. He inquired on what mission they had come, and they reported to him all that had occurred. When the emperor heard their words, he rejoiced, and did them great honor on that very day.

On the morrow, the emperor sent a message to the patriarch to inform him that a Russian delegation had arrived to examine the Greek faith, and directed him to prepare the church and the clergy, and to array himself in his sacerdotal robes, so that the Russians might behold the glory of the God of the Greeks. When the patriarch received these commands, he bade the clergy assemble, and they performed the customary rites. They burned incense, and the choirs sang hymns. The emperor accompanied the Russians to the church, and placed them in a wide space, calling their attention to the beauty of the edifice, the chanting, and the offices of the [bishop] and the ministry of the deacons, while he explained to them the worship of his God. The Russians were astonished, and in their wonder praised the Greek ceremonial. Then the Emperors Basil and Constantine invited the envoys to their presence, and said, “Go hence to your native country,” and thus dismissed them with valuable presents and great honor.

When they returned to their own country, the Prince called together his boyars and the elders. Vladimir then announced the return of the envoys who had been sent out, and suggested that their report be heard. He thus commanded them to speak out before his vassals. The envoys reported, “When we journeyed among the Bulgars, we beheld how they worship in their temple, called a mosque, while they stand ungirt. The Bulgar bows, sits down, looks hither and thither like one possessed, and there is no happiness among them, but instead only sorrow and a dreadful stench. Their religion is not good. Then we went among the Germans, and saw them performing many ceremonies in their temples; but we beheld no glory there. Then we went on to Greece, and the Greeks led us to the edifices where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget that beauty. Every man, after tasting something sweet, is afterward unwilling to accept that which is bitter, and therefore we cannot dwell longer here.” Then the vassals spoke and said, “If the Greek faith were evil, it would not have been adopted by your grandmother Olga, who was wiser than all other men.” Vladimir then inquired where they should all accept baptism, and they replied that the decision rested with him.

[From Serge A. Zenkovsky (ed.), Medieval Russia’s Epics, Chronicles and Tales, 2nd ed. (New York:Dutton, 1974), pages 66-68. Brackets mine.]

1A Turkic people of Muslim faith; not to be confused with the Slavic Bulgarians of the Balkans. (Note adapted from Zenkovsy.)

Saturday à Machen: The Problem of Christianity and Culture

“If physical strength and health and the companionship of human friends may be made useful in the Christian life, surely the same thing is true of intellectual gifts. […] If the principle of consecration is true at all—if it is true that God desires, not the destruction of human powers, but the proper use of them—then surely the principle must be applied in the intellectual sphere.

“The field should not be limited too narrowly; with the purely logical and acquisitive faculties of the mind should be included the imagination and the sense of beauty. In a word, we have to do with the relation between ‘culture’ and Christianity. For the modern Church there is no greater problem. A mighty civilization has been built up in recent years, which to a considerable extent is out of relation to the gospel. Great intellectual forces which are rampant in the world are grievously perplexing the Church. The situation calls for earnest intellectual effort on the part of Christians. Modern culture must be either refuted as evil, or else be made helpful to the gospel. So great a power cannot be safely ignored. Modern culture is a stumblingblock when it is regarded as an end in itself, but when it is used as a means to the service of God it becomes a blessing. Undoubtedly much of modern thinking is hostile to the gospel. Such hostile elements should be refuted and destroyed; the rest should be made subservient; but nothing should be neglected. Modern culture is a mighty force; it is either helpful to the gospel or else it is a deadly enemy of the gospel. For making it helpful neither wholesale denunciation nor wholesale acceptance is in place; careful discrimination is required, and such discrimination requires intellectual effort. Here lies a supreme duty of the modern Church. Patient study should not be abandoned to the men of the world; men who have really received the blessed experience of the love of God in Christ must seek to bring that experience to bear upon the culture of the modern world, in order that Christ may rule, not only in all nations, but also in every department of human life. The Church must seek to conquer not only every man, but also the whole of man. Such intellectual effort is really necessary even to the external advancement of the kingdom. Men cannot be convinced of the truth of Christianity so long as the whole of their thinking is dominated by ideas which make acceptance of the gospel logically impossible; false ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel. And false ideas cannot be destroyed without intellectual effort.

“Such effort is indeed of itself insufficient. No man was ever argued into Christianity; the renewing of the Holy Spirit is really the decisive thing. But the Spirit works when and how he will, and he chooses to employ the intellectual activities of Christian people in order to prepare for his gracious coming.”

(J. Gresham Machen, The New Testament: An Introduction to its Literature and History [Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1990], pages 377-8.)

On How iTunes May Be Used for Purposes Greater than Playing Your Illegally Downloaded MP3s

Earlier this week, I became aware of iTunes U while browsing the webpage of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Through this remarkable feature, institutions of higher learning can make class lectures and other educational content available in podcast format from the iTunes Store. While much of the content is restricted to the students, faculty and staff of each individual institution, several of the schools using iTunes U have also made some excellent resources (including full courses!) available for download at no charge. Here are some highlights:

  • Concordia Seminary in St. Louis offers both Elementary Hebrew and Readings in Hebrew with Andrew Bartelt, as well as Elementary Greek with James Voelz. Also featured is a popular introduction to The Lutheran Confessions by Charles Arand and Robert Kolb.
  • Reformed Theological Seminary features the following courses: Genesis through Joshua with Richard Pratt, Judges through Poets with John Currid, Isaiah through Malachi with Richard Belcher, Gospels and Acts and Pauline Epistles with Knox Chamblin, and Hebrews through Revelation with Simon Kistemaker. This amounts to their entire Biblical core for master’s degrees. Also offered are courses on Christian Apologetics and the History of Philosophy and Christian Thought, taught by the great John McElphatrick Frame, and on the History and Theology of the Puritans, taught by J. I. Packeramong many others.
  • Stanford University offers courses such as The Historical Jesus with Thomas Sheehan and Virgil’s Aeneid with the divine Susanna Braund, as well as some notable lectures (such as Bart Ehrman on Misquoting Jesus) and several recorded broadcasts of the deligthful program Entitled Opinions, featuring such distinguished guests as Richard Rorty, René Girard, Michel Serres, the exquisite Susanna Braund (again!), and Andrea Nightingale.
  • UC Berkeley features a short course on Heidegger and a semester-long one on Existentialism in Literature and Film, both taught by Hubert Dreyfus. [UPDATE: The course on Heidegger is not short, as I had thought; rather, it is being recorded this semester, and so podcasts become available as the course progresses! Check out also the course on The Ancient Mediterranean World taught by Isabelle Pafford, which is also being recorded this semester.]

As usual, Harvard doesn’t get it, and they only offer two-track samplings of such courses as Shaye Cohen’s A Thematic Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Yale is only slightly better, with no full courses offered, but some very interesting lectures available (such as Harold Bloom’s The Art of Reading a Poem). Princeton, of course, is not on iTunes U at all, but I doubt anybody is particularly surprised by that. Gee, no wonder Stanford is taking over!

In any case, the iTunes U course offerings from RTS and Concordia are only the more recent in a series of free online resources for theological education that have appeared over the last several years. Notable among these are:

  • Biblical Training, which in its Leadership track offers Biblical Greek with Bill Mounce, several Old and New Testament courses (survey, history, theology) taught by Craig Blomberg, Frank Thielman, Robert Stein, Paul House and Douglas Stuart, and Church History I & II with Gerald Bray, among many other courses.
  • Covenant Worldwide, a ministry of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. This features a selection of seminary courses in .mp3 format, complete with study guides and lecture transcripts. Courses are available in each of the classical theological fields (biblical, historical, systematic and practical), and include many of the seminary’s core requirements for master’s degrees.

So very many resources, and so little time!


We Machen groupies sure are a small but dedicated band of folks! And apparently, the dedication of a couple of our correligionaries is such that, taking their cue from a now legendary article by John Frame, they have made their way to and produced a veritable treasure trove of Machen gear. Click on the “Machen’s Warrior Children” jersey to enter the catalog!

PS: These items would undoubtedly make wonderful Christmas gifts for all your family and friends! ;-)

Why Not to Blog on Psalm 68

Many years ago, I had occasion to examine a syllabus for a hermeneutics class that required the writing of an exegetical paper as the course capstone. That seemed fair enough, and I read on attentively as the professor laid out his very detailed instructions for this paper. There were several points that mystified me (not yet being wise in the ways of historical-critical atheology), but none more than his demand that the students refrain from using commentaries and articles published before 1950. How strange, I thought, that at an avowedly Wesleyan institution (for such it was), Wesley’s Explanatory Notes could not be consulted! As a result, I decided to experiment a bit and for quite some time consulted every pre-1950 commentary available to me as I prepared for sermons. Of course, since the syllabus singled out Puritan Matthew Henry and Methodist Adam Clarke as examples of commentators students should avoid like the plague, I decided to check these out first. Though I’ve never referenced them in papers for obvious reasons (which emphatically do not include the professor’s unreasonable instructions), their works became very dear to me. I hoped that Henry’s typically Puritan emphasis on stirring up godly affections in a plain and dignified manner would filter down to my poor preaching, and that Clarke’s attitude of learned simplicity before the intricacies of the Scriptural text would become my own. It should come as no surprise, then, that as I considered the possibility of joining the several bibliobloggers currently writing on Psalm 68, I decided to take a look at what Henry and Clarke had to say on this text. I was startled, however, to see my own thoughts staring back at me. I truly could sign my name to Clarke’s words:

I know not how to undertake a comment on this Psalm: it is the most difficult in the whole Psalter; and I cannot help adopting the opinion of Simon De Muis: In hoc Psalmo tot ferme scopuli, tot labyrinthi, quot versus, quot verba. Non immerito crux ingeniorum, et interpretum opprobrium dici potest. “In this Psalm there are as many precipices and labyrinths as there are verses or words. It may not be improperly termed, the torture of critics, and the reproach of commentators.” To attempt anything new on it would be dangerous; and to say what has been so often said would be unsatisfactory. I am truly afraid to fall over one of those precipices, or be endlessly entangled and lost in one of these labyrinths.

There are customs here referred to which I do not fully understand; there are words whose meaning I cannot, to my own satisfaction, ascertain; and allusions which are to me inexplicable. Yet of the composition itself I have the highest opinion: it is sublime beyond all comparison; it is constructed with an art truly admirable; it possesses all the dignity of the sacred language; none but David could have composed it; and, at this lapse of time, it would require no small influence of the Spirit that was upon him, to give its true interpretation.”

Or, as Matthew Henry states far more succinctly, “This is a most excellent psalm, but in many places the genuine sense is not easy to come at; for in this, as in some other scriptures, there are things dark and hard to be understood.”

I know, right?

This text’s native difficulty, to which both Clarke and Henry allude, would be compounded for me by the fact that, unlike everyone else’s, my comments would not be based on the Hebrew Masoretic Text, but on the canonical text of my tradition: that of the ecclesiastical Greek Psalter. (Allow me, however, to state the obvious: namely, that constantly minding the Hebrew Vorlage is essential to any serious reading of the Greek Old Testament!) And the use of the Greek Psalter as text would bring to the foreground some of the more heavily disputed aspects of patristic and liturgical exegesis almost at once.

Consider, for instance, the superscription of the Psalm (Εἰς τὸ τέλος· ᾠδῆς ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυΐδ, which could be rendered freely as “Regarding completion. A song with accompaniment concerning David”). Patristic exegesis was quick to note that use of τέλος (telos, end or fulfillment) here seems to correspond to Romans 10:4 (τέλος γὰρ νόμου Χριστὸς, “for Christ is the telos of the Law”), and so it came to regard such a superscript (which occurs in several Psalms) as something of a cue to read a Psalm messianicallyand for our Psalm in particular, in view of the specification τῷ Δαυΐδ (“for David,” that is, about him), through the specific lens of the Messiah as Davidic king. We don’t have to wait too long for an opportunity to make such a reading: already the very first words of Psalm 68 (Ἀναστήτω ὁ Θεός, “Let God arise”) are understood to refer to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, for which reason this Psalm is used time and again in the Paschal Office of the Eastern Church together with the chief hymn of the Feast: Χριστός ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας καί τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι ζωήν χαρισάμενος (“Christ has risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and giving life to those in the tombs”; note that even the chosen verb for “has risen” in the Paschal hymn is the same as that in Psalm 68, ἀνίστημι [anistēmi]). But of course, patristic and liturgical exegesis only follows here the lead of St Paul, who in Ephesians 4:7ff. quotes Psalm 68:18 in connection with the cosmic exaltation of Christ in the Ascension, and possibly also in connection with the Harrowing of Hell and the Pentecostal outpouring of gifts on the New Covenant community (but contra at least the second of these connections, cf. none other than St John Chrysostom in his Homilies on Ephesians). Thus the patristic and liturgical exegesis of Psalm 68 moves beyond a simple Messianic reading of the text, and into a decidedly redemptive-historical understanding of the same after St Paul’s model. And this progression turns out to be inescapable, for as the infallible Moisés Silva has noted, “If we refuse to pattern our exegesis after that of the apostles, we are in practice denying the authoritative character of their scriptural interpretationand to do so is to strike at the very heart of the Christian faith”1.

As can be gleaned from the comments (or stream-of-consciousness) above, a discussion in these terms quickly moves away from the “hard” exegesis of the text (which, as Clarke notes, is fraught with perils at every turn anyway), and branches out into a number of crucial hermeneutical and theological questions which are as controversial as they are inexhaustible. Frankly, I think it far more prudent to refrain from any interminable discussion of these. But I should like to mention that, to me, one the more interesting questions this whole thing raises is whether any such redemptive-historical readings can be supported, so to speak, by a “literal hermeneutics.” My own view is that they can, and this notion was first suggested to me by Robert Saucy’s book The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993). In four tantalizingly brief pages (76-80), Saucy discusses St James’ citation of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:13ff., arguing on the grounds of a “literal hermeneutics” (and in agreement with St Irenæus’ Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching!) that the “rebuilding of David’s fallen tent” is nothing less than a prophecy of the “Jesus event” centered in the Resurrection (arguably the locus of Davidic fulfillment in the New Testament). Yet such a promising approach to make sense of apostolic, patristic and liturgical exegesis is notably absent from the literature. Say, anybody looking for a dissertation to write?

Those wishing to the explore the various fascinating perspectives on Psalm 68 currently setting Biblioblogdom abuzz should follow the yellow brick road to the following choice destinations: Better Bibles Blog (Suzanne McCarthy); Ancient Hebrew Poetry (John Hobbins); Bob’s Log (Bob McDonald); Lingamish; and J. K. Gayle (whose latest post, which I saw just after finishing this post, asks some very sharp questions relevant to the interpretive line suggested above).



1 Moisés Silva, “The New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Text and Form,” in D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge (eds.), Scripture and Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), p. 164.

Saturday à Machen: Thinking Right, Living Right

“False ideas about the gospel are the greatest obstacles to a healthy Christian life; bad theology and good religion will not live permanently together in peace. If you want to live right, you must also take care to think right. Thinking right involves intellectual effort, which is distasteful to many people in this practical age; but the end to be attained is worth the trouble. Intellectual conquests are just as necessary for the progress of the gospel as are conquests in the external world; every thought, as well as every deed, must be brought ‘into captivity to the obedience of Christ’. II Cor. 10. 5.”

(J. Gresham Machen, The New Testament: An Introduction to its Literature and History [Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1990], page 376.)