Repost: Cowardice Or Prudence?

From 16 September 2007

The simple definition of these words are generally the same thing. I of course do not mean prudence in the classical Platonic sense for that concept has been dead for centuries, what I mean by prudence is the measure of action being so that the requisite or desired effect is accomplished in the proper, preordained time. I have often heard the term prudence given to the time the Church finds itself in today. Just wait, be prudent, do not cause disruption or disharmony. Well I have come to the conclusion that what is necessary for this day is not prudence for that in my mind is cowardice.

Martin Luther as he stood in front of the Diet of Worms is quoted as saying, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscious is neither right nor safe.” We sit in our comfortable positions as inquirers and candidates awaiting to leap over the hurdles that have been placed before us giving very little to no thought as to the task we are about to undertake. As people being called to the pulpit to preach the Word of God we might want to take a second and think about what a mighty weight that has been placed upon us. If we preach against that which we have sworn in front of God to preach how then can we have integrity with our congregations? If we preach against that which we have promised before God in our Ordination vows to preach how then can we go before God and offer the Sacraments to his people? As Ministers of the Word And Sacrament we are not bystanders in the life of the people of our congregation but are the authority to which they call out in agony. Our congregations plead for the truth of Christ and we give them nothing but moralistic tales and worthless chatter. Be convicted by the plethora of people who will burn in Hell because we are unwilling to preach the full gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord our God is a Jealous God who will partake of his vengeance upon those who blaspheme his Word and offer comfort to the demons that placate the ungodly. We deny the holiness and righteousness of Christ when we preach a gospel other than what is given to us in Holy Scripture. Our time is fleeting. We are but sinners in the hand of an angry God who demands perfect righteousness from those that rebel against his holy commands. No longer can we sit on the sidelines and offer up to God our platitudes and defenses. We must lay ourselves prostrate at the foot of the cross and seek forgiveness for our allowance of the lies and demonic words of those who preach a different gospel than Christ’s! We must not sit and wait for someone else to come along and do the work for us we have been charged by Scripture to preach an unfettered gospel, go from town to town teaching of the Mercy of Christ and shaking the dust off our feet in the towns that disregard the gospel. For as Christ says their fate shall be worse than Sodom’s.

Choose you know whom you will serve. Will you serve Christ or Satan? Will you eat of the manna of Christ or the moldy bread the world provides? As for me and my household we shall serve the Lord our God.

So think to yourself. Are you a coward or are you a Christian?

Why Do We Learn Greek and Hebrew?

And why do we not learn Latin? (Or Dutch, French, <u>or</u> German) But that is the subject of a different post.

As the time for Ordination Exams begins at the end of this week for many of my PC(USA) colleagues here at Pittsburgh Seminary I am beginning to wonder at the purpose of teaching the primary languages. For the vast majority it is nothing but a hurdle that will be jettisoned after Tuesday afternoon of next week when exegesis papers are due. If I was a professor who spent hours laboring over the instruction of Hebrew and Greek the shear knowledge that what I was teaching was a nuisance for most and an outright waste of time for the majority would cause me epileptic fits. No wonder most department heads have a hard time encouraging the faculty to teach these courses. (Of course a notable exception is at PTS where Dale Allison and Robert Gagnon teach Greek, though I am sure both are somewhat disheartened in the understanding that most of their students are not that interested in having a working knowledge but in knowing enough to pass exams).

This is of course a rhetorical question. The knowledge of Greek and Hebrew is non-negotiable. A direct corollary can be drawn between the abandonment of the linguistic studies and the ignorance/shallowness of the Pastorate. The purposeful ignorance of the original languages (and any other language) is of course  not a problem that is localized to the PC(USA) or other liberal denominations. It has been my experience that this is a disease that infects most theological students (this one included, for which I am currently paying) despite their individual denominational affiliation and the otherwise orthodox nature of their theology. Is it the lack of focus given to Greek and Hebrew in other courses? The lack of focus in existing clergy? Whatever the reason for the decline of the seen importance of knowing Hebrew and Greek one thing remains true. <u>We</u> as graduate students need to make it a priority to not only take our languages seriously and to make a concerted effort to help the new students understand the vital nature of knowing how not only to translate but develop a love for the words used by the Holy Spirit through the hands of Moses, the scribes, Apostles and the other writers of Holy Writ as well as the knowledge of properly applying the tools to preaching, teaching, and, believe it or not, Pastoral Care.

Cowardice Or Prudence?

The simple definition of these words are generally the same thing. I of course do not mean prudence in the classical Platonic sense for that concept has been dead for centuries, what I mean by prudence is the measure of action being so that the requisite or desired effect is accomplished in the proper, preordained time. I have often heard the term prudence given to the time the Church finds itself in today. Just wait, be prudent, do not cause disruption or disharmony. Well I have come to the conclusion that what is necessary for this day is not prudence for that in my mind is cowardice.

Martin Luther as he stood in front of the Diet of Worms is quoted as saying, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscious is neither right nor safe.” We sit in our comfortable positions as inquirers and candidates awaiting to leap over the hurdles that have been placed before us giving very little to no thought as to the task we are about to undertake. As people being called to the pulpit to preach the Word of God we might want to take a second and think about what a mighty weight that has been placed upon us. If we preach against that which we have sworn in front of God to preach how then can we have integrity with our congregations? If we preach against that which we have promised before God in our Ordination vows to preach how then can we go before God and offer the Sacraments to his people? As Ministers of the Word And Sacrament we are not bystanders in the life of the people of our congregation but are the authority to which they call out in agony. Our congregations plead for the truth of Christ and we give them nothing but moralistic tales and worthless chatter. Be convicted by the plethora of people who will burn in Hell because we are unwilling to preach the full gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord our God is a Jealous God who will partake of his vengeance upon those who blaspheme his Word and offer comfort to the demons that placate the ungodly. We deny the holiness and righteousness of Christ when we preach a gospel other than what is given to us in Holy Scripture. Our time is fleeting. We are but sinners in the hand of an angry God who demands perfect righteousness from those that rebel against his holy commands. No longer can we sit on the sidelines and offer up to God our platitudes and defenses. We must lay ourselves prostrate at the foot of the cross and seek forgiveness for our allowance of the lies and demonic words of those who preach a different gospel than Christ’s! We must not sit and wait for someone else to come along and do the work for us we have been charged by Scripture to preach an unfettered gospel, go from town to town teaching of the Mercy of Christ and shaking the dust off our feet in the towns that disregard the gospel. For as Christ says their fate shall be worse than Sodom’s.

Choose you know whom you will serve. Will you serve Christ or Satan? Will you eat of the manna of Christ or the moldy bread the world provides? As for me and my household we shall serve the Lord our God.

So think to yourself. Are you a coward or are you a Christian?