Wise Observation from Ken Myers

C.S. Lewis said one of the distinctive aspects of the modern mind is the assumption that newer things are always better. We’ve become preoccupied with things we don’t have, rather than with the nurturing and stewarding of things we do have.

My favorite example of this is the shift since the 1970s toward informality in public. People used to wear coats and ties to go to a baseball game, and now they wear a ball cap at church. We’ve moved away from formality toward informality in almost every area—language, dance, food, worship, music—and I’m convinced that it’s largely a symptom of a suspicion of authority. You don’t want to submit to a set of standards and proprieties that you didn’t freely choose yourself. So if the move toward informality expresses a widespread suspicion of authority, then why would that be a good, up-to-the-minute trend to endorse?

Ken Myers

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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  1. The Fear of Aslan

    November 9, 2010 By Mark Ward
    I just wrote a little section in my dissertation on the fear of the Lord.

    Proverbs 1:7 reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Fear (יִרְאָה) in this verse is certainly used often in the phrases “fear of God” or “fear of the Lord,” but it is also the common Hebrew word for dread of a possible future occurrence—the standard-issue, universal experience of emotional fear. God promised the Israelites in the wilderness, “This day I will begin to put the dread and fear (יִרְאָה) of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you” (Deut 2:25). It seems that there is a purposeful ambiguity on the part of God when He commands people to fear Him. It is hard to think that He means for us to live in active terror [I’m working on this sentence…]. But mere respect would not do as a rendering, because it leaves out key components of meaning, the components C.S. Lewis had in mind when he narrated the first time the Pevensie children ever heard of Aslan:

    “Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
    “That you will dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
    “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
    “Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

    LUKE12 Under these circumstances, after [a]so many thousands of [b]people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, [Who is Jesus speaking to?] “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 3 Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have [c]whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.
    4 [Who is Jesus speaking to?] “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will [d]warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into [e]hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him![How much of a divide in Jesus’ speech is between these two statements? None! It is ALL “I say to you, my friends”,.. ] 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two [f]cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
    My comments: Before we get to verse 8, how should Christians reconcile the VERY APPARENT contradiction in the verses 4 through 7?
    Is Jesus asking us to take His words and slice them down the middle as though they have two mothers? (Solomon) NO! Do we need a Lobotomy slice, so that we can believe 4&5 on one side and 6&7 on the other? Do we slice His words in two to make a meaning that compromises the FULL meaning? Consider this:
    Jesus is teaching ONE lesson in verses 4 through 7 and following. I have spoken before regarding the SERMON on the Mount as relating to ALL of Jesus’ teaching throughout His ministry. That there are linking words, phrases etc., that CONNECT the teachings to the SERMON that is the essential PATTERN. In the scripture passage, here, of Luke 12:4-12 Jesus states TWO truths for US, apparently conflicting, but both are ESSENTIAL to the TRUTH He is intending to convey. Within these lines, Jesus uses:
    1) “the body” Do not fear those who can kill the body. Sermon: Do not be anxious about your body Matt. 6:25-33

    2)(phrase form – same word twice in succession) “FEAR, FEAR”. Sermon: Let (your word) it be Yes,yes or No, no! Matt. 5:33-37 Also “Lord, Lord” Matt. 7: 21-23

    3)”the One” in the vs.4&5 lines and “(yet not) one” in the vs.6&7 lines Sermon: Either: “one hair” Matt. 5:33-37 and/or “one mile, go with him two” Matt. 5:38-42

    4)”yes, I tell you” Sermon: again, “Yes, yes”

    5)”two (cents) Sermon: “one mile, go with him two” Matt. 5:38-42
    6)”hairs of your head” Sermon: Do not swear by your head…you cannot make one hair white or black Matt. 5:33-37 again

    I submit, in thesis, that the words or the double word phrase form, which are found in the Sermon on the Mount interprets Jesus’ saying here. What do the Sermon verses refer to? BE DECIDED: DO NOT BE OF TWO MINDS OR DIVIDED OPINION (ALLEGIANCE?) DO NOT FEAR ABOUT YOUR BODY’S PROVISION OR CARE. IF YOUR ENEMY HITS YOU; DEMANDS YOU GO ONE MILE, GO TWO. Peter thought that his own strength would and could keep him from denying Jesus. How soon he compromised! As is evident, below, in verses 8 through12, denials of Him (DISLOYALTY) will result in denial of us by Him before God! Is it true that we are more valuable in His eyes than many sparrows? YES!
    Is it true that we should fear the One who can cast us into hell? YES! ANY THREAT TO OUR BEINGS, IS MEANT BY JESUS, TO BE LESS THAN THE
    OUTCOME IF WE DENY HIM! AGAIN, YES, FEAR IT ENOUGH TO BELIEVE THAT GOD WILL NOT LET YOU OFF IF WE ARE DISLOYAL TO HIS SON
    THROUGH FEAR!! LET FEAR OF THE ONE WHO LOVES THE SON (and us) BE THE DECIDING FACTOR FOR WHOM WE WILL SERVE. ‘Til death.

    8 “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who [g]speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him. 11 When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

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