They asked not counsel at the mouth at the Lord. – Josh 9:14
What an ominous sound there is in those words! They portend disaster—and it befell. Up to this moment the initiative had always been taken by the Lord. Now for the first time it is taken by Joshua and the people. It was a bad business! Certainly the Gibeonites did their work with guile, and were more than a match for the chosen race. Probably they would not have dared to attempt such a piece of imposition on men of their own sort; but the Israelites seemed a likely prey. They had so recently come into the land, that they might be supposed to be unfamiliar with the guile of Canaan. Yet how astute they fancied themselves!
So the children of God are imposed upon still! Women get married to unconverted husbands, supposing all the while that they are converted. Ministers of churches admit ravening wolves into their midst, deceived by the device of the sheepskin. Young converts get seduced from the simplicity and purity of the faith by lying spirits, that seem as lovely as God’s angels. This is due to their relying on their own judgment, and not asking counsel of God. We must try the spirits, whether they be of God, for many false spirits are gone out into the world. – F. Meyer
[Sometimes the old guys have the best insights]
As noted in the last entry, Calvin observed-
[I]n the Church we must always be upon our guard, lest we pay too great a deference to men. For it is all over with her, when a single individual, be he whosoever you please, has more authority than all the rest, especially where this very person does not scruple to try how far he may go.
Such is also true in the Academy, where hero worship is too common and where, if ‘Professor Dr. Hillbillicus of Yale, who has published with Brill’ offers an opinion all are expected and urged to agree; and indeed – if all don’t comply they are reminded that ‘Professor Hillbillicus is a SENIOR SCHOLAR and hence you must NEVER have the temerity to call him to account!’
What’s true for the Church is also true for the Academy: idolatry has no place.
In a letter to Melanchthon, Calvin writes
If the matter stands as the Zurichers say it does, then they have just occasion for their writing. Your Pericles [Calvin means Luther of course] allows himself to be carried beyond all due bounds with his love of thunder, especially seeing that his own case is by no means the better of the two. We all of us do acknowledge that we are much indebted to him. Neither shall I submit myself unwillingly, but be quite content, that be may bear the chief sway, provided that he can manage to conduct himself with moderation. Howbeit, in the Church we must always be upon our guard, lest we pay too great a deference to men. For it is all over with her, when a single individual, be he whosoever you please, has more authority than all the rest, especially where this very person does not scruple to try how far he may go.
The background to this letter is as follows-
When that question is usually asked it’s asked by folk who feel as though they’ve been mistreated by God. But it’s better asked in a different context and for a different reason.
I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free-will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the doctrines of sovereign grace. Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. I feel that I should have been a very king of sinners, if God had let me alone. I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. – C.H. Spurgeon.
Why me indeed.
The Sixty Seven Theses of Zwingli, the Swiss equivalent of the 95 Theses of Luther, were in need of explanation once they received the public attention they eventually did, so on July 14, 1523, Zwingli published that very thing. The Auslegen und Gründe der Schlußreden explained, point by point, the precise meaning of the 67 Theses.
An die eerenvesten, fürsichtigen, wysen herren amman, radt und gmeind des lands Glaris, alte Christen und Eydgnossen, vorred Huldrych Zuinglis.
Gnad, barmhertzigheit und fryd von got, dem vatter und unserem herren Jesu Christo wünsch ich üch, frommen, fürsichtigen, ersamen, wysen, getrüwen, gnädigen, lieben herren mit eroffnen harnachvolgenden handels. Als ich ietz gar nach by fünff jaren uß bystand und hilff gottes sin euangelium in der herlichen, christenlichen statt Zürich gepredget hab und darumb offt übel gelestret, das doch klein xin, so fers nit zuo nachteil des götlichen worts und eeren gereicht hette, welichs aber die frommen von Zürich, nachdem es hernach hat wellen volgen, nit hand mögen erlyden und hand mich geheissen, uff den 29. tag jenners imm 1523. jar miner ler rechnung und antwurt geben vor allen irer statt und gebiet gelerten, darzuo des bischoffs von Costentz und gmeiner Eydgnoschafft, ald wo sy har kemind, gelerten in bywesen des gantzen grossen radts, dero gheiß ich frölich und gern gehorsam xin bin. Und hab ein summ beschlußreden in kurtzen tagen – denn das zyt nit lang gestreckt was – zemmen bracht, die ich mit gottes hilff und wort uff den verzwickten tag wol vertruwt ze erhalten, uff welchen tag doch wenig verhandlet ward, als aber gebürt hete. Iedes ursach laß ich ietz ston, ußgenommen, daß die zwen der botschafft des hofs von Costentz, Ioannes Faber, vicarius und Martinus Blansch, predicant zuo Tübingen, ze letst offenlich vor der versamlung, die vor und nach dem ymbis gehalten ward, redtend, dise schlußreden wärind imm euangelio Christi und leer der apostlen nit ggründt und der warheit nit glychförmig.
What a fool I was. In 1986, I spent a week in State College, Pa., researching a 10-page Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year piece on Joe Paterno. It was supposed to be a secret, but one night the phone in my hotel room rang. It was a Penn State professor, calling out of the blue. “Are you here to take part in hagiography?” he said. “What’s hagiography?” I asked. “The study of saints,” he said. “You’re going to be just like the rest, aren’t you? You’re going to make Paterno out to be a saint. You don’t know him. He’ll do anything to win. What you media are doing is dangerous.” Jealous egghead, I figured. What an idiot I was.
It’s a finely written scathing evisceration of a man few apparently knew- though many apparently knew him quite well. And it won’t please the Paterno-ians. He continues
Paterno knew about a mother’s cry that Sandusky had molested her son in 1998. Later, Paterno lied to a grand jury and said he didn’t. Paterno and university president Graham Spanier and vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley all knew what kind of sick coach they had on the payroll in Sandusky. Schultz had pertinent questions. “Is this opening of pandora’s box?” he wrote in personal notes on the case. “Other children?” “Sexual improprieties?” It gets worse. According to Freeh, Spanier, Schultz and Curley were set to call child services on Sandusky in February 2001 until Paterno apparently talked them out of it. Curley wasn’t “comfortable” going to child services after that talk with JoePa. Yeah, that’s the most important thing, your comfort. What’d they do instead? Alerted nobody. Called nobody. And let Sandusky keep leading his horrific tours around campus. “Hey, want to see the showers?” That sentence alone ought to bring down the statue. What a stooge I was.
And then he observes
I talked about Paterno’s “true legacy” in all of this. Here’s his true legacy: Paterno let a child molester go when he could’ve stopped him. He let him go and then lied to cover his sinister tracks. He let a rapist go to save his own recruiting successes and fundraising pitches and big-fish-small-pond hide.
Those aren’t the deeds of a decent man.
This infographic has it –
via Michael Acidri on FB