You might think that after four days worth of quotes from a single professor, the fifth day would be redundant or stale. But not with John Hannah. Here are some quotes from Friday’s Winterim class on Jonathan Edwards. If you haven’t already, pause and thank God for your teachers.
Holiness: Many Christians seem to think that we don’t need to be different because this is the best possible world. If this is the best possible world, embrace its values. But if it’s not, stand against them.
Authenticity: Honesty is better than hiding behind a mask, in the long run. But in the short run, hypocrisy will get you a job.
Trust: I believe in absolute depravity and then I trust people.
Conciseness: The longer you take to say something the less you’ve understood it.
Getting advice: I’m not afraid to ask for advice when I’m in trouble. But when I ask, I’m not looking for explanations. I don’t need reasons. I need directions. I don’t need persuasion. I need help. So just tell me.
Humility: We’ve been dug out of a pit. That should balance things for us.
Ministry: Ministry is an art. The longer you live the more you realize that. You can say some things one day and not another day.
Imputation of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-21): The imputation of Adam’s sin to the human race is an awful unfairness. Why am I blamed for what some idiot did when I didn’t do it? I think that Romans 5 teaches non-participational federal guilt. I did nothing to merit it. It’s not fair. You and I complain when it works to our disadvantage, but we grab it and run when it works for us. We complain about imputation one but not imputation two or three. We complain about Adam’s sin being imputed to us but we don’t complain about our sin being imputed to Christ or His righteousness being imputed to us. I know of something more unfair than the imputation of a stranger’s sin to me: the fact that the righteousness of a stranger is imputed to me.
Childhood influences: I think that people are greatly influenced by their upbringing. When children have bad experiences, they have nothing to counterbalance them. So they believe that what they’ve experienced is true. And how do they respond? They respond like a child. They yell and scream and run and hide. And this is OK for a child. But then people carry these responses into adulthood and think that they’re valid ways to deal with things. So they yell or sulk or escape. But the problem with child-like behavior when you’re not a child is that it’s childish. Tears don’t get you anywhere when you’re an adult. Grow up. Do what you need to do.
Solving problems: I don’t think that people solve their problems. They solve their problems in a given context. But when the original context returns, they go back to their problems. I don’t try to eliminate evil from people. I try to give them something more valuable. Often when we think we’ve solved a problem, we’ve actually just eliminated the context. But that’s not solving the problem.
Singing: Why do I sing? When I sing, I can’t think evil thoughts.
Student question: How do you think Jonathan Edwards would critique Joel Osteen? Answer: Or Robert Schuller? I think he’d say he was a heretic. Because people are lost and the gospel’s at stake.
Shallowness of evangelicalism: Evangelicalism is pretty anorexic, if you haven’t realized that already. If you have a mind to understand beneath a certain level, you don’t get much help. This is why I turn to men like Edwards.
Who followed Edwards directly? There really are no consistent followers of Edwards’ body of thought through the 19th and 20th centuries. Because no one follows his doctrine of sin. The Enlightenment brought civil body politic — democracy — which is antithetical to Calvinism. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a fine form of government. But it works against Calvinism. Dictatorship isn’t bad. People are bad. It’s only a dictator’s depravity that causes him not to be benevolent and kind to his people. Jesus will come and establish His kingdom on earth. He will be an absolute monarch. And it will be the best kind of government — monarchy — because the monarch is good. He won’t call us into Congress to vote. Trust me — we won’t vote when He’s around.
Works-based salvation: Salvation is not free. It’s by works. But no one could do them. So Christ did.
Student question: When you’re theologically uncertain about something, how do you deal with that in the pulpit and have integrity? Answer: I’m honest. I don’t pour out all my doubts, but if I’m honestly unsure between two views, I’ll tell people. But I’ll proclaim the common ground between both views.
Unbelievers and heaven: It would be an extreme injustice to take an unbeliever to heaven, because he would be miserable for eternity. Christ is there, and he hates Christ.
Judgment: God’s judgment is allowing obstinate people to do what they want.
God-rejection: “The fool has said in his heart…” Why does he say “heart” and not “mind”? Because the fool has made an emotional decision in his heart to reject God.
Pleasure-seeking: All of us have vicariously walked in paradise, and we have an enormous sense of perfection that we’re trying to get any way that we can. So we seek it through our corrupt pleasures and hope to get there that way.
Limitations of apologetics: Finite arguments can’t prove infinite points. Finite arguments should be used to dismantle other finite arguments. Apologetics isn’t meant to prove your arguments but to tear others’ down. Apologetics can show that the Christian faith is plausible, but not that it’s provable.
Edwards’ argumentation: Edwards wins big points by overwhelming you with little points until you give up. I may not agree with all of his little points, but there’s no escaping his big point, which is really his point.
Heroes: If your heroes don’t have flaws, you don’t know your heroes.
Balance: I really detest people who try to be balanced. I think we should be radical. Balance is often the excuse of those who are too afraid to do what God calls us to do.