Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah (10)

Perhaps some of you are a bit bored with John Hannah quotes.  That’s understandable.  I’ve posted quite a few.  You can skim and skip if you want (like you need my permission).  I would only give the reminder that just because there’s a lot of something doesn’t mean it’s any less good.  There are some very helpful statements here (and still to come).

These are from Hannah’s lecture on Religious Affections, Edwards’ most widely-read book.  Edwards wrote it in 1746 as he attempted to show how (and how not) to identify a true work of God in the soul.

The spiritual sense:  There are five human senses, but Edwards creates a sixth sense: a spiritual sense that is created in the soul by the Spirit of God.  [It may be hard to realize this without taking the class, but this is a huge deal.  Not that Edwards actually “created” this spiritual sense, but that he emphasized it and highlighted its biblical significance.]

Good writing:  Good writing speaks to multiple levels simultaneously.  The surface reader understands what’s being said, but the knowledgeable reader sees what’s really going on under the table.

Liberals’ strategy:  Liberals hide their views until they get the floor; then they reveal them.

Assurance:  Assurance is not the fruit of introspection and the probings of self-examination; it is not an inward psychological procedure.  “Assurance is not to be obtained so much by self-examination, as by action” (Religious Affections, Yale Edition, 2:195).  So we don’t need to sit under a light bulb and feel the heat.  Edwards went against the Puritan tradition in deemphasizing introspection.  Edwards listens, but he doesn’t follow; he thinks.  This is commendable.

False assurance:  Many people who think they’re converted are more like a male moose in heat in the spring.  They don’t want to verify anything; they just want a mate.  And sometimes it doesn’t pan out.

Conversion:  Conversion is falling in love with a person you haven’t seen.

Conversion:  The difference between conversion and a gastro-intestinal disorder is the origin of the content and the object of it.

Diversity of religious affections (e.g., love, hate, joy, zeal, hope, etc.):  If you have most but not some, you are not a saint.  But we do have them in differing proportions.

Introspection:  How does the introspection that Edwards is advocating differ from the same phenomena in popular Evangelicalism?  Object.  Today, we do it just to improve ourselves.

Teachers:  My best teachers weren’t Christians; they were pagans.  They knew their subjects and they loved me.  This didn’t usually happen in religious institutions.

Question:  How well do you think people today understand religious affections and their place in the life of the Christian?  Answer:  Not at all.  This is what I think happened:  Our expression of Christianity is a contextual expression of our adversion and correction of liberalism.  But liberalism is dead.  So why are we still talking in the old way?  The liberal told us that if you didn’t have a highly extensive education at Tubingen university, you couldn’t understand the Bible.  Liberals said we were dumb.  We said, “No we’re not,” and then we pursued Ph.D.’s.  In the process, we turned Christianity into one big defense against liberalism.  And we lost Christ in the process.

Being good:  I’m not talking about being good… Good is about me.  Service is about Him.

Teaching as training:  Personally, I want to point men to the Savior so that people more gifted than me can point others to the Savior.  If you can’t accomplish a task, use what God has given you to help others accomplish it.  That’s why I’m a teacher.  Don’t be like your teachers, because they’re ungifted.

Teaching methodology:  A person learns when you set them up to self-discover what you believe.  If they know it because you said it, it hasn’t reached deep enough.  But when they discover what you’re trying to say without you saying it directly, they’ve got it for life.  I’m trying to get you to capture what I deeply believe without actually saying it.  That’s my business.

Pastoral strategy:  A pastor has an affectionate heart for his people, but he knows that they are only moved by their minds.  And the only thing that can move the mind is Scripture.

Christ-centered preaching:  What does this text tell me about the Savior, and what does this text offer me in terms of comfort in the Savior?  Christ is the issue.  Spurgeon ended every sermon at the foot of the cross.  I don’t want people to look inside, because that’s crap theology.  I don’t want them to look outside, because that’s leaning on friends.  I want them to look up when I preach.

Part 1 – Monday’s quotes
Part 2 – Tuesday’s quotes
Part 3 – Wednesday’s quotes
Part 4 – Thursday’s quotes
Part 5 – Friday’s quotes
Part 6 – Saturday’s quotes
Part 7 – Quotes from biographical lectures (1)
Part 8 – Quotes from biographical lectures (2)
Part 9 – Quotes from lectures on Edwards’ early writings

8 thoughts on “Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah (10)

  1. Holy Cow! These are gold. I can actually hear his voice saying these things as I read them.

    Some of these are quite like what I recall from my Edwards course with him back in ’97. It was brutal, but great.

    I’ll have to dust off my old notes from his classes to see if I have any good offerings.

    Keep ’em coming!

    Sola gratia,

  2. Please, keep it coming! I read this quote the other day…

    “the soul tastes truth like a mouth tastes food”

    …thanks for sharing wisdom and truth which I need.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement, everyone.

    Daren: I don’t have the recordings, and I can’t remember seeing anyone who was consistently recording the class (although I’m sure some people did). If I remember, I’ll let you know.

  4. Gunner,

    Hey, I’ve been trying to talk to someone about the winterim class. I was signed up to take and then had to drop. I tried to track down the audio recordings and was told they will not be released. Do you have them? If so, is there a chance I could get a hold of them from you? Let me know what you think. Thanks!

  5. Amidst the ceaseless inflow of dreary business correspondence, trite email forwards, and nutty blog posts, the Hannah quotes are particularly refreshing. Keep on posting.


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