Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah (16)

I just finished my 2008 Winterim class on the letter of James taught by Douglas Moo of Wheaton Graduate School.  Although the class was very good, I won’t be doing an extended series on the class like I did last year.  But I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the one-year anniversary of last year’s Winterim by finishing off the series “Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah.”  Last year DTS professor John Hannah taught a masterful class entitled “The Life and Writings of Jonathan Edwards.”  This final installment of approximate quotes is from my notes on his lectures covering three major writings of Edwards:  The Freedom of the WillThe Nature of True Virtue, and The End for Which God Created the World.

Edwards’ book Freedom of the Will:  This book I have enjoyed immensely, comparable to the pain it’s caused.

Freedom of the will and nature:  Freedom is the ability to do what man wills; it is not the ability to act contrary to willingness.  Freedom is determined by your nature.

Freedom of the will:  Freedom is the ability to make choices that are available to you.  What are we free to do?  Everything that’s available to us.  We are not free to do what we don’t know.  We are not free to act contrary to our natures.  We are free to do what we want, and what we want is driven by our natures.

Freedom of the will and preaching:  The will is the choosing faculty.  The mind determines options, the affections are attracted to or adverse to those options, and the will chooses an option which results in behavior.  What does this mean for preaching?  It means that if you preach the gospel sloppily, you’ll have sloppy converts because your people will make choices based on inaccurate information about Christ.  So they may be converted but you won’t lay them out for the gospel.

Conversion and Calvinism:  I wanted to come to Christ, but I am not the cause of the wanting.  He is.  If Calvinism is anything, it’s breaking our backs to give God all the credit and take none for ourselves.  I don’t care about the points.  That’s the point.

Doctrine of depravity:  When you give this up, you’ve given up everything.  When you give up the doctrine of depravity, you must logically give up Christ.

Glorifying God:  The question regarding glorifying God becomes this:  “Does He see Himself in me?”

Sanctification:  The question is not “What have I done for Him?” but “What does He see of Himself in what I have done?”

Edwards’ and Piper’s emphasis on delighting in God:  I think that sometimes we think God wants us to be marginally miserable, and that that glorifies Him.  Edwards and Piper say, “No!”

True virtue:  An unbeliever can stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon and say, “Wow.”  But that’s not virtue.  Motive and object define whether or not an act is virtuous.

Sacrifice and true virtue:  We don’t have a corner on self-sacrifice.  Think of all the Roman Catholics who gave themselves to advance their church and to make unbelievers look pretty.  They should be praised for their human love.  But did they impress God?  No.

The effect of the fall on the virtue of love:  We didn’t lose love; we lost its beauty.  We can still love, but we don’t love what’s beautiful.

The effect of the fall on the virtue of love:  The fall didn’t destroy love; it just shriveled it up into a prune.

Common morality:  It’s the glue of culture, but it’s not the gate to heaven.  Without it, you have chaos.  But with it, you don’t have heaven.

Depth of Edwards:  Edwards is very helpful in saying little because of the depth with which he says it.  Most people say a lot and it’s all superficial.

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
Part 10 – Quotes from lecture on Religious Affections
Part 11 – Quotes from lecture on Edwards’ Trinitarianism
Part 12 – Quotes from lectures on Edwards’ preaching and Grace
Part 13 – Quotes from lecture on Charity and Its Fruits
Part 14 – Quotes from lectures on Redemption, Communion Controversy, and Brainerd
Part 15 – Quotes from lectures on Original Sin

3 thoughts on “Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah (16)

  1. Gunner, I used to play ball with you at SBTS. Enjoy the blog. Feel free to ck mine.

    I enjoy the quotes. Encourages me to dig into Edwards. That kast depth quote was nice. Challenging.

  2. Glorifying God: The question regarding glorifying God becomes this: “Does He see Himself in me?”

    That’s my favorite… it makes it simple, and easy to answer even if I don’t always like the answer.


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