Not Enough Time?

For those who may have decent-sized commutes to work, but would like something better than the drivel that is usually pasted onto the child’s drawing board of “Christian” radio (how’s that for mixed metaphors?), here is your answer.

Blessings and Curses

Chapter 19 of RINE is entitled “Blessings and Curses.” There are several helpful things in here I want to point out. However, before I get to that, I have to point out something with which I have “issues.”

Wilson’s very first sentence reads like this: “We must learn how to speak with scriptural lnaguage, rather than with the misleading language that comes from our feeble efforts at reasoning” (pg. 157). Now, in context, Wilson is dealing with the makeup of blessings and curses in the covenant. Wilson’s point seems to be that some things are meant for blessing (such as the cup of communion), and not for blessing and cursing both. However, as he will say later on, for covenant breakers, the covenant has curses in store. However, my problem lies with the fact that his first sentence appears to be a general principle. This is indicated by the “for example” at the beginning of the second sentence, which indicates that he has stated a broad principle, which he then goes on to illustrate. Let me be clear: my problem is not with using Scriptural language. By all means, let us do so. However, Scriptural language needs always to be interpreted. Just “using Scriptural language” begs the question of whether we are using it correctly. This will always involve, as Wilson says, “our feeble efforts at reasoning.” Any heretic can use the ipsissima verba of Scripture. Not every heretic uses it correctly. In fact, in the matter in which they are heretics, they are using it wrongly. Wilson seems to be implying here that it is possible to use Scriptural language correctly without interpretation (since interpretation always involves our reasoning). Is Wilson ignoring the fact that the Holy Spirit blesses those “feeble reasoning efforts,” such that the church is guided into all truth? Is Wilson disparaging systematic theology here? Maybe this is reading too much into one sentence. Clarification would be helpful here.

That being said, the rest of chapter has many helpful things in it. His illustration with David Hume I found to be helpful. His conclusion about saying that we can never draw conclusions about why something is happening: “This means they cannot interpret how their life is going at all” (pg. 158). Indeed. Wilson takes the middle path of avoiding presumptive knowledge of the will of God, and, on the other hand, not knowing anything about the will of God. We can draw some conclusions. We can know by faith whether something is a blessing or not. Wilson offers a helpful caution as well: “We have to take care that we do not make any of these evaluations on the basis of short term thinking” (pg. 159). A great example: “Those who taunted Jesus on the cross were three days off in their calculations” (pg. 159), a great way of putting that.

The only other issue I would raise here is the issue of who belongs to the covenant. Wilson’s paradigm seems to be that all baptized people are in the covenant, some for blessing (the elect), and some for cursing (the non-elect), although I’m sure that Wilson would add that some of what the non-elect receive is blessing for a time, which only turns out for their greater condemnation later on. Would Wilson be willing to say that the blessing side equals the essence of the covenant, such that there is rapprochement between the “outer/inner” distinction so normative in Reformed circles, and the blessing/cursing paradigm that marks Wilson’s (and several other, though by no means all, FV’ers)?