Saturday, February 28, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum...

I was accosted by a Jehovah's Witness today in Panera. He saw me studying Genesis and sat down to talk Scripture with me for a good 30-45 minutes. At first, I felt rather unprepared for the exchange--I'd been slack in devotions lately, busy with work, and awfully short-tempered thanks to that combination. The gentleman didn't identify himself as a JW either--it wasn't until he wanted to debate the finer points of eschatology, the Name of God, and the Trinity (within about 10 minutes of our conversation) that I realized what was going on.

This isn't the first time I've had encounters like these, by any means--but today really made me stop and think and thank God for Scripture. I'd come across the following in Calvin not long ago (see--I told you I'd get to him sooner or later!):
"...when [Isaiah] says, 'My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever,' he does not tie down the ancient Church to external doctrine, as he were a mere teacher of elements; he rather shows that, under the reign of Christ, the true and full felicity of the new Church will consist in their being ruled not less by the Word than by the Spirit of God."
(Insitutes, 1.ix.1; trans. Beveridge)

Calvin says something here that I think is so profound: that the Church's "true and full felicity"--in other words, her joy, her happiness, and her utter delight--is in her submission to Scripture and to the Holy Spirit.

This is what the JW who spoke to me today didn't have. He acknowledged Scripture to a point, but rested equally on his own reason and judgment. To couch this in the language of the Colossians sermon I gave last week (and will be giving again tomorrow to a local Korean church), the Gospel wasn't enough for this man.

May God grant this gentleman eyes to see and a heart to respond to the cry of the Gospel--and may He grant me a heart to treasure and prize the Gospel far, far more.

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