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Archive for May, 2009

Sanctus

http://biblicalhorizons.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/jordan_sanctus.pdf

 

Let’s see if this works. This should be a link to the Sanctus I put together for use at the Biblical Horizons Conferences. Some churches have been using it also. So, let’s see if this works.

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[This essay was originally published in 1988. Given the situation that our new national socialists are getting the world into, I thought it might be useful to reprint it here. - JBJordan]

The Bible has quite a bit to say about gold, silver, and precious stones, and the Bible always assumes that these are items of value and to be valued by men. Yet, modern Christians sometimes feel strange about such things. After all, the Bible also speaks against placing trust in money and precious things.

My purpose in this essay is to investigate briefly the Biblical view of gold, silver, and precious stones. The Bible has a whole philosophy about these things, a philosophy that is not primarily economic but aesthetic, not oriented primarily toward scarcity but toward beauty. There is a reason for this, and it is important for a Christian view of economics, as we shall see.

Why Do Men Like Gold?

That is the question that comes before us first of all. Non-Christian “gold bug” economists really cannot give an answer to this question. They may say either of two things. They may say, “Gold is intrinsically valuable.” But that is nonsense. What is meant by “intrinsic value?” The very notion of value implies a subjective evaluation. Nothing has value in itself (except God, whom the humanist excludes from his thinking). Things are always valuable to somebody. Thus, non-Christian thinkers cannot say that gold (etc.) is intrinsically valuable.

The second answer is: “Well, for some reason most people and cultures have liked gold.” If you think about it, though, this is not an adequate answer either. It simply restates the question. (Why do men like gold? Because for some reason they do. Well, as we just asked, what is the reason?) Generally, the question is sidestepped. Lecturers on the virtues of gold say that gold is easily portable, divisible, and does not rust or tarnish. This sets it apart from other items of value. All very true, but why do men value it? Christian economists don’t always have the right answer either. Some go with the “objective” value approach, and say that gold is intrinsically valuable because God made it so. We have to say again, however, “what does this mean?” Especially from a Christian point of view, we ought not to be saying that things have value in themselves. Rather, they have value because they are valuable to someone, and for the Christian that someone is God Himself. But since this is the correct position, we must return to it after looking at one more error.
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The Pastoral Function

I wrote this elsewhere and was encouraged to put it here. It is a comment on what a pastor is. Today, this is not very well understood, and God’s people suffer because of it.

There are four professions: medicine, education, law, and religion. Each of these, when done at a professional level, is marked by the wearing of a gown. A gown is a garment of leisure.

Each of these mandates that a man be paid to have leisure time. Do you want a busy M.D. looking over your general health? A busy judge deciding your case? A busy professor teaching you? A busy pastor? No, not if you’re sane. Each of these professions entails having lots of time to listen to people, and also lots of time to read and keep abreast.

That’s why real tentmaking, like Paul did, fits just fine with being a Christian minister. But a “day job” does not.

Each of these professions requires that a man have lots of time to listen to people and to reflect on what they have said. Also, each requires that a man have time to study and consult before making a life and death decision. In a sense, the academic professor is not making a life and death decision, as the judge, physician, and pastor is. Yet, he also needs time to sculpt and mold the mushy mind of his students.

This is why “parttime” pastors and ruling-elders as the same as pastors does not work and is a major problem. People instinctively know that the fulltime guy is the real pastor; unless he’s a jerk who keeps his door locked and thinks he’s a great scholar and is not available all the time to his people.

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Lectures on Worship

Lectures on worship by James B. Jordan, delivered at the first meeting of the Eastern European branches of the Confederation of Reformation Churches in Budapest, are now up on line. The lectures were delivered in English without translation. You can hear them, and also lectures by Rev. Jack Phelps, Presiding Minister of the CREC, at this place:

http://www.reformalt.hu/audio

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James Jordan recently pointed out in private conversation how appropriate it is, in John’s Gospel, that Nicodemus is present both to ask Jesus about being born again, and to see Jesus re-enter the womb of the mother.

Nicodemus rhetorically asks, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”  Then he gets to witness Jesus’ answer by being present for Jesus’ burial: “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid” (compare Genesis 24.16a: “The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known”).

New birth as metaphor for resurrection should not surprise us.  It correlates to Adam’s first birth from the earth by the Spirit (thus, Paul’s direct comparison between Adam’s creation and Christ’s resurrection).  In fact, evidence for this idea fills the New Testament (see here or here for some further evidence).

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