The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘Moses

Review: “From the Finger of God: The Biblical and Theological Basis for the Threefold Division of the Law”

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From the Finger of God: The Biblical and Theological Basis for the Threefold Division of the Law

Philip S. Ross

Christian Focus (Mentor), 2010, 448pp., paperback, £12.99

ISBN 9781845506018

With wit, verve and insight, Mr Ross sets himself against the apparently-growing consensus that the threefold division of the law is without basis in Scripture and illegitimate in theology, taking in as he does so some of the typical corollaries of such a position. He begins with a demonstration of the historical validity of this perspective, before leading us on a sequential trawl through the Scriptures, beginning with Moses, heading swiftly and surely to the New Testament and the experience and teaching of Christ and his apostles, reaching satisfying and searching conclusions, not least in the central matters of the gospel. While the scholarly depth and breadth of research is readily evident, the book is straightforward to read (helped by that lively style). Those who themselves hold to the author’s perspective will find much to encourage, instruct and stimulate, not least in those areas where there may be different nuances of understanding. Those who disagree must face and reckon with the gracious but forthright challenge that Mr Ross holds out. An excellent book, and warmly recommended.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 11 March 2011 at 08:42

Review: “Moses’ Self-Denial”

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Moses’ Self-Denial

Jeremiah Burroughs

Reformation Heritage Books, 2010, 160pp., cloth, $22 / £16.99

ISBN 9781601780942

This volume is a slow burner, but it is worth waiting for the show to begin, because the momentum builds and the pay-off is eminently worth your patient engagement. Following an introduction giving a sketch of Moses’ circumstances and decisions, the bulk of the book is composed of three sections. In the first, Burroughs suggests that all honours and delights are to be denied for Christ (the language sounds absolute, but Burroughs is more nuanced); in the second, he presses further, teaching that – like Moses – we must deny worldly pleasures and preferments in our prime, when they might be most fully enjoyed. As would be expected, Burroughs gives uses of comfort, reproof and instruction for these teachings. In section three, the book takes off, as Burroughs develops the theme that faith is the operative principle in all such self-denial, probing and challenging and exhorting the reader as to the reality and vitality of our faith, and whether we are ready to suffer for Christ. There are comforts and directions for the faithful as well. In a place and age in which Christians perhaps too readily ask how much can they keep and still honour Christ, Burroughs offers a necessary and recommended counter-cultural purgative.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 11 February 2011 at 08:36

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Caution on Sailhamer

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Several men of note have been falling over themselves to commend John Sailhamer’s The Meaning of the Pentateuch.  David Murray applies a necessary brake to the adulation by identifying a significant problem.  He quotes an early paragraph:

The Pentateuch is a lesson drawn from the lives of its two leading men, Abraham and Moses. The Pentateuch lays out two fundamentally dissimilar ways of “walking with God” (Deut. 29:1): one is to be like Moses under the Sinai law, and is called the “Sinai covenant”; the other, like that of Abraham (Gen.15:6), is by faith and apart from the law, and is called the “new covenant” (page 14).

Says Murray:

I read the passage again and again, just to make sure I had not misunderstood. How can you write 600+ pages on the Pentateuch and go so wrong in such a fundamental way at the very outset? Sailhamer is saying that there were two ways to be saved in the Old Testament. Like Moses, you could be saved by obeying the law. Or, like Abraham, you could be saved by believing in the Gospel.

That leaves me with three possible conclusions. First, Moses is in hell, having tried and failed to be saved by keeping the law. Or, second, there are two groups of people in heaven who have been saved in totally opposite ways. There are those like Moses who were saved by the works of the law, and there are those like Abraham who were saved through faith in the Messiah. Hard to see how there can be much fellowship when some are praising themselves and others are praising Christ. The third possible conclusion is that Sailhamer is wrong.

Ouch.  Murray runs with the third conclusion for a few more paragraphs, then concludes:

I’m going to force myself to keep reading, hopefully to the end of the book, as I’m sure that there is much to learn from Sailhamer’s extensive work. But it’s hard to see how Sailhamer can correct this fundamental error without contradicting himself or greatly confusing his readers.

I was hoping to get hold of Sailhamer.  I may still do so, as there will doubtless be vast quantities for me to learn.  However, I am not now half so eager, as this seems like a disastrous stance, and – as Murray says – surely such a fundamental error does not leave much to build on.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 11 February 2010 at 11:51

The use and blessing of God’s means

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Charles Spurgeon on the battle fought by Joshua against Amalek as Moses prayed on the mountain:

Unfortunately, in our work for God, we generally fall into one of two blunders. Either we get a lot of machinery and think that we shall accomplish everything by that, or else we are like some whom I have known, who have confided so much in prayer that they have done nothing but pray. Prayer is a downright mockery if it does not lead us into the practical use of means likely to promote the ends for which we pray. I have known friends take medicine when they have been ill and never pray about their sickness. There are some others who pray about their sickness, but never take the proper medicine. They are both wrong. You must have Joshua and you must have Moses, too, in the time of trial. Go before God with your sickness, but if there is an appointed means that has been made useful to others, use it, for God will bless you by the use of means. Try to see two sides of a thing. Do not trust exclusively to either one or the other. It is a very heinous fault to trust the means without God, but, though it is a much smaller fault to trust in God and not use the means, yet still it is a fault. Practical prudence will lead you to do both. It gives to Joshua his sword, that he may make it red with the blood of the enemy and it gives to Moses his rod, that he may go with it up to the top of the hill and hold it up there in the sight of the people – that all may know that the battle is the Lord’s – and that he will deliver the enemy into their hands. God make you wise in these things and enable you to use both the rod of God and the sword of man!

From “Both Sides of the Shield”, MTP 37, 622.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 22 August 2009 at 14:48

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