1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” [The barren household having adopted its servant as heir, Abram appeals to the LORD ("Covenant Suzerain"). The LORD affirms he is Abram's shield, reward and deliverance following the exchanges with the Kings of Salem and Sodom. Melchizedek, the King of Salem, blessed Abram's God as Abram's shield; from the spoils of the King of Sodom, Abram refused to enrich or reward himself.]
3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”
4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” [The LORD multiplies his promise and illustrates the abundance of his promised children by comparing their number to that of the stars. The use of this hyperbole points to the fact that even accurate human calculation cannot number his descendents; it could if his children were restricted to the children of Isaac and the Ishmaelites; Israel and the Edomites and whichever other ethnic families may descend from him by ordinary generation. If Abram is to bless all families of the earth (Gen. 12:3), then God here also promises to bring forth the children of Abram from every family of the earth. Thus the progress of Scripture's Special Revelation.]
6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. [Here is a transaction which transpired without a word, or a finger lifted; an invisible transaction between the mind/heart of Abram and the omniscient "Covenant Suzerain." Abram believed the promise made to him by the LORD. This was not a conscious effort on Abram's part to earn that which the LORD claims, but merely an expression borne out of grateful credulity. Abram knows the LORD not only can, but has, does and will keep his covenant oaths. The LORD, God Most High at this moment performs a judicial or an economic function and grants that believing Abram has officially met the terms of a covenant. God is the active initiator of this process by the power of his promise (the power of God to salvation, cf. Rom. 1:16), which is passively and gratefully received by means of faith: Abram has been given knowledge of the fact of what God says he'll do (cognition, or "headknowledge"), he believes it is true that God can and will do it (assent), and he also trusts God to do it. These are the three levels of biblical faith: cognition, assent, trust. Thus we see that “headknowledge” is just the first step to true faith! Abram is assured of the certainty of God’s promise of an abundant offspring and will demonstrate that he stakes all on God’s promise (Gen. 22:1-19).
Direction in Man’s Chief End
Q: What rule hath God given to direct ushow we may glorify and enjoy him?
Holy Bible, book divine
precious treasure, you are mine;
mine to tell me whence I came;
mine to teach me what I am;
Mine to chide me when I rove;
mine to show a Savior’s love;
mine you are to guide and guard;
mine to punish or reward;
Mine to comfort in distress;
suff’ring in this wilderness;
mine to show by living faith,
man can triumph over death;
Mine to tell of joys to come,
and the rebel sinner’s doom;
Holy Bible, book divine,
precious treasure, you are mine.
Saturday, January 21st, I went to the blog of my favorite Contemporary Christian musician, Steve Camp (www.stevenjcamp.blogspot.com) and was disheartened to find he’d posted part of an article criticizing the new movie, “End of the Spear,” (PG 13 for intense, not graphic violence), which is the famous story of Nate Saint, Jim Elliot and three other missionaries in Equador whose lives were taken by a tribe considered at the time one of the most violent in the world, only to be converted to Christianity and true and lasting repentence of their violent ways once the wives of some of the slain missionaries went to live with the tribe, partly so that a young female member of the tribe, whom they’d previously rescued (it’s a long story), could prove to her tribe that not all foreigners are out to kill them. It’s a beautiful and compelling story, portrayed in the film from the perspective of the tribe, and is well worth watching. Below, I have cut and pasted the correspondence between myself and Steve Camp over the production company’s surprising and controversial decision to hire an activist for the unrepentant, sodomite lifestyle in the lead role.
“Capt. HeadKnowledge” said…
Forgive me if I’m getting off topic, however, I am compelled to defend Steve Saint’s decision to retain Chad Allen as the lead in “End of the Spear.” I was not sure how to respond otherwise, so I must intrude on this line of comments.On Thursday, before the release of the film, Steve Saint and Bill Ewing were interviewed on Michael Medved’s radio show. When Medved asked about the controversy over Allen, Saint commented that Allen had simply been the best audition, and they hired him. Fair enough. Saint, not being an American citizen, was originally unaware of Allen’s “politically corrupt” (PC)sodomite lifestyle. When he was informed, he was very let down. His initial response was much as your own. He feared this would tarnish the missionaries’ good names and bring undue stress to the Woudani people from any controversy over Allen’s participation, and Saint realized that the only way to rectify this would be for him personally to fire him. He found it hard to bring himself to do this. As Saint began to give it a second thought, he decided to keep him in the hopes that the message of the film would somehow affect him toward righteousness; undoubtedly, Saint prays for his salvation, as your post encourages all of us to do. Seems Steve’s “evangelistic” motives are paying off. A lot of Christians are praying for Allen who weren’t previously doing so. To Steve Saint’s own Master he stands and falls. His motive was honorable and I believe defensible. Forgive him if your faith is not such as can approve him in his decision, but he made the decision with the heart of a forgiving Christian himself.Now, if I may offer my own two-cents’ worth on Saint’s decision to keep Allen: I believe there is nothing inherent in film that is able either to promote the Kingdom of God. It is, after all, specifically the Gospel preached which is the power of God to salvation. Western Christianity is too turned on by the modern spirit of “Christian” commercialization and entertainment, as if it’s going to “help” advance God’s Kingdom. This is a pipe dream. Preaching is preaching and art is art, and outside the intervention of God, rarely shall the latter “assist” the former; rather Christians need to learn to leave the entertainment to the entertainers. To discriminate against the best audition because of his outside commitments is to consciously choose to make a film of lesser quality than possible. To consciously lower your production standards to satisfy a bunch of trigger-happy brethren is to compromise the quality of art. Sure, it may not have been the greatest work of art ever made, but they did what they could with what they had; Saint’s sanctified conscience is clear on the matter, he regrets the controversy this may cause, but he stands by his decision because Jesus and his dad both died for unlovely characters such as Chad Allen in the past. Steve’s honestly trying to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
January 22, 2006 7:15 AM
SJ C@mp said…
Captain Headknowledge:Here is a link to read the complete story.Steve Saint is wrong on this… The spin he is trying to do to justify his actions are shameful and probably driven by the motive that he doesn’t want this to hurt box office support (always follow the money). He should own this, repent of it, and ask forgiveness from the Christian community that he is desperately trying to market this film to.In the meantime, don’t go see the movie, but pray for Chad Allen that he comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
January 22, 2006 10:38 AM
Welcome to the first posting of The Captain Headknowledge Theological and Doxological Meditations! The format is very simple: Featuring one of the 107 questions from the Westminster Shorter Catechism (with Scripture Proofs), accompanied by a relevant psalm, hymn or spiritual song from “The Trinity Hymnal,” simply read, pray, examine yourself, search the Scriptures, pray some more and your on the road to good, old fashioned, Reformed catechesis!
We may have it all over past generations when it comes to publishing information, but due to information’s modern easy accessibility, we’re as lazy as all get out when it comes to personally appropriating the information. This is especially true, and especially dangerous, when it comes to spiritual “information”: I can read it, put it on my shelf, refer to it when needed, post it for the benefit of others, but unless I stop what I’m doing, pay attention to what I’m reading, and personally apply it by finding out what is it in me that needs to change in order for God to accomplish his will for my life (sanctification, conformity to the image of his Son) with this information, then it will “profit me nothing,” to borrow a phrase from the Apostle Paul. In this regard, past generations are our betters. We could afford to go back to basics by renewing our minds (Rom. 12:1,2) the way our blessed forefathers did, and a major way this took place was by means of catechisms such as the one I feature, and theologically significant psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. It is often repeated that the laity learns most of its theology from church music, which argues all the more for carefully crafted, biblically and theologically rich church music.
Perhaps in a later post I will introduce you to the Westminster Standards, from which our featured catechism is derived, but for now, with no further ado, I give you “The Captain Headknowledge Weekly Devotional & Theological Meditations.”
The Chief End of Man
Q. What is the chief end of man?
In sweet communion, Lord, with thee
I constantly abide;
my hand thou holdest in thine own
to keep me near thy side.
Thy counsel through my earthly way
shall guide me and control,
and then to glory afterward
thou wilt receive my soul.
Whom have I, Lord, in heav’n but thee,
to whom my thoughts aspire?
And, having thee, on eart is naught
that I can yet desire.
Though flesh and heart should faint and fail,
the Lord will ever be
the strength and portion of my heart,
my God eternally.
To live apart from God is death,
’tis good his face to seek;
my refuge is the living God,
his praise I long to speak.