Friday, July 17, 2009

A quick thought...

"Is it not far easier to be an earnest Christian if you confine your attention to the Bible and not risk being led astray by the thought of the world? Shut yourself up in an intellectual monastery, you will find it easier to be a Christian, just as it is easier to be a good soldier in comfortable winter quarters than it is on a field of battle. You save yourself - but the Lords enemies remain in possession of the field." - J. Gresham Machen

5 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
haithabu said...

He has a point....and yet monasteries have their place too. I think an indepth prayerful study and understanding of the Bible are a prerequisite for usefully engaging the world's knowledge. It's too easy otherwise to fight intellectual battles in the flesh rather than by the Spirit.

I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. Ps 199:99

Laurie M. said...

To be honest, Phil, I took Machen to be speaking entirely figuratively and the notion of a literal monastery never even entered my mind. I don't have anything against monasteries per se. Those who live in them usually have to live in community with others and do manual work and the work of Christian brotherly love.

I had in mind the tendency of people like me who are studiers to seclude ourselves and become lost in conceptual learning to the exclusion of the hard work of living in Christian community which would require us to actually do the things we study. We can easily become like art, or theater, or book critics - who have never actually been artists, technicians, or writers. Or like the "balconeers" J.I. Packer refers to in the preface of his classic, Knowing God. We look on and evaluate what we see, but never enter into the fray ourselves.

Oh, which reminds me, I follow a great blog written by a fellow from a different theological perspective from either one of ours, but who is consistently challenging and has a great heart for the Christ and the church. I think you might enjoy it. You can check it out here: http://ceruleansanctum.com/

haithabu said...

Actually, I was speaking figuratively too. Thanks for the link, I'll check it.

Laurie M. said...

Sheesh! that flew right past me - sorry, Phil. I think I understand your point now. I can be a bit thick at times.