Thursday, March 09, 2006
The Swans Are Not Silent.
Once again I love the postman! I got the latest copy of John Piper's biographies entitled, "Contending for our All" today! It carries the biographies of Athanasius, John Owen and J Gresham Machen and is indeed a powerful book. Interestingly enough much of it is devoted to the question of controversy - and whether there indeed are occasions when matters should be faced headon, at the risk of offence but for the sake of truth.
However I was incredibly impressed again with the foreward that John Piper wrote to explain the title of the now four-set series - "The Swans are not Silent". Apparantly when St Augustine's replacement as bishop of Hippo stood up, he said, "The cricket chirps, the swan is silent". Piper's message is that in producing a series of books like this, the swans are actually not silent - their voices still speak. And Piper rightly says, "And we will do well to listen". How can we hear these swans? Piper wrote;
"You can hear them by studying what they wrote and by reading good biographies. This use of your time is probably wise than staying up-to date with news that will be forgotten in a fortnight and with ideas that will prove powerless in ten years".
In finishing this introduction, Piper said, "I invite you to feel the "clean sea breeze" blowing from the fourth, seventeeth and early twentieth centuries ... Their lives are not only pleasant as refreshing breezes from distant times but are also needed as exemplary contenders for the purity and preciousness of biblical truth".
Ern Baxter would not have liked to have compared himself to any of these three men, but I for one am massively encouraged that Piper has seen this important practice of not allowing the "swans to be silent". Much of Ern's ministry risked being lost and for a number of years now I have carried a passion that this does not happen. And I can vouch personally that to immerse myself in the truth and revelation that Ern Baxter brought to his listeners, he is indeed a powerful wind that refreshes and revives our concept of God!