Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fathering from Beyond the Grave.

Oh for a spiritual father!

Kelly Kapic wrote in his Foreword to "Overcoming Sin and Temptation" by John Owen;

Note: "Listen how you refer to John Owen as if he were alive".

I found myself nodding in agreement as I read the foreword to Kapic and Taylor's modification of this great work of John Owen's. This isn't some eccentric unique odd activity known only to Phd students. I realised as I read this that I too have been referring to some of my great heroes as if they were still alive and most definately dialogue with them. I too have frequently bemoaned the lack of spiritual fathers around my life - but rather the truth is that I am blessed beyond imagining! I do have mentors in my library!

Pete's latest blog touches on this exact issue and it is something we have discussed frequently. We use a J K Rowling-ism and call our libraries, "Portrait Galleries". Anyone who has read her books will understand! But Pete wrote;

His counsel and advice is - don't miss the moment! Not all potential mentors write. I fear greatly that great men of the faith who don't entrust the revelations and insights into the Word of God into print do a great disservice to future generations. I pride myself on the fact that it was partly my bullying that pushed my friend Pete into writing. He is an incredibly gifted preacher but suffered from the common evangelical paralysing symptoms of humility. "Who am I". Well we know that we are nobodies but God has given gifts and they should not be wasted!

And the gift of writing is an awesome one. For in writing the truths, revelations, insights and wonders that God has shown to His servants throughout church history are captured - like a Polaroid camera - for all time should that volume be preserved. So when you next look at your bookshelves or when you next go into your library don't see it as just a collection of old, dusty, dead books. Every time you open a volume imagine that the author is speaking to you and engaging you in dialogue - eager and desperate to train you and show you what they have learnt about the Almighty God that we love and serve and are seeking to know and be known!


Peter Day said...

The cover of my copy of the Works of John Bunyan (Banner of Truth edition) has this quote from Willam Speer in The Great Revival of 1800.

"A Jewish funeral, in a time of war with the heathen Moab, carried out a dead man. Surprised by a band of enemies, they cast the body into the tomb of a prophet by whom God had long before wrought many mighty miracles. When the corpse touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood upon his feet!

"Centuries ago, Augustine, Calvin and Luther, were laid in their tombs. Edwards, Baxter [that's Richard Baxter but could equally apply to Ern! :)], Bunyan, have gone to dust. But the mysterious seed of spiritual life remains, and ever will remain, in the books which they have left. Millions for dead souls have touched them and straightway revived and stood upon their feet."

Peter Day said...


That final sentence should read - "Millions of dead souls have touched them and straightway revived and stood upon their feet."

Baxter's Boy said...

Yes indeed.

Amen amen AMEN!!