Autumn Prayer

Fall Leaves 2014
Photo by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Almighty Father,

We praise you for being the alpha and the omega,

the beginning and the end of things seen and unseen.

Thank you for letting us enjoy the breath of life,

spring and summer, autumn and the winter to come.

Thank you especially for your presence,

for in your presence is healing and life and joy.

Show us how to be your disciple in each and every season of life,

in its newness and fullness, in its setbacks and joys,

for alone we would perish as many do, day after day.

For in each day is new life and joy, learning and maturity, condemnation and judgment, sickness and death,

but you shelter us in each day in your infinite wisdom,

that through the power of your Holy Spirit, we will someday see you face to face.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Autumn Prayer

Also see:

Giving Thanks 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

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Chapter 15 of Revelation: Heavenly Songs

CloudsBy Stephen W. Hiemstra

Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed (Rev 15:3-4).

Why are songs special?

Revelation 15 makes numerous references to the Exodus experience. The seven plagues (v 1) highlights the plagues in Egypt (Exod 7-10). The sea of glass (v 2) highlights the crossing of the Red Sea (Exod 14:21). The tent of witness (v 5) and references to sanctuary (vv 5, 6, and 8) are allusions to the tabernacle during the wilderness period.

The people of Israel responded to God’s salvation from Pharaoh’s army in song: I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea (Exod 15:1). So begins the Song of Moses.

Songs form the language of our hearts.

In moments of tension—impending surgery or death—in pastoral visits, I encourage believing families to express their love in words, reading scripture, and singing hymns.

Actually, the hymns are often the most meaningful because they open up the heart. The Doxology is the most helpful because we have all memorized it.

Songs are perhaps the only form of meditation that most of us practice and the last thing we forget when struck with Alzheimer’s disease. I joke that you better learn some good hymns because otherwise your last memory to go may be the Oscar Mayer Wiener commercial!

Heaven must be a good place because everyone there is singing all the time.

What songs do you hold most dear?

 

Chapter 15 of Revelation: Heavenly Songs

Also see:

Chapter 14 of Revelation: The Wheat and the Tares 

Chapter 1: Alpha and Omega 

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

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Fairbairn Simplifies Greek and Latin Grammar

Donald Fairbairn Understanding LanguageDonald Fairbairn.[1] 2011. Understanding Language: A Guide for Beginning Students of Greek and Latin. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

When I realized my call to ministry, I began studying Greek, the language of the New Testament. This was years before finding a seminary to attend because I feared not being able to keep up with younger students in learning the language. When I eventually entered seminary, I tested out of the first semester of Greek. The complex usage questions that come up in the second semester of Greek proved too hard for me to master on my own. I always wanted also to study Latin, but I never got beyond reading individual verses and using the Vulgate in translating Greek passages for seminary assignments.

Introduction

In his text Understanding Language: A Guide for Beginning Students of Greek and Latin Donald Fairbairn describes his objectives as:

“This book begins not with English grammar, but with the big-picture idea that different languages can express the same concepts in different ways. Then it turns to the functional question of what languages have to accomplish to enable speakers and writers to communicate well. What do nouns have to do? What do verbs have to do? How can words and phrases be combined to express complex ideas?” (xv)

This last question is intriguing because this was exactly the reason that I failed to test out of my second semester of Greek. I got confused with why I needed to understand so many verb, noun, and participle forms because I did not understand their basic functions, which went much further than my prior experience with a declined language—German.

Fairbairn’s Background

Fairbairn’s interest in linguistics reflects his background. While he is currently the academic dean of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC, he is also the Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity with degrees from Princeton University (AB), Denver Seminary (MDiv), and University of Cambridge (PhD)—church history requires more than a passing knowledge of Greek and Latin. His books include: Eastern Orthodoxy through Western Eyes, Grace and Christology in the Early ChurchLife in the Trinity: An Introduction to Theology with the Help of the Church Fathers (review: Fairbairn: The Trinity Models Relationship in Community, Part 1), and Fulgentius of Ruspe and the Scythian Monks: Correspondence on Christology and Grace. 

Outline

Fairbairn writes his book in four parts and ten chapters. The four parts and chapters are:

Part 1: Getting Started

1.Learning a Foreign Language

2. Study a Dead Language: Why Bother?

3. The Building Blocks of Language

Part 2: Nouns and the Words that Go with Them

4. Expressing the Relations between Noun

5.Adjectives, Articles, and Pronouns

Part 3: Verbs: The Heart of Communication

6. What Do Verbs Do?

7. Finite Verb Forms: A Closer Look at Tense and Mood

8. Special (Non-Finite) Verbal Forms: Infinitives and Participles

Part 4: Looking into Sentences as a Whole.

9. Words, Phrases, Clauses: Putting them Together

10. Reading a Greek or Latin Sentence: Some Suggestions.” (vii-viii)

 Anyone who has studied Greek will recognize that getting into the weeds starts when you reach participles. From that point forward (chapter 8) in Fairbairn’s book the advice becomes especially critical.

Highlights

Some of the most interesting things that I learned reading Fairbairn’s book could be described as background information. He gives three reasons to study Greek and Latin: to pick up nuances in the languages lost in previous translations, to understand better the world that birthed Western civilization, and to understand English better (16-23). I did not know, for example, that English has more prepositions than Greek or Latin because it does not decline its nouns—declensions perform a similar function in the language (43). Declension also frees a language to use word order to focus on emphasis rather word function (42).

Some of the most useful details that Fairbairn offers come in discussing the word function of relations among nouns, known as cases. He cites eight: nominative (subject), vocative (command), accusative (direct object), dative (indirect object), instrumental (causive), locative (place), genitive (ownership), and ablative (separation) (58-63). Knowing the function of cases helps a student understand especially the different uses of prepositions and, of course, the uses of the declensions. Not being familiar with the functions leaves one confused when confronted with the many forms that these cases and prepositions can take.

Fairbairn provides a particularly helpful table 4-1 (66) that displays how Greek and Latin handle these basic functions differently. The Greek dative case, for example, handles the dative, ablative, and locative functions found in Latin, making it a kind of kitchen-sink case in Greek. Meanwhile, in Latin the dative case handles only two of the four functions handled by the Greek dative.

Assessment

Donald Fairbairn’s Understanding Language is an interesting and helpful text for beginning students of Greek and Latin. The book reads well and normally substitutes accessible descriptions for the more technical terms that linguists typically employ.

Footnotes

[1] http://www.gordonconwell.edu/academics/view-faculty-member.cfm?faculty_id=57841&grp_id=8947.

 

Fairbairn Simplifies Greek and Latin Grammar

Also see:

Fairbairn: The Trinity Models Relationship in Community, Part 1 

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

 

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Giving Thanks in Prayer

October table setting of praise and thanksBy Stephen W. Hiemstra

Oh Dear Lord,

We give thanks for our creation that you as Father have made us–

may we reflect your goodness, cherish family life, and grow as stewards of your creation.

Help us to honor your image and live into it.

We give thanks for the salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ–

his life, his teaching, his sacrifice, his death, and resurrection.

Help us to remember not only to give thanks, but to live thanksgiving each day

that our blessing may be shared with all those around us.

We give thanks for the presence that we have in your Holy Spirit–

that sustains us, provisions us, empowers us, heals our wounds, and grants us gifts to share.

Help us to use these gifts to sustain, empower, heal, and share with those around us

that our joy may be the joy of the world.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Giving Thanks in Prayer

Also see:

Giving Thanks 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

 

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Chapter 14 of Revelation: The Wheat and the Tares

CloudsBy Stephen W. Hiemstra

Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace (Matt 13:40-42).

I love agriculture. As a young person I spent summers with my grandparents living on the farm in Iowa. I learned patience watching the corn grow. I learned to drive stick-shift on a tractor. The Apostle John’s images of rural life speak the language of my youth.

Picturing judgment as a harvest, where the wheat and tares are separated and the tares burned, evokes both a message of patience and a reminder of justice. Harvest is a joyful time because for most of human history food was scarce. At the time of Napoleon, French soldiers were noticeably shorter than other Europeans because they starved—agricultural workers in France could not work an entire day for lack of energy. They were not alone. The practice of fasting during Lent is pre-Christian and evolved out of the reality of a lack of food at the end of winter in most of the pre-modern world. Tares were a threat to one’s life as well as one’s livelihood. In this context, burning tares—what we call weeds—is just.

Revelation 14 reports three signs. In the first sign (vv 1-5), we see the lamb and the 144,000 singing a new song—a song reserved for the redeemed. In the second sign (vv 6-11), three angels announce God’s judgment on Babylon (think Rome) and those that follow the beast. This includes a graphic picture of what God’s wrath will look like (vv 10-11). In the last sign, we see two more angels welding sickles used as instruments of judgment with grapes and a winepress adding to the graphic imagery of this judgment.

What is interesting is that these images of judgment remain part of John’s vision. The key verse is: Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus (Rev 14:12). We are given a glimpse of the future in order to inform our behavior today—endure, keep God’s commandments, and remain faithful.

The sickle and winepress images are an allusion to: Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great (Joel 3:13). The sickle allusion brings to mind the use of the hammer and sickle image by communist states in our own time because they were officially atheistic regimes. Their downfall highlights the paradox of Christianity—Satan was defeated at the Cross of Jesus Christ. Nowhere in the world is the church growing faster than in these formerly atheistic states. The conversion of Rome was equally dramatic.

In both case, just when things seemed the darkest, God intervened.

Questions

  1. What are the three requirements cited in v 12?
  2. List the three signs cited (vv 1-5, 6-11, and 10-11).
  3. What is the allusion with the sickle? (Joel 3:13)
  4. What is the teaching on the wheat and the tares? (Matt 13:40-42). How is Revelation different?
  5. What is the paradox of the cross?
  6. What is the new song being referenced in v 3? (Isaiah 42; Psalm 33, 40, and 144; Rev 5)

Chapter 14 of Revelation: The Wheat and the Tares

Also see:

Chapter 13 of Revelation: What is True Worship? 

Chapter 1: Alpha and Omega 

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

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Meeks Explains Amazon Ads (2)

Meeks Mastering Amazon AdsBrian D. Meeks.[1] 2017. Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author’s Guide. CreateSpace.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

In April I began advertising with Amazon Ads, sometimes called AMS ads. In the summer, I cut my bids about in half and started showing a small profit on the ads at the cost of reducing my sales volume. Over the last six months, I have gone from selling most of my books in person to selling more online and my Kindle sales have exceeded paperback sales. If sales continue at current rates, I will exceed the benchmark of having sold more than one thousand Christian, non-fiction books.[2]

Against this backdrop, when I learned that Joanna Penn was hosting a podcast[1] with Brian Meeks, a former business analyst, on AMS Ads, I was all ears. When I learned that Brian also had a book on the subject, I immediately ordered a copy.

Introduction

Brian Meeks begins his book, Mastering Amazon Ads, with these objectives:

“Later in this book I’m going to cover many aspects of marketing: how to improve your ad’s performance, return on investment (ROI), some of the misconceptions about Amazon ads, and dozens of other pieces to the puzzle.” [SIC].(7)

AMS offers two kinds of ads: sponsored product (SP or keyword) and product display (PD or interest) ads (16). Because SP ads run almost immediately and PD ads take a day or two to kick in, many people write off PD ads as not profitable (8).

Brian advocates PD ads because they are easy to set up and serve a different market—PD run on Kindle, while SP ads do not (8). Because the ads serve different markets, they do not compete with one another which implies that authors should run both kinds of ads to maximize their sales. Consequently, I began testing PD ads even before I finished reading the book.

Metrics

Before writing full-time, Brian worked as a business analyst and he advocates testing the assumptions that go into creating AMS ads. But how do you know that your ads perform as well as they might? Brian says test and measure performance among the alternatives.

Brian advocates measuring ad performance by taking daily snap shots of ad statistics provided by AMS. Key performance indicators are:

Click Through Rate (CTR).

How many impressions (views of the ad) are required to get a click?

Brian likes PD ads because the CTR is lower (fewer impressions are required to get a click) and conversion rate is lower (fewer clicks are required to get a sale) (19). In my own test comparing my first books’ SP performance with its PD performance, I notice today that the CTR for my SP is 1,298 to 1, but for my PD is it 340 to 1. This implies that my PD ad generates about four times as many clicks as my SP ad. (Brian’s own test showed five times as many clicks). Brian sees the CTR as a measure of ad copy efficiency (21).

Conversion Rate (12-13).

How many clicks are required to get a sale?

The conversion rate from clicks to sales combined with the bid give the cost of a sale. If five clicks are required to get a sale on average and the bid is $0.11 per click, then the ad cost of a sale is 5 *$0.11 or $0.55.

Return on Investment (ROI).

Are the ads profitable?

According to Brian (13), the ROI for ads is calculated by subtracting ad costs from ad revenue (price times the royalty rate) and dividing that number by the cost of the ads.

Continuing the above example, if a Kindle sale generates $3.47 ($4.95 * 70%) and costs $0.55, then the ROI on that ad is: 531% ($3.47 – $0.55)/$0.55). If the Kindle sale generates $0.35 ($0.99 * 0.35), then the ROI is: – 36% (($0.35 – $0.55)/$0.55).

Clearly from this example, the bid offer and the book pricing work together to determine whether ads are profitable. If the bid is too high or the book price is too low, then the ads are not profitable. Brian makes both observations repeatedly in his discussion and examples.

Assessment

Brian Meeks’s Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author’s Guide is a helpful book for authors who want to sell books on Amazon.com. Brian’s writing style is accessible and his analytical advice is useful for those not comfortable in working with numbers.

Footnotes

[1] https://www.TheCreativePenn.com/2017/09/04/Mastering-Amazon-Ads-Brian-Meeks.

[1] www.BrianDMeeks.com/non-fiction. @ExtremelyAvg. http://ExtremelyAverage.com.

[2] According to different sources, less than five percent of independent authors sell a thousand books and most sell none at all. For this reason, the thousand book threshold garners attention.

Meeks Explains Amazon Ads

Also see:

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

 

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Driving Lesson

Cover for Called Along the Way
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Driving Lesson

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

One summer afternoon on the farm as grandpa and grandma rested after lunch, I slipped out without permission, started up the tractor, and began cultivating a field of soybeans for the first time. After plowing about three rows of beans, the tractor got stuck in a wet spot in the field. Try as I might, the tractor just sank deeper in the mud.

Ashamed of myself having got stuck in the mud, I went to get my grandfather. He tried, but was also unable, to dislodge the tractor from the mud. He then called the neighbor who brought a chain, hooked it to the tractor, and pulled the tractor free with his pickup truck. The job took all afternoon.

In spite of the work I created and inconvenience, neither the neighbor nor my grandfather complained or scolded me, much as I deserved it. While this was first lesson in driving a stick-shift vehicle, what I remember best was grandpa’s patience. My sense of forgiveness as a pre-teen was immediate, yet something that I will never forget.

Also see:  Looking Back 

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Cloudy Day Prayer

Photograph of Clouds by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Photo by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Loving Father,

I give thanks for your presence on cloudy days,

when the rain soaks through my clothes and the sun shines dimly.

I cherish your presence most when I am cold and

can’t remember what it was like to be warm.

Maybe the sun really shines, but I can’t see it;

Maybe the clouds don’t so last long, but I can’t see it.

Be especially near.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, protect those I love from my stumbling;

guard my heart from besetting fears and temptations that overwhelm;

cover my mind that I do not sin.

That the sun will truly shine one day.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

 

Cloudy Day Prayer

Also see:

Prayer for Silence and Solitude 

Prayer for Shalom 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

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Chapter 13 of Revelation: What is True Worship?

CloudsBy Stephen W. Hiemstra

You are commanded … that when you hear … every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace (Dan 3:4-6).

What is true worship? What is not?

In her book, Just Give Me Jesus, Anne Graham Lotz (1-2) recalls a story of a conversation that her mother, Ruth Graham, had with the former head of Scotland Yard. She suggested that he must have handled a lot of the counterfeit money over the years. He responded: On the contrary, Mrs. Graham, I spend all my time studying the genuine thing. That way, when I see a counterfeit, I can immediately detect it.

We see counterfeit worship in Revelations 13. The dragon, a sea monster, and an earth dwelling beast compose a counterfeit trinity complete with a counterfeit resurrection (vv 3-4). This is a blaspheming counterfeit (v 4). Everyone whose name is not written in the book of life worships this counterfeit trinity (vv. 4, 8, 12, and 16). Much like in Daniel 3, anyone not worshiping this counterfeit trinity ends up being persecuted (v 10) and this persecution includes loss of income (vv 16-18).

The Apostle John is lampooning Rome here. The seven heads in v 1 are widely interpreted as the seven hills overlooking the city of Rome. The Romans emperor cult had temples and statues all over the empire dedicated to emperor worship. The resurrection motif in v 3 is a parody of the myth that Emperor Nero was still alive even after he committed suicide in AD 68. Numerologists often interpret 666 as referring to Nero.

But, what is true worship?

In his book, The Air I Breathe (117), Christian musician Louis Giglio defines true worship as: centering our mind’s attention and our heart’s affection on the Lord. What do we really worship? Giglio (13) writes: follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, and your loyality…[that] is what you [really] worship.

Revelations 13 is a dark chapter. However, for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecc 3:1). Satan’s counterfeit trinity is given authority for only forty-two months (three and a half years; 1,260 days; v 5). The appearance of exotic creatures (like Behemoth and Leviathan of Job 40-41) should also remind us of Genesis 1 where God creates them all and declares them to be good.

This implies that God is still sovereign.

References

Lotz, Anne Graham. 2009. Just Give Me Jesus. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Giglio, Louis. 2003, The Air I Breathe. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Publishers.

Caesar Nero (NRON QSR)

The Greek version of the name and title transliterates into Hebrew as (נרון קסר), and yields a numerical value of 666:
Resh (ר) Samekh (ס) Qoph (ק) Nun (נ) Vav (ו) Resh (ר) Nun (נ) Sum 200 60 100 50 6 200 50 666

Questions

  1. What does the symbolism of vv 1-2 refer to? (Daniel 7:2-6)
  2. What do the seven heads refer to? (v 1)
  3. What is the trinity? What is not? (vv 3-4)
  4. What is your definition of blasphemy?
  5. What do we see here? (v 4)
  6. What is true worship? What is not? (vv 4, 8, 12,16)
  7. What is resurrection? What is not? (v 3)
  8. What does the forty-two month timeframe imply? (1 Kings 18:1)
  9. What do exotic creatures remind us of? (Genesis 1; Job 40-41)

Chapter 13 of Revelation: What is True Worship?

Also see:

Chapter 12 of Revelation: The Woman and the Dragon

Chapter 1: Alpha and Omega 

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

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Tozer Teaches God’s Attributes

A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the HolyA. W. Tozer. 2014. Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God. North Fort Myers: Faithful Life Publishers.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Long writing projects, like my recent memoir, yield a new awareness of the subject being studied, but it comes at the sacrifice of other activities and physical exhaustion. An important way that I recharge my batteries after such projects is to focus on self-care in my reading, devotions, and daily work-out. At the recommendation of a close, spiritual friend, I turned this month to A.W. Tozer’s little book, Knowledge of the Holy.

Who is A.W. Tozer?

Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897–1963) was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor who received two honorary doctoral degrees but had no formal seminary training. As pastor, he was associated with the Christian Missionary Alliance,[1] a holiness denomination, and served as editor of their official publication, now known as Alliance Life. As author, he wrote at least a dozen books focused primarily on Christian spirituality.[2] Knowledge of the Holy was published in 1961, just two years prior to his death.

Introduction

Tozer begins his work with a question: “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” (10) He also expresses a concern about a loss of a sense of God’s majesty leading to an observation: “Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit.” (5) Tozer links this lost sense of the transcendence of God to idolatry and libel against his character (11-13).

If God’s nature is incomprehensible and ineffable, what attributes has he revealed about himself? (16-20) Tozer starts by describing the Trinity, but lingers on mystery of how the Trinity could exist even as God is indivisible in his being. He writes: “All of God does all that God does.” (27) Tozer reflects on the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicaean Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, noting how they spell out with great care how God in three persons can be understood (34) He then observes that work of creation is attributed to God the Father (Genesis 1:1), Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16), and the Holy Spirit (Job 26:13, and Psalms 104:3) (36), which completes the thought that the Trinity is invisible.

Clearly, Tozer prefers to swim in the deep end of the pool.

Organization

Tozer goes on to examine each of God attributes, devoting a chapter to each one for a total of twenty-three chapters. While some might think that God’s attributes are dry and boring, they are terribly important in separating good theology from weak theology.

Self-Existence of God

For example, God’s self-existence not conditioned on anything in the created universe implies that he transcends creation, is not bound by time or space (37-44). The need for Christ arises directly from the problem that as created beings we cannot approach God; he must reveal himself to us. So the question of how many paths are there up the mountain to God is answered: none—God must come to us.[3] It also means that we are totally dependent on him; not the other way around.

God’s Immutability

Tozer’s comments on the immutability of God are interesting. He writes: “To say that God is immutable is to say that He never differs from Himself.” (63) If God were to change, he would have to go from better to worse, worse to better, or change within himself. God’s holiness means that he cannot go from worse to better. Of course, we would not want him to go from better to worse, which might mean that he would perhaps neglect his promises. And God is self-existence, not compose of parts that might need to be harmonized (63-64).

If you think that God’s immutability is boring, think of what it would mean for God to need to learn something or for God to make a mistake—what exactly would a “divine opps” look like? For example, what if the laws of physic changed because God made a mathematical error and the universe imploded?

God is More than Love

Tozer’s comments about love are most helpful. He observes:

“If love is equal to God, then God is only equal to love, and God and love are identical. Then we destroy the concept of personality in God and deny outright all His attributes save one, and that one we substitute for God…

 The words ‘God is love’ mean that love is an essential attribute of God. Love is something true of God but it is not God. It expresses the way God is in His unitary being, as do the words holiness, justice, faithfulness, and truth.” (124)

The personality of a person arises because of their attributes, but also their personal history, which includes many painful experiences. If God’s love defined him in his totality, then how could he justly deal with sin? How loving would God be if he ignored the actions of mass murders and rapists, simply so he could be totally loving to everyone? What kind of love would that be? We really do want God to be just as well as loving.

Assessment

W. Tozer’s book, Knowledge of the Holy, is a Christian classic that deserves to be read and discussed by every Christian.

Footnotes

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_and_Missionary_Alliance.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._W._Tozer.

[3] This is actually one lesson from the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis:  11:1-9.

Tozer Teaches God’s Attributes

Also see:

Tim Keller Makes Sense, Part 1 

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ.

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