Edwards on the Expensiveness of Gospel Blessings

Going through Jonathan Edwards’ Sermons on the Lord’s Supper for my PhD work has been fun. I’m not an Edwards scholar by any means, but I think these sermons capture the pastoral heart of this amazing genius. There are many gems like this one:

But we shall show in some particular instances how gospel provision is well represented by a feast. 1. In the expensiveness of gospel blessings. As feasts are expensive and are provided at the expense of the host, so the provision that God has in the gospel made for our souls in exceedingly expensive. But we have it for nothing; it costs us nothing, but it cost God a great deal …

Never were any feasted at so dear a rate as believers; when they eat and drink, it is a thousand times more costly than what they eat at the tables of princes that is far-fetched and dearly bought. Every crumb of bread that they eat and every drop of wine that they drink are more costly than so much gold or gems

Christ Jesus obtained this provision by victory. He was obliged to fight for it, as it were, up to His knees in blood so that He might obtain it; yea, He waded through a sea of blood to get it for us.

Leadership & Hope for the Future

I just picked up David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning-biography of John Adams, our 2nd president and one of the key leaders in birth of the United States of America. As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s founding, even in the middle of chaos, confusion, and heart-ache, it’s helpful to learn about what inspired leaders like Adams:

Ambitious to excel–to make himself known–he had nonetheless recognized at an early stage that happiness came not from fame and fortune, “and all such things,” but from “an habitual contempt of them,” as he wrote. He prized the Roman ideal of honor, and in this, as in much else, he and Abigail [his wife] were in perfect accord. Fame without honor, in her view, would be “like a faint meteor gliding through the sky, shedding only transient light” (19).

Adams was motivated by the “Roman ideal of honor.” He had a standard by which to measure himself. He had a goal he aspired to. His moral imagination was fueled by a deep exposure to the classics. His sense of duty was also informed by his faith:Continue reading “Leadership & Hope for the Future”

Why Study the Medieval Period?

In chaotic times, we search for direction. What do you do in the middle of a pandemic? Riots? Racial strife and wars? A collapsing economy?

Christians have been through all of this before. This is one of the main reasons we should study history. We realize that, though our times are full of trials and tribulations, the Church has weathered cultural storms and upheaval before. We can learn from the past, in order to live wisely in the present. One of the most important times to learn about is the so-called “Dark Ages.”

Read the rest at Consortium!

Jesus, the True Shepherd

One of the tragedies of contemporary American Christianity is our neglect of the Old Testament. Most Christians haven’t really read it, and don’t know what to do with it. Many people are down with Jesus, but don’t like the “angry” God of the Old Testament. But if we don’t read the Old Testament, we can’t really understand Jesus. That’s because Jesus saw himself in Old Testament terms. He saw himself as fulfilling the vision and mission laid out by the Old Testament prophets. One of the clearest and most beautiful examples of this is seen in John 10 and Ezekiel 34. Continue reading “Jesus, the True Shepherd”

Houses of Healing, Houses of Hope

In the midst of the global COVID-19 crisis, there are many features of our modern life that we take for granted. Toilet paper, meat, hand sanitizer … and hospitals. Although adequate medical care is still tragically absent in many countries throughout the world, a huge percentage of the world’s population can simply go to a hospital when they need medical attention.

This fact is worth pausing over. For much of human history, it was not self-evident that everyone deserved medical care. For much of human history, human lives were ranked on a scale of value. Medical care was for the wealthy or the important. Not every life deserved to be saved.

The prevalence of the modern hospital is rooted in religion. More specifically, hospitals as we know them were an outgrowth of the early Christian movement.

Read the rest at CrossPolitic.com!

 

 

 

What’s the Point of Education?

As I ramp up to begin teaching a number of online classes for Kepler Education, I’ll be posting thoughts and musings on the nature of education, especially classical Christian education. These are mostly posts for myself, to remind me of why I’m a teacher. Why do I get up every morning, excited to teach young people, when I could be making a lot more money in many other careers? Teachers aren’t in it for the money. We believe in something bigger, something much more important.

Continue reading “What’s the Point of Education?”

Parenting & the Way of the Cross

Yesterday, I posted about Tim Keller’s insight that all true love is sacrificial love. For love to truly make a difference in the lives of others, it must be substitutionary love. In other words, it requires us to stand in for others, to take hits for them, to help carry their burdens–to be, in some sense, a substitute for them.

Keller used the example of how we must be drained emotionally if we are to engage with emotionally draining people. We must be willing to pour ourselves out into others, so that they can be filled. Keller also shows how parenting involves this sacrificial love.

On this Easter Monday, I need to remind myself that parenting is the primary way that I’m following in the Way of the Cross in this stage of my life. As a Dad with 5 children, the joy of parenting is often obscured by the sheer amount of work, sweat, and yes–tears–involved. I need to be reminded that loving my children sacrificially is a powerful image of Jesus loving and dying for the sins of his people. Continue reading “Parenting & the Way of the Cross”

Easter and Sacrificial Love

Easter, the day when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, can be confusing. For some, the meaning of Easter is lost among the chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs. It’s just another cultural holiday, an empty shell of an egg that was once filled with religious meaning. For others, it might still be a religious holiday, but the religious significance might be lost in the shuffle of life. For still others, the idea of the Son of God dying on a cross for sins seems barbaric, maybe even a form of divine child-abuse! What’s going on in the religious meaning of Easter? Continue reading “Easter and Sacrificial Love”

Chesterton on Modern Science & Morality

“There is one aspect of modern science and machinery that nobody has noticed. It is quite new, and it is enormously important. It is this; that the very fact of using new methods makes it easier to fall back on old morals, especially if they are very immoral morals.”

G_K_Chesterton

These prescient words came from the voluminous pen of G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), one of the most prolific writers of the early twentieth century. Through his countless journalistic essays, his Father Brown mystery novels, and his classic defense of faith, Orthodoxy, Chesterton engaged a huge variety of issues and questions, all with an abundance of wit and good humor. Even when he directly argued against people like H.G. Wells or George Bernard Shaw, it was all done with large doses of respect and a general joy in intellectual jousting. Unlike most of our modern pundits, Chesteron knew how to argue without screaming, and without descending into a stream of ad hominem attacks.Continue reading “Chesterton on Modern Science & Morality”

Kepler Education

Kepler AdvertisingI’m excited to be part of the team at Kepler Education! Kepler is a new consortium of independent teachers offering online classes for students 7-12. Kepler offers a wide variety of courses in the classical Christian tradition, with an emphasis on the liberal arts. You can choose which teachers/classes fit your family’s needs and schedule. Although not a “school,” Kepler does offer credits towards a high school diploma.

In 2020-2021, I’ll be offering classes in Medieval HumanitiesRhetoric and Logic. The Medieval Humanities courses are integrated humanities classes, combining history, literature, philosophy, theology, and the arts. We’ll be using the Old Western Culture curriculum, featuring a long time friend and inspiration of mine–Wes Callihan.

I’m offering Medieval Humanities for 8th graders, and also a more advanced class for 11th graders.

Rhetoric and Introductory Logic will also be fun. For Rhetoric, we’ll be using the Fitting Words curriculum from Roman Roads Media, with veteran teacher Jim Nance. Introductory Logic will also use the book and videos by Jim Nance.

Here’s a short video introducing Kepler Education.

My classes will follow the “Oxford Model,” which is also known as a “Flipped Classroom.” Students will watch lectures from Wes Callihan and Jim Nance early in the week. Then they’ll do their assigned reading and other assignments. On Fridays, we’ll meet online to discuss the lectures and readings, and to pursue wisdom as a community of learners.

Here’s a list of my classes.

I’d love to answer any questions you have about Kepler, Old Western Culture, or Fitting Words!

Write me at: gregory.soderberg@kepler.education