Author Archive

Drawing Near to God – Leviticus Series Intro (#0)

I have not posted in a long time, so, sorry.

A few things have happened since I last posted:

I got married to my lovely wife.

I subsequently moved out of my parent’s house to my first apartment.

I joined Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Carson, CA

I became an expectant father of a beautiful baby girl named Jane Elizabeth Sprague (still in utero).

I was made a Sunday School teacher of a bunch of 10+ year olds.

I just moved (today) to a new apartment (2 bedrooms!).

Lastly, my Sunday school class wanted to go through Leviticus, and so a new series is going to start in the next post, showing, in broad strokes what I will be going over with the class.

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Double Chiasm in Galatians 2? Perhaps…

Rick and I were discussing the structure of Galatians 2 in light of a blog post by Peter Leithart here. I adopted the slightly re-worked translation of v.16 from that post along with some slight changes which I think are merited in each case. For example, the ESV’s triple redundancy of “believing in Christ” in parts E, F and E’ is too much for me to swallow. I also prefer to use “Torah” instead of “law”, because it focuses the reader into what I think Paul is talking about, namely, the Mosaic administration of the Covenant of Grace. Also, where Paul uses the Greek word for “flesh” I think it should always be translated “flesh” because of the rich contextual meaning which is stuffed into that word in Paul’s writings as a whole and in this letter in particular.

I have laid out what I believe to be a particularly neat chiastic structure in verses 14b-18, and possibly 18-21 below.

A: If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew,

B: how can you force Gentiles to live like Jews?

C: We ourselves are Jews by nature and not “Gentile sinners”

D: yet we know that the “man of the works of Torah” is not justified

E: except through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ,

F: so we also have believed in Christ Jesus,

E’: in order to be justified by the faithfulness of Christ

D’: and not by works of Torah, because by works of Torah no flesh will be justified.

C’: But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be “sinners”, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!

B’: For if I rebuild what I tore down,

A’: I prove myself to be a transgressor.

Explanation:

A/A’: Peter proves himself to be a “transgressor” (A’) in his initial “[tearing] down” of the Torah regulations when he “though a Jew, lived like a Gentile” (A)

B/B’: Then Peter, out of fear, “rebuilt” (B’) Torah regulations relating to his table fellowship with Gentile Christians, when he forced them to “live like Jews” (B).

C/C’: The key word here is “sinners”. In a Christ-ministered justification, both “Jews by nature” and “Gentile sinners” (C) are shown to be “sinners” (C’) in need of the grace of God. In Galatians language, is Christ a “minister of sin”? By no means! (See Romans for a detailed analysis of this particular question, though with slightly different context and wording!)

D/D’: A “man of the works of the Torah” (D) would mean, especially in context, a circumcised-in-the-flesh man, i.e. a Jew,  will not be justified by virtue of that status. Because, no “flesh” will be justified by “works of the Torah”. Fleshly circumcision is of no value in the courtroom of God, being a “man of the works of the Torah” is not how God intends to justify His people.

E/E’: Justification through/by the faithfulness of Christ.

F: The real crux of the whole section is that justification is by believing in Jesus!

 

At the functional end of the first chiasm, a new one sprouts!

 

 

A: a) For if I rebuilt what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. b) For through the Torah I died to the Torah that I might live to God.

B:  I have been crucified with Christ.

C: a) It is no longer I who live, b) but Christ who lives in me.

C’: a) And the life I now live in the flesh b) I live by the faithfulness of the Son of God,

B’: who loved me and gave himself for me.

A’: a) I do not nullify the grace of God, b) for if justification were through the Torah, then Christ died for no purpose.

A/A’: If you rebuild what you tore down, you nullify the grace of God! (A/A’ a)). The key word in b) is “through”. Through the Torah there is no justification, but there is death. We die to the Torah, and the purpose is so that we can live to God (A b)) If justification was through the Torah, then Christ’s death was “for no purpose” (A’ b)), instead of having the purpose of “[living] to God”. If

B/B’: To be “crucified with Christ” is the “reason” that the atonement is effective for believers. Only by being “in Christ” can we “impute ourselves dead to sin” because we are united with Him in His death on the cross. In other words, the expression of His faithfulness, of his great love is His giving of Himself for me in crucifixion, was so that I can be crucified with Him, and reckon myself dead to the Torah of sin and death and alive in the Spirit of life and righteousness.

C/C’: The life that Paul lives “in the flesh”, i.e. as a Jew, (C’ a) is not his own life (no boasting in the flesh), because that fleshly identity was already crucified with Christ (C a)). His life is rather Christ’s life, i.e. resurrection/new creation life (C b)), which is only possible, or is summarily comprehended as, the “faithfulness of the Son of God” (C’ b)) even unto the death of the cross, that God would exalt Him in resurrection and ascension.

 

If you have any nitpicks or serious issues with this structural breakdown, let me know. I would love the input. I am a little shaky in how Paul structures the second section (or if it is legitimate to have the first section bounded how I have it here!).

Your comments and corrections are appreciated.

Babelic Judgment in Psalm 55

Hello again,

“Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it; ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace.” – Psalm 55:9-11

Immediately before this, David exclaims, “And I say, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness…'” Psalm 55:6

So what we see are two things:

David wants to be like a dove and flee and find rest. The dove brings a Noahic image of the dove released from the ark to see if the waters had receded so it was safe to disembark onto the new creation. Also, the concept/word “rest” carries Noahic overtures, as it is the word from which “Noah” is derived in Hebrew.

Of course, this Psalm goes on to speak of the fact that his enemies “in the city” (v.9) are not enemies out there, but rather are his former friends. He also is declaring that the city they have made has become a Babel of sort. David wants God to judge them by “dividing their tongues” (v.9) which is the same judgment as at Babel (as is nowhere else in the Bible except Pentecost (next post!). I think this Psalm tells us something about Babel, also, because this judgment seems to be tied with the sort of sins being perpetrated in the “city”. Genesis doesn’t give us much information on the sins of Babel, but I think it is safe to assume that these sorts of evils were present in that corrupt enterprise.

What I am seeing here, by way of allusion, in summary is:

David is speaking of the ark/city that is the capital of Israel (most likely Jerusalem, but possibly Saul’s court at Gibeah, depending on the timeline). And how he used to be friendly with these current enemies. They were his counselors and friends, members of God’s people (v.12-15). Yet they have turned that ark/city into another Babel. Within the Ark, in Noah’s day, there lay the seeds of Babelic tyranny in his son Ham, but no information is given to us regarding it. The Ark was still the safe place. But as soon as they disembarked into the new creation, the Babel project began. David sees another Ark, the people of God surrounding the Lord’s Anointed, and they have turned that Ark into another Babel. David wants to be the dove released into the wilderness (v.7) (perhaps the wilderness of the sea?) so that rest is gained. This is a shadow of Jesus’ great replay of this narrative in the Gospels and Acts and throughout Church history.

The theological implications are pretty clear: There is a way of understanding the Exile as God’s “dividing of tongues” at the Babel of Jerusalem. Combined with Cyril’s edict that every nation have its own tongue, and the “Jerusalem without walls” of Zechariah, we have a pretty solid case for God’s diverse politeuma within the world that is the normal post-exilic state of affairs for the people of God. When the Jews went back to Jerusalem and then started acting as they did in Jesus’ day, you can see how another Babel was forming/had already formed with a Nimrod (Herod the Great) building another Temple to the Heavens by human hands. And Pentecost and the events of A.D. 70, the destruction of that Temple, were instrumental in God’s hands for the final and complete spiritual reversal of the Babel project within the historia salutis.

Ministry of Reconciliation in 2 Cor. 5:18-21

Hello all, long time no post!

“All this is from God, who through Christ [A] reconciled us to himself [B] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [C].”

“that is, in Christ God [A] was reconciling the world to himself [B], (not counting their trespasses against them), and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation [C].”

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us [A], We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God [B]. (For our sake He made him to be sin who knew no sin), so that in him we might become the righteousness of God [C].”

The parenthesis statements are explanatory for the preceding [B] section. We see a clear triple repetition of the same structure being repeated (assuming N.T. Wright got this whole “righteousness of God” thing right in this case, which is, admittedly, a lot to assume).

Nice to speak to you all again!

Good Soldiering

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

– 2 Timothy 2:3-7

To be a good soldier is to suffer with others. Getting “entangled in civilian pursuits” is to avoid suffering with others. Paul languishes in prison (2:9) and is persecuted by mobs in various cities (3:11), and those he should be able to trust to be by him leave him behind (4:10)  and he is deserted when facing civil judgment (4:16). Paul is telling Timothy to be a good soldier by not seeking the city’s approval in city pursuits, but by suffering with Paul the city’s reproach.

The crown is reserved for those who have finished the race (4:6-8) and Paul is noting that the crown goes to those who play by God’s rules. We think sometimes that “running so as to win” is referring to some “spiritual discipline”. I don’t think that is terribly wrong, but the specific point that Paul is making here is that of suffering with him. To play by God’s rules is to be suffering for His Kingdom. Christ suffered and was then crowned with glory and honor and immortality, so we must suffer with Him if we are to be so crowned. The race we run is the via dolorosa. The rules are God’s, and He has ordained that it was “fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.”

The hard-working, long-suffering farmer receives the first of the crop. Paul and Timothy’s generation were God’s first-fruits of the harvest. The worker of God’s field should suffer for the sake of that field that he might share in the first of his harvest. If he pours himself out for the sake of the crop then he should reap what he sowed in God’s world. This is the same Paul that is getting “poured out as a drink offering”, “filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ for the sake of the body”. He is saying that Timothy (and through Timothy, all believers in their various ministries in the church) should himself share in these sufferings if he desires the fruits of God’s harvest.

What does this mean to you and me?

When people suffer around you, especially persecution, do not let yourself get entangled with your reputation, but suffer with them. To suffer in this sense might be to “bear reproach” with them. We should be encouraged, quite literally be courageous, when a brother is brought under some form of shame. Sometimes this could be to share a meal with a tax collector, befriend the (deserved or not) unfriendly, or publicly share someone else’s public ridicule or shame. If you think such opportunities are rare, then you aren’t any different from me, but I challenge you to think on that more and consider the various opportunities in one day where your fear of being “misunderstood” outmaneuvers your soldierly attitude for the Kingdom. We fight this fight by God’s rules or there is no progress. You aren’t growing in your faith because you are “practicing the spiritual disciplines”. You grow when God tests you and you persevere. Paul is teaching us here that the test doesn’t have to be our own, and therefore our growth is not limited to our personal experience, as you can suffer with others. Not only can your solidarity with your brothers and sisters in Christ help you grow, but it is the task of suffering with others that is the sum of what it means to be a good soldier of Christ. The creational and redemptive grain of the universe is such that perfection is through suffering for or with others is the means by which God crowns us with His favor. The farmer relies on God’s faithfulness to the hard-working when he pours himself out for his crops and we should be encouraged that the effort that we exert in the flesh to die to ourselves for others’ sake will be ultimately beneficial, as we will taste the fruits of our labors in the Spirit, if they by for the sake of His body.

Creation Week

The Creation Week:
Day 1 = Light from Darkness
Day 2 = Water separation/heavens and earth
Day 3 = Land separation, plants
Day 4 =  Heavenly lights/rulers
Day 5 = Fish and Birds
Day 6 = Land animals and Adam -> Eve
Day 7 = Sabbath Rest

It has been argued that the Creation week is the structural undergirding of the entire Bible (not exhaustively such, but truly such nonetheless). I don’t think that is an arguable point, though I believe many would argue against it anyway. DISCLAIMER: I believe it was 6 24-hour days only about 6000 years ago. I know… crazy me… ANYWAYS!

Here are couple examples of the Creation week structure in micro and macrocosmic use in the Bible:

Genesis 2 – Adam’s Pre-Fall Story:
Pre-Day 1 + Day 1   v. 5,6 – When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up (= void) for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground (=formless) and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the face of the ground (waters covering the face of the deep?). Then the Lord formed the man of the dust from the ground and breathed (=Spirited) into his nostrils the breath of life (Spirit of life), and the man became a living creature (one might say enlightened!) And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the East, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the Garden, and tree of the knowledge of good and evil (God saw the light was good and called it Day and the darkness He called Night)

Day 2  v.10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the Garden, and there it divided and became four rivers… (water dividing).

Day 3a  v. 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep/guard it. (Separating Adam from where Adam was made and placing him in another place, like separating the Land from the Sea.)

Day 3b  v. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Bringing forth vegetation and seed-bearing trees according to their kind, separating one tree from the rest according to its kind.)

Day 4  v.  18  Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Co-rulers of the Day and Night)

Day 5  v.  19,20  Various animals named by Adam (creation of birds and fish, shown under dominion of Man)

Day 6  v.  21-25 No helper fit for Adam -> Creation of woman (paralleling creation of Man in the Creation week after creating beats of the field with a “let us make Man in Our image” as Eve is made in Adam’s image see 1 Cor. 11:7 “Woman is (image and) glory of man”)

Day 7  v. Adam looks at Eve (the crown of Creation) and sings a song “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.” Adam makes a judgment call (like God on Day 7) and says, in effect “very good” and there is a sort of “FINALLY” feeling about it. Adam did all that naming “work” and FINALLY he can name Eve WOMAN and they are both blessed and holy (both naked and not ashamed).

Not convinced? That’s okay… It seems forced at points, but I think the overall structure hold ESPECIALLY if you understand the symbolic weight of the usage of terms as they develop in the Biblical record.

Let’s try again on a bigger scale, though…

Covenant of Grace:

Day 1 – Genesis 3:15 (Calling light out of a Dark situation)
Day 2 – Noahic Covenant (WATER!)
Day 3a – Call of Abram to the Land of Promise of a Seed that will bear much fruit according to its kind
Day 3b – That self-same seed bore much fruit in Egypt, and Israel left a great nation, eating bread from the ground.
Day 4 –  Judges and Kings ruling the Heavenly people (as the stars of the heavens)
Day 5 – Time of Gentile dominance, the birds and fish have won (swallowing Jonah and his nation), Assyria like an eagle, read your prophets if this doesn’t ring a bell etc.
Day 6 – Return to land, But then Jesus comes and brings us home to the Tree of Life, the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil in His Cross. Adam in all of His glory, stabbed in the rib to form a new Eve from water and blood, His Church. Thus ends the Day of Adam….
Day 7 – Rises from the dead bringing a Sabbath rest to Creation (the work is done!) and is declared very good (vindicated at the Resurrection) given rule over the new Creation (ascends to heaven and sits at the right hand of Power). Inaugurated Eschatology, Sabbath rest brought to our time from the Eschatological Sabbath. (yes I affirm an Eight-day model in use by the Apostle John, but ALAS! a point is being made here!)

This could go on and on with nearly every Bible story.

What does this tell us?

The world images the God that made it in time. The beautiful thing about Creation is that it takes place in time, sequential events. God keeps on repeating these sequences structurally throughout His redemptive purposes. This reveals the character of the God we profess.

He calls light into our lives by the prevenient work of His Spirit as we behold the face of Christ from glory to glory,

He Baptizes us with heavenly water, bringing us through the watery firmament to his heavenly throne,

He separates us from the world around us, He causes us to bear fruit according to the measure of grace He has given, according to our kind,

and he makes us rule with Christ in heaven, judging angels, as stars in the midst of a twisted and dark generation,

saving us from every people, nation, tribe, and tongue, us watery Gentiles are brought near and made to fly like eagles, eating some fish with our resurrected Maker in a New World, becoming fishers of men,

and all of this to the end that the Image of God, the Mature Man, Jesus Christ, is renewed in us, as he breathes His Spirit into our nostrils and we live eternally with Him, becoming like Him in his death-sleep that we can be glorified as His bride,

finally entering the Sabbath rest He has prepared for His people and Himself, when the last enemy is defeated and the great “Church victorious becomes the Church at rest”.

Discuss!

Here is a quote for The Sickness Unto Death:

Addendum

That the definition of sin includes the possibility of offence: a general observation about offence

The sin/faith opposition is the Christian one which transforms all ethical concepts in a Christian way and distils one more decoction from them. At the root of the opposition lies the crucial Christian specification: before God; and tat in turn has the crucial Christian characteristic: the absurd, the paradox, the possibility of offence. And it is of the utmost importance that this is demonstrated in every specification of the Christian, since offence is the Christian protection against all speculative philosophy.  In what, then, do we find the possibility of offence here? In the fact that a person should have the reality of his being, as a particular human being, directly before God, and accordingly, again, and by the same token, that man’s sin should be of concern to God. This notion of the single human being before God never occurs to speculative thought; it only universalizes particular humans phantastically into the human race. It was exactly for this reason that a disbelieving Christianity came up with the idea that sin is sin, that it is neither here nor there whether it is before God. In other words, it wanted to get rid of the specification ‘before God’, and to that end invented a new wisdom, which nevertheless, curiously enough, was neither more nor less than what the higher wisdom generally is – the old paganism.

One hears so much nowadays about people being offended by Christianity because it is so dark and dismal, being offended by its severity, etc. The best advised course would be simply to tell them that the real reason why people are offended by Christianity is that it is too elevated, that its standard of measurement is not the human standard, that it wants to make man into something so extraordinary that he cannot grasp the thought of it. A quite elementary psychological account of the nature of offence will make this clear, and also show how infinitely silly is the behaviour of those who have defended Christianity by removing the offence; how stupidly or shamelessly people have ignored Christ’s own directions, which often and so anxiously warn against offence, that is, which point out that its possibility is there and is meant to be there. For if it were not, then it would not be an eternally essential component in Christianity, which would mean it was human nonsense of Christ, instead of removing it, to go about anxiously warning us against it.

If I were to imagine a poor day-labourer and the mightiest emperor who ever lived, and this mightiest emperor took it into his head to send for the day-labourer – who never had dreamed, and ‘neither had it entered into his heart’, that the emperor knew of his existence, and who would therefore count himself indescribably happy just to be allowed to see the emperor, something he could recount to his children and grandchildren as the most important event in his life – if the emperor were to send for him and tell him that he wanted to have him as his son-in-law, what then? Then, humanly, the day-labourer would be somewhat, or very much, at a loss, shame-faced and embarrassed; humanly it would strike him (and this is the human aspect) as something exceedingly odd, something insane about which he least of all would dare say anything to any other person, since in his own mind he himself was already inclined to the explanation that the emperor wanted to make a fool of him – something his neighbours near and far would very soon be much occupied with, so that the day-labourer would be a laughing-stock for the whole city, with his picture in the paper, the story of his betrothal to the emperor’s daughter sold by the ballad-wives. Yet, being the emperor’s son-in-law, that could well soon be a public fact, so that the day-labourer would have the evidence of his own senses to confirm whether the emperor was serious or whether he wanted merely to make fun of the poor fellow, make him unhappy for rest of his life, and help him on the way to a mad-house. For here we have the quid nimis [excess] which can so infinitely easily turn into its opposite. Just a small kindness; that would make sense to the day-labourer, that would be understood in the market-town by its highly respected cultured public, by all the ballad wives, in short by the five times one hundred thousand people who lived in that market-town, which in pure numbers, to be sure, was even a large city, while in regard to its grasp of and feeling for the extraordinary was a very small market-town – but this, becoming a son-in-law, that was much too much. And suppose now that it was not a question of public fact, but a private one, so that its facticity could not help the day-labourer to be sure, but faith was the only facticity, and everything therefore entrusted to faith; a question of whether he had humble courage enough to dare to believe it (for brazen courage cannot help one believe). How many day-labourers do you think would then have the courage? But the person who lacked that courage would be offended; for him the extraordinary would almost sound as though it were a mockery of him. He might perhaps honestly and openly admit: ‘This sort of thing is too exalted for me. I can’t make sense of it; to put it bluntly, it strikes me as foolishness.’

And now Christianity! Christianity teaches that this single human being, and so every single human being, whether husband, wife, servant girl, cabinet minister, merchant, barber, student, etc., this single human being is before God – this single human being, who might be proud to have spoken once in his life with the king, this human being who hasn’t the least illusion of being on an intimate footing with this or that person, this human being is before God, can talk with God any time he wants, certain of being heard; in short this human being has an invitation to live on the most intimate footing with God! Furthermore, for this person’s sake, for the sake of this very person too, God comes to the world, lets himself be born, suffers, dies; and this suffering God, he well-nigh begs and implores this human being to accept the help offered to him! Truly, if there is anything one should lose one’s mind over, this is it! Every person who does not have the humble courage to dare to believe it is offended. But why is he offended? Because it is too exalted for him, because he cannot make sense of it, because he cannot be open and frank in the face of it, and therefore must have it removed, made into nothing, into madness and nonsense, for it is as if it were about to choke him.

For what is offence? Offence is unhappy admiration. It is therefore related to envy, but is an envy turned towards oneself, in an even stricter sense worst when it is turned towards itself. The natural man’s narrow-mindedness cannot bring itself to accept the extraordinary that God has intended for him, and so the natural man is offended.

The degree of offence then depends on how much passion a person has in his admiration. More prosaic people who lack imagination and passion, who are thus not properly fitted to admire, they too are offended, but they confine themselves to saying: ‘I can’t makes sense of such a thing; I leave it be.’ These are the sceptics. But the more passion and imagination a person has, the nearer he is in a certain sense, that is to say in terms of possibility, to being able to be a believer, nota bene, to humbling himself in adoration under extraordinary, and the more passionate the offence, which in the end can be satisfied with nothing less than getting this exterminated, annihilated, trampled in the dust.

If you want to learn to understand offence, then study human envy, a study I offer as an extra course, and fancy myself to have a studied thoroughly. Envy is concealed admiration. A man who admires something but feels he cannot be happy surrendering himself to it, that man chooses to be envious of what he admires. He then speaks another language. In this language of his the thing he admires is said to be nothing, something stupid and humiliating and peculiar and exaggerated. Admiration is happy self-surrender, envy is unhappy self-assertion.

So too with offence: that which in an interpersonal relationship is admiration/envy, in the relation between God and man is adoration/offence. The summa summarum [sum total]  of all human wisdom is this ‘golden’, or perhaps rather plated, ne quid nimis [nothing to excess], too much or too little spoils everything. This is bandied about as wisdom, rewarded by admiration; its rate of exchange never fluctuates, the whole of mankind guarantees its worth. Then if once in a while there lives a genius who goes just a little beyond, he is declared insane, by the wise. But Christianity  goes a huge gigantic stride beyond this ne quid nimis, into the absurd: that is where Christianity begins – and offence.

One can see now how extraordinarily (supposing any extraordinariness remains) – how extraordinarily stupid it is to defend Christianity, how little knowledge of humanity it betrays, how it connives if only unconsciously with offence by making Christianity out to be some miserable object that in the end must be rescued by a defence. It is therefore certain and true that the person who first thought of defending Christianity in Christendom is de facto a Judas No. 2; he too betrays with a kiss, except his treason is that of stupidity. To defend something is always to discredit it. Let a man have a warehouse full of gold, let him be willing to give away a ducat to every one of the poor – but let him also be stupid enough to begin this charitable undertaking of his with a defence in which he offers three good reasons in justification; and it will almost come to the point of people finding it doubtful whether indeed he is doing something good. But now for Christianity. Yes, the person who defends that has never believed in it. If he does believe, then the enthusiasm of faith is not a defence, no, it is the assault and the victory; a believer is a victor.

This is how it is with the Christian and offence. That its possibility is present in the Christian definition of sin is quite right. It is: before God. A pagan, natural man, is very willing to admit that there is sin, but this ‘before God’, which is really what makes it sin, that for him is much too much. It seems to him (though in another way than that shown here) to make much too much out of being a human being. Just a little less and he is willing to go along with it – but ‘too much is too much’.

I was going to posit a bunch of stuff about how Kierkegaard is basically right (with correctives needed here and there) if we pay close attention to his own qualifiers and our observations are bounded by his personal context.

RATHER! I submit this extended quote to the readers of the blog for a thoroughgoing critique/analysis. Comment on Facebook or here. Either way…

I hope you enjoyed this extended quote from The Sickness Unto Death.

P.S. Quote derived from Kierkegaard, Soren. Translated by Alastair Hannay. Penguin Books Great Ideas Edition. 1989.

P.P.S. That is, admittedly, not scholarly citing procedure.