Results tagged “Paul Levy” from Reformation21 Blog

The Walker Awards

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I do not normally get involved in the banter of those who write for Reformation 21, but I believe this response is most urgent in light of the previous two posts. Both Mr. Paul Levy and Mr. Jeremy Walker questioned the degree to which my dapper appearance far outweighs Mr. Bruce Baugus and most definitely Mr. Rick Phillips. By the way, the monk suggestion did nothing for Walker's case. While he prances around in his Halloween costume, I have been recognized in Germany for hundreds of years. Yes, I am the true monk, comparatively, and though I am over 400 years old, I have maintained my gracious and glorious appearance, which none at ref21 can top. And in case you are wondering, yes, Luther was a man of color. The sun does shine in Germany. For the sake of anonymity, however, I changed my last name to Brown. Reformed people too easily flock to super stars. We have probably heard that somewhere.

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The Levy Awards

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I cannot but dispute Paul's "Best Looking Blogger" and "Nicest Guy Awards." Both make reference to photos, which shows that Paul is still clearly irked by the absence of a grainy black-and-white mugshot. I do what I can, and present a combined "Best Looking Blogger/Nicest Monk" contribution.

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Not wanting the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals to be painted as ever saying a negative comment of another or depriving one of their moment as a celebrity, I strongly urge Carl to select and forward to the staff for immediately posting a suitable photo of Paul for use on reformation21!

Riding shotgun

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I could not help sadly oscillating the Walker bean when I read Carl's offer to ride shotgun to Mark Jones on the proposed debate between Jones and Tchividjian on the matter of the law and grace, and - specifically - the contributions of Luther on the topic, with regard to which Carl was rather angling for the position of an expert witness.

Really? Is Trueman the fellow you want in your corner when it comes to Luther? Would you not rather have a man who has fully imbibed Luther's spirit, who has embraced his way more entirely, who has more than metaphorically shrugged into his habit and worn his mantle? If you ask me, Dr Jones should look no further than the inestimable Brother Levy. Having seen the way many quail when Levy enters a debate, I think the way forward is actually quite clear.

photo (225x300).jpgOn a more serious note, Kevin DeYoung has begun plotting out some probable areas of agreement and disagreement.

The unbearable heaviness of being Levy

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I am always - well, sometimes - grieved to grieve Mr Levy. Clearly I have burdened an already burdened man, and in ways that I have not (on this occasion) intended. And so a little comeback on his pushback: I agree that evangelising can become just another stick to beat people with. In some circles, it seems more acceptable to neglect almost any Christian duties except that of evangelism or 'mission.' If we do not think carefully, we can too easily introduce a new law and a new legalism, and that would be abominable.

I do think every Christian ought to be a faithful evangelist, but that is not the same as saying that every Christian should be a minister of the gospel, an open-air preacher or a door-to-door worker, for example. The faithful father who instructs his children at family worship and speaks to his neighbours about his Saviour; the earnest mother who 'preaches' to, pleads with, and prays for her growing children; the loving friend who gives a reason for the hope that is in him or her to friends at school: these are equally examples of personal evangelism - a true testimony to Christ.

However, I agree entirely with Paul when he says that the root of these things should be love for and delight in Christ. If we are Christians who know the joy of God's salvation then to speak of Jesus ought to be the spontaneous overflow of a heart full of love for God and men (cf. 1Pt 2.9-10). That is one of the reasons why saints need to keep hearing the gospel - it keeps their sense of these things lively, stirring them up to love and praise and spurring them on to make known the Christ who loved us and gave himself for us, and who will save whoever calls upon him. Our goal in witnessing is, first and foremost, the glory of God, the God who has pre-eminently revealed himself in the Lord Christ. When we lose sight of that, and slip into what Paul calls "an evangelistic frenzy," it is likely that we have dropped our gaze too low, and may downplay those truths which give the gospel its substance and edge.

But then something more follows: what happens when we ask, "How can I express this desire to glorify God in making him known for salvation?" That is where the question comes in, "How can I do this more effectively? How can I more thoughtfully, competently, wisely and righteously make Christ known to the lost?" I take it for granted that a Christian wants other people to be Christians; I therefore presume that they want to know, from the Word of God, how they might do that in the right way, with the right motives, employing appropriate means to legitimate ends. I acknowledge that my recent posts have focused more on the more public and formal means; I hope that those who use those means have found those thoughts helpful. Maybe I should also write some posts to encourage those using other means, and then Paul can complain about how long they are.

Finally, as a sop, and a means of removing another burden, I offer him the longed-for Christmas illustration (no, not the one about Santa Claus not being real). Like almost all illustrations, it falls short and has its inconsistencies, but I am sure a gifted man like Paul Levy could make something of it:
Amazon.com provide a service called Certified Frustration-Free Packaging. The idea seems to be that whatever it is you order comes ready to use right out of the box, eliminating that 'wrap rage' to which I am sure we are all endlessly subject. It is advertised with a video in which two customers receive the same product, one in traditional packaging and the other in frustration-free packaging. A troubled woman spends about fifteen minutes trying to put her item together and is left with a pile of waste and a pained expression; a cheerful chap pretty much pulls his out of the box and is left with oodles of happiness and more time to enjoy his gift. Now, what kind of salvation are you seeking? Salvation is an intricate, glorious, wonderful thing, needing to be complete and perfect if it is to be effective. But man's efforts are not unlike receiving a box with countless thousands of pieces but no tools and no instructions. Despite all our efforts, we can never put salvation together, and are left with nothing but frustration and waste. In Christ Jesus, the Lord of heaven has provided us with the finished article - there is nothing to do except to receive it, and to enjoy what has been given, full and final.
Levy, you owe me a kebab.

The Trueman Show (or, "In it to win it")

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And so it has happened. Carl Trueman, Puncturer of Bubbles, has been invited into the celebrity cauldron of T4G to discuss celebrity. Quite apart from the obvious irony of having the cachet actually to sit on the same platform as "Lig," "C.J." "Al," "Mark," "Thabiti," and other one-name monsters, and perhaps even to breathe - at least temporarily - the same air, it seems to have been fun. We are looking forward to the video.

But it is, sadly, at this point, that I must rip the carpet out from under Trueman's feet: he has a Facebook fan page. It is so select that it is a closed group. Perhaps that means you have to be invited. It is so exclusive that only five people have been allowed to join it. That means that the countless thousands of others who long to lick the ground that Carl has walked on are kept at bay, having to be content with a distant view (from seat 487ZZ) of their demagogue in the spotlights at T4G, willing to give almost anything for the merest wisp of wool from one of those scholarly cardigans. And if that were not enough, the ultimate accolade approaches: I hear that a Trueman bobble-head doll is on the way.

As an aside, it is rumoured that Paul Levy, Trueman's alter ego, enjoys the attentions of the Paul Levy Appreciation Society, an underground network of thousands, organised in chapters through every country of the globe, all imbibers of the tenets of "Free Writing" (which is to coherent communication what parkour is to marathon running). They meet to extol the virtues of writing untrammelled by the restraints of grammar and unshackled from the chains of punctuation, all the while affecting a Welsh accent.

Anyway, while a more mischievous man than I might be tempted to set up an open fan-page with the sole intention of seeing if we can get 10000 ardent devotees of Mr T signed up and so forever ruin his credibility as a destroyer of celebrity, I leave you with this gem from the soon-to-be-released "at home with Carl" DVD: "The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives." Or have I got something mixed up?