I'm sitting here, asking myself "How much talent does one family have?" In the case of this family, the answer seems a lot.
Phil Johnson mentioned his nephew Chris Freeland last week in one of his "here's where I am now" posts, and I had to check it out. I wasn't disappointed. As nephew to the vaunted Pyromaniac, and his Behind-The-Music type insights on Phil are priceless. (I must admit--I find myself trying to picture these sentences in my mind: "The entire trip was great, but the highlight of the weekend was listening to the technologically-savvy Pyromaniac attempt to explain the intricacies of a wireless network to my 80-year-old grandparents. I'll probably get blogrolled as "annoying" for saying it, but he might have had a better chance had he tried to explain supralapsarianism.")
But to read him solely for his relative ability would be to miss the essence of his writing.
Instead, this post is a prime example of what I think is the heart of his blog. He begins by talking about one of his classes at DTS and the "class genius" who has to spout off to look good in front of the professor. Then it takes a turn:
This is where the story goes from making me mad to making me profoundly sad.
Looking directly at the know-it-all student, the professor asked him, "Where will you go when you die?"
"Heaven, I hope. Day by day I hope," replied Mr. Know-it-all, who suddenly didn't know at all.
"You hope?" asked the professor. "This is something you should know."
And he proceeded to share the Gospel with this guy, who has been in seminary nearly 4 1/2 years.
For 4 1/2 years this guy has been attending a conservative evangelical seminary dedicated to teaching believers to "Preach the Word." And somehow this guy missed the most simple and profound truth of all. "Jesus loves me, this I know."
I've been learning about the exact same thing lately--about people who are full of theology & learning but don't know the gospel, and what is really effective in reaching them.
Here's how he concludes:
I'm not blogging about this guy in order to give him a hard time. I'm blogging about this story because late into the night last night I was bothered by two lessons this story taught me.
1. It is entirely possible to worship the idol of black and white (and red) words on a page, and altogether miss the God they represent. The study of God's word is vastly important, but can't supercede a relationship with the God of which they speak which comes through faith in Christ.
2. We can't take peoples' individual stories for granted. I was fuming at this know-it-all guy trying to stump the professor with the student's infinite knowledge. Now, my response is compassion and sorrow for a guy who probably isn't even a believer. He can't help it. "The natural man can't receive the things of the Spirit because they're foolishness to him. He can't understand them because they're Spiritually appraised" (1 Corinthians 2:14).
That's it! He hits the nail on the head, both in diagnosing the problem, and in his own response to it. He's my kinda guy.
There are gobs of bloggy goodness on his site, so check it out.
P.S. Somehow, I've ended up on Phil's blogroll, and in the same category as Chris his nephew, no less (not "Appalling," either)! My initial shock gave way to giddiness, followed by a period of unworthiness (briefly contemplating a post called Top 10 Blogs That Deserve My Spot on Phil's Blogroll). But I thought better of it, and I'm just gonna say "thank you" and keep doing what I'm doing. But his link is already paying dividends--I was visited this morning by fellow "Entertaining" blogger Sojourner (Brad Williams), and TTLB thinks I'm a Crawly Amphibian.