Are Leaves & Twigs Heating Your Inner Spiritual Life?

I recently had the opportunity to publish a short piece on Jonathan Edwards and his seminal Religious Affections in Ligonier Ministry’s excellent Tabletalk devotionalmagazine.  Any magazine, by the way, that is named after something Martin Luther-related is a-okay by me.

My piece focused on how theology is intricately connected to our religious “affections,” the emotions and passions of our spiritual lives.  Here’s a snatch:

Such a vision of a majestic, saving God results in the final sign: “Christian practice or a holy life.” For the pastor-theologian, this is “the chief of all the signs of grace, both as an evidence of the sincerity of professors unto others, and also to their own consciences” (2:406). Three outcomes mark a person as holy. First, “Tis necessary that men should be universally obedient.” Second, they pursue service to God: “Christians in their effectual calling, are not called to idleness, but to labor in God’s vineyard, and spend their day in doing a great and laborious service.” Third, they persevere “in obedience, which is chiefly insisted on in the Scripture, as a special note of the truth of grace” (2:384-89). Here, then, is an elegant summary of what Christian spirituality really is: obedience, constant service, and perseverance in the faith.

And this:

What we might miss, however, is the vital connection between a grand vision of God and a holy way of life. If our hearts would be aflame for God, there must be more than leaves and twigs to heat them. We need a majestic picture of the Lord from texts like Job 38–41; Isaiah 45–46; and Ezekiel 1. When we see God in all His majesty and glory, we find the material we need to sustain holy living.

Here’s the whole piece.  By the way, if you wanted some spiritual heat in your life, some great content, you really should pay the $23/year and get Tabletalk.  

  • Al Mather

    I got a call from a mutual friend (I think you know her) from Bangor – “Did you see Owen has an article in Tabletalk – that’s heavy.” (or something like that.) I haven’t read it yet, but will get to it soon, by the way. I was in a discussion with a few other baptist who also read Tabletalk. Is there a similar devotion from the baptist viewpoint that you know of? Some find the particular Presbyterian points which were recently covered in Tabletalk a bit hard to handle.

  • owenstrachan

    Good question–and thank you for the kind words. I don’t, in short. Credo magazine comes closest from what I can think of. But no, I don’t know of a similar product from the Baptist standpoint. Should you start one up, Al?


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