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The Chief End of Man #55182
Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:22 AM
Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:22 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,525
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Tom Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Tom  Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,525
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
This topic has actually been talked about quite a bit on this forum before. I am convinced that John Piper's "Christian Hedonism" is a distortion of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
However someone asked me to read an article on the subject and I want to make sure I understand it properly, so I can give a fair critique of it. Especially concerning where it states that Piper's understanding of the catechism is not unique to him. Supposedly 40 other Puritans pastors such as John Owen, Thomas Manton, Thomas Brooks and Thomas Watson believed the same way as Piper.
http://bobgonzal.es/index.php/2018/05/20/puritan-hedonism-he-who-would-be-holy-must-be-happy/

I suspect somehow the author of the article has either manipulated what these pastors believed; or reads too much into what they were saying.
Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks

Tom

Re: The Chief End of Man [Re: Tom] #55183
Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:36 AM
Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:36 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,513
NH, USA
Pilgrim Offline

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Pilgrim  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2001
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Originally Posted by Tom
I suspect somehow the author of the article has either manipulated what these pastors believed; or reads too much into what they were saying.
Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Gonzales' attempt to grammatically impose the phrase "to glorify God and enjoy Him forever" loosely as a form of "an English nominal hendiadys" which he deduces as "the semantic value (meaning) of the syntactical structure is certainly analogous to a hendiadys clause". In short, he is suggesting and tries to give evidence to prove that to glorify and enjoy [God] are to be understood as being one inseparable idea. However, his attempt to do so falls flat, IMO because he compares apples to oranges, i.e., using a few Scriptural texts which appear to qualify as a hendiadys and then simply says it is warranted to read that phrase from the Shorter Catechism in like manner. nope

The quotes he offers from some of the Puritans and from B.B. Warfield hardly prove his point either. When I read those quotes, I do not come to the same conclusion as Bob Gonzales. In fact, I come to a totally different understanding of what they wrote.

Here's the bottom line for me... When I read the answer to the 1st and 2nd Q&A of the Westminster Catechism

Quote
Quest. 1. What is the chief end of man?
Ans. 1. Man's chief end is to glorify God,(1) and to enjoy him for ever.(2)

(1) I Cor. 10:31; Rom. 11:36.
(2) Ps. 73:25-28.

Quest. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
Ans. 2. The word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments,(1) is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.(2)

(1) II Tim. 3:16; Eph. 2:20.
(2) I John 1:3-4.

The glorifying and enjoying of God are indeed inseparable, but a) there is a specific order in the two injunctions, and b) they are inseparably independent.

1. What does it mean to glorify God? First negatively, it is NOT what the modern idea is, i.e., it is not some individual's intent, motive, to please God. Positively, as the Catechism rightly states in the 2nd Q&A (CONTEXT), the command to glorify God is an objective standard which is found in and only in the Word of God written; Scripture. One glorifies God when one's life is analogous to God; it displays the attributes of God, e.g., holiness, love, truthfulness, faithfulness, etc. The more one fills their life with the knowledge (gnosis) of God which God has provided in the Scriptures, their life is transformed [into the image of Christ via the inner power and working of the Spirit] which then provides a more intimate knowledge of God (prognosis), which results in one's enjoyment of God. Knowing God truly results in the enjoyment of Him, for what else could result when one comes to know the true living God? Paul states it this way:

Quote
Colossians 1:9-10 (ASV) "For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray and make request for you, that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"


2. Piper, Gonzales and those who think likewise are woefully mistaken when they reverse the order, which Piper does with his idea of "Christian Hedonism". Enjoying God is NOT how God is glorified. God is glorified in His being; in His person. John grasped this truth when he wrote in his Gospel,

Quote
John 1:14 (ASV) "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.".

And the writer of the book of Hebrews expressed it this way,

Quote
Hebrews 1:1-4 (ASV) "God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in [his] Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds; who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become by so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they."


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Re: The Chief End of Man [Re: Tom] #55186
Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:38 PM
Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:38 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,525
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Tom Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Tom  Offline OP
Needs to get a Life
Joined: Apr 2001
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Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Pilgrim
Thankyou, that was helpful.
It took me a few reading to comprehend some of it, but that is not unusual.
When you mentioned question number two of the Westminster Catechism, I had one of those uh huh moments.
That alone to me, is suffice to show what you said is true.

Tom

Re: The Chief End of Man [Re: Tom] #55187
Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:30 AM
Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:30 AM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 67
Dallas, Tx USA
ReformedDisciple Offline
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ReformedDisciple  Offline
Journeyman
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Posts: 67
Dallas, Tx USA
Loved that explanation Pilgrim, thanks!


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