A special thanks to Blue Shepard for allowing me to publish his weekly e-newsletter here on Vigilant Wolf. The Blue Shepard is a friend and past guest of Ever Vigilant podcast (episodes 43 and 86 ). I personally look forward to his weekly thoughts on Christianity, Manhood, and Brotherhood and I believe you will feel the same.
Required Reading: Luke 6:40
Of all the divine paradoxes, The Law is the court jester. He who brings us to an arbitrary knowledge of the Holy leaves us abashed by the despondency of our own propensity to error. It is by him I know God, but it is by him I realize I am incapable of ever being worthy to know God. It is by him that I become familiar with justice, and it is by him that I learn to fear and dread and delay that same prudence. It is he who has shown me the way of life, and he also whom has shown me the means of death. He has lifted my head, only to cast it down again. He has fed me with meat, only that I will once more hunger. He has quenched my thirst for knowledge, if for only to leave me in derision, realizing that I have learned only what I have yet to learn. The law is both my conviction, and my condemnation. Nevertheless, the law is good. Thusly does the law demonstrate to us the nature of the relationship between God and Man in the Mosaic dispensation. God, the Giver of Life, is man's executioner. For he whom has said, "Thou shalt not kill," has also commanded, "Suffer not a witch to live". He whom has spoken mouth to mouth with Moses is yet too high for communion with the common, sinful man. He is so good that he can not commune with anything that is not good, or at least that has not been made or declared "good". His purity erodes all impurity.
The law is the codification of The Holy One. It is the written nature of God, and it is so pure, and so holy, that we can not apprehend it without being wounded and taking offence. The law is my tutor and my abuser. The bruises I receive will achieve eventual victory over my self-will. But in the mean time, I must suffer at the hands of the law. Like Isaiah, I see The Law high and lifted up. Like David, I acknowledge the rule of my Sovereign, my King of Old. Like Cain, I cry out for mercy because the full consequences of my shortcomings are greater than I can bear. This is the nature of my relationship to JEHOVAH under the dispensation of Moses. The law has shown me already how I am susceptible to failure; ever apt to indulge in rebellion, and ever incapable of approaching His Holiness. What hope then will I ever possess of approaching this Throne of Holiness?
This is the same question which was asked, perhaps unwittingly, by the Apostles of our Lord when they said, "Teach us to pray." Grace himself, the Logos, defined the nature of God's relationship to man under this new dispensation in a single word: Abba. The Word himself, when teaching his disciples to address the Holy One, spoke in plain, simple, childlike language. This Aramaic word is the equivalent to, "da" or "papa". All the while I had separated myself further and further from the Pure and Holy Creator by increasing my knowledge of the law, and all the while the law built his case against me. But Grace turned to me and said, "The challenge is impossible for you, but your Father will provide the means." The revelation of the dispensation of Jesus Christ was reduced by himself to baby talk. The broken relationship between Adam and his Father has been restored.
All Scriptural doctrine under the dispensation of the Second Adam points from a foundation of God's codified purity and to a Kingdom based on the reciprocity of the Divine Practice of that purity (for above every attribute, he is Pure. I give no quarter to your doctrine of being "New Testament" church; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?). This completes the law inasmuch as what once made every man subject to one, every man is now subject to one another. We who were once wayward children have, in becoming good sons, became good fathers. It is through submission to the Father that we learn to father others. Under the dispensation of the Second Adam, every man is a son of some father, and a father to some son. There are no Christian bastards.
Nonetheless the worldly drunken whore known as Liberal Christianity persists in the perversion of Gospel practice and polity. She has spewed her vile propaganda into the halls of establishments which tout themselves as "Old Time" assemblies, and "Traditional" denominations. By seductions she continues to bring forth feckless, fatherless offspring. These spiritual inbreds waste their lives away setting out to bring more illegitimate heirs to their vapid mother. These are those evangelists who teach men to rebel against spiritual authority; to seek for themselves, and that whatever they find is divine. These shepherds without shepherds preach against preaching, and teach against teaching; taking one-liners off the rails, like "call no man father", and "I know the plans I have for you...". These bastards call themselves "Christian", but there are no Christian bastards.
This is not the way - of God, of Christ, of the Apostles, and certainly not of scriptural orthodoxy. The Father of Lights never intended us to light our own unholy fires. What is, however, the Way is evident to us only because of the perseverance of tradition and succession. The modern oxymoron of Christianity without Discipleship must be cursed by every true Yokefellow. There is no salvation without discipleship. We do not become Christians and then become disciples. We become Christians when we become disciples.
It is impossible to be a disciple without making disciples. This is why baptism is paramount. For it is not the Disciple who is commanded to be baptized, but the Disciple who is commanded to baptize. No matter how many poor, fatherless children you coerce into repeating at a tearful commitment at an alter service, you have failed the great commission because you have failed to make disciples. Baptism is the first act of discipleship.
This process of making disciples must continue. You can not be a Christian without making some kind of impression on someone else. Just as you must have been fathered, you now must father. This is difficult. It requires us to personally invest in individuals. Time and disappointment are the inevitable costs of production. But as a part of this process we are forced to become fathers to sons.
Codification is easy and impersonal. Making disciples is a lifelong process.
This is not a process of recruitment. It is a process of induction.
The codification of grace is the antithesis of discipleship.
Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.
The Blue Shepard
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He who is a wise man snares souls.