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Reformation fires

That famous English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, was not afraid to take a bludgeon and blowtorch to books on theology that were long on bluster and short on substance. “BARKER, Frederick. Psalms. Families will best use these commentaries and prayers by lining their cake tins with them.” Ouch! “PYLE, Thomas. Genesis-Esther. A pile of paper, valuable to housemaids for lighting fires.” Ouch again!

The new Christians at Ephesus seemed to have the same judicial eye. The Book of Acts records an incident, where in response to Paul’s gospel preaching, they gathered their books on harms and charms, and used them to fuel a great bonfire in the street. Fifty thousand drachmas worth of books went up in smoke that day. But the freedom that filled the souls of those Ephesian converts was priceless.

In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, there was an Israelite king who tried to make a bonfire with the Word of God. Portions of Scripture were read to him, to which he responded by asking for the scroll, excising the paragraph with a knife, throwing the parchment into the fire, and then playing ‘read and repeat’ until the whole scroll was consumed. But as Presbyterians love to say: Nec tamen consumebatur! (And yet it was not consumed!) For today we have every word of that scroll, in that Book that is long on Truth, and short on nothing that we need to know.

DM 6th November 2021

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