The Don: By What Standard?


“Everyone is indignant when he hears the Germans define justice as that which is to the interest of the Third Reich. But it is not always remembered that this indignation is perfectly groundless if we ourselves regard morality as a subjective sentiment to be altered at will. Unless there is some objective standard of good, over-arching Germans, Japanese and ourselves alike whether any of us obey it or not, then of course the Germans are as competent to create their ideology as we are to create ours. If ‘good’ and ‘better’ are terms deriving their sole meaning from the ideology of each people, then of course ideologies themselves cannot be better or worse than one another. Unless the measuring rod is independent of the things measured, we can do no measuring. For the same reason it is useless to compare the moral ideas of one age with those of another: progress and decadence are alike meaningless words.” —C.S. Lewis, “The Poison of Subjectivism” in C.S. Lewis Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), p. 658

The Apologist: If the Universe Sounded Awful

There is a story that once, after the musicians had played Cage‘s total chance music, as he was bowing to acknowledge the applause there was a noise behind him. He thought it sounded like steam escaping from somewhere, but then to his dismay realized it was the musiaans behind him who were hissing. Often his works have been booed. However, when the audience boo at him they are, if they are modern men, in reality boomg the logical conclusion of their own position as it strikes their ears in music. —Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There

Explaining Viticulture with Masonry

Jesus explains the vineyard by taking us to the stone quarry. He illustrates viticulture with masonry. It’s when you go to the construction site, that the farm is made sense of. When we turn from green living vines to cold hard stone, we understand the judgment that comes against the Jewish leaders. You cannot be fruitful unless you have a massive stone in your garden.

The leaders abuse everything that is “His,” that is, the owner’s. They withhold “his fruit,” beat, kill, and stone “his servants,” and murder “his son,” because they want “his (now the son’s) inheritance.” Indeed the only thing they can do is abuse “his” stuff, because all that they have has been given to them. Sin is always stealing. The sinner always has to borrow to rebel. How does masonry explain this? Let me illustrate it like this, as characters in a story, all that the tenants have is given to them by the author. If Jesus doesn’t think it up, it does not exist. Likewise, God is the author of the story we find ourselves in. If He does not speak it, it simply isn’t. All that is, is through and for the Son (Colossians 1:15-20). The leaders want to keep the stuff in the story, and murder the Author. They want to remain part of the cabinet while assassinating the president. They want to reject the Cornerstone, of all that is, expecting all to still stand so that they can have it for themselves. They are just like Adam. We are just like them. We all want to be God, so God must die.

This is the insanity of sin. As Francis Schaffer said, we are trying to plant both feet firmly in mid air. We want the lamp to put out light, but hate the idea of plugging it in. When you rebel against light what else can you expect but darkness? When you hate the God of all wisdom, folly is your lot. When you rebel against life, there is only death. We are worse than physicists who reject the existence of atoms, or carpenters who reject wood. We want all that is His without the Him, but without the Him there is nothing. Jesus is the foundation to everything. Build all you want in the make-believe world of sin, but it won’t stand. Reject Jesus and you will find nothing under your feet, only a bottomless pit. The Pharisees want the castle while rejecting the only foundation that can support it. You cannot have the kingdom while rejecting the King. God’s reign of salvation has come in Jesus. He is its Cornerstone. This is God’s doing. May it be marvelous in our eyes.