Heralds of the King
- Thursday, July 23, 2009
Dr. Clowney was simultaneously one of the most brilliant and gifted men I have ever known, and one of the most thoroughly unimpressed with himself. He was simply swept off his feet by the wonder of his Savior and his salvation, and the meeting of those realities in his life made him a theaterplace for God's glory. I have met few people like him. He walked like his Master because he walked with his Master and talked of his Master with little or no attention to himself. When I was still quite cynical about the particularities of Reformed theology, I remember thinking, If that man (meaning Ed Clowney) is what Reformed theology produces, then I want to understand it. I listened to others in the Reformed tradition and watched them and got the impression that Reformed theology fostered becoming a "brain on a stick." I listened to still other proponents of Reformed thinking and got the impression that to be "Reformed" was to become a warrior with a weapon, or that it was erudition plus scholarship plus obscurity, wed to formality, which produced eccentricity. In Dr. Edmund P. Clowney, I saw that God's truth more fully understood would make someone more fully like Christ as one more fully understood his Person and work in the wonder of the preached Word of God.
One experience of note has been memorable to me through the years of my privilege of opening the Word of God. I remember standing in front of Dr. Clowney in an early preaching class. When the sermon was over, he gently asked me, "Where was my Savior?" My memory has likely edited the experience significantly. But what followed seemed to be an interminable silence on my part and on the part of the rest of the students in the room. The reality of my having opened the Word of the Savior, designed to disclose the Savior, and having not spoken of the Savior settled on us all. I could only stammer and stutter, and Dr. Clowney very kindly removed the obvious agonizing pressure of conviction that was cutting me to the quick and politely asked to speak with me privately. He then quickly invited the next student to stand and preach, and the moment passed. But when I spoke with him privately, he pressed home the fact that I must never miss any occasion of preaching to proclaim the person of Jesus.
Often now when I enter a pulpit, I quietly ask, "Where is my Savior?"
I will be Ed Clowney's debtor for the first several billion years of eternity for having shown me much of what it means to be a pastor and a preacher who is truly in the Reformed tradition.
The Scripture: Genesis 17:1-141
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers."
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as a everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God."
Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not bee circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."
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