Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Wisdom of Rabbi Duncan



He wasn't really a Rabbi.  He was a 19th century Presbyterian pastor & theologian in Scotland.  But he got the nickname "Rabbi Duncan" through his love for the Hebrew language and the Jewish people.

He was born on earth in 1796, and he was welcomed into heaven on February 26, 1870.

Enjoy some of his wisdom:

Who was he, and in what order?...

  • "I am first a Christian, next a catholic, then a Calvinist, fourth a paedobaptist, and fifth a Presbyterian. I cannot reverse this order."

Speaking to a church member who was not wanting to take communion because of her sin, even though she had truly repented...

  • "Take it, woman, it’s for sinners!” 

Referring to a pastor who seemed to have a poor grasp on the gospel...

  • "Robertson believed that Christ did something or other, which, somehow or other, had some connexion or other with salvation."


About Plato & the mind of man & the moral law...

  • "Platonism is the grandest effort of the unaided mind of main; but truth, according to Plato’s loftiest conceptions, was only an abstraction, a thing...  Revelation introduces us to One who can say, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.' Platonism has to do with it — Christianity with Him."
  • "The Christian Fathers found salvation only in Christ; but they had a bleeding heart for Plato, whose philosophy one of them called ‘a sigh for Christ.’"
  • "My heart bleeds when I think of Plato. God keeps in the consciences of men a knowledge and feeling of obligation to moral law, in some much more than others. And so such heathen philosophers were God’s scavengers to keep God’s prison-house clean — ‘My prison-house is not to be allowed to be so dirty as you would make it.’"

About Arminianism and Hyper-Calvinism...

  • "Hyper-Calvinism is all house and no door; Arminianism is all door and no house."

About sin & the curse & salvation...

  • "Sin is the infinitely horrible, the Curse is the infinitely terrible, and salvation from that horrible is not enough without salvation from that terrible, while deliverance from that terrible is impossible without salvation from that horrible."

Comparing the New Testament to the writings of the early church...

  • "It is a grand evidence for the inspiration of the Apostles, that the theology of the post-Apostolic fathers is so puerile. That cannot be accounted for on any other principle than the inspiration of the Apostles. God created the world, and infant philosophy began; God created the Bible, and infant theology began."

A family conversation...

  • [Duncan speaking to his 9 month old grandson] “You are a little sinner.”... another family member: "He is not responsible.”... Duncan:  “He is responsible, but I hope he has a Sponsor.”
On Christ...
  • "Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine. There is no getting out of this trilemma. It is inexorable."

On the Psalms...
  • “We may in the Church have need of a few hymns to bring out the facts of the New Testament; but certainly for the elements of personal religion in all respects, there is nothing to be compared to the Psalms of David. There, there are outbursts of Divine seraphic love; there [are] moanings of distress, the deep groans of penitence; there we trace a wonderful susceptibility of what they beautifully call ‘the light of Jehovah’s face’: how they wail when it is hid, rejoice when He causes it to shine on them, how they improve it, and how they give thanks for it. Every one of these notes was, in the ground-work, prepared in the Torah … I am more inclined than I once was, to admit the utility of our having a few Hymns, for expressing the clearer objective revelation of the great facts of Christ’s history and work. But no Hymn-book I have seen gives every phrase of subjective religion with the fullness, distinctness, and appropriateness of the Psalms. Whether it be the celebration of the Divine excellences, or the deep-toned voice of penitence, or the longing of the soul after God, the rejoicing in the light of His countenance, or thanksgiving for His mercies – in short, every emotion of the renewed heart Godwards, finds adequate expression in the Book of Psalms.” 


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