You Still Need Teachers

Peter Leithart commenting on I John 2:27, “His anointing teaches you all things.”

“Christians have sometimes taken John’s statement out of this context and concluded they don’t need any human guidance or instruction. Even Christians who do not renounce teachers in principle act as if they don’t need any help, as if they the can survive and flourish in the Christian life without any instruction from anyone. The rebellious child who refuses to listen to his parents; the husband who won’t take counsel about how to deal with a troubled marriage; the young man with credit card debt who keeps trying to solve the problem without getting help: refusal to hear instruction is not a sign of spirituality, but a sign of arrogance, and a sure prescription for failure. Teachers are God’s gift to the church; we can’t prosper if we are contemptuous of God’s gifts.” (From Beyond the Veil, p. 104)

Seeing God

Peter Leithart notes that many Christians see God the Father as this cold, harsh, angry God who needs to be appeased by the kind, loving Jesus.  However, this separates what the Scriptures have joined together. In the Bible, Jesus is God. There are not two gods, one angry, one loving. There is one God. He is love. This love is seen as the Father sends the Son, the Son dies for his people, and the Spirit is poured out so that the people might love each other.

“You want to know what God is like, really? Take a look at the gospel. If you have seen Jesus, if you have seen him in the  manger, seen him tempted in the wilderness, seen  him passionately fighting the Pharisees who oppress his people, freely offering himself on the cross, powerfully rising again from the dead-when you have seen all this, you have seen God who is love.   Jesus did all of this out of his love for us, and because his Father sent him out of love. You want to see the love of God, read about Jesus. For whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father.”  (From Behind the Veil, p. 151)

A Profession of Faith is Not Enough

“Being in the light that is the life of the New Covenant requires more than a profession of faith. Several times John contrasts what people say with what is actually the case (I John 1:6-7, 2:10). We do not have fellowship with Christ merely by saying we have fellowship with him. We must not only say we have fellowship with Light, we must actually walk in the light, especially by living in fellowship and love with our brothers in the church.” (Peter Liethart, From Behind the Veil, p. 52)

Maybe It Wouldn’t Have Been So Great

How many of us have thought, if only I had been able to walk with Jesus to see his risen body, then I wouldn’t have to trust in anything but my own eyes.  Dr. Leithart effectively counters this argument in his commentary on I John. 

“We often think fondly of how wonderful it would have been to be alive in Palestine when Jesus was around.  We would not have to believe on the testimony of anyone else. We could have seen all those miracles with our own eyes.  We would not have to hear about people handling Jesus; we could have touched him with our own hands.  We could have sat with him at a meal.  But being there was not a guarantee of being a disciple.  Many saw the miracles and either denied them, or found some alternative explanation for them, or hated Jesus for stirring the pot. Many people touched Jesus only to lay hands on him to arrest and kill him.  Had we been there,we might well have been in the crowd clamoring to lynch him.” (Peter Leithart, Behind the Veil, p. 42)

Unity is Bloody

“We moderns think unity is easy. We only have to sit down and talk and everyone will rise from the conference table filled with the glow of love and peace.  The Bible knows this is a delusion.  Unity is costly, achieved only by the anguish of crucifixion.  Unity seems easy for us only because of the blood of Jesus, and the blood of many martyrs since.”  (Peter Leithart, Behind the Veil, p. 34-35)