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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gordon H. Clark on Emotions

"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 "All these evil things come from within and defile a man." (Mark 7:21-23 NKJV)

Clark does not neglect the emotions.  Of course, people do terrible things in fits of rage, passion, etc.  But Clark contends that the effects of original sin extend not just to the mind (noetic effects of sin) but to the emotions as well.  You cannot at the same moment experience two conflicting choices of the will--which are influenced by the emotions.  You could, however, vacillate back and forth between the two contradicting volitional actions.  I forget where but Clark points out in another place that emotions in and of themselves are not commendable.  If love is an emotion, so is hate.  And if it is feeling that matters, why would not hate or grief apply rather than love?  But love is defined in 1 John as obedience.   (1 John 5:2-3).

From the thesis that man by his own efforts cannot satisfy God’s requirements, Pratt draws the erroneous conclusion that “the attention of everyone desiring salvation – since it was vain to center it on thought or deed or will – was inevitably fixed on feeling. Feeling indeed could help – the feeling of one’s own devilishness and despair – and nothing else could” (149). With this interpretation of the situation Pratt disparages Bunyan’s conversion.

To straighten out Pratt’s misunderstandings of Protestant theology would complicate the discussion too greatly. One point that lies on the surface is enough to mention. Since the Protestant thesis is that man by his own efforts cannot satisfy God’s requirements, it would follow that feeling and emotion could be of no more help than thought or deed or will. Thus the need of gracious divine help would of itself no more require attention to feelings than to thoughts and deeds.

Gordon H. Clark. Religion, Reason and Revelation (Kindle Locations 417-425). The Trinity Foundation.


There are many examples of sadness and sorrow in the Bible. In Matthew 26:38 Jesus said, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.” If someone should ask, Was Jesus’ sorrow an emotion? many people would answer, Yes. But if someone should ask, Was Jesus’ sorrow emotional? many people would say, No; and others would be confused. The one person in all the Bible who seems to be the least emotional is Jesus himself. He walks with a calm dignity, and even a detachment, among both friends and enemies. He did not commit himself, even to those who believed on his name, because he knew all men and he knew what was in man. Jesus preached; but he never staged a rip-snorting evangelistic service.

Gordon H. Clark (2013-03-04T05:00:00+00:00). What Is The Christian Life? (Kindle Locations 2117-2122). The Trinity Foundation. Kindle Edition. 

By the way, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is part of the Anglican Formularies (Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal).  In the prayer of confession at the Lord's table we find that we confess as a publicly assembled body of believers that we have sinned in thought, word and deed:


Then shall the Priest say to them that come to receive the holy Communion,

YE that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, meekly kneeling upon your knees.

Then shall this general Confession be made, in the name of all those that are minded to receive the holy Communion, by one of the Ministers; both he and all the people kneeling humbly upon their knees, and saying,

ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Order of the Administration of the Lord's Supper.
This is where many Presbyterian and Puritan churches today are missing a significant part of their heritage:  Reformed theology taught through a solidly biblical liturgy.   (Mark 7:21-23).   Let's not forget that Scripture most often defines the heart as the equivalent to the mind since it is the heart that thinks and wills.  The "heart" in Scripture includes the whole inner soul of a man, not simply unthinking feelings and emotions.  (Proverbs 23:7).

Even Clark acknowledges, however, that the Bible does mention emotions frequently:

Not all the emotions in the Bible are so happy. When the Magi rejoiced with exceeding great joy, Herod was wroth; and soon after in Ramah there was a voice heard of lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning. But I guess this does not apply to evangelism.

Gordon H. Clark (2013-03-04T05:00:00+00:00). What Is The Christian Life? (Kindle Locations 2112-2114). The Trinity Foundation. Kindle Edition.

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