The Reformed Worldview: Some Books are Meant to be Burned – Rev.S. Key

SB-July-2015-Synod-IssueThe July 2015 issue of The Standard Bearer is out and while this issue is the annual PRC Synod issue – complete with a recap of its decisions and plenty of pictures of the men and their work, – there is more to this issue than synodical matters.

Rev.S. Key returns to his rubric “Reformed Worldview” to pen another article on “Truth and Its Consequences, this time addressing “The History of the Concept Worldview.” At the outset he reminds us what the Reformed worldview is:

We last saw that the Reformed worldview is one that has us living in willing subjection to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  He Who has purchased us with His precious blood also owns us body and soul.  There is not an aspect of our lives that falls outside the scope of His Lordship.

But it is His work of grace in our hearts that brings us into willing subjection to Him.  The Lord of glory Who owns us also lives in us!  He rules over us — not by force, but by the impelling power of His love as His Holy Spirit sheds that love abroad in our hearts.  Christ’s rule, therefore, is a rule of grace in us who are His.

That life of Christ in us brings a profound change.

…By “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Cor. 4:6) the perspective of the children of God is changed in every respect.  Their worldview is completely changed under the influence of the gospel of their salvation in Christ Jesus.  Their understanding of God has changed.  Their view of themselves has radically changed, as has their view of the world and their own relationship to the world.  To use the language of Acts 19:20, the Word of God will be seen prevailing over the thoughts that once had governed us and the behavior that characterized our lives apart from the gospel.

And then he takes us to one such example of this profound change – the new Ephesian Christians, who as part of their repentance burned their books that were tied to their former idolatrous life:

A new perspective, a new worldview, marks those who are new creatures in Christ.  So verse 19 records, “Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”

That we have here evidence of true conversion is demonstrated in verse 18.  The faith worked in them by the Word of God brought the conviction of sin to their hearts.  They were given to see the nature of the sin in which they had been involved.  It was idolatry.  They saw it as the offense against God that it was.  They knew that the kingdom of God was closed to any ensnared in idolatry, and that the only salvation was salvation through the Christ Whom Paul preached, the Lord Jesus, sent from God to pay the

Thus, we read, they “came, and confessed, and showed their deeds.”  Willingly, in heartfelt repentance, they proved the honesty of their sorrow of heart, by confessing their sins.  They acknowledged the folly to which they had given themselves.  They grieved their wickedness, and devoted themselves to renouncing it forever.

But their repentance was not mere words.  They took all the instruments of their sin, the books in which they had invested great sums of money and time, and made a bonfire out of them.  The text tells us that this was an act of great cost.  “Fifty thousand pieces of silver” was the value of those books.  No matter how you count that silver, whether the Roman denarius or the Jewish shekel, we’re talking thousands of dollars worth of books going up in flames.

Added to the price of the books was the cost of their reputation in the eyes of their neighbors.  After all, “magic and sorcery, witchcraft and superstition, charms and incantations, ‘portents’ and the interpretation of dreams were deeply woven into the tissue of Roman life.”[1]  These new Christians, by their actions, were marking themselves in the eyes of their peers as lunatics, crazy extremists.

But that cost was little in their eyes compared to the price that Jesus paid for them.

Consider the testimony that these actions gave in that city where so much value was given to magic and superstition and the worship of Diana.

“What are you doing?  Those books are valuable!”

“No, they’re not valuable to us any more.  We have seen the folly of them.  We now belong to Him Who alone has power over death, and Who alone holds the future in His hands.  His name is Jesus.  Let us tell you about Him.”

[1]Will Durant, Caesar and Christ, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1972, p. 388.

What about our own worldview? Is it Reformed, that is, biblical? Does it bear the marks of these new Christian in Ephesus? Do we have any books that need burning because of the idolatry of which they are a part?

May we think about how our worldview is influencing our own lives.

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