30 December 2009

Clowney: The Unfolding Mystery

For a fascinating and clarifying look at how several of the Old Testament saints pointed toward Christ, it's hard to beat Ed Clowney's The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament (P & R, 1988). I remember Bryan Chapell in a homiletics course at Covenant Seminary speaking of how Dr. Clowney, who went to be with the Lord a few years ago, was for many years a lone voice crying for Christ-centered preaching in evangelical and reformed pulpits. It is striking to see how his influence, under God, has spread in recent decades, and continues to. I've found the iTunes course he taught in 2001 at RTS ('Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World,' with Tim Keller) very helpful.

Here's a good statement that gives a sense of the flavor of the book, in the course of comparing the testing in Eden with Christ's testing in the wilderness.

Adam and Eve tempted God by daring Him, as it were, to carry out His threatened punishment, for disobedience. Satan wanted Christ to challenge God's faithfulness in a much less direct way, but he wanted Him to act on doubt of the same kind. There would be no other reason to leap from the Temple roof except to determine, once and for all, whether God would keep His promise. To Eve, Satan essentially said, 'Eat, you will not surely die--for God has lied to you.' To Christ he said, 'Jump, You will not surely die--unless God has lied to you.' (pp. 30-31; emphasis original)

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