I was talking with my wife about C.S. Lewis recently and she made an observation that I thought was quite engaging. She said that she had read that Lewis had wondered whether The Screwtape Letters would be complete without a companion work from the Heavenly perspective. My wife went on to state that Lewis finally decided against such a project. The Heavenly perspective was beyond our ken. I began to think of all sorts of connections. We simply cannot think the thoughts of the celestial beings in the presence of Almighty God. For one thing, though they are created, they are unfallen. I also thought that a book about cherubim and seraphim carrying out the decrees of the Heavenly Father (as opposed to the devils and the directives of their father below) would get too close to transgressing the distinction between our ectypal knowledge and the divine archetype. As the Protestant Scholastic theologians observed (following Medieval precedent), we can only engage in “our theology” (theology nostra), our theology on the way to the heavenly city (theologia viatorum). Still, for those who love the insights of C.S. Lewis, the wish for such a book can remain strong. Never mind, we have something better, the divine condescension, adapted to our creaturely, fallen understanding: the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

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The Bible, of course, is not a systematic presentation of theological data. Rather, it is the record of God’s redemptive revelation. Or, to put it in another way, it is a record of redemptive history. It is the historical record of what God has done–his redemptive acts, and also of what he has said. In other words, we find in the Bible not only the mighty acts of God, but also his own interpretation of those acts. There is much emphasis today on the idea that revelation is event or act, and that propositions are not revelational. A study of the Bible itself reveals a combination of both.

Morton Smith, Systematic Theology: Volume 1 (Greenville, SC: Greenville Seminary Press, 1994), 39.

This story shouldn’t surprise us. Why should we expect better from an unbeliever who makes such an ostentatious pretense at standing like a pillar in Christ’s church? The sooner we recognize that this is the behavior of scoffers outside of Christ, the better. Though I am tempted to say we can simply ignore Schori and other scornful unbelievers playing at church, I see there is one important lesson here. As I observed on a previous story, many continue to delude themselves that they are in Christ’s church when they complacently attend the false ceremonies and gatherings of institutions run by ministers-in-name-only. Why keep on listening to the preaching of unconverted people? Why have your children baptized by scornful unbelievers? Why attend sham Eucharists presided over by those who openly condemn the Almighty, His Scriptures and His people? I’ve heard reasons but none of them are good. Tradition, family connections, social respectability, a proverbial “seat at the table” (seriously?!), influence, institutions, art and architecture. I think if you read the Bible, you’d find the Lord calling you away from all that. There is an even more pointed lesson in the so-called dissenting conservatives getting the boot from their church buildings, whether they’re in the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or The Episcopal Church. It’s this. The Lord may teach you the importance of Biblical Separation through the very unbelievers to which you so want to remain united. If you won’t come out, you will be forced out. So there is really a mercy in it after all. Leave behind the things that pass away (buildings, institutions, social respectability) and cling to the things that endure.