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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

Rom. 13:13 does not appear in any of the standard lists of evangelistic passages Christians memorize for use in personal witness.  It’s not in The Roman Road, The Four Spiritual Laws, or the diagnostic questions of Evangelism Explosion.  But it was the key to Augustine’s moment of realizing that salvation was by grace, not by his own continually failing efforts.  The key phrase is “put on Christ.”  Don’t just keep trying; put your full trust in Christ, in His merits, in His efforts.  Here in a villanelle is the famous scene where the future saint heard a child’s voice chanting “Take up and read,” and he opened his Bible to that verse.  The rest, as they say, is history.

St. Augustine much later, as a bishop

THE CONVERSION OF AUGUSTINE

Commentary, Rom. 13:13

The Voice cried out in answer to his need

To take the plunge, to be converted now,

Singing, “Tolle, lege, take and read.”

For years he’d stumbled over the hard creed

Of Jesus in the flesh—who could see how?

But nothing less would answer to his need.

His mother’s prayers were destined to succeed

Through Ambrose’ preaching, his own quest, and Thou

Singing, “Tolle, lege, take and read.”

“But can you live without us? They would plead—

His mistresses—as if to disallow

The Voice that cried in answer to his need.

“Yes!  Rather put on Christ who came to bleed

And make no plans the field of flesh to plow.”

Such was the answer he took up to read.

At last the Hound of Heaven had him treed,

Weeping, broken, and prepared to bow.

The Voice cried out in answer to his need,

Singing, “Tolle, lege, take and read.”

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

On his way to be burnt at the stake for the  Gospel, English Reformer Hugh Latimer turned to his companion Nicholas Ridley and said, “Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man, and we shall this day light such a candle in England as by God’s grace shall never be put out.”  It would almost be worthwhile being martyred to be remembered for a fiery pun like that!  (I said “almost”; don’t get any ideas.)  What makes his courage and defiance especially impressive is that at that moment the future of the light of the Gospel in England looked very dark.  There was no reason to expect that Bloody Mary’s persecution would not extinguish it forever—except one’s faith in the sovereignty and faithfulness of God.

Latimer at the Stake

LATIMER

The more they smothered it, the more it burned

With courage and unconquerable will,

A candle that could never be put out:

It was a blazing soul which only yearned

To sow the seed of light, and then to till

The soil until the fruit shone all about.

 

He saw what only men of faith can see:

“Play the man, and by God’s grace we will,”

He said, the promise burning through his doubt,

“Light such a candle as shall never be

Put out!”

Hugh Latimer

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

With the long vacation of summer dawning and no international trip planned for this year, I will be more free to move around the country to speak or preach for the next three months.  So I thought I would remind you of what I have to offer.

3R MINISTRIES

Renaissance:  The restoration of the life of the mind;

Reformation:  The restoration of sound doctrine;

Revival:  The restoration of vital Christian spirituality.

Donald T. Williams, PhD:  Pastor, Professor, Writer, Speaker, Apologist

Renaissance—a restoration of the life of the mind; Reformation—a restoration of sound doctrine; Revival—a restoration of vital Christian spirituality.  These are the three great movements of God we desperately need in our generation.  And our great mistake is to believe that you can have the last one without the first two.”  —  Donald T. Williams

Donald T. Williams, PhD, is one of the foremost apologists and Christian thinkers you may not have heard of.  What makes him unique?  He is a border dweller, camped out on the border between fields of theology and literature, the border between pastoral ministry and serious scholarship, and the border between this world, Narnia, and Middle Earth.

Pastor, professor, and poet, theologian, apologist, and cultural critic, Williams is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College in the hills of NE Georgia.  He also serves as Scholar in Residence for Summit Ministries and has served as a pastoral trainer for rural pastors in places like Uganda, Kenya, and India for Church Planting International. He is past president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics.  Williams is the author of eleven books, including Mere Humanity: G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and Jr. R. R. Tolkien on the Human Condition (Nashville: Broadman, 2006), Inklings of Reality: Essays Toward a Christian Philosophy of Letters (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2012), Reflections From Plato’s Cave: Essays in Evangelical Philosophy (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2012), Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), and An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018).  His articles appear frequently in popular magazines such as Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity and Christian Research Journal as well as various scholarly journals.  He is also one of the featured “talking heads” in the popular recent apologetics video “Mining for God” (www.miningforgod.com).

Donald T. Williams

Williams speaks frequently for churches, colleges, Christian schools, home school groups, campus ministries, and other ministries.  Popular topics include “The Theology of Tolkien’s Middle Earth,” “Why We Lost the Culture War, and How to Make a Comeback,” “Worldviews in Literature,” “The Problem of Evil,” “True Truth: Why We Need to Remember Francis Schaeffer,” and “The Validity of Lewis’s ‘Trilemma.’”  His preaching is expository, in the tradition of men like D. Marty Lloyd-Jones.

To book Dr. Williams for your church, school, or group, contact him at dtw@tfc.edu.

3R Ministries:  Renaissance; Reformation; Revival!

 Donald T. Williams, PhD

381 Talmadge Drive, Toccoa, Ga. 30577;  dtw@tfc.edu

 

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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

 In Acts 17:23 Paul noticed that the Greeks worshiped God in ignorance and even had an altar to the “unknown god.”  In Romans 1:23 he explained why they did not know God; they had rejected true knowledge of Him.  In Colossians 2:9 he shows where the true knowledge of God lies—in Christ, “for in Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.”  The Greeks’ knowledge of God had become fragmented into bits and pieces that were less than true deity. Christ shows what they would look like in their original unity.

COMMENTARY, ACTS 17:23, ROM. 1:23, COL. 2:9

The ancients worshiped what they did not know:

Corruptible men and beasts and creeping things

Enthroned in splendor, deathless.  From below,

They scaled the sky with such imaginings,

But for that trip they needed stronger wings.

The glimpses filled their hearts with holy dread;

They could not see the way the King of kings

Joined all the scattered hints into one Head:

Atropos, who snips thread after thread;

Poseidon, master of the raging sea;

Hera of the hearth and marriage bed;

Live-giving power of Persephone;

Aphrodite’s beauty; Ares’ might;

Zeus’s thunder; and Apollo’s light.

The Word

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

A POLEMIC

On the Origins of Post-Modern Criticism

For David Hume

David Hume

(The radical Empiricism of the Endarkenment entails treating the Good as an abstraction, rejecting Truth for fact, and reducing the Beautiful to a subjective response.  Thus it undercuts the docere of Literature, leaving us only with a truncated diligere.  This epistemology applied to Art can only lead to Aestheticism, which inevitably degenerates into Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, and Deconstruction.  Once the actual Values of the Sages have thus been destroyed, they can now be replaced with Marxism, Feminism, Freudianism, or whatever other Ism we wish to impose on Texts left defenseless by the death of Truth.  To get beyond this impasse, we must abandon the skeptical philosophy that produced it as question-begging Nonsense.)

 

That skeptic, David Hume,

Gained philosophic fame

Committing to the fume

Of metaphoric flame

Whole libraries of pages

By metaphysic sages.

 

Unless it could be measured

By his empiric wit,

It never could be treasured,

And so, away with it!

Mere sophistry, illusion,

Divinity ( ! ), confusion.

 

Augustine and Aquinas,

Isaiah, Moses, Paul,

Nothing but a minus;

Better burn them all:

The penalty for treason

Against enlightened “Reason.”

 

Erasmus, Calvin, Luther,

Dante, Milton, Spenser:

What could be uncouther,

More worthy of a censor?

Life seen through the prism

Of rank empiricism.

 

To keep them as purveyors

Of just imagination

Is but to be betrayers

Of all their conversation:

Dead, white, oppressive pigs

For mere aesthetic prigs.

 

Good critics can’t arise

From bad philosophy.

It should be no surprise

That we have come to be

Despisers of the True—

Of Goodness, Beauty, too.

 

If only what the senses

Can see or smell or feel

Is able to convince us

That it is really real,

How’d the sensation grow

That tells us this is so?

 

We’d really like to know.

Dr. Williams being unimpressed by Hume’s arguments.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD