on Love, Liberty, and Christian Conscience by Randy Jaeggli

I read this book by my good friend Jaeggli today. We were in grad school together, sharing many classes, most notably the unofficial ‘Snack Shop Theology’. I have always appreciated Randy’s godly testimony and level-headed thinking. He doesn’t get rattled like some of us excitable types.

This little book has just been published as one of a series called “Biblical Discernment for Difficult Issues”. The subject is of great interest to me, see my series of posts on my Sunday AM sermons this summer. My son, Duncan, sent me an autographed copy today! The book is a scant 58 pages. I wish it was longer, but the purpose of this series is to provide short works on timely topics. [The BJU press listing says it is 72 pp, but that includes all the empty pages at front and back of the book, including the preface. I suppose that is standard procedure, but the actual work is just 58 pp.]

The book’s title gives a fair summary of the contents. The bulk of the book, and the longest chapter, is a thorough discussion of the conscience, working through the scriptural development of the notion in a thorough and scholarly manner, while remaining fairly accessible for the non-academic reader. It is of especial value to a pastor who would like a well-worked out argument for the topic.

The chapters are:
1. Introduction
2. Misunderstanding Legalism
3. The Role of Conscience
4. The Nature of True Liberty
5. Conclusion

The second chapter, Misunderstanding Legalism, gives a good discussion of the use and misuse of the term. Randy argues for defending the meaning of the term, but, while I thoroughly agree with him, it seems that the evangelicals have totally co-opted ‘legalism’ for their own pejorative ends.

The fourth chapter is the one I wish was longer, but what is said is biblical and helpful. Randy’s points in this chapter are ‘True liberty includes restraint’ and ‘True liberty produces increased knowledge of Christ’. He closes the chapter with this sentence:

True liberty allows the believer to see Christ as He is and grow in the ability to reflect Christ’s image to a world that is perishing in sin.

Aside from wishing for more in the fourth chapter, I also was hoping to see some engagement of Fee’s comments on 1 Cor 8-10, comments which are replicated in Tom Constable’s Notes. I have been somewhat taken with Fee’s view of the meat offered to idols and would like to get the point of view of someone with more academic insight than I have. I guess I’ll just have to write him and ask him what he thinks!

All in all, I recommend this little work as a valuable contribution to the subject of Christian liberty from a thoroughly fundamentalist perspective. I am glad that the Bob Jones Seminary is taking the initiative to publish works like this. This is the second of the series, the first being Ken Casillas’ Law and the Christian, The: God’s Light Within God’s Limits.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

For summaries of my summer series on Legalism and Liberty, check

here,
here,
here,
here,
here,
here,
here,
here and
here.

Comments

  1. Kent Brandenburg says:

    You’re an excitable type? Does that mean you’re more combative?

  2. Don Johnson says:

    Alas, sometimes it does.

    I try to keep things on an even keel and not let the natterings of others get to me, but…

    Regards,
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

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