Tuesday, May 20, 2008

'This One Thing I do' John Brown of Broughton Place - XXXIII

Dr. John Brown followed Discourses and Sayings with a volume on Our Lord’s high Priestly Prayer. Entitled ‘An Exposition of Our Lord’s Intercessory Prayer’, it did not enjoy the same sales as ‘Discourses and sayings’, but like all of Brown’s works, it combined accurate interpretation of the Scripture with warmth of devotion. All too often the accurate exposition of the Word is disjoined from devotional warmth, so that preachers who stick by the text seem at times to be more like dispassionate lecturers, and preachers who preach with passion seem to ignore the accurate exposition of the text. Dr. Lloyd-Jones defined preaching as ‘logic on fire’. Too often those who consciously or unconsciously model themselves on the Doctor remember the logic and forget the fire. John Brown had both in good measure.

He note that few expositions have ever been written on Our Lord’s prayer in John 17. The reason for this, Brown felt, was that men reach the chapter, and “the disposition to inquire is lost in the resistless impulse to adore.”

He followed it in December 1851 with a volume entitled ‘The Resurrection of Life’, which was an exposition of 1 Corinthians 15. Like his other books, it was a preacher’s book, a volume of expositions that not only explained the text, but applied it. Brown’s works were all designed to feed the whole man, not simply the intellectual or devotional impulses. The doctrine of the resurrection is of course one of the most important in Christianity. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come, and any work that expounds that is welcome. The denial of the resurrection is one of the oldest of heresies, and the influence of Greek philosophies have often tended to make the doctrine one that is little preached. John Brown took it head on.

While John Brown published many books on the Scriptures, it will be easily seen that his area of interest was the exposition of the New Testament. His expository writings consisted almost entirely of expositions of the New Testament. The one exception to this was his next book, ‘The Sufferings and Glories of the Messiah’. This consisted of expositions of Psalm 18 and Isaiah 53. He had been planning the book for more than thirty years, but it was only in 1852 that he finally got it into a form suitable for publication. Again he demonstrated that he was an extremely able exegete, of the Old and New Testaments. He revealed that he had little confidence in his ability to write (as opposed to preach) on the Old Testament. In fact his ability with the Hebrew was very good, just not on a level with his Greek.
The Old Testament witness to Christ is clear, and Isaiah 53 is certainly the plainest testimony to the sufferings of Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures. Brown declared in this book that Christ is the Old Testament Messiah.

His next book would be one of his greatest, of which more, God willing, next time.



Post a Comment

<< Home