I recently watched an exchange about fasting on a Reformed site. A person requesting advice on the issue was exhorted to simply fast and see what God reveals. I don't believe that's the best advice, but the next comment caught my attention.
"That's crazy talk. We're Reformed. We don't do things. We read about them!"
He was obviously being humorous, but the point was well taken. And the point has implications for both our doctrine and practice. We younger evangelicals who appreciate the Calvinistic formulation of divine sovereignty stand in unprecedented danger. The danger for our generation is to live off of our hero's doctrine and experiences. The resurgence in Calvinistic literature has created a resurgence in reading. And this resurgence has opened to our generation a portal through Church history which is rich in doctrinal and experiential content. I can easily stand with Whitefield as he thunders forth the Gospel to coal miners. I can listen for hours to the intercession of Howell Harris as he pours out his burden before the Lord. I can watch Carey lay down his life for the pagans of India.
But this isn't the end. I can study under Edwards, Hodge, and Owen. I can learn to preach from Spurgeon and Maclaren. The possibilities are only limited by my book allowance!
But this is exactly where danger enters. The danger is to spend the majority of my time living off the doctrine and experiences of other men. Instead of pressing into the Throne of Grace, I meet other men on their way out to hear stories of what it's like inside. Instead of spending hours pouring over Paul's argument in Ephesians, I send these men up on the mountain for me, and sit in awe as they descend to tell of the awesome majesty.
Yes I need Edwards. Yes I need Harris. I need them all. They make wonderful guides, but a poor vine. But don't you long to see the things they saw, and hear the things they heard?
"So let know, let us press on to know the Lord. For His going forth is as certain as the dawn" Hosea 6:3"