Monday, August 01, 2005

Roaring Branch, PA: The Vossed World

Geerhardus Vos: Life Between Two Worlds
I suppose an explanation for the blog title is due. Not only is it a play on words (The Lost World), but it's an attempt to take that play on words and apply it to our "evangelicalism's" failure to account for the semi-eschatological world that Vos understood so well. One of the most important essays, if not the most important essay, written about Vos and his legacy is this one by James Dennison. In it Dennison recounts the importance of Roaring Branch, Pennsylvania to the life and mind of Vos (and by extension, those of us who have richly benefited from his mind and pen): "It is at Roaring Branch that the world to come possesses Vos even as the Christ who possessed Geerhardus Vos wrought most powerfully, most effectively upon his mind and heart in that tiny mountain village."

Vos lived between the two worlds, between the already and the not yet. It was there he thought of himself as united to the first century Christians of the infant church. In his leisurely summer walks through Roaring Branch Vos traced the steps of Paul: "Living, then, in a world of semi-futurities there is every reason to expect that the thought of the earliest Christians should have moved backwards from the anticipated attainment in its fulness to the present partial experiences and interpreted these (experiences) in terms of the former (attainment in its fulness). Just as natural as it appears to us to regard eschatology the crown of soteriology, it must have felt to them to scan the endowments and enjoyments already in their possession as veritable precursors of the inheritance outstanding." -- Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology, pp. 43,44

If we are to rightly divide the Word that flows from THE WORD, we must find that road oft traveled in Roaring Branch and take our stroll with Vos in the already/not yet that is between two worlds: the Vossed World. It is there, in the Vossed World, that we will begin to regard "eschatology as the crown of soteriology" and we will begin to understand "the endowments and enjoyments already in our possession" as anticipatory of the Inheritance Outstanding, Christ himself.