Not many of you are going to know this next influence, but he has been one of the largest contributors to my life simply because he is one of my best friends.
Benjamin Joffe is from the greater Atlanta area, growing up in Lawrenceville, Georgia Benjamin then went onto Berry College, and then to Mercer University to study Law. Since graduating with his Law degree and beginning his own law firm in Rome, Georgia Benjamin is now doing more graduate work at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Benjamin and I met during the summer of 2004 when we both worked at Camp Winshape (now Winshape Camps). We became friends that summer but it wasn’t until the summer of 2006 when we both worked at Camp Winshape again that we became best friends. We both the outdoors (note the pic above of us during on of our hikes), we both love God’s sovereignty, and because of him I now have a deeper and greater understanding of holiness.
Benjamin is very zealous about personal holiness, so much so, that some people call him legalistic – which is COMPLETELY ridiculous because he never once has indicated any legalistic tendencies to me. I think the reason some people have called him such nonsense is because his life makes them uncomfortable because he does actually do what says he does. His talk matches his walk, his life matches his lips. This will always make people uncomfortable.
There is one grand reason I have been influenced by him: he is not only passionate for his own holiness, he is passionate about holiness in others. Until I met Benjamin I never saw a living example of a person pursuing holiness in the life of someone else. He pursued (still does) it in me, and I am better for it. Is this not what a real friendship is supposed to be about? A robust, Biblical understanding that friends won’t let other friends fall away or get lazy with their faith? Indeed it is. His Biblical warrant for such notions comes from the example of Phinehas in Numbers 25 when he speared two people through because he was grieved for their sin being “as zealous as God was for His own glory.” (Numbers 25:11) In response to Phinehas’ zeal Benjamin has taught me that we’re to be as zealous for holiness/against sin not only in our own life, but in the lives of those around us. If we really love and care for them, shouldn’t we be doing this anyway?
Apart from his zeal for personal holiness, Benjamin has taught me a great deal about the way we come to God’s Word saying:
“Anytime that we read the Bible we make conclusions about God and man, how you make those conclusions determines everything. We want to come to conclusions about everything based on what the Bible says, not what we may think or what we want to be true or what we heard, no matter the cost to us.”
He has also taught me much concerning the Biblical doctrine of Total Depravity:
“If a lion is in a cage, and you put before him a bowl of meat, and a bowl of wheat, which one will the lion choose to eat? You will probably answer that the lion will always choose the meat, he would never choose the wheat, because lion’s don’t eat wheat, that is who they are. You’re right, a lion will always eat the meat because of who they are. Total Depravity is like this, in that our nature, using it’s freedom of choice, will only choose sin. Why? That is who we are, sinners. It must take an act outside of ourselves to change what is going on inside of ourselves and give us the ability and desire to yearn for something alien to our nature.”
I am eternally grateful/thankful for Benjamin’s friendship. I am the man I am (largely) today because of his influence and friendship.