Sermons Are Not For Liking – Sermons are for listening, they are for discerning, they are for applying, but they are not for liking.
Let There Be Light – Charles Spurgeon gave special attention to achieving truthful integration of biblical doctrine in his preaching ministry. He believed this was a special stewardship for the preacher.
All knowledge of God rests on revelation. Though we can never know God in the full richness of his being, he is known to all people through his revelation in creation, the theater of his glory. The world is never godless. In the end there are no atheists; there is only argument about the nature of God. The recognition is universal of a power greater than human beings themselves, to whom they owe piety. – Herman Bavinck
History is not a matter of indifference in a single religion, but Christianity itself is and creates a history. Precisely because it is the perfect, absolute, and definitive religion, it is and has to be a historical religion. The reason is that Christianity regards sin not as ignorance, which can easily be overcome by some enlightenment, but as an appalling power, which produces its effects throughout the cosmos; and over against this power it brings reconciliation and redemption in the deepest and broadest sense of those terms. It brings redemption from the guilt and the stain, from all the consequences of sin, from the errors of the intellect and the impurity of the heart, from the death of soul and body. It brings that redemption not only to the individual but also, organically, to the family and generations of families, to people and society, to humanity and the world. For that reason Christianity has to be a history, rooted in facts, producing facts. The facts are the skeletal system of Christianity; specifically, the cross and the resurrection of Christ are the two mainstays on which the Christian faith rests. When that gospel is preached purely, it always includes those facts; and when the preaching of that gospel is blessed and effects faith and conversion, then, in the religious experience of sin and grace, the divinity of this history is sealed. For if Christ did not die and was not raised from the dead, our faith is vain. Those facts, accordingly, are not events that took place at some time in the past and have now lost their significance. They do not stand between us and God, keeping us separate from him. “To the New Testament writers this concentration of faith upon the historic realities of redemption does not in the least interfere with its personal character as a direct act of trust in God and in Christ. The Person is immanent in the facts, and the facts are the revelation of the Person.” – Herman Bavinck
New Theme Song for Prosperity Preachers – Courtesy of Pirate Christian Radio by way of Apprising Ministries. If you are a faithful “Prosperity Abomigospel” follower, you will not like the implications of this song, just sayin’.
Let me grant, in the first place, that the believer cannot cite a deeper ground for revelation than its divine authority, which he or she recognizes by faith. But this is not to say that believers have nothing to say to the opponents of that revelation. True: they have no airtight proofs; they cannot move the opponent toward faith; but they have at least as much to say in defending as the opponent has in attacking scriptural authority. Unbelief, too, is rooted, not in proofs and arguments, but in the heart. In this respect believers and unbelievers are in exactly the same position. Their convictions are integrally bound up with their whole personality and are only a posteriori supported by proofs and arguments. And now, when the two parties oppose each other with these a posteriori proofs and arguments, the position of believers is not less favorable than that of unbelievers. God is sufficiently knowable to those who seek him and also sufficiently hidden to those who run away from him. “There is enough light for those who only desire to see and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition. There is enough clarity to illumine the elect and enough darkness to humble them. There is enough darkness to render the reprobate sightless and enough clarity to condemn them and to render them inexcusable.” The state of religion, theism, revelation, and Scripture is not as hopeless as science has for years wanted us to believe. – Herman Bavinck
Counterfeit Sanctification – Sanctification isn’t easy—it takes faithfulness, hard work, and self-discipline. And even then, it’s not purely a function of your will, but the work of the Holy Spirit in you. It’s not manufactured overnight.
The testimony of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers is found not to be a new revelation or communication of unknown truths. It is essentially distinct from prophecy and inspiration; it only causes us to understand the truth that exists outside and independently of us as truth and therefore confirms and seals it in the human consciousness. – Herman Bavinck
– Apologetics cannot precede faith and does not attempt a priori to argue the truth of revelation. It assumes the truth and belief in the truth. It does not, as the introductory part or as the foundational science, precede theology and dogmatics. It is itself a theological science through and through, which presupposes the faith and dogmatics and now maintains and defends the dogma against the opposition to which it is exposed. Thus understood, apologetics is not only perfectly justified but a science that at all times, but especially in this century, deserves to be seriously practiced and can spread rich blessing all around. First of all, it has the immediate advantage of forcing Christian theology to take deliberate account of the grounds on which it is based, of the principles on which it is constructed, and of the content it has within itself. It brings Christian theology out of the shadows of the mysticism of the human heart into the full light of day. Apologetics, after all, was the first Christian science. Secondly, it teaches that Christians, even though they cannot confer faith on anyone, need not hide from their opponents in embarrassed silence. With their faith they do not stand as isolated aliens in the midst of the world but find support for it in nature and history, in science and art, in society and state, in the heart and conscience of every human being. The Christian worldview alone is one that fits the reality of the world and of life. And finally, if it seriously and scrupulously performs its task, it will very definitely succeed in impressing opponents with the truth of Christian revelation, refuting and silencing them. It cannot truly convert people to God. Not even the preaching of the gospel is able to do that; only God, by his Spirit, can accomplish that. But subject to this working of God, and as a means in his hand, apologetics, like the ministry of the Word, can be a source of consummate blessing. For this fact the early centuries of Christianity offer abundant evidence.
– Doubt and distrust in the cause we champion renders us powerless in the battle.
– Experience is crucial to all religion, but in Christianity it must be prompted by the Word of God, accompany and follow faith, not precede it, and always be subject to correction by Scripture. Scripture, not experience, is the norm for our faith.