Round Up

Total Depravity Is A Deplorable Doctrine – I recognize the weight of the doctrine of “total depravity”, the first of John Calvin’s Five Points. It stresses the radical corruption of the human nature, rendering him incapable of exercising saving faith and repentance and obedience to God’s righteous commands. I understand it, and I hate it.

Christ Before Pilate –  [Pilate] might have guessed that this carpenter from Nazareth could make a table or a chair, but it never entered his mind that “by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him.” PDF Document

The Missing Ingredient In Many Sermons – I have seen this in some otherwise terrific sermons. Guys can be exegetically sound, communicate with clarity, illustrate with profundity, and then at the end of the sermon it tastes like grandma’s meatloaf: somewhat filling but not so memorable.

Five Truths About The Wrath Of God – We live in a day where we have set ourselves as the judge and God’s character is on trial. “How can hell be just?” “Why would God command the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites?” “Why does God always seem so angry?”

Quote:

I am dying willingly for God’s sake, if you do not hinder it. I beseech you, be not an unseasonable kindness to me. Suffer me to be eaten by the beasts, through whom I can attain to God. I am God’s wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread of Christ…. I long for the beasts that are prepared for me, and I pray that that may be found prompt for me. I will even entice them to devour me promptly…. Let there come on me fire and cross and struggles with wild beasts, cutting and tearing asunder…. Cruel tortures of the devil, may I but attain to Jesus Christ. – Ignatius

Round Up

The Hollowing Effect of Sin – Evil does not usually make people incredibly wicked and violent – that would be interesting, and tends to wake people up. Rather, sin tends to make us hollow.

No Turning Back – The sun rises just before 6:30 A.M. in Bethany, the small village on the southeastern slope of the Mount of Olives, just a mile and a half east of Jerusalem.

I Will Praise You In This Storm – On Monday afternoon around 4:00 a tornado 200-300 yards wide tore down Beech Ridge Road in Beaufort County, North Carolina, a peaceful rural road where I spent the latter part of my youth and still consider home.

How Do You Know I Am Wrong – “If I say, ‘A cooked egg is better than a raw egg. Would you reply, “You stated an opinion about eggs. You must believe in an objective standard of egg quality.”

Quote:

Whoever relies not on the providence of God, so as to commit his life to its faithful guardianship, has not yet learned aright what it is to live. On the other hand, he who shall entrust the keeping of his life to God’s care, will not doubt of its safety even in the midst of death. – John Calvin

Noteable Quotes

– From the Fall onward, human beings have sought to make gods of themselves, make idols of the good things in life, and domesticate the true and living God so that we can (ostensibly) enlist him in our schemes of enrichment and aggrandizement. – Jonathan Baer from The Soil of the Prosperity Gospel

– He humbled Himself, to exalt us; He made Himself a servant, to set us free; He became poor, to enrich us; He was sold, to buy us back; a Captive, to deliver us; Condemned, to procure our pardon; He was made a curse, that we might be blessed; the Oblation for sins, for our justification; His face was marred, to re-beautify ours; He Died, that we may have life. In such sort, that by Him, hardness is softened; wrath appeased; darkness made light; iniquity turned into righteousness; weakness is made strength; despair is consoled; sin is resisted; shame is despised; fear is emboldened; debt is paid; labor is lightened; Sorrow is turned into joy; Misfortune into blessing; Difficulties are made easy; Disorder made order; Division into union; Ignominy is ennobled; Rebellion subjected; Threat is threatened; Ambush is ambushed; Assault assailed; Striving is overpowered; War is warred against; Vengeance is avenged on; Torment tormented; Damnation damned; Destruction destroyed; Hell burned up; Death is killed; Mortality changed to immortality; In short, pity has swallowed up all misery; and Goodness all wretchedness; For all those things, which used to be the arms with which the Devil combated us, and the sting of death, are, to draw us forward, turned into instruments from which we can derive profit. – John Calvin from Christ the End of the Law (London: William Cegg and Co. pp. 29-3, 1850) pp. 29-30

– The wisdom of the age has it backwards. Declaring that a person is a sinner does not make one a hater, but a lover of that person … and of mankind. Do Christians point out sin to shame, bully or incite violence against someone? Absurd and a profound misapprehension of our intent. In calling someone a sinner do Christians think they are superior, more moral? May it never be! Most people’s sin pales in comparison to mine. Fact is, it would only be hate or discrimination if we refused the gospel to someone because we thought their sin makes them somehow unworthy of it. The gospel declares that anyone who, by the grace of God, comes to Christ will be forgiven, no matter how abominable their sin. And such are granted a new heart which loves God and his law. – John Hendryx from The Wisdom of the Age

– We are justified by faith alone, but not by the faith which is alone.  Unless it be a heart-purifying, and a work-producing faith, it is spurious – it is not wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God.

We are justified by faith, and our faith is justified or evidenced by our works.  This ancient doctrine is thus maintained by Bishop Horsley, in his first charge:  “That man is justified by faith without works of the law, was the uniform doctrine of our first Reformers.  It is a far more ancient doctrine – it was the doctrine of the whole college of Apostles:  is is more ancient still – it was the doctrine of the prophets;  it is older than the prophets – it was the religion of the patriarchs.  And no one who has the least acquaintance with the writings of the first Reformers will impute to them, more than to the patriarchs, the prophets, or apostles, the absurd opinion, that any man leading an impenitent wicked life, will finally, upon the mere pretense of faith (and faith connected with an impenitent life, must always be a mere pretense, obtain admission to heaven!” – From The Gospel Magazine & Theological Review, Ser 5. Vol 3, no. 1 – July 1874

An Introduction to the Reformed Faith

Five years ago I could not have told you anything about the Reformed Faith.  Oh, I knew who John Calvin and Martin Luther were, but nothing about their beliefs.  It was a simple conversation about what it meant for God to be sovereign that started a process that brought me out of a state where I thought I was saved, into a new understanding of the Doctrines of Grace and what it means when God saves you.  Over the past few years I have read, studied and listened to as much as I could get my hands on to learn more about the sovereignty of God in not only salvation, but in all things.  With that, I have come across a gentleman by the name of Brian Borgman multiple times and he is an outstanding expositor and teacher of the Word.  I highly recommend his 13 part series on an Introduction to Reformed Faith.  I’ve included the links below.

Tale of Two Gospels (MP3)

Soli Deo Gloria: The Supremacy of God in All Things (MP3)

Grace Needed: Total Depravity (MP3)

Sola Scriptura: The Supremacy of Scripture (MP3)

Grace Conceived: Unconditional Election (MP3)

Sola Gratia: The Supremacy of Grace in Salvation (MP3)

Sola Fide: The Supremacy of God in Salvation (MP3)

Solus Christus: The Supremacy of Christ in Salvation (MP3)

Grace Secured: Limited Atonement (MP3)

Grace Applied: Irresistible Grace (MP3)

Grace Triumphant: Perseverance of the Saints (MP3)

The Assurance of Grace: Assurance in the Life of the Saints (MP3)

The Grace of Law: God’s Law in the Life of the Saints (MP3)

Sanctification and Repentence – A Blog Repost

The original can be found here.

Many times when sanctification in the lives of believers is discussed the emphasis is on doing what we should and on not doing what we shouldn’t in relation to God’s’ law, which is all well and good. Yet, when it comes to sanctification I find an emphasis among the reformers such as John Calvin that is too often hard to find in today’s churches:  Repentance.

Moreover, as hatred of sin, which is the beginning of repentance, first gives us access to the knowledge of Christ, who manifests himself to none but miserable and afflicted sinners, groaning, laboring, burdened, hungry, and thirsty, pining away with grief and wretchedness, so if we would stand in Christ, we must aim at repentance, cultivate it during our whole lives, and continue it to the last. Christ came to call sinners, but to call them to repentance. He was sent to bless the unworthy, but by “turning away every one” “from his iniquities.” The Scripture is full of similar passages. Hence, when God offers forgiveness of sins, he in return usually stipulates for repentance, intimating that his mercy should induce men to repent.  “Keep ye judgment,” saith he, “and do justice: for my salvation is near to come.” Again, “The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob.” Again, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him.” “Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” Here, however, it is to be observed, that repentance is not made a condition in such a sense as to be a foundation for meriting pardon; nay, it rather indicates the end at which they must aim if they would obtain favor, God having resolved to take pity on men for the express purpose of leading them to repent. Therefore, so long as we dwell in the prison of the body, we must constantly struggle with the vices of our corrupt nature, and so with our natural disposition. Plato sometimes says, that the life of the philosopher is to meditate on death.  More truly may we say, that the life of a Christian man is constant study and exercise in mortifying the flesh, until it is certainly slain, and the Spirit of God obtains dominion in us. Wherefore, he seems to me to have made most progress who has learned to be most dissatisfied with himself. He does not, however, remain in the miry clay without going forward; but rather hastens and sighs after God, that, ingrafted both into the death and the life of Christ, he may constantly meditate on repentance. (Calvin’s Institutes 3.3.20)

Why Are People So Offended by Calvinism? – Reblog

how-I-see-Calvinists“I have my own opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel if we do not preach justification by faith without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing unchangeable eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Autobiography: 1, The Early Years, p. 168)

What is Calvinism?

Calvinism is the soteriology named after John Calvin, who was not the inventor of it, but rather one who clearly wrote about it. Calvin’s soteriology wasn’t unique to Calvin, Augustine seems to have subscribed to it, as did most others. That is because it is the understanding of salvation that the Bible teaches.

We Calvinists believe that God is sovereign in salvation, just as He is in all other areas.

Read the rest of part 1 here.

Why are people so offended by Calvinism Part 2.

 

Round Up

George Bush is Smarter Than You – They say that perception is everything, but could it be that we have allowed our perception to be hijacked by others instead of checking things out for ourselves?

Praying for a Killer – How to pray for those we really don’t want to pray for.

God is Bigger Than Tragedy – A Pastor reflects on the recent tragedy in West, Texas.

Is God Committed to Your Happiness? – If you have ever wondered.

Quote:

The final goal of the blessed life, moreover, rests in the knowledge of God [cf. John 17:3]. Lest anyone, then, be excluded from access to happiness, he not only sowed in men’s minds that seed of religion of which we have spoken but revealed himself and daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe. As a consequence, men cannot open their eyes without being compelled to see him. Indeed, his essence is incomprehensible; hence, his divineness far escapes all human perception. But upon his individual works he has engraved unmistakable marks of his glory, so clear and so prominent that even unlettered and stupid folk cannot plead the excuse of ignorance…in the creation of the universe he brought forth those insignia whereby he shows his glory to us, whenever and wherever we cast our gaze…wherever you cast your eyes, there is no spot in the universe wherein you cannot discern at least some sparks of his glory. – John Calvin