Daily Roundup

Total Depravity and the Believers Sanctification – Christian perfectionist teaching on the one hand and carnal Christian teaching on the other hand is a debate that is still waged.  Ligon Duncan weighs in.

On Christianity and Politics – If we believe in the sure triumph of Christ, why do we allow ourselves to be drawn in to the very unsure world of political conflict?  There is a good reason to be drawn into the world of politics as a Christian.

Seeing the Bride, at Last – All I can say is take a look at this and remember.

7 Ways to Live Positive in a Negative World – If God is sovereign and all we have comes from Him, there is no reason for us to be negative.  Take these 7 nuggets to the bank and dwell on them.

God’s Part and Man’s Part in Salvation – Confused in regards to the doctrines of grace?  This article should help you understand.

Quote:

If we go to church just to be with one another, one another is all we will get.  And it isn’t enough.  Eventually, our deepest unmet needs will explode in anger at one another.  Putting community first destroys community.  We must put Christ himself first and keep him first and treat him as first and come to him first and again and again.  He can heal as no other can.  Can, and will.  If we come to him. – Ray Ortlund

The Dead Still Speak

– 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.

~Herman Bavinck~

The Dead Still Speak

What Is the Church’s Main Task?

There are other agencies in the world which can deal with many of the problems of man kind. I mean by that, things like medicine, the State, even other religions, and cults, and psychology and various other teachings and political agencies. These are all designed to help, and to relieve somewhat, the human condition, to ease the pain and the problem of life and to enable men to live more harmoniously and to enjoy life in a greater measure. They set out to do that, and it is no part of our case to say that they are of no value. We must observe the facts and grant that they can do good, and do much good. They are capable in a measure of dealing with these things. But none of them can deal with this fundamental, this primary trouble at which we have been looking.

Not only that, when they have done their all, or when even the Church coming down to that level and operating on that level alone, has done her all, the primary trouble still remains. So I would lay it down as a basic proposition that the primary task of the Church is not to educate man, is not to heal him physically or psychologically, it is not to make him happy. I will go further; it is not even to make him good. These are things that accompany salvation; and when the Church performs her true task she does incidentally educate men and give them knowledge and information, she does bring them happiness, she does make them good and better than they were. But my point is that those are not her primary objectives. Her primary purpose is not any of these; it is rather to put man into the right relationship with God, to reconcile man to God. This really does need to be emphasize at the present time, because this, it seems to me, is the essence of the modern fallacy. It has come into the Church and it is influencing the thinking of many in the Church– this notion that the business of the Church is to make people happy, or to integrate their lives, or to relieve their circumstances and improve their conditions. My whole case is that to do that is just to palliate the symptoms, to give temporary ease, and that it does not get beyond that.

~Martyn Lloyd-Jones~


Preaching & Preachers (Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan; 2011) p. 40-41

The Dead Still Speak

John Owen is the subject today.

“No unclean thing, nothing that defileth or is defiled, shall ever be brought into the glorious presence of this holy God.  There is no imagination wherewith mankind is besotted more foolish, none so pernicious, as this, that persons not purified, not sanctified, not made holy in this life should afterward be taken into that state of blessedness which consists in the enjoyment of God.  There can be no thought more reproachful to his glory, nor more inconsistent with the nature of the things themselves, for neither can such persons enjoy him, nor would God himself be a reward unto them.  They can have nothing whereby they should adhere unto him as their chiefest good, nor can they see anything in him that should give them rest and satisfaction, nor can there be any medium whereby God should communicate himself unto them, supposing them to continue thus unholy, as all must do who depart out of this life in that condition.  Holiness, indeed, is perfected in heaven, but the beginning of it is invariably and unalterably confined to this world, and where this fails, no hand shall be put into that work in eternity.”

John Owen, Works (Edinburgh, 1981), III:574-575.

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“Let no man think to kill sin with few, easy, or gentle strokes. He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until it be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel. And so he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to the death.”

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The Dead Still Speak

“[The] term ‘decide’ has always seemed to me to be quite wrong…A sinner does not ‘decide’ for Christ; the sinner ‘flies’ to Christ in utter helplessness and despair saying —

Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

No man truly comes to Christ unless he flies to Him as his only refuge and hope, his only way of escape from the accusations of conscience and the condemnation of God’s holy law. Nothing else is satisfactory. If a man says that having thought about the matter and having considered all sides he has on the whole decided for Christ, and if he has done so without any emotion or feeling, I cannot regard him as a man who has been regenerated. The convicted sinner no more ‘decides’ for Christ than the poor drowning man ‘decides’ to take hold of that rope that is thrown to him and suddenly provides him with the only means of escape. The term is entirely inappropriate.”

– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)
taken from: Preaching and Preachers, Zondervan, 1972, pp. 279-280.

The Message of the Bible in 221 Words

I found this on the desiringgod.org website this weekend and thought that it pretty much says it all:

God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers. Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.
But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.
In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel (Romans 10:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17).

This was written by Donald A. Carson and if you are not familiar with him, I would suggest that you get to know him. He is a fine scholar and an outstanding Christian teacher.

They Still Speak

Christ given to us by the kindness of God is apprehended and possessed by faith, by means of which we obtain in particular a twofold benefit; first, being reconciled by the righteousness of Christ, God becomes, instead of a judge, an indulgent Father; and, secondly, being sanctified by his Spirit, we aspire to integrity and purity of life. – John Calvin