Examined by Scripture

A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive nothing, and believe nothing, which is not according to the word. He must try all religious teaching by one simple test,—Does it square with the Bible?—What saith the Scripture?

I would to God the eyes of the laity of this country were more open on this subject, I would to God they would learn to weigh sermons, books, opinions, and ministers, in the scales of the Bible, and to value all according to their conformity to the word. I would to God they would see that it matters little who says a thing, —whether he be Father or Reformer,—Bishop or Arch- bishop,— Priest or Deacon,—Archdeacon or Dean. The only question is,—Is the thing said Scriptural? If it is, it ought to be received and believed. If it is not, it ought to be refused and cast aside. I fear the consequences of that servile acceptance of everything which the parson says, which is so common among many English laymen. I fear lest they be led they know not whither, like the blinded Syrians, and awake some day to find themselves in the power of Rome. Oh! that men in England would only remember for what the Bible was given them!

I tell English laymen that it is nonsense to say, as some do, that it is presumptuous to judge a minister’s teaching by the word. When one doctrine is proclaimed in one parish, and another in another, people must read and judge for themselves. Both doctrines cannot be right, and both ought to be tried by the word. I charge them above all things, never to suppose that any true minister of the Gospel will dislike his people measuring all he teaches by the Bible. On the contrary, the more they read the Bible, and prove all he says by the Bible, the better he will be pleased. A false minister may say, “You have no right to use your private judgment: leave the Bible to us who are ordained.” A true minister will say, “Search the Scriptures, and if I do not teach you what is Scriptural, do not believe me.” A false minister may cry, “Hear the Church,” and “Hear me.” A true minister will say, “Hear the word of God.”

– J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) taken from: Consider Your Ways: Being a Pastor’s Address to His Flock. 10th Thousand, Revised and Adapted to All Seasons. London: Hunt & Son, 1849.

I Know His Heart

Yesterday I heard someone say about someone they knew, “I know his heart” and I was greatly troubled by that statement.  According to Jeremiah 17:9, we can’t even know our own heart, so how can we know someone else’s.  This morning I ran across a Sermon by David Black (1762-1806) regarding this issue.  I’m sharing it here:

The Deceitfulness of the Heart

David Black (1762-1806)

from his Sermons on Important Subjects (Edinburgh 1808).

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah 17:9.

True and faithful is the testimony of God. Men may amuse themselves and their fellow creatures with empty, high sounding descriptions of the dignity of human nature, and the all- sufficient  powers  of  man;  but  every  humble,  every  truly  enlightened  mind,  will  see  and acknowledge the justness of the declaration in the text, that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

This is a truth  which,  like  many others in the word of God, can  only be learned  from experience. As long as we assent to it, merely because it is contained in the Scriptures, we are strangers to its nature, and cannot understand what it means: But, as in water face answereth to face, so doth the heart of man to man. Human nature in different ages and in different circumstances is still the same; and when, by means of the word, the secrets of our own hearts are made manifest, when we come to perceive the exact correspondence between the declarations of Scripture, and what passes within us, we are obliged to confess, that God is in it of a truth, since none but He who searcheth the hearts, and trieth the reins of the children of men, could know so perfectly the inward workings of our minds, and those numberless evils which are hidden from the view of all our fellow creatures.

I purpose at present to speak only of the deceitfulness of the heart, a subject sufficiently extensive, not merely for one, but for many discourses, and which, after all that can be said on it, must remain in a great measure unexhausted, for who can know it? The deceit that lodges in the heart is so complicated and so various, that it is impossible to trace it in all its windings. It is but comparatively a small part of it that any created mind can discover, and therefore, in the verse immediately following the text, Continue reading

Born This Way?

The “Back To School” sales have begun in earnest and my wife and I were out this weekend purchasing school supplies.  When you have 4 children starting school in a couple of weeks, you look for all the deals you can because it adds up rather quickly.  We hit up Walmart, Staples and Office Depot to check out the deals and while in Office Depot, I noticed something at the checkout counter that caught my attention.  It was a display for the “Born This Way Foundation.”  In my mind I made a snap judgment that this was something antithetical to my Christian beliefs, but I inquired of the store clerk what this display was about.  The clerk mentioned that it was a foundation based on Lady Gaga’s song Born This Way.  He also mentioned that it was dedicated to helping young people express their individuality and self-expression.  My initial judgment was proven correct. Continue reading

Daily Reading

I’m reading Vern Poythress’ book, “Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible,” (Free PDF Download here) and read the following:

Different worldviews lead to different conceptions of freedom. If there were no God, freedom might mean freedom to create our own purposes. It might mean freedom from all constraint, which implies, in the end, freedom from the constraints of personal relationships. The ideal freedom would be to live in isolation. On the other hand, if God exists and is personal, freedom means not isolation but joy in appreciating both other human beings and God the infinite person. God’s moral order is designed by God to guide us into personal fellowship and satisfaction. It is for our good. It is for our freedom, we might say, in the true sense of “freedom.” The person who goes astray from God’s wise guidance burdens himself with sorrows and frustrations. In fact, he ends up being a slave to his own desires.

I was struck by the phrase, “…but joy in appreciating both other human beings and God the infinite person,” because I’ve noticed something over the past few weeks in my view towards those around me. I work for a Midwest construction company and if you know anything about constructions workers, they can be an interesting lot to be around if you are a Christian. In the past, my attitude was to just do what I needed to do when I was around them since I work in the IT Field and support all the computers at the jobsites and corporate offices.

But lately, I’ve found my attitude a bit different. I have actually been looking at my unsaved, unregenerate coworkers through the lens of Christ. We as human beings are created in the image of God and reflect him in varying ways and it has been interesting to look at those around me day in and day out and see that reflection. No, I don’t like some of the things I hear or the actions I observe, but like the statement above says, I am able to find joy in appreciating the fact that those around me were created in the image of God. It has definitely been interesting.