Lectures on "The History and Theology of Calvinism" (MP3s) by Dr. Curt Daniel
Dr. Curt Daniel of Faith Bible Church is a knowledgeable student and teacher of Reformed theology and history. His approach is to "leave no stone unturned" in pursuing the truth of Scripture. His breadth of knowledge enables him to easily glean from the theological giants that have gone before. Dr. Daniel attended Central Bible College (B.A.), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of Edinburgh (Ph.D.). Dr. Daniel teaches, preaches and publishes theological works consistent with Scripture and Reformed Theology.
Daniel's series on the History and Theology of Calvinism can be heard here where he covers the following topics: What is Calvinism? ; Augustine and Pre-Calvinism ; The Reformation ; John Calvin ; The Spread of Calvinism ; The Synod of Dort ; The Puritans ; The Westminster Assembly ; Covenant Theology ; High Calvinism ; Amyraldism ; Calvinistic Antinomianism; Hyper-Calvinism ; Eighteenth Century Calvinism ; Jonathan Edwards and New England Calvinism ; The Princeton Theology ; 19th Century Calvinism - North-South & In the Confederacy ; Calvinistic Baptists ; Dutch Calvinism; Calvinistic Philosophy ; The Theonomy Movement ; Neo-Orthodoxy ; 20th Century British Calvinism
20th Century American Calvinism
Thanks to Radio Apologia and Faith Bible Church
The Importance of the Creeds by Pastor John Samson
"Doctrine divides!" That's the popular belief of our culture today, as its sails on the shifting sea of modern day relativism. Our generation shouts out, "It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere," yet the Bible portrays a very different message.
We have to admit that doctrine does in fact divide. It divides truth from error, the true prophet from the false prophet, and the real Christ from the counterfeit.
Some say "all I want is a relationship with God" not some dead creed or theology. I am all for knowing God intimately, but we need to know the difference between the real God and the many false ones. If someone wants to know Jesus, they first need to make clear which "Jesus" they are referring to: the "Jesus" of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) who is the spirit brother of Lucifer, the result of God the Father's sexual union with Mary?; or perhaps the "Jesus" of the Watchtower organization (Jehovah's Witnesses) who is a created though highly elevated god?; or perhaps the "Jesus" of Islam who was never the Son of God but merely a highly esteemed prophet, who was whisked away from the cross and never suffered death? Exactly which Jesus - for there are many out there?
Living in Arizona, close to the U.S. border with Mexico, I meet many people called "Jesus" amongst the Hispanic community... but on no occasion have I ever thought I was meeting the Savior of the world. I understand that "Jesus" is merely a popular name that Mexican parents choose for their boys.
Another vital question we need to ask is how exactly does God bring people into relationship with Himself.. by grace? By human works? By a mixture of the two? Or by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone?
Lets remember that the Judaizers in the Galatian church had many things right. They were probably very orthodox on a whole number of issues. They would no doubt affirm belief in the one true God, and that Jesus Christ was the long awaited Messiah. They wished to be included in the Christian assembly and I feel sure that they would have spoken about Christ with very affectionate terms. Yet, they added just ONE thing to the biblical Gospel (happened to be circumcision in their case) and the Apostle Paul pronounced the anathema (eternal curse) of God upon them (Galatians 1:6-9), calling them "false brothers" (Galatians 2:4) - not merely "brothers who have a different perspective with whom we agree to disagree" but in fact, people who looked and acted like brothers, but who were nothing of the kind.
Though all doctrine is important, some doctrines are more important than others. According to sacred scripture, there are such things as "damnable heresies" (2 Peter 2:1) - heresies that damn the soul. It is imperative then that we believe in and proclaim the one true God and His one true Gospel.
Many in our own day are able to speak favorably about God and about Christ, but exactly which god and which Christ? If they are not honoring the one true God, then they are honoring a false one, and the sad reality is that false gods cannot save for the simple reason that they do not actually exist.
Mercy Speaks by Jesusâ€™ blood
Mercy speaks by Jesusâ€™ blood;
Hear and sing, ye sons of God;
Justice satisfied indeed;;
Christ has full atonement made.
Jesusâ€™ blood speaks loud and sweet;
Here all Deity can meet,
And, without a jarring voice,
Welcome Zion to rejoice,
Welcome Zion to rejoice.
â€œAll her debts were cast on Me,
And she must and shall go free.
All her debts were cast on Me,
And she must and shall go free.â€
-William Gadsby, Mercy Speaks by Jesus' Blood (MP3)
Redemptve Blessings for the Elect Only?
This attempts to answer the question of a visitor as to the Scriptural witness regarding the doctrine of limited atonement: i.e. Does the Scripture teach that Christ died in a way for the elect that he did not for the non-elect (that is, redemptively)? Hopefully some of the following Scripture will shine a light on the subject to many in a way not previously considered.
Dear Mr. Hendryx:
Greetings. I endeavour to write you regarding a topic of utmost importance: The extent of Christ's atonement. In undertaking this subject, it is my desire not to confound this matter with theories of atonement, for that it is quite another undertaking. Neither do I wish to engage in metaphysical discussions on the freedom or bondage of the will, the irresistibility or efficacy of how God operates His grace, the inherent depravity and/or inability of man, the imputation of Adam's sin, supralapsarianism, sublapsarianism, infralapsarianism, double-predestination, conditional or unconditional election, the perserverance of the saints, etcetera. I desire only to discuss the extent of Christ's atonement.
The question is, "Is limited atonement Scriptural?" not "What did the Reformers say?" Seeing as this is the case, I enquire of you proofs for either of these two propositions: Affirmatively, show me one or more passages of Scripture that state Christ died only for the elect (those who are saved); or negatively, show me one or more passages of Scripture that state Christ did not die for the non-elect (those who perish). Thank you for your consideration in advance.
Some of the following texts demonstrate that Christ died in a way for the elect that he did not for the non-elect (that is, redemptively).
"Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant." (Heb 9:15)
In the above, the "called" and the "redeemed" are one and the same.
Heb. 10:14-18 - "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, 'THIS IS THE NEW COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,' He then says, 'AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.' Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin."
From these important Texts in Hebrews we see:
1) God grants people faith in Himself unto salvation, and
2) God forgave their sins once and forever through the blood of Christ.
But the quotation in the text of Jer. 31 in Heb. 8 puts it like this: 1) God grants people faith in Himself unto salvation, ***FOR*** 2) God forgave their sins once and forever through the blood of Christ. So it is clear that Christ's death purchases faith in the New Covenant, which means that those who believe do so because of a the atonement.
A Thematic Analysis of Philippians
Of all of Paulâ€™s letters to the various churches of his day, there is perhaps none that is more intimately personal, while touching upon a greater variety of practical concerns, than his letter to the Philippians. For these reasons there is probably not a more comforting, and at the same time a more practically helpful, book to study. However, there are also few, if any, of Paulâ€™s epistles that have a less obvious and systematically-laid out organization and theme than Philippians â€“ which can make a thematic study, which explores the development and inter-relationship of the different emphasized principles, quite difficult. Most of Paulâ€™s writings begin with fundamental truths and move to derived principles which have a direct causal relationship with the initial truths â€“ and hence the whole work arises from bottom to top like a meticulously planned building, brick by brick. Philippians, on the other hand, is a composite collection of autobiography, exhortation, encouragement, general news and information, and so on. It does not move definitively from doctrine to practice, as so many of his other letters. It is more occasional, and develops themes somewhat more randomly, as specific occasions give rise to doctrinal and practical observations.
Invitation from John Piper
The following letter is an invitation from John Piper to join him at a conference focused on David Well's excellent book on Christ and postmodernism followed by related essays, an interview with Wells and a link to a new blog focused on the Conference and this book:
When I read David Wellsâ€™ new book, Above All Earthly Powâ€™rs: Christ in a Postmodern World (Eerdmans, 2005), I knew I wanted to build the Desiring God National Conference around the message of this book. Amazingly when I called Dr. Wells, he was available for our dates, September 29 â€“ October 1, 2006. I am thrilled at the team of speakers who will join him in exalting the biblical Christ in this new-but-ever-the-same postmodern world of sin in which we live.
The burden of Wellsâ€™ book is first to understand the postmodern world, and then to confront that world with the never-changing Christ. His thesis is that the West today is not simply a product of Enlightenment ideology, with its rejection of authority and reliance on reason without revelation, but is also the product of a process of consumeristic, technological, media-driven modernization that created an experience of reality which affirms and reinforces that ideology.
One effect of this modernization has been to give rise to the centrality of the psychologically oriented self in the place of a morally oriented human nature. The postmodern, all-consuming â€œselfâ€â€”with its self-made spiritualityâ€”is subject to no outside authority. All reality has contracted into this self. It is radically individualized and privatized and insistently therapeutic. It does not feel at home in the doctrines and traditions of religion. It is on an endless quest for the enhancement of its experience measured by itself alone. â€œAll of this has produced soil throughout society that positively invites the new spirituality. It seems normal and natural. That is why it is as difficult for the church to contest today as was Gnosticism in the early centuriesâ€ (p. 138).
The Grace of Faith
"The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word: by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened."
- Westminster Confession of Faith CHAP XIV
Under the terms of the covenant of grace, God "freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe."
- Westminster Confession of Faith CHAP. VII. - Of God's Covenant with Man III
Praying for a People Group
1. Give thanks to the Lord that â€œa people for His Nameâ€ will be established from among every people. (Rev. 7:9-10)
2. Ask the Lord to to demolish spiritual strongholds and human philosophies or arguments raised up against the knowledge of God which produce barriers of resistance to the gospel. (II Cor. 10:4-5)
3. Pray that willing, skillful workers would be sent to reach this people group. (Matt. 9:38)
4. Believe God to enlighten the minds of the people about their worship of false gods. (Psalm 115:4-8)
5. Plead for the opening of eyes to the revelation of the Creator God and His Son, Jesus Christ. (Eph. 1:17-18)
6. Ask God to give understanding, sensitivity, a considerate disposition and discernment to those who communicate truth that it may be clearly understood. (I Peter 1:18-19)
7. Intercede for people to come to faith in Christ, repenting from their sin and from their own good works. (Eph. 2:8-9). Only God can grant faith (John 6:63) and repentance (2 Tim 2:25). Since God requires faith in His Son that the lost may be saved, ask the Lord to send His Holy Spirit to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life a willing heart, and that He would open their blind eyes they may see the beauty and excellency of Christ and thus believe the Word of the Gospel we bring.
8. Ask that new believers will share the gospel as bold witnesses. (Acts 4:29-31)
Adapted from Dr. Alex Smith
Who Made You to Differ? by C.H. Spurgeon
From Spurgeon's sermon, "The Fruitless Vine"
It is grace, free, sovereign grace, which has made you to differ!
Should any here, supposing themselves to be the children of God, imagine that there is some reason "in them" why they should have been chosen, let them know, that as yet they are in the dark, concerning the first principles of grace, and have not yet learned the gospel.
If ever they had known the gospel, they would, on the other hand, confess that they were less than the least- the offscouring of all things- unworthy, ill-deserving, undeserving, and hell-deserving, and ascribe it all to distinguishing grace, which has made them to differ; and to discriminating love, which has chosen them out from the rest of the world.
Great Christian, you would have been a great sinner if God had not made you to differ! O! you who are valiant for truth, you would have been as valiant for the devil if grace had not laid hold of you!
A seat in heaven shall one day be yours; but a chain in hell would have been yours if grace had not changed you!
The Christian Mission: An Overview
As we approach the point which marks a two-thousand year lapse of time since our Savior left us on earth with a great task to accomplish, namely, the evangelism of the nations, it is imperative that we pause to consider what precisely we are striving to accomplish; how far we have advanced on our goal; and what strategies we have in place for the continuation and ultimate completion of our mission. Is it possible that, in all our zeal for the work of the Kingdom, we are hindered at points by a lack of essential clarity on exactly what that work entails, and how we might best go about it? It would seem, simply by the fact of the overwhelming diversity of ways in which various Christian churches and organizations would answer these questions, that the answer must at least in some cases be yes. If this lack of unity and vision in the worldwide Church poses certain obstacles to the accomplishment of the great commission, then how might we take a definite step towards overcoming those obstacles, and equipping the Church to pour out her energies in a united effort to reach the world? I would propose that we must first acknowledge the problems which inhere in our current situation, and then construct a full-orbed biblical theology of Christian mission; by which we may hope to address those problems which we have already recognized to be detrimental to our evangelistic efforts. This series of posts does not presume to be that biblical theology of mission; but it is my desire that they may at least serve to highlight a need for more extensive work in that area, as well as provide a few rough ideas for a direction to pursue toward that end.
Gospel Mystery of Sanctification
Over the weekend I read one of the finest, if not the finest, treatments on sanctification I have ever run across. The title of the book is The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification: Growing in Holiness by Living in Union with Christ by Walter Marshall (written in 1692). Since the topic of sanctification has historically generated so many errors and convoluted ideas among Christians: acetecism, legalism, perfectionism, mysticism, higher life and antinomianism, there are actually very few books on sanctification worth recommending. But this rare exception places the gospel and union with Christ front and center as the key to true sanctification.
Sanctification is the process of conformity to the image of Jesus Christ, something all Christians are called to. Whether we are obligated to obey God's law and live in holiness is not really debatable. The question is - how do we actually do it?
Many schemes give a kind of lip service to grace and union with Christ but fail to put this into practice to empower holiness in the Christian life. Just as the gospel proclaims we must lose of all self-confidence if we are to be saved, so also dispairing of our own ability (and rather live in union with Christ) is key to growing in grace. Unfortunately many today are claiming that salvation by grace through faith alone leads to sinful living and so they tell us that we must maintain our justification through our own covenant faithfulness.
What is Calvinism? by B. B. Warfield
It is very odd how difficult it seems for some persons to understand just what Calvinism is. And yet the matter itself presents no difficulty whatever. It is capable of being put into a single sentence; and that, on level to every religious man's comprehension. For Calvinism is just religion in its purity. We have only, therefore, to conceive of religion in its purity, and that is Calvinism.
In what attitude of mind and heart does religion come most fully to its rights? Is it not in the attitude of prayer? When we kneel before God, not with the body merely, but with the mind and heart, we have assumed the attitude which above all others deserves the name of religious. And this religious attitude by way of eminence is obviously just the attitude of utter dependence and humble trust. He who comes to God in prayer, comes not in a spirit of self-assertion, but in a spirit of trustful dependence.
An Attempt to Argue Against Faith as A Gift
Recently a visitor responded to my recent post entitled, "Is Faith a Gift, What Does Jesus Say?" where I point out that Jesus says, "no one can come to me unless the Father grants it" ...In the post it shows that this passage is affirming nothing less than that no one can believe in Christ unless God grants it.. and when accompanied by v. 37 that all that the Father gives to me WILL come to me, and those who comes to me will not be cast out" Jesus is plainly saying that all who are given Him by the Father will believe in Him and He will not cast them out. The act of "giving" of the Father to the Son is prior to the faith of the same individual, and that these texts show that such faith is certain, not merely a possibility. All those whom He grants (v 65) and draws (v.44) will be raised up at the last day without exception the text affirms. So no one can believe on Jesus unless God grants it (vs 65) and all to whom God grants it will believe (vs 37). This is a univeral negative and a universal positive and forms a syllogism. This leaves no room for the idea that the passage somehow affirms that all given to Christ have the OPPORTUNITY or natural ability to believe, as the visitor attempts to assert but that grace alone is what saves.
Here is the visitors response in full, with my own critique of their response following:
IT IS NOT FAITH, BUT RATHER SALVATION THAT IS THE GIFT OF GOD
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
By grace through faith you are saved, NOT, by grace you can have faith and are saved.
Firstly, Iâ€™d like to offer a definition for the words grace and faith.
- Grace is Godâ€™s unmerited favor - something that is done for us without our help and is neither deserved nor undeserved.
OPC Report on Justification
Report on Justification Presented to the Seventy-third General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
With this report, the Committee on the Doctrine of Justification presents to the Seventy-third General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church the result of two years of study of the matters entrusted to it. We pray that our work may be helpful for the church and serve to equip and embolden her for the proclamation and defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of the challenges to that gospel in the present day. The Seventy-first General Assembly erected this Committee â€œto critique the teachings of the â€˜New Perspective on Paul,â€™ â€˜Federal Visionâ€™ and other like teachings concerning the doctrine of justification and other related doctrines, as they are related to the Word of God and our subordinate standards, with a view to giving a clear statement to the presbyteries, sessions and seminaries, and report back to the Seventy-second GAâ€¦.â€
The Report on Justification presented to the Seventy-third (2006) General Assembly is now available and may be accessed by clicking here. If the Greek and Hebrew fonts do not display on your computer they are available as a free download from BibleWorks. To download the fonts click here (the page includes instructions for installing the fonts on your computer).
Recovery After Sin by Dr. Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)
Extract from "Excellency of the Gospel above the Law" by Richard Sibbes
What is the way, after we have had boldness and sweet familiarity with God, and it hath been interrupted by sin? how shall we recover ourselves?
Surely, to apprehend our sins to be pardonable in Christ, and that God is an everlasting Father, and that the covenant of grace is everlasting, and that there is mercy in Israel for this thing; and the conceit [conception] of mercy must work our hearts to grief and shame. That is certain; for mark in the gospel, â€˜Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden,â€™ Mat. xi. 28. He calls us when we find our consciences afflicted and tormented. â€˜He came to save that which was lost,â€™ Mat. xviii. 11. By the blessed power of the Spirit, the blood of Christ is as a fountain â€˜for Judah and Jerusalem to wash in,â€™ Zech. xiii. 1, and the â€˜blood of Christ purgeth us from sin,â€™ 1 John i. 7; and Christ bids us for daily trespasses ask pardon, Mat. vi. 12. Daily therefore conceive goodness in God still, an everlasting current of mercy; and this must work upon us grief and shame, and recover and strengthen our faith again. For Godâ€™s children, after breaches, arise the stronger rather than ever they were before. But this only by the way. We see here how Godâ€™s glorious grace is conveyed to us, and what is wrought in us to apprehend it, a spiritual eye to see it, in the glass of the gospel, and â€˜with open face we behold it,â€™ we may go boldly to the throne of grace.
â€œThe Works of Richard Sibbes,â€ published by Banner of Truth, 1979. Vol. iv, p. 254.
Images of the Savior (2 â€“ His Presentation in the Temple)
Luke 2:28-31 Then he took him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now you let your servant depart in peace, according to your word: For mine eyes have seen your salvation, Which you have prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.
The next glimpse we have of our Savior in the gospel accounts is that of his formal presentation in the temple, forty days after his birth, in accordance with the law of Moses. On this occasion, a dear and faithful servant of the Lord, Simeon the priest, takes up Jesus in his arms and pours out a sincere and fervent blessing for having finally seen the Savior. In this sacred history we may learn, among other notable things, that Christ Jesus our Savior is the central Person of all history. Let us look first at the occasion for this prophecy of Simeon, and second at how central must be the One of whom it is made.
Is Faith the Gift of God? What Does Jesus Say?
This question has always been a controversial one, yet this is puzzling considering how plainly the answer to this question is granted to us in the Holy Scriptures. Some modern Evangelicals seem to think that faith is something that arises out of the fallen natures of some persons but not others ... and that this difference in response is not due to grace (for all had grace), but rather, some inherent difference in the persons themselves. But Jesus puts this kind of speculation to rest:
Jesus declares "no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father." (John 6:65) In the same passage Jesus declares: " all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me." (John 6:37) In both verses the phrase "come to Me" simply means "believe in Me" and so taken together Jesus is stating that no one can believe in Him unless God grants it, and all to whom God grants it will believe". According to this passage, then, God grants faith, a faith that will infallibly arise in the heart of those He has given His Son...
Members of Federal Vision Study Committee Appointed
The 34th PCA General Assembly approved erecting an ad interim committee "to study the soteriology of the Federal Vision, New Perspective, and Auburn Avenue Theologies, which are causing confusion among our churches. Further, to determine whether these viewpoints and formulations are in conformity with the system of doctrine taught in the Westminster Standards, whether they are hostile to or strike at the vitals of religion, and to present a declaration or statement regarding the issues raised by these viewpoints in light of our Confessional Standards." The GA authorized the moderator to appoint the members of this committee. The moderator, TE Dominic Aquila, has appointed the following:
TE Paul Fowler, Convener
Assistant Pastor, First Presbyterian Church
TE Ligon Duncan
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church
TE Grover Gunn
Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church
TE Sean Lucas
Assistant Professor of Church History
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, MO
RE Robert Mattes
Christ Presbyterian Church
RE William Mueller
Kendall Presbyterian Church
RE John White
Westminster Presbyterian Church
The General Assembly authorized receiving designated gifts to cover the expenses for the study committee. Send your gifts to: PCA Administrative Committee, 1700 N. Brown Rd., Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. Indicate for: "Federal Vision Study Committee."
Source: By Faith Online, Web Magazine of the PCA
"The Long Winter of Our Discontent"- Rev. Charles R. Biggs
As American Christians we tend to seek out happiness and healthiness as the main goals in our lives just as much as anyone else. There is nothing wrong with having creaturely comforts, or of being happy and healthy, but we want to learn to be satisfied and truly happy in what God provides for us. God provides for different people in a variety of ways. As Philippians 4 teaches, we want to learn by his grace to rest content in what God provides for us, and to be thankful.
Being content can be so very difficult in our consumeristic culture today. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements, magazines, and catalogs reminding us of what we do not have. The main purpose of these catalogs and advertisements is to show us what we do not have and to spark a desire to obtain that which we do not have. I am told that we are tempted by an average of 3,000 advertisements on a daily basis! How do we as Christians rest content and become satisfied in what God gives and provides for us when advertisers are working overtime to get our attention and make a sell?
As long as we think as Christians that happiness will come with one more product, or one more material wish fulfilled, we will never be truly happy. We can only be content and happy by knowing who we are in Christ Jesus and the incomparable great privileges that we already have and abundantly possess in Christ Jesus! The reality is that we have all we need, but if we don't believe it, it will do us no good. The reality will be the same, but if we don't believe it, we will continue to buy, buy, buy, while remaining discontent, dissatisfied, and ultimately disconnected from the needs of others around us each and every day!
The Conversation that Never Was
The following is an encounter between Jesus and Paul when Paul was converted on the Damascus Road. Acts 26:9-18 are the actual historic words of Christ and Paul that were recorded for us. But then, in order to make a point, we take some liberties and create a hypothetic conversation that goes in a most unlikely direction, for your amusement and edification:
"I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
How may I know I'm elect?
"How may I know I'm elect? First, by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced. Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty, and lost condition. Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope. Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me - a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ. Fifth, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it. Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God's Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness. Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces and using all diligence to this end. Thus the knowledge of election is cumulative."
A. W. Pink
Roman Catholic Considers Reformation Theology
I received this email several days ago and thought visitors to the site might find it encouraging. The author has agreed to let me post it but I have removed his name and location per his request:
My name is ________ and I am a 2nd year MA student at ____ College, I am applying to PhD programs this fall and hope to eventually study Medieval Philosophy/Theology (Augustine through Aquinas). I want to thank you for the amount of effort you put into your website and the careful research you have done. Most Christian website are a load of garbage but your has helped me sort out a lot of useful and thought-provoking information.
This particularly became apparent to me this year as I struggled with whether or not in good conscience I could remain a Roman Catholic. I had an evangelical conversion my freshman year at college and (after some bumpy experiences) slowly and painfully grew in my faith. I never really bought into the conservative Trentian orthodoxy but I struggled for a long time because I honestly was scared by most of the crap I saw in "Protestantism" particularly the Bible-Thumping Know-Nothings.
How are you doing spiritually? by Pastor John Samson
A few weeks ago I was approached by a young man at the end of a Church service. He confided in me that his spiritual life had lost much of its initial luster, and that he was groping around in something of a fog-like daze. "To be completely honest with you pastor," he said, "my devotional life is the pits. Is there anything I can do to get my spiritual life back on track."
I wondered exactly how to respond to him. Of course, there are many things I could have said. Yet, what I did say may be something of a surprise. I feel sure my answer was a surprise to the young man.
I responded with a question of my own. "What books are you reading right now?"
Help My Unbelief CD Now Available
Help My Unbelief The long awaited new CD from Red Mountain Music is now available.
Gadsbyâ€™s Hymns was compiled by William Gadsby in the mid 1800s. Although William Gadsby contributed quite a few of his own hymns, the bulk of the collection is comprised of many different hymnists. Long-beloved writers such as Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, John Newton, Anne Steele, Joseph Hart and William Cowper fill the pages of this wonderful hymnal. Gadsbyâ€™s Hymns has been so important to us that we could not stop writing from it. Even before we had completed our last collection of hymns, The Gadsby Project, we knew we would make another record devoted to these beautiful, forgotten texts. We decided to call this record Help My Unbelief. Many of the texts in these particular songs carry themes of doubt and longing. We believe that the Christian life is a complexity of emotions, a marriage of sorrow and joy. Valleys and mountaintops. Light and darkness. The hymn writers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries seem to have captured these tensions with more honesty and depth than many contemporary writers. Because these writers have given us glimpses of their own doubt and unbelief, working through their hymns has given us much hope. Hope that we are not alone. Hope that sorrow, pain and hardship are not exclusive to our small, believing community here in Birmingham, AL. Rather, that Christians from different parts of the world, hundreds of years ago struggled with the same things. This is one reason why we sing hymns, to remember that the Church is bigger than just us at this moment. We hope you will join us in confessing, "Lord I believe; help my unbelief." Believing that in our doubts and fears Jesus will meet us with patience and grace. This collection of hymns is for Godâ€™s prodigals and sojourners as they wait patiently for the Kingdom to come.
"Help my unbelief. My help must come from Thee."
Get it at a discount here
Plaeze wtach yuor Spellnig on htis blog
As I raed thsi I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid d eos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
Psator Jhon Smsaon
Theology & Evangelism by J.I. Packer
"Evangelism and theology for the most part go separate ways, and the result is great loss for both. When theology is not held on course by the demands of evangelistic communcation, it grows abstract and speculative, wayward in method, theoretical in interest and irresponsible in stance. When evangelism is not fertilized, fed and controlled by theology, it becomes a stylized performance seeking its effect through manipulative skills rather than the power of vision and the force of truth. Both theology and evangelism are then, in one important sense, unreal, false to their own God-given nature; for all true theology has an evangelistic thrust, and all true evangelism is theology in action." - J.I. Packer
Philosophy of (The Christian) Religion
Philosophy of (The Christian) Religion compiled by Paul Manata New Subsection @Monergism.com
Introduction: This is comparable to a book on the Philosophy of Religion. There are a few differences between this "book" and other books. You will notice that there are no (well, just one or two) arguments against the positions I've listed. This is because this "book" is also meant to substitute as an apologetics "book" for the Christian faith, hence the offensive nature. Furthermore, this "book" is intended to present the Philosophy of Christianity from a Reformed perspective and also a presupposition approach to answering many of these questions (or, what I feel is in the same â€œveinâ€ as presuppositional-esk answers). I also included some dated (or, stated in a non-analytical way) statements of Omniscience and Omnipotence, the reason for this is because I feel that if one could just state the traditional reformed understandings of these doctrines one would avoid many of the so-called problems with these doctrines. I have also included "chapters" in this "book" that are not found in other Philosophy of Religion texts (e.g., Christian Theism and Abstracta). I hope this "book" serves to increase your understanding of the Reformed Faith (or, in other words, Christian Faith) as well as enables you to better defend it.
A Tale of Two Mediators
A Tale of Two Mediators In MP3 or Streaming Audio.
Are we considered guilty for Adam's sin? What is the doctrine of original sin? Continuing their study of Romans 5, the hosts contrast the roles of two mediators, Adam and Christ, in order to better understand sin and grace. Tune in to this episode of the Romans Revolution on the White Horse Inn.
Please take the time to listen to this VERY HELPFUL conversation with Michael Horton and Kim Riddlebarger (and others). Also, be amazed at lack of persons at a National Evangelical Pastors Conference who actually believe in original sin at all. Most of them would be brought up on charges of rank heresy if any historic church councils made any difference. If imputation of guilt is unjust as many said, then would they believe that God imputing our guilt to Jesus is also unjust???
A conversation with an emergent may go something like this:
Is the written word of God, for you, in your life as a believer, the final authority in all matters of your faith, and practice?
God is the final authority in my life. I can't confine to the bible because he clearly is so much bigger than the bible itself and of course he is God and can really do as he pleases. The bible is not the beginning and end of God.
So then your answer to this question: â€œIs the written word of God, for you, in your life as a believer, the final authority in all matters of your faith, and practice?â€ would be NO, correct? Just trying to establish some basics here.
I suppose it would. The bible is not the final authority in my life God is. Do you believe that God can only do what is mentioned in the bible? (From Examining Emergent Blogspot)
Not a chance, however, we can only know Him as he has revealed Himself to us, and the Scriptures are the source of that revelation. All else, that is, all other means of obtaining information about God is unaided human speculation, which is the fastest way to heresy in existence ...since we are inclined as human beings to always formulate God in our own image and to our own liking. This is not to deny the importance of historical studies in an aide to understanding, but it denies it as revelation. That is why David Wells says, "In religion of a Christian kind, we listen; in spirituality of a contemporary kind, we talk." Christianity is not a horizontal conversation using democratic methods to decide who God is. He has already plainly made Himself known to us in Christ as revealed in the text of Scripture. The Holy Spirit illumines the text that we might understand. We are not meant to speculate outside the boundaries of Scripture lest we create an idol
Of these type of speculators the Apostle Paul (speaking of contemporary Jews) said, "Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:1-4)
Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible
Baker Academic and Kevin Vanhoozer, whose book Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible won the The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Christian Book of the Year Award this week..Congratulations!!!
This book is an manual that stands as a witness to the vast learning of the many scholars who contributed. Today's biblical interpreter, whether scholar, student, or pastor, is faced with a plethora of philosophies and methods for interpreting Scripture. Postmodern trends have emphasized one's community identity in shaping interpretation, leading to differing conclusions. In addition, modern biblical interpretation has too often been characterized by a schism between the disciplines of exegesis and theology.
The Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible is a groundbreaking reference tool that seeks first of all to marry the tasks of exegesis and theology with the goal of theological interpretation of Scripture--that is, interpretation that has recovered a focus on the subject matter of Scripture: the nature and activity of God and the gospel. Second, it aims to provide a guide to understanding various interpretative approaches and a tool for evaluating them in light of this goal.
The dictionary covers a wide range of topics related to biblical interpretation with both depth and clarity. Topics include the theological interpretation of individual books of the Bible, issues of hermeneutics, various biblical interpreters and interpretative communities, and the interplay of interpretation with various doctrines and doctrinal themes. The contributors represent a diverse range of theological backgrounds and interpretative approaches and are experts in their respective fields.
Reformed Premarriage, Marriage and Divorce Policy
Reformed Premarriage, Marriage and Divorce Policy (.pdf)
Elder Training for Church Discipline, and Care of Members
Director of Biblical Counseling - Derek R. Iannelli-Smith
This guide has been compiled for the benefit of those involved in Pre-Marriage, Marriage and Divorce Counseling or considering involvement in this ministry. It has always been the desire of the leadership of the church to develop a curriculum guide for counselors. This is a first attempt to do so. We expect it to be modified and updated, and assume it will be adapted to each counselorâ€™s gifts and style. Over the years many couples have participated in this ministry. For those couples embarking on their first counseling journey, invariably the question is askedâ€¦â€OK, what do we do now?â€ This guide has been put together to help answer that question. Perhaps even the â€œveteransâ€ will find this information helpful.
Note: I have not personally read through the whole document so this is not necessarily an endorsement for everything you read here but considering that it might be widely used in the PCA I thought it important to post...
I have noticed a number of blogs talk about "Jesus or my Girlfriend" praise and worship songs/hymns. They are refering to the sad fact that many of the lyrics in the songs we sing could equally be sung to Jesus or to our girlfriend.
Quite rightly, these blog articles lament the fact that much if not all theological content is missing in these new songs. The good news is that there are exceptions in our day. I'd like to recommend a new CD from England by Keith and Kristyn Getty that features songs based on the Apostles Creed.
Here are the lyrics for two of the songs:
OH TO SEE THE DAWN
Oh to see the dawn
Of the darkest day
Christ on the road to Calvary
Tried by sinful men
Torn and beaten then
Nailed to a cross of wood
This the power of the cross
Christ became sin for us
Took the blame, bore the wrath
We stand forgiven at the cross
Images of the Savior (1 â€“ His Birth)
Men have always been in search of El Dorado. As long as men have walked the face of the earth, there have been whispered stories of fabulous treasures, cities of gold, fool-proof schemes to win big in the stock market. Men will always dream of finding great riches. They will always be looking for that next golden opportunity, that next El Dorado. There are only two problems with this: most of these fabled treasures don't exist; and if they did exist, they wouldn't satisfy. A man can starve to death on a pile of gold or on a pile of sand. A millionaire can be as empty as a beggar on the street. Gold doesn't satisfy the innate hunger for riches that we all have. We were designed for something greater. We were designed to be satisfied with nothing less than the treasure of knowing God.
Does the Bible teach Prevenient Grace? - R. C. Sproul
As the name suggests, prevenient grace is grace that â€œcomes beforeâ€ something. It is normally defined as a work that God does for everybody. He gives all people enough grace to respond to Jesus. That is, it is enough grace to make it possible for people to choose Christ. Those who cooperate with and assent to this grace are â€œelect.â€ Those who refuse to cooperate with this grace are lost. The strength of this view is that it recognizes that fallen manâ€™s spiritual condition is severe enough that it requires Godâ€™s grace to save him. The weakness of the position may be seen in two ways. If this prevenient grace is merely external to man, then it fails in the same manner that the medicine and the life preserver analogies fail. What good is prevenient grace if offered outwardly to spiritually dead creatures?
On the other hand, if prevenient grace refers to something that God does within the heart of fallen man, then we must ask why it is not always effectual. Why is it that some fallen creatures choose to cooperate with prevenient grace and others choose not to? Doesnâ€™t everyone get the same amount?
Jeremiah Burroughs on Preaching
"It may be a use of a great deal of encouragement to all the ministers of God to preach to people. It may be that sometimes even they are discouraged, and think to themselves, "Lord, how hard are the hearts of men, and how difficult it is to work upon the hearts of men! I have labored with all my might. I have studied and sought to invent all the arguments I possibly could, the most moving arguments that I could possibly imagine. When I have been in my study, I have thought to myself, 'Surely if the Lord is pleased to bless these truths that I am to deliver, they will work upon the hearts of people.'" And when it comes to the preaching of that sermon, perhaps the minister finds that they are not at all stirred one whit. "Why, Lord, what shall I do then? I cannot think ever to speak things that are more powerful than those that I have spoken, and those have done no good. Therefore I am afraid I shall never do good."
"Oh, no, do not say so and do not think so. The Lord is pleased sometimes to show us our vanity this way, and to rebuke us. Many times the Lord will not go along with the ministry of the Word when it comes with the greatest power and the strongest arguments and, yet, at another time, the Lord will be pleased to bless a word that you only speak in passing. It may do more than all the others. There is scarcely any one faithful minister in the world who observes the work of God upon his ministry who does not find this to be true. Yet this is no argument why a minister should not labor with all his might and come with the strongest arguments. He is bound to do his duty. Aye, be not discouraged. He may afterwards prevail, and God, I say, may bless many things that come from him. And therefore, I would exhort those who are to speak to such an audience with the words of Ecclesiastes 11:6: "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be a like good."
"Therefore, let ministers go on and sow their seed and preach still. That which they have spoken (perhaps they have been delivering arguments that they thought would have moved the heart of a devil) has been opening the miserable condition of men and opening the riches of Jesus Christ. Well, there must be no discouragement; go on and sow your seed in the morning, and in the evening withhold not your hand. Go on and preach again and again, and let the Word of God be presented before the hearts of the people. Though it has not wrought at one time, yet it may work at another time. Yea, though you should grow weaker and weaker, yet for all that the Lord may do good to you, even when you are at your weakest. In 2 Timothy 2:25 the apostle says to Timothy, "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure will give them repentance." Peradventure this day a truth may be handed from God to a soul - peradventure this text, peradventure that text, and so the soul may be brought in."
from Jeremiah Burrough's "Gospel Fear" (pages 80,81)
A Refutation of Roman Catholicism
Up until recently, Fred Neissen was Roman Catholic, but his faith in Catholicism has been shattered by considering the insurmountable obstacles involved in legitimating papal elections. Although his essay is a bit roughhewn, the basic argument is sound as well as devastating. At the end of his post he explains that anyone should feel entirely free to use this essay.
A reply to Mr. Stephen Ray - Introduction
Are we to choose â€œsola tiaraâ€?
A reply to Stephen Ray, based on the crucial question â€œwhoâ€™s the true pope?â€ and his essay â€œAre the Books of the New Testament â€œSelf-Authenticatingâ€ or was the Catholic Church Necessary to Define the Canon of Scripture?â€
Roman Catholic apologist Stephen Ray has pointed out in his spiritual autobiography â€œCrossing the Tiberâ€ that the doctrine of sola scriptura became a stumbling block for him. Ever since his conversion he tries to convince Protestants that sola sciptura is wrong. But my investigations into the problem â€œWho is the true pope?â€ have led me to conclude that the alternative he(and every other Roman Catholic) provides, is far from being logically conclusive.
Many parts of this essay have already appeared in my postings on CatholicAnswersForums, here is the link: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=120670.
Nevertheless I thought it expedient to supply a bit of further material and to show how the Roman Catholic attack on â€œsola scripturaâ€ wholly fails because the Catholic alternative offered, sola tiara, is very illogical indeed.
Well, Iâ€™ll proceed in three steps: first, I will show that the Catholic has no authority, no standard whatsoever that may help him to decide whoâ€™s the true pope; second, that the legends the Roman Catholics have put forth to create such a standard are just these: legends; third, that this very fact makes Stephen Rayâ€™s attack on â€œsola scripturaâ€ appear extremely weak.
Blind Until God Opens our Eyes
I recently read a very encouraging book called Flight Path, A Biography of Frank Barker Jr. There are a couple of paragraphs in chapter 17 that I thought appropriate to post here since they relate to important concepts that we speak of often here. The chapter is called "The Gift" and explains Barker's many years (even in seminary) having not understood salvation to be a gracious gift of God until a friend had given him a tract which explained it. What is striking about his experience was his previous inability to to hear that same truth even when plainly put before him.
He writes, "I wondered why no one had told me that salvation was a gift. Then I thought, Isn't it strange that Martin Luther didn't know that. The reason I thought about Martin Luther was that I had just read his commentary on Galatians for a course I was taking. If Luther had not known that salvation is a gift, he would have brought it out in the book! I wanted to see how he had missed it, so I pulled the commentary off the shelf and reread it. To my amazement, it was on every page!.
I thought, I must have been blind when I read this book! It dawned on me that God has to open a persons's spiritual eyes to understand the scripture. I had been trying to do it on my own. Why God used that tract instead of Luther's commentary is a mystery...
Dr. Meredith G. Kline & B.B. Warfield
Here is a great resource for anyone doing research into Meredith G. Kline. (or Covenant theology) Dr. Meredith G. Kline Online - Website dedicated to his Books, articles and essays
For over half a century, Dr. Meredith G. Kline, an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, served as a professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary (in Philadelphia), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Seminary California. He received his B.D. and Th.M. degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) and his Ph.D. degree in Assyriology and Egyptology from Dropsie College.
Here is another resource Website recently posted by Covenant OPC
This website seeks to promote the apologetical approach of Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, B. B. Warfield, and J. Gresham Machen typically referred to as the "tradition of Old Princeton," or as "Old School Presbyterianism." many articles, links, and papers that promote Warfield's apologetical approach as time permits. Not all the links or articles will be from Warfield's rigorous Calvinism, which we equally share, but they will attempt to give a reasonable argument for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
Prayer of the Synergist Redux
The following is a response from a reader to my short post called " Prayer of the Consistent Synergist" which uses a hypothetical prayer to expose the false belief that we are saved only partially by grace and partially by the human will (i.e. not by grace alone ... or not by grace through faith but by grace plus faith). This was the original prayer I wrote showing the theological inconsistency of synergistic salvation, which he responds to ...
"God, I give you glory for everything else, but not my faith ... This is the one thing that is my very own that I produced of my fallen natural capacities. For this little bit the glory is mine. So I thank you Lord that I am not like other men who do not have faith. When you extended your grace to all men some did not make use of it, BUT I DID. While You deserve glory for all I have Lord, my faith was the one part that I contributed to the price of my redemption, apart from and independent of the work of Your Holy Spirit."
Here is Mike's letter with my response to his questions/comments following:
Please allow me to re-write that prayer for your readers:
"Lord God, you have created the earth and everything in it. You created man and put him in paradise. You commanded man not to eat of the evil fruit, but he disobeyed you, and because of that, he doomed man-kind to be underneath the reigns of sin. Everything about man was twisted. Every child who is born is a natural born sinner. Everybody deserves to be sent to hell for eternity because of his state. Yet, because you love ALL of man-kind so much, you gifted him to be able to accept your word. This way it gives ALL men a chance to receive your gospel. Lord God, I know that I am a sinner, yet I know that you came to this earth and you died- not only for my sin- but everybody's sin. You give everyone a chance to receive your Word, as long as it is presented to him, and God, I am so thankful that you presented your Word to me because otherwise, I would be lost in the dark."
We are commissioned to go and tell ALL the world the good news of the Gospel. So put yourself in this picture: You are literally telling the whole world the gospel. Everybody on this entire planet. What would you say to them? Would you say to them,