C. H. Spurgeon - The Nature of Atonement (Quote)
"Now, you are aware that there are different theories of Redemption. All Christians hold that Christ died to redeem, but all Christians do not teach the same redemption. We differ as to the nature of atonement, and as to the design of redemption. For instance, the Arminian holds that Christ, when He died, did not die with an intent to save any particular person; and they teach that Christâ€™s death does not in itself secure, beyond doubt, the salvation of any one man living. They believe that Christ died to make the salvation of all men possible, or that by the doing of something else, any man who pleases may attain unto eternal life; consequently, they are obliged to hold that if manâ€™s will would not give way and voluntarily surrender to grace, then Christâ€™s atonement would be unavailing. They hold that there was no particularity and speciality in the death of Christ. Christ died, according to them, as much for Judas in Hell as for Peter who mounted to Heaven. They believe that for those who are consigned to eternal fire, there was a true and real a redemption made as for those who now stand before the throne of the Most High. Now, we believe no such thing. We hold that Christ, when He died, had an object in view, and that object will most assuredly, and beyond a doubt, be accomplished. We measure the design of Christâ€™s death by the effect of it. If any one asks us, â€œWhat did Christ design to do by His death?â€ we answer that question by asking him another â€” â€œWhat has Christ done, or what will Christ do by His death?â€ For we declare that the measure of the effect of Christâ€™s love, is the measure of the design of it. We cannot so belie our reason as to think that the intention of Almighty God could be frustrated, or that the design of so great a thing as the atonement, can by any way whatever, be missed of. We hold â€” we are not afraid to say that we believe â€” that Christ came into this world with the intention of saving â€œa multitude which no man can number;â€ and we believe that as the result of this, every person for whom He died must, beyond the shadow of a doubt, be cleansed from sin, and stand, washed in blood, before the Fatherâ€™s throne. We do not believe that Christ made any effectual atonement for those who are for ever damned; we dare not think that the blood of Christ was ever shed with the intention of saving those whom God foreknew never could be saved, and some of whom were even in Hell when Christ, according to some menâ€™s account, died to save them.
(C. H. Spurgeon, from the sermon, Particular Redemption, Delivered February 28, 1858, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens)
New Missions Blog
When our Savior ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, he left his church with a very specific task: to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth, calling out from every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation the worshipers for whom he died. In the two thousand years of history which followed, the reigning Lord has been in the process of spreading his Kingdom throughout the world in his mystical body, the Church; but the task is not done. There are still unreached people groups in existence across the globe, and the full reward of the Redeemer's sacrifice has yet to be realized. As we strive to labor in the fields to which Jesus has sent us, we need to keep the â€œbig pictureâ€ in mind. We need to remember the greatest motivation for our service, the worthiness of the Lamb to be worshiped by representatives of every people on earth. And we need to prioritize our efforts, focusing specifically on those peoples that have not been brought into the Savior's eternal kingdom. For these reasons, I am excited about a new team missions blog, which may prove a useful tool for keeping the present status of the Great Commission before us, and providing suggestions for how we might engage the task in a more meaningful way. The contributors all have a Reformed perspective and a focus on the remaining unreached people groups of the world. If anyone is interested, please check it out at Kingdom Surge
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!
Before you convert to Roman Catholicism... (Top Ten List)
At his blog at www.aomin.org, my friend, Dr. James White writes:
Last week I received the following e-mail, and I felt it would be best to share my response here on the blog.
Dear Mr. White, For someone considering converting to Catholicism, what questions would you put to them in order to discern whether or not they have examined their situation sufficiently? Say, a Top 10 list. Thanks.
When I posted this question in our chat channel a number of folks commented that it was in fact a great question, and we started to throw out some possible answers. Here is my "Top Ten List" in response to this fine inquiry.
10) Have you listened to both sides? That is, have you done more than read Rome Sweet Home and listen to a few emotion-tugging conversion stories? Have you actually taken the time to find sound, serious responses to Rome's claims, those offered by writers ever since the Reformation, such as Goode, Whitaker, Salmon, and modern writers? I specifically exclude from this list anything by Jack Chick and Dave Hunt.
9) Have you read an objective history of the early church? I refer to one that would explain the great diversity of viewpoints to be found in the writings of the first centuries, and that accurately explains the controversies, struggles, successes and failures of those early believers?
D.A. Carson on Piper's "The Future of Justification"
"The so-called 'New Perspective on Paul' (NPP) has stirred up enormous controversy, especially, but not exclusively, in the English-speaking world. The issues are so complex that it has taken time to mount a careful evaluation. During the last decade many have undertaken the task, often with helpful contributions. John Piperâ€™s work may not be the last word on the subject, but it brings to Christian leaders everywhere five enormous strengths: (1) By focusing on N. T. Wright, by far the most influential writer of the NPP, Piper brings to bear a badly needed focus. (2) Despite the interlocking complexities of the debateâ€”Tom Wright has an amazing capacity to move theological and exegetical pieces around, creating such a new tableau that words have shifted in meaning and theological notions their conceptual locationâ€”Piper has written with admirable clarity. (3) Better yet, John has engaged Tom with simultaneous depth and courtesy. That is a rare but wholly admirable combination. (4) Certain parts of John Piperâ€™s book have quietly broken new groundâ€”not least his handling of â€œrighteousnessâ€ and â€œjustification,â€ their connection with the â€œgospel,â€ and his careful insistence that making the words mean different things for the Judge in Godâ€™s law-court and for the defendant in that law-court really cannot be sustained in the light of Scripture. (5) John Piper sees the moral and spiritual implications of what he is seeking to explain. Are men and women saved, on the last day, on the basis of the whole life lived? But if not, what is the nature of the connection between justification and good works? The issues are not secondary, and, pastor that he is, John Piper will not allow believers to put their trust in anyone or anything other than the crucified and resurrected Savior."
D. A. Carson
Research Professor of New Testament
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL
From Justin Taylor's Blog, Between Two Worlds
Images of the Savior (37 â€“ His Raising of Lazarus)
Although we have already seen before the divine power of Jesus the Savior displayed in the raising of the dead, this case is the most notable example yet, first, by virtue of the explicit instruction about his own person with which he illuminates its significance, and second, by virtue of the marvelous circumstances surrounding it, through which we may learn much of what sort of man this Jesus truly is. There had never been a more notable resurrection from the dead than this, nor would there be until Jesus himself was raised by the power of God (Romans 1:1-4), the true firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18) inasmuch as he was the first man raised, not to die again, but to the glory of an incorruptible life. Let us rejoice today that the eternal resurrection life which Jesus himself won, having arisen finally victorious over death and the grave, is a life which he won for all of us who partake of his sufferings, and hence are assured as well of a share in his resurrection power (Philippians 3:10-11; I Corinthians 15:20-24)! To all of these truths our text today speaks, and so we will turn there now to learn the source of this amazing sign; its ultimate goal, or purpose; and finally, the instruction which we might derive from its unusual and typical circumstances.
Pray before You Post
This may be so basic that I should feel like an idiot for bringing it up, but we Christians should probably pray before we write blog posts. Or write comments on the blog posts of others. Or write pretty much anything that other people will see. And I mean really pray. Not "just" the kind of prayerful attitude that we're supposed to have "without ceasing." But we should probably stop what we're doing, go into the closet, close our eyes, fold our hands, and make a clean break from whatever it is we're doing (at least briefly).
I say this because I know I need to do this. When I read blogs that make me angry, and make me want to comment, it's the easiest thing in the world for me to react in the wrong way. Sometimes I shouldn't say what I say. Sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes I'm right, but I'm just a jerk. Prayer might help me to be more right. But prayer will probably help me to cool off, to be gentler or more loving, to be less arrogant, or to realize that maybe I don't need to say anything at all. And that would be a better testimony to the truth and beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On the Net - August 17th, 2007
New Reformed Blog - Theology and Steak - Meat for the Mind, Body, and Soul (Assembly of God Semi-Pelagian turned Calvinist - now pursuing a ThD at Whitefield Theological Seminary)
Lamp Mode Recordings is an independently owned and operated recording label based out of Philadelphia, PA. Highlighting the Character of God, while presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ and a biblical world view through hiphop culture.
Includes Calvinist hip-hop with such song titles as "Solus Christus project" "Killing Sin"...ect
Even in their resource section all of the links are to reformed theology, including monergism. Wild eh?
Our T-shirt design contest winner Jake Stutzman produced this cutting edge design for Monergism.com which closely reflects the purpose and mission of our Website. Many of you have written expressing a desire to get one as soon as it comes out. Wait no longer - it is here...
Reformation Society of Oregon, Inaugural Meeting
Reformation Society of Oregon, Inaugural Meeting
Special Guest Speakers:
Dr. R.C. Sproul & Rev. Richard D. Phillips
The Old Church
422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland
Friday September 14th, 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Dr. R. C. Sproul will conduct a question and answer discussion specific to pastors, and Rev. Richard Phillips will give a devotional and discuss his new Ligonier / Reformation Trust book Jesus the Evangelist.
There is no cost but seating is limited! Please register by emailing the Reformation Society at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please give your name, phone, address, email address, and affiliated church when you register. You will receive a confirmation response notice.
Doors open at 8:30 am, Breakfast served promptly at 9:00 am, Lectures begin promptly at 10:00 am. This is a free event sponsored by Monergism Books and Estacada Christian Church. Open to all pastors, elders and local church leaders. Event only open to the first 100 registrations. Contact: David Thommen 503-630-6707 or John Hendryx (503) 620 6926.
You may also log on to the Estacada church's website to register
the god of our sentimentality
One thing that makes the Bible so believable is that is does not back down from facing the hard questions about God or human nature. Unfortunately, in order to maintain some sort of hope or dignity in ourselves, we often keep a safe distance from these hard questions. In our various church traditions we tend to avoid looking these uncomfortable questions directly in the eye. Our readings of the Bible are selective and we cherry pick portions that affirm to us what we want God to be like but circumvent the Texts which show characteristics that seem to contradict our imaginary deity. This makes us feel good until reality strikes in the real world and we suffer affliction. Shallow theology will not do in the face of suffering. We need, rather, to sink our roots deep down in the Scriptures as to be ready for any contingency. As it is, what do we do when we face difficulties? Unfortunately, more often than not, we complain ... so today I wish to wrestle with the concept of how we can change our thinking about our lot in life so that we would glorify God by being content in the conditions He has placed us in. We will cover the subject of complaining and murmuring along with God's fairness.
Dispensationalism â€“ Categorized Scripture List
Well, as my previous categorized scripture list on the Doctrines of Grace met with such a favorable reception, I decided to construct another such list, this one pertaining to Dispensationalism. After all, I think both topics are addressed and answered by an abundance of scriptural passages. As before, if any of you should find the complete list with scripture text helpful (and not just the abbreviated version posted here), feel free to comment or e-mail me with a request.
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
Ask yourself, what makes you to differ from your unbelieving neighbor? Is it the grace of Christ alone that saves or is it grace plus your good will? Where did this faith come from? Does it naturally arise in some and not others? Or is your faith itself a working of God's grace to change your heart? Is it something that came forth from our unregenerated human nature? The witness of Scripture would affirm that sinners are, not partly but wholly helpless and impotent in their sin. The Reformers vehemently opposed the synergistic doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church by confessing that God redeems His people by a free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying us in Christ when we exercise faith, but also resurrecting us from spiritual death by His quickening Spirit in order to bring us to faith.
Grace is God's unmerited favor toward undeserving sinners like us. Being unmerited, people can do nothing to obtain it. In other words, grace is not conditioned upon anything God sees in us, like our merit or even our good will. But here is precisely where protests rise from Roman Catholics and even some modern Evangelicals. These complaints, unfortunately, are against one of the central components of the biblical doctrine of regeneration. Note that Evangelicals will, without exception, affirm that they are saved by grace, but many will actually hesitate when they are told that they are saved (regenerated) by "grace alone". It is more than many can bear and often even creates resentment. I know as I have often been the one bearing the brunt of the resentment. This anger arises, most likely, because sola gratia (or grace alone) means that God chooses to save His own prior to any movement of their own will (i.e. we contribute nothing to our salvation). It strips man of any and all hope from himself, including his faith. This is important because if God left men to their boasted will we would all perish, for no poison-filled well, like us, would freely use their polluted will to choose God, for the Scriptures affirm that the natural man hates the light and will not come into it (John 3:19, 20). Therefore, in His great mercy and, in spite of ourselves, God regenerates His people through the work of Christ's grace wrought in us. Exercising faith is our responsibility so, of course, we affirm that all men have a will and make voluntary choices, but since our will is broken and spiritually bankrupt, if we are ever to exercise faith in Jesus Christ it will mean that God must do a supernatural work of grace in our heart to disarm our natural hostility and restore our brokenness lest our hearts remain like stone, and we as a stiff necked people will refuse to come to Jesus Christ. We do not repair ourselves and then believe. Rather, we believe because God has repaired us, has illumined our mind that we might see and believe.
J.I. Packer Interview on Election
What is meant by the phrase "unconditional election"?
Why do we need an election?
Doesn't this detract from our responsibility to respond to the gospel?
If I'm one of the elect, God will save me, and if I'm not, I cannot be saved anyway, so why worry about it?
Isn't foreknowledge the basis of election? Didn't God choose us because he looked down into the future and foresaw that we would believe in him?
Wouldn't it be unfair for God to elect one person to heaven, but then not elect my next-door neighbor?
How essential is this doctrine to our understanding of salvation in general?
Is this something really practical for the Christian and not something that should be left in the seminary classroom for theological debate?
If this doctrine is true, is there any reason to believe that the gospel invitation is genuine?
Read Dr Packer's brief answers to these questions here.
Images of the Savior (36 â€“ His Eating with a Pharisee)
Whenever we see our Savior in his dealings with the Pharisees and experts in the law, we must be struck with the immeasurable wisdom and authority that he possesses, as well as the boldness and clarity with which he denounces their wicked teachings and practices. Let us note that they who consider themselves religious leaders, and who bind others with very many rules and regulations that God never commanded, always demand of others unquestioning loyalty and obedience; and if it is not forthwith rendered by anyone under their sway, they threaten him with the terrible curses which are due to anyone who turns aside from God's own commandments, and wresting from their clarifying contexts many verses about the godliness of submitting to those in authority, they demand submission on the basis of God's word, when in fact their doctrines set aside God's word; and it is utterly manifest that no person on earth has the religious authority to command God's children to do other than that which he has prescribed for them in his holy scriptures â€“ although we admit that the civil government has authority from God to demand things which are indifferent with respect to inherent morality, and not in violation of God's positive commands. Now let us be sure that, no matter how loudly such may assert their authority to bind other believers with things that God has not said, it is never godly to submit to such a perversion of true religion; and if we would follow the example of our Savior, we must rather expose and condemn it on the basis of the scriptures, which God has vested with authority beyond that of any man on earth. To see how our wise and fearful Savior thus exposed the folly of these wicked men, and laid out the progression that false religion would ever follow, let us now look to the text.
Musings on the Difficulties of Preaching
Don't criticize your preacher too much. He has a hard job.
Preaching is very personal. The preacher is vulnerable within the Community of God. He is weekly under the microscope, scrutinized by God and his people. You probably have no idea what that does to the dynamics of his personal and family life.
The preacher must call to attention that very thing which threatens the core of his own autonomy as a sinful creatureâ€”it's sort of like diving on a grenade to save your friends. Except that it's really by throwing yourself on the Gospel Grenade that you're saved, so the preacher's really chucking them out there into the crowdâ€”and not everyone is going to appreciate that way of salvation, that's for sure.
The preacher can be tempted to preach for personal gain (i.e., flattering compliments or money). Or, conversely, the preacher can be tempted to coldly disregard any input received from the hearersâ€”constructive or otherwiseâ€”in the name of "telling it like it is, whether they like it or not." In my estimation, it's nigh impossible to actually preach from selfless love, and to be sensitive to the true needs of the hearers (which they might like to communicate frequently through criticism).
Remember that next time you talk to your preacher after the Sunday sermon.
What Are Those Chinese Characters?
More than a few times of late I have received phone calls and the occassional email asking me what is the meaning of the "gibberish" in the Monergism.com logo. I suppose this is quite useful to those who are wandering around with one of our T-Shirts on, especially when gawking bystanders ask for its meaning. And, to our shame, with a blank look most of our customers must confess they do not know.
Well, as a frequent visitor this is something your should indeed know. The CHINESE characters are a close translation of the meaning of the word "Monergism", and specifically reads "regeneration precedes faith": That the work of regeneration is the work of God the Holy Spirit alone and not a cooperative work of man and God.
Consider, can a person come to faith in Christ apart from the Holy Spirit changing his heart from one of stone to one of flesh? (Eze 36:26). Can a person believe in Christ apart from the Father granting it through regeneration? (see this exegesis of John 6:63-65).
What makes us to differ? Jesus Christ alone. The assistance of grace does not depend on the humility or obedience of man and it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble. As natural men, we may intellectually understand the Scriptures and the preaching of the gospel, but to love it, to see the beauty, truth and excellency of Christ in the gospel takes a renewed heart, according to my gospel. Salvation is by grace alone and we take hold of Christ through a Spirit wrought faith. God opens our hearts that we may take heed of His Word.
Further, it is only proper to understand the word "monergism" as it relates to the biblical doctrine of regeneration. Other aspects of salvation and the Christian life are certainly grace driven and grace led, but only regeneration is monergistic (the work of God alone). Why? Because it is the only point where we are completely passive. We do not do anything to become regenerate. Instead, we are regenerate and therefore we do. IN the Bible, the new birth (or regeneration) is always spoken of in the passive, not something we can do but what God does for us.
IN order to understand this, lets take some examples from every day life. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus can only be said to cooperate after the fact. He did not participate in the part where he was dead and made alive. Jesus alone had the powert to do that. Lazarus only got up afterward. A blind man cannot see, nor a deaf man hear. But when Jesus opens their eyes and ears they can then exercise their faculties. In fact, no time expires between the time the eyes are open and we see, but the opening itself is Jesus' work alone. When two billiard balls collide, they touch at the same time, but only one of them causes the other to move. Likewise, the new birth or regeneration is where God touches us, where union with Christ begins, where we subjectively partake of His spiritual benefits. We believe as a result of Christ opening our spiritually blind eyes and changes our stubborn heart. No natural man submits Himself to God's humbling terms. The unspiritual man is bereft of this moral ability (1 Cor 2:14). But "...now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God." So the only way to understand the things from God such as Christ, the gospel etc, is to first be quickened by the Spirit.
That is what the Chinese characters in the logo are all about. We think it sufficiently important that this message of God's grace be made known all over the world. I figure with English and Chinese we just took out half the worlds population. :)
By the way free shipping offer at Monergism Books until August 15th, 2007. This even includes all large sets.
The Five Points of Hyper Calvinism
"Remember, two cardinal rules to debating Calvinism: first, while some Arminians are Armenians and some Armenians are Arminians, Armenians and Arminians are two very different groups. Second, while it's true that some Calvinists can be a bit hyper, that doesn't make them Hyper-Calvinists." - Justin Taylor
According to Timothy George (from his book Amazing Grace: Godâ€™s Initiativeâ€“Our Response), a Hyper-Calvinist departs from orthodoxy on five key doctrines:
1. Hypers teach the doctrine of eternal justification, which effectively removes human responsibility to respond to the gospel.
2. Hypers deny the free moral agency and responsibility of sinners to repent and believe the gospel.
3. Hypers deny the free offer of the gospel to all people, regardless of whether a person is presumed to be elect or not.
4. Hypers teach that sinners have no warrant to believe in Christ until they feel the evidence of the Spiritâ€™s moving in their heartsâ€“in other words, a sinner needs to be convinced he is elect before he has a right to believe.
5. Hypers deny the universal love of God. Hypers claims that God hates sinners and has no meaningful love for the non-elect.
You will find a very interesting article on these issues by Nathan Finn found here.
Steve Brown Etc.,
Dr. Steve Brown, professor of practical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, has a new talk show, Steve Brown Etc., featuring discussions, debates, interviews, comedy and commentary dealing with religious, political and social issues. You can hear podcasts and view episodes of the show and more at stevebrownetc.com.
John Piper responds....
Response to Rabbi Kushner....... August 6, 2007: By: John Piper
From 11 to 12 this morning, Gary Eichten of Minnesota Public Radio interviewed Rabbi Harold Kushner about the collapse of the 35W bridge. Kushner is best known for his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. There were several astonishing things about this interviewâ€”not unusual for religious talk shows on public radio, but astonishing still.
1. The most astonishing thing is that Godâ€™s grace is so great neither the Rabbi nor I was struck dead by God during the interviewâ€”he, because of his blasphemous belittlings of God, and I, because of my contaminated anger at what he said.
2. Another astonishing thing is that Gary Eichten, as far as I heard, never challenged the Rabbi to support anything he said with an authority beyond his own opinion. Think of it. Here is a solitary, flawed, finite, fallible human being (like you and me) speaking over public airwaves with no support beyond his own personal viewpoint making unchallenged pronouncements, with no accountability whatsoever, about the greatest Person in the universeâ€”statements that are contrary to what most Christians and Jews and Muslims have believed during the entire history of those religions. And they let him just go on and on preaching his opinions.
Recently I received two questions which were similar in nature:
Question #1) Do compatibilists believe in free will, that is, do they believe we are free from God? I often hear the phrase "compatibilistic freedom".
Question #2) As I research more about the reformed position I come across the subject of determinism and compatibilism being mentioned frequently. I want to learn more about this subject. I tried searching but could not find any books specifically on these subjects. Iâ€™m not looking for anything technical, just something the lay person can understand. Please let me now if you are aware of any books that deal with these topics specifically.
I will try to answer both questions in this post....
Compatibilism is a form of determinism and it should be noted that this position is no less deterministic than hard determinism. It simply means that God's predetermination and meticulous providence is "compatible" with voluntary choice. Our choices are not coerced ...i.e. we do not choose against what we want or desire, yet we never make choices contrary to God's sovereign decree. What God determines will always come to pass (Eph 1:11)...
Images of the Savior (35 â€“ His Parable of the Good Shepherd)
One of the most blessed prophecies ever given to the prophets of old may be found in Ezekiel thirty-four. In that notable passage, the Lord first berates the false leaders of his people Israel, who ought to have been as good shepherds, protecting them from the wild beasts, guiding them lest they wander astray, and leading them to good pastures. But instead, they had destroyed and killed the flock of God. In response, God promises that he himself will come and be a shepherd to his people, guiding, protecting, and nourishing them; but when he comes, he will judge the false shepherds, and distinguish between the true sheep of his flock, who are oppressed and down-trodden, and the fat and cruel sheep, who destroy all the provision and leave no sustenance for the others. These latter will share the same fate of condemnation as the false shepherds; but God's true sheep will be delivered and brought to a place of peace and fruitfulness forevermore, where God will be their God, and dwell among them. At this point in the prophecy, God refers to the Shepherd of the people as David his servant. From which circumstance we may learn that one would arise who is both the offspring of David and indeed God himself; and he will shepherd the true people of God, but judge their oppressive leaders and those sheep who are not truly his.
What is a Human Being?
Here are some of the best books out there for your studies on the nature of humanity
Ranald Macaulay and Jerram Barrs, Being Human: The Nature of Spiritual Experience
Thomas Boston, Human Nature in its Fourfold State
Anthony A. Hoekema, Created in God's Image
A.W. Pink, Our Accountability to God
Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Not the Way Its Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin
Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will
The source and remedy for conflict
Found on the web - an excellent article regarding understanding the root cause and dealing with conflict, by C. J. Mahaney, based on James 4:1, 2 here.